5th - 18th May 2021 - 12 Nights/14 Days

For our Spring 2020 tour we will be travelling to a magical land of contrasts. We will spend time in the hyper-modern capital Tokyo and experience ancient traditions, culture and architectural heritage in the historic Imperial capital, Kyoto. A full excursion programme includes highlights such as Mount Fuji, insights in to the world of the Shoguns and Emperors, traditional Japanese cultural visits, temples and shrines, castles and gardens, as well as Japan’s famous cherry blossom (subject to seasonal variation). Complementary to our coach and guide will be trips on the famous Bullet Train and a poignant visit to Hiroshima where the first atomic bomb was used in anger.

Wednesday 6 / Thursday 7 May Travel to Tokyo.  After making our own arrangements to get to Manchester Airport, we depart for Japan with Lufthansa via Munich on an overnight flight to Tokyo. On arrival we are met by our transfer coach for the trip to our hotel with English speaking assistance for the transfer and check in (after 15:00). Today we have time to relax or explore independently before making our own arrangements for dinner.

Friday 8 May – Nikko. Today’s full day excursion takes us out of Tokyo to Nikko where we experience Japanese history and culture in a stunning natural setting. The shrines and temples of Nikko are a UNESCO World Heritage site and we start by visiting Toshogu Shrine, the final resting place of Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate, rulers Japan for over 250 years. Our next stop is Tamozawa Imperial Villa which served as a summer residence for the Japanese Imperial family in the years before the Second World War. Next our coach takes us to Nikko National Park which has a total of 48 waterfalls and our last stop before returning to our Tokyo hotel is the 97 metre Kegon Falls, one of the most beautiful in Japan and an amazing photo opportunity.

Saturday 9 May - Tokyo. Today we have a guided morning tour of Tokyo by coach. Our tour includes Asakusa, Tokyo’s oldest temple; lively Nakamise Street, one of the oldest shopping streets in Japan; Sensoji, a colourful Buddhist temple and a trip to the Tembo observation deck of the Tokyo Sky Tree for views of the city. In the afternoon we have time for independent sightseeing, ask your guide for suggestions to suit your interests. For example, Tokyo has a fabulous reputation as the food capital of the world or visit Electric City for the latest or wackiest gadgets. Overnight is back at our Tokyo hotel.

Sunday 10 May - Tokyo. Now we’ve learnt a little about Tokyo, we have a full day of independent sightseeing. Tokyo is the world’s biggest city and can be thought of as several cities in one. The public transport system is clean cheap, efficient and east to navigate with most of the areas of interest accessible via the Yamanote Line which runs in a ring around the city. Different areas have their own sights and characters so we can all indulge our own interests in a city that has something for everyone whether that’s culture, history, gardens, etc.

Monday 11 May - Mount Fuji. We check out of our Tokyo hotel for a full day’s excursion to Mount Fuji, perhaps the highlight and certainly the most iconic image, in the whole of Japan. We’ll make sure our camera batteries are fully charged as today is full of opportunities to capture this world famous image. Our day includes a cruise on Lake Ashi, a ride on the Owakudani Ropeway (cable car), weather permitting, over the volcanic valley and a visit to Mount Fuji 5th station, the highest point reachable by coach, also weather permitting, for great views. Our hotel is near Mount Fuji where we enjoy an included dinner.

Tuesday 12 May - Matsumoto & Takayama. We leave our hotel for today’s excursion to Matsumoto. Our first visit is to Matsumoto Castle, one of the most complete and beautiful in Japan. With its characteristic black wainscoting, it gives off an air of grandeur and poise. The wooden interior provides a rare authentic experience. Our next stop is Takayama Jinya which served as a local government office from the Edo period (1600-1868) remaining in use until 1969, and now open to the public. It includes tatami mat rooms that once served as offices, conference rooms and residential space. Our last stop is Takayama’s old town which has been beautifully preserved with many buildings and whole streets dating from the Edo Period. The southern half of the old town, especially the Sannomachi Street, survives in a particularly pretty state with many shops, coffee houses and sake breweries. Finally we check in to our hotel in Takayama.

Wednesday 13 May - Shirakawa River Valley & Kanazawa. We leave our hotel and, after a quick visit to Takayama morning market, we visit the Shirakawa River Valley in a mountainous region that was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1995, famous for its historic farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old and we stop for a walk around Shirakawa village. Our next stop is Kanazawa where we visit the world famous Kenrokuen Japanese garden. The Maeda family, rulers of the Kaga Clan in feudal times, maintained the garden for generations. Its scale and beauty make it one of the most beautiful in Japan. Our final visit of the day is to Higashi Chaya District and its traditional teahouses, two of which are open to the public, as well as other buildings along the central street that now house cafes and shops. Our overnight hotel is in Kanazawa.

Thursday 14 May - Kanazawa & Bullet Train. After checking out of the hotel, our luggage (1 piece) is sent ahead to Kyoto while we enjoy a morning in Kanazawa. We visit the 21st century museum of Contemporary Art which opened in 2004, just a few steps from Kenrokuen Garden. It exhibits works of acclaimed contemporary artists from Japan and all over the world, in a unique architectural setting. Next is Seisonkaku, an elegant samurai villa built at the end of the Edo Period by a Maeda lord. In the afternoon we take an express train to Kyoto then change for the Bullet Train to Hiroshima and transfer to our overnight hotel in Hiroshima.

Friday 15 May – Hiroshima. Today we visit Itsukushima Shrine which seems to float in the sea and the buildings of the shrine complex are connected by boardwalks and supported by pillars above the water. Miyajima Island has a long history as a holy Shinto site and in 1168, Taira no Kiyomori, the most powerful man in Japan, selected the island as the site of his family shrine. Next is Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park encompassing over 120,000m2 of trees, lawns, and paths contrasting with the surrounding cityscape. It was decided in 1949 not to redevelop the area in favour of a memorial. Within the park is the Peace Memorial Museum which details the history of Hiroshima and the atom bomb, focusing on the events of 6 August 1945 (please be advised that some may find the displays upsetting). The A-Bomb Dome or Hiroshima Peace Memorial, the remains of the former Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, is one of the few buildings that remained standing and it has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Cenotaph for the A-Bomb Victims, an arched tomb for those who died during and as a result of the blast, holds a stone chest holding a register of more than 220,000 names. Lastly we take the Bullet Train, to Kyoto and check in to our hotel.

Saturday 16 May - Kyoto. Today starts with Kinkakuji a Zen temple in northern Kyoto whose top two floors are covered in gold leaf. Formally known as Rokuonji, the temple was the retirement villa of the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, and according to his will it became a Zen temple after his death in 1408. Next we visit Arashiyama, a natural setting enjoyed by nobles since the Heian Period; sights include Togetsukyo Bridge and the famous bamboo groves. Then we visit Nijo Castle built in 1603 as the home of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Edo Period. After the fall of the Shogunate in 1867, it became an imperial palace before opening to the public as a historic site. This UNESCO World Heritage site is possibly the best surviving example of a feudal castle in Japan. Then we visit Gion, Kyoto's most famous geisha district, it is filled with shops, restaurants and teahouses, where geiko (Kyoto dialect for geisha) and maiko (geiko apprentices) entertain.

Sunday 17 May - Kyoto. Today we have a full day’s independent sightseeing in Kyoto. Japan’s former capital is a treasure trove of history and culture and will benefit from a little time at your own pace to wonder, sit or visit more of the sights. We return to our Kyoto hotel once again this evening.

Monday 18 May - Fushimi Inari and Nara. This morning we visit Fushimi Inari an important Shinto shrine famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates straddling a network of trails behind its main buildings. The trails lead into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari, which stands at 233 meters. Next we visit Nara, starting at Todaiji Temple, constructed in 752. The main hall is the world's largest wooden building and houses a 15m tall bronze Buddha. We will also encounter deer from the adjacent Nara Park, begging for special crackers that we can buy for a small charge. Next is Isuien, an attractive Japanese garden with features such as the use of Todaiji Temple's Nandaimon Gate as "borrowed scenery". 

Tuesday 19 May - Return home. Today we transfer to the airport and depart from Osaka on our return flight to the UK, again via Munich before arriving back in Manchester.

YOUR HOTELS:

Thursday 7 May (4 nights) - Tokyu Rei Omori Hotel (or similar), Tokyo. This comfortable hotel is located in Ota Ward district, a few steps from Shinagawa History Museum. The property offers guests a setting close to a palace, a museum and a tower. The 197 bedrooms are furnished with a laptop-compatible safe, a fridge, coffee and tea making facilities, and direct dial phone. The hotel features a buffet breakfast daily. The on-site non-smoking restaurant prepares a variety of local dishes daily. Coffee and tea are offered at the café bar.

Monday 11 May (1 night) - Hotel Regina Kawaguchiko, Kawaguchiko. Hotel Regina Kawaguchiko is a hot spring resort with superb views of Mount Fuji, where we can enjoy our stay in a relaxed atmosphere. Situated in Fujikawaguchiko, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Fuji Visitor Center, Mount Fuji, and Fuji-Q Highland. The hotel features a restaurant which serves a buffet breakfast, a swimming pool (seasonal opening), a meeting room and dry cleaning. Free Wi-Fi in public areas and a free area shuttle are also provided. Other amenities include laundry facilities. All 68 rooms provide air-conditioning as well as conveniences such as fridges and microwaves, plus free WiFi and flat-screen TVs. Other amenities available to guests include hairdryers, safes and showers.

Tuesday 12 May (1 night) - Takayama Ouan (or similar), Takayama - A ryokan style hotel only 7 minutes on foot to popular sightseeing attactions of Takayama, including the old town district, Takayama Jinya (former government outpost) and the Miyagawa Morning Market. The traditional Japanese interior features tatami flooring throughout the hotel building.  Ramen is served free of charge from 22:30 to 23:30 and a massage service is available at the hotel beauty salon for a charge (reservation required in advance). Our hotel features a roof-top open-air natural hot spring and a reservable family bath and sauna at the large communal bath area. Free Wi-Fi is available in the hotel lobby. The tatami floored bedrooms with Westernstyle beds feature TV, refrigerator, tea pot and a private bath (with shower and bath amenities). Breakfast is usually offered as a buffet style. 

Wednesday 13 May (1 night) - Hotel Resol Trinity, Kanazawa - Situated in Kanazawa, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Omicho Market and Izumi Kyoka Museum. Hotel facilities include a restaurant, dry cleaning is available and Wi-Fi in public areas is free. Other amenities include laundry facilities, free newspapers and multilingual staff. All 123 bedrooms offer thoughtful touches such as bathrobes and slippers, along with free Wi-Fi, free wired Internet and LCD TVs. Guests will also find fridges, free newspapers and free bottled water.

Thursday 14 May (1 night) - Hotel Granvia Hiroshima, Hiroshima - Hotel Granvia Hiroshima has 403 bedrooms and offers a great experience with a convenient location adjacent to Hiroshima Station, in Hiroshima City Centre. This hotel features 5 restaurants, a fitness centre and a bar/lounge. Wi-Fi in public areas is free. Other amenities include 2 coffee shops/cafés. All soundproofed bedrooms provide free Wi-Fi, free wired Internet and room service. Guests can enjoy deep soaking bathtubs, and other standard amenities include fridges and flat-screen TVs.

Friday 15 May (4 nights) - Citadine Kyoto Karasuma-gojo, Kyoto - Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 15 minute walk of Higashi Honganji Temple and Kyoto Tower. Nishiki Market is also within 15 minutes. Hotel facilities include concierge services, dry cleaning and free Wi-Fi in public areas. All 124 bedrooms provide free Wi-Fi and free wired Internet. 

Price per person (Based on 2 Adults sharing Twin/Double Room):

  • Member Plus Adult - £3789
  • Member Adult - £3839                   
  • Non Member Adult - £3889                 
  • Single Supplement - £998 (double/twin for sole occupancy)
  • Travel Insurance can be arranged on request £POA
  • Deposit £750 per person
  • Flight upgrades may be available at an additional cost
  • The final balance is due not later than 13 January 2020

Price Includes:

  • Return economy Lufthansa flights Manchester to Tokyo including airport taxes and carrier charges and 1 checked bag (23 kg)
  • Transfers & full sightseeing programme by executive private coach with services of English Speaking Tour Guide(s) / Assistant(s).
  • 12 nights hotel accommodation as detailed on a bed and breakfast basis
  • 1 dinner
  • Bullet train tickets & separate baggage transfers, as detailed in the itinerary
  • Entrances fees to monuments/museums/attractions as detailed in the itinerary

Not Included:

  • Visa (not required for UK passport holders)
  • Single Supplement
  • Gratuities (not required in Japan)
  • Services of a porter / assistance carrying baggage
  • Dinners, lunches and refreshments other than those detailed in the itinerary
  • Additional entrance fees to places of interest other than those detailed in the itinerary
  • Costs when on 'free time' e.g. taxis arranged locally or optional extras
  • Travel Insurance

PASSPORTS & VISAS All British nationals, including children and babies, travelling on an overseas holiday with Norman Allen must hold a full EC passport valid for at least 6 Months after the scheduled return date to the UK.  In addition some countries may also require visitors to have a visa to enter the country. It is the responsibility of each passenger to ensure they have the correct documentation for travel and Norman Allen cannot be held responsible for passengers who do not have the correct documentation prior to departure. Non-EC passport holders should check with the relevant embassy or consulate to confirm what documentation they require for travel to the country or countries they plan to visit prior to departure.

For further details and bookings, you can either use the Reservation Form or contact Bob Walker 

Please include your Name, Home Address, Contact Telephone Number, Membership Number and the Number Places Required (Member/Non-Member)

 

 

Heart of Switzerland & Glacier Express, 30 June 2021 x 6 Days    - Itinerary changed so that evening dining arrangements in Lucerne are now optional

Day 1 - Wednesday 30 June 2021 Make your way to Manchester Airport for your flight to Basel Airport. Upon arrival, a coach will be waiting to transport you to your hotel in Basel where you will spend the first night of your trip, including evening meal

Day 2 - Thursday 01 July 2021 After breakfast in the hotel, why not head out into Basel and begin your Swiss experience? Spend some time exploring this beautiful city, located on the River Rhine and close to the border with both France and Germany. After some free time to explore, the coach will transfer you to Lucerne. When you arrive, check in to your hotel and begin settling into what will be your home for the next 4 nights.

Day 3 - Friday 02 July 2021 Today is the day to explore Lucerne and really become familiar with your surroundings. The city is fairly compact and sits upon the shore of Lake Lucerne. What's more, it is surrounded by stunning snow-capped mountains. The city boasts a colourful Old Town and one of the most famous sights in the city is the Chapel Bridge, a wooden bridge erected in the 14th century. A 2 hour guided walking tour of the city will familiarise you with all the main sights and attractions that the city has to offer. Then why not take a ride the cog railway from the shores of Lake Lucerne to an elevation of 1,798 meters on Mt Rigi

Day 4 - Saturday 03 July 2021 Today we take the train to Interlaken. The 2 hour train journey connecting the 2 cities takes you through the famous Brünig Pass, offering beautiful scenery in every direction. Interlaken itself is the capital of the Bernese Oberland region and the town is situated between the lakes of Thun and Brienz. The town is very traditional with old timber houses and lots of parkland. Spend the afternoon strolling through the picturesque town or along the lake. Or why not take the funicular up Interlaken's own mountain? The journey only takes around 10 minutes.

Day 5 - Sunday 04 July 2021 Today, a coach will take you out of Lucerne and to Andermatt where you will take the Glacier Express to Chur. The journey will take around 2 and a half hours and whilst on board the train you will get to experience spectacular views of Switzerland. The Glacier Express is a famous train and this part of the journey takes you over the Oberlap Pass to the highest point of the entire route, a descent along the Rhine Valley and the river carved deep in to the white rocks. Sit back, relax and take in the beautiful sights. Afterwards, the coach will meet you in Chur to take you back to Lucerne.

Day 6 - Monday 05 July 2021 It's time to bid farewell to Switzerland today but not before enjoying one final bit of sightseeing. This morning, spend some time relaxing on a cruise on Lake Lucerne. The cruise will travel from Lake Lucerne to Vitznau and back again. The delightful scenery and leisurely pace of the cruise will be the perfect way to end your time in Switzerland. After heading back to shore, the coach will be waiting to take you back to Basel Airport for your flight back to Manchester.

Package includes: ·

  • ATOL protection ·
  • Return flights between Manchester Airport and Basel Airport
  • Coaching for transfers as per itinerary above 
  • 1 night accommodation on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis (dinner is a 3 course set menu)  at the Hotel Stücki, Basel
  • 4 nights accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis at the Hotel Monopol, Lucerne. With optional 3 course dinner
  • 2 hour guided walking tour of Lucerne 
  • Return train journey between Lucerne and Interlaken, free time in Interlaken
  • 1 way journey on the Glacier Express between Andermatt and Chur 
  • Lake Lucerne cruise from Lucerne to Vitznau and return

 

 

 

Price Per person: (Based on twin/double 2 adults sharing) -

  • Member Plus -  £1289    
  • Member - £1309
  • Non Member - £1339
  • Single supplement £199    
  • Optional 4 * 3-course evening meal in Lucerne £136                                                                                      

* Deposit £200 per person, non refundable

For further details and bookings, you can either use the Reservation Form or contact Colin Cathcart 07592 980533

Please include your Name, Home Address, Contact Telephone Number, Membership Number and the Number Places Required (Member/Non-Member) 

 

 

 

17th - 22nd September 2021

 

Normandy has a remarkable history and heritage, from the magnificent Mont Saint-Michel Island and the 11th-century Bayeux Tapestry to the D-Day beaches and don't forget the food. Normandy is famous for its delicious cheeses, terroir cider and Calvados. Our base for the tour is Caen – capital of the Basse Normandie region and founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th century. The city was massively damaged during the 1944 Battle of Normandy, but considerable history and heritage survives to make it a very good-looking city, especially in its central areas. Visitors will discover the imposing bastions of a superb medieval château, two ancient abbeys and a clutch of excellent museums, including an outstanding and enthralling museum of war and peace, largely dedicated to D-Day, WWII and its aftermath.

Friday
A morning departure from the Manchester. We will be visiting Jane Austen’s House in Chawton, Hampshire, the picturesque country cottage, where Jane Austen lived. It is the most treasured Austen site in the world. It was here that Jane’s genius flourished and where she wrote, revised and had published all her novels: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.

After our visit we travel on to Portsmouth for some free time before boarding our overnight sailing to Caen.

Saturday - Arrive in Caen, with a visit to the Tapisserie de Bayeux (admission and audio guide included).

The Bayeux Tapestry is an embroidered cloth nearly 70 metres long and 50 centimetres tall, which depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England concerning William, Duke of Normandy, and Harold, Earl of Wessex, later King of England, and culminating in the Battle of Hastings.

After our visit you free time in Caen and check in at your hotel.

Sunday - A full day guided D-Day Landing tour including the visits to the Arromanches Landing Museum (admission included) and the Arromanches 360 Cinema (Admission included).

D-Day Museum - Musée du Débarquement: this central museum focuses on the D-Day landings and the crucial months of Allied action afterwards. It goes into fascinating detail about the setting up of the Mulberry Harbour here via models and displays. There are also powerful videos to view.

Arromanches 360°: images bombard you from all sides in this circular cinema opened for the 50th anniversary of the D-Day landings. The clips take you racing through the 100 days of the Battle of Normandy to liberate the region before the Allies moved on to free the rest of Europe from Nazi occupation. During the day guide will take you through some of the history of the D Day landings and surrounding area.

Monday - Full day to Mont St Michel including the visit to the Abbey.

The Mont-Saint-Michel is one of Europe’s most unforgettable sights. Set in the mesmerising bay where Normandy and Brittany merge, the island draws the eye from great distances.

The staggering location has long inspired awe and the imagination. The story of how the mount turned into a great place of Christian pilgrimage is colourful. Aubert, bishop of the nearby hilltop town of Avranches early in the 8th century, claimed that the Archangel Michael himself pressured him into having a church built atop the island just out to sea.

From 966 onwards, the dukes of Normandy, followed by French kings, supported the development of a major Benedictine abbey on the Mont-Saint-Michel. Magnificent monastic buildings were added through medieval times, one vertiginous section being nicknamed The Marvel. The abbey became a renowned centre of learning.

Tuesday - Excursion to visit Fromagerie Graindorge for a cheese factory audio guided tour & tasting of cheese. Also a visit to Chateau du Breuil for a tour and tasting of Calvados.attracting some of the greatest minds and manuscript illuminators in Europe. Vast numbers of pilgrims visited, despite warring cross-Channel royals. However, the ramparts at the base of the island were built to keep English forces out. Other fine buildings went up along the steep village street, now converted into museums, hotels, restaurants and boutiques for today’s tourists to discover and enjoy.

Fromagerie Graindorge - Since 1910, E. Graindorge Cheese Dairy has been passed down from father to son. The company specializes in the production of the four Norman Protected Designations of Origin or PDO cheeses, Livarot, Pont-l’Eveque, Camembert de Normandie, Neufchatel. The milk is collected from a hundred producers. Historically, it ensures high quality raw milk, the Norman race and manufacturing in compliance with the rules established by the Protected Designations of Origin.

Château du Breuil - Be fascinated by the activity at the Château du Breuil distillery and discover thedistillation process for Calvados Pays d’Auge, a genuine symbol of the gourmet heritage of our region, Normandy. Our experts will share their knowledge and introduce you to the distillation process for Calvados Pays d’Auge Château du Breuil. Fill your senses with the beauty of the stills, the sound of the distillation and the fragrance of the freshly created nectar…

After our excursion we will make our way back to the Caen for our departure on the overnight ferry back to Portsmouth.

Wednesday – Arrive in Portsmouth and take an en-route free flow visit to Kenilworth Castle. With time to explore and have lunch.

From medieval fortress to Elizabethan palace, Kenilworth Castle has been at the centre of England's affairs for much of its 900 year history. Today, you can scale the heights of the tower built to woo Queen Elizabeth I and marvel at the mighty Norman keep. Explore the exhibition in the Gatehouse, and imagine the majesty of the Great Hall playing host to medieval monarchs and early Tudor kings.

After lunch we will continue the journey home, arriving in Manchester early evening.

Your Hotel: The Ibis Styles Caen Centre Gare Hotel is located close to the city centre and Caen train station. The hotel features a fitness room and bar. Each of the hotels en suite modern bedrooms come equipped with TV, telephone and hairdryer in the bathroom. Hotel Website: https://all.accor.com/hotel/9086/index.en.shtml?

Price Per person: (Based on twin/double 2 adults sharing) -

  • Member Plus (Members with Lottery Shares) - £659
  • Members (No Lottery Shares) - £669
  • Non-Member - £679
  • Single Supplement £200
  • Insurance - £POA

Look What's included:

  • Executive coach travel
  • 3 Nights bed & cold buffet breakfast at Ibis Styles Caen Centre Gare Hotel
  • City Tax
  • 2 Nights Inside Cabin (2 sharing) accommodation on board Brittany Ferries Portsmouth – Caen sailing
  • Entrance to Jane Austen’s House Museum and Kenilworth Castle
  • Admission to La Tapisserie de Bayeaux including audio guides
  • Full day with guided to Arromanches and area, including guided visit to the Arromanches Landing Museum admission included) and admission Arromanches 360 Cinema.
  • Full Day visit to Mont St Michel, including admission into the Abbey with Audio Guide
  • Excursion to visit Fromagerie graindorge (local cheese factory) for audio guidd visit, including a tasting of the cheese, followed by a visit to Chateau Breuil for a tour and tasting of calvados served with Normandy Apple Pie

What's NOT included:

  • Meals and Entrance to attraction fees other than those stated in the itinerary
  • Any Items of a personal nature such as drinks, souvenirs etc

For further details and bookings, you can either use the Reservation Form or contact Bob Walker 

Please include your Name, Home Address, Contact Telephone Number, Membership Number and the Number Places Required (Member/Non-Member)