• Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton

Time to start thinking of your next summer holiday…

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester


USA and Canada

Everyone’s situation is different as to what they need to think about when booking a holiday. Do you have children at school, are you in a job that restricts you from taking time off when you like?

Early planning is a must to avoid disappointment in these situations. Booking early also means you can take advantage any early booking discounts, which can save significantly sums for your holiday.

We are here to assist you make those plans and to help take the stress out of organising your trip. Once booked you can simply sit back and look forward to a wonderful holiday!

We are experts in the USA and Canada priding ourselves on the fact we have stayed in and visited many of the places we send our clients, helping you to make the best choices. The USA and Canada are well worth booking early in high season and they both offer something for everyone, from big city glamour to small town charm but can have limited availability.


USA – first thoughts

For the USA ‘big city glamour’ try the city of Chicago in Midwestern USA, a metropolitan hub for dining, shopping and entertainment. The Magnificent Mile is one of Chicago’s most famous shopping districts, and you’ll find flagship stores — from high street favourites to high fashion stores — along the stretch of shops. Nearby, wander along State Street, where you can visit the original Marshall Field’s, now Macy’s. For boutique shopping, head to Chicago’s 77 neighbourhood, where you’ll find unique, one-of-a-kind items you simply won’t want to leave without.

Chicago is bursting at the seams with theatrical talent. Broadway in Chicago and many Tony Award winning companies bring in big names and blockbuster shows, while more than 200 storefront, experimental and neighbourhood theatres bring you pioneering contemporary performances. Chicago is also a city that loves to laugh —after all Chicago invented improvisation comedy. See where Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell performed at world-famous ‘The Second City’. If stand-up comedy is your thing, grab your tickets for The Laugh Factory or Zanies. It is also a hub for all kinds of music and well worth experiencing.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis









For small town charm, we would recommend Jackson in Wyoming USA, sitting 15 miles from the Idaho border and approximately 12 miles from the entrance of Grand Teton National Park and 60 miles from the famous Yellowstone National Park. Offering you an adventure holiday exploring the wildlife and immersing in the local culture. You can explore on skis (in winter), mountain bikes, rafts, horse drawn stagecoaches. Add in exquisite cuisine, world-renowned art, and unique shopping to make a holiday to remember.


Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann










For Canada some places to consider

For ‘big city glamour’ consider a visit to the vibrant city of Vancouver, British Columbia with its skyline of glass buildings and the surrounding ocean and coastal mountains. Here you can swim from the beach and then go off to explore a mountain all in one day.  This is such a versatile city with so much to do. The city is the largest in British Columba, but manages to hold on to its rustic charm and natural beauty nonetheless. Visitors can enjoy bike riding, shopping, visiting a local museum or just relaxing in Stanley Park. Take the free shuttle service out to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. Originally built in 1889, Capilano Suspension Bridge stretches 450 feet (137m) across and 230 feet (70m) above Capilano River. Cliffwalk is the park’s newest attraction – a cantilevered walkway clinging to the granite cliff high above Capilano Canyon. Treetops Adventure, seven suspension bridges through the evergreens taking you up to 100 feet (30m) above the forest floor, offers a unique squirrel’s eye perspective of the forest. See the jaw-dropping majestic nature of British Columbia unfold as you ascend via aerial tram to the summit of Grouse Mountain. Rising 4,100 feet (1,250 metres) above Vancouver and just 15 minutes from the city’s downtown.

You can dine at a world class restaurant or join a Vancouver foodie tour which allows you to visit a wide variety of highly recommended restaurants trying varied cuisine and enjoying the nightlife. A visit to Granville Island is a must for true foodies looking to sample the best of this coastal city. This gastronomic-focused district offers everything from elegant waterfront restaurants to small ethnic eateries. The Granville Island Public Market is a must see, an indoor market featuring a fascinating assortment of food and produce, displaying handcrafted products and unique gifts.


Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann









For small town charm in Canada, we suggest Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan – an attractive town with an underground network of bootlegging tunnels connecting buildings. The tunnels were created in 1908 for a steam system that never happened, but it is rumoured that Al Capone gambled and made deals in them. You can get around this historic town on trolley buses and guided tours, stopping to visit one of the many attractions and museums, or you can simply relax in one of the many spas around the town. Summer in Moose Jaw is always bustling with activities such as Sidewalk Days, Park Art, the Motif Multicultural Festival, Farmers’ Markets, events in Crescent Park and much more.


Picture courtesy of Tourism Saskatchewan Greg Huszar Photography

Picture courtesy of Tourism Saskatchewan Greg Huszar Photography













For more information and help with organising and booking your holiday please contact us.

Two Countries, Three Cities – Seattle, Victoria, Vancouver

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester


On this trip you will combine the fascinating cities of Seattle, Victoria and Vancouver over 11 nights.

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Two Countries, Three Cities

On this trip you will combine the fascinating cities of Seattle, Victoria and Vancouver over 11 nights.  There are plenty of options to add if time allows – self drive through the Canadian Rockies, add Washington State to include Mt Rainier and the Olympic Peninsular, or through Oregon reaching Crater Lake and the fantastic coast.

Day 1: Seattle

Day 4: Victoria

Day 7: Vancouver

Day 10: Seattle


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In this itinerary you’ll explore three great cities, using a variety of transport methods as you travel between the USA and Canada, and between mainland and Islands. These three diverse cities, are all in fantastic oceanside locations, with great scenery and activities within easy reach.


Day 1 Seattle: Start with your flight to Seattle today. The city is a sophisticated blend of art, nature, technology and culture.  Take a stoll or food tour around Pike Place Market. Head up the Space Needle where the Observation Deck and restaurant offer a unique 360 degree view of mountains, Puget Sound and the City. Nearby, Chihuly Garden and Glass, showcases the career of glass artist Dale Chihuly with galleries, garden and the Glasshouse.

Visit historic Pioneer Square, shop at the Westgate centre and downtown area, and take Bill Speidels Underground Tour, strolling through the passages that once were the main roadways showcasing first-floor storefronts of old downtown Seattle prior to the Great Fire of 1889, and the subsequent rebuilding of Seattle on top

Three nights Seattle

Day 4 Victoria: Today take the Victoria Clipper passenger only ferry between Seattle and Victoria, British Columbia. It’s less than a three hour cruise through Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Canada and into Victoria’s Inner Harbour – the heart of the city. Arrive and pass through Canadian immigration at the ferry terminal.

Double-decker buses, horse-drawn carriages, formal gardens and tearooms show off Victoria’s apparent British history. Victoria’s Inner Harbour is at the very heart of the city, and with plenty of attractions within easy reach. Have afternoon tea at the Empress Hotel, head out on a whale watching cruise – Victoria and its surrounding waters are world renowned for the many species of whales and the wildlife tours offered. Stroll around the exhibits and collections in the Royal BC museum.  Enjoy a cycle tour of the city.

Around 30 minutes drive from the city you’ll find Butchart Gardens – a National Historic Site of Canada.

Three nights Victoria

Day 7 Vancouver: A thrilling 30 minute seaplane flight is your transport to the Canada’s mainland and the city of Vancouver, British Columbia. Coming into Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre, located on Canada Place, you are just a short distance from many attractions in the city.

Stroll through diverse neighbourhoods or relax on sandy beaches. Visit the aquarium, take a city tour, cycle or stroll around the seawall in Stanley Park as you follow marked trails.  Head up Vancouver’s Lookout for a birds eye view over the city. Take a mini-tugboat ferry across False Creek to Granville Island where the biggest attraction is the Public Market – perhaps take a walking tour.

Head over to the North Shore for more adventure – Grouse Mountain has plenty of outdoor adventure. Take the Skyride – an 8 minute ride from the Valley Station to the summit. Also on the North Shore, visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge, suspended above the river and amongst the trees. Also here are the Cliffwalk and Treetops Adventure.

Three nights Vancouver

Day 10 Seattle: End your journey here with a flight out of Vancouver International Airport, or alternatively continue your travels with a train journey between Vancouver and Seattle – bus is another option. You’ll pass through US Immigration and customs as you enter Seattle. Spend one final night in the city.

One night Seattle

Day 11 Fly Home: Say goodbye to Seattle as you make your way back to the airport for your overnight flight home.

Day 12 Arrive Home

Float planes at Vancouver – Credit CTC








Space Needle - Seattle

Picture courtesy of Port of Seattle

Floatplanes Vancouver

Credit Yvonne Dann

Totem Pole Victoria – Credit Yvonne Dann

Butchart Gardens Victoria – Credit Yvonne Dann

Butchart Gardens – Credit Yvonne Dann

Vancouver by air – Credit Yvonne Dann


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Little Gems

A little gem of Seattle is the famous Pike Place Market, and the perfect way to see it is on a walking tour. See behind-the-scenes and experience the sights, sounds, and flavors of this historic 100+ year old landmark.

Pike Place Market

Credit Helen Wibley


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Ride the Train across Canada

Posted on:
Posted by:

Vicki Tester


Just imagine! Three nights and four days crossing Canada’s vast expanses while train staff look after you in style.  A delicious meal with the northern lakes rolling by; or a  360-degree view of the golden prairies and then an aperitif at the foot of the Rockies. These are just some of the pleasures that await you on board the Canadian, VIA Rail’s great transcontinental train.

You wake up and open the curtains to be greeted by the majestic Rocky Mountains slowly emerging from a veil of clouds. You prepare quickly for breakfast, spurred on by the gentle rocking of the train and the promise of freshly brewed coffee.

After leisurely savouring your breakfast omelette, you collect your book and head to the Skyline car. There, you can sip your drink, read, socialize… and scan the panoramic view for a glimpse of elk moving across the valley.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

The Toronto-Vancouver train, which takes four days to travel between one of Canada’s largest cities and the Pacific Coast, lets you see the breadth of the country like never before.

Take in boreal forests reflecting on the surface of the Great Lakes; Prairie sunsets painting vast skies in shades of fire and Mountain peaks towering above as the train winds through the Rockies.

Choose the relaxing ambience and attentive service of budget travel in Economy class, or upgrade to the pleasures of a cosy bed, a gourmet table and exclusive access to stylish lounges in Sleeper Touring class.

Add on time to explore at either end of your bespoke tailor made journey and you will have a holiday that will give you a good flavour of Canada.

To get started on your bespoke tailor made Canada holiday please call us on 01323 446550 or email us at info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis


Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

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