Once more Travel Begins at 40 has teamed up with Travel PR to provide five tips for those of you looking for a little travel spice, from whale watching in the Azores to hiking in County Durham, a summer yoga retreat in Tuscany, the wildlife and history of Alderney and agro-tourism in Kenya.

Whale Spotting in the Azores

AITO* member Sunvil (020 8758 4722; www.sunvil.co.uk) is offering a saving of £227 pp on a stay at the modern four-star Talisman Hotel on São Miguel in May – the perfect time to spot whales and dolphins. Book a whale-watching trip for the chance to see blue whales, striped dolphins, bottlenose dolphins and more. Departing on 12 May, a seven-night stay costs from £600 pp (two sharing) and includes flights (Gatwick), B&B and transfers.

Wildlife and History on Alderney

Blonde Hedgehog, c. Martin Batt, photo courtesy of Naturetrek

AITO* member Naturetrek (01962 733051, www.naturetrek.co.uk) offers a relaxing break to the most northerly Channel Island, where the pace of life is slow and wonderful bird watching awaits. Enjoy wildlife walks (a leisurely two to three miles per day) and a boat trip to view Gannet colonies, other sea birds and marine life. The price is from £795 pp (two sharing) including flights (Southampton), four-star B&B and expert naturalist guides. Departs 18 May & 18 June.

Summer yoga retreat in Tuscany – from £1,560 pp at The Watermill at Posara

Join a relaxed, energy-boosting yoga retreat this August in rural Tuscany (see cover photo) with American yoga tutors Amy Rogg and Joanne Brohmer.  Based at a converted watermill, there will be candlelit yoga, silent meditation in the walled garden, anxiety-reducing yoga sessions, somatic breathing meditation, sound healing, reiki and more.  Running from 25 August – 1 September, the price of £1,560 pp (two sharing) includes tuition, seven nights’ full-board including delicious homemade Italian cuisine and meals at local restaurants; transfers and an excursion to Lucca. Flights (Pisa) extra. Contact The Watermill at Posara on 020 7193 6246 (www.watermill.net).

Agrotourism trip in Kenya – from £3,150 pp with TravelLocal

Photo courtesy of TravelLocal

Kenya’s wildlife is thrilling, and its agri-adventure is also fascinating. Combine the two on a new trip; it takes you on safari in the Maasai Mara, the Oserian Wildlife Sanctuary and the El Karama private conservancy; and it visits a highland tea farm, a coffee farm, an award-winning speciality cheese farm, and a working cattle ranch. The 13-day Kenya’s Rural Highlights trip costs from £3,150 pp (two sharing) including accommodation with breakfast daily, most other meals, transfers, excursions and the services of a local guide. Flights not included. Call TravelLocal on 0117 3257898 (www.travellocal.com).

Cocktails, hampers and hiking – Seaham Hall, County Durham, from £375 pp

Seaham Hall, photo courtesy of Seaham Hall

The North East is heavenly in summer, especially its coastal strolls and wonderfully fresh seafood. Five-star Seaham Hall overlooks the sea on a new 11-mile section of the England Coast Path and has a 44,000 sq ft award-winning spa. It’s Great Up North is a two-night special offer including signature cocktails on arrival, a hamper full of Northern summer treats, a three-course dinner, a 60-minute spa treatment, a local map featuring little-known gems, and tickets to the nearby Beamish Museum which has an exciting summer line-up. Cost is from £375 pp (two sharing a luxurious suite). Valid 1 June – 31 August 2018, Monday – Thursday. Call Seaham Hall on 0191 516 1400 (www.seaham-hall.co.uk).


*AITO is the Association of Independent Tour Operators: more than 120 specialist travel companies providing an unrivalled collection of holiday ideas that cover every corner of the world. Consumers booking with AITO can be assured of high-quality holidays and excellent personal service. Visit www.aito.com for further information.