Our travel experts have been planning holidays for over 50 years, taking you around the world to colourful cities, faraway islands and wildlife-rich savannahs. Now, we can also help you find beauty and adventure closer to home. We’ve teamed up with award-winning tour operators McKinlay Kidd & The Carter Company to offer you our very first range of UK and Ireland holidays.
A holiday in England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales might evoke images of scenic countryside and famous cities, but McKinlay Kidd’s local insight goes way beyond that. Their expertise will help you get off the tourist trail to discover hidden coves off the west coast of Ireland, white-sand beaches on the Isle of Harris, ancient villages edging the Brecon Beacons, and cosy Yorkshire pubs promising the best fish and chips in town.
Like us, McKinlay Kidd will only recommend hotels they’ve stayed in, road trip routes they’ve driven, train journeys they’ve travelled, and experiences they have loved. Their escorted and private tours, rail holidays, self-drive itineraries and island escapes can all be tailor-made for you. If you love wildlife, they know where you’ll have the best chance of seeing minke whales, golden eagles or red deer. If you’re after a relaxed stay, they’ll point you to their favourite islands for lazy beach days and freshly-caught seafood. Whatever you’re into, whether it’s hiking, history, food or whisky, McKinlay Kidd can design a bespoke itinerary that’s just right for you.
Over at The Carter Company, they believe the best way to get to know a place is to travel by bike or on foot. Their portfolio of walking and cycling holidays offer a different way to explore the glorious landscapes and spine-tingling history of England, Scotland and Wales. With 25 years of experience, their team of specialists have in-depth knowledge of the areas they operate in and their itineraries are all about ‘slow travel’, giving you plenty of time to explore at your own pace, stop for a coffee or two and soak up your surroundings.
Whether you choose to walk or cycle, stay in a traditional inn, boutique hotel or even a castle, you’ll explore the best trails of the UK on creatively designed routes along charming back roads and quiet footpaths, discovering hidden gems and local secrets along the way. They take care of every detail, so all you need to do is decide which trip is right for you.
The award-winning McKinlay Kidd team have been creating tailor-made holidays across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales for almost two decades. You can expect handpicked hotels full of local charm and character, knowledgeable guides, first-hand recommendations – and an unforgettable holiday that’s as individual as you are.
The Carter Company was the brainchild of Wendy Carter, who wanted to share her passion for family holidays in the great outdoors. She realised that cycling and walking holidays have all the characteristics of a great ski holiday — being out in the fresh air, exercising, engaging with beautiful surroundings, sampling delicious local food and resting in characterful hotels — just centred around a different sport. Wendy has cycled and walked every one of their holidays, so you can be confident the itineraries are tried, tested and designed from personal insight.
McKinlay Kidd have an amazing collection of island escapes, tours, self-drives, rail holidays and tailor-made adventures across the UK and Ireland. These six itineraries are just a taster of what they can create for you, so get in touch for more details on these holidays and many others.
Sweeping roads passing sheep-grazed hills, glittering lochs, crashing waves, historic distilleries and remote bothies: the North Coast 500 is everything a self-drive adventure should be. Beginning in Inverness, the 516-mile route skirts around Scotland’s far northern reaches and includes stays in sumptuous four- and five-star hotels. While you can complete this meandering drive in a few days, McKinlay Kidd have slowed the pace down. This week-long holiday gives you some time to really appreciate the natural world around you, take in those Highland views, pause by the side of a sea loch or set off on foot into the hills.
Prices from £1695 per person in April and October and £1755pp from May to September (based on two people sharing)
We’re used to sending you to far-flung retreats but on this journey McKinlay Kidd will take you to stunning beaches and paradise islands a little closer to home. The Outer Hebrides are a 130-mile-long string of islands off the north-west coast of Scotland at the very edge of the Atlantic Ocean. From mainland Oban, take the ferry over to the Isle of Barra where you can discover an ancestral castle and tales of shipwrecks. Then it’s onwards and upwards as you hop through the Uists and Benbecula to the Isle of Harris with its best-in-the-world beaches and traditional cottages where crofters weave the famous and fashionable Harris Tweed.
Prices from £685 per person in April and October and £715 per person from May to September (based on two people sharing)
The Emerald Isle’s ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ is one of Europe’s must-do drives. The pace is wonderfully slow on this eight-night journey, giving you the chance to make the most of the epic coastal landscapes and sample the best of Ireland’s cuisine from Cork to Clare. A couple of highlights include a foodie-focused walking tour through the vibrant fishing and sailing village of Kinsale and a one-of-a-kind seaweed foraging adventure in Co. Kerry. McKinlay Kidd have handpicked cosy and comfortable places to stay along the way, from family-run guest houses to a tower house hotel just steps from the Co. Clare shore.
Prices from £1245 per person in April & October and £1345 per person in May to September (based on two people sharing)
This self-drive and island-hopping holiday of two halves takes you down into the south west corner of England and across to an idyllic archipelago. Find hidden beaches and discover age-old legends as you follow the winding coastline through north Devon and Cornwall towards Land’s End. Then fly over to the sun-kissed Isles of Scilly, where McKinlay Kidd will help you uncover the best spots on the islands of St Mary’s and Tresco. When you’re back on the mainland it’s time for the final leg of the drive – Cornwall’s wonderful south coast. Eclectic stays are included throughout, from secluded farmhouses to lofty retreats overlooking the sea, and even within the walls of a historic fortress.
Price from £2095 per person in April, £2230 per person in May & October and £2295 per person from June to September (based on two people sharing)
Your indulgent six-night holiday begins with one of Europe’s most iconic train journeys – the Caledonian Sleeper. You’ll set off from London in the evening and wake the next day in what will seem like an entirely different world – the remote landscapes of the Scottish Highlands. A trip highlight is the visit to the Isle of Skye, one of Scotland’s most romantic islands where mountains soar skywards, cliffs fall away to the sea and imposing castles punctuate the landscape. Private and customisable tours have been added so you can see the best of Perthshire, Skye and Inverness with local guides who are passionate about their home.
Price from £1745 per person in March, April & October and £1865 per person from May to September (based on two people sharing)
Travel beyond the northern reaches of mainland Scotland to far-flung Orkney and Shetland. Start on the Orkney archipelago where the remnants of ancient life are never too far away. Visit a 5000-year-old village, wonder at the origins of the standing stones of Stenness and hop on a ferry to one of the smaller isles. There’ll be a short flight up to Shetland, a cluster of rugged islands home to seabirds, hardy ponies and archaeological sites. McKinlay Kidd recommend spotting the puffins on Sumburgh Head (April to July), stepping back in time at the Norse settlement Jarlshof or visiting Unst, the northern-most inhabited island in Britain.
Price from £1185 per person in March and October, £1225 per person in April and £1285 per person from May to September (based on two people sharing)