Newmarket Holidays


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Let the good times roll in the Deep South

Memphis, New Orleans and Nashville are home to centuries of American music history, from soulful spirituals to Dolly Parton and, of course, Elvis Presley. Music fan Carmel, who produces our brochures, discovered these charismatic cities on our tour.

This holiday makes you feel like you’re living through music history. You can “Put on your blue suede shoes”IMG_0433_CROP (2) and go “Walking in Memphis” with Springsteen, follow the route the devil took down to Georgia or tap along to ‘Duelling Banjos’ as you pass by the Appalachian Mountains and ‘Deliverance’ country.

Foodies won’t be disappointed either. There’s New Orleans for Gumbo and Jambalaya, Memphis for THE best ribs (smothered in smoky Deep South sauce) and the obligatory, mouth-watering Nashville steak. And all washed down with a lethal ‘Hurricane’ cocktail, frozen margaritas and/or lashings of ice cool beer!

Most of all, this tour is a must for music lovers – whether you love Jazz, R&B, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Gospel, Bluegrass, or my personal favourite, Country (yee haw!). From the French quarter of New Orleans, straight through Mississippi State, to Tennessee – home to both Memphis and Nashville – music is everywhere, including the streets. The only drawback is that you can’t possibly visit ALL the bars/clubs/honky tonks. You can step straight into music history, though, at the legendary pilgrimage spots for all serious music fans – Sun Studio, Studio B, The Country Music Hall of Fame, Ryman Auditorium (original home of The Grand Ole Opry) and, of course, Graceland.

Elvis’s home reveals some fascinating facts, such as his penchant for using different lighting to record different genres. Gospel was always recorded under bright white lights, R&B under blue, and perhaps most telling of all was recording ‘Are you Lonesome tonight?’ in total darkness. In fact, the sound right at the end of the one-take recording is Elvis hitting his head on the microphone.

Graceland itself is quite a modest sized building (although the furnishings are anything but!). Rooms such as The Jungle Room – full of animal prints and wooden jungle animals – have to be seen to be fully appreciated. Elvis used this room as a recording studio and had it carpeted throughout (even the walls) to help with the acoustics. Visiting the house is on the ‘bucket list’ of every true Elvis fan, and it’s a poignant experience because Elvis is also buried in the grounds.

Another poignant note is IMG_0528_CROP EDIT (2)touching on the US Civil Rights struggle of the 1950s and 60s. You can follow the progress of Martin Luther King from the Montgomery bus boycott (sparked by the arrest of Rosa Parks) through to his assassination at the Lorraine Motel, Memphis. During time in Memphis we visited The National Civil Rights Museum, where the history of the struggle to end segregation is also very well documented.

There’s something for everyone on this trip – from amazing food to fascinating history – but for many, it will all be about the music. Time to go? “It’s now or never”!

Click here for more details and to book our Elvis Presley’s Memphis, New Orleans & Nashville tour.


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Meet the team behind our popular coach breaks

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The trend for ‘staycations’ – and the idea of an easy, affordable way to tour the UK and Europe’s favourite places without having to drive – is making coach holidays ever more popular. They’re among Newmarket Holidays’ most successful holiday types and we have a wide variety on offer, so we caught up with the people behind them – our Product Director Teresa Taylor and Product Manager Sonja Okpu.

How long have you been Product Managers, and prior to this, what was your travel industry background?

TT: 30 years along with other things. Before that I worked for Stardust Mini Holidays and before that for a hotel company.

SO: 6 years with Newmarket but prior to that I worked with the Disney product and brand for 15 years, which has helped give me an eye for detail. I’ve also worked for a coach wholesaler and for hotels.

What makes a good coach holiday product? How do you choose them?

TT: Having a mix of things to see and do, and where possible, a mix of indoor and outdoor attractions in case the weather’s bad. We get ideas for holidays from a variety of sources, such as suggestions, TV programmes and topical events. When the Royal Yacht Britannia was decommissioned, for example, we began tours to Edinburgh to see her. More recently, we heard that they were opening the Coronation Street set. Railway journeys are also always good on coach holidays because you only need to travel in one direction. The coach will pick you up and you can go a different route home – think the Wise Men!

SO: As we have to work so far in advance for the majority of our tours, our eyes and ears always have to be open. Together with our experience, this helps us to predict what customers will want in 12-18 month’s time. Having great relationships with our suppliers and partners is also essential to developing new ideas and bringing them to life.

Which are your favourite Newmarket coach breaks?

TT: The Edinburgh Tattoo is really fab. There’s a lot of travelling if you live in the South/Southwest, but it’s well worth it because the event is unique. Also, I love the Royal Albert Hall concert breaks – it’s such a very special venue.

SO: In Europe, it would have to be our Monet’s Gardens and Paris tour . It’s incredible value for money when you consider everything that it includes and it’s a tour for which we get consistently good reviews. In the UK, dare I say that my heart lies with our flower show tours? I love going to check these out each year and they’ve helped me discover my green fingers!

What are your travel tips?

TT: Don’t take too much luggage – and always travel in flat, comfortable shoes and loose clothing.

SO: Organising a holiday isn’t always as easy as it looks, so my top tip would be to let someone else do all the hard work for you and just sit back, relax and enjoy – et voila!

Finally, what new tours can we look forward to in the future?

TT: We’re doing an overnight break to a new Elvis exhibition at the 02 which will feature over 300 artefacts direct from Graceland. I think it’ll be fascinating whether or not you’re an Elvis fan.

SO: I’m really excited about Longleat in 2015, both for summer and winter. For summer we have a tour that includes Longleat’s House, Gardens and Safari Park, plus a gorgeous scenic tour of the Cotswolds and time in the beautiful city of Bath. Then for next winter we’re doing an amazing Christmas at Longleat and Salisbury’s Christmas Market tour. It combines Longleat’s ‘Festival of Light’ with a visit to Salisbury, which is stunning. Both have so much to see and do!

Click here to see all of our coach holidays, including Sporting Events by coach, Royal and Historic Tours, Midweek Breaks and more!


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Magellan – a new cruise ship for Newmarket Holidays

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Magellan is the latest addition to the Newmarket Holidays cruise ship fleet. Bright, modern and comfortable, this spacious vessel has a contemporary style but still offers the intimacy and tradition of small-ship cruising.

To welcome you to Magellan and give you a glimpse inside, our website now has a gallery of ship photos. A recent refit (in 2010) has allowed her to look her best, but that’s not all that’s new about her.

New features:

  • We are now offering popular departures from Dundee, alongside sailings from Tilbury and Newcastle.
  • On board Magellan, there is no size variation between cabins. Instead, prices reflect cabin location.
  • The wonderful new ‘Amazon, West Indies and Azores’ cruise offers the chance to get to know some new destinations – a series of Brazilian ports on an extraordinary journey down the Amazon river.
  • Magellan has more cabins for single travellers. We also offer exceptional-value twin cabins for single occupants.
  • Libraries have proved such a popular feature on our ships that Magellan’s library is about to be extended, providing a pleasant and peaceful place to relax on board.

Although sailing aboard Magellan offers some new benefits, there are some things that haven’t changed. Guests will still find a friendly, welcoming staff and crew looking after them, and plenty of facilities on board. Although Magellan is modern in style, they will also still enjoy the traditional, small-ship cruising experience that makes our ships such favourites.

As with our other ships, Magellan offers great entertainment, with shows, themed speakers and, occasionally, celebrity guests. These have included Irish Eurovision winner Dana and a line-up of Bond girls talking about filming alongside stars of the series. Magellan is also adults-only (as are our ships Marco Polo and Azores), offering relaxing getaways without the kids.

We’re very pleased to welcome this stylish ship to our fleet – so if you are thinking of a relaxing cruise or exploring exciting ports in 2015 and 2016, visit our website to find out more about Magellan.


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Newmarket Holidays Christmas Day Traditions Competition

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The Newmarket Holidays Christmas Day Traditions Competition will run from 1st December until 1st January and all entries must be submitted within this time.

Terms and Conditions

To enter, tweet your Christmas Day tradition using the hash tag #NMHXmasTraditions on Twitter. Alternatively, submit your Christmas Day traditions via the Newmarket Holidays Facebook page.

The winner will be determined by Newmarket Holidays on January 6th and will be contacted via the social platform they used to enter (Twitter or Facebook).

The prize consists of a two-day London theatre coach holiday to see ‘The Lion King’. This prize is for four people (one must be an adult over the age of 18). See this link for more details.

No cash alternative is available. The prize consists of the coach trip as outlined in the link; please note that any other incidental charges will be the winner’s responsibility. The winner may choose their preferred date. If this date is not available, a replacement date will be offered. The trip must be taken between January and June 2015.

This competition is open only to residents of the UK aged 18 years or over. Employees of Newmarket Holidays, their families or anyone else associated with this competition or its operation are not allowed to enter.


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Ever wanted to experience New England’s Fall colours?

Scot from our Sales team took our 2014 tour, visiting the states of Massachusetts and Vermont, and the awe-inspiring Niagara Falls.

Day One
Seeing Niagara Falls for the first time is just incredible. There are few moments in life that make your jaw drop but trust me, this was one of them. The area surrounding the hotel is popular with tourists, so there’s lots of fun to be had, and I would recommend going on the Sky Wheel to get some great views of the falls.

From our arrival in North America our tour rep Mary Ann made us all feel very welcome. Her energy and excitement were infectious!

Day Two
As the queues were already building at 7am to get through immigration, our wonderful driver Iona’s plan to get an early start was a good idea. We were soon on our way to Marlborough, just outside Boston, and during the drive we saw spectacular scenery – a range of colours on the trees I think you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else in the world. We hadn’t even got to the best part of the foliage yet, which was to come in the next few days! After a day of travel we got to the hotel around 6.30pm for a restful evening.

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Day Three
Off to Boston today. On arrival we met Geoff, a brilliant guide who gave us a detailed walking tour of the city. It’s probably North America’s most ‘walkable’ city and one of the oldest at that – steeped in history, with great shops and all set around the beautiful Public Garden.

Day Four
Another busy but fun day. A packed itinerary took us off to Hyannis, Cape Cod and Plimoth Plantation. Hyannis (family home to the Kennedys) was a lovely little town. Mary Ann’s excellent suggestion was the JFK Museum, where the family pictures and movies really showed the man behind the myth.

Afterwards it was a short drive to the JFK memorial in Cape Cod. You can’t help but feel a tinge of regret for what he could’ve achieved. From there it was on to the Plimoth Plantation, where the incredibly authentic Native American and Pilgrim villages left me in awe of what they must’ve gone through in 1670.

Day Five
The Quechee Gorge is Vermont’s deepest gorge. There are gorgeous views – and I can recommend the store next door for authentic home-made maple syrup. (I got 2 bottles!!)

SAM_0993 (2)We continued to Woodstock, Vermont, which was a quaint little town – pure rustic Americana with old fashioned shops and wooden bridges.

We visited the Vermont Country Store in Battleboro, an old-fashioned general store selling pretty much every sort of nick-nack you could think of. Then, at our hotel – The Crowne Plaza in Pittsfield – dinner was quite possibly the best cod (New England Cod) I’ve had in my life!

During the day, we took the best routes to see the best views of the foliage. The colours and scenery were truly stunning.

Day Six
Back to Niagara Falls today. Iona got us there in great time so we had some time to really explore Niagara at night. A bonus was seeing the spectacular Columbus Day weekend firework display over the falls.

Day Seven
Our last day. I was nervous but excited before I took the optional flight over Niagara in a helicopter, but I’m so glad ISAM_1032 (3) did it. The views from up there were phenomenal, plus we had a lovely sunny day so we could see for miles. I’m not great with heights but I would recommend this to anyone.

We also had an optional lunch booked at the Sheraton Hotel, where there are more stunning views over the falls. After an hour of free time, we boarded the coach back to Toronto Airport for our flight home.

This wonderful trip was made all the better by an amazing tour guide, Mary-Ann and our wonderful driver Iona. I would thoroughly recommend it!

Our tours to see New England’s Fall colours in 2015 are now available to book. Choose from New England in the Fall, Washington, New York and Niagara Falls or Fall Colours of New England and Canada.


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Sri Lanka – from temples to stunning sunsets

Long Haul Product Director Richard Harrington on touring the island with Newmarket Holidays

To me, the best thing about Sri Lanka is the variety the island offers. There are cities, beaches, hill stations, cool tea plantations and, on RH Sri Lanka 2safari, chances to see amazing wildlife.

We head up into the ‘Cultural Triangle’ from the seafront city of Colombo. Clean, modern and vibrant, it still retains a colonial feel in many of its restored older buildings. On the way, a visit to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage allows you to get up close with these majestic animals. See babies being feed from milk bottles and, in the afternoon, watch them wander down through the town’s streets to the river for the ritual bathing session. There are some great cafes overlooking the river here, too.

Habarana is our base to explore the highlights of the Cultural Triangle – namely the old, ruined capital Polonnaruwa; the rock fortress of Sigiriya (which you may want to climb for the fabulous views over the wild plains); and Dambulla’s Buddhist rock temples. The hotels here recreate the feel of being on safari, with open restaurants and public areas, low-level buildings and bungalows, and, of course, magnificent swimming pools.

By contrast, the cool hill country resembles Britain, with haRH Sri Lanka 5lf-timbered buildings and beautiful parks and gardens. Another highlight is our stay in Kandy, a beautiful lakeside spot in the heart of the mountains.

In Sri Lanka, visiting a tea plantation is a must, as is spending some time with wildlife. Our tour takes in the famous Yala National Park – home to elephants, sloth bears and – often seen from safari vehicles – leopards.

Last (but not least!) is relaxing in an idyllic beach resort. Although the sea can be rough, the hotels all try to outdo each other for the best swimming pool. Many have views over the sea, so they’re the perfect place to watch some truly beautiful sunsets over the water!

Find out more about our escorted tour on our website: http://www.newmarketholidays.co.uk/NMP18710.htm

 


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Customer Service Week for the ‘Newmarket Family’

6-10th October is National Customer Service Week – an initiative designed to recognise the 70% of UK workers with a customer service role, and their huge importance to the British economy.

At Newmarket Holidays, staff have welcomed the opportunity to say thank you to our hardworking team with a week of themed events. These have been about having fun, extending our product knowledge, and building relationships between almost 200 company staff.

The national initiative comes at the perfect time, as Newmarket Holidays has adopted an ongoing scheme committing to Customer Service Excellence. We aim to make every week a Customer Service Week.

The week has been a chance for Newmarket’s different departments to work together, exchanging ideas on how to offer the best possible customer service. We’ve also asked our customers what they think. Our call centre team have asked callers to rate their experience, and a survey has been sent to over 500 travel agents to rate our friendliness, speed and efficiency.

Customer Service Week also gives us a chance to thank our customers, who’ve made it possible for us to celebrate 30 successful years. We’re proud to be able to say we have many repeat customers who’ve made us their first choice.

We’ve found that many customers like to deal with the same representative – often over some years – having built up a relationship with a staff member who inspires their confidence. Our ever-popular concert breaks to see Cliff Richard and Andre Rieu are another example of a loyal following, with fans returning for the ease of booking ticket and hotel-inclusive packages. The independent review service Revoo also reports a four-and-a-half star rating (out of five) for customers saying they would book again with Newmarket Holidays.

Customer Service Week has shown us strong approval from many bookers, but we have also committed to constantly improving our service. Much of that will be due to the outstanding efforts of our wonderful staff.

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