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Dreaming of a holiday? Our travel guide recommends the best places to visit in 2021/22

By Sarah Stephens

I have been working in the travel industry for over 12 years now and I have never known a year like 2020. There has been so much disruption because of COVID-19 and the imposed travel restrictions. The travel and hospitality sectors once so buoyant have sadly suffered this year. My heart goes out to everyone affected, as it has been a stressful time for lots of people.

Since the dawn of mankind we have had the urge to travel and to explore new destinations. This will never change, as soon as we are all able, we will all be back out there exploring the world again. I have already had a record number of travel bookings in December 2020 for this year and beyond so let’s look ahead to see what we can expect for 2021.

The way we choose to experience travel and our approach to it is evolving.

Clean air and big spaces

The first major trend in travel, because of the pandemic; is people craving more open spaces and clean air, especially for family holidays. Instead of flocking to crowded cities or beaches there is already a move towards seeking out wide-open spaces. Destinations like Scandinavia, Switzerland, Iceland, Canada and New Zealand will all be much more popular in the years to come.

Iceland is an amazing country positioned in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean almost half way between the UK and North America. It is a spectacular land of fire and ice with hot bubbling geysers, warm natural springs and glaciers. There are many wondrous things to experience and explore in one of the happiest countries in the world. This country is also one of the least populated with a total population that’s less than Coventry on a land mass equal to that of Wales and central and southern England combined.

Why not enjoy a long weekend in Iceland at the end of 2021…

2 people for 3 Nights from 5th Nov 21 – 8th Nov 21 From just £425pp book today with just a £75pp deposit. Flying with BA from Heathrow on a Bed and Breakfast basis staying at the 4 star Center Hotel Plaza.Transfers Included.

Why not add a visit to the world famous Blue Lagoon to make this a truly unforgettable holiday or a Northern Lights experience too.

Blue Lagoon, Iceland

The great expansive wilderness of Canada is somewhere often on peoples bucket list whether they are dreaming of skiing in Whistler, riding through the rocky mountains or even enjoying the wildlife spotting on offer in the spectacular outdoors.

Here’s an amazing trip for you for Autumn 2021

Be awed by the natural wonder of surging rivers, the expansive rocky domain of the Canadian Shield, and the breath-taking power of Niagara Falls. Go whale watching in Quebec (optional) and walk Ontario’s northern trails. Feel history come alive on the King’s highway and in North America’s only fortified city and be romanced by canal-lined cities, cobbled streets and the honeymoon capital of the world. Highlights include enchanting French-Canadian cities, the thundering majesty of Niagara Falls and the cosmopolitan buzz of Toronto.

Price includes return flights with WestJet, Airport Transfers and 11 nights on an Eastern Explorer Guided Tour. From £2289pp based on 06/09/21 Departure. Book by: 28FEB21

Niagara Falls, Canada

Experiential travel

Experiential travel is another huge trend that’s already underway with an increase in experience-based holidays. Trips where you learn new skills such as cooking holidays, painting or horse riding are increasing in popularity. Health based activity excursions such as hiking trips, guided exploration by bike or even yoga retreats are all proving popular.

There are lots of wonderful trips available to suit varying abilities and fitness levels but here is one that might appeal –

Combine relaxing yoga with horse riding on an unique 6 night yoga and horse riding holiday; stay in a traditional medieval village house in the pretty walled village of Casperia, just 1 hour north of Rome, and trek on horseback in and around the picturesque surrounding Sabina hills. Surrounded by picturesque fields of sunflowers, mountains and tiny farm houses which is the perfect setting for trekking on horse-back and easing those riding muscles with relaxing and rejuvenating yoga.

Prices start from £598pp, which includes B&B for 6 nights, over 10 hours of yoga sessions, a 2 hour yoga workshop, 2x 2 hour horse riding treks and a welcome dinner (excludes flights & transfers)

Yoga in Casperia

Unusual venues

Unusual venues are also fashionable right now with tree houses and converted railway carriages being popular choices for unique holidays.

Stay deep in the Welsh forests, suspended in the canopy in total isolation in a unique, beautifully designed tree house to really experience what it’s like to get away from it all. Created by local artisans and designers, these are unique structures, high in the tree canopy, and far from the outside world.

Staying in one of these characterful tree houses in the treetops offers the perfect chance to reconnect with nature, as the only sounds around you are the calling birds and the gentle rush of the streams that bubble through the forest.

Relax in a treetop hammock, light up the tree house log-burning stove and settle in for a cosy evening in the wilderness, or head out exploring on one of our breath-taking recommended walks. Alternatively, drive to one of the wild, windswept, but beautiful beaches nearby. Prices start from just £379 for a 2-night stay and bookings are available now for 2022.

Treehouse in the Welsh forest

Staycations

2020 saw a massive boom in staycation bookings that really help to boost the UK tourism industry for part of the year. This trend is set to continue well into 2021, as some people will still be a little cautious about travel abroad but this means they are willing to splurge on this stay at home holiday. The popular tourist places in the UK such as Cornwall, Cumbria and Wales are all getting booked up in advance for the summer. Scotland and the highlands will see a surge in popularity as more seek to escape into the wilderness and open spaces.

Cornwall

Converted from a 17th-century Fish Cellar, the location is stunning Portwrinkle with sea views and it even features a hot tub.

Set within a private gated community of five properties, this is a mid-terrace, eco-friendly home with much of the original stone retained to keep the charm and heritage alive.

The 4 bedroom property is set over three levels and in addition to uninterrupted sunsets and the sound of crashing waves, boasts a host of entertainment including board games, TVs in most rooms, a PlayStation 3 with games and a Nintendo Wii. For relaxation there is a spa bath, steam shower, aromatherapy and mood lighting. There is also a private hot tub situated on a decked area of the balcony. A week in the summer starts from just £1540.

Cornwall

Shropshire

A 6-bedroom country house to accommodate up to 14 people with indoor heated swimming pool, games room, sauna and Jacuzzi, in the attractive Shropshire village of Baschurch. An excellent choice for large family holidays or group gatherings. Close to the village the house is a short walk to 2 pubs/restaurants and a village shop.

Available this summer from £3239 for a week in June 2021.

Heated pool at this Shrewsbury retreat

Slow travel

Slow travel has been mentioned as a trend that will evolve in the next 10 years; the phenomenon is where you experience and relish the journey to somewhere as much as the final destination. There will be a big trend towards rail journey holidays, cruises and tours, especially now private ones, enabling people to avoid crowds. Smaller cruise vessels that do river cruises will prove popular.

Visit Venice by train via the Alps. Explore Venice on this four-night holiday by rail with a stop in Geneva along the way. Spend a night in Geneva and then journey through the magnificent scenery of the Swiss Alps, riding the rails through the Simplon Pass towards the enchanting city of Venice. Spend three nights discovering the landmarks and attractions of Venice before returning to London by air. Highlights include; a night enjoying the lakeside sights in cosmopolitan Geneva, travel to Venice by rail via the scenic the Simplon Pass and through the Swiss Alps and ride a Gondola, enjoy a chilled glass of Prosecco and visit iconic attractions such as St. Mark’s Square and Doge’s Palace in Venice.

Includes rom £859 for 5 days. Package includes; Eurostar to Paris and onward rail travel as specified in the itinerary, 1 night hotel stay with breakfast in Geneva, 3 nights’ hotel stay with breakfast in Venice, Walking Tour and Gondola Tour in Venice and a Flight from Venice back to the UK (rail option available).

Venice

Lots of people missed holidays in 2020 so a great number are planning to really splurge on their travel in 2021, to make up for it. More people will be doing “bucket list” trips and there will be lots taking belated honeymoons too. Luxury destinations like the Maldives are seeing a surge in popularity.

How about 5* luxury in an Ocean Front Beach Villa in the Maldives that includes 25% discount, reduced speedboat prices and a free upgrade from Half Board Plus to All Inclusive. From £2179pp based on 2 adults sharing an Ocean Front Beach Villa at the 5* Centara Ras Fushi Resort & Spa in the Maldives on an all inclusive basis. Flights with Singapore Airlines depart Manchester on 16 September 2021 for 12 nights (including two nights on the plane) and includes speedboat transfers. London Heathrow from £2199pp and Glasgow (with Emirates) from £2295pp.

Upgrades: Deluxe Ocean Front Villa from £230pp, Deluxe Water Villa from £579pp and a Deluxe Sunset Water Villa from £809pp.

Centararasfushi, Maldives

Bucket List trips

Bucket list family trips like Santa Lapland holidays are very nearly fully booked now for November and December 2021.

Lapland offers a landscape of pine trees speckled with glistening snow, crisp white expanses of Arctic wilderness and of course, it is the time-honoured home of Father Christmas himself.

Feel exhilarated journeying across an icy terrain on a snowmobile. Board a sled pulled by a lively team of huskies amid the fells, forests and frozen lakes of Europe’s last wilderness. Why not set off with your family on a reindeer-drawn sleigh in search of Santa’s hideaway log cabin where a warming encounter with him awaits your arrival. These are some of the highlights of an unforgettable trip to Lapland.

Lapland. Pic by Transun.

To join the waitlist for news of 2022 dates for Lapland contact me at the email address below.

British people are now realising the benefits of booking through an actual travel agent rather than using a faceless website. Someone who will provide personal service, who they know and can reach easily by telephone or email to sort out any travel issues that might occur. Agents who have protection from ABTA and ATOL too, so their travel is safeguarded, ensuring that should anything happen they will be refunded or brought back home if necessary.

I am personally looking forward to planned trips abroad for the spring and summer of 2021 so here’s hoping the vaccine is rolled out quickly and we can all have a year that is epic for all the right reasons.

Sarah Stephens is a travel dream-maker and concierge specialising in luxury travel and honeymoons. Book a free 30-minute consultation now on www.sarahstephensescapes.com or sarahstephensescapes@gmail.com let her help you plan your dream trip or honeymoon for 2021 and beyond. For Facebook.

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