Do you love to travel? Do you need a travel expert to help you with your holiday plans?
If you enjoy exploring new places, immersing yourself in local culture, enjoying traditional cuisine and spending quality time with your family and loved one then i'd love to hear from you.
Please allow me to introduce myself. I’m Sharon; a personal travel advisor and I'm based in Arnside in Cumbria.
I have over 20 years’ experience in the travel industry and am fortunate to have a career in something I am very passionate about. I enjoy researching holiday ideas for you, saving your precious time and turning your holiday dreams into reality.
I joined Travel Counsellors because we share the same values. I believe that excellent service costs nothing and I pride myself on the service I provide. I take time to get to know you and your travel requirements, you and your family's likes and dislikes, to make sure I offer you a holiday that matches what you are looking for.
I have enjoyed a variety of holidays including city breaks, fly drive, ski and various cruises. I have travelled extensively in Europe, America and Canada, the Middle East, The Far East and my cruising experiences have taken me to Europe, the Baltic and Alaska. I got married in Lake Tahoe, California and have a young family so understand what's important when planning both a wedding abroad, a honeymoon or a family holiday.
Please read my customer testimonials below and hear their experiences first hand, along with my travel blogs so you can see the destinations I have visited over recent years.
I am provided with award winning technology which gives me access to a wide variety of airlines and travel suppliers. So whatever you may be looking for; hotels, flights, a cruise, a holiday with family or friends, perhaps something for a special occasion, I’d be more than happy to see how I can help you.
As I work from home, I can be available at a time to suit you, evenings and weekends included, so you can just pick up the phone or send me an email and we can have a chat about what it is you are looking for. Plus, whilst you are away - I will provide 24/7 emergency contact should any issues arise, for your peace of mind.
So why not give me a call, it won’t cost you anything and I would be delighted to try and help.
I look forward to hearing from you,
Whatever your holiday needs I'm here to help you, so please either fill in and send the form below or simply give me a call and I can get things started for you:-
Sent in by Heather Roberts
Arnside, 30 September 2018
Very pleased with the organisation of our recent holiday. Thank you to Sharon.
Sent in by Louise Banks
Kendal , 30 September 2018
I would like to thank Sharon for her assistance in booking our special family holiday to Australia. From the 1st moment we spoke she couldn’t of been more enthusiastic coming up with some good suggestions and advised us well on the best flights to suit our family. When it finally came to booking the flights it couldn’t of been simpler and also making sure we are all sat together and this was all within our budget. I would not hesitate in recommending Sharon to anyone wanting to book a short or long haul break. Many thanks.
Sent in by Simon & Jeanette Shipperd
Burton in Kendal, 25 October 2017
We would just like to say a huge thank you to Sharon for finding and organising the honeymoon of our dreams to Mauritius. It was just perfect and she made the whole experience really enjoyable and completely stress free. From start to finish we could not fault Sharon's hard work and constant communication throughout the whole process from deciding where to go to retuning back with our seats booked and checked in, in advance. At the beginning of the planning process, Sharon spent time getting to know us and listened to our honeymoon requirements to tailor and personalise the honeymoon for us. With her experience and expert destination knowledge she suggested places to visit from previous recommendations or her own personal visits and had direct contact with the hotels, to answer all our questions. Sharon provided us with comparison lists of destinations, to help us narrow it down and make our final decision easier to make, knowing we had picked the perfect destination. Once the honeymoon was booked, Sharon carried out further research of activities to do on our visit and this gave us the opportunity us to plan and book things in advance. We used the wedding gift registry service to allow our wedding guests to help contribute to our honeymoon. All our wedding guests thought this was a brilliant idea and easy to use. When we arrived at our hotel, the hotel had been told in advance by Sharon that it was our honeymoon and we were welcomed by a honeymoon meal and gifts in our hotel room. This was a lovely finishing touch. We would highly recommend Sharon for her outstanding service and will certainly be using her again for future holidays. She gave us so much time and covered everything we needed to know... certainly a service you wouldn't get by booking a holiday online or going into a travel agents shop. Mr and Mrs Shipperd.
Sent in by Norma Owen
Arnside cumbre., 17 October 2017
Having used Sharon over several years we can recommend the personal and helpful service we have received. Sharon's attention to your requirements and her recommendations regarding your needs has always made holiday booking a more simple task. All aspects of the travel industry seem to be within her remit and we look foreward to her imput in the future. Thanks Sharon.
Sent in by Paula Fulwood
Billericay, 22 September 2017
Sharon booked our Florida holiday this year. The service she provided from beginning to end was first class. She responds promptly to queries, is always available, has a fantastic knowledge of the industry and nothing is too much for her. We have already recommended her to friends and we will be booking future holidays with her again. Thank you Sharon!
Sent in by White Family
Kendal, 12 September 2017
During the years that my family have used Sharon for winter or late summer holiday bookings, there have been just a couple of instances where we have had to call upon all of her expertise, customer support and wisdom to help us out of a difficult situation. On both of these occasions Sharon has immediately taken the initiative, making all communications and arrangements necessary and keeping all parties informed and updated. With her proactivity and attention to detail, Sharon has drastically reduced our stress and allowed us to continue with our plans as closely as possible. We don't all appreciate customer service, or measure value for money until something goes wrong! However, the service and value that Sharon delivers is second to none and, having put that to the test, we cannot recommend her strongly enough!
Sent in by Peter Swinburne
Grange over Sands, Cumbria , 11 September 2017
Sharon has now organised two major trips for us, one 'around the world'. Both experiences were great and we had absolutely no issues at all. We will be asking her to organise another trip in the near future and have total confidence in her services. The personal touch she offers is particularly appreciated.
Sent in by Andrew Leavett
Grange over Sands, 09 September 2017
We were so glad that a friend recommended Sharon to us to plan our holiday in Mallorca. She took away all the usual internet trawling and decision agonies from us and came up with package options that fitted our requirements with perfection. All the travel and transfers worked flawlessly and the chosen apartment was perfectly matched to our varied needs. We had all confidence in Sharon's expertise and look forward to using her skills again. Thank you Sharon.
Sent in by Richard Gill
Kendal, 08 September 2017
I recently asked Sharon to organise a trip to Florida for me to attend a wedding. At the same time I wanted to see some of the sights of Florida but not go to the main Disney parks. Sharon put together a very well thought out itinerary. The hotels she arranged were in good convenient locations and were of a decent standard. The hire car was exactly as arranged and no hassle to collect or return. In addition her advice on where was the best places to stay meant I had several good options for sight seeing and enjoying the local restaurants and amenities. I have no hesitation in recommending her and will certainly be using her servicesagain for my next rip.
Sent in by Joan Robinson
Leatherhead, 07 September 2017
I am unable to thank you enough for your hard work and thoughtfulness in organising my 70th birthday party. All the personal touches from the beautiful flowers you sent to my room on my birthday to the welcome home letter when I got back. All those little things that mean so much including us all sitting near each other on the flight, having our apartments almost next door to each other and the transfer transport being on time. I cannot thank you enough as I am so very impressed with everything you have done. We all had a fantastic time, with the age range of our party of 18 people from 6 years - 70 years, there was something for everyone to do. All of our apartments were very near the beach which was alive with activities day and night which I loved. We spent days at the pool, boogied the night away at the beach clubs, took a ferry and explored the caves and found amazing restaurants We laughed a lot and partied hard. The boys spent a day fishing which they loved, came home with smiles from ear to ear to barbeque their catch on the roof top. They also spent a day on the golf course which they thoroughly enjoyed. So thank you for all your hard work in putting it all together and making it happen for us. I am sure it was not the easiest of holidays you have done. A million thank you's Sharon. We all had an amazing time which was down to your hard work, attention to detail and thoughtfulness.
Sent in by James Fishwick
Buckinghamshire, 20 July 2017
Sharon last helped us book a family holiday to Dubai and quite simply.....we couldn't have asked for better service or expertise! Sharon listened to our needs, provided great initial feedback for us to hone down our choices and made the booking process painless. Excellent communication throughout; either email or 'phone call and it helped she knew the location and what there was to do for a family, so she could really give that extra bit to help make our holiday the great relax that we wanted. We've used the services of a Travel Counsellor for over 10 years and have no intention of changing! Now, where to next...any ideas Sharon ?!
Sent in by Kelly Meyrick
Kendal , 29 June 2017
Sharon booked our family holiday to Thailand, the holiday was fantastic, we did two nights in Bangkok. So pleased we did that, such a fun place, the hotel was amazing, and I've never seen such a fabulous restaurant. Then off the khao lak for some relaxation, and that's what we got, our hotel was right in the beach, with lovely beach bars along the beach serving scrumptious local Thai dishes for next to nothing. We wanted a hotel that was near a town so we could go out to eat and soak up the local culture and that's absolutely what we got, just a 5 min walk, with lots of restaurants, and shops to look around, and everything is so cheap. We had a fabulous holiday and Sharon went above and beyond to make our time in Thailand very special, we will definitely be booking our holidays with Sharon again. The Meyrick family
Sent in by Nigel Ralphson
Lancaster, 27 June 2017
Sharon arranged a cruise for us in March 2017. I cant praise her professionalism highly enough; it was our first cruise so we weren't exactly sure what we wanted but Sharon guided us smoothly through the different package options, suggesting what was worth pre-booking and what we should leave until onboard. We changed our minds numerous times on ship/destination but Sharon was patient with us throughout as we sent her back to the drawing board! She arranged hotel accommodation for us at either end of the cruise and again used her knowledge and experience to ensure we stayed in great places in great locations. If you want a hassle-free holiday where you know everything is going to be right then I'd recommend utilising Sharon's expertise without question. Thanks again for a fantastic trip.
Sent in by Amy Forrester
New Haw, 26 June 2017
Sharon is absolutely great, very patient and knowledgeable, and was on hand to sort out a few last minute niggles. I wouldn't hesitate to use her for future trips, or to recommend her to friends. Thank you for helping us have an amazing family holiday in Florida.
Sent in by Rosemary Ingram
Steppingley Bedfordshire, 08 February 2017
Our four week holiday to Alaska in 2016 , was the best holiday we had experienced. Sharon's attention to detail was second to none, carefully listening to our requirements and using her knowledge and experience so our trip ran like clockwork . Highly recommended.
Sent in by Eric Judge
Arnside, 08 February 2017
From the first meeting with Sharon we were impressed by her thoroughness and efficiency with the itinerary which we had asked her to put together for our 3 month trip to the Southern Hemisphere, travelling around the world. The organisation of all the flights worked very well even down to our seats being booked where possible and Sharon writing all details on our luggage labels. It was reassuring to have contact, by email, with Sharon all the way through the trip. The companies used for our organised trips recommended by Sharon's company in Malaysia and Australia were excellent. We will be using Sharon in the future and have already recommended her to our friends
Sent in by Heather Buckel
Lancaster, 08 February 2017
Sharon is a dedicated travel advisor. Her wealth of knowledge is outstanding and she always goes above and beyond the call of duty when I am travelling. Highly recommended and very professional. Someone with a conscience and will always get you the best possible deal available.
Sent in by Sarah Mantell
Grange-Over-Sands, 07 February 2017
Sharon organised a complex trip lasting 7 weeks to Singapore, New Zealand and Hong Kong for us. We had the most brilliant time, due in large part to her excellent organisational skills. All travel, transport and accommodation arrangements worked well. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her and will certainly be using her excellent services again when we have saved up! Thanks again, Sharon.
Sent in by Angela Gregory
Carnforth, 07 February 2017
Sharon gave us an excellent personal service with great communication. Nothing was too much trouble for her. The paperwork that she gave to us before our trip was absolutely excellent and on the trip everything ran like clockwork. She was completely correct on all the advice that she gave us, but didn't give us so much that we felt overwhelmed or left us with nothing to discover ourselves. We've already recommended her to family and friends. It was like having a friend organise everything for you, a friend with all the answers! We can't thank her enough.
Sent in by Anna Wright
DIDCOT, 07 February 2017
Sharon took all the stress out of the planning of our Disney holiday and was a pleasure to deal with. Nothing was too much trouble and we were kept updated all the way through the process. I have no doubt that we will book through Sharon in the future and we are more than happy to recommend her to others.
Sent in by Heather Pakeman
Sedbergh, 11 December 2016
We would have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending Sharon as your holiday organizer. Sharon arranged a complicated holiday for 3 of us to Cambodia by firstly offering us several choices and then confirming a holiday that involved a lot of correspondence with us and the destination operator. Sharon met with us to give us all our documents and was even available to us whilst she was on her own holiday. We had a minor incident while we were away and Sharon helped us in a very considered and appropriate way. We had an amazing holiday which was very well organized and gave us exactly what we wanted. Thanks to Sharon for everything she did in a professional, helpful, cheerful and considerate manner. We will definitely be using Sharon again.
Sent in by Sharron Lewis
Kendal, 28 November 2016
I can't recommend Sharon highly enough. She helped me organise a wonderful family trip to America at an emotional time. She took on board all my wishes and was great at making helpful suggestions that enhanced our trip away. Everything from start to finish ran like clockwork! I am now looking forward to a skiing trip planned for Easter which Sharon has fine tuned for me. Here's to future holidays!
Sent in by Emma Dinneen
Kendal , 27 November 2016
Excellent and efficient service from Sharon. Nothing was too much trouble when I wanted to get the best price for our trip.
Sent in by N Crossman
Arnside, 25 November 2016
Sharon worked hard to find the holiday we wanted within our budget. This is the second year running that we have booked our family holiday with Sharon and we have always been happy with the service we have received. Thank you.
Sent in by C Stam
Cornwall, 25 November 2016
Sharon has been recommended to me by very good friends of mine. From the first moment she made me feel at ease. She is patient and friendly. If anyone would ask me if I'd know a reliable, knowledgable Travel Counsellor, I would say, Oh yes, go to Sharon Matthews. She is a gem.
Sent in by D Hazeldine
Lytham St Annes, 24 November 2016
I find it difficult to find suitable hotel accommodation for my disabled wife but Sharon is always there to help. Her task isn't always easy, but she deals with it in a very professional manner. She also organised my daughter's honeymoon on my recommendation, as well as my recent trip to the Far East. First rate service.
Sent in by P Wilde
Lytham St Annes, 24 November 2016
Really happy with the service Sharon provided. Felt she was very well informed and nothing too much trouble.
Sent in by A Parkinson
Blackburn, 24 November 2016
We have once again had excellent service from Sharon. She continually goes the extra mile to ensure the holiday is perfect in every way. Nothing is too much trouble and she is always more than happy to help with any queries or problems, thus taking all the stress away from arranging a holiday.
Sent in by A Hazeldine
Preston, 24 November 2016
Clear, friendly and valuable assistance given at all stages. Sharon made everything so easy from the beginning. Will definitely be recommending (actually have done already). Very happy with the service.
Sent in by B Leslie
Cumbria, 24 November 2016
Sharon was extremely pleasant to deal with and we are very pleased with the itinerary she has put together for us. We value her knowledge and are certain we could not have come up with the same itinerary on our own.
With independent access to thousands of travel suppliers around the world, I've got an eye for added value. Take a look through my latest selections below. But even if nothing particularly catches your eye - don't worry! Let's chat and I'll take the hassle away from tailoring a perfectly personalised holiday just for you.
Contact me on 01524 884750
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.
24 September 2018
Following a few nights in Kotor, Montenegro, we opted to take the bus to Croatia for the second part of our holiday. You can read more about this in my Croatia blog. It was very reasonable at less than €15 a ticket, however is has to be said that with that, you do get the unpredictability of a border crossing. What was supposed to be a two-and-a-half-hour journey became almost five. That said, the cars were not going through any quicker and we knew what we may have had to expect. Once you cross the border you are only around...
24 September 2018
Still untouched by many despite cruise ship passengers arriving in their thousands, Montenegro still retains its charm and 'oldy worldy' approach to welcoming these numbers. In Kotor it is almost like stepping back in time, even outside of the Old Town walls - it is definitely not overly commercial (no fast food chains here) and copes incredibly well with the visitors. Inside the Old Town walls there are many squares and narrow streets a few places to eat and plenty of places to watch the world go by. There are a great range of restaurants, from simple outlets serving great hearty...
06 June 2018
Do you fancy a UK city break in the North but not York or Manchester? What about Leeds? Having not visited since 2005 I was really pleasantly surprised to see how smart a city it is, with endless shopping opportunities. As well as the usual high street stores, (and unlike many large towns these days I didn't see an empty shop space) there are also larger department stores - John Lewis, Debenhams and House of Fraser. Trinity Leeds houses 120 stores, Victoria Quarter has some of the top fashion designer’s shops and it is a stunning arcade, one of many...
06 June 2018
Our stay in Thailand was the ultimate in luxury adventure. Elephant sanctuaries are quite popular In Thailand, but I believe if you can ride the elephants, chances are, you need to look further afield for a more ethical and real experience. We opted for a 3-day, 2-night stay at Elephant Hills and have enjoyed an experience that will stay with us forever. In addition to bathing and feeding this intelligent and encapsulating animals, we enjoyed jungle treks, wildlife river journeys, kayaking and lake swims in the most breath-taking surroundings. The time with the elephants is informative, fun, not at all rushed...
09 October 2017
This is how you do a whistle stop tour of Orlando, and don't even step into Disney or Universal, but spend a week exploring all the alternative attractions on offer within an hour or so of Disney. I visited on a work educational tour, with family trips at the forefront of my mind. Day 1 - The first is a bucket list item for many. It involved being up and ready at 5am to head to Orlando Balloon rides for our early morning flight, only confirmed the night before, and the weather was perfect. A mix of excitement and nerves, this...
20 September 2017
Pace yourself. If this is your first trip with your children, aim for a slightly slower paced break than usual. Go with the flow and don’t pack in too much. Avoiding stress is the name of the game, so build in rest days and be realistic about what you might see and do. Travel is great for broadening the mind, even if you’re a five-year-old. Start getting your little ones prepared for their holiday by treating it like a project. You could read a guide book to them about your destination, talk to them about what to expect and how things...
29 August 2017
This was my first visit to Germany in years, and the first summer visit since a school exchange trip, but many memories came flooding back, as did my GCSE German when faced with ordering food, or asking for directions! Hamburg is a port, so quite industrial, but there are opportunities to ride the ferries out to some small beaches and see the city from the water are fun. Leaving from in front of the very impressive Opera House, you can spend an hour on the comfy boat rides even if you just do a round trip to rest your legs. Inland...
10 June 2017
This was just a two night city break with my girlfriends, and we stayed in an apartment just off the main shopping and entertainment street, Gran Via. Whilst I would always look at staying central to make the most of everything being close to hand, the metro system was clean, cheap and very useful, the efficiency of European underground transport never ceasing to amaze me! It's quite a large city and I love walking, but the metro does help you cover a lot of ground quickly. Some of our party opted for the 48 hour hop on hop off bus and had...
06 April 2017
When you're in my role, it is difficult to bypass a city you aren't too bowled over by, particularly when your flight is passing through. I didn't backpack in my youth so the Far East was new territory for me. But this time I had a family to consider, so I chose carefully to stay close to the River, away from the real hustle and bustle and I cannot express how much fun we had in Bangkok. Bangkok Two overnight flights and we found ourselves in Bangkok with just enough time for a quick dip in the pool, a bite to...
01 July 2016
On one of the beautiful sun kissed islands of the Caribbean, you can do as little or as much as you like. There is always time to do nothing, but relax on a gorgeous sandy beach and lose yourself in your favourite novel. On the other hand, you can stay at one of the more active resorts where I stayed – BodyHoliday, or leave the resort to explore, and in this case, the list of what you can do is endless. The island is ideal for water sports enthusiasts and there are hot spots for those requiring the wind behind them, or...
31 August 2014
Gorgeous white sandy beaches, rocky coastline and fun for all the family...on the Algarve. The Algarve stretches most of the southern coast of Portugal and provides something for everyone. Hot days and warm evenings and welcoming temperatures from Easter through to November. I would highly recommend a car for this holiday, it’s the best way to get around and discover so many places, neighbouring towns and beautiful fishing villages, a drive up into the mountains or a medieval town (my favourite, Silves, is delightful). For the 1st week I made arrangements locally for a car hire with a difference and had one day...
01 August 2014
I thought I would write and tell you about a recent weekend trip to Vienna. Less than 20 minutes from the airport to the city centre and with cheap transport options Vienna is very accessible and a well-kept secret! With few tour operators selling city breaks to this destination, it’s a great option for a tailor made break using low cost flights and accommodation (although remember, we offer full financial protection for booking things this way) when booking on separate websites you won’t get this. Even with a population of almost 2 million, this city feels spacious – big wide streets but...
24 February 2014
Well the one thing I can never be sure to guarantee when I arrange your holiday is sunshine. But I knew the chances of blue skies were pretty high when I jetted off to the United Arab Emirates in February. Just over a seven hour flight from the UK takes you to Dubai, and a swift taxi transfer to Abu Dhabi found us in our hotel, and more importantly glorious temperatures, less than 10 hours later. We stayed outside of the city because it allowed us to be by the beach and taxis are cheap and plentiful in the UAE. The first...
07 November 2012
Three days might seem like a long way to go to South Africa for, and it is. But if you are lucky enough to get the opportunity to experience a safari in this wonderful country, it's absolutely worth it. There is only a two hour time difference so jet lag is not an issue. The majority of people don't go to South Africa just for a safari, but what they easily do is incorporate two or three night’s safari into a bigger trip. Internal flights are frequent and reasonably priced and make this very possible. Of the people I met, most...
13 August 2012
I have been waiting for the right time to do this trip – my children are 4 & 6 and I think I got it just about right. We travelled by Eurostar from London St Pancras and chose a train with a 90 minute break in the journey, at Lille. This allowed us to stop and sample a French patisserie, but there is a direct train to and from St Pancras daily and the journey time is around 2 and a half hours and if I had booked in advance and had the choice, I would have chosen the direct...
04 June 2012
This is my second experience of Turkey, but my first for some 15 years and I was pleasantly surprised. This was a family holiday and we stayed in Icmeler, but at the end of the resort, some 2kms from the town, promenade and beach. This was a fabulous choice. Getting to most places in Turkey is fairly easy. Their local bus services - dolmus, are cheap and efficient. Ours left within 50m of the hotel and took us into Icmeler in 10 minutes and Marmaris in 20 minutes, all for less than the price of a cup of coffee, for...
15 August 2011
Vejer de la Frontera, Costa de la Luz, Spain Vejer de la Frontera is a picturesque hilltop village in South Western Spain, approximately 2 – 2 ½ hours drive South of Seville. Vejer itself is typically Spanish, there are not many people speaking English and menus are more often than not in Spanish only, but that’s all part of the enjoyment and the locals are very friendly and welcoming. Vejer is only a 10-15 minute drive to a number of beaches, El Palmar, Barbate, Zahara; all great for families and even on holiday days still don’t feel overcrowded. Some days we went to...
01 January 2011
My Jewel in the Californian Sun (and even snow)! I have such fond memories of this part of America as it is where I got married. Lake Tahoe holds that special place in my heart, not just for that but because it is surrounded by some of the most breathtaking views and scenery I have ever experienced. I have been to Lake Tahoe three times and whilst all my visits have been in what we call the summer months, I have experienced snow in May! Being 10,000 feet above sea level, it can take a couple of days to readjust; the air...
24 May 2003
Having been bitten by the cruising bug, and tempted by the opportunity to visit 7 destinations from one floating hotel - I booked my 2nd Celebrity cruise with the added bonus of departing from the UK – which also meant I had an unrestricted baggage allowance. This time we travelled in May unsure of what those chilly Baltic countries may bring so early into Spring and made sure an extra layer was packed. On the itinerary this time, Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallin, St Petersburg, Warnemunde (for Berlin) and an overnight stay in Copenhagen. First up, Oslo. We docked in Oslo and it...
10 August 2002
Canada & Alaska Vancouver is the city that has it all – bright lights, shopping, parks, wildlife, skiing, sports and beautiful beaches, all set against a backdrop of dramatic mountains! There are unlimited options to what you can do, in and around this city, but too numerous to mention so here are my highlights: Grouse Mountain – Here you can take the sky ride to the top, which is 1242 metres above sea level. With views over the city you can also enjoy the hiking, the glacier, see the animals in the endangered wildlife area and then enjoy a Lumberjack show....