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Highlights of China and Yangtze Cruise

Highlights of China and the Yangtze

Carol, from the Newmarket Holidays Reservations team, recently returned from our Highlights of China and Yangtze Cruise escorted tour and was keen to share some of her personal highlights with us.

One of Newmarket’s longest serving team members, Carol has travelled extensively both for work and pleasure. When asked exactly how many years she had worked for Newmarket Holidays, she said “Let’s just say it’s more than 20 years and leave it at that, shall we?” Going on to tell us she “really enjoys holidays that offer the opportunity to explore new places, but also allow her to have some time to relax.”

We’ll let Carol take it from here:

What a trip; two rail journeys, a cruise and hundreds of incredible sights all packed into 16 days!

Our tour guide Peter was excellent. He arranged for porterage of our bags on all the flights, as well as the train journeys. He translated the menus so we had an idea of what we were eating and generally made the trip enjoyable for everyone. The trip covers so many cities and aspects of Chinese life, from Shanghai, which is very commercial and much like New York in some respects, to more rural areas. The giant pandas in Chengdu were a real highlight for me – there are currently 60 at the centre and they even have cubs for visitors to coo over.

The UNESCO-listed Terracotta Warriors are a must-see. The first of the 8,000+ statues were only discovered in the 1970s by four farmers who were digging a well. Located just a mile from the tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, it is believed that there are more treasures still buried and further pits are due to open to the public in the next year. We also visited the largest preserved section of the world famous Great Wall, which was not only breath-taking to see but also provided an ideal platform from with to view the incredible surrounds.

We visited a pearl factory, silk mill, jade factory and enamel furnace. We enjoyed an optional excursion to the Peking Opera, to watch performers singing soprano – it was certainly an experience. We also went on a rickshaw ride in Beijing, which was really fun, and visited one of the city’s original houses which gave a glimpse of what home life was like before the revolution. The Shanghai nightscape cruise on the last night was a lovely way to finish the tour. It was definitely a trip of a lifetime!

If you would like to find out more about our Highlights of China and Yangtze Cruise tour, or any other destination in our range of holidays, please feel free to contact me for help or advice.

Happy travelling!




Celebrating 200 tours with Emyr Phillips

Emyr Philips - Newmarket Holidays

Emyr Philips – Newmarket Holidays

Meet Emyr, one of our longest serving team members here at Newmarket Holidays. He’s celebrating 10 years – and 5,000,000 travelled miles – with us, although his experience as a tour manager dates back much further.

In fact, Emyr has worked as a tour manager for an astonishing 55 years. Emyr’s first tours took place before motorways had even been built in Britain and, according to him, “the journey from west Wales to London took 12 hours in those days”. Not to mention tickets to the Royal Albert Hall costing just 75 pence!

Emyr recently led his 200th Newmarket tour, guiding a group of students to Wimbledon. By chance, the students were from the school that his children attended. “It was an amazing coincidence. I conducted the entire two-day trip in Welsh.”

Other memorable journeys for Emyr include a very touching moment when he assisted a guest in a very important mission in Porthmadog. “At dinner one night, a lady approached me and asked for my help. Her husband, an avid transport enthusiast, who had recently passed away, had not had the chance to ride on the Welsh Highland Railway. She asked if we could scatter his ashes at a railway station along the way. We spoke with the Duty Manager in Porthmadog, who allowed us to pass her late husband’s ashes through the firebox of the engine after the last station along the line. She was very grateful.”

The life of a tour manager can be very hard work but also very rewarding. A normal day involves early mornings, organisation and careful planning. We asked Emyr what he thinks makes a good tour manager: “a good alarm clock, a good sense of humour, an understanding wife/husband/ partner, a good sense of direction and most importantly a plan B”. And the biggest perks of the job? The pleasure of meeting new people and the strong team spirit among his colleagues, Emyr tells us.

After 55 incredible years of touring, Emyr’s ambition is to continue serving the thousands of customers choosing to travel with Newmarket Holidays for a long time to come.

“Orders are being taken for tour 500!” – jokes Emyr.

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What makes Christmas special for you?


Terms and Conditions

There are 2 different ways to enter the competition:

  • Comment on one of our posts about the competition telling us, in your own words, what makes Christmas special for you.
  • Post to our Facebook page telling us, in your own words, what makes Christmas special for you.

The following terms and conditions apply:

  1. Entrants must be UK residents, over 18 and not employees (or members of their families) of Newmarket Holidays, or anyone connected with the draw.
  2. Prize draw is open to anyone who likes the Newmarket Holidays page on Facebook.
  3. By submitting your entry, you are giving Newmarket Holidays the right to quote you and use any photos or videos in promotional and marketing material on social media and other channels in the future.
  4. Only one entry per person per entry method. Entries on behalf of another person will not be accepted and joint submissions are not allowed. All entries will automatically become the property of the promoter.
  5. There is only one prize to be won. The prizewinner will receive a luxury Fortnum and Mason Christmas hamper.
  6. The prize is subject to availability and may change at any time without prior notice. The contents of the prize hamper may differ from the products depicted in the images used in the promotion and the competition pages.
  7. The closing date for the receipt of entries is 23:59 hours on the 31st December 2015.
  8. Entries received after the closing date will not be considered. Entries from third party agents or bulk entries will not be eligible for the prize. The promoter will not be responsible for any entries that are not received by the closing date, whether lost, delayed, corrupted or otherwise, and whether or not due to any technical difficulties or malfunctions.
  9. Prize is non-transferable. No cash alternative will be offered.
  10. A panel of judges from Newmarket Holidays and affiliated parties will select the winner of the prize draw on the 4th January 2016.
  11. The winner will be notified on Facebook in a comment or reply to their original entry on or before the 8th January 2016. If the winner cannot accept the prize for any reason or is not contactable within 48 hours then the promoter reserves the right to award the prize to another entrant.
  12. 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.
  13. The judging panels’ decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into.
  14. Winner agrees to the use of their name and/ or photograph for publicity/promotional purposes. No additional compensation will be awarded for such publicity/ promotional purposes.
  15. Newmarket Holidays will provide the prize but accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever in relation to any matter arising out of this competition or the enjoyment of the prize.
  16. Newmarket Holidays are in no way responsible for any unforeseen delays in the delivery of the hamper.
  17. Promoter: The Newmarket Group of Cantium House, Railway Approach, Wallington, Surrey, SM6 0BP.
  18. 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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Holiday inspiration – The Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel List 2015

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

That most eminent source of travel tips and information, The Lonely Planet, recently released its ‘Ultimate Travel List 2015’, a list of the top 500 destinations in the world.

500 destinations is probably beyond all but the most seasoned and financially ‘gifted’ of travellers and frankly we’re not sure how interested we are in the 500th most ‘must-see’ destination on the planet. The top 10 though, they’re sure to be interesting.

So which of these incredible sites can you see on a Newmarket Holidays break? Well you could start at the very top of the list; the incredible Angkor Wat, which is part of our 15 day ‘Follow the Mekong’ tour. Sitting surrounded by jungle in northwest Cambodia, Angkor Wat is reputed to be the largest religious monument in the world – though it is not alone in the jungle. The central wat is just one of many monuments, some of which have partially succumbed to the pervading force of the jungle and are now beset by enormous tree roots – a la the Lost City in Disney’s Jungle Book. A trip to Angkor Wat also offers the chance to experience the nearby Siem Reap with its melding of Chinese and French influences.

If your wallet has the fortitude, you could continue to tick off the world’s best sights with a cruise to number two on the list, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Stretching over 1400 miles and boasting over 600 types of coral, the reef is uniquely bio-diverse, providing a home to numerous species of shark, dolphin, turtle and fish. The reef is considered to be at risk from rising sea temperatures and pollution; our advice is to see it while it is still in its prime and tread as lightly as possible while you’re there.

Back on dry land, join us for number four on the list, the Great Wall of China, as part of a 16-day ‘Highlights of China and Yangtze Cruise’ tour. Or choose number five with a hop over to India, to see the smaller, though no-less grand, Taj Mahal in the Indian city of Agra.

Those wanting a bit of dazzle with their springtime break should consider number six, the breath-taking Grand Canyon. 18 miles across at its widest point and some 277 miles long, the canyon is an incredible sight to behold. The sight is even better combined with a quick trip to the bright lights of Hollywood and Las Vegas – giving your trip that bit of sparkle.

Position seven is occupied by the magnificent Colosseum. The ancient stadium is estimated to have held up to 80,000 spectators at its peak. Completed late in the first century AD, the Colosseum is fast approaching is 2000th birthday – for which it is looking rather fine. Combining a visit to the world’s most famous stadium with an exploration of wider Rome and Pompeii, as on this eight-day break, offers great insight into the workings of both the Roman Empire and modern-day Italy.

Staying in Europe, number nine on the list is the continent’s finest example of Moorish architecture, Alhambra, located in Spain’s Granada. The Palace was originally constructed in 889 but was significantly renovated in the 1100s by the Emir of Granada. Today the enormous complex sits with the city at its feet on three sides, looking out towards the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  See the beautiful Alhambra and its equally stunning backdrop on the ‘Seville, Granada and Classic Spain’ six-day break.

The top ten is completed as it started with another religious monument-turned-museum, in the form of Turkey’s Aya Sofya. The one-time Christian church, one-time Islamic mosque was the largest cathedral in the world for almost 1000 years. Today Aya Sofya, with its grand dome, is open to all as a museum. Though only considered tenth most worthy of a visit, the site is monumentally impressive and as deserving of your time as any other on the list. Visit Aya Sofya on one of our Mediterranean cruises.

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Her majesty the Queen opens Borders Railway

Scottish borders Railway

The new Borders Railway was opened by the Queen on the day that she became Britain’s longest serving monarch

September marked the re-opening of the railway line connecting the city of Edinburgh to the Scottish Borders. The new route is the longest section of domestic railway to be introduced in over 100 years, and marked a significant occasion for the people of the Borders.

The original line was closed in 1969 – prompting a number of campaigns to re-establish the link between the Border towns and the major city of Edinburgh. Works began in early 2013 to build the new line, with many local people working hard to bring the project to fruition.

Celebrations took place throughout the railway’s opening week, with a number of lucky travellers snapping up ‘golden tickets’ to ride the day before the line was publicly opened. The week was topped off with a royal opening by Her Majesty the Queen. Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, joining her for a traditional steam-powered journey along the route, stopping off at Newtongrange in Midlothian before carrying on to the new railway’s final stop, in the Borders town of Tweedbank.

The event took place on a particularly special day for the Queen; it was the day on which she became Britain’s longest-serving monarch. She takes the mantle from her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria – who reigned for 23,226 days, 16 hours and 23 minutes according to calculations by Buckingham Palace.

Keith Brown, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, said that it was a “great honour” that the Queen led celebrations, “it is fitting that these two such historic events coincide. This will be a double celebration, and we are also ensuring that the people who have campaigned, worked hard and shown such patience throughout this process are able to play a full part in the celebrations, with a separate day dedicated just to them.”

Though the Queen asked that no formal celebrations be organised for the event – instead arrangements are already being made for her next birthday – it was a truly historic day for both Her Majesty and the people of the Borders. Newmarket Holidays customers will be happy to know that the new line is set to feature on our new Durham, Edinburgh and Classic Railway Journeys break, available to book now.

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WIN a copy of Great British Bake Off: Celebrations to add a sweet flourish to your festivities


Like so many, we’re big fans of the Great British Bake Off. Do you, like us, watch with baited breath each week as the contestants produce towering, mouth watering baked creations? Does your mind boggle at the thought of producing such delights for your own friends and family this Christmas? If so, then you’re in luck. New book Great British Bake Off: Celebrations provides baking inspiration for every occasion whether you’re looking to create your own showstopper to top off your roast dinner (perhaps the 16 layer Mocha Torte?) or a delicious failsafe bake to surprise some guests with (like the classic Citrus Madeira cake).

The book contains recipes from Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood and even the contestants from this year’s Bake-Off. You can also find inspiration for all of the important holidays coming up this autumn and winter; from a Gingerbread cake haunted house for Halloween to a nut-topped Christmas cake for the festive season.

To win a hardback copy of this handy recipe book, full of fantastic festive treats and baking inspiration-galore, enter our one-day competition on October 7th!


  • Either: Share our Facebook post about the competition to your wall publicly (private shares will not be visible to us) and comment or like our post to let us know you’ve entered
  • Or: Retweet our tweet of the competition publicly on your own timeline

And while you’re in the Christmas spirit, explore our festive breaks here.


These competition terms and conditions are applicable to the Great British Bake Off: Celebrations 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 (7th October 2015) and before the closing time (8th October 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 Great British Bake Off: Celebrations. 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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100 Trips with Newmarket Holidays – and Counting

100 trips and counting

Having just booked her 100th – and 101st – trip with Newmarket Holidays, Jean, who lives in the south-west of England, has become our first client to break the ‘century’.  We caught up with her to find out a bit about her, her love of travel and her reasons for returning to Newmarket Holidays again and again – and again.

Have you always been an avid traveller?

I have always enjoyed travelling. When I was working it was a major part of my job and at that time I travelled extensively throughout England. My travelling extends beyond Newmarket Holidays, since I take several longer holidays with my husband throughout the year, local day trips and weekends away by rail.

You’ve reached your 100th trip with Newmarket Holidays, what keeps you coming back?

I believe that Newmarket Holidays offer value for money. The trips are easy to book, either by telephone or online.

It gives me a chance to see and visit many concerts, events and locations, which I would not be able to do in such a convenient manner. In fact, if I did not go with Newmarket Holidays, I probably would not have seen many of the concerts and events, nor indeed the different places in the UK and Europe.

Even though I have travelled many times, the tour managers and drivers still treat me in the same manner as other passengers. The phrase ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ certainly does not apply. Over the years, I have learnt many interesting things from your excellent tour managers and coach drivers.

You’ve been travelling with us for over 10 years now; can you pick a favourite from your 100 trips?

I have many favourites, but if I was to pick one or two, it would have to be the André Rieu concerts in Maastricht and the Daniel O’Donnell concerts in Ireland. Both combine fantastic concerts, along with great tours of the areas.

Among your plethora of long and short breaks with us, there are a few trips that keep popping up year after year. What is it about these holidays that you find so enjoyable?

There are many areas where it is possible to go back again and see other things which were not possible within the time allowed previously on a short break. In addition, even if it is the same trip, different experiences can be enjoyed depending on the route, weather conditions, etc. The Dutch bulb fields trip at Keukenhof Gardens is a prime example – each year the theme, atmosphere and displays are totally different from the previous year.

Have you made any lasting friendships on your travels with Newmarket Holidays?

Yes, I have made many lasting friendships over the years. Some of these people travel with me, some I see regularly throughout the year for social occasions, and some I meet again when they are travelling on Newmarket Holidays.

On average you take a trip with us every seven weeks or so, what is it that you enjoy about a coach holiday?

Coach holidays are convenient and with the local pick-ups I do not have to travel two or three hours before my holiday begins. I board a coach and then everything is organised by the tour manager and the driver. I do not have to worry about the route, traffic, parking, etc. Therefore, as soon as I board the coach I can relax.

On different occasions, I travel with my husband or friends, but often I travel on my own. When I do travel on my own, I feel that I am always in a safe environment. Compared with other ways of taking holidays, coach holidays are very cost effective. Coach holidays allow me to further pursue my love of the theatre and music.

Do you have plans for future trips with us – beyond those already booked?

Definitely, yes! I am always on the lookout for new concerts and events. If they were available from my area, I would also like to book Emmerdale – The Tour trip, Afternoon Tea at Chatsworth House and the Tatton Park Flower Show.

Is there anywhere in the world that is still on your ‘bucket-list’?

Yes, to attend the Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall – I shall be there this Saturday, 12th September 2015!


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