Thursday, March 31, 2011

Springtime Gardens of Europe & UK

Departure: May 6th 2012 and includes a full day at Amsterdam's Floriade 2012 and also the Chelsea Flower Show.

Tour highlights

Floriade 2012 and the Chelsea Flower Show
Keukenhof Gardens, Het Loo, Monet’s Garden, Villandry, Castle Howard, Harewood Holehird, Chatsworth, Stowe, Hidcote and Wisley.


Sunday May 6th:

The tour commences at check-in to our city centre hotel, our home for four nights. We rest from the flight, or take an afternoon canal cruise to get our bearings, before meeting our fellow travellers for a Welcome Drink and Dinner. [D]

AMSTERDAM (Keukenhof Gardens)

Monday May 7th:

Every day on a Great Trains of Europe Tour begins with a full buffet breakfast [B]. We spend a full day in one of the world’s finest bulbfields, the Keukenhof Garden, with 80 acres of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and other flowering bulbs, shrubs, ancient trees, exhibitions, gurgling streams, flower parades, and seven themed gardens. Little wonder we need all day to visit the Keukenhof! There are restaurants and tea shops. [B]


Tuesday May 8th:

We spend a full day in one of the world's finest bulb fields, the Keukenhof Garden, with 80 acres of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and other flowering bulbs, shrubs, ancient trees, exhibitions, gurgling streams, flower parades, and seven themed gardens. Little wonder we need all day to visit the Keukenhof! There are restaurants and tea shops in the garden. [B]

AMSTERDAM (Floriade 2012)

Wednesday May 9th:

The fabulous Floriade happens just once a decade, and this is the year. An early start by train to Venlo gives us the full day to enjoy this rare feast of flowers. [B]


Thursday May 10th:

A great rail journey today. Our luggage is taken on ahead as we take our reserved First Class seats in the sleek Thalys train, for Paris at 300kph. On arrival we settle in to our boutique 4 star hotel on the Left Bank. On our city sightseeing tour we begin our acquaintance with the City of Lights. [B] [D]


Friday May 11th: ^ Top ^

A quiet morning to stroll in the nearby Luxembourg Gardens or to visit a museum. Monet’s waterlilies are finally on view in their original context at l’Orangerie. See them in real life this afternoon on our visit to Giverney and Monet’s Garden. We enjoy the flower garden called Clos Normand and the water garden with its famous Japanese Bridge covered with wisteria, which should be at its best this week. Then the weeping willows, and the famous nympheas (water lilies). [B]


Saturday May 12th:

A high speed French TGV train today into the Loire Valley and the Garden of Villandry, created by Dr Joachim Carvallo, from 1906, in complete harmony with the Renaissance architecture of the chateau. Great horticultural skill was deployed, especially in the use of vegetables. An arbour of grape vines leads to a great parterre, conceived as a Garden of Music. On the other side of the canal is a Garden of Love. [B]


Sunday May 13th:

Another of the great rail journeys of the world as we farewell Paris and join the 300 kph Eurostar through the Chunnel. Customs requires that we travel with our luggage today. In London we join British Rail in the tracks of the Flying Scotsman to the mediaeval city of York. We see the Minster and the Shambles, then transfer to our inn in the North York Moors village of Pickering. A pub dinner tonight. [B][ [D]


Monday May 14th:

This morning we visit the gardens of Castle Howard, laid out by Sir John Vanburgh in the early 18th century. Castle Howard is the palace of the Flyte family in “Brideshead Revisited”. We lunch (with Claude Jeremiah Greengrass?) in the village of Goathland, “Aidens field” in the TV series “Heartbeat”. Here we join the historic North York Steam Railway home to Pickering.[B]


Tuesday May 15th:

This morning we visit historic Harewood House. Its garden is classic Capability Brown - forming an idyllic rural setting. We move on to the spa and garden town of Harrogate for a cream tea or a stroll around Harrogate's famous public gardens. Can you spot Agatha Christie? She “disappeared” here in 1926. [B]


Wednesday May 16th:

We journey this morning through the Yorkshire Dales, immortalized in James Herriot's “All Creatures Great and Small” novels and television series. A village pub lunch stop, then on to the Lakes District where we settle into our Lakeside hotel. [B][D]


Thursday May 17th:

We take a magical rail journey today through some of the Dales' and England's finest scenery on the historic Settle to Carlisle Railway. A pub lunch, an afternoon cream tea and visits to some more of the Yorkshire Dales' picturesque villages.[B]


Friday May 18th:

This morning we visit Beatrix Potter's garden, Hill Top - watch out for the fierce bad rabbit - and then move on to the National Trust's 14th century Sizergh Castle, with gardens dating from the 18th, loved for their ponds, borders, lawns and avenue of lowering cherries. [B]


Saturday May 19th ^ Top ^

Our British Rail journey south today brings us to the Peak District of Derbyshire, to visit the gardens of historic Chatsworth House, dating from 1687. Another Capability Brown garden, Chatsworth has been famous for its beauty since Jane Austen's Day. We move on in the late afternoon to the Cotswolds where we stay in a village inn in the pretty riverside village of Bourton-on-the-Water. [B] [D]


Sunday May 20th:

This morning’s sightseeing takes us to picturesque Cotswold villages of honey-golden stone: Lower Slaughter, Stow-on-the-Wold, Chipping Campden. After a village pub lunch we visit one of England’s favourite gardens - Hidcote Manor, designed and developed by Maj. Lawrence Johnston, who scoured the world to secure rare and exotic species for this extremely pretty garden, a series of “outdoor rooms”. [B]


Monday May 21st:

Today we visit Stowe Landscape Gardens, covering 750 acres and including 40 listed historic monuments and temples. It is considered one of England’s most important landscape gardens and the greatest names in English garden design were involved in its creation from Bridgeman in the 1710s to Vanbrugh, Kent, Gibbs and “Capability ” Brown. Afternoon tea in the Cotswold village of Burford, serious about antiques. [B]


Tuesday May 22nd:

Back on British Rail today we journey through more of the Cotswolds’ rolling hills, as our luggage is taken on ahead to await our arrival in our London hotel. We enjoy London’s sights from a double-decker bus. The Oxford Street shops are only a bus ride away from the hotel. A West End Show tonight? [B]


Wednesday May 23rd:

The Oxford Street shops or Harrods this morning before an afternoon excursion to the Royal Horticultural Society’s Wisley Garden, where keen English gardeners have gone to be inspired for over 100 years. Spread out over 240 acres, Wisley is a lovely, peaceful place for a stroll as well as a demonstration garden full of practical garden design ideas and cultivation techniques. [B]


Thursday May 24th:

A full day today at the Chelsea Flower Show, arguably the world's greatest and best known. Our Farewell Dinner tonight.[B][D]


Friday May 25th:

Our tour ends this morning after breakfast. [B]

Tour costs:

$AUD 12,950 per person Twin Share. Land Content only join in Amsterdam, leave in London

Single Room supplement $AUD 2000.

Enquire about competitive airfares.

What's included?^ Top ^

All Great Trains of Europe Tours include:

  • First Class rail travel in reserved seats
  • 4 star boutique city centre hotels
  • 3 star historic village inns
  • 6 dinners
  • Full luggage handling [not on Eurostar]
  • Local expert garden guide [where permitted]
  • Full time Tour Leader who is the Tour Company Principal

The TOUR COST does NOT include:^ Top ^

  • Hotel incidentals (eg. Mini-bars, telephone calls, laundry), airport and departure taxes, local transport in any city,
  • Meals other than breakfast and the one restaurant dinner in each city - the first night in each new city, except London where it takes the form of a farewell dinner. On other nights, the Tour Leaders are available to accompany group members to local, authentic restaurants.

About the Springtime Gardens of Europe & UK Tour

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Floriade 2012 – World Horticultural Expo Garden Tour Including Keukenhof

April 19th - 27th, 2012

TOUR UPDATE! Our first Floriade 2012 tour is fully booked and our second one (this tour) is nearing fully booked as well.

I urge you to get your registrations in quickly to RESERVE YOUR SPACE on this tour. Both tours are exactly the same including the hotels. Single Supplements very limited!


Floriade happens only ONCE EVERY TEN YEARS. I was at the show in 2002 and it was huge! This tour will give us a full day there so you can take as much of it in as possible.

Visitors to Floriade 2012 in Venlo will have the opportunity to enjoy the world's most exquisite and exceptional flowers, plants, trees, fruits and vegetables. At Floriade 2012 you will experience nature. Using the senses of sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell you will experience firsthand the influence horticulture has on the quality of our daily lives. Floriade is a World Horticultural Expo staged once every ten years in the Netherlands. But Floriade 2012 offers much more. Each day features a cultural programme of music, dance, literature, theatre and visual art from all over the world. Sustainable, pioneering architectural eye catchers, as never seen before, will be shown for the first time at Floriade 2012. With countless exciting, innovative and educational attractions and activities. Various characteristic restaurants and friendly, welcoming cafes offer visitors a place to savour delicious local and international cuisine, naturally prepared with home grown ingredients.

Our Spring Tour Includes:

Keukenhof Spring at its most beautiful! An unprecedented wealth of spectacular floral displays planted in endless varieties, alternated with beautiful works of art. Keukenhof is unique, world famous and has been one of the most popular destinations in the Netherlands for many years now.

Hortus Bulborum - with its 4,200 spring-flowering historical bulbs. This collection consists primarily of tulips, narcissus and hyacinths, but there is also a small number of Fritillaria and crocus, primarily the C.vernus types. In addition to functioning as a gene bank, the garden has a seasonal display of thousands of heirloom bulbs, some of which are no longer in commercial production. Certain tulips originated in the 16th century. The Fritillaria persica on display was already in cultivation as early as 1577, while the oldest narcissus is several centuries older yet. The garden, therefore, provides a fascinating overview of these immensely popular spring bloomers grown through the centuries.

Van Gogh Museum - A visit to the Van Gogh Museum is a unique experience. The museum contains the largest collection of paintings by Vincent van Gogh in the world. It provides the opportunity to keep track of the artist's developments, or compare his paintings to works by other artists from the 19th century in the collection.

Afternoon Canal Cruise in Amsterdam - Enjoy the best cruise through 17th century Amsterdam. Holland’s capital has 160 canals and 1000 bridges. Experience Amsterdam from the water. Cruising through a number of Amsterdam’s canals, this cruise passes along some of the city’s most beautiful spots. While gliding through the old centre of the city you see elegant merchant’s mansions, carillon-crowned churches and the warehouses with their rich history from Holland’s Golden Age.

Aalsmeer Flower Auction - 'The world marketplace for flowers and plants' - Every day Bloemenveiling Aalsmeer sets the world price for flowers and plants. This happens by bringing supply and demand together by means of the auction clock- a fascinating process during which large and small batches of flowers are sold within fractions of seconds. Each day, 19 million flowers and two million plants are sold through 13 clocks at 'Bloemenveiling Aalsmeer'. It takes place within an area of almost one million m2.

Amsterdam Botanical Gardens – Hortus Botanicus - The Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam is one of the oldest botanic gardens in the world. Today, there are more than 4,000 plant species growing in the garden and greenhouses. The Hortus is located in the Plantage district on the edge of the hectic center of Amsterdam. Behind the 300-year-old gates, however, the bustle of the city seems to disappear.

Paleis Het Loo - Paleis Het Loo is a palace, more than three hundred years old, right in the heart of the Netherlands, close to the town of Apeldoorn. The former royal residence has been open to the public since in 1984 after undergoing substantial restoration work. The sumptuously furnished interiors give an impression of how the Dutch royal family lived here for three centuries. The reconstructed gardens breathe the atmosphere of their seventeenth century origin with their fountains and elegantly box-lined parterres. The palace’s setting in one of Holland’s most beautiful nature areas makes a visit a real delight at any time of year.

This is a delightful spring tour and it is ready for booking … reserve your spot today!

click on the above buttons for the compete tour day by day itinerary or the registration forms
(requires Adobe Acrobat)

Dates - April 19th - 27th, 2012

LAND only €2,400Euros p/p sharing
SINGLE Supplement€717Euros

SeeHighlights Boxfor all inclusions on this tour.

Note – this tour is a go so you can feel free to book your air. Carlson Wagonlit Travel/Journeys of Discovery - Exclusive Travel Agent on this tour. CWT can help you look after your air as well as insurance
Toll Free – 1-866-642-7120

Monday, March 28, 2011

It’s that time again! Uniworld releases 2012 Preview Brochure

Do you have clients already planning their 2012 holiday? Well Uniworld has come to the rescue with the release of its 2012 Europe & Russia Boutique River Cruises Preview Brochure.

The new Preview Brochure offers clients additional time to book their ideal 2012 river cruise itinerary; the most suitable departure; ship and room category; all without the worry of availability. As they say, its first in best dressed, and what an outfit! Unparalleled river cruising on Uniworld’s award-winning fleet, mouth-watering cuisine prepared fresh daily, luxuriously appointed staterooms, unforgettable sightseeing and so much more.

As a bonus for those forward-thinking travellers, Uniworld is offering its 2012 Preview river cruises at 2011 prices! This, coupled with Uniworld’s generous Pay-In-Full and Early Booking discounts, it really is the best time to cruise and peruse the waterways of Europe.

Uniworld’s 2012 program will see the introduction of two new and exciting itineraries to its extensive European river cruise portfolio, both of which feature the great Floriade fair, an internationally renowned exhibition of flowers and gardening which is held only once a decade.

  • Eight-day Gems of Germany, Belgium & the Netherlands with Floriade priced from $2,732 per person, twin share (cruise only). Cruising from Cologne to Brussels, this eight day itinerary travellers Rhine river through Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.
  • 17-day Grand Treasures of Europe priced from $6,541 per person, twin share (cruise only). Cruising from Brussels to Prague, guests will explore the Rhine, Main and Main-Danube Canals to Nuremburg before being transferred to Prague for two nights.

Each stunning Uniworld Boutique River Cruise includes accommodation on one of the company’s award winning river vessels, all meals onboard, complimentary fine wine, beer and soft drink at dinner, opportunity for alfresco dining on deck, speciality coffees, shore excursions with knowledgeable local guides, Captain’s welcome and farewell dinners, enriching onboard entertainment and lectures and English speaking crews that equate to one staff member for every three guests.

All discounts and 2011 rate guarantees are available on bookings made before 30 June, 2011.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Order the Floriade Season Pass

Floriade Season Pass can be easily ordered in two ways.

Order Online

On the ticket page fill the online order form. There is a place with iDeal payment. You will receive an E-Ticket sent to the email address provided by you. With this E-ticket go to the access of Floriade 2012: you do not have to join the cash registers. With the access you will be referred to the seizoenspasbalie season pass you will be prepared.

Do you already enjoy all the discounts and promotions of Floriade season pass? Come to the E-Ticket to the Floriade Preview Center . Here is a photo taken and within a few minutes you are in possession of the Floriade season pass and you will enjoy attractive offers.

Floriade The Preview Center is open from April 17 to October 2, 2011.

Order a season pass Floriade .

By mail order

Want to Floriade season pass by mail? Then download the order form . If you then print out the form, fill and send along with a suitable photo, then you get the season pass will be sent automatically. The address on the form. Payment is via Direct Debit.