Early next month, on 6th February, Her Majesty The Queen will become the very first British Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee. The UK will mark the occasion with a range of events throughout the coming months, ending with a four-day bank holiday weekend at the beginning of June. To celebrate, award-winning coach tour operator Brightwater Holidays (www.brightwaterholidays.com, 01344 657155) has rounded up a selection of its glorious spring tours that have their own royal connections.
Spring is an ideal time to visit the gardens of the world as flowers burst into bloom and the sun makes a welcome return. What’s more, the requirement for ‘Day Two’ covid tests for fully vaccinated travellers arriving into the UK will be scrapped from 11th February, meaning that it will be easier than it has been for quite some time to enjoy a holiday overseas. With reports coming in of surges in booking for last-minute trips, there’s no better time to secure a spring break than now, and Brightwater has a great range on offer at home and away.
Grenada – Gardens of the Spice Island
The island country of Grenada is a Commonwealth Realm, meaning that Her Majesty is its queen. Our nine-day tour of this stunning destination offers a delicious slice of Caribbean life, visiting the River Antoine Rum Distillery, the Grand Etang Rainforest, and a trio of beautiful private gardens. Other visits include the Balthazar Estate, where we learn about the introduction of nutmeg to the island in 1843, and Palm Tree Gardens, home to resident turtles along with two acres of botanical delights.
Departs 14th May | 9 days from £2,895pp
Highgrove & the Cotswolds
Country home of HRH The Prince of Wales, Highgrove House is a must-visit for any royal admirer. Our four-day tour through the Cotswolds pays a memorable visit to its fascinating gardens, which are cultivated using wholly organic methods. Other visits range from Hidcote Manor and Kiftsgate Court to the ‘Arts and Crafts’ house of Rodmarton Manor and Westonbirt, the National Arboretum. For those looking for an exclusive Highgrove experience, we also have our new Champagne at Highgrove & Gardens of the Cotswolds tour, which departs on 21st June.
Departs 29th April, 20th May and 3rd June | 4 days from £595pp
The following holidays are all led by popular and long-standing Brightwater Tour Manager Colin Crosbie, who was formerly Head Gardener to Her Majesty the Queen in Windsor prior to taking up the position of Curator at RHS Wisley.
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show – Behind the Scenes with Colin Crosbie
Not only is Her Majesty a regular attendee of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, but our whirlwind ‘Behind the Scenes’ tour is led by our very own Colin Crosbie. Along with a day spent at the flower show itself, this short break visits RHS Garden Wisley, where Colin gives a personal guided tour and guests will be treated to an exclusive three-course dinner with wine, and the Savill Garden at Windsor.
Departs 27th May | 3 days from £695pp
Gardens of Jersey
Another tour led by Colin Crosbie, former Head Gardener to Her Majesty The Queen Mother, this time visiting the beautiful gardens of Jersey in mid-May. Jersey is a Crown Dependency and Her Majesty is known there as The Duke of Normandy. During our time on Jersey, we visit the likes of Samarès Botanical Gardens, the private gardens of Domain des Vaux and Creux Baillot Cottage Garden, and the Eric Young Orchid Foundation.
Departs 18th May | 5 days from £1,195pp
Gardens and Archaeology of Turkey
Colin Crosbie will lead this unique spring tour of Turkey, which focuses as much on its history and archaeology as it does on the country’s striking flora. In addition to enjoying visits to two of the gardens hosting the annual Istanbul Tulip Festival – a real seasonal treat – guests go botanising on the slopes of Mount Ida and Mount Spil, they visit the outstanding archaeological sites of Assos and Ephesus, they discover the Karaca Arboretum filled with majestic specimen trees, and there are olive oil and wine-tasting experiences included.
Departs 19th April | 8 days from £2,095pp
Spring Flowers of Crete
Join Colin on the stunning, historic island of Crete and go in search of spring’s vibrant natural displays. From our two centres of Chania and Rethymnon, guests will visit the Minoan Palace of Knossos, the Samaria Gorge and the flower-carpeted hillsides of the Plakias Gorge. Colin will be in his element among Crete’s wildflowers as he is also the current President of the Scottish Rock Garden Club.
Departs 5th April | 8 days from £1,495pp
Highland & Island Gardens
The west coast of Scotland is home to some of the country’s finest gardens, with the Gulf Stream keeping the temperatures milder it makes for fabulous springtime displays of rhododendrons, camellias and magnolias. We visit the spectacular house and gardens of Mount Stuart, the island of Gigha where we discover Achamore Gardens, the garden of Arduaine that was started in 1897 by tea-planter James Arthur Campbell, and Ardmaddy Castle. A delicious lunch with a view at the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar is also included.
Departs 6th May | 4 days from £895pp
Arts and Gardens of Holland ft. Floriade via Eurostar
Ideal for those looking for a European spring break that’s no-fly, our five-day tour of Holland spends time at the once-a-decade Floriade Expo before visiting the Kröller-Müller Museum, Museum Van Loon, the Royal Delf Factory and the Mauritshuis in The Hague. In addition to our time at Floriade, the other main highlight is our visit to glorious Keukenhof, planted with over seven million bulbs, all of which will be in full bloom by our arrival date.
Departs 28th April | 5 days from £895pp