Canadian Rockies and Vancouver
Calgary Stampede – 10 July 2016 departure
Every July the city of Calgary plays host to the ‘Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth’ – the famous Calgary Stampede. This year the nine-day festival celebrating the heritage and community spirit of Western Canada begins on 8 July, and we are offering a pre-tour extension for those booking the July departure of our Canadian Rockies and Vancouver tour, arriving in the city on 7 July for a 3-night stay, meaning you won’t miss out on the action! Your two-day Stampede Thrill Package includes an afternoon ticket to a world-class rodeo show and bull-riding display, plus entry to an evening of chuckwagon racing. There will also be live music, parades, exhibitions, fairground rides and a variety of other attractions, so there will certainly be plenty to see and do.
Southern Sights and Sounds
New Orleans Mardi Gras – 30 January 2016 and 18 February 2017 departures
It’s the biggest party of the year in the ‘Big Easy,’ and there is no better time to experience the unique atmosphere of New Orleans than during Mardi Gras, when the city is one big exuberant stage of colour and sound, with parades, floats, marching bands, costumed balls and of course, plenty of live music; this is the birthplace of jazz, after all! The whole carnival season begins around two weeks before ‘Fat Tuesday’ itself (9 February this year, 28 February in 2017), with daily events across the city. Everybody likes to get involved in this tradition, which dates back to the early 18th century, with neighbourhood social clubs, known as ‘krewes’ competing with each other, building elaborate floats and dressing in flamboyant costumes for the street parades. The performers throw commemorative medallions and beads to onlookers as they pass by – see if you can catch some of those ‘throws’ to take home with you; the traditional cry to attract the attention of krewe members is “Throw me something, Mister!”
Wonders of China
Chinese New Year – 27 January 2017 departure
The Chinese Year of the Monkey is about to begin, and in China the celebrations continue until Lantern Festival a couple of weeks later. It’s one of the biggest parties of the year, and a great time to visit the country and experience Chinese culture and traditions. In 2017, 28 January heralds the start of the Year of the Rooster, and you can join in the colourful festivities yourself on the 27 January 2017 departure of our Wonders of China tour. Red is the colour of good luck in China and you’ll see it everywhere at New Year; people dress in red and red lanterns decorate streets, public buildings and temples, while there are spectacular firework displays, dragon dances, theatrical and live music performances in towns and cities across the country. There are also temple fairs, with a variety of market stalls, festive street food and entertainment on offer including puppet shows, acrobatics and displays of local handicrafts.
Best of Australia
Uluru Field of Light – 21 September 2016 and 15 March 2017 departures
In 2016, the spectacular Field of Light art installation created by British artist Bruce Munro will be on display in the place which inspired it – Uluru, in the ‘Red Centre’ of Australia. His largest installation to date, it will feature more than 50,000 slender stems crowned with radiant frosted-glass spheres, gently blooming as darkness falls over the desert. Entry to the solar-powered installation in included on the 21 September 2016 and 15 March 2017 departures of our Best of Australia tour, when you will enjoy an evening excursion to this remote area, with plenty of time to immerse yourself in Munro’s monumental experiential artwork.
A Celebration of Lisbon and the Douro
Douro Grape Harvest Celebrations – September and October 2016 departures
Visiting Portugal’s vineyards at harvest time is a special experience and on the September and October departures of A Celebration of Lisbon and the Douro there will be a change to the usual itinerary allowing us to join in the Douro grape harvest festivities. We’ll head to the Quinta da Avessada where the annual celebrations will be in full swing, and witness the ceremonial cutting of the grapes, accompanied by music and, of course, plenty of good wine. There will also be a hearty three-course lunch, including some delicious local specialities, and a visit to the Douro Wine Museum, with liqueur tasting, rounds off the day.
Grand Safari Kenya
Great Migration – August and September 2016 departures
It’s one of the most impressive spectacles of nature, the annual ‘Great Migration’ of more than two million wildebeest, zebras, gazelles and elands as they leave the Serengeti and make their way northwards to the fresher pastures of the Masai Mara. The exact timings of the migration cannot, of course, be guaranteed, but join us on the August and September departures of our Grand Safari Kenya tour and you have a good chance of witnessing the extraordinary sight of countless magnificent wild animals thundering across the plains, with predators such as lions and hyenas following in their wake.
Holi Festival – March 2016 departures
India is a land of countless fascinating religious festivals, and one of the most colourful is Holi, a spring Hindu festival, also known as the Festival of Colours, which takes place in March, celebrating the victory of good over evil and the end of winter. The festival takes place in towns and cities across India and you can experience Holi for yourself on March departures of our India tours. Vast crowds gather in a fun and friendly atmosphere and throw brightly coloured powder and coloured water over each other. Everyone from young children to the elderly take part, and visitors are just as welcome to join in! The streets are soon painted in a multitude of vibrant hues and there’s plenty of live music and dancing to enjoy too.