Plus historic stays in Taunton Castle and a Victorian railway carriage, and possibly the most expensive holiday you’ve ever heard of
Heli-skiing opens up inaccessible peaks but at a prohibitive cost. A slightly more affordable way to tackle unexplored mountains is on a ski and sail trip. On a new expedition to the Hornstrandir nature reserve in Iceland, a yacht sails to secret ski slopes each day, and guests eat and sleep on board, in a different spot each night. The trip is suitable for all abilities and no sailing experience is necessary.
• £1,432 for six days’ skiing, accommodation, meals and guide, flights extra, departures March-May 2014, 020-7097 1734, anotherworldadventures.com
World Cup deal
Finding an affordable hotel in Brazil during the World Cup is looking about as likely as England lifting the trophy. Even tour operators are struggling. Real Holidays’ solution has been to use campsites. It is offering week-long stays at three sites: Barra da Tijuca in Rio, which has pitches for up to 3,000 people, and two more in north-east Brazil, each with space for 500, in Salvador and Pipa, near Natal. As well as pools, big screens, bars and football pitches, the price for campers will include transfers to the matches, daily beach transfers, beer and caipirinhas and a barbecue meal every other day. Just don’t expect to get much sleep!
A seven-day camping package costs £895pp, including a pre-assembled tent, sleeping bag and mattress, but not flights. It’s not cheap for a week in a tent, but compared with what some hotels and hostels are charging, it’s a bargain.
Castle House, a new four-bedroom holiday let within the 16th-century walls of Taunton Castle, has been restored for the first time in 300 years and will be available from 6 December. The Tudor hall is now a living room with woodburning stove, and original beams and floorboards abound.
• From £517 for three nights’ self-catering for up to seven, including a food and wine hamper, vivat-trust.org
Win a holiday to India
Guardian Holiday Offers and Wild Frontiers are offering readers the chance to win a 10-day holiday for two to Rajasthan, India, worth £4,500. The trip includes visits to Delhi, the Taj Mahal (above), Jaipur and Udaipur. Accommodation is in three- and four-star hotels and heritage properties (such as the real Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), and flights and guides are included.
All aboard! A Victorian railway coach stationed in St Germans, a pretty Cornish village, has been converted into rental property. The first-class compartment is now the master bedroom; the second-class section is an open-plan living room and kitchen. There’s a bathroom in third, and a second bedroom with triple bunkbed in the guard’s van.
• From £395 a week, sleeps five, oneoffplaces.co.uk
The Devonshire Fell, a restaurant with rooms in Burnsall, North Yorkshire, is offering “Wharfedale Wander” breaks from October to December. The offer includes a one-night stay, full Yorkshire breakfast, a pint and a ploughman’s at the village pub, and free use of a nearby spa.
• From £60pp, 01756 718111, devonshirefell.co.uk
Filthy-rich film buffs can spend three months ticking off their favourite film locations. The trip visits 20 locations in 10 countries; from Hugh Grant’s Notting Hill bookshop to Amelie’s Paris apartment, The Beach in Thailand and Tokyo’s Lost in Translation hotel, including Jordan, Peru, China and Australia.
• £198,000 for two, including business-class flights, five-star hotels and guided tours, veryfirstto.com
Do you often find yourself needing to make a primitive bow, lash wood together for shelter or hang your food out of reach of bears? If so, invest in Bear Grylls’ survival bracelet, woven from 12ft of high-strength paracord. You’ll be ready to fashion a splint at a moment’s notice.
• £17.99, from beargryllsstore.com
Trend alert! Back to Iran
Relations between Iran and the west are beginning to thaw. Barack Obama spoke to Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, on the phone last month, in the first direct contact between American and Iranian leaders since 1979. This week, talks between the Iranian government and a six-nation negotiating group started in Geneva.
Hugh Fraser of Corinthian Travel believes that where politicians lead, tourists will follow: “After 34 years, the west may be on the cusp of a new era in its relationship with Iran. Provided the talks succeed, and a resumption of normalised diplomatic and trade relations follows, we may see tourism returning to Iran as early as the autumn of next year.”
It’s a big proviso. The Foreign Office is still advising against all travel to parts of Iran, and all but essential travel to the remainder of the country. But Jonny Bealby, founder of Wild Frontiers, expects the warnings to be lifted soon. His company took 25 people on group tours to Iran this year, and advance bookings show at least twice as much demand for 2014. He says: “Iran is second to none in terms of historical sites, and the people are fantastically hospitable, liberal, fun and interested in the west.”
BIndeed, before the Iranian revolution in 1979, the country was a major tourist destination for western tourists, with highlights including the ruins of Persepolis, the gardens of Shiraz, and the bridges, squares and monuments of Isfahan.
Early tours will be expensive: expect to pay around £2,800 for two weeks, plus flights (Turkish Airlines flies Heathrow-Tehran via Istanbul for about £450 return). But, as happened in Burma, when a country opens up to tourists, travel companies are quick to meet the new demand – and prices can fall rapidly. By 2015, Iran could be a new travel hotspot.
Link to article: feeds.theguardian.com/c/34708/f/663875/s/32b326a3/sc/10/l/0L0Stheguardian0N0Ctravel0C20A130Coct0C210Ccorkboard0Etravel0Enews0Eiceland0Ebrazil0Eworld0Ecup0Eiran/story01.htm