Based in Teignmouth

Helen Birtwistle

It's Nice To Meet You

Hi I’m Helen and I’m a personal Travel Counsellor.

I live in Teignmouth which is a lovely seaside town on the South Devon coast.

Travel is my biggest passion, I have over 35 years in the industry, as a manager and retail consultant on the high street. I joined Travel Counsellors nearly 9 years ago and it was the best decision I have ever made, as 'customer care' is at the core of what they do. I have a wealth of experience to help you plan the perfect holiday, whether it be a city break, a cruise, a holiday in the sun or a bespoke round the world itinerary. Travel Counsellors are a Global award winning, independent company, having won the highest UK business accolade 'The Queens Award for Enterprise' achieved by no other travel company and 3 times winner of the Guardian 'Best Travel Agent Award'

I take great pride in my work and give 100%. I strive to find the right holiday for my clients and always go the extra mile! Building a rapport and forming friendships with my clients is also a very important element to my job. I care about my clients and would love to have the opportunity to turn your dream holiday into reality. Recently I moved my office in to the Pavilions in Teignmouth. A fantastic new entertainment hub, situated on the seafront. This has allowed me to be more accessible to my clients. I operate from the office on an appointment only basis. It has been proven to be really popular with my local clients, who even just pop in and say hello and perhaps have a cuppa in the lovely café with me. I do also have clients nationwide.

I have visited the majority of Europe, including more unusual destinations such as the Azores. I have also been to South Africa, Mauritius, Caribbean, Mexico, USA, Canada and Egypt. I have a good general knowledge of the cruise market, having had the opportunity to cruise with Fred Olsen, Cunard, P&O Cruises, Carnival, Royal Caribbean International, NCL and Voyages of Antiquities. My holiday wish list for the future would have to include the Asia, New Zealand, India and Peru.

Having had so many years in the travel industry, I am confident I can offer you excellent travel advice. If I have not been to the destination you’re interested in, I have access to the other 1600 Travel Counsellors so I can always ask for advice so you get the very best recommendations!

If you like the idea of having your very own personal Travel Counsellor then just get in touch. I’ll get back to you promptly. Thank you - I look forward to hearing from you!

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My Blog

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.

Mother and daughter time in Venice

16 March 2018

Venice may tire you out, but you can never tire of Venice... Within this labyrinth of twisting canals linked by narrow bridges is a living, breathing city. The famous Grand Canal lined with Renaissance and Gothic palaces, is also home to tired facades of once grand buildings. All leading down to the famous San Marco Square, where you will find the Palazzo Ducale and Basilica. It is a true feast for the eyes! Explore (and get lost like us) in the maze of streets, full of Venetian architecture, with neighbourhood churches, that sit quietly in pretty squares. Enjoy all the small local shops. Perhaps purchase a Venetian mask. Make the most of an endless array of restaurants selling the most amazing pasta or fish, brought in fresh to the Rialto Bridge, by local fisherman that morning. Visit a traditional cafe full of Venetians drinking coffee or try a wonderful gelato. So many flavours to choose from! Once you’ve had enough exploring the narrow streets, take a short ferry ride to San Giorgio Maggiore. Climb (or take a lift) up the church bell tower and take in the whole of Venice island, in all its glory. Take a ride on a Gondola. Or one of our favourite parts of the trip…a ferry ride to visit Murano, famous for its glassware and then onwards to the beautiful island of Burano, with its colourful array of fisherman’s houses. Whilst there, purchase a piece of famous lace and try the delicious local bussolai buranei cookie. A visit to the Basilica and Palazzo Ducale has to be on the top of your must do list and for a more authentic feel to Venice life seen by the locals take a trip to the Jewish quarter. OUR HOTEL SATURNIA & INTERNATIONAL HOTEL A gorgeous hotel, once part of a 14th century palace. Family owned since 1908. Friendly and efficient staff, spectacular restaurant, great breakfast (of which my daughter enjoyed the waffle machine!) and a small but lively bar, where we enjoyed a cocktail every evening. Perfectly positioned, only five-minutes from St Mark’s Square. Recommended hotels - Baraco Campielto Del Remer (House of Casanova) and Paradeso Peruto EATING & DRINKING OUT Avoid expensive restaurants around St Mark’s Square and watch out for cover charges. Do some research on eateries before your visit. Try a Bacaro used by the locals. Sit at the bar and choose from a variety of small appetizers and enjoy with a glass of wine or Spritz…a Venetian aperitif. A mix of white wine, Aperol or Campari with sparkling water. HOT TIPs. 1. Get up early one morning (not Sunday or Monday) and watch the fisherman bring in the catch of the day at Rialto Bridge. 2. Buy a water bus pass for the duration of your stay. Allowing a cheap and easy way to explore the Venetian Lagoon. 3. The water bus is a cheap, convenient and easy way to get from the airport to the hotel. 4. Don’t take too much luggage, travel light. It can prove challenging pulling suitcases along cobbled street and over small bridges to your chosen hotel

The Algarve and the Vila Vita Parc Resort and Spa

27 March 2017

I was a young teenager when I last visited the Algarve. My memories were therefore very vague and I had no expectations. I just needed a short break away after a very busy couple of months at work. It had to be hassle free and Portugal ticked the boxes, with a short flight from a local airport. It was February, but I wasn’t concerned about the weather. I wanted to relax in a nice hotel, eat some good local food and explore the surrounding area. I made the perfect choice. On arrival at Faro airport, we collected our vehicle and drove to the hotel. After only 45 minutes on extremely quiet and easy to drive roads we arrived at our chosen property - The Vila Vita Parc Resort & Spa, a member of the Leading Hotels of the World. We knew to expect a luxurious stay, but it far exceeded all our expectations. I have stayed in many luxury hotels during my working career, but this one really does offer something very special. The Vila Vita Parc Resort & Spa is set in over 22 hectares of lush landscaped, sub-tropical gardens, set around beautiful lakes and fountains with pretty pathways that meander through the grounds and over small foot bridges, down to the Atlantic Ocean. The main hotel is of traditional Portuguese style, with many Moorish features. All the beautifully decorated rooms, suites and villas spread across the grounds in separate blocks and although it is fairly large resort, you would be forgiven to think you were staying in a small hotel. It really does provide a very intimate atmosphere. Many of the works of art, ornaments and décor are authentic to the region, which the owners are very proud of. The facilities at the hotel are extensive, catering for families and couples. Perhaps you are a keen golfer or enjoy being on the water. Water skiing, surfing, paddle boarding, diving - the list goes on. The hotel even has its own super yacht! On land you can enjoy such pursuits as tennis, pitch and put or you could try the most amazing Spa. Probably one of the best I have ever experienced!! There is an Adult Only section of the hotel and for families there is a fantastic kid’s programme, with a crèche that will look after babies from 6 months old. The hotel boasts 8 restaurants. From its very own two star Michelin restaurant to the rustic Portuguese adega and the chic beachside Arte Nautica, all of which are incredible inviting and unpretentious. There are 6 bars and even a wine cellar. You will be encouraged to try the delicious wine produced on the hotels very own farm, which you can visit during your stay. For me, one of the major factors that made this hotel so special was its staff. They were all extremely friendly, without compromising on the impeccable service. Everyone from the management, down to the cleaners were so courteous and nothing ever seemed like too much trouble. We felt very special throughout our stay. During our time in the Algarve, we managed to see the sunshine and although the weather cannot be guaranteed during the winter months, it does prove that you don’t always have to travel far to enjoy a spot of sun and warmth, during our cold winter months in the UK. If you are happy to stay open minded, then you can be pleasantly surprised. We enjoyed the Algarve. It is an extremely pretty region, if you are prepared to explore. I would definitely recommend a car. I was surprised at how built up some of the coastal resorts and towns are, which did disappoint me. However, the region is steeped in history and it doesn’t take much to find somewhere authentic and steeped in history. Lagos was one of my favourite places to visit, with the old walled city and we especially enjoyed driving inland up into the mountains. I would definitely recommend Silves - the coastline is absolutely stunning with beautiful beaches. We spent a day walking along one of the coastal paths, which was stunning. Overall, I would recommend the Algarve for anyone, of any generation during both the summer and winter months. Hire a car and enjoy the empty roads, find a traditional town or a beautiful beach. Go inland and explore the mountains, with its rural villages or just go and enjoy a beautiful hotel stay. But always make sure you put the Vila Vita Parc Resort & Spa at the top of your list. You surely will not be disappointed. I am looking forward to booking my next stay there!

Barbados - an island of contrast

12 December 2016

Before my first ever visit to Barbados, more than ten years ago, my mind’s eye had images of picture post card, white powder beaches, stretching for miles, fringed by turquoise blue seas and tall swaying palm trees. The reality did not disappoint! When I first landed on what I consider the most beautiful island in the Caribbean, my breath was almost taken away, by the beauty of the place. Barbados in my opinion, is an island of contrast. Suited to anyone and to any budget. My first visit was very different to the recent one, staying in low cost apartments, on the lovely south coast. Days were spent lazing on the public beaches mixing with locals, sharing bottles of rum with chickens running around our feet, outside ramshackle homes and wonderful loud Afro Caribbean music, blaring out beats from large speakers. My recent trip was a completely different experience - Barbados has a flip side. It is also one of the most luxurious destinations in the Caribbean and caters extremely well for the more discerning clientele. Myself and twenty five fellow Travel Counsellors enjoyed an action packed five nights on the island, hosted by Elegant Resort hotels. We stayed in beautiful properties and inspected some of the most stunning hotels on the island, many of which are frequented by film stars and celebrities. Barbados is not just about lazing on stunning beaches or sitting around exclusive pools, drinking cocktails. There is a host of things to do during a holiday there. Why not hire a car and explore the island from tip to toe, not excluding the rugged Atlantic east coast. Visit a Rum distillery, for example, the famous Mount Gay or my favourite, a visit to St Nicholas Abbey; once a sugar plantation. The house is one of only three genuine Jacobean Mansions in the western hemisphere and now a museum and family run rum distillery. Or Harrison’s Cave - a magnificent attraction. A massive underground cave stream system, with caverns and breath-taking formations. For the sporty traveller, there is an endless amount of activities, both on the water and on dry land. How about a round of golf, on one of the most exclusive courses in the world or snorkelling around coral reefs and wrecks. A good opportunity to see wonderful sea life. Perhaps even swim with turtles or meet the famous Nemo. How about a Catamaran cruise at sunset or go deep down onto the ocean bed in a submarine - these are just a few of the experiences I enjoyed during my time there. Barbados does provide all-inclusive resort hotels. But unlike other Caribbean islands, many hotels only provide bed and breakfast or half board. This in my opinion, is by far the best option. Barbados is ready to be explored. Eating out offers an exciting array of swanky upmarket restaurants, serving international cuisine or intimate hideaways, dining under the stars, by the water’s edge. For the more adventurous who wishes to delve into the local cuisine, why not try the little shacks, owned by the locals. Serving bowls of local jerk chicken, rice and fresh fish caught only that day, by the local fisherman. A must has to be the famous Fish Friday at Olsten's Bay. Look it up and make it your mission to go! A rustic experience, enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. The local Bajan community are both warm and friendly. Always providing a happy and genuine smile. It is a safe place to visit, with a very low crime rate. Barbados is as authentic and raw as it is elegant and discerning. I would return within a heartbeat!

Mauritius with Beachcomber Hotels

28 June 2015

Our wonderful family trip to South Africa involved an extra element; an onward flight to Mauritius for a five night stay, compliments of Beachcomber hotels. I have booked many clients to the island over the years and I had knowledge of the place but was I was looking forward to experiencing it first-hand. Mauritius is everything I envisaged and more. A volcanic island, 65 km long and 45 km wide, situated in the Indian Ocean. Famous for its beaches, lagoons and coral reefs this beautiful island also offers mountainous regions, rain forests and waterfalls. Mauritius has a multi-ethnic culture with Hinduism being the predominant religion. The island is fortunate to have lovely weather all year round with coastal areas varying between 22 degres in winter and 34 degrees in summer. The western and northern regions are warmer and relatively drier than the east and the south. We arrived on the island after a direct four hour flight from Johannesburg and transferred to our first night stay at the Shandrani Resort & Spa, only 15 minutes from the airport on the South East of the island. A 4 star deluxe hotel, situated on a gorgeous peninsular, bordered by three beautiful beaches. It was surrounded by a unique marine park making it one of the best places for diving and snorkelling. We were lucky enough to be taken out on a boat to snorkel amongst the reefs and the sea life was stunning. This hotel is fantastic for families, sport enthusiasts and nature lovers. It also has the added benefit of offering an All Inclusive package. After the wonderful hospitality of our first night stay, we were taken to our second hotel for two nights at the Dinarobin Hotel Golf & Spa. A 5 star deluxe hotel with an air of sophistication and elegance. During our stay we were lucky enough to experience a one hour body massage in the world acclaimed Spa. Dinarobin is situated right next to the 5 star Paradis Hotel. The facilities at both hotels are interchangeable! I loved the Paradis Hotel! Having just undergone an extensive renovation, it has a fantastic vibe. With its plentiful activities both on land and sea. This amazing hotel is situated on a private 150 hectare peninsula, with the famous Le Morne Mountain as a back drop. Golfers would be in heaven at both of these hotels, with the world class 18 hole Golf course, set within the grounds of the hotels, spread along the most spectacular peninsular. On day four of our visit, it was time to travel to the north of the island, visiting places of interest on route. We drove through many villages and towns, most of which had a wonderful Hindu feel, locals seem to live a very simply but happy existence. We stopped off to see the Charmanel Waterfall that cascades into a beautiful gorge followed by a quick stop at Seven Coloured Earth Reserve, a geological phenomenon. As we travelled further north we visited the Grand Bassin Lake. The lake lies in the crater of an extinct volcano and apparently the water communicates with the waters of the Holy Ganges. I entered the little temple that sat alongside the lake, where I was blessed with a third eye. Our day ended at the Le Victoria Hotel, situated between the tourist town of Grand Baie and the capital Port Louis. Our one night stay here was very enjoyable. A 4 star hotel offering an All Inclusive package with an extremely lively atmosphere both day and night. I would certainly recommend this property to families with children of all ages. The next day was filled with hotel inspections. The first on our list was the Le Mauricia. This hotel is situated right in the middle of the lively tourist town, Grand Baie. It has a very casual atmosphere, lacking the sophistication of all the other Beachcomber properties, but ideal for anyone looking for a base close to a resort centre. The staff were very friendly and hospitable and it seemed very popular with repeat guests. The second half of our day involved lunch (a spectacular extravaganza!) and a site inspection at the Le Canonnier Hotel. It lies on a stunning peninsular, with super little sandy coves. The extensive grounds are extremely pretty, lying amongst historical landmarks, bearing testimony to the island’s colonial past. The Wellness Centre is built amongst the branches of an ancient Banyan Tree and the kids club is based in an old light house. This hotel was a real surprise for me. Although it is not presented as the most luxurious hotel within the Beachcombers group, I thought it was wonderful and would certainly return there for my own holiday! Our last site inspection was at the 6 star Royal Palm, a member of the Leading Hotels of the World. A beautiful boutique hotel, with an intimate and luxurious atmosphere, designed for the more discerning guests. Although I must say; the food at Le Canonnier far excided even the standard of this hotel! Our final stay was at the stunning Trou Aux Biches. Another 5 star luxury hotel and although it was there as one of the top hotels, it still had a wonderful relaxed feel. Situated on one of the most beautiful beaches of Mauritius, the best really was left to last. I loved it here and did not want to leave! We were given the keys to the most stunning bedrooms, with our very own plunge pool, we were told to meet on the beach. I ended our last night floating in the Indian Ocean with a glass of Champagne, witnessing the most wonderful sunset. What a memorable way to end our stay! I will return to this most magical of islands!

MADIKWE GAME RESERVE SAFARI & JOHANNESBURG

21 June 2015

I have many fond memories as a child, spending long and happy days at our local zoo with my parents and then when I grew up, I relived those memories with my own daughter. But nothing could prepare me for the experience of actually taking a safari and seeing all the wild animals in their natural surroundings. I don’t know how I can give full justice to this amazing experience, but all I can suggest is that it must go to the top of everyone’s Bucket List. Awe inspiring, exciting, thrilling… .there is so many adjectives I could use to express this once in a life time experience. I was one of seven Travel Counsellors that were lucky enough to be invited to join Brad from African Collection on this fantastic Fam trip. We met at Heathrow for our Virgin Atlantic flight to Johannesburg. After a comfortable night flight, which took 10.5 hours we arrived in South Africa and taken to our very own chartered light aircraft, that took us on an hour flight direct to Madkiwe Game Reserve. We landed onto a small airstrip, with elephants and giraffes grazing alongside the small out post and our Rangers were sat waiting in their 4x4 vehicles, ready to transport us to our lodge for our first of three nights on Safari. Madkiwe Game Reserve is situated on the Botswana border. Covering 75 000 hectares of vast open plains of grasslands, rocky outcrops and mountains. It is a malaria free zone and offers good game viewing all year round. The park is a single unit Conservation area, which means there are no migrations. Not only is it home to the Big Five; Lion, Elephant, Buffalo, Leopard and Rhino, but you can also find a wealth of other creatures including the rare Wild Dog. In fact there are 66 large mammals and approximately 300 bird species, ensuring an exceptional Safari experience. Our highly qualified Game Rangers took us out in 4x4 open air vehicles, creating such excitement within us, as we traversed over the plains, learning about the wild life and getting up close to the animals. We managed to see all of the Big Five, but the highlights for me were seeing two lions (brothers) lying together under a tree, a small pack of rare wild dogs and on our final night, a leopard that was found in a tree with its kill. It felt such a privilege to see these animals in their natural habitat and so close up. Each game drive presented something different. Three punctured tyres (one in the dark) and spending a quick penny behind a bush could also been seen as an added thrill or perhaps just madness! But it all added to the experience! MADIKWE HILLS PRIVATE GAME LODGE A stunning Lodge, set on a hilltop amongst huge boulders and age old Tamboti trees. The main building houses a lounge, library, bar and dining room. Elegantly decorated in African style. The Lodge has ten ultra-luxurious glass fronted suites complete with their own verandah and private plunge pools. All overlooking the waterhole! This property is perfect for couples and honeymoons. The Spa is also a great place to relax and rejuvenate. TUNINGI SAFARI LODGE Another stunning Lodge, set in the rolling hills. The main Lodge is spacious and luxurious, with indoor and outdoor lounges and a pool overlooking a waterhole. Walkways lead to the 16 guest suites, all tastefully decorated with gas fireplaces, double baths, an outdoor shower and private deck area. This was my personal favourite; it had a lovely warm atmosphere, due to the extremely friendly staff. THAKADU RIVER CAMP This camp is community owned and run, situated along the Marico River. It comprises of 12 tented suites, each with their own viewing deck overlooking the river. You can sit here and enjoy seeing the monkeys swing from the treetops or perhaps see a hippo lazing on the river bank. Although this camp is not as refined or elegant as the lodges above, I think it has to be experienced. Patience was our Ranger. She is native to the area, so her knowledge is exceptional. We all loved her approach and warmth! FOOD, DRINK & HOSPITALITY I was very impressed by the standard of cuisine at all three properties. The two private lodges presented high standards of service and fine cuisine, with a very good selection of food. Even the fussiest of guests would be catered for! There is also a good selection of wines and spirits. Apparently, the local beer ‘Castle’ is very good. Alcohol is very cheap. A bottle of wine starts at approximately £7 and a beer is about £2/3. WHAT’S INCLUDED Each lodge is based on a Full Board basis and includes two game drives a day. Refreshments are also provided on each game drive. CHILDREN Children are welcome at most properties with stimulating children’s programme. JOHANNESBURG An interesting four hour road transfer took us back to Johannesburg. We stopped off for lunch at the De Hoek Country House, situated just 40 minutes outside Johannesburg. Not unlike an English Country House, it is a great option for anyone looking to spend a few days relaxing outside of the city. Balloon rides can be arranged from here. On arrival in Johannesburg we checked into The Fire & Ice Hotel in Melrose Arch, for a two night stay. Melrose Arch is a unique city within a city, which boasts a variety of trendy retail, gourmet restaurants and leisure amenities. THE FIRE & ICE HOTEL A trendy and vibrant hotel, with a Hollywood theme. Luxury decor inspired with quirky pieces of furniture. A boisterous hotel with friendly staff, keen to make the whole experience a very unique one! Before I went on this trip, everyone was keen to advise me how dangerous Johannesburg is, but my whole experience was contrary to these comments. I would recommend a visit to the city, without any hesitation. Our full day of activities started with a trip to the Apartheid Museum. A sobering account of segregation between the blacks and whites. It presents a balanced account of 20th century South Africa. Next was Soweto, for a cycle ride through the township. Jazz, a very cool dude took us through this vibrant and energised community, on old and rickety bikes. Visiting Nelson Mandala and Desmond Tutu’s homes - I absolutely loved this experience! The day ended with a short walking tour of the inner city. Jo our guide, provided a passionate and knowledgeable insight into the city. Highlighting Graffiti Art and major rejuvenation projects taking place. Lunch was provided at the Westcliff Hotel. I would certainly recommend this 5* star property, if someone is looking for a more refined alternative to the Fire & Ice Hotel. Our trip to South Africa ended in Johannesburg and next we were off to Mauritius, shown on a separate Blog. ‘WHEN YOU TOUCH THE SOIL OF OUR LAND, YOU FEEL A SENSE OF PERSONAL RENEWAL’ Nelson Mandela during his Inauguration Speech 1994

Lapland

28 January 2014

I was so excited when I learned I had won a trip for me and my daughter to Lapland, courtesy of Simply Sweden. But nothing could have prepared us for perhaps one of the best experiences of our lives. It felt like we had been placed literally on top of the world. With outstretched arms, I felt I could almost touch the stars above me! The scenery is not like anywhere else I have experienced. The sun peeks above the horizon, creating a wonderful pink sky above pure white landscape. The area is flat, with snow covered forests and lakes. Everything felt pure and fresh. There was a stillness that filled the air, creating an unusual atmosphere. Temperatures normally drop on average to -20 but during our visit it went as low as -40! Thank goodness for the warm snow suits and boots provided. The coldness hits you as soon as you go outside. Ice forms on every exposed bit of hair, icicles form inside your nostrils and the ice cold air captures at the back of your throat. Your body acclimatises to the coldness and it is soon forgotten (well almost!) The highlight of our trip was the stay in the original IceHotel. It is like entering a huge igloo. The entrance is a long room with ice carvings on the walls, ice chandeliers hang from the ceilings and at the end of the room is a life size ice carving of a unicorn. Each suite has an individual theme. All have their wow factor. Seeing is truly believing! A trip to the IceHotel is not complete without a visit to the Ice bar, where you can try one of the vodkas, served up in a glass made of ice. We checked in at the warm quarters of the IceHotel and were given a small room, where we could keep our luggage etc. At bedtime we changed into our thermals and warm pyjamas, put on our warm hat and gloves, collected our special thermal sleeping bags and retired to our ice room. Our beds were made of ice with a mattress covered with reindeer skin. Our room reached -5 through the night. I thought we would be freezing, but it was surprisingly warm. In the morning a girl woke us with a glass of hot berry juice. Our first day was spent on a Husky sleigh ride. The Huskies were like a bunch of noisy teenagers, eager and excited to be on their way. We sat on the sleigh, whilst they raced through pretty forests and over iced lakes. I let out a few laughs and screams, it was so much fun. During our experience, our guide lit a fire in a small tepee, where we enjoyed delicious homemade soup. Later that day, we embarked on our next adventure. A snowmobile trip to Wilderness Lodge. Our two hour night journey took us across the ice lakes and forests. I was brave enough to drive one myself. I was a little nervous to start with, but it didn’t take long to master the skill and I was soon enjoying the whole experience. We had a sweet little lodge, with its own log burner and sauna. A hearty meal was serviced in the main lodge, cooked by the proprietors. It was a unique experience with a homestead feel. The journey on our snow mobiles the next morning was magical, made special by the appearance of a wild reindeer which ran across our path. Our last evening was spent back at the IceHotel and this time we stayed in a lovely warm room, with under floor heating. Food during our stay was hearty and rustic, with ingredients used from the surrounding forests and waters. Reindeer and moose is also on the menu and must be tried. The IceHotel a la carte restaurant is expensive, but exquisite and worth every penny. Otherwise a 15 minute walk to the Old Homestead, is a less expensive alternative. Overall, the trip was an amazing adventure and experience. With more time there, you can try ice fishing, ice driving or ice sculpting. Take a wildlife experience or try snow shoe walking, have a reindeer sleigh ride and Sami experience or even take a trip to the Aurora Sky Station! One of the highlights of this trip is the chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis. We were not lucky enough to see the Northern lights. But perhaps it is a good enough excuse to go back again!

Voyages to Antiquity

08 November 2013

I was thrilled when head office contacted me to confirm I had been invited on a four night cruise with Voyages to Antiquity. I have been on many cruise ships over the years, but this experience was going to be unlike any other! We took a flight from Heathrow to Athens with British Airways and were met on arrival by the local rep, who swiftly escorted us to our ship, the MV Aegean Odyssey. Before long I was on board, enjoying the facilities. A cocktail on deck, to be more precise! My cabin was not massive but it was perfectly formed and very well decorated in bright and contemporary style. There was plenty of wardrobe space (and coat hangers – hooray!), a desk and a comfortable easy chair. The picture window was small but adequate. Overall I was very impressed. I was keen to explore the ship and it did not take long to find my way around. The Aegean Odyssey is small, with a personal feel. She is classically elegant, without appearing stuffy or pretentious. The crew on board were very friendly and obliging. It was not unusual to see the captain mixing with passengers and enjoying an after dinner drink in the Charleston Lounge. Food is always one of my favourite experiences when cruising and Aegean Odyssey certainly did not let me down. It was of Mediterranean style, with fresh local produce, cooked in a simple but delicious and healthy style. During the day we ate from the Terrace Cafe; a circular work station is positioned in the restaurant where staff cook and serve the food in front of you. The ship also houses its own pizza oven and there is always a speciality dish being cooked and served on the outside terrace. In the evenings we tended to eat in the Marc Polo restaurant. An open-seating policy is in place, so you can choose when and where to eat. The added bonus to the cruise is the unlimited high quality wines and beers that are served in all the restaurants, during evening dinner. If you are feeling peckish there are the late night snacks that come around by trolley in the Charleston lounge and of course, I have to mention my favourite, the fantastic afternoon tea! Evening entertainment is very low key. The Odyssey Trio Elvis, Petru and Karen may provide an evening of jazz in the Charleston Lounge or you might like to enjoy a classical concert in the Ambassador Lounge. More modern music is played late into the evening, but only a few hard core passengers stay up late! The Aegean Odyssey is aimed at travellers wishing to learn about the places they visit. The itineraries are carefully chosen by noted historians. Passengers are taken on a voyage through time, visiting ancient sites and civilisations. The guest speakers will teach you the history, art, myths and architecture of the places visited. But it is not all about visiting ancient sites; the cruise will also appeal to anyone looking to avoid crowds, wander around beautiful islands, cruise remote inlets and visit charming villages. One of the biggest advantages to this ship, is the fact that it can cruise into stunning harbours and bays, which big ships cannot reach. All the excursions are included in the price of the cruise. Our itinerary included Delos, an uninhabited island, full of Greek mythology. Mykonos, with its winding, narrow white washed street with colourful balconies and the famous windmills. Lemos, an unspoilt Greek island, full of charm and Izmir, where we visited the famous site of Ephesus. Aegean Odyssey is an older style ship with just seven decks and a ship tonnage of 11,563. She carries on average only 350 passengers. The amenities on board include two restaurants plus outdoor dining terrace, three lounges, four bars, a lecture theatre, library, shop, internet centre, outdoor pool, health spa and beauty salon. I thoroughly enjoyed the unique experience Voyages to Antiquity provide. It was wonderful sailing to unusual ports of call and learning about the history of the places. I loved waking up and finding myself in beautiful bays and harbours. Exploring gorgeous little towns and villages, with their little side streets and perhaps enjoying a local drink in one of the traditional cafes. It was fun bartering for local goods and fake brands in the busy Bazaars. Ending each day sailing along pretty coastlines, whilst experience the facilities on board. It is an experience I will never forget. I just hope I can return!

CARNIVAL SUNSHINE

10 July 2013

When head office invited me to spend a couple of nights on-board Carnival Sunshine, off the coast of Italy, I happily accepted! In all the years I have been in the travel industry I have never booked a Carnival cruise, so was very unsure what to expect. Carnival Sunshine is the fleets newest Fun Ship and is one of their most exciting ships to date, after her $155 million dollar transformation. She weighs 102,853 tons, with 14 passenger decks and accommodates just over 3000 passengers. There are 11 dining venues, 9 bars, 2 entertainment venues, 5 outdoor/recreation areas including a private relaxation area for adults only, spa and gym, casino, coffee house, internet cafe, a fantastic water park area with flumes and slides as well as an outdoor cinema complex. On arrival at Pisa airport we were transferred to the ship, for our two night stay. Check-in and immigration was dealt with very quickly and efficiently. Before I knew it I was in the cabin which was a very spacious outside two berth with plenty of room to move around. There was plenty of storage space with a good size dressing table. The bathroom with shower was of an adequate size. The style was modern and fresh. Time to explore; the ship was vast, but it did not take long to find my way. The public areas were modern and contemporary, with a fresh look. The outside area around the main pool was tiered with plenty of sun loungers. This was the main focal point to the ship, it was very busy and sometimes noisy, especially with the cinema screen blasting out music all day and films in the evening. I was grateful to relax in the adult only area. There are plenty of areas to escape if you want to. The first night we ate in Cucina Del Capitno, an Italian restaurant and on the second night we ate in the Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse. I was extremely impressed with the food on both occasions and the staff were very accommodating. The buffet restaurant served up a vast choice for breakfast and lunch. Drinks were a similar price to here in the UK. There was always plenty of entertainment in the daytime and evenings, although it is fair to say it is mainly geared up for the American market. I would say 80% of the passengers were from the USA. I would definitely recommend the Sunshine ship, if you are looking for a good standard 4* cruise ship. It is suitable for multi generation families, from young children, teenagers, parents and grandparents. It is a fun and lively ship with a very informal feel. Dress code is smart casual every night, so need to take smart suits and dresses. Carnival are pulling all their ships out of the Med in 2014, but they will be providing some very exciting itineraries from the USA and Caribbean. I would recommend a cruise combined with ground arrangement in the USA, perhaps a week in Orlando to see Disney World or a trip to New Orleans, for the Jazz. The choice is endless! A one week Caribbean Cruise starts at just over £300.00 per person, based on a twin share!!

Mesmerising Mexico

10 October 2012

I travelled to Cancun with Virgin Atlantic and I would definitely recommend upgrading to the extra leg room seats for an extra £30 each way (especially if you’re tall!) On arrival in Cancun we were transferred to the Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa, about 40 minutes from Cancun. There are four brands in total: Dreams and Now who cater for all ages including families and Zoetry and Secrects who cater for adults only. The Dreams Riviera Cancun is a fabulous 5* hotel with an impressive reception area and a lovely decked promenade leading down to the pool and beach area. There are plenty of facilities for all ages. The bedrooms have a very Caribbean feel. They don't have separate bathrooms but wonderful wooden shutters divide the bed from the bath and the sinks (his and hers) and only a thin glass door separates the toilet and walk in shower. The Jacuzzi on the balcony was definitely worth a try, especially with a Pina Colada in your hand! We then moved to the Secrets Maroma Beach hotel, a luxurious, 5*, adult only property which is fabulous for couples and honeymooners. The hotel is all-inclusive, even down to the mini bar in your room. Our bedroom was lovely with tasteful furnishing and it was wonderful waking up in the morning, lying in bed, able to look out over the tropical gardens and watch the sun rise. The beach area at this hotel is lovely; you can just lie on your sunbed and let your waiter serve you drinks and food all day. One interesting experience at this hotel is feeding the Angel fish that come into the shallow shores each day! For those who enjoy true relaxation, the spa facilities are second to none. Cancun is the main tourist area of Mexico, where you will find great shopping, restaurants, bars and nightlife. Our hotels were situated just down the coast on the Riviera Maya. The idea is that you enjoy the all-inclusive facilities but can also then take excursions out, which can be arranged before or whilst you are away. Mexico is full of interesting sites and isn’t just for people looking for a relaxing beach holiday. We visited the ancient ruins of Tulum, the only archaeological site on the Caribbean coast. It’s definitely worth a visit, but I wouldn’t advise visiting on a very hot day as there isn’t much shade to escape the sun. We also visited XCaret Nature Reserve, a nature park with fun for all the family. We had the opportunity to swim through a meandering natural river that took us through caves and mangroves and we had such great fun! However, the most memorable experience was having the chance to swim with dolphins which lived within the hotel grounds. One of the trips I would definitely recommend during a stay in Mexico is a visit to the ancient pyramids and ruins of Chichen-Itza and Uxmal. Mexico is also famous for having the second largest coral reefs in the world, and so is extremely popular for divers. I loved Mexico as it has so much to offer for everybody. The resort hotels situated on the beautiful Caribbean coast offer sanctuary and relaxation, whilst you have the added benefit of so many places to visit and so many new things to experience. The people here are friendly and very keen to make sure a stay here is a memorable one! My top tip would be to take some body spray oil: great for keeping the mosquitos away!

Independance of the Seas/Royal Caribbean International

26 October 2012

I have recently returned from a three night voyage on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas. We departed on 2nd May 2012 from Southampton to Le Havre and return, with the option of spending a day in Paris. On arrival at the Docks, I was surprised at how long the queues were for check in, but it did not take long to board the ship. Check in was very swift and organised. Unfortunately we were unable to go into our cabins until after 2pm. However a fabulous buffet lunch was provided, with a huge selection of hot and cold food. I then went to the top deck and enjoyed a glass of wine in the Olive & Twist bar. It is an adult only bar, with floor to ceiling windows, providing fabulous unobstructed views out to sea. At approximately 2pm an announcement was made, with confirmation that my cabin was now ready. I was assigned an inside stateroom on deck 2. This grade of cabin is quite small and although it could accommodate 4 passengers, it would be a very tight squeeze and not something I would recommend unless you are on a tight budget! Unfortunately the ship was full, so I was unable to visit other cabin grades, to compare. The ship is 160,000 tons and takes up to 3,634 passengers. She is huge, with a fantastic array of facilities, to suit all ages. Children are well catered for, with the H20 waterpark, flow rider, climbing wall, ice skating, swimming pools and cinema. There are also kids clubs for all ages, from toddlers to teenagers. For adults there is the Spa & Beauty centre, fitness room, golf simulator and some lovely sedate lounges, if you want to get away from the crowds. The main focal point to the ship, is the amazing Royal Promenade. It lies in the heart of the ship and is 4 decks high. A bustling boulevard lined with a selection of fantastic dining, shopping and entertainment opportunities. Every day, a cruise newsletter is left in your cabin, listing a huge selection of daytime and evening activities. You can be as busy or relaxed as you want, there is something for everyone. In the evening you can enjoy a wonderful meal in the 3 tier dining room, alternatively you can eat in the casual Johnny Rockets American diner or the sophisticated Chops Grille or Portofino Italian restaurant. There is a wide variety of bars and pubs, the Mezzanine night club and the Casino Royale. The 3 tier theatre is fantastic, showing Broadway style shows and musicals. The ice shows are also not to be missed. Independence of the Seas with Royal Caribbean is a fantastic alternative to an All Inclusive in the Med, especially since you can now obtain drinks packages on board. You also have the added benefit of visiting a different port each day, with a great choice of shore excursion to choose from. I was blown away by the ship and the facilities. The staff on board are very friendly and nothing is too much trouble. She caters for all ages and is suited to passengers looking for a fun filled, lively holiday. It is ideal for families.

My customer stories

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I would like to add that the service and advise we have had is brilliant, so easy and friendly and knowledgeable

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Without hesitation I would recommend Helen

Sent by CAROL NICKS

Helen always goes the extra mile. She made this booking so easy I feel really safe to travel knowing she is always there to help. Excellent service Have recommended Helen many times

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This is the second time that we have used Helen to find us a holiday and she has been extremely efficient and so easy to deal with putting our minds at rest with any questions and queries that we may have. We would definitely use her services again.

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Helen is brilliant, very helpful and just knows what we want... thank you Helen

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We already have recommended Helen to some friends

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Very helpful and knowledgeable about our requirements

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Helen has gone above and beyond with making sure we have exactly the holiday we wanted (and more). She’s been very accommodating with regards to when and how she communicates with us which showed her hard working ethic, flexibility and commitment to her customers to provide the best customer service! Thank you Helen x

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Helen will always go well beyond the normal business call of duty.. We have complete confidence in her to act in the clients’ interest at all times and thank her for her continuing care.

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The service, knowledge and reassurance a highly experienced travel agent like Helen gives in so important and now more than ever. 6 star service every time

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Helen listens to all our questions and is so helpful. We always feel really confident booking through Helen.

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We have recomended Helen to various friends and family...

Sent by JACQUI TITFORD

Fantastic service, nothing too much trouble, even though we changed our minds about the hotel. Efficiently gave accurate quotes and found exactly what we wanted. Will defo use Helen again. Makes booking holidays painless.

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Why would you go to a high street travel agency when you can go to Helen and be so well looked after, nothing is too much trouble for her. Service as it once was but now very rare. Long may she continue !!!

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Fabulous service - personal and helpful and so easy to contact.

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Helen goes that extra miles. She responds to any communication I make. It is evident that she works hard and enjoys supporting her clients. An asset to Travel Counsellors.

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Helen could not have been more helpful in helping me plan and organise my approaching trip to Australia, a star!!

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Easy, friendly. Exactly what I wanted. A fantastic service. Made to feel special and that the holiday really mattered.

Sent by Sarah Jones

10 plus we would say. Very helpful throughout

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Helen is very friendly and always ready to find time to answer questions and give sound advice, even when we change our minds she will still be patient and go and find what we want

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Helen is always willing to go the extra mile to make sure everything is in place ready for my holiday

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Our experience with Helen has been that she gives a very personal, helpful & friendly service & we are very happy to recommend her to other people.

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Holiday booking made easy and pleasant Thank you Helen Thanks for all you do Valerie

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Friendly, knowledgeable and wasn't pushy.

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Excellent service

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We found you very friendly, prompt & efficient.

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Very friendly efficient and takes all the hassle out of finding your holiday

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Helen has been constructive, helpful and given me aptions to consider with informative information. No problem in using her again and will advisie my friends to use her agency.

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Friendly, efficient and local!

Sent by Pamela Sillifant

Helen is always very helpful and seeks tirelessly to find the right holiday for us, at the right price. She is very professional and extremely friendly.

Sent by James Enright

We know we can always rely on Helen for efficient service with a smile.

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Helen is very helpful and knoweldgeable, always phones you back, and will let you know if she is ti ed up with other clients

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Helen, is brilliant, so helpful and just understands what you want.

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Helen has been very helpful, listening to our needs and providing a range of opportunities. We feel very well supported in the choice we have made.

Sent by YVONNE MAPPLEBECK

Helen has looked after us for many years and has provided us with an exceptional service. We have also recommended her to friends and family who have always been extremely happy with everything she has done for them too.

Sent by TIMOTHY ARMSTRONG

Knowledgable, helpful and very friendly. First class all round.

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Fantastic lady have recommended her to lots of friends.

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Amazing customer service

Sent by TERENCE ELSE

Very attentive, professional,nothing too much trouble . Above all a lovely person !

Sent by MARILYN WELLS

Helen has been incredibly helpful, offering expert advice and working very hard to secure the best deal possible. The trip would not have happened without her support and experience.

Sent by BRIAN EDDY

Excellent service, great attention to detail. Very warm and friendly service. Excellent knowledge of travel industry. Loads of practical experience. Would recommend without hesitation.

Sent by ROY PHILLIPS

Helen is brilliant. She is really quick to respond to any query. She is intuitive, sensitive and extremely knowledgeable about any aspect required. Nothing is too much trouble for her.

Sent by EMMA TAYLOR

We recommend Helen to everyone, and I know that some have already booked with her.. She is always so helpful, friendly and willing to go that extra mile. We will book any future holidays with Helen. You will not get a better service anywhere.

Sent by IAN NOON

Just a brilliant level of service and fantastic client outcomes every time.

Sent by Caroline King

Helen Birtwistle has always been amazing at finding us the most perfect holidays.

Sent by PAT HENCHIE

You are a true independent and client focused professional. Thank you

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How else could I vote? Trish feels sorry for you having to deal with me!!!!

Sent by SHEILA HAWKINGS

Helen is always so cheerful and nothing is too much trouble for her with sorting all of my requirement regarding holidays and travelling arrangements and certainly recommend her.

Sent by ARTHUR SMITH

Helen is the most helpful travel agent I have ever come across, she will search for exactly what you think you want and also help you find alternatives if it's not available when or were you want it. Can't recommend her enough

Sent by BARRY HAYWARD

Helen is simply excellent at her job, no question is too difficult or silly, she puts you at ease from the first moment you make contact. 10 doesn't seem high enough really.

Sent by WILLIAM RUSSELL

We had some complications with insurance taking up a lot of Helens time but she did it all with a smile, patience and professionalism

Sent by IEVA UDRA

I'd give Helen 15 out of ten. She's professional, kind, caring, friendly and most helpful.

Sent by MARTIN WALDEN

Excellent, efficient, helpful friendly service as always from Helen.

Sent by SARAH ASHWORTH

Helen is extremely helpful, courteous, friendly and efficient. Nothing was too much trouble, and I am thrilled with the work/holiday package Helen sourced and booked for me.

Sent by KEVIN PARTRIDGE

Fantastic agent. Always goes that extra mile. Have recommended Helen to friends and family already! Keep doing what your doing .

Sent by HARRIET JEFFERSON

Helen was super helpful and really quick to provide us with a variety of options to consider. She helped us to create our dream holiday to budget and we can't thank her enough. We will be recommending Helen and Travel Counsellors to our family and friends when they are next booking a holiday.

Sent by KENNETH HUDSON

Helen is so helpful and cares so much about our wishes and needs when booking a holiday

Sent by KENNETH STOWERS

Helen is a great ambassador for Travel Counsellors, very knowledgable, very helpful, very efficient and always absolutely charming.

Sent by PAMELA SHERGOLD

Helen is always so helpful Would highly recommend Helen

Sent by MADELEINE JONES

Excellent professional, helpful and friendly service.

Sent by YVONNE MAPPLEBECK

We always receive a fantastic service from Helen Birtwistle

Sent by CAROLINE BROWN

Always there when help needed.

Sent by DARRIN HARDY

Helen was very helpful with coming up with suggestions for places to travel to after finding out a bit about us

Sent by PETER SILLIFANT

The personal touch from someone who gets to know your personal preferences

Sent by JENNIFER CATER

Always very helpful, interested in understanding your particular needs/wants etc and responds promptly to any issues that may arise. Takes all concerns on her shoulders and removes them from yours.

Sent by LOUISE THOMAS

Helen has been absolutely brilliant - so helpful and she thinks of every detail. I have already recommended her to all my friends!

Sent by CECILIA CHAPMAN

I would be very happy to recommend Helen for any travel arrangements. Helen’s response to my travel requirements was swift with several options to choose from. With one phone FaceTime call she had everything sorted. Air travel, hotel booking. Transfers, and payments. I am delighted with her service and will definitely go to her for any future travel enquires.

Sent by SHEILA HAWKINGS

Excellent service Helen always takes all the worry out of travel arrangements for me and she is extremely helpful

Sent by STEVEN MORLEY

Once again Helen has sorted out our next holiday, exactly to our requirements. She is (in our opinion) a credit to Travel Counsellors.

Sent by ROSALINDA UNDERHILL

Really helpful and friendly service, would definitely use again

Sent by KAY HOPLEY

Love the personal service we always get with Helen. Much better than a travel agency. We have used Travel Counsellors for a long time and have never had any problems, always ready to help in any way. Thank you.

Sent by LARS PAULSSON

Helen is very knowledgeable and extremely helpful. I would deffinately use her services again.

Sent by EMMA TAYLOR

We have already recommended Helen to many people - friends, family and customers. She is always friendly, and quick to respond to any questions and has the patience of a saint! But above all she listens. She listens so that she understands exactly what type of holiday you want, and then delivers the perfect package. We will never go back to using a high street travel agent. You cannot beat the level of personal service you get with Helen.

Sent by MARIA SHELSTON

Helen was amazing really helpful and would absolutely recommend.

Sent by CAROLE MARTIN

I have been a client of Helen for a number of years and always, and will continue to, recommend her services to my friends.

Sent by ALBERT PARKER

First class professional service with the experience to better match individual client requirements.

Sent by NATASHA HUMPHERY

Fabulous as always

Sent by JOHN SILVERMAN

Been going to Helen for years...so kind-of speaks for itself. She sorted our current holiday in just one shot. She knows what we like.

Sent by JILLIAN BEILBY

Helen was brilliant. Nothing too much trouble. I am a solo lady traveller and she completely reassured me and has set me off on my travels feeling very excited!

Sent by GUY JONES

Have previously used Helen for our trip to Canada, and from start to finish her service and advice was brilliant! Although we thought Helen wasn’t going to beat any online quotes for this years holiday to America, she did, which was fantastic, as we wanted to use her again. I always recommend my friends and family to try Travel Counsellors. Thank you Helen!

Sent by SAM GREEN

I already have recommend her to friends. She is friendly, patient and extremely knowledgeable.

Sent by BRIAN EDDY

You are meticulous and so reliable that we never have any qualms about using Travel Counsellors. Thank you again for every plan you make for us Helen.

Sent by PETER GALLI

Helen makes the experience fun, is clearly on top of all the issues surrounding travel and takes a great deal off one's shoulders. She is a very pleasant and efficient person whom I would recommend to anyone.

Sent by PETER SAVAGE

Helen has been incredibly helpful in finding the right holiday for us and has gone out of her way to make it happen.

Sent by JEFFERY BOORER

Helen was absolutely fantastic and found us the exact holiday we were looking for, the hotel the flights even car hire The whole thing was done in a couple of days with no fuss or worries from our end, we just told Helen what we wanted and she did the rest

Sent by PAULINE MOUNTAIN

Helen is always so helpful.

Sent by AIDAN KING

Helen has been booking my holidays for years and she has never got it wrong yet. Her enthusiasm and professionalism is excellent and now some of my friends use her all the time as well.

Sent by MARTIN WALDEN

Friendly efficient service leading to excellent holidays

Sent by GEORGANNA SMITH

Helen is always lovely, and listens to our holiday needs each time then she always finds us the perfect holiday and at great prices too. Nothing is to much trouble. We have been using her for a number of years now and every time we go somewhere different. Can’t wait for our next recently booked family adventure. Thanks again Helen

Sent by TREVOR STRATFORD

As usual the whole holiday was organised in a very professional way. All tickets printed and made available. A meeting arranged to run through everything, as this included two train trips across Austria. This was a 3 centre holiday and all went well. We did have to make changes to our itinerary while we were in Austria and this was done without any hiccups and organised quickly and professionally.

Sent by WILLIAM COULSTON

Helen was really helpful throughout the process of the booking our Honeymoon.

Sent by MILES OPIE

All worked out well - great holiday - many thanks

Sent by ANTHONY SILLIFANT

Helen has the personal touch and goes the extra mile to ensure a successful booking.

Sent by AMANDA BLIGH

Helen provides a personal & efficient service.

Sent by FIONA ROSS

Fantastic service all-round. Helen was very attentive and thorough and found us a great last minute family holiday at a great price. Very Happy!

Sent by JOSEPHINE MITCHELL

Helen is always Welcoming, cheerful and helpful

Sent by JANET SWIFT

Helen always goes the extra mile to ensure all holiday arrangements are perfect in a warm and professional manner.

Sent by JOHN DOWDY

Helen is an efficient, thoughtful and very patient consultant. She has a very pleasant bubbly personality and bends over backwards to accommodate requirements. Nothing is too much trouble and not only have we recommended her but we will definitely use her again. It is always a pleasure to deal with her.

Sent by MIKE NICHOLLS

Visiting Helen and being looked after by her is just as enjoyable as the holiday itself. She gives sensible advice and has never put us wrong yet.

Sent by NIGEL POTTS

Brilliant operator and will recommend Her to all my friends. Going forward I will always use Helen for holiday and trip advice.

Sent by CAROLE MARTIN

I have already recommended Helen to all my friends and family for a number of years and will continue to do so with pleasure.

Sent by PETER MAPPLEBECK

Helen always provides a professional service and knows exactly what we want from a holiday when booking with Travel Counsellors. We always recommend her to family and friends.

Sent by JOHN OTT

Helen is just brilliant

Sent by JO SOLEY

Helen is my go to travel agent for anything travel related. I trust her. I love working with her as she really understands my needs and nothing is too much trouble.

Sent by JIM STOWERS

Throughly professional lovely lady who always goes the extra mile for her clients. We are repeat business and will be again and again.We cannot recommend highly enough. Nothing is too much trouble for her and she goes out of the way to ensure everything runs smoothly every time. A real star.

Sent by REBECCA PEARCE

Helen is brilliant, really happy to help and to meet all our needs, 2nd time booking with her, and I expect will do again in the future.

Sent by STEVEN DALE

Always very helpful with a smile.

Sent by ROY PHILLIPS

Fantastic service from Helen. Nothing is too much trouble. Calm and friendly, knowledgeable and inspiring. Great stuff!

Sent by ALBERT JONES

Helen was very helpful and arranged a cruise for us at very late notice. Brilliant service.

Sent by THOMAS FORD

Helen has been fantastic every step of the way. Always gets us the best deals and best hotels.

Sent by Anita Kinsella

I would be very happy to recommend Helen to anyone. The least little thing is always organised as soon as possible. If you phone Helen and she’s with a client you will receive a return call promptly, on one occasion she even booked a cruise for me while travelling back from her own vacation. With Helen, personal service means just that.

Sent by EMMA TAYLOR

We had a specific holiday in mind and having tried several of the high street travel agents who were unable to help we were so glad to talk to Helen. I felt like she was the only person who listened to what we wanted and then proceeded to arrange everything as we wanted it. Communication was also excellent. We are more than happy with the service received.

Sent by Anne Ardley

I am so glad that friends of mine recommended Helen to me. She has been brilliant! I am planning a holiday of a lifetime and Helen has been great at making suggestions but also responding to my requests and requirements so that we end up with something which really suits us. She has never made me feel that I am awkward for changing details and I am confident that we will have a great holiday. Thank you Helen!

Sent by Yvonne Mapplebeck

Helen always works tirelessly to search for the best holiday for myself and my husband. I don't like flying so take a lot of cruise holidays. Helen always finds us a great deal. We do not have to think about anything except enjoying our next trip!

Sent by SONYA ENRIGHT

I know I can rely on Helen for service with a smile. Nothing is ever too much trouble, however complex, and she hasn't put a foot wrong yet. I wouldn't consider booking anywhere else and have recommended several satisfied friends.

Sent by DAVID JEWELL

Just a big thank you for all of your help with are holiday booking. You have been a real pleasure to work with and we look forward to working with you on future holidays.

Sent by Christine Acid

Helen has always been very helpful, offering advice and suggestions to help you choose your ideal holiday. Nothing has been too much trouble and she has looked at different options to try and meet customer needs and budget. I would happily recommend Helen.

Sent by Sarah Geran

Helen made my booking of a holiday of a life time very stress free. I felt incredibly secure and reassured handing over the details to be fine tuned by Helen. A very genuine, friendly professional service. Thank you Helen for putting up with my indecisive mind and change of plan at a moments notice! Always there to reassure. We can only look forward to our trip now knowing all has been taken care of.

Sent by Rosie Walden.

Great service from Helen, as always. Helpful, friendly, efficient and knowledgeable.

Sent by Julie Kennerson

I always find Helen to be very helpful and willing to do everything she can to find the holiday I am looking for.

Sent by Margaret Nicholls

Helen is our favourite lady in Teignmouth. Although she is busy, she always makes the time to help us search for holidays and to explain all the pros and cons to us. She hasn't given us any wrong advice yet and we trust her absolutely.

Sent by Sheila & Derek Woodward

This is the first time we have used Helen following recommendations from some friends, we have found the service given by Helen to be excellent going above and beyond to ensure we get the holiday we are looking for will not hesitate to use her again and recommend her to friends many thanks Helen.

Sent by Carole Martin

Am always pleased to use Helen's service for my holidays and have had no hesitation in recommending her to all my friends and family. She has a lovely personality and always goes the extra mile for her clients.

Sent by Hazel Hedge

We had an email out of the blue advising us of a great P&O cruise deal. Within minutes it was books, signed sealed and delivered. Excellent service!

Sent by Marion Bull

This is the second time I have used Helen as my travel consultant. She was so efficient the first time we decided to use her again. She had given me many options and much needed advice as we plan a tour of India next year.

Sent by Pamela Shergold

Helen is so friendly and very knowledgable with any holiday enquiries. She recently booked a superb hotel for my sister and I in Las Vegas, we had an amazing view from our room on the 52nd floor and the room was amazing. Would certainly be using Helen again in the future.

Sent by Angela Eyles

First class service and so much help. She makes everything so much easier especially with the decision making. I will continue to use Helen and refer anyone that is going on holiday to seek her assistance

Sent by Andrew Pilkington

Helen offered us such a personal service, with nothing too much of a problem. Afforded all the time we needed to get a great holiday arranged and booked - which turned out to be just what we expected. We will continue to use Helen for our future trips for sure.

Sent by Brian Eddy

Excellent attentive service. Helen always pays attention to detail. Her extensive travel experience enables her to give excellent advice and she keeps up to date with legislation (Passport cost increases) as well as situations where world travel is involved. She gives unstintingly of her time and nothing is too much trouble. Her main goal is to ensure her clients specific and detailed needs are met and she goes to great lengths to ensure clients requirements are tailor made. In the unlikely event there is problem Helen has the backing of Travel Counsellors to resolve any disputes. We have had holidays in the UK and abroad and also cruises arranged by Helen and have always been extremely pleased with the service provided. The additional recommendations and suggestions Helen makes and the follow up provided on our return have always added to the enjoyment of our holidays. On a scale of 1-10 Helen gets 10 every time.

Sent by Kathie Carr

Helen, thank you once again for arranging my holiday for me, you have been doing this for a great many years and your service is friendly, caring and most thorough, always finding that something a little different.

Sent by Audrey Keenen

Helen was a first class Counsellor. She fought hard to find accommodation to suit our vague needs. She also help us enormously when we were going through a very rough time. Helen helped us to get a refund later because of health reasons. I wouldn't hesitate to use her services again.

Sent by Rebecca Pearce

Helen has always been so helpful, and always gets the best deal for us, the standard and quality is always fabulous, so we will certainly be booking again with Helen, first class service.

Sent by Sonya Enright

I know I can rely on Helen for service with a smile. Nothing is ever too much trouble, however complex, and she hasn't put a foot wrong yet. I wouldn't consider booking anywhere else and have recommended several satisfied friends.

Sent by Gary Hutchins

We had been thinking of going to South Africa for some time but we didn’t really want to just book a normal package holiday so we were recommended by a family member to contact Helen to see what she could sort out. From our first telephone conversation we knew Helen could sort out exactly what we wanted and at a very good price. Helen's attention to detail was second to none and discussed every detail of our holiday to make sure we got exactly what we wanted. Helen's knowledge and experience was superb and if there was something she didn’t know the answer to it didn’t take her long to find the answer. We had constant communication with Helen until we departed and would thoroughly recommend her services and will be using her again. Thanks Helen for sorting out our amazing holiday and making it a memory that will last forever.

Sent by Miles Opie

Helen is our only choice when it comes to booking our main holidays. Over the years Helen has organised a good number of holidays for us, she takes care of all the organisation, planning and preparation and find us a good price (I know this because I have checked!). All have gone smoothly and it is reassuring to know that if we needed help she is a phone call or an email away. We have recommended Helen to many of our friends and will continue to use her for our holiday needs.

Sent by ALBERT PARKER

Consistently goes the extra mile to ensure all bases are covered and fully explained. Has become more a friend than a travel advisor.

Sent by MARTIN WALDEN

Only used Helen for two years so far. Her service has been excellent, and she is now our 'first port of call' when we are considering another holiday.

Sent by PETER MABERLEY

Helen gives excellent service.

Sent by JOAN COLLISON

Helen is always pleasant and friendly but at the same time is very professional.

Sent by TERRY ELSE

Nothing is too much trouble, devoting herself to sourcing the right holiday itinerary. Prompt and efficient service, wouldn't hesitate to recommend her.

Sent by PAMELA BEMBRIDGE

Helen is always very helpful and goes the extra mile

Sent by ALISON THEAKER

Helen always goes the extra mile. Willing to send us good alternatives and also found cheaper holidays working with local suppliers.

Sent by SARAH GERAN

Helen has gone out of her way to meet my needs regarding my booking. Always responding very quickly to my questions and change of plans! I feel very reassured and confident in my holiday of a lifetime booking!

Sent by PATRICK BROPHY

We feel very comfortable with Helen, she understands our needs and fears of travelling. Helping us to make good choices for our holiday journeys. Thank you, Helen.

Sent by VIRGINIA HOOK

I was recommended Helen whilst on holiday last year and can highly agree with the recommendation. Not only is Helen highly professional but she is also very friendly - a good combination!

Sent by STEVEN MORLEY

Helen provides a friendly, reliable and prompt service. We have already recommended her to friends, and they are also pleased.

Sent by PATRICIA HENCHIE

I felt that I was chatting through options with a friend.

Sent by JOHN DOWDY

Just great, enthusiastic, helpful, courteous considerate, professional

Sent by PAULA HEDGE

Helen is always a pleasure to talk to, and extremely helpful.

Sent by SOPHIE GAMBLEN

Helen was so helpful, incredibly informative and professional. We would (and already have!) recommended her to others. We cannot wait for our honeymoon!

Sent by GEORGIE SMITH

Helen's continued patience and help when we book a holiday is first class, she always takes time to make sure we are totally happy with our travel plans. Even after making a booking she is always available to help incase you have a problem while away. The service is so personal. Thanks so much Helen for another successful family holiday. Looking forward to planning the next one!

Sent by JOHN SILVERMAN

Been using Helen for years. Speaks for itself.

Sent by DAVID SUMMERFIELD

Helen was very helpful as always. And nothing is to much trouble. We have booked holidays with Helen before and always had a first rate service.

Sent by ELIZABETH KEENAN

Fantastic service

Sent by TRACEY SALTER

Helen is always friendly and helpful and I have already recommended her to lots of family and friends.

Sent by ANGELA EYLES

Helen always goes that extra mile to make sure that our holiday is all sorted. I have already recommended her to several people.

Sent by COLIN BURBIDGE

Very helpful sorting a complex proposition

Sent by HAZEL CHANNON

Helen is very good to work with. Always in communication and she has great ideas. I feel fully confident in her suggestions.

Sent by JANET SWIFT

Helen will always go the extra mile to make sure all details for our holiday is catered for and I have no hesitation is awarding 10.

Sent by PATRICIA WALDEBACK

Helen works very hard to get exactly the right booking. I am very happy with her results.

Sent by JUDITH BOYCE

Helen always offers more than we expect. This time she pointed us to a Danube cruise which will certainly be better than the one we had researched. Furthermore the one booked was shown as fully booked some months ago and Helen,'s enquiry unearthed a sole vacancy, probably a cancellation. Last year we were able to recommend new clients for Helen and they were well pleased with all she did.. Helen always goes the extra mile to help.

Sent by MAXINE SNELL

Fantastic personal and professional service with so much travel knowledge.

Sent by KENNETH STOWERS

Helen is a friendly, knowledgable travel agent who makes the whole experience a pleasure not a trial!!

Sent by JOHN OTT

Best advice ever

Sent by VICKI COPELLETTI

Could not be more helpful and friendly. She goes that extra mile! We would never book a holiday with anyone else. Thanks Helen x

Sent by HELEN THOMAS

Helen Birtwistle was fantastic! We were getting very frustrated trying to find a suitable holiday online and one phone call to Helen resulted in what looks like the perfect holiday arranged within a few days. We are really looking forward to the trip and thank you very much Helen for all your help! I have already recommended Helen to two friends and passed on her business card - I'm sure that they will be in touch!

Sent by KENNETH STOWERS

Helen is a friendly, knowledgable travel agent who makes the whole experience a pleasure not a trial!!

Sent by JOANNA SOLEY

Helen is AMAZING. I would never trawl the internet for a holiday again. I worked in the Travel Industry for 10 years and I am VERY discerning. Helen knows what I like and she never compromises. I feel Helen is part of my support team in life, alongside my hairdresser! She knows I value service and I never feel awkward saying that not quite right or can we look at this. Thank you Helen

Sent by YVONNE MAPPLEBECK

Nothing is too much trouble for Helen Birtwhistle our TC representative. She always finds us just want we want!

Sent by Patrick Brophy

Both Patrick and myself have great praise for you and your work. If we could afford to travel we would plan ahead with you monthly. You are knowledgeable and take away the stress of the trip. We often sing your praises because we know what a good job you do. Thanks, xxxx

Sent by MICHELLE MANDERS

Helen has been amazing and so helpful! Would definitely recommend her! Xx

Sent by CHRISTOPHER MANSER

Helen is good at her job also will go that extra mill to help find the right holiday for us

Sent by KEVIN ROBINS

Excellent customer service

Sent by JOAN COLLISON

Always pleasant, nothing too much trouble.

Sent by ALEXANDRA CHAPMAN

Can't praise Helen enough.

Sent by DEBORAH SNOOKES

Excellent service, especially since we changed our plans more than once!!

Sent by ALBERT PARKER

Always going the extra mile to ensure total and absolute customer satisfaction.

Sent by ANNE HANDS

my friend and I looked at other ways of arranging our holiday this year but decided to return to Helen as we had such a positive experience last year.

Sent by SHEILA HAWKINGS

Helen is always extremely kind, very helpful always giving her full attention to all my needs.

Sent by PAMELA BEMBRIDGE

Very helpful. Helen goes the extra mile to keep us up to date with our arrangements

Sent by TERENCE ELSE

I have dealt with Helen over a number of years now, and I can honestly say I have always found her extremely knowledgeable, efficient, working tirelessly any time any day to meet our requirement- and always with a permanent smile on her face! I don't know how she manages that sometimes, I couldn't? Nothing is ever too much trouble and I will continue to recommend her to friends without any hesitation. First class service!

Sent by STEVEN MORLEY

Helen provides an prompt, efficient and friendly service, we frequently recommend her to others.

Sent by GWYNETH CROSSLAND

Brilliant very patient helpful & knowledgeable

Sent by JANET SWIFT

Helen always goes that extra mile to make sure all aspects of holiday are covered. An asset to your company.

Sent by MAGGIE DOYLE

Thank you so much for organising such a perfect trip. Everything went so smoothly including our transfers and excursions.The hotel was ideally situated and the accommodation was more than adequate. We are all very appreciative of the first class and personal service that you provided Many Thanks Maggie x

Sent by MICHELLE BARLOW

I found Helen extremely knowledgable, professional and patient; I will be recommending her to all of my family & friends. Thank you for a fantastic service.

Sent by FRANCINE BEILBY

Always a great help and very patient! Excited for our holiday in March!

Sent by LAUREN HURRELL

Helen was lovely to deal with and found us a perfect honeymoon destination for a great price, highly recommended and would definitely use her again.

Sent by ELIZABETH HARTT

I would most certainly recommend Helen to my friends, (and family and ex-colleagues (I'm retired), if they lived locally). Indeed, I already have. Helen has been efficient, knowledgeable, helpful and friendly. She is very much part of the community in my new home- the lovely town of Teignmouth. She is a credit to Travel Counsellors.

Sent by ELIZABETH HARTT

Helen was lovely to deal with and found us a perfect honeymoon destination for a great price, highly recommended and would definitely use her again.

Sent by SONYA ENRIGHT

Always the best service and I never hesitate to recommend Helen.

Sent by SEAN LYNCH

Awsome.Thank you x

Sent by ANDREW PILKINGTON

Cannot fault the personal service offered, and not just in 'normal hours'. Evening calls and help has been most helpful.

Sent by REBECCA PEARCE

I have already recommended Helen to lots of my friends already, fab service

Sent by JOHN OTT

Just the best. We use Helen for all our travel arrangements.

Sent by DEBORAH ASHINGTON

Helen is professional and efficient. She is also very friendly and easy to contact

Sent by ANNE MCCALLISTER

Would give 11 if I could!

Sent by CAROL NICKS

Helen always gives 200 per cent service. There is no other way I would book a holiday than with Helen.

Sent by ELAINE GARD

Helen has always been extremely helpful and very professional each time I have used her services, I would highly recommend her to friends and have done on several occasions.

Sent by HELENE BRADLEY

She was very pleasant and informative to speak to and very straight forward.

Sent by MADELEINE JONES

Very helpful and patient. Professional but friendly manner. Personable, nothing seemed too much trouble. Shared helpful personal experiences of her own travelling and experiences which helped me make decisions. Appreciated. Will definitely recommend Helen to others for their travelling needs.

Sent by SAMANTHA GARDNER

Simply wonderful service - thank you.

Sent by KERRIE DALE

Helen is a breath of fresh air. Always willing to go that extra mile, we now have total confidence in Helens ability to sort our travel arrangements she is now always our first port of call.

Sent by CAMILLA VAID

Helen was amazing - recommended by a friend very last minute she managed to help us find the perfect holiday within a couple of days. It took out all of the stress of hours online and trying to remember what I'd just looked at and whether there was still something better out there. Will definitely be using her till the day I die!

Sent by NATASHA HUMPHERY

Helen is fabulous! She has a great approach and takes the hassle away from me having to find out every little detail. With my research/checking reviews and finding out local information paired with her quick responses to many endless questions we have booked amazing Worldwide trips and experiences for all of the family.

Sent by SUSANNA RAHMAN

Always helpful and approachable.

Sent by KATHLEEN CARR

Helen s lovely bubbly lady who goes that extra mile to make all the arrangements seem quite easy, I would highly recommend her.

Sent by EDITH SMITH

Helen is always very friendly, helpful and informative and I have no problem recommending her to all.

Sent by IAN NOON

Just brilliant!

Sent by GEORGANNA SMITH

Helen is so patient with us on deciding on our perfect holiday, nothing seems to be a problem. She always replies quickly to any queries, it's a really personal service, she knows what we like and don't like for a holiday and always seems to find us acomadation and destination to fit our needs. Will always recommend her to friends and family. Many thanks Helen.

Sent by SALLY JOYCE

Helen is brilliant! So clever at judging the right places. I have already recommended her to many of my friends.

Sent by YVONNE MAPPLEBECK

Helen always goes the extra mile and is a pleasure to do business with. We have recommended her services to others whom I am sure will agree.

Sent by KENNETH HOLLAND

We've already recommended Helen! She's excellent.

Sent by ELIZABETH BROPHY

We were recommended to see Helen, she is well thought of in my circle of friends and relations.

Sent by SIMEON RAMSDEN

Helen was brilliant as ever, really helpful and informative. As usual the whole holiday has been neatly packaged up, leaving us feeling confident and eager to go. Thanks.

Sent by JOAN PAULETT

Undoubtedly 10 out of 10. I have given 2 buisness cards out and my well travelled friends in Plymougth were very impressed with the website. Thank you Jo Paulett.

Sent by STEWART HENCHIE

Helen was very patient and helpful with my wife and I in making our choice for travel and accomodation in Corfu, Greece. She pointed out from her knowledge problems and issues that we would not have known . We would heartily recommend her to others.

Sent by MILES OPIE

Always an excellent, personalised service - can't beat.

Sent by ALBERT PARKER

Helen always goes that extra mile to ensure delivery of her own high standard of personalised customer satisfaction. A credit to the franchise.

Sent by AUDREY KEENAN

We had a brilliant cosultation with Helen who was extremely helpful. Consequently we booked our holiday with her.

Sent by DIANNE CLEASBY

Extremely friendly and supportive with nothing being too much trouble. Only use this wonderful holiday 'service' and so glad found my Travel Counsellor Helen.

Sent by HAZEL CHANNON

Helen was very helpful and totally accessible. Very clear explanations. thanks.

Sent by SVETLANA SVECOVA

Helen is my numner one Travel advisor. She always gets my wishes fulfilled and at the best price.

Sent by TRACEY SMYTH

Very friendly and professional it's been a pleasure to book with you.

Sent by JOHN WILSON

The service given by Helen Birtwistle is fantastic. Couldn't be bettered.

Sent by ARTHUR SMITH

Helen has been very helpful in finding us just the holiday we were looking for.

Sent by ALAN WAGSTAFF

always an excellent and friendly service

Sent by JO SMALLBONES

Brilliant service - thank you Helen!!

Sent by TRACEY SALTER

This is the third year Helen has booked our holiday for us. Once again we told her approximately how much we wanted to spend and a few days later Helen sent back several options. We chose an all inclusive holiday to Marrakech. Helen sorted everything out for us even the A.P.I and transfers all we had to do was pay and enjoy our holiday. I am now looking forward to our next holiday in May to Portugal and again Helen has sorted everything out for us. Its so easy, just tell her what you want and she will do her best to find the perfect holiday for you. Thanks again Helen

Sent by CHRISSIE JOHNSON

I have already recommended Helen as a great Travel agent and I will continue to do so!

Sent by TOM WARD

most friendly and pleasant person to deal with.

Sent by ANNA WHIG

As previously Helen provided a superior and professional dedicated service first rate assistance all round

Sent by JO PAULETT

My friend and l embarked on planning a 3 country trip and soon realized this wasn't going to be easy. Another friend had suggested travel counsellors and in particular , Helen Birtwistle , and like magic Helen made it happen with such speed and expertise and we are so delighted we just wanted you to know. Many thanks from Jo and Anne.

Sent by CHRIS EDDY

Excellent service, very good attention to detail, As the advert says, " with us its personal" they really listen to your holiday requirements and then tailor make a holiday to suit.

Sent by JOHN PAVEY

Helen has the patience of a saint...she does not give in until she has sourced our perfect holiday.she is a god send for us as we know she will give us 100% and will be smiling all the way through.

Sent by JULIE LUXTON

Helen has been great! Very patient and making a real effort to find us a holiday that meets all our needs. Helen is a credit to herself and your company.

Sent by MIRELA CURUVIJA

We loved our honeymoon holiday in Dubai! Hotel Ramada was all we expected, amazing location in Jumeirah beach. The room and hotel staff was excellent. We particularly loved our welcome fruit and cake, honeymoon special basket! Just one of the holidays we will cherish forever! Thank you for all of your help and making this holiday an amazing experience for us!

Sent by GORDON GREEN

Helen is excellent and goes beyond her remit, always gets back to me. Very approachable and friendly.

Sent by AIDAN KING

I have been booking holidays with Helen for five years now. Her efficiency, professionalism and knowledge take all the hassle out of travelling abroad. I have recommended her services to many friends and will continue to book with her in the future.

Sent by ELIZABETH HARTT

Helen has been friendly, knowledgeable, efficient and very helpful. She has helped guide us through the challenges of travelling abroad from our new home in Devon, and finding relatively local flights. She has also done a lot of research, and found a holiday which is right for us, and also very good value. We are so pleased that we found her!

Sent by JANE FREER

Helen has been really helpful helping us to plan a visit to Australia. She really went the extra mile to provide what we wanted. Helen really cares about her individual clients.

Sent by PETER SEABROOK

Hi, Helen was fabulous, chasing around after the best deals and prices, We did start off looking for a week in a villa with a pool in Gran Canaria or Lanzarote but we've ended up going on Safari to Zimbabwe & 5* in Dubai for two weeks! We would gladly recommend her to our family & friends.

Sent by JOHN OTT

Just brilliant. Nothing too much trouble.

Sent by MARK ASHINGTON

We found Helen to be very friendly and professional. She was prompt with her replies and welcomed our input.

Sent by KATHLEEN CARR

Helen is a delight, she has immense patience and really does research alll aspects of the proposed holiday.

Sent by JONATHAN CAMP

Helen is very patient and provides a great service, taking the hassle out of organising complex holiday arrangements.

Sent by CAROL NICKS

Have already recommended Helen to many friends and will continue to do so.

Sent by VICKY POLLARD

Amazing service, couldn't have asked for more.

Sent by FLEUR COOK

Helen Birtwistle was amazing and couldn't do enough to help us plan our mini break away. Thank you.

Sent by PAULA HUTCHINS

Helen always goes that extra mile, when advising us on our holidays would not book with any one else

Sent by NICOLA GORD

Helen is fab and so helpful.

Sent by KENNETH WYATT

Helen is very friendly and helpful and provides outstanding customer service

Sent by KALA JONES

We still can't believe how easy and simple it was to book our 'tailor made" holiday with you. Nothing was too much trouble, thank you. We've only just booked our holiday, but have already recommend three people to you! Thank you so much, will definitely be using you again.

Sent by ALISON THEAKER

Helen is always available and works hard to make sure the holiday is the right one for us.

Sent by JAMES CASSIDY

I have already recommended Helen to several people, and would continue to do so - a fabulous service.

Sent by TIMOTHY DURRANT

Helen was very patient whilst we explored a variety of options and kept us very well informed as we moved forward. We are now looking forward to a special holiday booked through her and Travel Counsellors.

Sent by TRACEY SALTER

Helen is always really helpful and does her best to find the right type of holidays for us. Thanks again

Sent by SALLY JOYCE

Helen is so helpful. She quickly knows what sort of trip you are after and has brilliant ideas and suggestions. Planning a trip with her is a lovely experience.

Sent by SHEILA HAWKINGS

Excellent service and I have recommended Helen to my friends and look forward to using Travel Counsellors Ltd to help me with my travels in the future

Sent by SUSANNA RAHMAN

Fantastic service. Will be using again & have already recommend to friends & family.

Sent by PAULINE MOUNTAIN

Extremely helpful, thank you.

Sent by CAROLE MARTIN

Having been a very satisfied client of Helen for some time now I am always extremely happy to recommend her to friends and family.

Sent by SIMEON RAMSDEN

I would definitely recommend my Travel Counselor Helen Birtwistle, since she has always found us great deals, and added little extras which have made the holidays run even more smoothly. I have always found Helen to be really friendly, and always happy to put in the time to help you.

Sent by SHARON PERKINS

Great friendly service - looking forward to speaking to Helen soon re our family trip to Florida in 2016! xx

Sent by ALBERT PARKER

I would have scored Helen 12/10 but this option was not available.

Sent by JOANNA TOMLIN

Amazing service, swift, professional and great attention to detail. Thought of things that we hadn't and sorted these too!

Sent by PETER SIMMONDS

Great service, nothing too much trouble.

Sent by CAROLINE PORTER

Helen Birtwistle is always very helpful, friendly and professional - I trust her judgement in her recommendations. She goes the extra mile in her personal service and I recommend her to friends and work colleagues at every opportunity.

Sent by KEITH WILTON

Reallly great service. Fast, professional and friendly. Found us a really great deal when we only had a couple of days before we wanted our holiday. Would highly recommend Helen's services to anyone looking to make booking a holiday as easy as possible.

Sent by YVONNE MAPPLEPECK

Excellent personal service from Helen Birtwistle.

Sent by JANET MILLS

Always most friendly and helpful. Nothing too much trouble

Sent by WENDY MAYLE

My friends and I have been helped by Helen Birtwistle on several occasions before, we find her very helpful, good at her job, easy to get on with and so far has always come up with a holiday that has been as near as possible to what we have asked for. Thank you very much.

Sent by JO SOLEY

Having worked in the travel industry for 10 years - I am very discerning - Helen was able to surpass my expectations 10 fold.

Sent by MARGARET HARVELL

I have already given Helen's cards to a number of friends and colleagues. She is excellent at dealing with any queries. She is magic. She takes all the hassle out of trying to find the best deals, we are very impressed.

Sent by ANDREW PARK

A definite 10. There is nothing like personal recommendation out there. We spoke to Helen specifically about Caribbean travel. This might be her speciality. If she also knows, say European travel or cruises we'll be back in contact.

Sent by NICOLA FORD

Very helpful and informative, I've already recommended my daughter.

Sent by NICKY HALTON

Helen goes above and beyond to help out with your travel arrangements. We were trying to please a very different group of people and as far as I can see Helen has achieved this. We would normally book it all ourselves but this took the stress out of all of our travel arrangements - would highly recommend using Helen.

Sent by DENIS HUTCHINS

Excellent service

Sent by LAURA OSBORNE

Helen is great and very helpful nothing is too much trouble

Sent by GARY PARKER

Just a simply fantastic way to arrange a holiday, and Helen also found a way of saving us £1,200 on the best deal we could find elsewhere!

Sent by NICOLA HELMSLEY

Invaluable help, I can't rate Helen more highly and would not hesitate to recommend.

Sent by CHRISTOPHER LEE

Helen has been exceptionally patient and helpful throughout the process. Would have no hesitation in recommending her.

Sent by PAULA HUTCHINS

Amazing service, nothing is too much trouble for Helen - we wouldn't book with anyone else.

Sent by JANET SWIFT

Helen always goes that extra mile to make sure every holiday need is catered for. A true professional!

Sent by SARAH SILVERMAN

Always an extremely professional, friendly, and personal service. Each time we book a holiday through Helen her advice and recommendations have been excellent, and has helped ensure that we have had a brilliant and stress free holiday. Thanks Helen for everything you do for us!

Sent by TRACEY SALTER

Helen arranged our holiday for us last year we had such a great time and everything went like clockwork, so we asked her to arrange our holiday again this year. If you are planning to take a holiday, just call Helen, tell her what you are looking for and she will do her best to find the perfect holiday for you, she does all the hard work and all you have to do is go on holiday and relax!

Sent by CHRISTOPHER MANSER

Helen is always very friendly and will go the extra mile

Sent by RICHARD HENSHALL

Helen has always given us exceptionally prompt, accurate, and helpful service. She is polite, kind, considerate, and very approachable. We have already recommended her to others, and will continue to do so.

Sent by VALERIE CLEWLEY

I would recommend Helen to everybody she is most attentive and helpful in every way possible,she has the personal touch that is sadly missing elsewhere. Nothing is too much trouble for her!

Sent by KERRY ROFFEY

We have used Helen twice now to book trips to India and she has been so friendly and helpful. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend her to anyone.

Sent by AIDAN KING

Have been booking holidays via Helen for the last few years and find her care and professionalism very good and that's why I keep coming back to her to sort all my holiday requirements.

Sent by Sonya Enright

Helen is always happy to help, efficient and pleasant

Sent by Scott Bathard

Fantastic service with a really personal touch, and an endless knowledge of travel!

Sent by Avery Netley

We first met Helen after friends of ours recommended her.When she heard of the difficulties we were having due to my husband's disabilities she sorted our cruise out very quickly. She is now arranging our fifth cruise and we would not dream of consulting anyone else. We can only speak from our own experience and we recommend Helen to other people without reservation.