5 Interesting Places To See In Britain!

 

Britain has some pretty amazing sights to see, but also some very interesting, lesser known tourist attractions.

Hop on a coach tour to find those fascinating places and discover something new.

 

1. Anne Hathaway’s Cottage

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Anne Hathaway’s Cottage can be found in the village of Shottery, about 1 mile west of Stratford-upon-Avon, and very accessible by coach.

Anne Hathaway lived in this building as a child and was the wife of the world famous playwright and poet, William Shakespeare.

The cottage was acquired in 1892 by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and is now open to the public as a museum set in beautiful extensive gardens.

 

 

2. Windermere, Lake District

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Visit the outstanding beauty of the Lake District National Park, and be surrounded by the peaceful silence of the misty mountains.

Discover Windermere,  Britain’s largest natural lake, and catch your breath looking over the horizon from a rugged mountain fell.

Explore Windermere Steamboat Museum on a guided tour or indulge in a Windermere Lake Cruise.

Roam the traditional inns and local art galleries, or simply bask in the area which inspired William Wordsworth’s poem, ‘There was a Boy’.

 

3. Feathers Hotel, Ludlow

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The gorgeous medieval market town of Ludlow is a feast for the eyes and  boasts over 500 listed buildings within its area.

Situated within this picturesque market town is the world famous Feathers Hotel, offering the combined uniqueness of a 17th century coaching inn together with a modern day hotel with all its comfortable facilities.

While there, take a guided tour of  Ludlow Castle and St Laurence’s Church, and indulge yourself in the many excellent restaurants and cafes selling local produce.

 

4.Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

Cardiff is the capital city of Wales and the largest in Wales, and apparently ranked sixth in the world in National Geographic’s alternative tourist destinations.

The Wales Millennium Centre is an outstanding arts centre situated in the Cardiff Bay area of Cardiff and hosts live performances of opera, ballet, musicals, dance, comedy and theatre.

 It also has a Visitor Centre together with shops, bars and restaurants to wile away the time whilst on holiday.

 

 

5. Beatles statue at Pier Head, Liverpool

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Liverpool is the ideal destination to visit and explore on a coach tour.

With its unique attractions, and world class musical heritage, Liverpool has it all.

 The Beatles statue at Pier Head along Liverpool’s Waterfront has entranced visitors since it was created and unveiled in December 2015 to mark the 50 years since The Beatles final public appearance in Liverpool, at The Empire on the 5 December 1965.

It weighs in at 1.2 tonnes and was sculpted by Andrew Edwards who managed to catch the likeness of the Beatles in striking form.

5 Famous Landmarks In Britain!

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Britain has a treasure trove of historical sites that the whole world wants to see.

People come from all over to witness the facts behind the stories they have been told about our wonderful land, stories that are embedded in the very fabric of our historical sites.

They come by plane, train or automobile, but the most popular is by coach, joining fellow travellers on their journey of discovery.

 

1. Tower of London

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People flock to see the Tower of London, officially the Queens Palace, which can be found in central London.

This magnificent Tower has played a significant role in English history and has become over time one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country.

It has served various roles in its time, including being a treasury, an armoury, a public records office, the home of the Royal Mint, and of course, a prison and the home of the Crown Jewels of England. It was even at one time a menagerie whereby wild animals were kept in captivity for exhibition purposes!

You can visit the Tower of London with ease either by bus or coach.

 

2. York Minster

York Minster is the Cathedral of York, England, and can boast being one of the largest of its kind in Northern Europe.

As with most cathedrals, this majestic Minster has a varied and complicated history regarding its build. It is safe to say that a wooden church construction was first built in 627, and numerous replacements and additions have been created over time, with the present Minster building having been completed in 1472.

The York famous Mystery Plays were allowed to be performed for the first time inside the Minster in 2000, and plan to return for a second time in 2016.

York Minster was also illuminated on 5 November 2005 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the York-born Guy Fawkes’ gunpowder plot.

You can visit York various ways, but a  guided tour by coach does make it so much easier and value for money.

 

3. Edinburgh Castle

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 Edinburgh Castle is a world famous icon of Scotland,  a majestic fortress situated on the Castle Rock, looking out onto the City of Edinburgh.

This historic fortress can be dated back to the Iron Age with many additions built over the years, as well as being involved in many historical conflicts through the ages.

Go there to see the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in all its glory and pay a visit during the annual Edinburgh International Festival.

 

4. Roman bathsBath

 The Roman Baths is a world famous historical site in the English city of Bath.

This well-preserved Roman site was created for public bathing and gives a fascinating insight into how the Romans lived.

  Join the thousands of tourists that visit each year by coach and experience a  guided walking tour of the town, learn about the historical significance of the region and soak up the decadent atmosphere it has to offer.

 

5. Stonehenge

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 Cross Salisbury Plain to visit Stonehenge, the world’s most talked about prehistoric monument, and stand in awe at the mystical stone monoliths which seem to have stood since the beginning of time.

Stonehenge is one of Britain’s most famous destinations to visit and is part of an UNESCO World Heritage Site, but has baffled scientists, tourists and historians for centuries on why it is exactly there.

 New theories abound all the time, but just admire and enjoy this magnificent monument for what it is now and acknowledge that its true meaning may never be revealed!

 

Scandinavian Secrets!

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When we think of  Scandinaviathe three kingdoms of Denmark, Sweden and Norway come to mind.

These three great kingdoms historically share the Scandinavian Peninsula in northern Europe, and the term Scandinavia was first to used to describe them as recently as the the eighteenth century.

The term became even more popular as a unifying concept in the nineteenth century by the influences of people such as the famous poet and writer Hans Christian Andersen and his poem “I am a Scandinavian” which reflected his belief that all Swedes, Danes and Norwegians were “one people”.

 

  Denmark

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The word ‘Denmark’ can first be traced back to the 10th century when the Vikings were at their most fierce, plundering their way across Western Europe.

However, the Denmark today is very different from its historical past. With its beautiful natural landscapes and cosmopolitan cities full of cutting-edge culture, art and nightlife, Denmark is the perfect place to visit on a coach tour or guided vacation.

 

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Witness the amazing sight of the Little Mermaid and discover her creator, Hans Christian Andersen’s birthplace in Odense.

Denmark’s charismatic capital of Copenhagen cannot afford to be missed as you are treated  to its abundance of historical buildings mixed together with contemporary art and modern design.

Visit Denmark in the summer to witness the truly beautiful landscape or in winter for a magical Christmas wonderland.

 

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The history of Sweden again goes back to the Vikings, with evidence still seen today.

From rune stones and burial mounds, to medieval towns and fortresses,  the legacy of the Vikings still lives on.

Today Sweden is also one of the world’s most beautiful and cosmopolitan countries to visit on a coach tour.

From its arctic and pristine landscapes, amazing lakes and lush green fields and forests, Sweden has it all.

 

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Seek out a Dalecarlian horse or Dala horse, a traditional carved, painted wooden horse statuette which originated in the Swedish province of Dalarna.

Anyone visiting IKEA may have a recollection of this horse being sold in various colours, and may even own one not knowing its origin.

On a guided holiday, visit the cosmopolitan city of Stockholm which blends both classic historical buildings with modern Scandinavian style and architecture.

For a bit of fun, spend some time at ABBA The Museum, an interactive exhibition about the pop-group which can be found in Stockholm.

 

Norway

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Norway’s vast variety of scenic beauty makes it stand out as one of THE places to visit – it’s constant and awe-inspiring beauty making it one of the top destinations to tick off any bucket list.

Take in its breath-taking fjords, forests and mountains, spectacular waterfalls and glaciers, and be prepared for otherworldly and mysteries experiences to behold!

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This is because a large section of northern Norway is located within the Arctic Circle, providing the country with two of its most popular tourist attractions.

The first is the Midnight Sun during the summer months whereby you see endless days when the sun doesn’t set for the whole summer.

The second is the sighting of the amazing Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights during the winter months.

Stand witness to the sky coming alive with spectacular bluish green arcs of light, glowing and shimmering with their enchanting radiance flaring over the sky in a constant movement of divine dancing.

 

Traditional Viennese Cuisine!

If you are looking for rich culture and decadent entertainment you can’t go far wrong with a coach trip to Vienna.

From Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms to Sigmund Freud, this wonderful ‘City of Music’ and ‘City of Dreams’ has seen them all!

 

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However, the icing on the cake, so to speak, is the absolutely delicious and mouthwatering cuisine that the Viennese have to offer!

 

Wiener Schnitzel

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Vienna is well known for its Wiener Schnitzel, a cutlet of pork or veal that is first pounded flat, then coated in flour, egg and breadcrumbs, and fried in butter. The trick is apparently to keep as much air between the meat and coating to produce a wonderfully succulent taste. It is widely available in restaurants all over Vienna and compared to a truly delicious comfort food – yum.

 

Sausages

Another rather tasty food that the Viennese love is the noble sausage. From Frankfurters, Burenwurst and Käsekrainer to the wonderfully sounding Bratwurst, sausages can be bought from many street vendors in Vienna together with bread rolls and their traditional condiment of mustard.

 

Apple strudel

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Apple strudel is one of the best known Austrian deserts and consists of an oblong shaped strudel pastry jacket containing a delicious filling of apple, sugar, cinnamon, raisins and bread crumbs inside. The recipe dates back to as early as 1696 and gained popularity in the 18th century. It is now considered one of the national dishes of Austria.

 

Sachertorte

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Sachertorte is a delicately moist chocolate cake with apricot jam created by the Sacher Hotel in Vienna. This world famous chocolate cake was actually said to be invented by the chef Franz Sacher in 1832 for Prince Wenzel von Metternich and first served at the Demel pastry shop and later at the Hotel Sacher. It is traditionally served with unsweetened whipped cream.

 

Viennese Coffee 

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It could be claimed that Vienna is the “coffee house capital of the world” serving a wide variety of coffee drinks accompanied with delicious cakes and pastries. The coffee house experience is more of a social event than a quick coffee refreshment as every guest can sit for hours to talk, read newspapers, write, play cards, or just pass the time of day. The different choice of coffee available is amazing and the attentive waiter will serve an obligatory glass of cold tap water if you have a long stay. Although the Viennese coffee houses had a decline in the 1950’s, a renewed interest in their tradition and increased tourism have prompted a welcome return in popularity.

 

5 Things To Do In Florence!

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The two images above just about sum up my presumptions of Florence.

On the first picture, the gods seem to be dancing on this magnificent city, enjoying recollections of past events. On the second, the sheer architectural beauty cries out to be explored and feast upon.

Florence is the capital city of Italy’s Tuscany region and is famous for its glorious history. This includes being one of the the wealthiest cities of the medieval period and the birthplace of the Renaissance, and is widely regarded as the “the Athens of the Middle Ages”. It was also home to the Medici family, the most powerful family in Florence who ruled the city during the Renaissance era from the 15th to the 18th century.

Classed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, Florence is one of the most visited places in the world, attracting  millions of tourists each year who come via coach tours to see the amazing architecture and monuments, and abundance of museums and art galleries bulging with Renaissance art.

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As a tourist, I believe my 5 main attractions would be as follows……….

1. The Duomo

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The most famous site of Florence is the domed cathedral of the city, Santa Maria del Fiore, also known as The Duomo. The actual dome was built by Filippo Brunelleschi around 600 years ago and is still classed as the largest dome built in brick and mortar in the world.

The exterior is covered in a mixture of pink, white and green marble, while the interior has a striking array of mosaic flooring. The only way to see the inside of the dome up close is to climb its 463 steps to the top, while also admiring Giorgio Vasari‘s frescoes of the Last Judgment (1572-9) on the way up.

 

2. The Tower of Palazzo Vecchio

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The Palazzo Vecchio is another architectural masterpiece which dominates Florence’s skyline, and literally towers over Florence at 95 metres high.

This majestic Tower is also an art museum, and overlooks the Piazza della Signoria with its copy of Michelangelo’s David statue and the gallery of statues in the adjacent Loggia dei Lanzi.

An interesting fact links to the replica of Michelangelo’s David statue. The original stood at the tower entrance from 1504  but was moved to the Accademia Gallery in 1873, with the replica subsequently being erected in 1910!

 

3. Michelangelo’s David

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Michelangelo’s David is a Renaissance marble statue standing at 5.17 metres and was created by the great artist between 1501 and 1504.

The statue represents the Biblical hero David, and was originally commissioned as one of a series of statues of prophets to be positioned along the roof line of the Florence Cathedral. This never happened, so instead the statue was placed outside the Palazzo della Signoria, and later moved to the Accademia Gallery.

Another interesting fact in regards to David is that during World War II, he was entombed in brick to protect him from damage coming from airborne bomb strikes!

 

4. Ponte Vecchio

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The Ponte Vecchio is a bridge which sits over the Arno River in Florence and is a truly magnificent piece of architecture that also houses an array of shops built along its edges and held up by stilts.

This wonderful bridge is known as the Old bridge and is also unique because of its Vasari Corridor, a covered passageway which runs above the shops.

The current bridge was rebuilt in the 14th century, and interestingly, is the only bridge in the city to have survived World War II intact because the retreating German troops chose to spare it in 1944!

 

5. Florence Baptistery

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The Florence Baptistery has the status of a minor basilica and is famous for its Gates of Paradise, magnificent doors found on the east of the building and created by Lorenzo Ghiberti.

The Baptistery is one of the oldest buildings in the city and has eight equal sides with a rectangular addition on the west, built in the florentine Romanesque style. It is crowned by a magnificent mosaic ceiling and decorated with majestic statues on its exterior.

Did you know that the “Gates of Paradise” situated in the Baptistery today are a copy of the originals? After five hundred years of exposure, it was decided that the panels were to be removed and preserved for future prosperity in a more protective environment in the  Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, the museum of the Duomo’s art and sculpture.

5 Great Countries For You To Explore!

As budget coach holidays go, you simply cannot beat Expat Explore.

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WHY BOOK WITH EXPAT EXPLORE?

·       Great value tours

·       Guaranteed departures

·       Early bird savings

·       Wi-fi in hotels

·       10% deposit (minimum £50) 

·       No credit card fees

See some of the great countries Expat can take you to Explore!

France

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France is the world’s number one tourist destination, and it’s certainly not hard to see why.

From Paris with its vast amount of cultural history, amazing monuments and architecture, to the beauty of the French Riviera and the stunning region of Burgundy, France has it all.

You can explore the Mont Saint-Michel and the historical Normandy beaches in the north, and the medieval citadel of Carcassone and ancient Roman aqueduct Pont du Gard that crosses the Gardon River in the south.

Expat Explore has many coach tours that visit Paris. See the Champs Elysees and famous Arc de Triomphe, visit the the Louvre Museum or infamous catacombs. Enjoy a cruise up the River Seine, Climb the Eiffel Tower and explore the many museums, galleries, boulevards and restaurants, as far as places to go, the ‘City of Lights’ is truly a remarkable experience not to be missed.

Germany

Germany sits central at the heart of Europe and boasts stunning rural scenery and natural landscapes dotted with historical architecture. The Rhine Valley is a picturesque glacial alpine valley that cuts between enchanting hillside castles and rolling vineyards.

See the stunning Neuschwanstein Castle, a nineteenth-century Romanesque Revival palace seated on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau in Bavaria. You have to see it to believe it as this extraordinary castle takes you to a world of fantasy and fairy tales.

The magical countryside is contrasted by urban cities which are steeped in thousands of years of history. This urban culture reflects a dynamic and creative force that can be seen in cities such as Berlin and Munich. Berlin has an enticing mixture of history and contemporary culture, so you can witness the historical Berlin Wall while enjoying the bustling cutting edge social scene.

Likewise, in Munich enjoy the Oktoberfest beer festival on a guided tour with Expat Explore tour to get a true feel of German culture as it is meant to be.

Netherlands

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The Netherlands is one of the most unique if not smallest countries in Europe, and is recognized by its many canals and iconic windmills.

It may be small, but it has also provided considerable power and influence over the years. In the 17th century, the Dutch Empire grew to become one of the major economic powers, excelling in science and the military. The Dutch also had considerable cultural influence which can be seen in its legacy of master painters such as Van Gogh and Rembrandt.

Amsterdam is the Netherlands’ capital, and is well known for its artistic heritage and bustling nightlife. You can visit the Van Gogh museum and Rembrandt House museum there and see the truly wonderful work of these great artists, or take a trip down one of its many canals to see the true spirit of the city.

If the countryside is more your thing, why not take a trip to the famous Keukenhof Tulip Garden, and be blown away by the outstanding beauty of the place, especially in spring. Whatever your preference, the Netherlands will have something for everyone, and is a truly inspirational place to be.

The Netherlands is perfectly situated for an Expat Explore Europe multi-country coach tour, and is often the first or last destination to visit depending on which way round you travel.

Switzerland

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In the heart of central Europe lies the outstanding beauty of Switzerland, home to numerous enchanting lakes and valleys, and the founder of the intricate Swiss watch. Sample the famous cheese fondue and indulge in the finest Swiss chocolate, arguably the best in the world.

Switzerland is also known for its alpine peaks and glaciers, especially the 11,400 feet Jungfraujoch which is one of the highest peaks in Europe and one of most famous landmarks in the world. Take a train ride up to the peak and witness breathtaking views.

Visit the beautiful Lake Lucerne, which can be found in central Switzerland, and embark on a boat cruise on either an elegant salon motor vessel or historic paddle wheel steamer.

With France to the west, Germany to the north and Italy to the south, Switzerland is also perfectly situated for Expat Explore Europe multi-country coach tours.

Italy

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Last but not least Italy, what isn’t there to love about Italy – a truly extraordinary place!

As well as boasting the famous Colosseum, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain and  St. Peter’s Basilica, Italy also has the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world!

Home to the Pope and the Catholic church, Rome has more than its fair share of  beautiful architecture and incredible history. Explore the Vatican city and see the Sistine Chapel painted by Michelangelo, or wonder at the beautiful Saint Mark’s Basilica.

Explore Venice, famous for its canals, gondolas and amazing festival; visit the Leaning tower of Pisa, or bask in the glory of Florence. The Romans surely did leave a wealth of legacies to behold.

Immense yourself in the Italian culture with Expat Explore on one of their regional coach tours of Italy, and enjoy a holiday of a lifetime.

Back-Roads – The Roads Less Travelled!

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A fully packaged popular coach tour can really tick all the boxes when deciding on a well deserved break. Sometimes though, a more laid back and intimate experience is what people need, something a bustling coach tour just can’t provide.

Well, there are touring companies out there that can fill that need, companies like Back-Roads Touring who are experts in small group and tailor made touring holidays. With their small group size tours, they offer a unique range of fascinating and leisurely regional tours throughout the UK and Europe.

With Back-Roads Touring, the journey is just as important as the destination, so you get to travel along the beautiful back roads, enjoying spectacular scenery and exploring hidden gems all along the way.

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What’s more, you will also experience specially selected accommodation loaded with charm and home comforts, dine at the local restaurants sitting amongst the locals, meet traditional local producers and mingle with local characters.

This is the Back-Roads Difference!

Maximum Group Size of 18

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For most Back-Roads tours there is a maximum of 18 passengers, which allows the professional tour leaders to offer a more personalised experience.

This in turn enables more attention given to the interests of individuals, flexible touring days and a less obtrusive style of touring.

Less people means more intimate hotels and restaurants with local charm and character can be selected.

 

Scenic Back-Roads not Freeways

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Back-Roads Touring mini-coaches may be smaller but they are also are extremely comfortable.

Unlike larger motor coaches, their smaller size allows them to travel along smaller local roads and across breath-taking mountain passes to find charming villages and picturesque vistas.

They also usually drive into the centre of tiny villages and towns to park beside charming accommodation and intimate local restaurants.

 

Authentic Local Experiences

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With Back-Roads Touring you will be shown the heart and soul of a nation with their Authentic Local Experiences.

You’ll really get to know the people, customs and history of a region in depth by enjoying intimate concerts and seeing demonstrations by local producers and tradesmen.

You’ll also get exclusive access to private tours of country houses and gardens, as well as being able to explore towns and villages that aren’t on the tourist trail.

Leisurely Paced Itineraries

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A lot of other tours can start their days early and finish late, but not Back-Roads Touring.

Most days begin around 9 am and itineraries are carefully planned to avoid cramming too much into a day, as well as keeping long drives to a minimum.

Discoveries can be made at a more leisurely pace with time to socialise or delve deeper into attractions on your own.

 

Charming Accommodation

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Accommodation is carefully selected to always reflect the character and charm of the destination you are staying in.

Whether an old country estate, traditional villa or castle hotel, the accommodation will be situated in a stunning setting or have interesting historical and architectural heritage.

Others may be chosen for their owner-hosted welcome or excellent food, with guaranteed quality and comfort a given.

Culinary Experiences

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Back-Roads Touring makes sure tasting the local cuisine is an important part of any holiday, and ensures that particular emphasis is placed on food and drink whilst on tour.

Their included Culinary Experiences enable you to enjoy truly authentic cuisine at iconic restaurants run by award-winning chefs.

You’ll also be able to enjoy cooking classes using regional ingredients and visit local farms and wine tastings.

Music Festivals Around the World!

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What could be better than exploring the world by coach, boat or plane and indulging in a music festival.

From Great Britain to the USA and everywhere in between, get the experience of a lifetime by catching a music festival when on your coach travels. Find some inspiration below to get you started:

 

1. Glastonbury

Somerset, UK

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Glastonbury takes place from Wednesday June 22 until Sunday June 26 2016 and has a capacity for around 200,000 people.

It was founded in 1970 by Michael Eavis as the Pilton Pop, Blues & Folk Festival, and as well as music, now boasts theatre, dance, comedy, cabaret, arts and crafts as well as healing as an attraction.

 

2. Bestival

Isle of Wight, UK

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Bestival takes place from Thursday September 8–Sunday September 11 on the Isle of Wight and has a capacity for around 79,000 people.

The Isle of Wight festival has a reputation for awesome line-ups, and this year is no exception. From Fatboy Slim to Years and Years, Bestival has it all.

You’ll also find a fire-spewing steel spider and other quirky experiences. It’s also child friendly with plenty of activities on offer.

 

3. Coachella

Indio, USA

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Coachella dates are Apr 15 – Apr 24, 2016 and has a capacity of 99,000.

Coachella is held on polo grounds in the desert not far from the Joshua Tree National Park, so hats, water and sunblock is a must.

Dance, drink and enjoy nostalgic music until the sun sets spectacularly behind the San Jacinto mountains.

 

4. Golden Plains

Victoria, Australia

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Golden Plains is held in March and is much smaller than most of the other festivals with a capacity of just 10,000.

This festival has a communal vibe and is kept on a smaller scale so there is plenty of space for everyone to camp and get some peace.

The festival has developed some quirky traditions over time, including a salute from the crowd to the best performers at the festival in the form of shoe or boot being held in the air.

 

5. Governors Ball

New York, USA

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The Governors Ball dates are June 3-5, 2016 and has a daily capacity of 45,000.

New York City’s only major music festival has now moved from its original location on Governors Island, in view of the Statue of Liberty to Randall’s Island.

This festival regularly attracts the big acts and has the advantage of being in the Big apple for a walk around afterwards.

Spring Gardens Around the World.

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The stunning beauty of a spring garden in all its glory is amber nectar to the soul and makes us feel that little bit more humble about our world.

Beautiful gardens are there for a reason, they have been created for us to enjoy and basically give us time in our lives to “smell the roses”.

Sample the Dutch delights of the Keukenhof tulip garden in Spring on the Amsterdam Tulip Long Weekend coach tour, or find below some more of the worlds most extraordinary gardens:

 

1. Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew

Kew, Richmond, Surrey, England

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Explore the world’s most famous botanic garden – Kew Gardens, and immense yourself in the wonderful landscapes, astonishing historic buildings and glasshouses,  and a vast range of beautiful and rare plants.

Witness the glorious awakening of spring beauty and surround yourself with the stunning colours of the rainbow which are erupting around you.

The Kew Gardens are particularly enchanting in spring when flowers start to come alive and take over the gardens.

Not to miss is the Cherry Walk when in bloom, the Davies Alpine house with its displays of unusual and exotic bulbs, the magnificent magnolias and of course, the bluebells which carpet the Woodland area at Kew in April and May.

 

2. Château de Versailles Gardens

Versailles, France

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An outstanding example of  French garden design, Versailles’ vast gardens are notably famous for stunning tree-lined paths, ingenious geometrically aligned terraces and magical ponds, fountains and canals. The Versailles Chateau Gardens cover in excess of 800 hectares of land and were designed by the landscape architect Andre Le Notre.

One of the main focal points of the garden are the 50 fountains which come to life from late spring to early autumn. Other features include the horses and chariot of the Apollo Fountain and the Grand Canal, amazing sculptures and the Orangerie.

The splendour of the gardens are at their best in the spring and summer where you can wander all day long soaking up the wonderful surroundings of water features, sculptures and enchanting flowers.

 

3. Villa d’Este

Tivoli, Italy

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A Renaissance cardinal, Ippolito II d’Este, brought this extraordinary Italian garden to life by first starting the transformation of a dilapidated Benedictine monastery into what Villa d’Este is today.

This recently listed UNESCO wonder has one of the most enchanting and fascinating garden and fountain complexes in the world, built in the mannerist and baroque styles.

You can find the large shell-shaped Fontana del Bicchierone, the Avenue of the Hundred Fountains and the Rometta fountain which has a wolf-suckling Romulus and Remus.

With its vast array of fountains and grottoes, nymphs and bewitching water features, the gardens of the Villa d’Este is an experience not to be missed.

 

4. Sanssouci

Potsdam, Germany

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The Sanssouci Palace was commissioned by Frederick the Great in 1744 and built by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff in the Rococo design. The style of  architecture became known as “Frederician Rococo” because of the King’s considerable influence.

You can stroll around the beautiful gardens and take in the impressive architecture of Sanssouci Palace as well as the many  temples and follies in the park.

Sanssouci and its extensive gardens became a public museum in East Germany after World War II, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990.

Walk through this beautiful landscape and see the vision the King saw.

 

5. Butchart Gardens

Vancouver Island, British Columbia

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The Butchart Gardens were created by Jennie Butchart in 1921 and are filled with excess of 700 varieties of extraordinary plants that bloom from March to October.

This visually outstanding garden has to be seen to be believed. Every corner of this magnificent place bombards your senses, from the fountains to the bronze statues, the Rose Carousel to the many ornamental birds, all lit up at night with illuminations.

This enchanting place will leave you wanting more, not just in spring , but through all the seasons of the year.

 

 

 

 

Inside Out with Trafalgar!

 

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When travelling on holiday, we mostly get to look at the touristy type places and popular experiences that are on offer.

However, sometimes we may want to broaden our experiences and find out what a culture and its people are really like.

So, if you want to get a truly authentic insight into the local culture of your destination, you’ll love Trafalgar’s hand-picked Insider Experiences.

Authentic and exclusive, Insider Experiences introduce you to the people, places and moments that are only possible by getting into the heart of a local community and its culture.

Be My Guest

Trafalgar’s Be My Guest experiences are extremely popular as they allow you to meet interesting characters by dining with families in their own homes.

Interestingly, food and drink tastes so much better when it’s shared with local people who have many tales to tell. It gives you a deeper understanding of their lives and history.

You’ll also have the chance to learn how to cook regional dishes, and share a glass of wine with winemakers at their own vineyards.

Be My Guest dining at a French chateau on the Best of France tour and be truly inspired.

 

 

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Best of France 2016

Châteaux, chic beach resorts, cheese and wine – all you want to see and taste in France. But this in-depth experience also peels back the layers to reveal the soul of this great country.You’ll enjoy Insider moments like… learning the strategic importance of Carcassonne’s double ring of ramparts with its 52 towers from our local historian, and why the fortified town made such a good backdrop for the film ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’.

  • Lasting for 13 Days
  • Prices Starting From £160 per day

 

 

Local Specialists

Local Specialists are local people such as dancers, archaeologists, geologists and artisans who can provide you with the information to take you deeper into the local culture. They allow you to see things in a fresh and vital way and supply you with fresh insights and anecdotes to make your trip memorable.

For example, if you’re in Amsterdam, they’ll take you to the Royal Delft Pottery workshop to witnes porcelain being hand-painted by expert artisans. Similarly, when you to visit Seville, you get the chance to learn flamenco dancing.

Be inspired by the Local Specialists on the European Highlights tour.

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European Highlights 2016

Discovering six countries, this introduction to Europe compares its big players, France and Germany, and their smaller neighbours, Switzerland and The Netherlands.You’ll enjoy Insider moments like… smelling sawdust in the air as German clockmakers craft cuckoo clocks in front of you, in a fairy tale Black Forest setting that feels like it’s straight from a Hansel and Gretel pop-up book.

  • Lasting for 7 Days
  • Prices Starting From £171 per day
Gaudi’s incredible buildings and sculptures

TRAVELKR / Pixabay – Gaudi’s incredible buildings and sculptures

 

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Spanish Wonder 2016

Explore every side of Andalusia, including its Moorish twist, and visit the principal Spanish cities of Madrid, Seville and Barcelona – with passionate experts on every encounter.You’ll enjoy Insider moments like… exploring Toledo’s ancient cobbled streets with a local historian, who leads you into the cool tranquillity of the Church of Tomé to reveal the hidden meaning behind El Greco’s Burial of Count Orgaz.

  • Lasting for 9 Days
  • Prices Starting From £128 per day

In Warsaw, Poland, hear about the heroic history behind the Little Insurgent and discover a story that helps you understand what the city and its people are all about.

You can do this on the Highlights of Eastern Europe tour which takes you to Warsaw as well as many other amazing places.

 

Iwona_Olczyk / Pixabay