From the Acropolis in Athens to Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the great monuments and historic sites of the world are a window into ancient history and cultures and have long been a source of fascination for visitors. Chapters Experience Holidays, (01707 246666, www.chaptersholidays.co.uk), the small group, expert led experience holiday specialists, offer a range of inspirational breaks combining in-depth insights into iconic attractions with a selection of well-thought out itineraries bringing the surrounding area and its culture to life.
For a glimpse stretching over the centuries:
13th century BC: GREECE: The Acropolis, Athens - A Classic Greek Journey
In the footsteps of ancient Spartans and Olympians through green valleys rich in wild olive and plane trees, ruined temples and amphitheatres of a lost age, A Classic Greek Journey explores the history, mythology and city states of ancient Greece. Starting at the sacred site of the oracle at Delphi, it culminates in the bustling metropolis of Athens, with its crowning glory The Acropolis – the most striking and complete ancient Greek monumental complex still existing in our time.
Taking in Olympia, home to the PanHellenic (Olympic) games for over a millennium, the trip crosses the Peloponnese mountains to Sparta and Mistra, before heading north to the small Venetian seaport of Nauplia to visit the Mycenaean archaeological sites of Tiryns and Argos and the superbly preserved theatre at Epidaurus. Continuing to Agamemnon’s Mycenae, a major centre of Greek civilization described by Homer as “rich in gold” and Ancient Corinth with the crossing of the impressive Corinth Canal, the trip also includes some great countryside and coastal walking.
Chapters Experience Holidays, 01707 246666, www.chaptersholidays.co.uk, offers an 11 night Classic Greek Journey holiday from £1445pp and includes return flights and transfers, B&B en-suite accommodation, dinners taken at local restaurants and tavernas, knowledgeable local guides and all local transport costs. Departures 18 April, 12 & 27 September.http://www.chaptersholidays.co.uk/a-classic-greek-journey
Between 2850 BC and 2200 BC
UK: Avebury Stones - Discover the North Wiltshire Cotswolds
Whilst Stonehenge, 25 miles down the road, often steals the limelight, Avebury is arguably the most impressive of all remaining prehistoric earthworks in Europe with 98 gigantic sarsen stones rising out the ground and cutting through the heart of a small Wiltshire village. Contemporary to the Pyramids of Giza, they are said to retain a powerfully mystical aura born out of ancient rituals and are surrounded by other interesting sights such as burial mounds, long barrows and Silbury Hill - a prehistoric artificial chalk mound.
In addition to spending a day walking amongst the stones and surrounding Avebury landscape, the four days are spent visiting the beautifully preserved village of Lacock, which has formed the setting for dramas ranging from Downton Abbey and Cranford to Harry Potter. As well as enjoying the village itself, visits will be made to its museum and the location where the first ever photograph was taken by William Fox Talbot as well as the chocolate box ‘listed’ village of Bibury, with walks through the idyllic Cotswold countryside.
Chapters Experience Holidays, 01707 246666, www.chaptersholidays.co.uk, offers a 4 night Discover the North Wiltshire Cotswolds holiday from £425pp with ensuite half board accommodation, entrance fees to Lacock Abbey and local transport. Departures 14 May, 8 June, 24 July, 14 August. https://www.chaptersholidays.co.uk/discover-the-north-wiltshire-cotswolds
6th Century: PERU: Kuelap - A journey in Ancient Peru (‘new’ cable car experience for 2017)
Likened to Machu Picchu without the crowds – yet three times older – the ancient pre-Inca city of Kuelap rises spectacularly out of the misty Peruvian cloud forest. Be one of the first to experience the new cable car which opens in early 2017 - offering a breathtaking 20 minute bird’s eye ride to the summit. As well as enjoying the views, the ride enables visitors to save the time spent on the usual 3-4 hour walk to the summit - giving much more time to enjoy exploring these astounding ruins.
The 16 day tour also covers a number of other significant archaeological sites including the revered royal temple of Sipan, pre-Colombian remains of Chan Chan and mystical cliff carved tombs of Revash; the Spanish colonial city and desert oasis of Trujillo; and the third highest waterfall in the world – Gocta. Complemented by exceptional walking through out, this holiday is ideal for exploring the lesser known yet equally enthralling sites of Peru.
Chapters Experience Holidays, 01707 246666, www.chaptersholidays.co.uk, offers a 17 night A journey in Ancient Peru holiday from £3525pp including flights, full board accommodation, transfers, local transport and admission fees. Departures 28 April, 13 October
12th Century: CAMBODIA: Angkor Wat, Siem Reap - Exploring Indochina
Winding its way through Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, this 16 night holiday culminates in a spectacular visit to the vast 60 square kilometre site of Angkor Wat, an ancient city and seat of power for the Khmer regime that ruled much of South East Asia. En route, visit timeless backstreets in ancient towns, fragrant bustling markets, exotic temple complexes and small rural villages set to a landscape of verdant green paddy fields, winding canals and rivers.
Starting in Bangkok, highlights include the Grand Palace complex and a look at daily life in the rural western suburbs by boat before flying north to Chang Rai, a region of lush jungle, mist-shrouded mountains, colourful hill-tribe villages and home to the Golden Triangle – the area where Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet. Crossing the river into Laos, two days are spent cruising down the Mekong to Luang Prabang visiting sites such as Pak Ou Buddha Caves with its thousands of Buddha images, Wat Mai temple with its impressive ‘Tree of life’ mosaic, Kuangsi waterfall and Phousi Mount for sunset views. Travelling south to Vang Vieng, time is then devoted to exploring rural villages with a visit to Tham Chang Cave, before heading to the elegant French Colonial influenced capital of Laos, Vientiane. Flying on to Cambodia, two nights are spent in the capital Phnom Penh visiting the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, Raung Damrei Museum and Killing Fields ahead of Angkor Wat.
Chapters Experience Holidays, 01707 246666, www.chaptersholidays.co.uk, offers a 16 night Exploring Indochina holiday from £3199pp and includes return flights and transfers, accommodation, all local travel, transfers and entrance fees, half board and two picnic lunches, local English speaking guides. Departures: 3 February, 3 November.
19th Century: SPAIN: Sagrada Familia, Barcelona - Barcelona
An impressive modern icon standing out on Barcelona’s skyline, Antoni Gaudí’s organic, ever evolving and still unfinished Sagrada Familia cathedral is like no other. With architecturally smooth and spiralling forms complemented by vivid splashes of light capturing stained glass and colourful adornments, it provides a great introduction to Gaudí’s many, wonder-filled creations and into the vibrant art and culture of Catalunya.
As part of a 6 day break, Barcelona is captivatingly explored through the narrow, twisting streets of the Barri Gòtic, examining the quirky gothic and art nouveau architecture that adorns the city and discovering medieval streets and the more modern areas such as Eixample and the Ramblas. In addition to trying traditional tapas, visiting the commanding National Palace – home to the National Art Museum of Catalonia and heading to the city’s popular beaches to mingle with locals, the trip includes a four hour private guided walk of the Barri Gòtic with an English speaking local guide, a two hour private guided walk of the architecture of Gaudi with an English speaking local architect and a side trip to the rocky peaks of Montserrat to visit the famous Benedictine Monastery.
Chapters Experience Holidays, 01707 246666, www.chaptersholidays.co.uk, offers a 6 day Barcelona holiday from £999pp including flights, ensuite accommodation, half board dinners in local restaurants and all transport costs. Departures 23 March, 20 April, 4 May, 12 October, 9 November http://www.chaptersholidays.co.uk/barcelona
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Chapters Experience Holidays is one of two new holiday brands from RWH Travel (formerly known as Ramblers Worldwide Holidays), the experts in guided walking adventures. With over 70 years of heritage, other brands within the group include the newly launched Ramblers Walking Holidays – a collection of dedicated small group guided walking holidays; Adagio – leisurely walking and cultural holidays at a gentle pace; Load Off Your Back – a self-guided UK walking programme and Cruise & Walk –cruise ship based walking holidays in association with Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines.
For its walking holidays the company is the proud holder of Which? Recommended Provider status – ie companies which are highly rated by Which? Members and reach the exacting standards of Which? Researchers.
Each of the Chapters Experience Holidays has been categorised to help clients choose the right pace:
- Leisurely Activity Level: for clients who enjoy being outdoors, discovering the world at a relaxed pace such as short countryside strolls, sightseeing on foot or enjoying cities with art and culture.
- Energetic Activity Level: for clients who enjoy the great outdoors and want to explore the natural world by foot, wheels or water, enjoying great scenery and a range of different experiences. Clients need to be moderately fit and previous outdoor activity experience is preferable.
- Adventurous Activity Level: for clients who love travel and enjoy dynamic experiences, who like to push themselves to experience something completely new as the rewards make it worth the effort.
Symbols have been devised to help clients choose the holiday that will appeal to their interest. These include: Pioneer; Wildlife; Flora & Fauna; Bird Watching; Lifestyle, Culture & Natural History; Cooking; Rail Journeys; Sightseeing; Nordic Walking and Cycling.
The company’s mission is to generate funds for walking charities by the provision of outstanding outdoor activity holidays worldwide.
With its not-for-profit philosophy, the company contributes monies to the Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust which supports walking related and environmental projects in the UK. The company also funds Heart & Sole - an initiative managed by company staff, with the aim of reaching into the heart of the communities visited both in the UK and overseas.
RWH Travel also runs The Walking Partnership - an initiative which champions walking at the 'grass roots' level by providing funding and support to walking groups and clubs throughout the UK.
Ramblers Walking Holidays is the Walking Holiday Partner of the Ramblers, Britain’s walking charity which drove the recent Big Pathwatch project, and has been pioneering and championing walking and ‘rights of way’ for over 70 years across England, Scotland and Wales.
Customers travelling on all holidays operated by RWH Travel are fully protected via the company’s membership of ABTA and as holders of an ATOL licence. RWH Travel is also a member of AITO and ETOA.