We have all been deprived of holidays, so the next one needs to be good! Get booking now with our ultimate wanderlust destinations!
1. For the Motor Enthusiast
Location, location… This Victorian former hunting lodge in the Scottish Highlands certainly has it, sitting in 58 acres of parkland on the edge of a glittering sea loch, encircled by mountains. What’s inside isn’t bad either, with cosy lounges and bars and exquisite food to suit your mood – fine dining or casual. You won’t be short of things to do. The hotel can arrange adventures, such as taking a classic Morgan car for a spin around part of the North Coast 500. It’s one of the most spectacular driving routes in the world, with sightseeing enroute, like Dunrobin Castle with its gardens inspired by Versailles, and the woodland waterfalls of the Fairy Glen at Rosemarkie. Other options include munro 1 baggings walks and stargazing with a qualified astronomer. The night skies here are truly magical.
British Travel Journal top tip: End your day with a dram of whisky or the hotel’s own-brand gin by the fire.
2. For the Aviator
Aerodrome, used as a Battle of Britain station during World War II. During the Harvard Warbird Fly & Dining package, for example, you can take to the air in – and even have a go at flying – this iconic 1943 plane, once used for training Spitfire pilots. Afterwards, there’s a Champange lunch at The Kennels – former home to the Duke of
Richmond’s hounds, now a rather smart estate members’ club. Or, for the really keen there’s Flying Through the Ages – a full day experiencing three different planes plus a behind-the-scenes tour of the aerodrome and meeting with the aviation teams. At the end of the day, retire to the Goodwood Hotel, with its restaurants, health club and two golf courses.
British Travel Journal top tip: For an extra special stay, book the exclusive use ten bedroom Hound Lodge, which has a private chef and butler.
3. For the Coastal Scenery Lover
Luxury Irish Tours:
The Northern Irish coast encompasses some of Britain’s most interesting and wildly beautiful scenery. Let specialists organise a bespoke tour around the top sights, including a private driver in a luxury vehicle (or self drive if you prefer) plus accommodation in five star hotels or castles, private, behind-the-scenes tours, fine dining and, of course, visits to all the ‘blockbuster’ sights – the Glens of Antrim, Giant’s Causeway and Dunluce Castle to name but a few.
British Travel Journal top tip: Special interests can also be catered for – if you want to see every single Game of Thrones location, here, your wish is their command. Or play golf at the top courses, including the world famous Portrush…all is possible.
4. For the Cruiser
Abercrombie & Kent:
Not being allowed to visit even the next county has got us all gagging to get out and explore the UK. The Tradewind Voyage gives the chance to do that, on the Golden Horizon – the world’s largest squarerigged sailing vessel. The design is based on a traditional clipper ship, with wood panelled interiors alongside modern facilities – think three swimming pools and a spa! During the 13 night trip, the many destinations to explore include Glenveagh National Park in Donegal, with its mountains and lakes, the exciting city of Liverpool, some of the tiny uninhabited islands in the Isles of Scilly, the lovely little Cornish town of St Ives and the Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey.
British Travel Journal top tip: Many of the optional excursions include cycling or walking. Take advantage to counteract the effects of the copious onboard food and wine.
5. For the Ultimate Adventure
For a five-star wilderness experience with ex-British Army Majors in restored Land Rover Defenders, this new luxury adventure will take you on an unforgettable pioneering journey through the Scottish Highlands! Think packrafting, abseiling, climbing and open-fire feasts. From reaching the summit of Ben A’an, scrambling along Aonach Eagach ridgeline, two Munro summits, to a sea kayaking trip in Arisaig with sheltered sea lochs, countless isles and skerries and hidden beaches. Feeling brave? Then head to a remote quarry, and in the style of SAS: Who Dares Wins try a front abseil, descending cliff faces – you daredevil you! Every evening at basecamp you’ll be fed like Robert the Bruce, as Wildnis’ private chef, Tom Byrom rustles together whole grouse ‘porcetta’, venison shoulder with a foraged nettle sauce and a Scottish seafood platter while you share stories by the campfire with a dram of single malt. A 4-night expedition, including guiding, all activities, all meals, Land Rover vehicle hire and transfers costs from £3,500pp sharing. Departure Spring 2021.
British Travel Journal top tip: Get involved in the cooking too, Tom offers masterclasses on foraging, butchery and open-fire cooking.
6. For the Royalist
As with a Savile Row suit, the team at Dream Escape can tailor-make the most majestic royal tours. A sample itinerary is their England Royal Residences & Retreats – a 10-day private jaunt around significant royal landmarks.
Mooch around Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Sandringham House and take a behind-the-scenes look at Clarence House, home to Charles and Camilla. Ogle the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London, watch the Changing of the Guard and visit Westminster Abbey, where William and Kate got hitched. There are trips to shops which provide the royal households, a chance to shop in Eton and Champagne boat trips along the Thames, including one ending in a meal at the three Michelin-starred Waterside Inn, and stays in luxury accommodation – it’s a trip fit for a King or Queen.
British Travel Journal top tip: Plan your trip for May or September and it’s possible to tour Eton College (William and Harry’s Alma Mater).
7. For the Train Spotter
You don’t really need to be a train geek to enjoy the Tracks of the Welsh Dragon. This steam train journey will transport anyone back to the romantic Golden Age of travel, with its traditional Pullman carriages, hauled by the 61306 Mayflower locomotive. The first two days of the four-day trip are spent chugging through the English, then the Welsh countryside, departing from London. You can wistfully watch the country’s most dramatic scenery drift past – including the Camarthenshire Hills, the Brecon
Beacons, The Black Mountains and the Lleyn Peninsula. Come the evening guests disembark to stay in a hotel – the first night in Shrewsbury, the remaining three in the ‘fantasy’ Italianate village of Portmeirion, from where excursions take you to explore the spectacular Snowdonia area before the homeward train journey.
British Travel Journal top tip: No need to climb Wales’ highest peak – take the Snowdon Railway to the summit.
8 For Wildlife Lovers
The Western Isles of Scotland are famed for their blinding white beaches, edge of the world feeling and out of this world wildlife – golden eagles, minke whales and otters are just some of the species you might see, on or offshore, from the Hebridean Princess. This boutique cruise ship hosts a maximum 50 guests, and her small size means she can access more remote spots, unreachable by larger vessels. On shore, experienced guides can take you to see the wildlife plus sights like the ancient Callanish standing stones and Colonsay House Gardens. If you prefer to do your own thing, grab one of the ship’s 8 bikes and set off on your own explorations. The Western Isles Wildlife cruise runs from 18-26 May 2021. → hebridean.co.uk
British Travel Journal top tip: If you miss the boat (pardon the pun) this year, there’s a very similar cruise next year.
9. For The Artist
Lundy Island Sketchbook Safari:
Whether keen amateur or complete beginner, then an opportunity to – ahem – brush up on your technique is on the Lundy Island Sketchbook Safari with Trevor Waugh. Lots of time in the great outdoors (or en plein air if you want to sound like a real artist) is guaranteed, sketching the landscape and wildlife of this tiny, quiet island off the North Devon coast. The bird life is particularly prolific in the early summer, when you may even get the chance to paint puffins and their chicks. Trevor will demonstrate water colour techniques and tips for capturing animals and there will be both group and individual tuition. Accommodation is in a large house overlooking a wooded valley, with views out to sea. The trip runs for four nights from 14 June 2021.
British Travel Journal top tip: Snorkel at Gannet’s Bay and you may be lucky enough to swim with seals.
10. For the Horticulturalist
Sisley Garden Tours:
Green fingered readers may be interested in the brand new ‘secret gardens’ tours introduced by Sisley Garden Tours. These Exclusive Escapes for Garden Lovers allow small groups (maximum 12 people) to visit some of the best private gardens in the UK, many never open to the public. The stays are each based at just one comfortable hotel and then gloriously unhurried days are spent delving into these stunning gardens, chatting to their owners and then getting back to your hotel for some wining and dining… maybe the odd gardening anecdote! The tours will run May to September, when the gardens are at their spring and summer best. Destinations for 2021 are Cornwall, Dorset, the Wye Valley, North York Moors and the Cotswolds.
British Travel Journal top tip: Do the North York Moors tour in June and find out how to make the best summer cocktails using herbs from your garden!
Words | Emma O’Reilly