Steppes Travel has been creating bespoke, private holidays to the world’s most extraordinary destinations for almost 27 years. One of our partners in the US recently visited our office in the Cotswolds and following a fabulous pub lunch in a nearby village, posed the question, “Why on earth don’t you offer holidays to the UK”? It is easy to be complacent about what is on your doorstep but with a wealth of riches only minutes away from our office in the Cotswolds, we agreed it was about time we used our travel expertise to showcase the wonders of our own back yard.
Staying true to our ethos of ‘beyond the ordinary’, Steppes Travel’s holidays to the United Kingdom promise the following:
To take you to the sites for which the UK is rightly famous but also to show you our favourite but lesser known museums, gardens, villages and historic sites
To lift the lid on the quirks and eccentricities for which the UK is renowned (ever seen a cheese rolling competition?)
To provide local guides with personality, knowledge and passion that can help unravel the intricacies of UK history, culture and countryside
To take you to authentic village pubs, serving outstanding beer and food and giving an insight into rural life in the UK
To arrange accommodation that forms an integral part of the experience; from fully staffed private castles and stately homes to characterful guesthouses and boutique hotels.
The Cotswolds is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) that runs through five counties (Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire) in the southwest of England. Picture England in your mind’s eye and you are likely to conjure up an image of the Cotswolds with its golden stone buildings and rolling, green hills (‘wolds’). It is home to an abundance of beautiful gardens and manor houses such as Prince Charles’s south Gloucestershire home Highgrove, built in 1796. There are fascinating market towns and idyllic villages where shopping at a local farmer’s market, drinking a leisurely pint in a seventeenth century pub or savouring a meal in a Michelin star restaurant are not to be missed. The Cotswolds is renowned for its rural lifestyle, where horse-riding, fishing and walks in the countryside are an integral part of life.
A vibrant history and culture, vast open wilderness and the finest whiskey in the world - little wonder that the Scots are a proud people who love nothing more than welcoming visitors to their beautiful country.
For lovers of open space and unspoilt landscapes, Scotland is ‘manna from heaven’. Stay at Alladale Wilderness Reserve, in the heart of the Scottish Highlands and learn to stalk deer, fish for brown trout or simply walk through the estate while golden eagles soar overhead.
Stray further from the reserve and experience a private tasting at a whiskey distillery, play a round of golf at one of Scotland’s world-class courses or explore the rugged Highlands’ coastline by boat, mountain bike or self-drive. Away from the rural scene, cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh have excellent museums and art galleries as well as world-class restaurants.
London, that great capital of the world, that magnet and melting pot of cultures, art, theatre and food all wrapped within a historical fabric that has withstood fires and revolution, wars and intrigue.
Look up or look around, every corner reveals yet another phase of its past that has evolved over centuries without any planning or structure. Churches from the 7th century, tiny alleys and yards from the 17th (there were no ‘roads’ in the City of London only Streets, Lanes and Ways) and imposing squares from the 18th. There are palaces and houses, over 40 theatres alone in the centre, over 170 museums, 800 art galleries, and where else will you find a hat maker in the same shop since 1676? The most difficult question facing you is not whether to go, but how much time to spend there. To list its attractions would trivialise its appeal for there is more than enough to satisfy even the most demanding visitor.
“YOU FIND NO MAN, AT ALL INTELLECTUAL, WHO IS WILLING TO LEAVE LONDON. NO SIR, WHEN A MAN IS TIRED OF LONDON HE IS TIRED OF LIFE; FOR THERE IS IN LONDON ALL THAT LIFE CAN AFFORD.
Samuel Johnson 1709-1784”
For hedonists, London is a magnet with a surfeit of restaurants, pubs, bars, clubs, sports arenas, theatres and music venues. While the architecture, history and culture are immediately palpable for any visitor to London, it takes a good guide to reveal some of London’s lesser known sites and to help understand what really makes the city tick. Take a stroll around Little Venice where Londoners hang out by the canal and frequent the waterside cafes and bars. Take a walk around London’s oldest garden, the Chelsea Psychic Garden, established in 1673 and containing around 5,000 edible, medicinal and historic plants. Visit one of London’s oldest book shops like Daunt Books in Marylebone or Hatchards in Piccadilly. We know the quirky and different hang-outs to make your visit to London a memorable one.
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