Travel Specialist in Bespoke Luxury Travel, Cruise & Business Travel, based in Wensleydale
Have you ever wanted someone to organise your trips, from the weekends away to the trip of a lifetime, your bucket list?
All those important times away from home, creating memories. Enjoying life.
Someone behind the scenes, who's with you all the way, taking care of the details. Though initially a cruise specialist, I have expanded my expertise to tailor-make any holiday experience, offering a truly personal caring service from the initial enquiry to your return home.
I joined Travel Counsellors in 2003, having previously worked in a number of independent travel agencies and also lectured in Travel and Tourism at New College Durham.
With a 93% repeat booking, with many clients I now consider as my friends
Over the years my travels have taken me on many cruises, to Alaska, Caribbean, Norway, Canaries and the Mediterreanean.
Spent many hours exploring Spain and staying in the Paradors.
Taken wonderful short breaks such as Marrakech, London, Venice and Lapland
Travelled Long Haul to Singapore
Explored The Rockies in Canada, flying into Calgary, staying in Banff, taking the gondola up Sulphur Mountain, hiking on the Athabasca Glacier and travelling on The Rocky Mountaineer Train to Vancouver
As a family we skied in the Alps, a number of times.
And for my next trip ... many plans: Eastern Provinces of Canada, Panama Canal, Island hopping in the Azores and Switzerland by train (Bernina Express)
On many occasions we have had fantastic breaks in the UK, mainly in East Anglia, staying in a cottage with the dogs - exploring, walking, eating and a bit of shopping.
Please read my blogs regarding my recent trips and like my facebook page
Whatever your holiday needs I'm here to help you, so simply give me a call or send me an email with your contact details on and I can get things started for you:-
I absolutely live and breathe travel and I love to write about my experiences! Please take a look through my posts - you might find your own holiday inspiration.
01 June 2020
We are now approaching June 2020, week 10 of Lockdown with a slight easing of restrictions And it feels like the green shoots of travel are starting to appear. Most people I have spoken to fall into 2 categories, those who will be jumping on the first airplane out of the UK heading to the sun and those who are seriously worried and have no plans to leave this year. This got me thinking about next year, if like me, you LOVE cruising, and I know the lengths the ships go to, with cleaning, hygiene and safety measures normally, and this will be...
27 September 2019
Have you ever got to that point when, you just need a break, a few days away? But you have a long list of requirements: Pet friendly an absolute must for me Hot tub Not a hotel High standard of accommodation King Size Bed Decent kitchen Somewhere not too busy I found that place, so we set off from Yorkshire, for a fairly long drive down to Norfolk. To a lodge at the Waveney River Centre, near Beccles, handy for shopping. Beside the River Waveney, you can hire a boat for the day. Or spend the day in the swimming pool, they also have glamping pods and a...
21 September 2019
The sun was shining as I approached the International Cruise Terminal in North Shields, Tyne & Wear. It was early Saturday morning and I was excited to get the opportunity to see this exception to Princess Cruise fleet of cruise ships. Princess are world renowned for their beautiful contemporary large ships, but this one is different. Imagine a country club hotel, with dark wood panelling, fire places, wing backed leather seats, regency style, painted ceilings, wrought iron staircase railings and under 700 passengers. This ship spends her time sailing around the world, from 4 nights to 111 nights, never in the...
02 September 2019
We arrived in Vancouver late evening in style – Rocky Mountaineer from Banff and then transferred to The Pan Pacific, 5 star hotel overlooking Coal Harbour. I had booked Pacific Club Rooms, giving us access to a private lounge with tea & coffee available and a free breakfast, the following morning, up early and headed up Burrards St. to hire a couple of bikes. Okay, so I have not been on a bike for many a year. Helmets on and off we go, around Canada Place, past the yachts and seaplanes, around Stanley Park, to English Bay, with distant views of...
01 September 2019
A poem about our journey on Rocky Mountaineer written by my husband Matthew Wilkes Rocky Mountaineer As we stand on the platform In the dawns early light We hear a distant rumble And behold a magnificent sight Yellow and blue the rumbling beast Approaches towards us out of the east Our hearts start to tremble And we feel a tear Run down our cheeks, We see the Rocky Mountaineer Whoo! Whoo! All Aboard All the passengers shout We stroll alongside her An engine with clout The crew are all waving From the rail cars above Red carpets are smoothed A warm welcome with love We climb to our seat In car number eight Expectant, excited Like kids on a...
10 August 2019
“We have decided to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary with a party” was the message left on my phone by my parents. Fantastic. But it was for the following Monday, in Spain, and I was supposed to be attending a wedding in Derbyshire on the Saturday. The challenge was set. Every possible and impossible route was investigated. Sadly, Derbyshire had to be crossed off (hubby attended by himself) and daughter Laura suggested we tried and include planes, trains, automobiles and ships. I found myself with Laura, on a Ryanair flight to Barcelona, having left home at 4.30 am driving 4 hours to...
16 June 2019
I have always said that there is a ship for everyone, and If someone doesn’t like cruising, it’s because they are on the wrong ship. Over the years I have been fortunate to both cruise for my own holidays and be invited to many cruise ship launches. Also, as part of my ongoing training as a CLIA cruise Master, I have had the opportunity to visit ships when they call into UK ports, mainly Southampton, Dover, Liverpool and closest to home, Newcastle. In June 2018, for my own holiday I flew to Rome and stayed overnight at the Hotel Quirinale. I took...
07 March 2019
I was invited by CLIA (cruise lines international association), with whom I am CLIA Master, to see the brand new MSC Bellissima in Southampton. Travelling down from North Yorkshire is always a long journey, especially in the rain, so having driven for 6 hours it was a pleasure to arrive at the Premier Inn, West Quay. Following morning, an early start to walk down to Mayflower Park to get the best view of this beautiful ship as she glided down the river, escorted by 2 fire boats blasting water high into the sky. Well worth getting up so early. She docked next...
22 May 2018
As a CLIA Master (cruise specialist) it seems only right to attend the main conference, held in Southampton. And what a conference, with business sessions, trade fairs, three ship visits, black tie gala dinner, gorgeous evening courtesy of Seabourn and a hotel visit (Harbour Hotel). After a gruelling seven-hour drive I arrived in Southampton, staying centrally at the Premier Inn, West Quay, very handy for last minute shopping. I got up early for a walk around Southampton, (must get my steps in)! Today I looked around Oceania’s Marina, famous for their cuisine, friendly crew and visiting amazing destinations. Onto the Trade Fair,...
02 July 2017
MS Zuiderdam – Holland America Line 2nd July 2017 Sunday morning, very early, alarm goes off, then I remember, a ship visit, my favourite topic - cruise ships. I am off to the Port of Tyne, good drive, checked in and we are all given a self-tour guide, straight up the gangway, a bit steep, the tide is in. The Captain is there to say hello in the Atrium with the beautiful crystal Sea Horse, slowly circling. First stop, Pinnacle Bar and Grill, through the Art Gallery and the Explorers Bar. Holland America Line, has been sailing for 140 years, their itineraries cover...
15 June 2017
Milo, my chocolate Labrador was dropped off at the kennels and we were off…heading south from North Yorkshire to Southampton. Traffic was heavy and there were plenty of roadworks, so we had to stop for coffee and a bite to eat. Seven hours later we arrived at the hotel for our overnight stay. I woke up early, excited, and looking forward to our weekend. After breakfast was done we walked down to Mayflower Park, which was a good photo opportunity. Then it was time for a quick walk around The West Quay Shopping Centre for last minute purchases. And we were off....
14 June 2017
Tuesday 23rd May 2017 - my alarm clock is buzzing at 4am and I need to get up. I had a good but very short night’s sleep at The Clayton Hotel, Manchester Airport. I got the free shuttle into Terminal 3, checked in for my Jet2.com flight to Rome, so the next stop was Starbucks for coffee. Flights were on time, although there was a bit of a wait for passport control and retrieving the bags. I jumped onto the transfer coach to Civitavecchia to meet MS Insignia, one of six ships belonging to Oceania. I had a balcony cabin, which was...
29 January 2017
If someone had said to me last year that I would be going to Ibiza, to see my daughter working there, and that I would fall in love with the island, I admit that I would have laughed at them! Me...in Ibiza, well I would have said they must be joking! Like many people, I had an image of Ibiza and its reputation for clubbing and parties. Yet, what if I said to you there is a whole other side to the island - one of traditional Spanish villages, hidden beaches and mountainside walks where you'll never see another...
20 January 2017
For years, myself and my daughter, Laura, wanted a girly holiday but every time we came around to looking we could just never decide or nothing was as perfect as we wanted. We wanted somewhere where we could relax together, have a few spa treatments and enjoy a drink or two. In 2016 we finally took the plunge, we decide to go onto Ovation of the Seas for a 5 night cruise to Zeebrugge and Cherbourg this would be her maiden voyage, one of only 3 in the UK until she left for the Chinese market with no plans to return!...
18 May 2015
Travelling 1st class by rail to the Capital is always exciting, underground to Heathrow, Hoppa to the Holiday Inn Hotel, not a bad night’s sleep, back on the Hoppa to Terminal Five for BA flight to Athens, about an hour’s transfers to Pireaus, with views of the Parthenon, to join the ship, all very smooth. I was staying in a Premium Outside with Obstructed views on Bridge Deck. MV Aegean Odyssey is a small ship, carrying 350 passengers, very relaxed and comfortable, with all the amenities you expect with added in depth lectures regarding the ports of call. 2 restaurants, both...
27 February 2010
It’s an early start this Saturday morning, as I head south on the A1m, must remember to pick up colleague Angela from Wetherby and look forward to coffee at Cherwell Valley. We approached the docks on the A3024, the traffic is building and we catch our first glimpse of the brand new ship, looking very splendid on the horizon. Car park is opposite the Terminal Building near gate 8. Security and passport formalities were very efficient. And embarkation commences… we are met and taken to our balcony cabin. First impression, she is quite glitzy, polished surfaces, mirrors and strategic lighting. The grade 10 balcony was adequate...
31 July 2009
Towering over Southampton was the first view of this amazing ship. Suitcases handed over to the porters, the car was duly parked and into the cruise terminal we proceeded; all very efficiently done. The crew greets you onboard with a glass of champagne, very civilized. Our cabin wasn’t quite ready so it was time to investigate the ship. First stop was the Lawn Club, deck 15, ½ an acre of grass, yes proper growing grass. And next to it the Corning Glass Museum with its hot glass shows. The sun was shining and it was warm - the whicker seats right...
23 May 2009
The Wilkes Family is back on the road and this time we stayed in England exploring the marshes and heaths of Suffolk, basing ourselves in the small village of Walberswick, within easy reach of Southwold. Hiring bikes and dusting off the walking boots was the name of the game, this was a week of back to basics, enjoying the outdoors, with its many marked trails. Many hours were spent messing about near the water, both on the beach (golden soft sand and pebbles) and the river Blyth. A number of boat trips are on offer, or catch the ferry, which is...
07 August 2008
Once again my family and I set off on our annual summer holiday and as a preference it was decided a cruise should be the main focus. We flew direct from Leeds Bradford on Jet2.com to Rome’s Fiumincino Airport to be met by a pre-organised taxi, which took us to Civitavecchia, approximately 30mins. After check in at our delightful 4 star very Italian hotel call the Sunbay Park (English is spoken by most of the staff ) we were shown to our rooms, double beds with ensuite facilities, beautifully tiled, with wrought iron balconies overlooking the harbour, filled with pristine white...
21 May 2008
I travelled with my husband Matthew and daughter Laura; after staying overnight in an airport hotel and using a convenient long stay car park, we flew 8½ hours direct from Manchester to Orlando International, where, upon landing, Home Land Security were efficient clearing the airport in 45mins. Then transferring by minibus to our hotel in Lake Buena Vista. Our intention was to visit all the major theme parks, but to cherry pick the rides to prove Orlando is a destination for all age groups. It was decided that the holiday was to be a relaxing experience and to go with...
12 August 2006
This is the second half of our holiday, having spent 5 nights in the hotel L’Elysee, Val D’Europe, close to Disneyland Paris and opposite a the Val-Europe shopping centre, where we stocked up on food, loaded the car and set off to drive the 250 miles to Branges in the Burgundy region of France. We were going to spend 7 nights sailing a 52ft cabin cruiser on a one way rental from Branges to Gray. The base was quite easy to locate, the formalities and instructions dealt with efficiently and we were off. Our cabin cruiser had 3 double bedrooms with bijoux...
Sent in by Martyn N
London, 07 July 2021
Having used Travel Councellors for 15 vacations i have always been kept updated with all aspects of my holidays. Never had a problem and always had first class service. When any delays or problema have occured, during my vacation Dinah has made contact with me and kept me informed with all developments. NEVER BEEN LET DOWN
Sent in by N Smith
Manchester, 07 July 2021
Dinah always deals with my requests to the letter. She knows what I like and always does her best to fulfill my preferences. I would always recommend Dinah to my friends and fellow travelers. The Best.
Sent in by J Frudd
Yorkshire, 22 December 2019
I don’t know what I’d do without her, all I need to say is I want to get to wherever, Grenada in this case (last minute decision) Dinah works her magical skills and hey presto she’s back with prices, alternatives., gives you choices on How to get to airport she doesn’t miss anything. Checks in with you on a regular basis, explains about every detail., adjusts things to suit your needs. And then sorts all your tickets and the booking is sorted. She takes the stress out of it all to make your holiday relaxing from the start. Thank you so much Dinah you’re a star. Don’t think the next one will be quite as last minute.
Sent in by David T
from Kent, 11 November 2019
Excellent and efficient service, feels as if your talking to a friend.
From the pristine white-sand beaches of Thailand’s idyllic islands to the sprawling wide-open roads of the USA; the historic and breathtakingly beautiful architecture of India to the crystal-clear turquoise waters of the Maldives – there’s a world of wonder out there and it’s just waiting to be explored.
Contact me on 01969 678060