Edinburgh Christmas Markets & More! - ONLY 2 PLACES LEFT

Edinburgh Christmas Markets & More! - 29th November - 2nd December 2024 - ONLY 5 PLACES LEFT

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Why not join us on this Edinburgh Christmas Markets & More tour, based at the Salutation Hotel, Perth, Scotland.

Friday: Travelling to The Salutation Hotel, Perth, Scotland with suitable stops along the wayAfter you've have checked-in there will be time at leisure before dinner.

Saturday - After breakfast we're off to Edinburgh to visit the Christmas markets. Edinburgh at Christmas time is truly magical. Practice your moves on the ice at the popular ice rink on George Street. 

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Or spectate clutching a warm hot toddy from the comfort of the nearby cabin bar.  Nestled in the heart of the city, the traditional Christmas Market on Princes Street has a range of European and Scottish food & drinks, unique crafts, clothing, and gifts for the home and is a lovely place to browse for some special Christmas gifts.

East Princess Street Gardens: Nestled in the heart of Edinburgh’s historic city centre, with stunning views of Edinburgh Castle, the Scott Monument, and the city’s iconic skyline, East Princes Street Gardens hosts

the free to enter traditional Christmas Market. Featuring around 70 stalls with some of the best local and international producers selling everything from handmade gifts, bespoke products, to tasty treats and delicious drinks. East Princes Street Gardens will also be home to the Big Wheel, Scotland’s largest ferris-wheel standing at 46m tall, offering a unique perspective of the city.  West Princes Street Gardens Family Funfair

West Princes Street Gardens will be a free to enter family-friendly zone this year, complete with funfair rides and attractions, as well as festive food and drink stalls and numerous warming zones where you can cosy up with a delicious hot chocolate or seasonal mulled wine. You can also enjoy the Ross Bandstand which boasts a festive programme of family-friendly live events, including live choirs, ceilidhs, silent discos, Edinburgh Diwali: Festival of Light, Santa Paws and the Santa Fun Run. 

St Andrew Square Winter Garden: Santa Claus is back in town this Christmas! Santa and some very helpful elves will be tucked away in St Andrew Square ready to welcome the wee ones for a magical Christmas experience. Santa’s Stories is a magical storytelling experience where each child gets the opportunity to meet Santa, learn the importance of giving, as well as receiving a gift of their own. The spirit of

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giving continues with Social Bite’s Festival of Kindness, with the 10m tall Tree and Gift Donation point, dedicated to spreading goodwill to those who need it most. 

George Street West & Castle Street will be home to the spectacular Edinburgh’s Christmas Ice Rink, a vital part of any Christmas visit. This year’s rink will be be

undercover, allowing visitors to enjoy the majestic Georgian skyline of Edinburgh’s New Town from the ice. Once you've skated your way around the rink, warm up with a hot drink or treat from food stalls in the George Street warming zone. Why not hop on one of the traditional fairground rides, including a double carousel, or wander through the Artisan Christmas Market, or get those last minute christmas gift from Edinburgh’s shopping scene. Returning late afternoon to Perth prior to Dinner.

Photo Credit : Seasider53 (Wikipedia)

Sunday: After breakfast we will leave the hotel travelling to Pitlochry. Pitlochry is one of Scotland’s most beautiful and vibrant places to visit. In the heart of Scotland with real hospitality, clear sparkling air, beautiful scenery rich clan history, fine food, plenty of space and lots to see and do.  Pitlochry has a great range of shops to choose from, located along the main street, Atholl Road, also West Moulin Road and Bonnethill Road.  

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After lunch we return to The Salutation Hotel Perth for our Gingerbread & Gin themed Afternoon Tea, after which there will be time at leisure before Dinner.

Monday: After breakfast you will check-out of the hotel and make our way homewards with suitable stops before arriving back in Manchester early evening.

Hotel: Salutation Hotel is located in Perth Scotland. Reputed to be one of the oldest hotels in Scotland, the Salutation Hotel has been welcoming guests since 1699.  Situated in the heart of the historic City of Perth the hotel offers a warm welcome.  All of the en-suite bedrooms are individual in size and shape and are equipped with TV, hairdryer, direct-dial telephone and tea/coffee making facilities.  The hotel offers a restaurant, bar & lounge.  Lift. (https://strathmorehotels-thesalutation.com/) 

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

  • Member Plus (Members with Lottery Shares) - £289
  • Members (No Lottery Shares) - £299
  • Non-Member - £309
  • Single Supplement £54

Look What's included: 

  • 3 Nights Accommodation including Full Scotish Breakfast and 3-course, choice menu dinner with Tea/Coffee
  • Porterage (if required)
  • Executive Coach & Professional Tour Driver throughout the tour as per itinerary
  • Full Day Edinburgh Markets Visit
  • Gingerbread & Gin themed Afternoon Tea
  • 1/2 Day Pitlochry Visit

What's NOT included:

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

For further details and bookings, you can either use the  or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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

Capital Weekend 2 - 26th - 29th July 2024 - FULL

Capital Weekend 2 - 26th - 29th July 2024 - FULL

 

Why not join us on this Capital Weekend 2 based at the The Bull Hotel, Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire.

Friday: Travelling to The Bull Hotel at Gerrards Cross with suitable stops along the wayAfter you've have checked-in there will be time at leisure before dinner.

Saturday - After breakfast we travel in London for our visits to Buckingham Place and The Houses of Parliament.

Buckingham Palace is recognised around the world as the home of the monarch, the focus of national and royal celebrations, as well as the backdrop to the regular Changing the Guard ceremony.

Buckingham Palaceis one of the world's few remaining working royal palaces. It has been open to visitors during the summer months for more than 20 years. On the self-guided tour of the State Rooms you will discover the highlights listed below. The State Rooms -There are 775 rooms in Buckingham Palace including the 19 State Rooms and 78 bathrooms. The State Rooms are a suite of lavishly decorated public rooms in Buckingham Palace where the monarch receives, rewards and entertains their subjects and visiting dignitaries. Several of these rooms were used for the Royal Wedding reception for the Prince and Princess of Wales (William and Kate). These rooms are awash with sparkling candelabra, marble columns, sumptuous carpets, damask wallpaper, fine furniture, sculpture and works of art.

Buckingham Palace's Grand Staircase is a highlight of the tour. The magnificent bronze staircase was designed by the architect John Nash as part of his commission to remodel the palace for King George IV from 1825 to 1830. The impressive double balustrade features an intricate pattern of acanthus, oak and laurel leaves and represents some of the world's finest bronze casting work. The stairs are lit by an etched glass dome in the ceiling.  Some big names are on show at the palace. You can usually come across paintings by Van DyckRubensRembrandtVermeerPoussinCanaletto and Claude as well as sculpture by Canova and Chantrey. The paintings in the State Rooms also include some wonderful portraits of past and present royals including Queen Victoria, George III and Queen Charlotte, William IV and his wife Queen Adelaide, Queen Elizabeth II and, of course, the current Royal Family. 

 

 The majestic Throne Room is a favourite with visitors. It contains the thrones that are used for investitures and ceremonial receptions such as at the jubilees of Queen Elizabeth II and also has doubled as a ballroom on occasion (on your guided tour, you'll also see the official Ballroom – the palace's largest multi-purpose room). You may recognise the Throne Room as the backdrop for some famous royal wedding photos including Princess Elizabeth (Queen Elizabeth II) and  Phillip in 1947 and the Prince and Princess of Wales in 2011.

Your State Room ends at the tranquil Garden Cafe on the West Terrace of Buckingham Palace. The cafe offers a range of light refreshments including tea, coffee, sandwiches and pastries. During the summer opening, the Garden Shop contains a delightful range of gifts and souvenirs exclusively created for the Royal Collection. You'll find homewares, china, clothing, jewellery and children's toys, books and postcards. Most of the products on sale are inspired by works of art in the Royal Collection.

The Houses of Parliament - The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place for both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Informally known as the Houses of Parliament, the Palace lies on the north bank of the River Thames in the City of Westminster, in central London. Through the video and audio stories on the multimedia device, discover the history, art, and architecture of the building, and what happens today at UK Parliament. You can set your own pace but should allow up to 90 minutes to make the most of your visit which includes the House of Commons Chamber, the House of Lords Chamber, Westminster Hall, and much more. 

Returning late afternoon to The Bull Hotel prior to Dinner.

Sunday: After breakfast we will leave the hotel travelling to Kew Gardens. day at leisure to explore the gardens. There’s an impressive 250 years (and counting) of history in the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, but they’re also paving the way for the future with not one, but two national bases for research into botanical studies. While you’re strolling through the Victorian Palm House or seeking out the luscious flora (including the giant, stinking Titan Arum in the Princess of Wales Conservatory), scientists are working away in offices and laboratories behind the scenes. 

 

 Nowadays the Gardens stands at a huge 300 acres, but they started out a little more humbly in the back yard of what was once the royal palace – favoured most by George III. There’s lots to see here, whether you like green stuff or not. The grand Victorian glasshouses remain a favourite with visitors, one of which (Temperate House) holds the record for the largest surviving Victorian glasshouse. And if you want to explore elsewhere? Why not take a trip to the Treetop Walkway. At 18 metres high, this trek through the leaves offers fab views of the grounds. Once you’ve come back to earth, stroll down to the Chinese Pagoda, which was built in 1762 and towers over the southern end of the Gardens. And if the plants aren’t doing the trick, try seeking out the sculptures, which feature Henry Moore’s ‘Reclining Mother and Child’ in a stunning setting that changes with the light of each season. In fact, the art alone could take up your entire visit – see the Eduardo Paolozzi sculpture ‘A Maximis Ad Minima’ and visit the Marianne North Gallery and the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, all included in the ticket price.

Returning to the hotel late afternoon, prior to dinner at the hotel.

Monday: After breakfast you will check-out of the hotel and make our way homewards with suitable stops before arriving back in Manchester early evening.

Hotel: The Bull Hotel is located in Gerrards Cross, Bucks. Set in landscaped gardens in a conservation area of Buckinghamshire, The Bull retains the cosy spirit of an historic coaching inn, and its 4-star rooms and suites are ideal for today’s traveller. All rooms offer comfortable beds and en-suite bathrooms and many feature modern artworks and views over landscaped gardens. (www.sarova-bullhotel.com)

 

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

  • Member Plus (Members with Lottery Shares) - £409
  • Members (No Lottery Shares) - £419
  • Non-Member - £429
  • Single Supplement £93

Look What's included: 

  • 3 Nights Accommodation including Full English Breakfast and 3-course, choice menu dinner
  • Porterage (if required)
  • Executive Coach & Professional Tour Driver throughout the tour as per itinerary
  • Tour of Buckingham Palace 
  • Multi-media tour of the Houses of Parliament
  • Admission to Kew Gardens

What's NOT included:

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

For further details and bookings, you can either use the  or contactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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

Portugal - Evora & Cascais (Lisbon) - FULL

 Portugal - Evora & Cascais (Lisbon) - FULL

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3rd - 11th June 2024

Why not join us on this two centre tour to Portugal based in Evora (European Capital of Culture 2027) for 5 nights and 3 nights in Cascais (Lisbon).  Évora is the capital of Portugal's south-central Alentejo region and In the city's historic centre stands the ancient Roman Temple of Évora (also called the Temple of Diana). Nearby, whitewashed houses surround the Cathedral of Évora, a massive Gothic structure begun in the 12th century.

Cascais is a coastal resort town just west of Lisbon. It’s known for its sandy beaches and busy marina. The old town is home to the medieval Nossa Senhora da Luz Fort and the Citadel Palace, a former royal retreat.

ITINERARY

Day 1: Depart the UK on our TAP flight to Lisbon. On arrival we will be met by our local guide for the coach transfer to the Hotel Vila Galé Évora.  On our way to Évora, time permitting we will visit Montemor with its ancient castle. Most likely built over the ruins of a remote Muslim fortification, Montemor-o-Novo Castle. It was also the set of some of the greatest moments in the history of Portugal. In 1496, this was the stage for the final plans of the sea crossing to India by Vasco da Gama.

We then continue on to Arraiolos which is a pleasant Alentejo town, whose foundation dates back to the second century BC. The name of this town is well known internationally thanks to the famous Arraiolos carpets, which are produced here by the local craftsmen and women, having been referred to in documents as long ago as the sixteenth century. Whilst in Arraiolos we will visit the Municipality Building for an exclusive visit.  Leaving Arraiolos behind, we continue our journey Évora for check-in at the Vila Galé Évora hotel which is located next to the walls of this Alentejo city, a two-minute walk from the historic centre. After check-in we will have time to relax before dinner
 Days 2 -5: 
  • Full Day visiting Beja; Includes Herdade Vale da Rosa (producer of seedless grapes) with tasting (extremely unsual and interesting); Herdade da Figueirinha (wine producer) – visit and tasting and Sovena one of the most important Portuguese olive oil producers and walking tour in Beja.

Beja - During our walking tour you will get to discover the history and sights of the town. The Tower of the Castelo de Menagem, with its place in the country's history, where great battles took place to defend Portugal's borders. With 40 meters high and all built in marble, it is the flagship monument of Beja. The view from the top is unprecedented, an expansive way to admire the city and the surrounding Alentejo landscape.

Sovena - One of the most important Portuguese olive oil producers where you will get to see how the olive oil is produced and get tasting at the end.

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 Herdade Vale da Rosa - Here, in the seedless grape’s land, we will welcome you with open arms and always with a smile on our lips, as sweet as our grapes. Enjoy a tour and at the end a grape tasting at the Vale da Rosa Visitor Centre, plus a chance to purchase some in their shop.

Herdade da Figueirinha - Get to know the Figueirinha Estate, walk through the vineyard, take a guided tour to the Cellar and finish with a wine tasting.

  • Full Day to Portalegre with its Tapestry Museum (unique in the country)  ; Castelo de Vide with its jewish quarter and medieval synagogue, ending with Marvão knows as the “eagles nest” due to its location and the breathless views over São Mamede mountains.

Portalegre is Located in the São Mamede Hills close to the border with Spain.
At the beginning of the industrial revolution, the city turned to renewal and converted some of the former convents and palaces. Examples of this are the Convent of Santo Agostinho (St. Augustine) becoming the headquarters of the National Republican Guard, the Convent of São Bernardo and the Jesuit São Sebastião (St. Sebastian) convent taken over by the Manufactura de Tapeçarias de Portalegre (Carpet Manufacturing) or the Castel-Branco Palace that recently became the Tapeçaria de Portalegre Guy Fino (Carpet) Museum detailing the contribution made by the textile industry to the city´s development.
Castelo de Vide - The castle, surrounded by the town's white houses, dominates the surrounding landscape and is undoubtedly the first of many surprises encountered by the visitor. When seen from this high point, the Alentejo landscape is finally revealed in all of its great splendour. On the northern slope, between the castle and the town's fountain, are a series of narrower streets which mark out the boundaries of the historical area known as the Judiaria (Jewish Quarter) with its medieval synagoge.

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Marvão – Lying between Castelo de Vide and Portalegre, and only a few kilometres from Spain, stands the peaceful town of Marvão, on the highest crest of the Serra de São Mamede. Inside its walls are narrow streets lined with the beautiful popular houses that are typical of the Alentejo. Amidst them, it is easy to find Gothic arches, Manueline windows, wrought-iron balconies and other embellishments in the nooks and crannies of the buildings made from the local granite. One of the main reasons for visiting Marvão is the beautiful view over the surrounding region.

Full Day visiting Monsaraz and Vila Viçosa with its Royal Palace

Monsaraz - This extremely beautiful mediaeval town has succeeded in preserving its own distinctive characteristics over the centuries. Walking through the streets of Monsaraz is like going back in time, for it is a truly unique place where one can find all the peace and tranquillity that have been forgotten by the modern era. As far as the town's architectural heritage is concerned, the highlights are the mediaeval castle and keep, the former court building and the parish church of Nossa Senhora da Lagoa (dating from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries).

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Vila Viçosa - Situated in one of the most fertile regions in the south of Portugal, Vila Viçosa was often at the centre of some of the most important moments in the country's history. The Ducal Palace, which is now open to visitors, was actually the work of the fourth Duke of Bragança, D. Jaime, who made an important contribution to the town's development in the sixteenth century.
Vila Viçosa region is known for the marble, extracted and cut at more than 160 quarries, and internationally famous (especially the pink marble).

 

Évora ½ day tour - This well-preserved medieval town that features protective walls, a 13th-century cathedral, several palaces and a 1st-century Roman temple. No surprise that the town centre is aUNESCO World Heritage Site. Even though it’s kind of creepy, don’t miss the Chapel of Bones, where the remains of nuns and monks are arranged in a haunting mosaic. Afternoon at leisure in Evora

 

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Day 6: After breakfast and check-out we make our way to Cascais. En-route we will visit the Coffee Science Centre in Campo Maior; then continue to Elvas. Time for lunch in Elvas followed by a walking tour to discover this world heritage town known for its system of fortifications.

Campo Maior - Like so many other towns in the Alentejo, Campo Maior is a quiet and peaceful town in the south of Portugal, situated very close to the Spanish border. Located in the town is the Coffee Science Centre which is a unique space in the world, with the aim of disseminating and promoting science and sustainability associated with coffee.

Elvas - Anyone arriving in Elvas on the road from Estremoz immediately comes face to face with the Aqueduto da Amoreira, which has become the city's hallmark. In 2012, the garrison border town of Elvas and its fortifications were classified as World Heritage by UNESCO.

From Elvas we will continue our journey to Cascais for a late afternoon check-in at the Hotel Vila Galé Cascais. Rest of the evening at leisure prior to dinner.

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Day 7: Full day guided excursion to Obidos and Sintra including the Palácio da Vila. The mediaeval town of Óbidos is one of the most picturesque and well preserved in Portugal. Quite close to the capital and located on high ground near the Atlantic coast. Here you will find a well preserved castle within the walls, and a maze of streets and white houses that are a delight to stroll amongst. Along with the Manueline porticoes, the colourful window boxes and the small squares, many fine examples of religious and civil architecture from the town’s golden days provide a host of reasons for making a visit. National Palace of Sintra - A unique example of medieval royal palaces in Portugal. It is worth visiting the interior, where you can learn a little about the history of Portugal. The decoration is of great value, combining various artistic styles to the taste of the kings who lived here, and was adopted to name the various rooms. Of note are the Sala dos Cisnes, Sala dos Brasões, Sala das Pegas and the Chapel.
Outside, the kitchen's two large conical chimneys stand out, measuring 33 metres in height, a symbol adopted by Sintra.

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Day 8: Day at leisure in Cascais – An easy train ride from Cascais is Lisbon, Portugal’s hilly, coastal capital city. From imposing São Jorge Castle, the view encompasses the old city’s pastel-coloured buildings, Tagus Estuary and Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge

Day 9: Mid-morning check-out of the hotel for the return transfer to Lisbon airport for our return TAP flight to Manchester. 

Note: Itinerary maybe subject to change

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Our Hotels: Hotel: Vila Galé Évora - Opened in 2015, is located next to the walls of this Alentejo city, a two-minute walk from the historic centre. Dedicated to the Alentejo culture, this hotel in Évora allows you to feel the tradition and history of the region as soon as you enter.  With 185 spacious and modern rooms and suites – discover the chromatic surprise we have prepared for you to fully relax – the Vila Galé Évora hotel also has two restaurants, a bar, an outdoor swimming pool for adults and for children, with slides. The Satsanga spa with a medical component and exclusive treatments using natural products from the region, the heated indoor pool,  sauna and Turkish bath are other facilities at the hotel. All rooms are non-smoking equipped with en-suite, TV, Wi-Fi, safe deposit box and a hair-dryer. 

https://www.vilagale.com/pt/hoteis/alentejo/vila-gale-evora/

Vila Galé Évora, Avenida Túlio Espanca, 7005-840 Évora. Tel: (+351) 266 758 100

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Hotel: Vila Galé Cascais - Located by the sea and a few meters from the famous Boca do Inferno, Cascais Marina and the historic center of the village. Completely renovated in 2009, this hotel in Cascais has 233 rooms and suites, all spacious and many benefiting from breathtaking views over the Atlantic Ocean. But also a restaurant with a show cooking station , two bars, function rooms with natural light, Satsanga Wellness where you can enjoy massages and beauty treatments and free Wi-Fi in all areas. Outside this hotel in Cascais, enjoy the gardens, swimming pool and, for younger guests, the playground. The central location of the Vila Galé Cascais hotel also challenges a stroll through the historic center, passing through Rua Direita, the main commercial artery of the picturesque town. 

All the rooms are non-smoking air-conditioned which feature a flat-screen TV, an elegant desk, fine wooden floors, en-suite, internet, Wi-Fi, safe deposit box and a hair-dryer.                                           

Vila Galé - Vila Galé Cascais (vilagale.com)                                                                           

Hotel Vila Galé Cascais, Rua Frei Nicolau de Oliveira, 80, Parque da Gandarinha, 2750-641 Cascais Tel: (+351) 214 826 000

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

  • Member Plus Adult - £1809
  • Member Adult - £1859                    
  • Non Member Adult - £1909                 
  • Single Supplement - £485 (double/twin for sole occupancy)

Price Includes:

  • Return TAP flights from Manchester to Lisbon
  • Return airport transfers with English speaking guide  
  • Porterage at both hotels if required
  • 5 nights half board accommodation at the Hotel Vila Galé Évora including Water, Wine or 2 Beers with dinner and tea/coffee afterwards each evening.
  • Full day guided excursion to Portalege, Castel o de Vide and Marvao including a visit to the Tapestry Museum (Portalege) & Marvao Museum.
  • Full day guided excursion visiting Beja; Includes Herdade Vale da Rosa (producer of seedless grapes) with tasting (extremely unusual and interesting); Herdade da Figueirinha (wine producer) – visit and tasting and Sovena one of the most important Portuguese olive oil producers and walking tour in Beja and its museum (entry included)
  • Full day guided excursion visiting Monsaraz and Vila Viçosa with its Royal Palace. Included entry to Fresco Museum (Monsaraz) & Royal Palace ( Vila Vicosa)
  • ½ Day guided tour of Evora including entry to Évora Cathedral, Évora University and the Bones Chapel
  • Coach transfer to Cascais with en-route stop at the Coffee Science Centre in Campo Maior and Elvas
  • Entrance into Arraiolos Municipality Building
  • 3 nights half board accommodation at the Hotel Vila Galé Cascais including Water, Wine or 2 Beers with dinner and tea/coffee afterwards each evening.
  • Full day Tour to Obidos & Sintra National Palace (Palácio da Vila – Entrance included)
  • Cascais City Tax
  • Whisper sets for 7 days

Not Included:

  • Single Supplement
  • Any items of a personal nature such as meals, drinks, etc
  • Guide/Driver Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Evora City Tax (at this time no tax applicable in Évora, but if situation changes this will be payable locally)

For further details and bookings, you can either use the  or contactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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