Travel Department expands its range of Guided Holidays

Now includes New Destinations and Departures from across the United Kingdom

Dublin-based escorted tour operator, Travel Department has launched its new programme of great value, guided group holidays for 2020, including a brand-new tour of Japan and an expanded range of tours departing from London, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Bristol.

The programme spans over 140 exciting destinations across Europe and the rest of the world, with each holiday led by expert local guides. Tours vary from city breaks to week-long tours through the likes of Italy, Spain, Portugal and Croatia, or further afield to India, China, Russia and Vietnam, with the option to bolt on an extension to any group itinerary. Better still, book before 16 August 2019 and secure a place on a 2020 holiday with a deposit of just £1* per person.

In addition to the company’s tours departing from Ireland, the new ex-UK programme features a total of 21 new itineraries for 2020. A highlight among these is an all-new, 12-night Highlights of Japan itinerary that’s scheduled to depart in May 2020. With the Rugby World Cup this autumn followed by the Tokyo Olympics next summer, awareness and demand for visiting Japan is predicted to skyrocket, so this itinerary is expected to be very popular. Departing from London to Osaka, the tour explores colourful Kyoto and takes in a Geisha show in historic Nara, which was once the Japanese capital. Further excursions include a boat trip on Lake Ashinoko and an ascent of Mount Komagatake via the Komagatake Ropeway cable car to take in panoramic views towards majestic Mount Fuji. In Tokyo there’s an included sightseeing tour of the Imperial Palace Plaza and a visit to the beautiful Koishikawa Korakuen gardens. A tea ceremony and visit to Kamakura’s Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines provide further insight into Japanese culture. Prices start from £3,999pp include flights, accommodation in 4-star hotels on a mixed board basis (daily breakfast, five lunches and two evening meals), all transfers and six excursions with local guides.

Among departures from London are a choice of six different tours in Italy, with options ranging from a classic tour of Tuscany (from £969pp in April, May, June and July 2020) to a week combining Lake Como and Switzerland, with a ride on the Bernina Express (from £899pp in April, May and June 2020). Holidays to Italy for 2020 lead in at £829pp for a leisurely, seven-night tour of Lake Garda. The popular tour, which is based in the tranquil town of Riva del Garda, includes full-day excursions to explore the enchanting canals and squares of Venice, plus the charming UNESCO World Heritage city of Verona. Cost includes flights from Gatwick, half board accommodation, transfers, guides and excursions. Also departing from London Gatwick is a new, week-long tour in southern Spain. Based in Antequera in the region of Andalucía, the tour includes guided excursions to Seville, Cordoba and Granada with time at leisure to discover Antequera’s old town. Prices start from £729pp in April 2020 including flights from Gatwick, BB or half board accommodation, transfers and excursions.

For the convenience of passengers living in the south-west there are regional departures from Bristol, with a new tour of Nerja, Granada and the Costa del Sol (from £829pp in June 2020) and a week-long tour soaking up the unique charm of Malta and Gozo. A packed itinerary of the island includes a treasure trove of historic sites from the fascinating capital Valletta to medieval Mdina and the ‘Three Cities’. An excursion to Gozo takes in the beautiful ‘Inland Sea’ at Dwerja, along with the views from the village of il-Qala Belvedere and prehistoric Ggantija Temples. Prices start from £599pp in March, April and May 2020 including flights, half board accommodation, transfers and excursions.

Customers preferring departures from Scotland, meanwhile, can shake off the winter blues with a new Highlights of Cyprus tour departing in February, March and November 2020. The leisurely seven-night tour of the sun-soaked island reveals an intriguing culture steeped in myth and ancient traditions. Fought over by a succession of invaders from the Venetians to the Ottomans, the island is filled with ancient riches just waiting to be discovered. Prices start from £839pp including flights from Glasgow, half board accommodation, transfers and excursions. Alternatively, the new 12-night holiday to Egypt combines a Nile River Cruise with Cairo and Hurghada. The extensive itinerary offers superb value for money with highlights such as Cairo’s colourful Khan El Khalili bazaar and the Pyramids of Giza and the Great Sphinx, plus plenty of time to relax at the Red Sea beach resort of Hurghada. On board the cruise there are included excursions to the Temple of Horus, the Valley of Kings, the High Dam at Aswan and the Temples of Karnak and Luxor. Prices from £1,899pp in May 2020** including return flights from Edinburgh, transfers, four-or five-star hotel accommodation, seven nights full board cruising on the MS Radamis II and a programme of excursions.

Dispelling the perception that escorted holidays are often too rigid, each itinerary offers customers the best of both worlds with included scheduled group excursions, led by knowledgeable guides, plus free days with the opportunity to explore at guests’ own pace. The ease of this approach makes Travel Department tours the perfect choice for those who enjoy the reassurance of a guide, but who also appreciate the flexibility to make each holiday their own, using free days for solo explorations or joining an optional excursion. Travel Department works closely with its friendly, local guides who impart their insight and knowledge of each destination in the programme. The guides are passionate about sharing that knowledge and work hard to enhance each holiday, pointing out the best tapas bars, shops or restaurants known only to the locals. Their advice can make independent days as memorable as the ones with included excursions.

Sara Zimmerman, Managing Director, Travel Department commented: “We are thrilled to expand the range of tours we offer from the UK in 2020. It’s a very natural extension to our Irish programme, and as such our UK customers can be sure that our tours are all tried and tested. We already have a number of loyal UK customers who travel with us regularly, and we look forward to many more enjoying Travel Department’s flexible, great value, guided group holidays next year.”

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