Burma is one of the world’s most fascinating and beautiful destinations, its people gentle, warm and genuinely friendly. Although Burma is ruled by a brutal military dictatorship, the release from house arrest of the democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi makes us believe that now is the right time for tourists to discover this hidden gem.
If you think Ibiza is just a party island for teenage ravers, wise up. Out in the hills are some of Europe’s most glamorous villas where the likes of Kate Moss and Jade Jagger hang out. Take excursions to remote coves and mountain restaurants. Clubbing is optional. Chilling isn’t.
No matter what you think you know about Japan, nothing prepares you for the raw thrill of landing in a country that is so exotic, so refined, so modern and yet so steeped in tradition. Get your pulse racing in Tokyo then explore the serene and majestic countryside of Japan before taking the Bullet Train to the temples and gardens of Kyoto.
The world’s most romantic and evocative train journey begins when your British Pullman glides out of Victoria Station in London. Once across the Channel, you take your private compartment on the sumptuous Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, reaching Paris by 9pm, waking in the Swiss Alps then rolling into Venice at around 6pm.
The dramatic scenery of the Amalfi coast, with its lemon groves, almond trees and bougainvillea, is stunning. You’ll find resorts for all tastes, from popular Sorrento – an ideal hub for boat trips to Capri and Ischia, and outings to Pompeii and Vesuvius – to super-chic Positano and the exquisite hilltop retreat of Ravello.
If you love the big outdoors, Chile is the ultimate destination. Climb volcanoes in the Atacama Desert, go hiking in the Lake District, discover Easter Island and experience the majestic fjords and glaciers of Patagonia. With a great choice of stylish hotels, world-class food and wine, Chile is red hot right now.
A voyage aboard one of the three Star Clipper ships is a vastly different experience to a conventional cruise. Modelled on historic sailing vessels, they fly great clouds of billowing sails and offer passengers a timeless adventure as they explore the world’s most beautiful oceans and islands.
When Brits started going abroad on package holidays it was to the Alpine lakes, following the 19th Century ‘grand tourists’. Today, Italy’s Como, Maggiore, Garda and tiny Iseo are ideal family destinations, with boating, beaches, cable car rides to mountain highs and footpaths to explore, plus easy access to Verona, Padua and Milan.
America is amazing but don’t bite off more than you can chew. The six states of New England make up a perfect bite-sized chunk. Packed with history, tradition, pretty villages, fine hotels, great food and natural beauty, they are ideal for self-drive or escorted tours at any time of year.
We don’t quite understand why the Azores aren’t better known. These stunning Atlantic islands are crammed with natural wonders and boast superb beaches, volcanic lakes and some of the best whale and dolphin sightings in Europe. Local hotels are full of character, the food is great and there are direct flights from Gatwick. Oh, and the weather sparkles year round.
Even if you can only manage a two week holiday, Australia is still well worth considering. You can plan a trip that blends beaches with the outback, rainforests with Aboriginal culture, and vineyards with cosmopolitan cities without having to spend half your time travelling.
Some places have that elusive ‘wow’ factor – others don’t. The Seychelles has it in spades. Silky beaches, tropical forests, the super deluxe hotels. Swim with turtles in the morning, spend an afternoon unwinding in the spa then dress for cocktails at sunset. Perfect? You bet.
Ask most people to name an Indonesian island and you’ll probably get Bali, possibly Lombok. But Indonesia is a nation of 17,000 islands, each with its own distinctive show of both nature and culture. In these days of global travel, names like Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi and Komodo still evoke an enormous sense of adventure.
Spend a day walking the coastal paths of Cornwall and you might wonder why Brits ever travel abroad. The undulating hills, the secret sandy coves, the miles of beach and the soaring cliffs are as fine as you’ll see anywhere. With excellent local restaurants and superb self-catering cottages, this is one of the finest UK holiday destinations.
It’s easy to find glitzy ski resorts where lunch on the slopes costs as much as your weekly grocery bill. More challenging is to find charming Alpine resorts that combine reasonably-priced self-catering accommodation, sensible prices, accessibility and – of course – great skiing.
There’s more to Spain than big cities and crowded costas. The north-west regions of Cantabria, Galicia and Asturias offer character and authenticity, friendly people and delicious food. You’ll find unspoilt sandy beaches, wild mountains, beautiful medieval towns and plenty of outdoor activities. It’s great value whether you fly or travel by overnight ferry.
Borneo boasts sandy beaches, luscious scenery and luxury hotels, but what distinguishes this huge island from its Asian neighbours is the abundant wildlife. Most famous are the orangutans, easily inspected in Sabah’s Sepilok sanctuary, along with Probiscus monkeys, turtles and exotic birds. For adventure, climb Mount Kinabalu or stay in a village longhouse.
Abu Dhabi has emerged as one of the world’s most exciting new tourist destinations. Much more than a place for winter sun, it boasts world-class hotels, thrilling attractions on Yas Island, great beaches, designer shopping malls and desert experiences including dune safaris and sand boarding.
Renting a boat is one of the most relaxing ways to enjoy the British countryside. Potter along at 5mph amidst the reeds and marshes of the Norfolk Broads, or explore a network of rivers and canals by narrow boat. Wherever you go – for a weekend break or a summer holiday – you are never far from a waterside pub.
You might think of The Gambia as a cheap winter sun destination on the west coast of Africa. And you’d be at least half right. In fact it’s so much more than that, with superb beaches, charming hotels, friendly people and stunning wildlife – and only six hours flying time from the UK. Best time to visit is November to June.
Two of the Mediterranean’s smallest islands, Malta and Gozo punch well above their weight. Aside from sea and sunshine, vibrant Malta is jam-packed with history from megalithic temples to the Knights of Saint John, its skyline dotted with grand churches and golden walled cities. Gozo, Malta’s little sister, offers tranquillity, rural beauty and top diving.
Tobago is the Caribbean of your imagination. Pristine beaches, children playing cricket, a friendly bar serving cold beer and barbecued shrimp, fishing boats bobbing in the sea. Untroubled by mass tourism, this picturesque island has some excellent hotels and direct flights from the UK.
Some destinations punch well above their weight. Montenegro is a perfect example, a tiny country with not only 180 miles of Adriatic coast but also a striking interior of mountains, lakes and rivers. There’s plenty for the outdoorsy types, including hiking and mountain biking, plus historic gems from walled towns to Roman villas.