Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Royal Wedding packages now on sale!

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A range of 3*, 4* & 5* hotel packages are on offer...

St Petersburg in Winter...

Dave in our office recently tavelled to the beautiful city of St Petersburg. Below is his trip report, giving just a glimpse of what to expect from the city, including the various experiences on offer when visiting St Petersburg in Russia for a short break, tour or holiday.

To view photographs from Dave's trip visit our Facebook page by clicking here

To view our current special offers and tour suggestions that are on sale now click here

My first trip to Russia - a taster break to St Petersburg...

An early start as the British Airways flight from Heathrow was departing at 0930hrs, amazingly after just under 3 hours we were landing in St Petersburg . Time to adjust our watches as they are 3 hours in front of UK time and after completing immigration facilities incredibly quickly we were on our way to 'The Hotel Astoria' (30 minutes drive) for a two night stay.

The Astoria, a Rocco Forte property (graded 5* Deluxe) has been at the centre of the City’s history since it opened in 1912. Legend has it that Adolf Hitler sent out invitations to a celebratory party to be held in the hotel to celebrate his capture of St Petersburg, needless to say the party never took place! My room had a stunning view of St Isaac’s Cathedral, was extremely comfortable and had the added bonus of being within walking distance of The Hermitage Museums and the shopping areas of Nevsky Project.

View from my room in The Astoria Hotel, St Petersburg

That evening there was a chance to meet up with the hotel management over dinner in the stunning Davidov restaurant and also to take in a tour of the hotel and its sister property next door, the 4* superior Angleterre. The bar in the Angleterre was also well used to round off an excellent start to a busy few days.

Our first full day saw us visit the famous Hermitage Museum – packed full of paintings, sculptures and works of art it is an absolutely amazing place to visit. It is said that if you spent one minute in front of every object it would take over 8 years to see them all. Usual tours last for a maximum of 3 hours and just give you a chance to experience one of the world’s greatest art museums.

Heritage Museum, St Petersburg

In the afternoon we visited the Russian Cruiser Aurora from where the October Revolution began in 1917 followed by site inspection of the Petro Palace a 4* hotel that completed our day.

Russian Cruiser Aurora

The next day we visited Peterhof a magnificent palace overlooking the Baltic Sea – not at its best in autumn as the fountains are closed from October to May but still a stunning place to visit and one of St Petersburg’s most famous and popular visitor attractions. Lunch was taken at a restaurant in the grounds and this was the first and probably the last time I shall sample cabbage pie!


On our return we checked into the Grand Hotel Europe for a 3 night stay. This is a 5* Deluxe property which opened in 1824 as Russia’s first 5 Star Hotel. For me this really lived up to its grading and the highlight was enjoying a fantastic Tchaikovsky evening in their famous L’Europe Restaurant with a wonderful dinner and magnificent music as well as a ballet duo performing on the stage of the restaurant - a truly magical experience!

The next day we took the opportunity to visit three of St Petersburgs most impressive buildings, The Peter & Paul Fortress, St Isaac’s Cathedral and probably the most photographed building – The Church on the Spilled Blood. Later that day we did a backstage visit to one of the main theatres in St Petersburg and watched the cast rehearsing and the ballet dancers training. There are so many sights to see in St Petersburg, however our guide ensured we made the most of our time. It was really beneficial to have someone who knew the city so well so that no time was wasted.

The Church that spilled blood

Our next and final full day saw us visiting the Catherine The Greats Palace and also the palace at Pavlosk, yet two more stunning buildings and our last evening saw us take in a ballet at the famous Mariinsky Theatre which for most of the group was the highlight of a wonderful few days.

Petrodvorests - Peter the Great's Summer Palace

The trip was not just about culture; in between we also visited most of the main hotels, sampled Russian food in traditional surroundings and enjoyed the odd drink or two in some of the many local bars. In summary St Petersburg is a fantastic city, much closer than most people think, full of wonderful surprises and an ideal destination to spend some time

To view our latest special offers on breaks and tours to Russia including St Petersburg & Moscow click here.

To view all of Dave's pictures from his visit to St Petersburg visit our Facebook gallery by clicking here.

Call Dave on 01543 258631 to plan your holiday to St Petersburg

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

A Safe Bet For William And Kate In Tanzania & Kenya...

Was it by pure coincidence that Prince William and Kate Middleton's plans for a honeymoon destination happen to coincide with the launch of one of our main Africa suppliers new brochure? According to the bookmaker William Hill, Tanzania is the current favourite, with 4 to 1 odds in its favour, while Kenya, where the original proposal took place, stands at 10 to 1.

William, already a big fan of Africa, can expect to enjoy with Kate candle-lit dinners deep in the bush, romantic walks on a long white powdery beach, and sundowners on a kopje looking over the wilderness - a honeymoon in Africa is an album of romantic adventures. Add convenient flights from the UK and minimal jetlag, and it is hard to resist the allure of a bush-and-beach honeymoon to start royal life together.

For couples of maybe more modest means and who may not be able to decide between the two countries, Robert Broad Travel offers a holiday combining both Tanzania and Kenya. After a flight to Nairobi followed by a transfer by light aircraft to the Masai Mara, honeymooners would spend three nights enjoying spectacular game viewing at Kicheche Bush Camp. After a night at a boutique hotel in Nairobi, they would then head to Zanzibar in Tanzania for seven nights at Breezes Beach Club.

The holiday would cost from £2,475 per person booked on a honeymoon basis with Robert Broad Travel (http://www.africaluxuryholidays.co.uk T 01543 258631) including return air transfers Nairobi-Mara-Nairobi, internal flights Nairobi-Zanzibar and Zanzibar-Dar es Salaam, and return road transfers on Zanzibar. Included within the price at Breezes are half board accommodation, beach lunch, a massage, sundowners, kite surfing lesson, henna tattoo, flowers and wine on arrival and yoga session, while Kicheche Bush includes all meals, selected drinks, safari game drives and bush walks. The price does not include international flights Nairobi and back from Dar es Salaam.

Personal knowledge and independent advice - Dave in our office has visited both Tanzania and South Africa, and Nathan & Alan have also been to different areas of South Africa and so your holiday plans are in safe hands with us. We are also financially protected by our own ABTA license, as well as the ATOL license of our tour operator partners. And so wherever you are looking to travel to contact us on 01543 258631.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Cycling along the Golden Gate Bridge

Taken during a visit to San Francisco. A truly unique and thoroughly enjoyble way of experiencing the colossal Golden Gate Bridge. Collect your bike from Fisherman's Wharf, cycle along the purpose built cycle routes to the start of the bridge. Take your time and enjoy the stunning views, back onto the city. Then descend down a long and winding, and speedy hill into Sausalito or onto Tiburon. From here you can get the ferry back to the city. An excellent day out to enjoy with friends and family. Call us to plan your holiday to San Francisco and beyond on 01543 258631.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Lisa Experiences India's Maharaja's Express

Earlier this year Lisa in our office was one of the first travel agents in the UK to experience the new luxury train, the 'Maharajas Express' in India.

Lisa comments "This was my first trip to India, and it was a real treat! The Maharaja's Express is the perfect place to see the country from. It is the first train in India that is allowed to travel through state, allowing tourists to see more of the country in one visit."

"Everything is taken care for you on these luxurious holidays. The services onboard are extremely good, and the excursions give you the opportunity to experience the country at its best, whilst having the facility to retreat back to the comfort of the train for your onwards journey."

We are taking bookings now for 2011 tours on the Maharaja's Express including some very special tours led by well known names such as Michael Portillo, Michael Portillo, John Sergeant, Vivek Singh and Sir Mark Tully. For full details of these tours and others onboard the Maharaja's Express click here or call Lisa on 01543 258631.

(pictured: Lisa from our office outside the Maharaja's Express in India.)