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09 March 2015 08:52

Making your Caribbean Holiday decisions

When to go

December through April are generally a lot drier with low humidity and cooler nights. Outside this period the islands are known to have ‘stickier’ weather and heavy downpours. Obviously this means between December and April prices are higher and carry a premium during school holidays; they are usually busiest during December and New Year.

In terms of the ideal month, it most likely is May. Taking into account the balance between weather and the cost of flights and accommodation there it’s significantly less to travel at this time and the weather is still good enough to enjoy the sunshine.

Where to go in the Caribbean

As I’m sure you’re aware the Caribbean is a magnificent place to visit but if you’re looking for a  more specific activity to try your hand at here then we have highlighted what each of the main islands are known for and what they have to offer

US Virgin Islands: Looking for a carnival is St Thomas? From sunset sand festivals to sea turtle sails there’s always something happening around these parts!

Cayman Islands: Known for being one of the most scenic parts of the Caribbean, you may even be able to stick to your budget here whilst you enjoy the white beaches and grab yourself a great hotel deal. Roam the streets here and you will find the locals welcoming and kind, mainly because they are a tight knit community. You’re bound to fall in love with this island’s beauty.

St Kitts & Nevis: It’s amazing to think a quarter of the land here is green with its rainforest expanding rather than shrinking. Here you will be surrounded by wildlife, from chattering vervet monkeys and scurrying families of mongoose, to roaming cows, goats and black-bellied sheep. Whilst you are here don’t forget to visit Frigate Beach and endure its excellent festivals!

Barbados: Here we have 3000 hours of sunshine a year and an average temperature of 26 degrees. It’s a top spot for exploring and being active in the Caribbean, you can your hand at snorkelling and scuba diving. It would probably be worth noting that all the beaches here are different allowing you to experience giving you a different experience each day.


St. Lucia: This Island’s got it all - sprawling chalk-coloured beaches, towering mountains, upscale resorts and bargain bungalows. Start your day with a hike through the mighty Piton Mountains, soak up some midday sun along Reduit Beach and watch the sun set over the Caribbean Sea. 


Bahamas: These well-liked islands transform into spring break nerve centres each year, so it's best you avoid them around then if you don't like crowds. Still, the Bahamas are unparalleled when it comes to flight deals and discounted room rates. 


St. Bart’s: Khaki-coloured beaches separate the island's hilly landscape from the turquoise waters. Just be prepared to splurge - St. Bart’s is known for the well-heeled, beckoning to Hollywood's finest. Still, you can score some good deals if you plan well in advance. 


Now you know a bit about the different islands, we hope this makes it easier for you to make that all important decision of which island will most suit your needs. It’s all about the type of person you are and what makes your holiday perfect.


If it’s more information you need, just get in touch with us – we are happy to answer any questions!

05 February 2015 04:27

Your BIG Experience in Orlando, Florida

From restaurants to shopping and theme parks, Orlando pretty much has it all for an active holiday experience and one which won’t stop you telling your friends about.


Orlando caters for all your dining needs from budget buffet restaurants to luxurious steak houses. You will be able to find the best bargains in the theme park restaurants where you can indulge in anything from waffles and bacon for breakfast to American barbeque picnic food for dinner. If you’re looking for more of an upmarket dining experience then you could visit the likes of Victoria & Albert’s at the Disney compound where their seven course menu will blow you away. A top rated spot by the locals is Christner’s Prime Steak and Lobster House, where the steak is top notch and service is excellent. There are endless places to dine at, so don’t feel under pressure to have them mapped out – some of the best experiences can be found right under your nose.


Like many locations you will find malls with many shops to keep you up-to-date with the latest fashion trends. Orlando doesn’t lack on this, it has two famous malls; The Mall at Millenia and The Florida Mall. You will find high end department stores within these malls where you can be waited on hand and foot.

Something that sets this unique place apart from so many other places is its outlet stores, these stores are fascinating ­– buying designer items at rock bottom prices. You won’t be too far from an outlet centre here so there’s no excuse not to visit one. Everyone is sure to walk away with a bargain and feel at peace after their spot of retail therapy.

Shopping may not be for everyone, but in Orlando the next activity isn’t far away. 


Theme parks here are BIG, BIG, BIG. All ages will definitely find something to keep them entertained here. Some of the major parks are a must see when you get time to explore:

SeaWorld® Orlando has various shows that are a must-see ­ – that’s if you can get to them on time, the Flamingos that wander around your feet in the park may slow you down. The Shamu show offers a surreal experience – there’s not many times where you will see killer whales performing. Apart from the talked about shows, all the animals here are worth a visit and seeing as you’re in Orlando, why not…

Number one place of interest is Universal Studios which is part of Universal Orlando® Resort. It’s so much more than a theme park; it’s an entire universe that will give you an action packed visit, with thrills that will last till the end of your holiday. Stephen Spielberg once said that Universal Studios will give people the chance to discover their own hero, which gives you an idea of what to expect.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is also close to the main park. The easiest way to discover the magic here is with a Fast-Pass which will get you quickly into the main areas. You will hear great reviews on the Kilimanjaro Safari; if you’re lucky enough to get here early the animals are usually a bit more active. It’s been known for Giraffes putting their heads right into the vehicles.

So now is the time to visit Orlando, make your own experiences in this magical place!
13 January 2015 07:22

Exploring Croatia

Croatia is seen as an up and coming holiday destination with more and more people enjoying holidays here each year. Many people aren’t sure where to start researching this area so we wanted to narrow down ‘things to do’ and focus on the top hidden gems that we would encourage you to visit or try your hand at when visiting Croatia.

1. First of all is Dubrovnik, a city you will become mesmerised with. It has marble streets that stretch for miles and a sea of terracotta rooftops that set it apart from other cities. If you’re into exploring and learning about another country’s culture then the ancient walls that surround this magnificent city won’t disappoint, neither will the stories behind them.

2. A hidden island just off the coast below Split called Hvar is home to the more luxurious homeowners with their expensive yachts and designer handbags. You can swim from most of the beaches on the island and many are known for the parties that are held on them at night. With some major festivals now being held in Croatia, Hvar is definitely becoming one of the popular party islands!

3. Dip in the Sea! This might not be obvious as we always focus on the ‘places’, but the Adriatic Sea here is absolutely beautiful with its silky texture and unmatched colours. You will not be disappointed with your dip in the water here due to the warm temperatures and your walks along the beach will be pleasant owing to the smooth white sand covering the beaches.

4. Croatia is a popular spot for leisurely sailing. At times you will see many boats out at the same time where the passengers follow the same route, socialise together and visit the local attractions. If this isn’t your idea of sailing, there are many quiet coves in the surrounds which will provide you with the relaxation that you need.

5. ‘Slow Food’ is a term used in Croatia to describe their culture of eating. It promotes local, fresh and seasonal ingredients, and enjoying the ritual of eating. Not only is this about the food but each course is paired with fitting wines for you to enjoy, so this is an element of Croatian culture to be experienced.


05 December 2014 05:12

Top Options for Winter Sun

Are you ready for our top recommendations for sun this winter?

I’m guessing if you’re searching for winter sun then its climate that is the top determining factors as to where you decide to go. You also most likely want a certain amount of relaxation after going through the stressful Christmas period.

Obvious choices for winter sun spots would include Thailand, Dubai or Mauritius. Especially if its luxury you’re in search of. You will find both spectacular and mind blowing resorts with more than enough activities for you to try your hand at. This time of year is more peaceful with children still in school and the majority of the UK planning their holidays for summer.

Are you on more of a budget? Then head to the Med! You will find some super savings on what tour operators are offering this winter for New Year holidays. 

Two top options we recommend are Gran Canaria and Cape Verde… Depending if you’re looking for a last minute holiday or a luxury escape we believe one of these destinations will meet your needs.

Gran Canaria

If it’s the last minute break you are in need of then visit Puerto Rico in Gran Canaria. You can escape the winter blues and stay at one of its many complexes and take advantage of cheap flights. Puerto Rico has miles of sand that runs towards other towns so you will never be bored of walking around. You can enjoy the local area with all its bars and restaurants conveniently located in one place with amazing value for money on food and drink! As most of the places are in close vicinity to a shopping mall you will have your home comforts of browsing around the shops for a bargain.

Top tip – Go self catering on your stay in Puerto Rico, you will really want to experience all it has to offer and being so close to other magnificent areas it allows you to go off exploring not conscious of your next meal at your accommodation.

Cape Verde

If it’s more of a luxury retreat you are after, then Cape Verde is a must. One of the main reasons, apart from the beaches and weather is probably that it’s relatively undiscovered.  Once you’re there, it feels that it’s really a retreat that you are on without bustling tourists and fish & chips on the menu at every restaurant.  Island hopping is a must do for tourists looking to see a little more & experience Cape Verde’s active side.

Top tip – If you like walking and being more active on your holiday, then Santo Antão is the place to visit!


24 November 2014 03:00

Reference: Alaska HolidaySeptember 2014 Dear Sonia

This is a long overdue letter to give some feedback on the trip that you helped us to organize back in September.

I don’t quite know where to start, so I will begin with the help and guidancethat you yourself gave usfrom the time of our initialvisit.


As always you were helpful, patient and knowledgeable, putting our needs and requirements first, nevertrying to persuade us to settle for anything less than what we originally had in mind, but also helping us to be realistic too. This is one of the reasons why we always come back to Carrick when planning our holidays.


The company that organized our travel arrangements, planned our route and booked the hotels for us did an absolutely brilliant job. Every hotel we stayed in was spot on, from the hotel in Anchorage through to the B&B in the woods at Tok and the magnificent hotels in between. The paperwork and

itinerary was easy to follow and presented in such a way that it was easy to keep it all up together. Please pass on our thanks and the acknowledgement that their attention to detail really made our trip.


Alaska is the most stunningly beautiful place I have ever been to, so much so that it reduced me to tears on several occasions, for all the right reasons I hasten to add. We are already planning to go again in a couple of years to try to see some of the rest of it.


I had one disappointment and that was something that only nature can be held responsible for... we did not see the Northern Lights, despite several nights sitting up waiting for the 'Aurora call'that all of the hotels offer to their guests. To add insult to injury they were viewed over Broadway Tower, just 7 miles away from our home, whilst we were away.


Even so, nothing couldhave spoiled the trip of a lifetime, thank you again for the partyou played in helping to makeit happen.
15 November 2014 02:21



I have been meaning to make contact with you for ages, since our return from holiday, but "normal" life has overtaken me and time has not been my own.

My Mum was with us recently, and mentioned she had seen you, which reminded me to put fingers to keyboard.


I just wanted to thank you and your staff for all the help you gave us in our holiday to the USA and Canada.  It all went very smoothly and the accommodation you found for us in Yellowstone, in particular, was very comfortable - a cabin on the other side of the road from the main hotel, and was just what was required.  It took us a mere 5 minutes drive to the East Entrance to the Park, which was very quick.  I have to say, once we got in the Park, given the regulation speed limit and coming across the odd Bison standing in the middle of the road, did mean it took at least an hour to drive to other areas of the Park.  Staying outside of the Park, but with easy access to it, meant we had a lot more options for eating out in the evenings, for example, as the hotels within the Park appeared to have limited options.


The hotel you found us in Jackson Hole was perfectly adequate, given we were


only there for a short amount of time, clean and comfortable.


Alcatraz was well worth the visit and, again, thank you for your insistence that we pre-booked it, as otherwise, I don't think we would have been able to do the trip.  The 2-day bus ticket was also well worth it, especially the night time one.  With that in mind, I will plan to call you in the next few days to give you my debit card details for the refund.


All the flights worked perfectly and on the internal flights we were almost the only passengers!  The international flights were a lot busier!  Thank you also for sorting Laura's flights out as well.


Safe to say, I will have no hesitation in using your services again, and will certainly be recommending you to friends and keeping up the family tradition of using Carrick.


With very best wishes to you and your staff.




Clare Clatworthy
06 November 2014 07:23

Skiing Inspiration

If you haven’t been skiing before, you need to check out our topinspirational reasons as to why it should be at the top of your bucket list…

Have you ever heard of Après Ski?It’s possibly one of the main reasons skiers continue to visit the slopes repeatedly each year. Whether you’re a competitive or beginner skier you’ll be able to hang up your skis at any outdoor bar on the slopes and enjoy your well-deserved beverage with many other fellow skiers - and then depending how much you’re enjoying yourself – party the night away.

Wherever you decide to go on your skiing trip, you’ll always find spectacular scenery. Many of the resorts are built on cobbled streets, from which you can see panoramic views of the mountain ranges dotted with dimly lit historic lodges. At night you’ll see the surreal pink glow of the sunset and will never be able to take enough pictures to capture it.

If its adrenaline you’re looking for then this might possibly be one of the most extreme sports you can easily give a go. The rush of the slopes is what all skiers love and have in common; you can’t beat the exhilarating feeling of being able to ski past someone in the blink of an eye. Even if you’re a beginner you’ll appreciate the openness of the slopes and feel like you’re going ten times faster than you actually are.

When we say ‘ski’ it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s all about the skiing. Nearly all ski resorts offer a range of snow sports you can take part in from snowboarding and tubing to snowmobiles and husky sledding (dependant on where you visit). You’ll even find spas to relax and regenerate in. Most resorts offer a wide range of beauty treatments and many accommodations come with an outdoor Jacuzzi. If you visit, this is a must – it’s quite an experience sitting in a Jacuzzi being surrounded by the sparkling snow and slopes!

Another aspect that makes ski stand out from your average package sun holiday is the accommodation and cuisine. In most ski resorts you have the option to stay in a catered chalet and enjoy first class food. It’s quite a luxury to have someone come in to serve breakfast and have everything set up so beautifully. The staff at these resorts are so welcoming and friendly and will be willing to offer you as much advice as you need. The accommodation itself is usually out of this world, if you’re looking for something that would seem like it’s been replicated from a film set then you need to experience one of these lodges with their open fires and spacious lounge areas.

As you can tell, a skiing break is completely different to the ‘norm’ and once you’ve tried it you will always want to return to the slopes.

04 November 2014 03:55

Skiing at Les 3 Vallees

Are you are skiing nut? If so then heading to Les 3 Vallées should be on the top of your list. I have just returned from a wonderful week staying at the Chalet Loden with Mark Warner Ski, who should also be on your list!

The outbound trip was seamless. We decided to take the BA charter flight option from Gatwick to Grenoble and on arrival we were plane to coach transfer within 30 minutes for the 2 ½ journey to the heart of the Alps.

Mark Warner were superb and I couldn’t fault them with the chalet hosting; lift passes and ski hire happened at the chalet, so no time was wasted going into the village to collect them for what was promising to be a fantastic week of skiing.

Les 3 Vallées in my opinion has the biggest and varied ski area in the world, catering for all abilities from complete novice to expert so you should never be short of challenging runs. We were fortunate enough to have 10cms of powder fall on our first night, so our inaugural dinner was full of excited chat towards what the first day on the slopes would be like.

We were not disappointed! The week was superb; the chalet hosts were fantastic, the catering was the best I have ever had and this was by far my favourite skiing trip to date.

No trip to Meribel would be complete without a visit to the infamous Folie Douce for a little bit of après ski, table top dancing is optional but highly encouraged, and if that is not enough for you then you can round of your day off at the Rond Point.

Would I go again, you bet, in fact I am returning in next year!

29 October 2014 03:07



Just to let you know that we really enjoyed our holiday in Jamaica, hotel great Bill gave the food 8 out of 10 and for him that is very good. Thank you for organising it for us



Fearnley and Bill
04 September 2014 01:29

Sunshine and relaxation in the Dordogne

I have been visiting the Dordogne for many years now, we are not big fans of returning to the same place, but we make the Dordogne an exception and visit it every three years with the same friends, staying in the same place! It is a truly beautiful area of France, the impressive Dordogne River meanders peacefully through the countryside, passing by sleepy medieval villages and towns, impressive castles and chateaus, and fields of bright yellow sun flowers. It is the perfect place to relax and recharge your batteries.

We always take the ferry and drive down (so we can bring back wine), but there are daily flights into Bergerac and Brive. We stay in a private rented farmhouse with its own swimming pool, situated in Grolejac. It is about a 15 minute drive from Sarlat-la-Canéda; nestling in the heart of Périgord Noir and dating back to the 14th century, it is an architectural treasure not to be missed. My advice is to plan your visit for a Wednesday or a Saturday to experience its traditional French market. The whole area is a gastronomic delight where you can sample foie gras, truffles, cepes, chestnuts, walnuts, strawberries, the cabecou goat’s cheeses, wines, duck and geese conserves (confits) and pork conserves (enchauds). Be prepared to put on a few pounds!

Wine is one of our passions and we now have favourite vineyards we visit each time we go. The wine regions we visit include Bergerac (dry white, rosé and red wine), Monbazillac (desert wine), Saussignac (desert wine) and Pécharmant (red wine). Most of the vineyards are open daily for wine tasting, although they do tend to close at lunchtime between 12-2pm. You can just turn up and taste; you will meet people passionate about the wine they produce, always willing to tell you all about it. A day driving around the vineyards is tough on the driver, but well worth it for everyone else, and if like us you drive down, make sure you leave room in the car to bring a few bottles (or more) back.

If castles and chateaus are your thing, then the Dordogne is the place for you; highly recommended to visit include Chateau de Beynac, Le Chateau de Castlenaud and Chateau Fenelon. Kayaking along the river is a great way to see these magnificent buildings. Two other gems not to be missed are Domme, a bastide town situated 150 meters above the Dordogne River, it boasts some of the most spectacular views of the surrounding countryside you will see and it still retains its original fortified walls and gateways; and Rocamadour, set in a gorge, its buildings rise in stages up the side of a cliff, its one paved street is lined with delightful medieval houses. It is a famous pilgrimage destination and the Grand Escalier of 216 steps will take you up to the shrine of the Madonna and the sanctuaries above.

Our holiday this year was as enjoyable as ever, we were joined by my sister and brother-in-law visiting from New Zealand and they just loved it, roll-on 2017…
04 September 2014 01:28

Hi Helen,


Hope you are well and have had a great summer. Sorry it’s taken me so long to get in touch with you after our holiday to Salou, but wanted to let you know we had a great time away and everything worked out well. It was a decent hotel, we loved the all-inclusive option (especially the kids with the ice-cream!) and appreciated everything being arranged for us by you and the team at Carrick Travel.


So thank you very much!
25 July 2014 03:04

Dubai - First class service

“So, what’s Dubai like?” I asked a colleague before heading out for my first Middle East trip. “It’s hot” he said. “Gee. Thanks”, I replied, “and let me guess, there’s sand too?” Before my facetious remark could settle he was off into a meeting leaving me to ponder why he couldn’t have spared another moment to describe Dubai a bit more.  After spending a week there for business and pleasure I came to understand that he may have needed more than just another moment.

The holiday portion of my trip began after a 3 day conference and I was certainly ready for some R&R. I met my wife at our hotel around 10am expecting to store our bags for a check-in later that afternoon but the hotel staff at The Address, Dubai Marina were well-prepared to accept us and checked us in early. It was great to find that the outstanding local service I had become accustomed to during the conference wasn’t limited to big-spending businesses. Our room had a lovely balcony that looked over Dubai Marina offering a view of the world’s tallest twisted building, Cayan Tower. We were tempted to switch on the “do not disturb” button and rest the day away in the comfort of our spacious room but adventures awaited us elsewhere. 

Before tiredness could creep in we popped our towels and trunks into a bag and headed off to Aquaventure Waterpark at Atlantis, on The Palm. Switching between a leisurely float along the circuitous rapids and the park’s more thrilling rides was a great way to spend a day after the long hours of a conference or, in my wife’s case, a long-haul flight. She did however opt out of the park’s ultimate thrill - Poseidon’s Revenge (check it out on YouTube or, in the words of their own website “step into a capsule and wait for the moment when the floor falls out beneath you and you begin to plummet through a waterslide at speeds of 60 kilometres per hour before the fury of Poseidon’s revenge propels you upside down.”) I thought it was insanely fun! 

For the following 5 days I was inclined to permanently set up at our glorious hotel pool. I knew however that the sun would always be shining and there would be plenty of time to enjoy a swim so we decided to do some exploring. First up was a desert safari.

Our safari guide drove us less than an hour outside of the city in a 4WD where we encountered a land of unending sand dunes. Before the dune-bashing commenced we were treated to a spot of falconry and a photo with a friendly camel. The following journey over the undulating dunes took us to a bedouin camp where a wide array of local foods were on offer along with belly dancing, camel-riding and a shisha under a multitude of stars. This really was something quite different and it was a great experience.

The following day I was determined to show my wife the Burj Khalifa at sunset. Our 20 minute taxi ride from Dubai Marina took us along the main highway which is thronged by sky-scrapers. At this moment I came to really appreciate the ambition embodied by these structures which aren’t just symbols of the emirate’s wealth and recent growth. They are extravagant statements that nothing is impossible, particularly when it comes to modern architecture, and we were headed towards the grandest of them all.   

Arriving in front of the world’s tallest building we were struck by its futuristic curving tiers rising into space against the pink and purple desert sky. For me it was an image of a galactic palace from another world. My wife on the other hand has less of an appreciation for the subtleties of science fiction and summed it up simply with an emphatic “Wow!” This was followed by an “Oooohh!” as the graceful water and light show of The Dubai Fountain began in the foreground. Our night was finished off with dinner at one of the many eateries in the expansive Dubai Mall nearby where we also spent a thoughtful 20 minutes gazing upon the vast population of sea life in the huge aquarium.


Amongst our excursions we did plenty of relaxing in the sun and pottering about the many shops but on our final day we made plans to do Friday brunch with friends. Many hotels in Dubai hold these weekly all-you-can-eat-and-drink events and they are particularly popular with expats. I was quick to discover why.

Our chosen venue, the Fairmont Hotel Dubai, is reputed to have been the first hotel to hold a Friday brunch and they have put the intervening years to good use. They offer food from all over the globe and while I am not a fan of buffet style dining, this was one of my most enjoyable eating experiences. From the succulent wagyu beef roast to oysters on the half shell, it was a foodie’s dream and the various cocktails on offer ensured a merry atmosphere. Overall it epitomised the impressive quality of food, drink, and service that I had grown used to during my stay.

With a sigh of satisfaction we returned to our hotel oasis for one final swim and to contemplate our surroundings. I now knew that if my colleague had actually taken the time to try and describe Dubai we may have been standing at the communal urn for some time. It was also clear that any brief description other than “it’s hot” would have been too abstract. Impressive? Extravagant? Different? Unreal? Sure he could have used these words, but without having been there I could not have appreciated what he meant. Dubai is not London or Paris. It’s not Sydney or Hong Kong. Dubai is Dubai. It is impressive, extravagant and different (and hot). It is all these things and more, but to describe it simply in these words really isn’t enough. It must be experienced.
19 July 2014 02:08

Hi Stephanie,


I just wanted to thank you for helping us with booking our holiday to Cala D’Or in Majorca this year.


Right from identifying a location (travel-wise), to finding a suitably star-rated hotel and advising me over the telephone when time was getting really tight with our passport applications. You were such a patient support throughout.


We all enjoyed our week away so much. I do hope you liked the resort too, as I recall that was where you were intending to holiday also.


We will definitely come back to Carrick Travel in the future for such genuinely interested and friendly assistance. 5 stars from us!


Best Wishes


Suzanne Roberts
30 June 2014 04:03
I have just returned from a driving holiday around Granada, Toledo, Madrid and Javea. I have detailed some points about my stay.  If you would like any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me on 02476 502650 or email donnahill@carricktravel.com and I will be more than happy to help.

Granada is a great low key city to visit.  Full of cobbled streets, beautiful architecture and lovely food all within easy reach.  The Cathedral is compacted into the city and is stunning. One place to make sure you visit is Alhambra Palace (must be pre booked in peak times as it gets very busy) I did a guided tour which was very good and helpful as there is a lot of history around the Alhambra and it is great to understand it's past.  Granada is easy enough to walk round as everything is quite close to each other.  I stayed on the Gran Via road which is very central in Granada and a great location to explore.  The Suite Gran Via 44 is an excellent hotel to stay in.  You only need 2 or 3 nights to experience everything Granada has to offer.

Wow, what more can I say.  Out of the whole trip, Toledo took my breath away from the moment we drove into Toledo.  You only need 2 nights in Toledo as it is a small place, all within the city walls.  Again, cobbled streets, beautiful scenery and a must see. I recommend getting on the Red Train excursion that takes you round the main sights and stops off for you to take panoramic photo's of Toledo.

Madrid is a large city very spread out.  I would suggest 3 or 4 nights to see the city comfortably.  I stayed on the Atocha Road which is in a great location.  The Bernabeu Stadium and the Bull Ring are the furthest places out to visit but is a definite trip to do.  There is two open top bus tours you can get that link with one another which go round the whole city which is good way to get around Madrid.  The Plaza Mayor is nice place to eat with some lovely restaurants.  Madrid has a massive park area, a bit like Central Park in New York, but on a smaller scale which has a lake in the centre where you can hire a boat and paddle around. The Palacio Real de Madrid is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family in Madrid, is only used for state ceremonies but another great excursion to do.

Javea is a lovely beach resort with all the water sports you can think of, loads of restaurants on the promenade with plenty of shops.  The promenade is busy in the day time and electric at night. Is has many places nearby like Denia which has a lovely drive to get to, all through the winding roads around the mountains.  It is great for families and couples and it is very affordable to eat out.  There is a hotel next to the Arenal Promenade called Parador which is a very nice hotel and fab location.

My whole holiday experience is one I will never forget, it was wonderful and saw so many beautiful sights.  Look out for pictures on our Facebook page Carrick Travel Coventry.
24 June 2014 06:31

Holidaying at Home

With all its charm and diversity it amazes me that British people are so quick to get out of the UK and book overseas holidays when it comes to taking a break. I personally know several people who have travelled as far as Australia and yet have never eaten an ice cream on a beach in Brighton, walked through the Yorkshire Dales or tried to catch a glimpse of the Loch Ness monster.

Something that surprised me when I read it just a few months ago is that there is a beach in Britain that has been voted as one of the top ten in the world! Rhossili Beach in Wales is worthy of its title as you would be forgiven for thinking you had been transported to a beach on the Mediterranean with its stunning blue sea and miles of sandy shoreline. In true British style there is also a pub (Worms Head) which overlooks the stunning bay. Granted it is much more pleasant when the sun is shining but even on a cloudy day this beach is breath-taking. The beauty of Britain is that there really is something for everyone. For those who prefer a livelier, albeit less picturesque beach, where the focus is on the nightlife and activities, Brighton is a must see. With its pier and rows of bars and restaurants it is a hub for the younger generation as well as family days out. I enjoy walking through The Lanes in Brighton where I am always spoilt for choice between the boutique shops, quirky restaurants and jazz bars that thrive in this area.

Being a born and bred Londoner I am probably biased when I speak about how incredible the city is. From the punks and famous Stables Market in Camden to the designer shops and upmarket restaurants in Chelsea and Kensington, the diversity in this city is endless. A favourite hotspot of mine is Shoreditch, it never ceases to amaze me as I can be walking along a fairly nondescript  road and come across a striking piece of graffiti by Banksy himself and the next minute be outside a top London restaurant or bar, a favourite of mine is Beach Blanket Babylon. Aside from all the hidden hotspots London has to offer, there are the obvious main tourist attractions that millions come to visit from across the world such as Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral and the countless museums. I personally love to see the famous skyline, especially at night and with so many different places to do this from it is a must see when in London. Whether it is on a rotation of the London Eye, sipping cocktails in the bar at the Shard or having a picnic in Primrose Hill, the views are incredible.

For those who prefer a break from the hustle and bustle of city life, the UK has some of the most stunning natural landscapes in the world such as the Yorkshire Dales and the Peak District. Popular with hikers, the Peak District was the UK’s first National Park and offers activities for every age; from rock climbing to walking around stately homes and visiting famous film locations. The Yorkshire Dales also offer stunning views for miles on end and I remember after hours in the car as a child on the way to Scotland I would always perk up when we drove through this stunning area of natural beauty. Even back then I was aware of the rolling green hills and quite frankly fascinated by the open space and tranquillity of the area compared to my London home.

Every year for three nights between Christmas and New Year my family would take us to the small village of Dunkeld in Scotland and despite going back time and time again it never got boring as there was so much to do. The hotel (Hilton Dunkeld) offers activities such as clay pigeon shooting and 4x4 driving but outside of the grounds Scotland has so much to offer. We visited Edinburgh several times and this old town combines historic charm with a cosmopolitan vibe to create a truly unique experience.

No trip to Scotland would be complete without a trip to Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle. The castle has a tower which is still intact and offers a great vantage point from which to try and spot the Loch Ness monster. Every time I looked out across the icy Loch as a child I could not help but let my imagination get the better of me and convince myself that I had spotted Nessie in the distance, only to see a bird then fly away. With its deepest point reaching 227 metres I believe my search is far from over and I will continue to keep one eye peeled when I next visit as there is a definite mystical aura around the area. Another reason Scotland is a great alternative to a holiday abroad is because from the northern most points of the country you are sometimes able to see the Northern Lights on a clear day.

While I have visited several places across the world there is nothing like driving through the Highlands of Scotland with the snow-capped mountains above and mist over the Loch below and then having to stop the car to allow a majestic stag to cross in front of us. These memories that were made so close to home will stay with me forever and I hope other families also instil in their children a similar knowledge of and passion for the UK before they flee the nest and head to Magaluf, far too cool to be seen with their parents anymore.

Another country in the UK which is popular with the younger generation is Northern Ireland. Just a one-hour flight from London and you can be in Belfast which is a great starting point from which to explore the region. For me the first stop was Glenarm where we visited Glenarm Castle, set between hills on one side and the sea on the other, it is a stunning location. A must-see when travelling around is the Glenariff National Park. The glens here are magnificent and run right down to the sea providing magnificent views. One of the most famous sites is the Giants Causeway. You are free to clamber all over the causeway which is something the National Trust is proud to offer bearing in mind it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The next stop was Londonderry, a walled city with a lot of history dating back to 1600. The Tower Museum tells the story of this city right up to the present day and you come away with a real sense of hope that Northern Ireland has turned a massive corner on its road to peace. The final stop was Belfast which proved to be a vibrant, safe city for visitors with loads to see and do. A ‘must-do’ here is the city bus tour which is a hop-on hop-off bus that takes in all the main sites and is led by a local, knowledgeable tour guide who helped to bring the history of the city to life. 

Writing this blog has been one of the hardest I have ever had to do, not because I struggled with what to write but rather quite the opposite. The UK has so much to offer that it is hard to know when to stop. Having said that, there are not enough words in the world to convey just how incredible so many destinations in the UK are. While I am not suggesting we all give up our beloved holidays on a beach far away, I do urge you not to forget the wonders that lie right on your doorstep, after all as once mentioned by Hugh Grant in the hit film Love Actually: “We may be a small country, but we’re a great one too.”
22 May 2014 07:51

Hello Cathy


Thanks for your letter.  We had a lovely holiday at the Hotel Mijas, also known these days as TR Mijas Beach Cultural.    It was very early, cold and misty when we set off for Birmingham Airport on the 29th April!    Our car was collected at the Airport and check-in was easy. We enjoyed the Aspire Airport Lounge-nice and quiet.    The flight was good and we were met at Malaga Airport by local rep Karen Quigley and passed to our driver for the transfer via a winding road to Mijas.     The hotel sits in such a spectacular site with views to the mountains and set in lush gardens.    We had a lovely room with views over the tennis court and garden, looking down to Fuengirola and the Mediterranean Sea!   Karen came to see us the following day to talk about excursions but the pick-up point was in Fuengirola and we would have had to get a local bus at 7am!    Having just had an early start for our flight we decided not to do that.  Karen said not many Classic clients go to the hotel , maybe because it is not Five Star?     We found the staff very friendly and seemed to appreciate our modest attempts at speaking Espanol.


We enjoyed relaxing by the pool where we had some nice lunches. The dining room also has spectacular views and we ate there several times in the evening. There was a wide mix of people there from Japan, France, Germany, the Netherlands and UK.     


There is lots to see in Mijas with its white houses, narrow streets, all bedecked with flowers. When we walked further from the main areas it became more traditional with elderly ladies talking from their front doors. We got a local bus from just outside the hotel to Fuengirola and then a train to Malaga.   Very interesting city, we went to the Cathedral and the Picasso Museum which is housed in a former palace.-very impressive.

We went again to Fuengirola on the bus and walked along its beach promenade.


There is a bullring in Mijas and on the Sunday we went to an evening event there. A mix of dancing and horsemanship-no bulls!  On one side of the bullring, basking in the evening sun, was the bell tower of the parish church, on the other was the white houses and straight ahead was the mountains of the Sierra de Mijas and a blue sky with not a cloud in it!   It was just lovely!


All good things come to an end. We had a good journey back home and were able to use our Priority Pass for the Sala lounge at Malaga Airport.

Thank you for booking and organising everything for us we had  really enjoyable time and would certainly recommend  Mijas. I attach a few pics of the hotel and Mijas-there are more!   We will send off the feedback questionnaire to Classic and Felicity has put a review on Trip Advisor.  When we are  next in Leamington we will call in to say hello-which days of the week are you around?


Best wishes


Bill and Felicity Fleming  
13 May 2014 02:22



I would just like to thank you and your team at Stratford and the Carrick Travel at Head Office, for their support following the incident at East Midlands Airport which affected our departure to Malta. I have heard horror stories about such delays, but the support and guidance which Carrick provided was nothing less than outstanding. No wonder you are the only Travel Agent we use. In the event the delay only amounted to 2 hours. Your taxi provider on Gozo, Raymond and his wife, were also excellent throughout our stay and should be highly commended.


Thank you again  Mike Ward
28 March 2014 04:56
Hi Helen

Well what can I say, Dubai was fabulous, yes we did the Burj.... twice, day time and evening, went to Atlantis on the Palm, both amazing feats of engineering and vision.  We were lucky enough to fly over tha Palm on our way to Kuwait, albeit being a tad hazy.

The Hotel was truly one of the best we have ever stayed at, and we did speak to various couples who said they'd been going there for between ten - twenty years, and yes they had seen plenty of changes!!!  
Whether it was due to Brian having a Birthday while we were away I don't know, but we got an upgrade to Club, and while we would have liked a view up towards the Palm area I wasnt going to look a gift horse in the mouth, so we settled for some beautiful sunsets and made the most of the afternoon teas and pre-dinner drinks instead....
The staff were all extremely courteous, helpful and friendly, Brian got Birthday pancakes, plus candle at breakfast and we came back to our room in the evening to a Birthday cake and bottle of wine.  Check-in and out was very smooth, in fact I think we were asked by five different staff members if we'd got all our belongings, passports and tickets etc when leaving.  Le Royale Meridien is definitely a hotel we'd both recommend and return to.

The transfers went without a hitch, and we did need the larger vehicle to and from the airport.

We also had a very enjoyable stay with our friends in Kuwait, not a tourist hotspot but some interesting sights, including a huge 'sandcastle' display, I'm sure if you google 'sandcastles' Kuwait you'll see what I mean, these weren't amateurish kiddies beach efforts, they had taken teams from all over the world several months to sculpt.
My friends reaction when she came home to see us sat at her kitchen table was BRILLIANT, she hadn't got a clue that we were coming, and it's all recorded!!

All the flights were without incident, that said I wouldnt put Emirates at the top of my list of favourite airlines, they were professional yes, but the flight home especially left a bit of a sour taste.  Initially I wasn't convinced that my wheelchair would actually be put on the plane, the stewardesses I spoke to appeared completely disinterested.  We did our usual, wait til last bit, once we got to Birmingham and then found that there were more people waiting for wheelchairs than expected.  In similar situations the staff have allowed us to wait on the plane, but not this particular set of crew, who quite obviously wanted to be on their way.  So we had to stand in a breezy and chilly stand.
However as we were in the air at the same time as flight MH370 went missing, this seems a bit of an insignificant whinge.

Overall this was another brilliantly put together package by yourselves, and I'm certain we'll be back to your 'sweetie shop' to see what else you have to offer.

Many Thanks to all concerned

Dawn and Brian McBride
19 March 2014 03:51
We're back from our Africa hols.  It was amazing, up there as one of the best holidays ever.  All went without a hitch so African Pride did their stuff very well.  All the Sanctuary lodges were very different.  Chichele Presidential lodge was our favourite; very colonial and the rooms were quite dated compared to the other lodges.  However the staff were brilliant and the game drives just out of this world so would thoroughly recommend it especially for newbies like us.  
Sussi and Chuma was more modern, highlight was the trip to Victoria Falls...breathtaking and also seeing the white rhino, safely protected by armed guards !  Chobe Chilwero was not so good on the game front but the rooms were  the best.

As for food.....it was non stop, couldn't keep up with it all excellent.  Also the hotel on Jo'burg was lovely but weather was rubbish, like being in England.

Finally, on our last drive at Chichele just before sunset we were driven to Chichele Hill and waiting for us were the staff from the lodge, a set table, with fizz and nibbles and chairs arranged to watch the sunset...brought a tear to my eye it was wonderful.

Thanks for organising everything Helen in your usual faultless fashion !

So, where to next ????  
05 December 2013 01:56
Hi Fiona

I keep meaning to email you to let you know that we had a fabulous holiday in Mauritius. Everything about it was perfect & we would definitely use Four Seasons again.  The teenage kids club was great for Jonty.  

There were a lot more activities included in the price compared to Antigua, and you could do water skiing as many times as you liked for free.  You could also get free tuition on all the free water sports & sailing.  We took a boat out fishing 3 times & it was only £81 for 2 hours & then they cooked the fish for Jonty's lunch.

We would definitely go again.  The service was amazing.  We also had free bikes to get about the resort, and there were also buggies to take you anywhere you fancied.  The restaurants were all fab and there were various special nights as well.

Re Mauritius Airlines we found them to absolutely fine.  A modern plane, and certainly no worse than BA & VIrgin.  The food was better than BA & Virgin & their flight attendants far more helpful.

A new airport opened in Sept and it was amazing.  Air conditioned, really friendly staff and we have never been through Customs so quickly.  The airport transfers were great and the drivers really informative & a lot safer than Caribbean drivers!

Thanks again for organising such a wonderful holiday


Susan, Phill & Jonty 
11 November 2013 02:26
Dear Carrick,

Thank you for booking our fantastic holiday to Cyprus.  We returned on Monday morning.  The Four Seasons is a fabulous hotel and we would like to return, time and money allowing.

You made booking this holiday seamless, my only gripe would be the time of the return flight from Cyprus, but that's not exactly in your control.

Many thanks,

Jo Bell
08 August 2013 04:26
Dear Paul

thank you for the recommendation to visit Ila D'or in Majorca. We have had  a wonderful 4 days away, brilliant weather and excellent location, so again thank you. 

Just to say, we would not hesitate to use your services again, your help and support has been really valued, given the lack of it in other places. While our next holiday is already planned, we have every intention of coming back to you for future holidays. 

Warm regards

Mr & Mrs P.
17 June 2013 05:20

Dear Sir

I would like to congratulate you on one of your staff members Tracy Lea who works at your Kenilworth Branch.

She really helped us in booking our special Anniversary holiday in Majorca. She was very professional in finding us the exact holiday we wanted. We will be definitely be recommending Carrick Travel to our friends and family and we shall certainly be booking with you again in the future.

Thank you once again for your excellent service.

Kind Regards

Mr and Mrs Barlow

15 April 2013 03:18
Attention of Fiona

‘A lovely holiday in Morocco in a perfect choice of 3 very different locations.

Seamless transfers; splendid choice of hotels; delicious food and lovely staff everywhere. Thank you Fiona.’

Really good hols


18 March 2013 03:57
Just got back from our Vietnam tour (16 Feb to 5 March) and wanted to thank you all for a brilliant holiday. Particularly wanted Buffalo to know how much we appreciated the efforts of our 3 guides (and their drivers - not least for keeping us alive!). Nhut (in the south), Phong (in the middle) and especially Tanh (in the north) were so helpful, efficient, courteous and knowledgeable about their country - we learnt so much. They were like walking encyclopaedias! Please let them know how much their input added to our enjoyment of the trip.

As for Buffalo's overall planning of our trip - it was all quite matchless. Great hotels, wonderful lunches, fascinating visits and brilliant destinations all conspired to make it probably our best ever holiday.

Many thanks again

Carol & Mike Parkhouse