Sent by Ethan Heorge
Based in Berkshire
Hi. My name is Gemma and I am local to Wantage and surrounding areas of Newbury, Reading, Berkshire and Oxfordshire.
I have worked in travel since 2011 and am part of a family that loves to see the world. Holidays started at a young age, from Disney to cruises and skiing. Before joining Travel Counsellors in 2019, I spent 6 years at the Luxury Tour Operator, Kuoni Travel. I have been very fortunate to enjoy luxury stays at the opulent Burj al Arab in Dubai and the islands of the Maldives and Seychelles. I have been to over 25 countries and am experienced in creating tailor made holidays to worldwide destinations.
Organising holidays for my clients is what I love to do, and you can be confident I have the experience to make yours perfect. I find out every important detail, from your interests and hobbies to your likes and dislikes, to make the perfect recommendations and create a holiday unique to you.
Many of my clients have become friends, who I have built lasting relationships with, so planning each trip is made easy and hassle free because as I get to know you, I learn how you like to travel.
Whether it’s a honeymoon, a family get together or anniversary celebration, I am on hand to help you from the initial consultation to when you return home. I can also help you plan a UK getaway, cruise, ski trip, villa holiday or city break. Even help you plan a group holiday or sports tour.
When you book with me, you can speak to someone who has first-hand knowledge. I have been up close to elephants on safari in Sri Lanka, flown over the waterfalls on Reunion Island by helicopter and relaxed on the beaches of Mauritius. I enjoy villa holidays in Greece, have walked through the Colosseum in Rome and enjoyed delicious Italian cuisine in Sorrento and Sardinia. On a European road trip, I sampled wine in the heart of Rioja and walked the streets of Paris. I have stepped foot on the Great Wall of China, been in awe of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, sunbathed in 5 star luxury in Mexico and experienced the rush of adrenaline on the world’s fastest rollercoaster in Abu Dhabi.
As a Travel Counsellor, I act as a Tour Operator and Travel Agent, offering you more choice than is available on the high street or online, all with personal service and peace of mind that you are financially protected. I can also be available at a time to suit you. When you get in touch, I will arrange an appointment to meet face to face, via video call or speak on the phone, to chat about your plans for your next holiday.
I am looking forward to speaking to you soon.
Find out more about what I can offer you, my service and how I will work with you as your travel planner.
I hope you enjoy reliving your travel memories as you watch our film. When you’re ready to travel again I’ll be here for you.
Find out more about the launch of our group golf breaks, taking place across the UK in 2021 and a taster of our worldwide holidays in 2022 and beyond.
Inspiration for your once in a lifetime trip including the Maldives, Canada, Bali, Hawaii stopovers and more about us and the service we offer.
In conversation about UK Holidays and we answer your questions on restrictions and travelling in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In conversation about our recommendations and advice for Villa Holidays. Hear about what holiday options there are for your next home away from home.
In conversation about our Memories of Mauritius. How to get there, where to stay and tips on where to visit when you arrive in the beautiful island paradise.
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.
09 September 2021
With so much to think about for your big day, and after many months of organising every detail to make it perfect, your Honeymoon is an opportunity to enjoy a well-earned rest and some quality time together. Time to reflect and to look forward to your future together. It is also a once in a lifetime experience, creating memories you will treasure. When the time comes to start planning for your Wedding, make sure to make the Honeymoon planning a part of the process too. How much is it going to cost for the perfect Honeymoon? When working out the overall budget for a wedding, there is lots to think about; the venue, a photographer, flowers, the dress, the suit, catering…the list is endless. But have you considered the budget for the honeymoon as a part of this list? To ensure you get the perfect trip, this is something that is well worth researching early. After all, a honeymoon can be anywhere from a few days to a few weeks away and as a once in a lifetime experience, it is recommended to start planning early. There are also times of the year that are better value for money, if you are happy to consider off peak travel dates. Travelling outside of school holidays or peak months can be a great way to discover premium destinations and save money on luxury accommodation what may otherwise have been out of reach. Booking earlier is always better. Couples tend to book their Honeymoon 12-18 months in advance as there is more availability for flights and hotels, meaning prices are not as high. You can also benefit from early booking offers and some hotels offer discounts and added extras for Honeymooners. What is the best time of year for our Honeymoon and where can we travel? If you are planning to travel on your honeymoon straight after your wedding, it is important to think about the time of year that you will be getting married and the destination you will be going to. There are many factors that can affect a choice of destination and in particular, the weather is a very important to consideration for many places around the world. Monsoon season affects places in the Indian Ocean and the Far East, whilst the Caribbean experiences hurricanes every year. In the Middle East, temperatures can reach the mid 40s at the height of their Summer and no-one wants to spend their honeymoon in search of air conditioning to stay cool! If you are looking for a wildlife experience, time of year is important to ensure you get the best viewing opportunities. For example, Kenya is best in the late Summer and early autumn to catch a glimpse of the world famous migration and whale watching from Monterey is also best in our Summer months too. If you are a same sex couple, although it can be a little more complicated to find the perfect travel destination, research and being well informed before booking can make all the difference to your experience. While some destinations openly welcome gay couples, attitudes in some places can be very different to those in the UK and laws can also vary from place to place. Your personal views and preferences on this are a key aspect when it comes to choosing the right honeymoon for the two of you. So where can you travel? Well, the world is your oyster! For some couples who may be well travelled, finding a new destination that neither has travelled to before can be very important. For others, it might be somewhere that suits both couples’ interest where one may be particularly active and want facilities to keep them busy all day whilst their partner is happy to kick back with a good book on the sunbed. Some destinations lend themselves to relaxation and others can offer more of an adventure and action-packed stay. You may even want to combine a little of both into the honeymoon. Visit more than one country or several places within your chosen country in the same trip. Ultimately it is important to think about what both of you want to experience so you can decide where you would like to travel to and have the very best time when you are away. What can we do on our Honeymoon? A honeymoon is the perfect opportunity to try something new together or indulge in a hobby or interest abroad. From adventure activities to cooking classes, there is sure to be something to take your fancy when you are away. In Italy, try your hand at ice cream making and limoncello tasting. Africa is home to the Serengeti and Masai Mara where you can take a hot air balloon safari over the savannah or have breakfast by a hippo pool. For adrenaline seekers, New Zealand is famous for bungee jumping and destinations across the East and West offer opportunities for white water rafting. A lot of couples take the chance to enjoy an extended holiday from work for their honeymoon and this gives you both time to take the once in a lifetime trip you have been planning. With extra time off you could plan a road trip across the USA and twin the break with some relaxation in Hawaii or Mexico. For anyone looking for cultural immersion, the Far East is the ideal choice for touring, visiting lots of places in one go. See the Great Wall of China, sail down the Mekong River or stay in overwater tents at an Elephant Camp. Where can we stay on our Honeymoon? With so many destinations to choose from, there is a wide variety of accommodation to stay in. If you fancy straying from the norm, why not sleep in a roaming safari tent, a treehouse or overwater accommodation on stilts in the Indian Ocean. Far from the standard hotel rooms, you might like to stay in your own beachside room or treat yourselves to a luxury suite with a private pool, overlooking the crystal blue waters of the Adriatic Sea. What are the benefits of booking with an Independent Honeymoon Specialist? When you book with a specialist you are accessing a wealth of knowledge and experience from someone who can offer recommendations, trusted travel advice and first-hand knowledge. It makes the whole process easy and stress free, giving you time to focus on your wedding plans and most importantly, to get the perfect honeymoon. You have someone to hold your hand, answer all your questions and look after you every step of the way, ensuring you are up to date with all the latest travel advice, entry and visa requirements. Being independent also enables you to work with your specialist to create a unique trip that is handmade just for the two of you with peace of mind that it is all financially protected.
29 April 2021
I have been fortunate to visit Dubai on three occasions and I have experienced it as both a stopover and holiday destination. I tend to describe Dubai as ‘Marmite’ as you will either love it or hate it! This makes a short stay here the best way to visit Dubai as a first-time visitor. It has an ideal location in the Middle East which allows for a short stopover combined with places such as Mauritius, the Maldives, Bali, Thailand and Australasia. Not just a city, Dubai offers beach relaxation and cultural experiences as well as a cosmopolitan feel that you will find in other cities like New York and Singapore. Easy to reach, Emirates fly from regional hubs all over the UK. On arrival into Dubai, the first thing that struck me was just how modern the city is. The Sheikh Zayed Road is home the skyscrapers that the city is famous for and as we drove to our hotel, it was clear to see that architectural inspiration have been taken from iconic buildings worldwide. As we left the city behind us, we crossed over on to the Palm where we arrived at the luxury five star Jumeirah Zabeel Saray. This stunning hotel has a Turkish influence with touches of marble and gold everywhere you look. We were checked in to our four bed Residence with private pool; our home for the next few nights. On other visits to Dubai, I have also stayed in the city at the famous Burj Al Arab and the Pullman Hotel. Our first excursion was to the cultural hub of the Souks. Taking a short Dhoni boat ride across the creek, we stepped out in the gold and spice markets. Colourful and vibrant, you can spend hours browsing the wares on show on the stalls. If you have not had your full shopping fix, close by to the centre, it is then an easy taxi journey to reach the Dubai Mall, housing designer brands, an abundance of eateries and its own aquarium. When you stay at the Jumeirah properties, the dine around programme allows you to enjoy over 50 restaurants across the city. On our first night we hosted at the Rib Room serving delicious prime cuts and authentic cheese; two of my favourite food choices! The following day, after a relaxing morning to enjoy the hotel and relaxation on the beach, we headed over to the Wild Wadi waterpark. A perk for guests of the hotel is free access. Great for big and little kids alike, we spent an adrenaline packed afternoon on the water slides! Later that evening we were treated to a 1 Michelin Star dining experience at the multi award winning Italian restaurant, Pierchic, run by head chef Beatrice Segoni. Offering elevated waterside dining as it is set on a private pier. Dining out is just one of the many experiences you can enjoy whilst in Dubai. One of my recommendations is to book the Desert Safari where you are taken out to the desert to enjoy dune bashing in 4x4s, a traditional BBQ under the stars and activities such as sand boarding. In the daytime there is lots to keep all ages entertained; Dubai is home to an indoor ski centre, theme parks and a must is the observation decks ‘At The Top’ of the Burj Khalifa. Following our stay at the Jumeriah Zabeel Saray, we checked out and drove an hour outside of the city to Ras Al Khaimah for our overnight stay in the Desert Villas at the former Banyan Tree Al Wadi Desert (now the Ritz Carlton Ras Al Khaimah). For an opulent and luxurious short break, the resort and the pool villa options are an ideal choice. Offering privacy and desert views, you feel a million miles away from anywhere here. I was blown away by the amount of space. If, like me, you love a good soak then you will enjoy the oversized bathroom with a standalone soaking tub! It was then off to the Spa to enjoy the Rainforest experience. The Rainforest combines European hydrothermal culture with Middle Eastern bathing rituals which includes 16 different stations following a mapped sequence of hydrothermal experiences, from igloo to sauna and summer storm shower to rain walks, relaxing and rejuvenating the body. This was the first time I had experienced a spa experience like this and I have to say it was fun, invigorating and relaxing all at the same time. The spa was beautiful, with a large vitality pool with hydro massage jets to soothe aching muscles and was an incredibly beautiful and tranquil space to relax in. Following the rainforest experience, we were then treated to a delicious dinner before enjoying drinks under the stars in the rooftop Moon Bar. This was the perfect end to the day, enjoying cocktails whilst perched above the treetops. Being out in the desert, the night sky was stunning, and it was so peaceful you could hear a pin drop. Before departing for our return flight home that afternoon, we enjoyed the onsite interactive Falcon and Owl show. I had the chance to hold one of these beautiful birds on my arm and we learned about the importance of falconry in the Bedouin culture. Whether you are staying for a couple of nights or enjoying a longer stay here, you can choose to do as much or as little as you like. With so much space, the hotel hosts a range of activities from archery and off-road biking on the sand dunes to horse-riding and stargazing. The experience of staying out in the desert was a magical one and it really sticks in the forefront of my mind when I think about places I have been to around the world. It is a unique experience and one that I would highly recommend including if you are considering a trip to Dubai.
12 November 2020
In the Indian Ocean, just south of India, Sri Lanka offers a mix of adventure, relaxation and wildlife experiences. We flew with Sri Lankan Airlines, direct from London Heathrow. The flight was comfortable and service was typical Sri Lankan hospitality. We were in Sri Lanka to enjoy a 10 day tour and were greeted on arrival in to Colombo by our guide just after lunchtime. It was just a 30 minute drive to the beach resort of Negombo. We checked in to the four star Jetwing Sea, with the beach and ocean on our doorstep. Being so close to the airport, Negombo is ideal for a short stay to recover from any jet lag. For honeymooners, time to recharge after the excitement of the wedding. Close enough to Colombo, you can also take a day trip to immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle of the city or rise early to visit the local fish market. Departing the coast, we headed two hours north to the ancient city of Anuradhapura. A night and a day was plenty of time to explore the ruins and the enormous Stupas here. Walking through the grounds of the ancient crumbling temples, we had our first taste of wildlife as monkeys roamed free around us. We then travelled inland, two hours South to Sigiriya at the heart of the Cultural Triangle. We stayed at the Sigiriya Hotel, one of the many hotels that you can choose in the area. The Cultural Triangle is home to Sigiriya, Dambulla and Habarana. Each offer a choice of boutique properties, large complex style hotels or the option to stay in your own private resort villa, meaning there is something for everyone whether you are travelling as a couple, as a family or on a tour. Sigiriya Rock or ‘Lions’ Rock, as it also known, is iconic to Sri Lanka and is a must do. We started our ascent from the surrounding ruins and gardens of the site. Approximately 1200 steps carved out of the rock and via stairwells have been built to assist visitors. The steepness and difficulty varies along the way as you stop to look at the rock paintings left behind by ancient settlers before arriving at the Lions Feet. The rock was once carved in to the sculpture of a lion and the Lions Feet still remain carved in to the rock to this day. A little further up and you reach the peak and are rewarded with beautiful 360 degree views. After our climb we made our way to a local wood carving factory and had our first elephant encounter. Elephants are wild here and as we drove, a large bull approached the side of the road to cross. We stopped to allow him space to cross, patiently waiting for him to continue on his journey to the nearby watering hole. The Dambulla Rock Temple is another landmark in the triangle, home to five cave temples with the earliest dating back to the first century BC and contain beautiful decoration and images of Buddha. The largest cave houses a 52 metre long Buddha! The temples are elevated on a hill and we enjoyed a beautiful sunset as monkeys played around us in the trees. I would recommend two or three nights in this area as there is so much to see and do. Other highlights include cycling trails, a safari at Minneriya National Park, hiking to the Elephant Cave or you can take a day trip to the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. Heading South towards Kandy, we stopped at a local spice garden. Arriving in Kandy was in complete contrast to the peaceful surroundings of Sigiriya. Bikes, mopeds, tuk tuks and cars tore around the city which was full of life and colour! Our scheduled stop here was at a famous pilgrimage site called the Temple of the Tooth. This is the most visited site in Kandy and the tooth relic that it houses is thought to be from Buddha. From Kandy, we then began our journey in to the rolling hills of the tea plantations. As we were on a guided tour we went by bus along the winding mountain roads. You can also take the journey via the train and enjoy a more traditional experience. Nuwara Eliya has a very British feel to it. We checked in to the colonial Jetwing St Andrews hotel and were treated to a delicious 4 course tasting menu for dinner. This is one of the best meals I have had anywhere in the world and for the equivalent of around £12 per head! You can easily get out about to explore from here or you can choose to relax in the hotel grounds, enjoy a game of snooker and indulge in traditional afternoon tea. Famous for Tea, the plantations offer guests the chance to pick their own tea and visit a working tea factory to see how the tea is produced and enjoy samples to bring home and share with family and friends. A handy tip for your visit to this area would be to pack some warm clothes. Whilst Sri Lanka has a fairly consistent climate in the high 20s, Nuwara Eliya sits high above sea level and temperatures can drop below 20 here. It felt quite chilly so remember to pack a jumper alongside the shorts, tees and flip flops. Following our short stay here, we continued to Uduwalawe to visit the elephant orphanage and enjoy an elephant safari in the National Park. We travelled via Ella where we stopped to take in the beautiful landscape and waterfalls. After a morning stop at the orphanage, where we were able to see the first feed of the day, we boarded our jeep to head out in to the National Park. We were lucky to see sightings of an entire elephant family with their calf, reptiles, birds and water buffalo too. After an action packed day, we headed towards the coast for an overnight in Ranna. The South Coast of Sri Lanka is rugged yet beautiful. Having arrived in the dark, it was a real treat to wake up to the sound and sights of the ocean crashing on the shore the next morning. Our final day took us to Dutch colonial Galle, passing local villages and fishermen out at sea, carefully balanced on stilts as they caught their fish for the day. After a short stop to explore the fortified city, we made our way north to the beach resort of Bentota and joined our guide on a speedboat to the Cinnamon island in the centre of the Bentota river. Unique in its setting, Bentota has the river to one side and the Ocean to the other which makes it perfect for those who love to be on the water. This was our opportunity to relax after our Sri Lanka Adventure. For anyone looking to extend their stay, I would highly recommend taking the short flight to the beautiful islands of the Maldives just 45 minutes from Colombo. Sri Lanka and the Maldives makes for the perfect twin centre option and the perfect way to end your holiday.
Lower Earley, Reading 17/11/2022
Henley on Thames 17/11/2022
Pontypridd, Wales 05/11/2022
Thame, Oxfordshire 04/01/2022
Newbury, Berkshire 04/01/2022
Henley on Thames 09/09/2021
Henley On Thames 23/07/2021
Reading, Berkshire 27/11/2020
Reading, Berkshire 27/11/2020
Reading, Berkshire 27/11/2020
Reading, Berkshire 27/11/2020