Amazing escapes to brighten up your winter
A holiday can be just the tonic to break up the winter and give you something special to look forward to. If you’d love to get away but aren’t sure where to go, we’ve teamed up with our trusted travel partners to bring you some holiday ideas to liven up the cooler months. From diving into tropical waters in Belize to soaking in a star-lit hot tub in Iceland, take a look at a few of the incredible adventures you can have with our sister companies.
Follow the sun to Mauritius
After missing so many travel moments, you might be looking to go all-out on your next holiday. Our travel partner Carrier has over 30 years of experience creating bespoke, big-ticket escapes with only the best hotels on their books.
We’re talking five-star resorts with finesse, attentive service and sublime fine dining, such as the One&Only Le Saint Géran. As Mauritius’s oldest luxury hotel, this was once a hotspot for Hollywood stars and now attracts a mix of families and couples looking for a taste of the celebrity treatment. Spend your days lounging on the pristine private beach or unwind with a massage in the world-class spa and, at nightfall, choose from six incredible dining venues. If you’re celebrating a big occasion, Carrier’s concierge can wave their wand with magic touches like spa reservations, helicopter transfers or a special surprise dinner.
Take off to tropical shores in Latin America
There’s nothing better than travelling to the tropics when the chill hits, and a holiday in Latin America will burst some colour into the gloomy days of winter. Journey Latin America is the UK’s number one specialist in travel to Central and South America, which is why we’ve chosen them as our exclusive travel partner for this exotic corner of the world. Alongside adventures to the most iconic destinations – Machu Picchu, Antarctica’s ice-scalloped fjords and the mighty Iguazú Falls to name a few – they can recommend the best places to visit for winter warmth.
November to April is a great time to visit Belize, where you’ll find Mayan ruins entangled in jungle, a wealth of wildlife and postcard-worthy beaches. But this country’s beauty isn’t just surface deep; Belize’s extraordinary barrier reef – the second-largest coral reef in the world – is a magnet for divers and snorkellers. Experienced divers can take on the legendary Blue Hole, a perfectly circular cave plunging vertically in the seabed, teeming with sharks, rays and barracudas. You can explore Belize on a carefully crafted small group tour or the experts can design your own tailor-made trip; we love their Signature Belize: Reef, Rainforest and Ruins suggested itinerary.
Hunt the Northern Lights in Iceland
A winter getaway doesn’t have to be all about sun-seeking. Pack your fur-lined boots and cosy knits and head for an Icelandic adventure with our short-break specialist Kirker Holidays renowned for their well-researched itineraries and seamless service. On Kirker’s four-night Aurora Adventure, you’ll travel to Reykjavik, where you’ll go on the hunt for the spectacular Northern Lights and travel by ‘super jeep’ to the famous Golden Circle, where you’ll see geysers, waterfalls and hot springs. You’ll also spend a night under dark skies in a remote lodge, where you can soak under the stars in an open-air hot tub.
As well as their classic European city breaks and tailor-made trips, Kirker has a range of cultural and music-themed holidays. During January, those that are musically minded can jet off for a week in balmy Tenerife on an exclusive Kirker Music Festival event. You’ll be entertained with private concerts starring pianist Tim Horton, the Navarra String Quartet and baritone Benjamin Appl, alongside sightseeing excursions and relaxation.
Get into the Christmas spirit on a festive cruise
This December, treat yourself to a very merry time on a festive-themed break with our sister company Jules Verne. Although Jules Verne is known for its voyages to far-flung countries, you’ll also find a few tours that uncover treasures closer to home. You could spend Christmas exploring the grand Imperial cities of the Danube on their ‘Christmas Markets and Music on the Danube’ escape. You’ll cruise from Vienna to Budapest and Bratislava, wandering the old towns and discovering buzzing markets flowing with decorations, present ideas and delicious delicacies. On the big day, you’ll watch a mesmerising performance of The Nutcracker ballet before celebrating Christmas cheer at a Jules Verne drinks party. And the best part about holidaying over Christmas? There’s no cooking. You’ll be spoilt with full-board dining, including a Christmas Eve banquet and a farewell gala dinner on your final evening on board.
If you’d rather celebrate Christmas at home with loved ones, you could jet off after Boxing Day and see in New Year on the Nile. Jules Verne can take you on a seven-night trip aboard a restored royal steamship, the SS Misr. This luxurious cruise takes you to temples and tombs, past breathtaking scenery, and includes unique events – cocktails at the famous Winter Palace, afternoon tea at the Old Cataract Hotel and a sumptuous Gala dinner on New Year’s Eve. When your cruise ends, the fun doesn’t have to – you could extend your stay and relax by the Red Sea, where you can top up your tan by the pool and marvel at the marine life on a submarine excursion.
Soar down slopes in a winter wonderland
A ski holiday is a fabulous opportunity to get away to the fresh air and open spaces of the mountains, reconnect with friends and family and bring home lasting memories. Our specialist ski partner Ski Independence has over 25 years of experience in sourcing the very best ski holidays, all of which have been tried and tested by their passionate team of experts. One of their top picks is Avoriaz in France, a snow-sure resort where the only way to get around is on skis or by a magical horse and sleigh ride. Families will love the car-free streets, tropical indoor waterpark and small resort vibe, plus there are several beginner and nursery slopes, making it an ideal place to learn to ski. For those looking for something a bit more challenging, we highly recommend the Swiss Wall at Chavanette and the nearby ski resort of Châtel.
Stay at Hotel Mil8, a stylish four-star hotel in the heart of Avoriaz, which has a fantastic ski-in/ski-out location, modern rooms and captivating views of snow-capped peaks from the terrace. There’s also a glass-fronted wellness area featuring an infinity pool, sauna and massage room – perfect for relaxing after a day in the mountains.
The specialist companies we work with all offer unparalleled expertise, outstanding service and value for money. If you’d like to find out more about the featured trips or would like to start planning a winter escape, talk to our experts in store, who will work on your behalf to create your perfect holiday.
This feature was published on 16th November 2021. The information within this feature is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of print. Feature by Heather Flanagan.