Based in Hertfordshire

Nicola Benson

Available for new enquiries

It's Nice To Meet You

I'm Nicola and I live in St. Albans with my cocker spaniel Pepe.

For just over 24 years, I have enjoyed sending my lovely clients to all corners of the globe and they have enjoyed my unique personal travel service.

I take great pride in offering honest, impartial, expert advice based on my years of experience, and being able to offer a 24/7 support service whilst you are away and it makes me so proud when my customers come back and recommend me to their friends and family.

Travel Counsellors have direct relationships with trusted contacts across the world and I can offer a great choice of holidays from a weekend break in Paris to an around the world cruise!

My role is to eliminate the stress of hunting down the ideal option, remove the hassle of ironing out every detail and take responsibility for ensuring your hard-earned money is spent wisely.

You just dream up a destination and allow me to take care of the rest!


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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.

Californian Adventure

02 October 2018

To celebrate my daughter Megan's 21st birthday, myself and her Godmother took her on a fantastic trip to the West Coast! First stop San Francisco. It was a tad colder than we expected but we headed straight out to experience a cable car to Fisherman’s Wharf for dinner. This is a buzzing area with plenty of bars, restaurants and souvenir shops. The next morning, we bought a two day hop on hop off bus ticket and headed to the famous bridge. Because of its location on the Pacific Coast, San Francisco can suffer with fog and it tends to be clearer for the afternoon. We drove over to Sausalito and you couldn't see very much at all but once we arrived in the little town it was warm and sunny. It's worth spending a few hours wandering around the lovely boutique and art gallery shops as well as enjoying the many coffee houses and restaurants. Our drive back was fantastic as the sun was shining and the bridge was to be seen in its full glory! We then headed to the Japanese Tea Gardens and onto the rest of the tour. An open top bus is a great way of travelling around any city as it gives you a perspective of where everything is, and you can literally hop off and then back on to get to other places of interest. Our highlight was Lombard Street - it was extremely steep to walk up to it and then you had to tackle 250 steps. My tip is to get the Powell & Hyde cable car to Fisherman’s Wharf and to get off at the top! Second stop Yosemite, about a 4-hour drive from San Francisco. We stayed in a lodge 5 minutes’ drive from the entrance to the National Park at El Portal (entrance is $30 for a 7-day pass Sept 2018). We spent two days driving around Yosemite from the Mariposa Grove to the South to Hetch Hetchy in the North and Mono Lake just outside the park to the East. It is simply a stunning area to explore and the views are breath-taking. My advice is to stop off at a supermarket before you head to Yosemite and take some bits for you to have whilst staying there. The National Park is vast and there is quite a distance between food and drink stops. For our last stop on our Californian Adventure we headed to Monterey. Our highlight was a whale watching trip from Moss Landing. We headed out into the Pacific at 9am in thick fog but we were rewarded with seeing over 20 humpback whales over a 3-hour period. We witnessed a 5-whale feeding frenzy, a mother and her cub and a rather friendly whale who decided to surprise us all with an overturn splash right next to our boat! Carmel is another beautiful area worth a visit and of course for any golfing fans, Pebble Beach is a must! We really loved this area of California and enjoyed all the different experiences. It’s a perfect destination for all and has something for everyone!

myTC App

25 March 2017

I’m always here to help with your travel plans and now I’m available wherever you are in the world at the touch of a button! I’m really excited to announce that our new free app, myTC, is available to customers who’ve booked a holiday with me. How does myTC work? With myTC you can access your itinerary, travel documentation, contact me at the touch of a button, and more! Contact me and I will be able to give you a link to explore myTC and see how you can use it on your next holiday. If you’ve already booked a holiday with me and would like to use the app, get in touch today!

A weekend in Somerset

15 March 2017

If you fancy a weekend away with friends or family, I can not recommend Windmill Retreat highly enough. Set in the lovely village of Middlezoy, our beautiful home had four double bedrooms and three bathrooms on the ground floor, and a stunning living area on the first floor with a balcony overlooking the surrounding countryside. And to top it all off a hot tub in the garden! We visited Cheddar Gorge, Glastonbury and Bath, shopped, ate and relaxed! It was a really lovely weekend. Bristol, Wells (one of the UK's smallest cities) and Taunton are all within easy reach and Burnham on Sea is only half an hour's drive away. Surrounded by the Somerset Levels this really is a stunning location to explore. If you would like information on this or another short break in the UK please let me know, there really are some beautiful lodges to stay in.

Mystical Marrakech

13 December 2016

In November I was invited on a trip to take in the sights of Marrakech. With only a three hour flight from London, this is an ideal short break destination but as I soon found out, there is also plenty to do for a longer stay. The snow-capped Atlas Mountains are a stunning backdrop for this buzzing sprawling city. The walled Medina houses the Jemaa El-Fnaa Souks. A maze of colour, noise and smells that you could easily get lost in, or for those who are less adventurous you can always book a guide! There are stunning displays of leather goods, glassware, clothing and metal works and locals desperate to barter with you. Outside in the main square are varieties of fruit, vegetables and local dishes to sample, along with entertainers with snakes and monkeys. Do not take photos unless you are prepared to tip them for the privilege. If shopping is not your thing, you can always head to the Atlas Mountains to Terres d’Armanar. Zip – wiring, E biking, running, trekking, horse riding are just some of the activities on offer. We all had the pleasure of the zip-wiring. I say pleasure but first off we had to negotiate a suspended bridge with planks a stride apart hovering over a sheer drop! With several people on the bridge at any one time, it bounced and swayed and was not easy to navigate! With that done, we then had to zip down four different wires strung high above the valleys. Travelling at great speed we worked our way over each one, the adrenaline rush is amazing and I am so glad I did it. Food in Marrakech is an art. We ate in some lovely hotels including the Riad Kniza which is a beautiful traditional Riad in the city centre. You enter through an impressive front door into a calm space with stunning architecture. This is a must for anyone wanting to sample true Moroccan hospitality. Our dinner of lamb and vegetables was served in hot tagines and it was lovely. We also visited Dar Moha which was an experience. We had lots of smaller courses all served in mini tagines and it was so colourful and well-presented and all washed down with local wine which is very good. Nightlife in Marrakech is varied. There are lots of bars, restaurants and hotels all offering an array of entertainment. My favourite was the Jad Mahal – live music and a packed crowd make this a great atmospheric evening. It’s not for everyone as it is more traditional and very small but well worth the effort to get in. If you prefer something more contemporary try the So Lounge at the Sofitel. Amazing live singers and a DJ that was like no other I have ever experienced. He had us up and dancing until the early hours! We visited many hotels in Marrakech but my top two were the Beachcomber Royal Palm Hotel and La Mamounia. If you want to stay within a short walk to the Medina then La Mamounia is the place for you. It is quite simply stunning and offers traditional Moroccan architecture set in beautiful grounds with a gorgeous pool all with superb views of the Atlas Mountains. Winston Churchill lived here and you can see why he loved it. Rich dark woods and décor, an impressive spa and luxury branded shops. Beachcombers Royal Palm is a resort style hotel approximately 20 minutes’ drive from the Medina. Perfect for families or couples it offers so many facilities and a view to die for. This really is a hotel that will wow you. The rooms are stunning and the bathrooms even more impressive. There is a Clarins Spa, a sports centre with not only a gym but a 25m pool! The crèche and children’s centre are second to none and offer a mini pool, play area, and their very own chef! The 18-hole golf course wraps around and is set beneath the Atlas Mountains in the distance. There are various restaurants and bars all offering a high level of service. All in all Marrakech surprised me. It is a place that can be explored quickly for a weekend break and yet there is so much to see and do, a week would not be too long. It will appeal to couples and families and really does offer something for everyone. An ideal Easter or October half term break with the kids as the weather will be perfect. Definitely somewhere I will revisit.

A golfing paradise in Scotland

21 March 2017

Scotland is renowned for many things; bagpipes, castles, beautiful scenery, serene lochs, and of course being the home of golf! In fact there are over 500 golf courses in Scotland so it would take you a few years to play them all! We spent a week in St Andrews whilst my son took part in a golf competition, and when he was on the fairways we visited the surrounding areas. St Andrews itself is a lovely part of the world. It is not a stereotypical tourist town at all and it is steeped in history. It is also home to Scotland's oldest university where Prince William attended. The centre of the town has cobbled streets, narrow alleyways and some lovely cafes, ice cream parlours and shops. You can explore the castle, the now ruined cathedral and the adjacent church of St Regulus, where you can climb the spiral staircase to the top of the 108 ft tower for magnificent views of the town and its surroundings. There are two beautiful beaches, a Sea Life Centre and the Museum of Golf, with plenty of other places to visit all within a short drive. We found a wonderful place to eat just on the outside of the town called the Steak Barn - we sat on benches with sand underfoot and watched our steaks being cooked and it was delicious! I would recommend St Andrews to anyone, not just golf lovers. It is a beautiful part of the world and one we will be returning to again in 2017!

Magical Mauritius

07 July 2016

In May 2016, I was very lucky to be part of a team of Travel Counsellors that travelled to Mauritius and stay at the beautiful Beachcomber Paradis Hotel. We flew out with Emirates Airlines and were lucky enough to experience business class on the A380 out of LGW. We were treated so well, and I would really recommend Emirates Airlines. Paradis Hotel is one of 8 Beachcomber properties in Mauritius. It is set on the Le Morne peninsula alongside Dinarobin Hotel and set beautifully on the beach with an 18 hole golf course enjoying some spectacular views and with the backdrop of the iconic Le Morne mountain. Mauritius has a lot to offer everyone, from honeymooners to families to groups of friends. You can choose to just relax in the resort or explore some of the wonderful sights Mauritius has to offer. We travelled to Port Louis for the day and shopped in the local markets as well as the lovely little stores and craft market. We enjoyed lunch at a local brewery and I have to say the light beer was much needed on such a hot day. We were also lucky to be able to take part in Zip-wiring at Casela National Park - something I would definitely recommend, it was an awesome experience. You can as an alternative take part in quad biking here which some of our group chose to do instead. On our first evening we were treated to a Sunset Catamaran Cruise to watch the sun go down. The stars in the southern hemisphere really are something else and I will never forget that evening! Paradis Hotel was simply gorgeous - there are various different room options as well as private villas on the beach, all set within stunning grounds. You can choose between four restaurants to dine and also use the facilities at the Dinarobin next door. We stayed in Junior suites overlooking the ocean and the balconies were almost as big as the rooms! Now for the golf! An 18-hole, par 72, beautiful course which winds its way under the shadow of the mountain around to the sea! Spectacular views the whole way around and some very interesting trees and water features! I was lucky enough to play (I use the term loosely) 9 holes compliments of the management and totally enjoyed the morning out there. Our last evening we had dinner on the terrace in one of the private villas. It really was a magical and these villas are just perfect for those who may need a little more space and some privacy. The perfect end to a perfect trip. We all had such an amazing time and have some fantastic memories to treasure. If you think Mauritius may be somewhere you would like to holiday, please get in touch and I can give you some more information.

A weekend in Budapest

07 July 2016

Budapest! The home to some incredible buildings, a beautiful river and chimney cake! I went with a group of friends to celebrate a big birthday. The weather in April was lovely and we were surprised to find 't-shirt' weather. When we arrived, we checked in and then headed straight out to do an open top bus tour. I always find this helps to get your bearings and is a great way to check out where all the major sights are you want to see. Budapest really is a mixture of old and new and personally I much preferred the Buda side. Our first evening was spent on a lovely dinner cruise along the Danube. The city is stunning at night all lit up and a cruise is a perfect way to see it. I would recommend pre booking a table as it is very popular. The food was amazing and a it was a 'special' birthday they greeted us with a glass of champagne each (worth mentioning at time of booking) Our next day we visited the 'Buda' side of the city and ventured up the Fenicular to Castle Hill, an Unesco World Heritage Site. There are some amazing churches, government buildings and the Royal Palace to explore as well as thermal springs and The Hospital in the Rock. Budapest is host to some lovely restaurants and bars and the city has quite a 'buzz' about it. No visit would be complete without trying one of the local dishes - goulash. It is on offer in most restaurants and is delicious. I would also personally recommend the local cafes and trying 'chimney' cake, various flavours but cinnamon the most popular! There are plenty of private and public spas around, something that Budapest is very well known for. The concierge are great to point out the nearest ones and generally one should be within walking distance. A lovey way to relax on the morning of our journey home! We stayed at the Marriott Executive Suites in a two bedroom two bathroom suite that slept up to five. It was the prefect location between the main shops and the river and offered continental self service breakfast. A great few days in a really lovely city, I was surprised by Budapest and would recommend it to couples, families and friends! It will appeal to all.

Indian Odyssey

07 April 2015

Along with five friends I flew to Delhi where we spent two nights and days exploring this fascinating city of two halves. We visited the famous Red Fort in the heart of Old Delhi which once was the most opulent fort of the Mughal Empire, the Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in the world and The Raj Ghat which is the location of Gandhi's cremation. New Delhi was built in true colonial style with tree-lined avenues, colonial bungalows, the Parliament House, the War Memorial Arch and the Viceregal Palace, now the official residence of the President of India. During our tour, we visited the India Gate, the President's Palace, the tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun, and the pre-Mughal monuments including Iltutmish's tomb, Qutb Minar and the tomb of Isa Khan. With Delhi explored we headed to the station to board the luxury train, Deccan Odyssey. Our cabins were all ensuite and although small, perfectly formed. I have to admit I really was unsure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised and the staff, food and whole ambience was traditionally Indian and beyond expectation. Our first day took us to Ranthambore to go on safari in search of the tigers. Unfortunately for us, they were all in hiding but we saw plenty of other animals and birds and an unforgettable sunrise over the hills. The seventh wonder of the world the Taj Mahal was our destination for day two. Built by Shah Jehan as a mausoleum for his favourite queen, Mumtaz. The Taj is constructed entirely out of white marble, it is an architectural masterpiece with beautiful inlay work and marble screens. It was breathtaking. After lunch we visited the tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah. Often referred to as the 'baby Taj', the tomb was built by the Empress Noor Jahan in memory of her father. We then continued to visit the 16th-century Agra Fort, an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The citadel consists of marble palaces, ornate alcoves and terrace pavilions. Day three saw us arrive in the beautiful city of Jaipur, the vibrant capital city of the Royal State of Rajasthan. Also known as the Pink City, historical Jaipur is home to amazing palaces, forts and much more. During the afternoon we walked through the local colourful bazaars before stopping off to shop for some clothes! After travelling again through the night, we arrived in the Blue City, Jodhpur. We spent the day wandering around the well-known Old market of Jodhpur before taking a ‘tuk tuk’ ride up to the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort, placed 400 feet above the city level, offering an amazing view of the surrounding area and the blue houses below. Day six and the train reached Udaipur, famous for being one of India's most romantic cities. We toured the City Palace, and later Fateh Prakash Palace, known for housing the stunning Crystal Gallery. On our 7th day, we arrived in Vadodara, the city of the Gaekwads. Our city tour was followed by a folk dance performance at the Laxmi Vilas Palace and then a traditional afternoon tea. We were surprised on our last night onboard with a Bollywood celebration and all dressed in local outfits. Our train journey was one we will never forget. It was a fantastic experience and an economical way of touring such a beautiful country as travelling was all done overnight. I would definitely recommend a trip to India. It is so colourful, completely chaotic and totally charming. I will be returning again at some time in the future for sure.

Sri Lanka – the pearl of the Indian Ocean

07 October 2014

After a very comfortable 13 hour flight we landed in Colombo. We took a short transfer to the 4 star Jetwing Blue Hotel in the beach resort of Negombo. After a good night’s sleep we headed to Anuradhapura, en route visiting Pinnawela elephant orphanage. It was fascinating watching these magnificent animals being washed in the river and then seeing the babies being fed with bottles. For a small fee you can buy tickets to do this locally. Our accommodation for the night was the beautiful 5 star Ulagalla Wallawwa Resort. This hotel is one of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, featuring 20 private ecologically built stilted chalets set within a 58 acre estate. The four poster bed and plunge pool make this a perfect romantic getaway where you can enjoy private dining, a leisurely bike ride, or a dip in the beautiful infinity pool. It is a unique boutique hotel and one I would definitely recommend. We visited the ancient ruined city of Anuradhapura which was the first chronicled capital of ancient Ceylon. There are many temples and Sthupa to visit and the sacred Bo Tree where we were blessed. Later on in the afternoon we were treated to a jeep safari at Minneriya wildlife sanctuary. If you love elephants and birds, this is the place to visit. The views were outstanding. On arrival in Dambulla, our hotel for the night was the 4 star Heritance Kandalama. This hotel is an architectural masterpiece by Geoffrey Bawa, built overlooking the rock fortress of Sigiriya. The hotel sits at the heart of the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka, close to five UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Monkeys climb the balconies, so keep the doors closed! The next day, we were to climb Sigiriya Rock. Considered the eigth wonder of the world, Sigiriya was built in the 5th century. Over 600 feet high and 1200 steps, oh how my legs ached once we arrived at the top, but the views were amazing and worth every step! During the afternoon we visited Dambulla cave temples. Dambulla is a UNESCO World Heritage site. There are five caves one of which is home to 150 life size statues of gods. The ceilings are covered with frescoes and depict great events in the life of Buddha. We then set off for the picturesque drive to Kandy, which is a peaceful haven to retire to and enjoy the cooler climate. Kandy is the cultural centre of Sri Lanka, dominated by its lake and the nearby Temple of the Tooth which houses Sri Lanka’s most sacred relic. Our stay here was at the 5 star Cinnamon Citadel. A lovely modern hotel offering lovely food and simply the best desserts housed in their very own room! Next stop, Kegalle to experience the low country tea estate and traditional planter’s life of a bygone era. We stayed at the 5 star Rosyth Estate House and we fell in love with it the moment we arrived! Here you can visit a traditional tea factory, have a fascinating traditional cookery lesson and take walks around the local area to see tea picking and how the locals live. For the last two days of our trip we headed to the Southern Coast and Galle. We visited the famous Dutch ramparts in the Galle Fort and colonial style buildings. Our next hotel was my personal favourite, The Fortress Koggala. The rooms here are just divine! Lie in bed, open the balcony doors and hear and watch the ocean waves crashing on the shore. A luxury resort to recharge your batteries. Finally for our last stop we headed along the coastal road for our final stay at the Centara Ceysands in Bentota. A hotel located on a peninsula so for us only reached by boat! To sum up our taste of Sri Lanka, beautiful beaches, plenty of culture, superb food, the most welcoming people and the best tea I have ever had whilst abroad! I have left a piece of my heart in this lovely country and will definitely return again. For more information or a quote please contact me on 01582 809640.

A South African Adventure

02 April 2014

I have recently returned from South Africa on an educational of a lifetime. I joined seven other Travel Counsellors and David from African Pride on an adventure that took us to the wine lands, Cape Town and then onto Kruger National Park. Our first night was in Franschhoek, which is about an hour’s drive from Cape Town and we stayed at the stunning La Residence. It is truly a beautiful hotel, set in a 30 acre estate with stunning views of the mountains beyond and has a unique style of its own. The food and wine were excellent and the staff charming. There are only eleven suites and five villas, so expect very personal service. Whilst in the wine lands we visited Babylonstoren, one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms in the region for a tour of the beautiful fruit and vegetable gardens and also Steenberg Winery for some wine tasting. This is a fantastic value for money experience in a lovely setting. For the next two nights the Queen Victoria Hotel next to the Cape Town V&A Waterfront was our home. This is a 35 room boutique hotel in a contemporary style and it is worth paying a little extra for a corner or Table Mountain view room. This property is part of three hotels, the Dock House Boutique Hotel and the Victoria & Alfred Hotel which allow you to use the facilities of all three. Very friendly staff and food to compare with the best restaurants of Cape Town, plus it has a great location. Finally we headed off to one of the private game reserves bordering the Kruger National Park in the Mapulanga Region, the world renowned Mala Mala private game reserve in the Sabi Sands area for a couple of nights. On arrival we had time for a quick change and a cup of tea before heading off for our late afternoon/evening game drive. We saw leopard, giraffe and elephants all within an hour! Back to camp for dinner in the Boma set around the fire pit where we were serenaded by the staff with traditional songs. We wandered back to our rooms complete with our rangers for safety, to be greeted by a wild elephant who had decided to wander in and eat some of the foliage outside our rooms. The following day we moved to Mala Mala's other lodge, Rattray's and what an experience that was! We were housed in our very own villa’s with an extensive bedroom, his and hers bathrooms, lengthy terrace complete with plunge pool and sun lounges. It was amazing! We had several game drives whilst at Mala Mala and everyone was very impressed with all that we saw. For our last night in South Africa we stayed at Pretoriuskop Rest Camp under canvas. The camp is enclosed by a fence so although you can hear wildlife like the hippos outside we were free of the bigger dangers disturbing our sleep, just the odd snorer to contend with. Our game drive here was in a larger vehicle and unlike in the private game reserves, all cars must stick to the roads. My South African venture, although a whistle stop tour, will remain one of my favourite trips. This country has completely captured my heart. I will definitely be returning in the near future and look forward to exploring so many other areas of this beautiful country.

A Tuscany Experience

30 October 2012

I recently travelled to Tuscany where we stayed in the 3* Hotel Villa Ricci in Chianciano Terme. This is a great location to use as a base for exploring the area. We visited Montepulciano, which is famous for being used as a location in the 'Twilight' films. It is a beautiful city and well worth a visit for its lovely little shops and restaurants, palaces and churches. We also had the opportunity to visit Florence, somewhere I have always wanted to travel to. The buildings and churches are lovely, particularly the Duomo and Santa Croce Church. The city really is beautiful. The following day we visited two hilltop towns, Siena and San Gimignano. Siena was my favourite place overall, the medieval town centre Piazza del Campo is the heart of the town and is the home of the famous horse race known as Il Palio. It really was stunning and there are lots of little, very hilly alleyways to explore! San Gimignano, famous for its ice creams, is known as the 'town of the beautiful towers' and is another lovely medieval town that should not be missed on a Tuscan tour. We spent our final day was in Rome where we enjoyed a short walk with a guide through the city. We took in the Trevi Fountain, Colosseum and the Vatican City. This is definitely a city I would recommend for a weekend break (you need more than a day to appreciate everything it has to offer) and I will be revisiting at some point in the future. Overall I would recommend Tuscany as a fantastic area to visit and explore. There is so much to see and do, plus of course the food and wine really is exquisite! I would recommend either doing an organised tour or maybe combining a few areas and hiring a car.

Boston & Stowe

29 December 2011

November 2011 and an educational to Boston & Stowe. Boston is lovely - a beautiful city and small enough to walk around easily. We stayed at the Taj Hotel, overlooking the Common. We visited the Fairmont Copley Plaza and the Boston Harbour Hotel too. One of the highlights for me was the Duck Tour of the city. It took in all the main attractions plus a cruise along the river too for a totally different aspect and view of the skyline. The Wrentham Shopping Outlet was well worth a visit for some great bargains! After 2 nights we travelled by road to Stowe where we headed up the mountain into the snow and to the Stowe Mountain Lodge. It was simply stunning! We stayed in two bedroom suite and it was amazing! Our wrap around balcony gave us a perfect view over the heated pool and over to the ski slopes. Stowe was beautiful! We visited the Top Notch Spa Hotel and the Trapp Family Lodge, a hotel built by Maria and the Baron from the famous film, The Sound of Music. They moved here many years ago and we were shown around by their Grandson. I really enjoyed this educational and is an area of the US I would definitely like to revisit with my family.

Barbados Experience

25 October 2011

I have just returned from a brilliant trip to the Caribbean Island of Barbados. Barbados offers something for everyone, from fantastic restaurants to beautiful beaches. The highlight of the week for me was taking a 4 x 4 safari around the island, taking in Edge Cliff, Bathsheba & Joe's River Forest - on and off road! We had the opportunity to take surfing lessons at DaAction Surf Shak, managed some karaoke with the locals at Holetown and enjoyed swimming with turtles on a catamaran cruise. There are some fantastic restaurants and eating experiences. No Friday night would be complete without a visit to Oisten's Fish market and if it is more upmarket you are looking for, look no further than Daphnes Restaurant at The House Hotel. During our week, we visited the lovely Elegant Hotels - Turtle Bay, Crystal Cove, The Colony Club, The House and Tamarind Cove where we stayed. Barbados is a beautiful island and one I would definitely recommend.

A weekend in Bruges

05 July 2010

Bruges is the perfect weekend destination. We travelled from London St Pancras by Eurostar to Brussels, with a connecting train to Bruges. The journey took approx 3 hours. It is a beautiful city that is easily explored by foot over 2 days. The historic centre of Bruges has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000 and Bruges' most famous landmark is The Belfry on the main square. We climbed the 366 steps to the top & the views were well worth it! We rewarded ourselves with hot chocolate and a Belgium waffle which I have to say was the best I have tasted anywhere! Belgium is also renowned for its lace, beer and chocolate. There are a number of ways to see the city, horse drawn carriage, by bike or a boat trip along the many canals. The restaurants offer a great choice of local traditional dishes as well as European. The main square restaurants tend to be a bit more pricey, however it is a great place to people watch. There are many back street restaurants and bars, some have terraces overlooking the canals. On our return journey we stopped off in Brussels for a few hours and did an open top bus tour before travelling back on the Eurostar. Brussels is a vibrant city and the Grand Place was simply stunning. Bruges is a gem of a find and I will definitely return.

Chicago Educational

06 March 2009

A group of Travel Counsellors and I visited Chicago on an educational visit in February. Despite the bitterly cold weather, it was a wonderful city break and a worthy alternative to New York. Situated on the shores of Lake Michigan, this city is crammed with things to do, yet the atmosphere is not frantic or claustrophobic. The impressive architecture is best appreciated from a trolley tour, a 2 hour hop-on, hop-off bus tour around the main city areas. Or between May and November you can enjoy a tour along the river. The best vantage point to see the many sights has to be the Sears Tower; the second tallest building in the world, where you must visit the Skydeck on the 99th floor! Or to take in the views of the city and across the lake at a more leisurely pace, enjoy a dinner in the Signature Room at the John Hancock Centre. For family entertainment, Navy Pier has it all. Home to the IMAX theatre and Chicago Children’s Museum, it also boasts a 150 feet high Ferris Wheel! The Magnificent Mile is the place to shop and the name says it all. Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Tiffany and NikeLand; the shops and the many bargains I brought home were truly magnificent! If you prefer the arts, this city has music, theatre and museums. In fact, this city has it all!

New York

01 September 2008

New York is an amazing city to visit, not only for the great sights, museums and shopping but also for the incredible, indescribable buzz that hits you the minute you arrive! I’d been to NY before but I wanted to share a girlie weekend there with my Mum and my daughter Megan to celebrate her birthday. We started with an open-top bus tour which you can hop on and off as often as you like. It’s a great way to establish the geography of this vast city and takes in many of the major sights. Then we took the Staton Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty close up and to get that classic view of the Manhattan skyline that is best seen from the rear of the boat as you leave. After a horse-drawn carriage around Central Park, we went to the top of the Empire State Building to take in the breathtaking views and, of course, we did plenty of shopping! Our Sheraton Towers Hotel was in a great position for shows, restaurants and shopping, being just a short walk from the fantastic atmosphere of Times Square and Central Park. For an extra-special trip, take a limousine transfer! A fantastic break in an unbelieveable city!

Florida

02 September 2008

There’s good reason why Florida is referred to as the ‘fun capital of the world', it has a host of theme parks and attractions for kids of all ages! Our family of 4 spent a fortnight at a villa in Emerald Island, Kissimee to enjoy the whole Disney experience. We headed for the parks early each morning to beat the queues, allowing us time to recharge our batteries with a swim back at the villa before returning for the spectacular evening firework displays. To recover from the non-stop thrills, I’d recommend a few days rest or you run the risk of needing a holiday to recover! You could try a trip to the coast for a change of scenery and tempo. We really appreciated a chilled out day at Clearwater with its beautiful white sandy beaches and cool blue sea. There are many Disney alternatives including Seaworld, Daytona International Speedway, Kennedy Space Centre and of course the numerous shopping malls! Here are my top tips for your Disney dream holiday; We found that to reduce queuing time take full advantage of Disney's free Fastpass system, and for a special occasion try eating at the beautiful Cinderella's Castle. For the best view of the fireworks over the lake, check out the Rose & Crown pub at Epcot. Disney has everything you could possibly want and my family loved every single minute of it. We cannot wait to return!

Monaco

02 September 2008

To celebrate my husbands 40th birthday, I organised an unforgettable surprise weekend with a couple of our friends to the luxurious principality of Monaco. Monaco lies between France and Italy and benefits from a micro climate boasting an average 300 sunny days a year. Even our October weather was fantastic! So bathed in sunshine, we walked through the tunnel along the Formula One Grand Prix race track, visited Princess Grace’s Rose Garden, and had a coffee at the Café de Paris. The marina boasts the most amazing yachts and the roads are crammed with prestigious cars. Of course no trip to Monaco would be complete without a visit to the world famous Monte Carlo Casino. Perhaps to finance that dream car! A highlight of our weekend was an amazing helicopter trip. We swept along the coast to the Italian border and took in views that had us holding our breaths for the entire 12 minutes! Alternatively, you can arrange a 10-minute helicopter transfer from Nice airport. My husband certainly celebrated his 40th in style and we have some fantastic memories of a truly wonderful trip in Monaco.

My customer stories

Sent by R Sood

Exceeded my expectations. Don't want to book a holiday any other way again. Thank you, Nicola!

Sent by C Chandler

Nicola was helpful, professional, and a joy to deal with on booking our family holiday.

Sent by S Picton

As always Nicola delivers a fantastic service.

Sent by K Price

Made choosing are honeymoon effortless.

Sent by N Battle

Fabulous knowledgeable service from Nicola. You can completely trust Nicola to interpret your holiday needs and meet them all! Highly recommend.

Sent by M Keating

We were working with a limited budget and some challenges in finding somewhere suitable for our children at half term. Nicola was very clear and honest with us regarding one venue we'd provisionally selected (it was a great venue but potentially wouldn't have met our needs on this occasion) and quickly came back with a selection of options from which we were able select one. Great service.

Sent by C D'arc

If it was an option, I would have put 11. Nicola is absolutely fantastic at what she does!

Sent by S Moore

Nicola goes above and beyond to ensure that everything is taken care of.

Sent by G Shreeves

Nicola always makes one feel equally important as her other clients not withstanding the value of the trip.

Sent by Amanda Knaggs

We asked Nicola to arrange a family holiday to Fiji (for summer 2022), there were 6 of us all with different requests, including a desire to Island hop, visit exquisite beaches, experience diving and snorkelling amongst an abundance of marine life, visit to enhance our understanding of the Fijian culture and some rest and relaxation amongst some luxury hotels thrown in too. Nicola hit the mark by putting together a superb itinerary within our budget, you can’t get a better response than teenage sons’ saying ‘this is the best holiday yet’ and ‘mum you got this just right, thank you!’ we always recommend Nicola and it’s no coincidence that we’ve been fortunate to have a number of trips and memories created all of which Nicola has planned meticulously on our behalf.