Riva Del Garda, Lake Garda

10th - 16th September 2023

Counties Galway & Mayo form the heart of west coast Ireland, and running through them is a section of the Wild Atlantic Way – Ireland’s spectacular coastal route. The vibrant city of Galway is surrounded by the jaw-dropping terrain of the romantic Connemara Peninsula, known for its looming mountains and vast lakes. Windswept islands dapple the coastline, rugged with cliffs. The dramatic Killary Harbour, Ireland’s only glacially formed fjord, forms the county border and to its north, County Mayo shares these wildly beautiful landscapes, yet sees far fewer tourists. Alongside this incredible scenery, the region offers a strong sense of tradition, a warm welcome, and is packed with historic sites.

ITINERARY

Day 1: Depart Manchester area to catch the morning ferry from Holyhead to Dublin. On arrival in Dublin we will travel directly to Powerscourt House & Gardens (Entrance included).

Powerscourt House and Gardens today offers the warmest of welcomes to our visitors and some of the best views in Ireland, overlooking the breath-taking Sugarloaf Mountain. It’s a wonderful place to relax and enjoy browsing our splendid range of stores or to indulge in a coffee and dessert in the famous Avoca Terrace Café. The Gardens stretch over 47 acres and offer visitors a sublime blend of formal gardens, sweeping terraces, statues and ornamental lakes, secret hollows and rambling walks.
Managed by Head Gardener, Alex Slazenger and a team of four gardeners, Powerscourt Gardens were designed from 1731 onwards, with the desire to create a garden which was part of the wider surrounding landscape. Powerscourt Gardens include The Walled Gardens, The Italian Garden, The Dolphin Pond, The Japanese Gardens, Pets Cemetery and Pepperpot Tower, among other features and attractions. Sadly we have to leave Powerscourt and make our way to our overnight hotel.  After check-in we will have time to relax before dinner. 

Days 2 -6: 

  • A visit to Galway City. Richly historic, the bohemian city of Galway heaves with remnants of medieval history, lively Irish pubs and Gaelic culture. Galway Cathedral and the Spanish Arch are
     amongst the town’s most interesting sights, and the Galway City Museum tells the story of this colourful port.  It is the capital of the west of Ireland and sits where the River Corrib meets the Atlantic Ocean. The city’s hub is 18th-century Eyre Square, a popular meeting spot surrounded by shops and traditional pubs that often offer live Irish folk music. Nearby, stone-clad cafes, boutiques and art galleries line the winding lanes of the Latin Quarter, which retains portions of the medieval city walls. Known as The City of Tribes, Galway is a beautiful city. So beautiful is it, that it was once described as the “Venice of the West” by well-known Irish poet, William Butler Yeats. 
  • Full day excursion to Ceide Fields & Connacht
     Distillery. 
  • The remarkable neolithic site at Céide Fields in County Mayo, Ireland, contains the oldest known stone-walled fields in the world – dating back nearly 6,000 years. Céide Fields overlooks the mighty Atlantic Ocean which gently laps (or vigorously pounds …. depending on the weather!) up against the cliffs below. The landscape itself has been forged from the dramatic upheaval and movement of the earths crust over millions of years. The soil at Céide Fields has been constantly subjected to the conflicts of the weather. The warm Gulf Stream comes up past the American continent between Ireland and Iceland. In the opposite direction, cold deep waters flow south from the icy Arctic Ocean. The combination of all these factors has resulted in the wild beauty and uniqueness of this region in County Mayo, Ireland.

    The Connacht Distillery story starts on the northwest coast of Ireland, in the wild, rugged, landscape of County Mayo in the province of Connacht. founded by master distiller Robert Cassell and a team that saw the potential in irish whiskey, the derelict old duffy’s bakery site in Ballina was painstakingly renovated, with whiskey production commencing in 2016. Situated where the River Moy’s pure, fresh, water rushes down to meet the in-flowing salty Atlantic Ocean, dramatic shifts in atmospheric pressure exert an ever-changing influence on the whiskey maturing in our barrels. During our visit you will have a guided tour of the distillery and a tasting of 2 Whiskeys and 1 Gin.

  • Full day excursion along part of the stunning Wild Atlantic way from Louisburgh - Delphi with a stop at the waterfalls and Kylemore Abbey. Spectacular mountain ranges dominate this part of the Wild Atlantic Way.The first of these appears just after leaving WestportCroagh Patrick – Ireland's sacred mountain. According to legend, St. Patrick spent 40 days and nights fasting, praying and doing penance on this mountain and at the same time banishing snakes from the island of Ireland. Evidence has been found that Croagh Patrick was a place of great importance in the pre-Christian era. A Celtic hill fort was discovered encircling the summit of the mountain.Continuing in a southerly direction the Wild Atlantic Way meanders through the valley of Doo Lough and Delphi finally reaching Ireland's only fjord – Killary harbour, extending 15 km inwards, sheltered on all sides by lush green meadows.Majestic mountain peaks, magic sandy beaches and continuously changing landscapes are the landmarks of the Connemara National Park. Before it flows into Killary Harbour the river Erriff presents a small (about 3.5 meters high) but impressive Aasleagh Falls.  Kylemore Abbey & Gardens – the jewel
    in the Connemara crown! Kylemore Abbey & Garden has a superb picturesque lakeside setting, surrounded by woodlands at the foot of the Twelve Bens Mountains. The Abbey (which looks more like a charming fairy tale castle) is said to be one of the most admired buildings in Ireland, with its very impressive neo-gothic style exterior standing out against the backdrop of wild and beautiful Connemara. The Victorian Walled Garden is another must see attraction at the Kylemore Lough. t was originally called Kylemore Castle and was built around 1863 as a residence for a wealthy English politician named Mitchell Henry. It took about 5 years to complete the castle. Kylemore Abbey & Garden is the home of the Benedictine Order of Nuns in Ireland who have lived here since 1920. The nuns decided to open a boarding school for girls, although the school closed in 2010. The boarding school is presently located in the abbey part of the castle. The Benedictine nuns also ran farm and a guesthouse here, but the guesthouse had to close in 1959 due to a fire. The nuns lead a monastic life of dedication to prayer and work and a section or the Abbey is sectioned off and strictly accessed only by the nuns. One of the most notable features of the abbey is the magnificent neo-gothic church (which looks like a miniature cathedral!). The building of this church started in 1877 when Mitchell Henry decided to dedicate it as a memorial to his dead wife. In the Victorian Walled Garden Abbey. A stream runs through the heart of the garden and divides it into Flower Garden and Kitchen Garden. The Visitors Centre is also well worth a visit to learn more about the abbey through its video displays. It also has a 200-seater restaurant, which specialises in traditional Irish dishes and a craft shop where you can purchase some famous Kylemore Abbey Pottery.
  • Full day excursion Clare Island -  Encapsulated in the Saw Doctor’s song ‘The Green
    and Red of Mayo’, Clare Island is located 3.5 miles off the west coast of County Mayo, Ireland. The ferry crossing  takes approximately 25 minutes and there is every chance that you will be accompanied on your journey by a school of dolphins. Clare Island is the largest (5 miles long and 3 miles wide) of the 365 islands in Clew Bay. Famous as the ancestral home of the legendary Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley a population of about 160 people. Clare Island’s silhouette is dominated by the peak of Knockmore at 462 metres on her North-Western edge and the more gently sloping Knocknaveen to her centre. Her western cliffs are among the most dramatic in Europe and are home to large numbers of nesting sea birds. Once on Clare Island, there is so much to see  – Granuaile’s Castle, the 12th century Cistercian Abbey, the Lighthouse, the Napoleonic Tower and the various Bronze-Age sites.  Why not call in and see the Heritage Centre or Ballytoughey Loom? 
  • A visit to Westport House included a 30 minute guided tour and self entry to the gardens. One
    of the few privately-owned historic houses left in Ireland, Westport House was built by the Browne family whose connections to Mayo date back to the 1500s. Their lineage relates them and the house to the trail-blazing pirate queen and chieftain, Grace O’Malley.
    The current Georgian stately home was built upon the castle ruins in the 18th century, and boasts classical symmetry and beautiful balustraded terraces. Inside, the house is architecturally stunning with fascinating collections, including fine antiquities and paintings by Sir Joshua Reynolds.
 

Day 7: Check out of the hotel for return journey to Manchester via Dublin and Holyhead. 

Our Hotel:   

Westport Woods Hotel & Spa 

The 4* Westport Woods Hotel is a gorgeous hotel wonderfully located between Westport Quay (10 minute walk) and Westport town (15 minute walk). Away from the hustle and bustle and set in seven acres of beautiful woodland, the hotel offers all the action and fun of Westport but also the tranquillity of the lovely spa and leisure centre. 

All of the Non Smoking rooms offer the usual amenites you expect from a 4-star hotel, including en-suite, Toiletries, Tea & Coffee making facilities, TV equipped with 16 channels, Wi-Fi, Iron, Hair Dryer, safe deposit box and a hair-dryer. And of course you can relax in the indoor swimming pool, hot tub, spa and wellness centre.

https://www.westportwoodshotel.com/index.html

Price per person (Based on 2 Adults sharing Twin/Double Room):

  • Member Plus Adult - £905
  • Member Adult - £930                    
  • Non Member Adult - £955                 
  • Single Supplement - £154 (double/twin for sole occupancy)

Price Includes:

  • Coach Transport throughout the tour
  • Return ferry crossing (Holyhead - Dublin)
  • Porterage at the Westport Woods Hotel & Spa if required
  • Welcome tea/coffee on arrival at the Westport Woods Hotel & Spa
  • 1  nights accommodation at Overnight Hotel with Breakfast and Dinner
  • 5 Nights half board accommodation with Breakfast and 3 Course Dinner including Tea/Coffee after dinner
  • Free Use of the Leisure facilities
  • Live Music on 1 night
  • Entrance to Powerscourt House & Gardens 
  • Orientation tour and time at leisure in Galway
  • Entrance to Céide Fields Visitor Centre including Soup & sandwich lunch
  • Connacht Distillery Guided Tour & Tasting (2 whiskey's and 1 gin)
  • An excursion to Clare Island with lunch of soup and sandwiches
  • A Guided Tour of Westport House - Includes a 30 minute guided tour of Westport House and self-guided entry to the gardens
  • An excursion along the stunning Wild Atlantic Way from Louisburgh - Delphi with stop at Aasleagh Falls
  • Admission to Kylemore Abbey

Not Included:

  • Single Supplement
  • Any items of a personal nature such as meals, drinks, etc
  • Guide/Driver Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance

For further details and bookings, you can either use the  or contact Bob Walker 

Please include your Name, Home Address, Contact Telephone Number, Membership Number and the Number Places Required (Member/Non-Member)

 

Leisure or Walking in Mid Wales - Your Choice! - 31st March - 3rd April 2023

 

Why not join us on this tour based in the The Metrpole Hotel & Spa, Llandrindrod Wells, Mid Wales.

Friday: Travelling to British Ironwork Centre for our first visit of the weekend. If you were told there was a place where you can put your arm in the mouth of a shark, walk with elephants and meet Spiderman and SpongeBob SquarePants, all in the same day – whilst following up with a delicious home baked delicacy or lunch – you may think you were getting confused with a dream you've had. But you can do all this, and more, at the British Ironwork Centre!  After exploring the centre we will re-join the coach for our onward journey to the The Metropole Hotel & SpaAfter we have checked-in there will be

 

time at leisure before dinner.

Saturday: Leaving the hotel after breakfast we will travel to Borth. 

Today’s walk starts at Borth and follows the Ceredigion Coast Path  to Aberystwyth (approx 6 miles). There are some steep climbs on this walk as is synonymous with coastal paths. Overall, it is a moderate walk with great views of the coast and Aberystwyth. It is advisable to use good walking shoes or boots and to take walking poles.

For the non-walkers, you will have time in Aberystwyth before returning to Llandrindrod Wells prior to Dinner.

Sunday: After breakfast we will leave the hotel which is our starting point for today’s walk (5 miles approx). The circular Shakey Bridge walk which will start and end at the hotel.  It is advisable to use good walking shoes or boots and to take walking poles - there are two short steep uphill sections.  The paths and tracks are generally good , but some of them do cross fields and these may be muddy or wet depending on the ground conditions on the day.

For the non-walkers, you will have a free day to explore Llandrindrod Wells.

Monday: After breakfast you will check-out of the hotel and travel to Shrewsbury. The Birthplace of Charles Darwin,

 

Shrewsbury is set amidst the glorious Shropshire countryside near to the Welsh Borders and is one of England’s finest medieval market towns. The town sits inside a loop of the River Severn, and its Tudor centre is lined with half-timbered houses. The medieval, red-brick Shrewsbury Castle houses the Shropshire Regimental Museum, where military artefacts include uniforms and weaponry. St Chad's Church is defined by its unique circular nave, and St Mary’s Church has elaborate stained-glass windows. Shrewsbury Prison, for example, is one of the country’s oldest jails. You can take a tour walking in the footsteps of prisoners and viewing one of the last working execution rooms in the country. There are plenty of places to shop, eat and drink or you could relax in beautiful Quarry Park or take a boat trip on the River Severn. 

Mid afternoon we will depart Shrewsbury to head back to Manchester,  arriving early evening.

Hotel: The Metropole Hotel & Spa is located right in the centre of Llandrindrod Wells. Beautifully furnished en suite bedrooms with flat screen colour television, trouser press, hair dryer, complimentary tea and coffee making facilities and free Wi-Fi access. The hotel also has a Pool, Spa and Gym.  

 

A bit of history: On the 1st December 1897, Elizabeth Miles bought The Bridge Hotel from James Lewis Wilding for the sum of £7,850. The Bridge Hotel, now known as The Metropole Hotel, is still owned and run by the same family to this day. On 1st August 1911, the name of the hotel was changed from The Bridge to The Metropole. The story behind the change of name revolves around a sale of hotel stock in Norfolk. Mrs Miles bought a large quantity of linen, cutlery and crockery as well as numerous carpets. The price must have been low enough for them to have borne the cost of the long journey back to Wales. When her sons pointed out that to her that the monogram ‘M’ on her purchases was wrong for ‘The Bridge’, she quietly explained that in a month or so her hotel would be re-named ‘The Metropole’. We are privileged to be the custodians of a wonderful, historic building and are proud of the achievements of our family and staff in maintaining The Metropole for over a century and the part it has played in the history and growth of Llandrindod Wells.

Price Per person: (Based on twin/double 2 adults sharing) -

  • Member Plus (Members with Lottery Shares) - £289
  • Members (No Lottery Shares) - £299
  • Non-Member - £309
  • Single Supplement £30

Look What's included:

  • 3 Nights Accommodation including Full Welsh Breakfast and 3-course, choice menu dinner with tea/coffee
  • Complimentary Use of the Leisure facilities
  • Transport throughout the tour as per itinerary
  • Maps & Walks Itinerary

What's NOT included:

  • Meals and Entrance to attraction fees other than those stated in the itinerary
  • Any Items of a personal nature such as drinks, souvenirs etc

For further details and bookings, you can either use the Reservation Form or contact Bob Walker 

Please include your Name, Home Address, Contact Telephone Number, Membership Number and the Number Places Required (Member/Non-Member)

6th - 14th June 2023

Jagged and dramatic, the towering Dolomites cut like teeth into the azure sky of north-eastern Italy. This mountainous destination offers a truly memorable escape with its overwhelming backdrop and crisp, fresh air. A paradise for nature lovers, the region is also home to vibrant spa towns, glistening Lake Garda, and the Adige Valley’s wine route. Enjoy a picnic of fine Italian delicacies amongst the idyllic scenery, or explore the Austrian-influenced towns of the area known as South Tyrol.

ITINERARY

Day 1: Depart the UK for our flight to either Venice/Munich(Flights not yet on sale). On arrival we will be met by our local guide for the coach transfer to the Hotel Paganella.  After check-in we will have time to relax before dinner. This family run hotel is located in Fai Della Paganella, a town which still retains its rustic charm.

Days 2 -5: 

  • Full day guided excursion to Merano & Lake Caldaro including Wine tour and tasting. A mixture of Germanic and Italian influences can be found in Merano, a lovely Alpine town with old-fashioned charm. Laced with art nouveau buildings and blooming gardens, the town enjoys an almost Mediterranean feel thanks to its mild climate, and aside from its pastel porticoes and panoramic vistas, it also offers a unique and hearty cuisine. Lago di Caldaro sparkles with clear and warm waters, thanks to its shallow depth. Surrounding the lake are several vineyards, and sampling the local wines is one of the pleasures of this area.
  • Full day guided excursion to Lake Garda, including one way boat trip from Limone to Riva del Garda. Glittering like a sapphire amongst the vibrant green hills and craggy mountains, Lake Garda is a destination that has it all. Italy’s largest lake has inspired poets and artists for centuries with its crystalline waters, characterful harbour towns and picturesque vineyards. The Riviera feel of the gentle southern shores gives way to more dramatic scenery on the northern coast of the lake. The town of Riva del Garda at the lake’s northern tip is bright and breezy with pretty baroque buildings, and lively Limone is surrounded by lemon trees and sheltered by cliffs.
  • Full day guided excursion -  A scenic drive is a wonderful way to take in the stunning mountain landscapes of the Dolomites. This guided tour reveals the wonderful panoramas, dramatic peaks, and views of tiny villages nestled in the countryside. Highlights include Ora, the Val di Fassa, the Passo Pordoi and the Gardena Valley.
  • A ‘mystery day’ with a regional picnic lunch
Day 6: After breakfast and check-out we travel to Munich with a stop at  Vipiteno and Kufstein Fortress where we will have a guided tour.
The Kufstein Fortress is the main landmark of Kufstein, a town in Tyrol, Austria. It is sometimes wrongly referred to as Geroldseck Fortress. It is on a hill commanding Kufstein proper. Kufstein Fortress is 507 metres above sea level. The fortress is linked to the city below by the Festungsbahn, a funicular railway. For more than 800 years, the Kufstein Fortress has been visited again and again by a wide variety of people. Well, in the first centuries it was more like hostile armies trying to conquer the fortress. Nowadays, the impressive landmark enjoys great popularity among people from all over the world.
From here we will continue our journey to Munich for check-in at the Eurostars Grand Central Hotel. Rest of day and evening at leisure for you explore this great city
 
Day 7: After breakfast we will join our guide for a 1/2 Day coach sightseeing in Munich. Afterwards you will have time to explore the city independently.
 
Day 8: Day at leisure in Munich, Bavaria’s capital, which is home to centuries-old buildings and numerous museums. The city is known for its annual Oktoberfest celebration and its beer halls, including the famed Hofbräuhaus, founded in 1589. In the Altstadt (Old Town), central Marienplatz square contains landmarks such as Neo-Gothic Neues Rathaus (town hall), with a popular glockenspiel show that chimes and reenacts stories from the 16th century

Day 9: Check out of the hotel for return transfer to Munich airport for our return flight to Manchester. 

Our Hotels:   

The Hotel Paganella, Fai Della Paganella 

The Paganella is a family-run hotel with a lovely terrace, cosy bar and wonderful views over the surrounding countryside. The hotel prides itself on serving traditional homemade food.

 All rooms are non-smoking equipped with en-suite, internet, TV equipped with TV with 20 SKY channels, Wi-Fi, safe deposit box and a hair-dryer. 

Eurostars Grand Central Munich - Offers a stylish spa with indoor pool, sauna and fitness studio. Soundproofed rooms with free Wi-Fi, and a restaurant serving Mediterranean cuisine, this 4-star design hotel is just 800 yards from Munich Central Station.

All the rooms are non-smoking air-conditioned which feature a flat-screen TV, an elegant desk, fine wooden floors, en-suite, internet, Wi-Fi, safe deposit box, kettle and a hair-dryer. 

Spa facilities include a sauna and guests can also make free use of the modern gym.  The strikingly desigrned restaurant at the Munich Eurostars hotel serves international specialities. Traditional Bavarian beers and colourful cocktails are available in the bar.

Price per person (Based on 2 Adults sharing Twin/Double Room):

  • Member Plus Adult - £1279
  • Member Adult - £1319                     
  • Non Member Adult - £1359                  
  • Single Supplement - £250 (double/twin for sole occupancy)

Price Includes:

  • Return flights from Manchester to Munich/Venice (Flights not yet on sale)
  • Return airport transfers with English speaking guide  
  • Porterage at the Hotel Paganella if required
  • Welcome drink at the Hotel Paganella
  • 5 nights half board accommodation at the Hotel Paganellal, Fia della Paganella including House Wine with dinner and tea/coffee afterwards each evening.
  • Hotel Paganella - Last night 4 course farewell candlelit Trentino themed meal with music.
  • Hotel Paganella - Free bar each night 18.00-22.30 on beer, wine , soft drinks & National Spirits
  • Hotel Paganella - Entertainment on 1 Night Quiz/Games & 1 Night Grolla Evening
  • Full day guided excursions to Merano & Lake Caldaro including Wine tour and tasting  
  • Full day guided excursion to Lake Garda, including one way boat trip from Limone to Riva del Garda
  • Full day guided excursion - Dolomites Scenic Drive
  • Mystery Day Out with regional picnic lunch
  • Coach transfer to Munich with en-route stop at Vipiteno and guided tour of Kufstein Castle
  • 3 Nights with Breakfast at Eurostars Grand Central Munich
  • 1/2 Day sightseeing coach/guided tour of Munich

Not Included:

  • Italian Tourist tax (to be paid locally at resort.(Currently 2 Euros - Subject to change)
  • Munich City Tax (at this time no tax applicable in Munich, but if situation changes this will be payable locally)
  • Single Supplement
  • Any items of a personal nature such as meals, drinks, etc
  • Guide/Driver Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance

For further details and bookings, you can either use the  or contact Bob Walker 

Please include your Name, Home Address, Contact Telephone Number, Membership Number and the Number Places Required (Member/Non-Member)