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Win a copy of James Rebanks ‘The Shepherd’s Life’!

Herdy Shepherd
Like many others, we were inspired by James Rebanks, giving city dwellers and countrymen alike a small glimpse into the life of a shepherd in the Lake District. Coming from a long line of shepherds, James regularly shares updates from his herd with his Twitter following of more than 60,000.
In his book The Shepherd’s Life: A Tale of the Lake District, readers can enjoy the simple pleasures of this way of life along with photography and documentation of the stunning landscape and history of the Lake District. James also shares his passion for nature and wildlife and his vision for the future of sustainable farming. The book is worth £16.99 and has had excellent reviews across the board.
We at Newmarket Holidays loved hearing James’ story and we want to share it with you. Join our 1 day spot prize competition, on the 28th May, for your chance to win.


1) Share our Facebook post of the book publicly to your wall (private votes will not be visible to us)
2) Retweet our Tweet on the competition publicly 

If you love this beautiful part of Britain’s landscape and heritage, find out more.
Terms and Conditions

These competition terms and conditions are applicable to the ‘The Shepherds Life’ giveaway as detailed above and act as the competition rules. By entering the competition, entrants are bound by these rules. The promoter of this competition is The Newmarket Group of Cantium House, Railway Approach, Wallington, Surrey, SM6 0BP. You may only enter the competition after the opening time (28th May 2015) and before the closing time (29th May 2015). Entries cast outside of this window will not be counted. The possible routes for entry to the competition include the following:

  • Facebook Share: To enter by Facebook Share you should share Newmarket Holiday’s Facebook post about the competition and link to this blog post. Please note that writing your own post about the competition without mentioning Newmarket Holidays or linking to this page does not constitute as an entry, nor does sharing any other post by Newmarket Holidays.
  • Twitter Retweet: To enter by retweet you should retweet Newmarket Holiday’s tweet about the competition and link to this blog post. Retweeting a post by another user or any other post by Newmarket Holidays does not constitute an entry. However, you may produce your own tweet mentioning the competition as an entry, details below.
  • Original Tweet: You may also enter by writing your own tweet about the competition. To be considered a valid entry your tweet must
  • Mention the @newmarkethols twitter
  • Link to this page showing the details of the competition
  • Talk about the competition rather than relating to any other subject matter
  • Not contain any inappropriate language or profanity

Each Facebook and Twitter user can only submit one entry for the competition. You may submit one entry from Facebook and one from Twitter if you would like to. If you submit multiple tweets about the competition, this will still count as only one entry. The user that has submitted the entry must be the one to accept the prize. It is not permitted to transfer the prize to another user. If you are unable to receive the prize you may turn it down and we will select another winner. Newmarket Holidays reserve the right to disallow entries if it has reasonable grounds to suspect that fraudulent bulk entries have been cast. Newmarket Holidays also reserves the right to disqualify entrants or award the prize to another winner if we subsequently discover that an entrant has not complied with the rules of the competition in any way. The competition is open only to UK residents. Newmarket Holidays reserve the right to disallow entries if they have reasonable grounds to suspect they have been made from outside the UK. Employees of Newmarket Holidays or any company that Newmarket Holidays deems to be too closely connected to Newmarket Holidays are not eligible to enter the competition. Winners will be selected at random within 7 days of the competition closing. Winners will be contacted by Newmarket Holidays or a representative from Newmarket Holidays. Should we be unable to contact the winner or the winner does not respond within 7 days, another winner may be selected at Newmarket Holidays’ discretion. The winner must provide Newmarket Holidays with their full name and a UK address where they can receive the prize. If they are unable to provide this information, another winner may be selected at Newmarket Holidays’ discretion. Any personal data relating to entrants will be used solely in accordance with current UK data protection legislation and best practice. The prize for this competition is a copy of ‘The Shepherds Life’ by James Rebanks. There is only one prize on offer. The prize is non transferable and there is no cash alternative. The prize is subject to availability and Newmarket Holidays reserve the right to substitute prizes of equal or greater value at any time in its sole discretion. We may pass winners details to a third party agency for the purpose of fulfilling prizes. These terms and conditions (and any matter or dispute of whatever nature connected to these rules) shall be governed and construed in accordance with English Law and the English courts shall have exclusive jurisdiction. For any enquiries relating to this competition, please contact us at: 0330 160 7852

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#BestOfBritish Botanical Getaways


The wait is over. Temperatures are rising, days are getting longer, but above all – Britain’s flora is beginning to flourish. Here at Newmarket Holidays we are thrilled to see the arrival of Spring. It’s the best time of the year to see Britain looking its best, so here are our top five #BestOfBritish botanical getaways.

1. The Tatton Park Flower Show

Cultivated over the last 200 years, Tatton Park today offers a variety of gardens to explore, including a kitchen garden, Japanese garden, as well as beautiful pleasure gardens popular with younger visitors. Once a year, the park turns into a hub for garden enthusiasts with breathtaking flower displays and expert gardening advice. The park is renowned for its friendly atmosphere and attractions such as the RHS National Flower Bed Competition, Show Gardens and Floral Marquee.

tatton park

Read more about this two-day inspirational get away.

2. The Lost Gardens of Heligan

For those of you accompanied by little ones (or the young-at-heart),the Lost Gardens of Heligan offer the best of two worlds: playful and exotic garden designs with local wildlife. Their history stretches as far back as the 1200s when the Heligan Manor was first built. The garden, however, wasn’t developed until the late 1700s when the walls of Flower Garden and Melon Yard were built. Today, you can experience plants from around the world, spot birds such as the Rare Green Heron or cross the new 100ft jungle rope bridge.

lost gardens of heligan

This family retreat and the Eden Project are part of our four-day visit to Cornwall. 

3. Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

Join the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, coinciding the 500th anniversary of the palace itself! Along with the stunning traditional rose displays, this year’s show will celebrate its Silver Anniversary in floristry with a display that time-travels through its historical gardens. Also unique to the Hampton Court are their water gardens.

hampton court flower show

Get inspired on our two-day tour, which also includes a visit to Royal Windsor. 

4. Kew Gardens (and Chelsea Flower Show)

Founded in 1759, The Royal Botanic Gardens is one of the world’s leading botanic research institutions. Over the past 250 years, Kew has shared its knowledge about plants and their benefits for mankind. Current projects involve research in global plant and fungal diversity and providing evidence for global scientific research.

Apart from being educational, a visit to Kew Garden is also a visual feast, offering landscaped lawns, formal gardens and over 30,000 plants. This time of year you can look forward to see magnolias, chionodoxas and camellias come alive.

kew gardens

Our tour of Kew Gardens includes entry to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show – a real treat for the true garden enthusiast!

5. Alnwick Garden

Neighbouring the second largest fortress in England is the magnificent Alnwick Garden – also known as the home of one of the country’s largest collections of European flowers. The once derelict site has been transformed into a world-class attraction, thanks to the Duchess of Northumberland’s bold vision and the landscaping talents of Capability Brown (who also landscaped Kew gardens!). Today, visitors from all over the country come to experience striking arrangements of geometric flowerbeds, secret gardens and one of the world’s largest tree houses.

alnwick garden

Discover the Alnwick Garden as a part of our three-day coach holiday. 

Photos by marcas_and_sue, Farrukh, Hannah Hawke, Damian Entwistle and Duncan Hull @ Flickr.

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Help us choose the Nation’s Sweethearts!

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Last month we asked you to nominate a truly inspirational couple as the Nation’s Sweethearts – a pair who had been through it all, with a loving marriage that stood the test of time year after year – and we wanted to give our community the chance to give their favourite couple a second honeymoon in Lake Garda.

It could have been friends, neighbours, family – or you and your partner. We’ve now received some absolutely amazing entries about couples who, truth be told, could all earn the title.

After careful deliberation to shortlist our 20 favourites, we now need your help to choose our winner. Click here to read some of the inspirational stories and vote for the couple you think deserve to be sent on their second honeymoon courtesy of Newmarket Holidays!

Voting will be open until April 22nd, with the winners announced in the same week. Whoever you choose as the Nation’s Sweethearts will be whisked away for an eight-day holiday on the shores of the beautiful Lake Garda in Italy, with all flights, transfers and accommodation at Hotel Drago provided. We can’t wait to see who you pick!

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Our top five castles around the world

In Britain, we really do love castles. Full of history and drama, every castle has a few good stories to tell. To celebrate these magnificent structures, we’ve rounded up five of our favourite castles from Britain and beyond.

1. Warwick Castle, Warwickshire

Char Warwick

This medieval castle, situated in the town of Warwick, was originally built by William the Conqueror in 1068. It was refortified during the Hundred Years War, and in 2014 it celebrated its 1100th birthday.

The castle has been a popular tourist site since the end of the 17th century. It, boasts a collection of armoury on display that is second only to that of the Tower of London.

‘These walls have seen something of the splendour of every generation of our [English] story’

– Arthur Mee

Explore this magnificent, medieval castle on this festive tour.

2. Scaliger Castle, Sirmione, Lake Garda

Marco Lazzaroni Sirmione

This 13th century castle, also known as Rocca Scaligera, is a rare example of a medieval ‘port fortification’. Unlike most castles, it was not occupied by the nobility, but was instead used as protection against threats, both from enemy nations and locals.

The picturesque castle is completely surrounded by water and can only be entered by two drawbridges.

‘Gazing at the Lydian laughter of the Garda Lake below

Sweet Catallus’s all-but-island, olive-silvery Sirmio!

– Alfred Tennyson

Discover everything this 13th century castle has to offer on our Italian Lakes tour.

3. Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

Ronnie Macdonald Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle sits atop Castle Rock, towering over Edinburgh city. Archaeologists have established human occupation of the rock since the Iron Age (2nd Century AD). There has been a royal castle on the rock since the reign of David I in the 12th Century. As one of Scotland’s prized strongholds, the castle has been involved in many historical conflicts – including the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th Century and the Jacobite Rising in 1745.

Castle Rock is actually the plug of an extinct volcano, estimated to have risen about 350 million years ago.

‘The Castle of Edinburgh …this gigantic rock lifts itself above all that surrounds it, and breaks upon the sky with the same commanding blackness of mingled crags, cliffs, buttresses and battlements’

– JG Lockhart

This tour of Edinburgh, the Highlands and the Caledonian Canal visits one other castle alongside Edinburgh castle.

4. Trakai Island Castle, Lithuania

cangaroojack trakai island castle

This castle was built on the largest of three islands in the Lake Galvė. Construction began in the 14th century but the castle suffered major devastation during an attack by the Teutonic Knights in 1377. It was finally completed in the 15th century.

The striking castle is made out of red bricks characteristic of brick gothic architecture. However, due to the multiple phases of construction, the castle also possesses some Romanesque features, making it look much like a real-life fairytale castle.

‘Old castle! Long centuries echoed your name!

Great men rose to glory with you!

You saw the Great Vytautas’ power and fame,

His regiments on a review.’

– Maironis

This unique castle is just one of the highlights on our Jewels of the Baltic tour.

5. Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, Disneyland Paris

Loren Javier Disney

Although it isn’t the oldest on our list, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is also a very popular tourist attraction. Each Disneyland around the world features one of these recognisable landmarks. The castle in Paris was completed in 1992, inspired by various castles and other structures from across Europe, including the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany and the Mont Saint-Michel monastery in Normandy, as well as the castle from the Disney film of ‘Sleeping Beauty’, of course.

The castle is also home to a dragon – 27 metres long from head to tail. In the park you can walk through the dimly lit cavern where the dragon sleeps. You can even hear the dragon puff smoke and growl occasionally.

‘Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.’

– Walt Disney

If you have children or grandchildren, a Disney Summer Magic tour would make their year.

Photos by Flickr users Char, Loren Javier, Marco Lazzaroni, Ronnie Macdonald.

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The search for the Nation’s Sweethearts is on!

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Do you know a couple whose relationship is an inspiration to everybody? A couple who have been through it all, whose loving marriage has stood the test of time again and again? A couple who could truly be considered the Nation’s Sweethearts? If so, then we want to hear from you!

In our new competition, we’re looking for a couple who have passed their Silver wedding anniversary, experienced 25 years as a truly inspirational pair, and deserve to celebrate in style with a second honeymoon in beautiful Lake Garda. It could be a parent, neighbour or friend – it could even be you!

To enter, simply submit a photo of the couple, and a short explanation of why they deserve to be named the Nation’s Sweethearts. It could be a simple description, an anecdote that sums up their relationship perfectly, or even a poem!

Once all the entries have been received, we’ll shortlist a top ten of the UK’s most inspirational couples, with the final winners being crowned the Nation’s Sweethearts. The winning couple will win an eight-day second honeymoon on the shores of the beautiful and vibrant Lake Garda, with all flights, transfers and accommodation at Hotel Drago provided.

Entries should be submitted via Facebook by 10th April 2015, with the shortlist announced in the week commencing the 13th April, and the winners revealed in the week commencing 20th April.

We wish all of our entrants and nominees the very best of luck, and we can’t wait to hear all of your stories! We’re sure picking a winner won’t be easy.

Terms and Conditions

The Newmarket Holidays Nation’s Sweethearts competition will run until 10th April 2015 and all entries must be submitted by 10th April 2015. To be eligible for entry, nominees must have celebrated their Silver wedding anniversary (ie; have been married for 25 years or more). Entries should be accompanied by a photograph and short piece of text explaining why the nominated couple deserves to win. Entrants may nominate themselves, or be nominated by friends and family. By entering, you are giving Newmarket Holidays permission to use your images for media purposes.

The winners will be selected in the week commencing 20th April 2015 and will be contacted via email. Winners will have five days to claim their prize – if you do not respond, Newmarket Holidays have the right to select another winner. The prize consists of a holiday for two to Lake Garda offered by Newmarket Holidays. No cash alternative is available. Newmarket Holidays have the right to withdraw this trip if it cannot go ahead, for an alternative with the same prize value. 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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Best of British – The Welsh Association of Male Voice Choirs

Experience the power of song at the Royal Albert Hall

welsh male voice choirs

On our blog, we’re celebrating the best that Britain has to offer, which you can experience on some of our favourite tours. You can read our first feature, which looks at the Edinburgh Tattoo, here. This week, coming so soon after St David’s Day, our focus is on the Welsh Association of Male Voice Choirs, who will come together to sing at the Royal Albert Hall in May of this year.

Product manager Teresa says …

‘This concert is something to be experienced. The sound of hundreds of voices all singing together is truly magical.’

Forged from the unbreakable spirit of the coal mining and quarrying communities of Wales, the Welsh Male Voice Choir combines the power of the ensemble with the beauty and subtlety of harmony singing.

The concert includes vocal performances from as many as 30 choirs from across Wales and beyond, each outfitted in different colours to mark them out as their voices blend. The concert will also feature some of Wales’ top musical talent, while the man at the helm will be the incomparable Dr. Alwyn Humphreys MBE, who has been described by the Welsh Secretary of State as ‘a legend – not only a credit to the world of music, but to the Welsh nation.’

Wales is a country famous for its vocal talent, from Tom Jones to Shirley Bassey, Katherine Jenkins to Bryn Terfel. The music peformed during this concert is also guaranteed to be very evocative, combining a mixture of hymns and spiritual music and with a few more contemporary pieces thrown in for a bit of fun.

London’s unique Royal Albert Hall – home to the BBC Proms and the Classic Brit Awards – is a fitting setting for this wonderful event. With its sense of tradition, intimate feel and excellent accoustics, the venue is one that performers themselves regard as very special. Just entering this historic building creates a sense of occasion.

Don’t miss this unique event, bringing Welsh musical talent together to create a truly unforgettable experience. Visit our website to find out more.

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Searching for Santa – a magical Lapland experience


At Newmarket Holidays, we do our best to ensure that all of our guests have the best experience possible – which is why we love to receive feedback letting us know we’ve done a good job.

We recently received this letter from Averil, who travelled to Lapland on one of our Santa Experience Day Trips with her family. We loved how she captured the magic of the day, so we wanted to share her letter in full.

‘I know that I am really late with this letter – but hopefully better late than never! And I did want to thank you so much for our wonderful trip to Lapland which my three grandchildren, daughter-in-law and I took with you in December. It was magical! And so well organised that I wanted to congratulate you on creating something very special…

Picture this… we fly from Humberside in the dark and, before long – and sustained with breakfast on board – we can see the white world of Lapland below us, dotted with the darkness of fir trees.

A warm welcome greets us from the brightly clad Laplanders – “Gud Yule!” they cry as we board the coach which takes us from the airport of Pajala to Santa’s village. Our hosts meet us and guide us to the large wooden cabin where there is a café, (we’ll have our lunch of meatballs there later) a small gift shop and a huge hangar of a room where there is thermal clothing we can borrow.

We’re suited and booted and ready to explore. Being somewhat timid of nature, I’ve imagined myself standing on the sidelines, happy to watch my beloved grandchildren enjoying the activities in the snow. No way! Our guides inform us that there are sledges for our use; snowmobiles; a tepee where there is storytelling by the fire and – what’s that?

I can hear the excited barking of dogs. The huskies are harnessed to their sleds, desperate to get going. Forget standing on the sidelines! I hear the call of the musher. I can see him waving to us. I grab the grandchildren! Quick! He’s waiting for us! And we’re off! Across the snow to grab our places on the sled. The air is clear, the sky golden and the snow sparkling like diamonds as we hurtle off into the forest. It is exhilarating! Breathtaking. Magical!

As is the ride on the snowmobile – although this time I have snowball fun with the two little ones as daughter-in-law and older grandson take to the skidoo.

We have our lunch and then we’re off again. The guides tell us that Father Christmas has arrived from the North Pole – not that far away as we are all well into the Arctic Circle. But there are reindeer to see first and a sleigh ride through another part of the forest – this time at a steadier pace. The sky is darkening already. There are fires burning, candles in the snow, fairy lights, and lanterns hanging from the trees…

And now it is time to see if we can find the great man. Does he really exist? It’s only half past one, but the light is fading. Our way into the forest is illuminated by the lanterns. We follow the track… into the trees… there is a hut and a huddle of people and yes… another guide waiting for us. She points to the log cabin – Father Christmas is there! But, while we wait, she explains, Mother Christmas has made us hot berry juice and ginger biscuits which we eat by the brazier, glad of the light and warmth.

Then it’s our turn. We head up the path. It is quite unreal. The door opens. He is there! He is waiting to greet us. To ask the children what they would like him to bring for Christmas. Father Christmas is alive and well! The children are quite overwhelmed but they manage to present him with the letters they’ve written. He gives them a little gift with promises of coming to visit on December 25th. Wonderful! Even I am captured by the magic of it all.

Outside again, and we can see a miniature train with a skidoo pulling it. The forest is dark, really dark now, as we race through and back to the village. It’s almost time to go. Just time to play with the sledges, to make snow angels, to shed our borrowed clothes and put our own back on before we go outside to wait for the coach to take us back to the airport. And then… then…

There is a strange and eerie light… faint at first, but growing stronger and more powerful until the sky is suffused with an iridescent green… the Northern Lights… sent especially for us… I am sure.

What a wonderful day. Thank you so much, Newmarket, for a precious memory that we will all treasure for ever…’

If Averil’s letter has inspired you to create special memories with your children and grandchildren, visit our website now. You’ll find more details of this Christmastime family experience, including dates and departure airports.


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