Friday, 29 June 2012

Client's review of Galapagos...

We are very grateful to one of our clients who recently sent us in this lovely message after they returned from their trip to the Galapagos Islands...and the photographs are excellent!

First of all many thanks for your guidance in designing our holiday and for all the arrangements made with Cox and Kings, and in particular for Oliver's knowledge and advice having been to the islands himself.

The Cox and Kings agents in Ecuador and the Islands gave first class service. We were met at Quito and driven to our hotel - The Patio Andaluz - a converted colonial mansion with 14 suites which was a superb place to stay. The next day the two of us were given a personal guided tour by minivan to the Equator Centre and then to various important churches and sights. Our guide Victor made sure we had prime position to see the Changing of the Guard at the Presidential Palace, and our tour included a complimentary snack at an open air cafeteria.

The next day we were picked up by the same driver and guide and taken to the airport for our flight to the Galapagos Islands where Victor booked our luggage in and ensured that we had all the necessary papers and tickets. It was good not to see our luggage again until we reached our cabin!

We chose the yacht La Pinta accommodating up to 48 passengers. We visited 8 different Galapagos islands and had the opportunity to observe wildlife at very close quarters. The excursions ashore by panga each morning and afternoon were accompanied by expert naturalists, and we were in groups of no more than 12 at any time. We lost count of the number of iguanas, tortoises, blue footed boobies, frigate birds, mocking birds, flightless cormorants, sea lions, turtles we saw..  

There was ample opportunity for those who wished to swim, snorkel or just view the underwater sea life from a glass bottom boat. At a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station  we observed the captive breeding programme for giant tortoises.

The whole experience was truly memorable well worth the long flights.

Mr & Mrs Sackett of Lichfield booked their touring holiday of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands with Oliver from Robert Broad Travel in 2011 and travelled in early summer 2012.

Call Oliver to arrange your holiday and tour of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands and other area of South America such as Peru on 01543 258631 or email

Read Oliver's live trip report from the Galapagos islands here

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Stripe the City...

We have been invaded by the famous stripes of the Lichfield Festival!  As part of their 'Stripe the City' campaign our Facebook, Twitter, website and now our blog has been smothered in Lichfield Festival stripes!

For more details on Lichfield Festival click here

We are proud sponsors of Lichfield Festival for the 2nd year running - our sponsored event is a concert by the Orchestra of the Music Makers, a family friendly event taking place on Sunday 8th July 2012.

Click here for more details about the concert.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

RBT wins AITO Agent of the Year 2012

Pictured from left: Alan & Oliver Broad of Robert Broad Travel with the team from Classic Collection Holidays in Madeira at the recent AITO / AITO Agents Conference where the two companies won the top spot for AITO Agent & AITO Operator of the Year 2012

Last year we came 2nd and back in 2007 we won the top spot.  And again this year we are over the moon to have been voted the No. 1 AITO Specialist Travel Agent in the whole of the UK for 2012.

This is a great achievement for us as we were voted out of 118 of the UK's leading independent travel agents all over the country.  

We would like to extend a huge thank you to all of our fellow AITO suppliers, our fantastic team of travel experts and of course our very loyal clients for showing us such strong support over the last 12 months.

We look forward to sharing the success with you all further.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Highlands Castle rail tour with Jacobite Steam train

Enjoy luxurious accommodation, fine hospitality and exceptional food

From £640 per person

On this amazing holiday on Scotland's stunning West Coast, we spend four nights at Glenborrodale Castle, enjoying sumptuous meals and exciting excursions, all the time surrounded by some of the UK's most breathtakingly beautiful scenery.

Tour highlights- Glenborrodale Castle
- Excursion to the Isle of Mull
- Jacobite Steam Train
- Journey on the West Highland Line
- Visit to Tobemory Distillery
- Visit to Duart Castle

Day 1 - Meet your Tour Manager in Glasgow
Your tour begins in Glasgow, where your Tour Manager will be waiting for you at the 4-star Grand Central Hotel. Take some time to settle in before we meet for dinner in the hotel's restaurant. (D)

Day 2 - Glasgow to Glenborrodale
Today we enjoy a journey on one of the world's most spectacular scenic railway lines, travelling on the West Highland Line - known as the 'Iron Road to the Isles'. We reach Fort William and transfer by coach to Glenborrodale Castle, located on a remote peninsula on Scotland's rugged, wild and tranquil West Coast. We spend four nights at the castle. Tonight we enjoy the first of our sumptuous meals at the castle. (B,D)

Days 3-4 - The Isle of Mull and at leisure
This morning we sail from Lochaline across the Sound of Mull to visit Tobermory, the capital of the Isle of Mull in the north of the island. The fishing port is most recognisable for the gaily painted houses that line the waterfront. We explore Tobermory and enjoy a tour of the Tobemory Distillery before travelling to the east of Mull to visit Duart Castle, the ancestral home of the Maclean Clan. Day 4 is free to spend at leisure, taking advantage of the many excellent activities available in the region, including clay pigeon shooting (payable locally) and some incredibly picturesque walking trails. You can also enjoy a cookery demonstration from Glenborrodale Castle's Head Chef. (B,D)

Day 5 - Jacobite Steam Train
This morning travel on the Jacobite Steam Train for a return journey to Mallaig on another wonderful section of West Highland Line. During the journey the train steams past Ben Nevis, then climbs into the mountains surrounding Glenfinnan. We cross the 21-arched Glenfinnan Viaduct seen in the 'Harry Potter' films, and enjoy views of the rugged, craggy "Small Isles" - Rum, Eigg and Muck - which hang tantalisingly close offshore and tease in and out of view near our journey's end. Tonight we celebrate the end of our stay at the castle with a magnificent Haunch of Venison Dinner, carved at the table by the Head Chef. (B,D)

Days 6-7 - To Glasgow and home
Today we leave Glenborrodale Castle and retrace our journey to Glasgow, where we spend the final night of the holiday at the Grand Central Hotel. On Day 7 you are free to leave Glasgow at your leisure. (Day 6-B,D; Day 7-B)

B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
Where shown, these meals are included in the price of your holiday

Departure Dates9 September 2012 - from £695pp
30 September 2012 - from £695pp
14 October 2012 - from £650pp
21 October 2012 - from £640pp

All prices are per person and assume full occupancy of the room.
Please always refer to the website for up-to-date prices and availability.

TrainsCan there be a more civilised way to travel than by rail?

Viewing an ever-changing landscape from the comfort of your seat is surely the finest way to travel. When travelling by train, your journey is an integral and delightful part of your holiday experience. What you see from your seat is as much part of the holiday as arriving at the destination.

Jacobite Steam Train between Fort William and Mallaig
The wonderful journey on the Jacobite Steam Train takes us along a section of the West Highland Line, which stretches from Glasgow to Mallaig, and takes passengers through some of the most breathtaking mountain scenery in the UK.

We begin in the town of Fort William, spectacularly situated with Ben Nevis as its backdrop. As we leave Fort William we travel along the shores of Loch Linnhe before tackling the increasingly demanding Highland terrain. At Glenfinnan we reach the most scenic and dramatic section of the line, as the train crosses the 21 arches of the Glenfinnan Viaduct: a magnificent feat of railway engineering.

Leaving Glenfinnan, the landscape opens up and we catch our first glimpse of the sea and the small islands close to the shore. During this section of the journey we travel across two more viaducts: Gleann Mama and the Borrowdale Viaduct before reaching the small towns of Morar and Arisaig. On a clear, sunny day, the white sandy beaches along this stretch of coastline provide a beautiful contrast with the blue waters of the sea. From here, it is only short distance to our final destination, the busy fishing town of Mallaig.

HotelsWe know how important hotels are to the overall enjoyment of a holiday. That's why we carefully select hotels based on their individual style, warm welcome and excellent service. We also know what a difference the location of the hotel can make to your time in each destination; therefore we choose hotels that are centrally located, or close to the railway station. In fact, most of the hotels we choose are ideally located for both the station and the destination's main sights.

Grand Central Hotel, GlasgowThe 4-star Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow is situated in the heart of Glasgow, adjacent to Glasgow Central Station. Housed in a beautiful Victorian building, it has long been an icon of the city's skyline, and is historically significant as the site of the world's first long-distance television transmission in 1927 by John Logie Baird. The hotel has recently undergone an impressive and extensive £20 million refurbishment, and boasts a selection of bars and eateries. The beautifully-appointed rooms feature all of the facilities you would expect in a hotel of this standard, including a safe and a plasma television.

Glenborrodale Castle, ArgyllLooking out over the southern shore of the Ardnamurchan peninsula in Scotland's rugged western highlands, Glenborrodale Castle is a historic aspect of the region. Opulent accommodation offers en suite rooms with unique character and views. Spend time trout and salmon fishing at the lochs and river, or take deer and game hunting opportunities. Modern and traditional Scottish cuisine is served, cooked from the best local produce, and the Castle's Adelphi Distillery is a highlight for whisky connoisseurs.

What's IncludedStandard Class rail travel as described in the itinerary
2 nights' hotel accommodation in Glasgow with breakfast and dinner
4 nights' accommodation at Glenborrodale Castle with breakfast every day
4 dinners at the castle, including a fantastic Haunch of Venison Dinner on the final evening
3 journeys on the West Highland Line, including one on board the wonderful Jacobite Steam Train
Excursion by ferry to the Isle of Mull, including a visit to Tobermory, a tour of the Tobermory Distillery and a tour of Duart Castle
Cooking demonstration by Glenborrodale Castle's Head Chef
The services of a professional Tour Manager from Glasgow
Single room prices include the supplement for single occupancy throughout: £190

Not IncludedCancellation, medical and travel insurance

Upgrades - We offer a selection of upgrades and 'add-ons' designed to help you make the most of your holiday - and make it even easier!

UK rail connections - We can book UK rail tickets from your local station to and from Glasgow to join your holiday. Please call us to discuss your requirements.

How to book - Call Robert Broad Travel now on 01543 258631 or email 

Scotland Rail Tours - for more rail tours in Scotland visit our website: 

Thursday, 7 June 2012

China: The Great Wall & Beyond River Cruise

In the Badaling Hills, not far from Beijing lies one of the most impressive and best-preserved sections of China's Great Wall. Enjoy a walk along this formidable 4,000-mile-long defence that has survived thousands of years. Explore its winding pathways and feast your eyes on the panoramic views from its ramparts. 

The Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors, Forbidden City, Three Gorges - if you've always dreamed of visiting China, Viking's spectacular itinerary – and saving – will surely tempt you. 

From cosmopolitan Shanghai to Beijing, home of the Forbidden City, the world's largest palace complex, this extraordinary journey treats you to three UNESCO heritage sites and dozens of must-see attractions. 

Discover China's breathtaking scenery, fascinating history, unique culture and traditions – and along the way, enjoy deluxe comfort, fabulous food, and inspiring excursions.

With savings of up to £1,000 per couple on all 2013 departures, don't miss this opportunity to travel this phenomenal journey at a remarkable price. Call Robert Broad Travel on 01543 258631 or email

Prices from only £2,195 per person


DAY 1Beijing

Fly to Beijing, China’s imperial capital whose rich history dates back more than 3,000 years, then transfer to your hotel.* After check-in, you have free time to relax or explore.

DAY 2Beijing

This morning visit the enormous Tiananmen Square, which can accommodate over 1,000,000 people. Then, tour Beijing’s Forbidden City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; made up of nearly 800 buildings, it is the world’s largest surviving palace complex. Walk its grounds among the opulent palaces, pavilions, courtyards and imperial gardens within the 26-foot-high walls. 

After lunch in a local restaurant, see the Summer Palace, a 700-acre complex of elegant buildings and gardens (complete with man-made Kunming Lake) frequented by the Imperial Court when they wanted to escape the bustle of Beijing. Tonight, taste some local specialties at dinner. (B, L, D)

DAY 3Beijing

After breakfast, travel to the Badaling Hills. There, you behold one of the most impressive and best-preserved sections of the Great Wall of China—a 4,000-mile-long series of sandstone and earthwork fortifications built and maintained between the 5th century B.C. and the 16th century A.D. that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore its winding pathways and marvel at the panoramic views from its ramparts. 

After a lunch of local specialties, visit the Sacred Way, a tree-lined avenue guarded by massive sculptures of elephants, lions and camels leading to the Ming Dynasty tombs. This evening, relax and dine at your hotel—or, enjoy an optional evening featuring China’s famous Peking duck and a recital by Peking Opera performers. (B, L, D)

DAY 4Beijing & Xian

Today tour Old Beijing’s hutongs (narrow alleys) via rickshaw.† Discover the sights and sounds of traditional Chinese life. Visit a silk carpet workshop for a demonstration of this ancient art. After lunch, fly to Xian, key city of the Tang Dynasty. From 618 to 907 A.D., this dynasty presided over one of China’s most glorious cultural periods spreading its influence throughout Asia into Europe and Africa. This evening, you may choose to dine surrounded by the song and dance of this colorful era, or have dinner and relax at your hotel. (B, L, D) 

†Rickshaw tour only available on Beijing to Shanghai itinerary direction.

DAY 5Xian & Chongqing

After breakfast, tour the mausoleum where Emperor Qin Shi Huang was laid to rest over 2,000 years ago. See the thousands of life-sized terra cotta warriors, archers and infantrymen that were buried with him; each man and horse molded with its own distinctive features. Walkways provide a bird’s-eye view of the entire necropolis where the Terra Cotta Army was discovered in the 1970s. After lunch in Xian, fly to Chongqing, gateway to the Yangtze to board your ship. You are welcomed aboard with a Western meal, and set sail this evening. (B, L, D)

DAY 6Shibaozhai

This morning, visit Shibaozhai Temple, a 12-story pavilion built in 1650 along the Yangtze. Tour the pavilion and temple before returning aboard for lunch. Enjoy Yangtze River scenery as you cruise this afternoon and through the night. (B, L, D)

DAY 7Three Gorges & Lesser Three Gorges

For the next 150 miles, travel the most scenic stretch of the Yangtze as it forces its way through a spectacular series of limestone ridges known as the Three Gorges. During breakfast, cruise throughQutang Gorge, the shortest, narrowest and most spectacular of the three large gorges. Then, board a smaller boat for an excursion through the Lesser Three Gorges. Sail through these remarkable canyons flanked by towering cliffs. Along the way, see fascinating sites including the hanging coffins of the Ba people and the ancient plank road carved into the cliffside. Return aboard for lunch, and spend the afternoon sailing through Wu (Witches) Gorge, renowned for its magnificent scenery. Dinner is served aboard. This evening, sail through the five-stage locks of the Three Gorges Dam. (B, L, D)

DAY 8Three Gorges Dam & Three Gorges

This morning, disembark for a tour of the Three Gorges Dam where you learn about this immense engineering masterpiece and what it means for the Chinese people and the Yangtze. Lunch and dinner are served aboard while you cruise through XilingGorge, the longest of the Three Gorges. (B, L, D)

DAY 9Jingzhou

This morning, arrive in Jingzhou, where you visit an elementary school sponsored by Viking River Cruises. You are greeted and entertained by the children, then return to your ship for scenic cruising. (B, L, D)

DAY 10Wuhan & Shanghai

After breakfast, disembark in Wuhan. Visit the Hubei Provincial Museum where you hear the music of ancient bronze bells. Then, fly to Shanghai, China’s largest city and one of the world’s most important ports. Here, you can see the modern metropolis of the financial district juxtaposed with the older sections of the city. Check in to your hotel. (B, L, D)

DAY 11Shanghai

This morning, see Old Shanghai and travel along the elegant Bund, stopping to admire some of its historic buildings and city views. Then tour the Shanghai Museum, featuring displays of ceramics, bronzes, calligraphy and paintings. Visit a silk embroidery factory to see a demonstration of this delicate art. After lunch, we spend some time at the exquisite Yuyuan Garden, dating back to the Ming Dynasty. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant before the world-famous Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe show from the best seats in the house. (B, L, D)

DAY 12Shanghai

After breakfast, check out of your hotel and proceed to the airport for your return flight.* Or, continue your China journey with an escorted land program that includes 1 night in Guilin and 3 nights in Hong Kong. Spend a relaxing day along Guilin’s scenic Li River, then sightsee and shop in fabulous Hong Kong. (B)
Call Robert Broad Travel on 01543 258631 or email

Taste the World at Australia's Largest Food Festival

Find out why Sydney is Australia's hottest food destination

Some of the highest ranked chefs in the world are heading Down Under in October for the annual Crave Sydney International Food Festival, presented by Citibank. They include two of the top five chefs from the recently announced World's 50 Best Restaurants list as well as a host of local and international superstars.
But there's plenty more to the month-long festival, with a feast of over 500 delicious events across Sydney and regional New South Wales throughout October.

Crave Sydney International Food Festival: October 1 - 31

Key events and dates:
• Barbecue Madness (Oct 6) - the festival starts with a sizzle with brilliant barbecues across Sydney, including a fresh-produce themed extravaganza at The Sydney Morning Herald Growers' Market, right by beautiful Sydney Harbour.

• World Chef Showcase (Oct 6 - 7) - the big names from the international culinary circuit share their secrets and skills, in partnership with Australia's best. For tickets, see

• Night Noodle Markets (Oct 8-12 and 15-19) - an authentic Asian hawker market in Sydney's Hyde Park, and the iconic festival event.

Other must-do activities for food lovers include Let's Do Lunch and Hats Off dinners at leading Sydney restaurants, special offers in hidden small bars, dozens of community festivals across Greater Sydney, one-off Showcase Dinners with visiting chefs - including this year's spectacular Italian Showcase gala (October 7) - food tours, and hands-on cooking classes.

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events, George Souris, said Crave Sydney International Food Festival is a month-long celebration of extraordinary food experiences in Sydney and regional NSW set against a magnificent backdrop of vibrant city streets, beautiful parks and beaches, and the stunning Sydney Harbour.

"Our chefs and produce are renowned the world over, and we welcome international visitors to experience our world class dining scene at its source and taste some of the more than 500 events on offer across Sydney and regional NSW during Crave Sydney International Food Festival."

Festival Director Joanna Savill said, "Sydney has such a fantastic food culture, from world-class fine dining restaurants to small bars and some of most authentic street food. We also have fantastic regional produce from around New South Wales, so October is our time to really show off."

"With three of the world's 100 best restaurants and five three-'hat' chefs (three Michelin star equivalent), Sydney really is an amazing global dining destination. We really enjoy sharing our city with visitors - from the big names who love coming here for the World Chef Showcase to interstate and international travellers who see spring as the perfect time to visit."

Crave Sydney International Food Festival (October 1 - 31) is a month-long celebration of extraordinary food experiences, celebrating Sydney as a global dining destination enhanced by regional New South Wales produce and wine.

The full Crave Sydney International Food Festival program will be available from August 18 on the website
Tickets for the must-do World Chef Showcase go on sale June 12. See for all the details on these and other special offers for visitors to Sydney.

To plan and book your holiday to Australia call Robert Broad Travel on 01543 258631 or email

Friday, 1 June 2012

Mandarin Oriental New York

Gaze over Central Park and the draw dropping Manhattan skyline from the most breathtaking luxury hotel in New York. This award-winning, 5 Star development high above Columbus Circle offers stunning views from every room. In the beating heart of the city, close to the most prestigious areas, Mandarin Oriental, New York has become a byword for New York style.

With 248 stylishly appointed rooms and suites reflect the oriental heritage of Mandarin Oriental while incorporating contemporary elements of New York City. And with every one of them comes a breathtaking view of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline, or the scenic Hudson River over which the sun sets. 

Enjoy all New York City has to offer, located just steps away from Central Park for scenic carriage rides, shopping excursions and easy access to the latest Broadway theater and Lincoln Center productions, it’s the ideal location for a fantastic getaway.  

3 nights for the price of 2...we are offering our clients 3 nights for the price of 2 when booking into the Mandarin Oriental New York.  Book with us on 01543 258631, terms and conditions apply.