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How to holiday like a local

So you’ve ticked off all the sightseeing showstoppers in the world’s most exciting cities – but how do you find out about the experiences only the locals know?

Really special memories are made when you know people who can immerse you in their local life and culture – and when you join a Trafalgar guided holiday you’ll see life from the inside.

From Harry Potter’s London to the artisan communities of Japan, when you travel with Trafalgar, doors will open for you to do as the locals do. You will find yourself immersed in some of the most memorable experiences the world has to offer that would be impossible to have if you were travelling on your own.

Dine with a local family in their village in Myanmar, join a hoedown at a family ranch in Banff or attend an authentic pizza-making lesson in Venice before experiencing a local secrets walking tour of the off grid canals.

Check out a host of amazing take-home memories on offer now as part of Trafalgar’s line up of guided holidays all over the globe.

 

Foraging in Ireland

On a foraging expedition along the rugged coast of County Clare, local horticulture expert and slow food aficionado Oonagh O’Dwyer will lead you on a food trail along land and shore.

Pick wild edible herbs, vegetables, seaweed and berries as you wander the woodlands, farms and water’s edge of the Atlantic, bathing in Oonagh’s vast nutritional and botanical knowledge along the way.

Catch a glimpse of wild seals as you walk this isolated stretch of coast along Liscannor Bay, located near the renowned scenic Cliffs of Moher.

Return to Oonagh’s famous Barrtra Restaurant to cook with your group and use your collected bounty to whip up wild garlic pesto, seaweed crisps, elderflower fritters and berry cordials for your lunch menu.

Further north in County Mayo, Trafalgar guests now have the opportunity to stay in the recently restored majestic Ashford Castle. This magnificent medieval property, dating back to 1228, is set on a 350 acre estate on the shores of Lough Corrib, where guests have the chance to enjoy a beautiful boat ride across the water as well as experience fine dining in the glorious George V dining room.   Owned by sister brand, Red Carnation Hotels, Ashford Castle was crowned the world’s best hotel in 2015.

 

Castles, Kilts and the Boy Wizard

Go wild about Harry when you arrive at London’s Kings Cross station and visit Platform 9 ¾ to see where the Hogwarts Express departs. Elsewhere in the city, enter the red telephone box to recreate the boy wizard’s descent to the Ministry of Magic. Further afield you’ll explore the Hogwarts dining hall in Oxford and venture onwards to Lacock in the picturesque Cotswolds, to see Harry’s house.

Special guided family holiday itineraries like this are carefully crafted to include unique ways for grandparents, parents and kids to have fun. Trafalgar’s Castles and Kilts trip through Scotland, England and Wales covers a whole host of family fun from castles and crown jewels, history and mystery and of course all you need to know about Britain’s most famous schoolboy wizard!

When in Wales, you and your little princes and princesses will be able to put your head down with a stay at a castle where royalty once lived. A little further north, you can opt to take in the scenic beauty of the Lake District by train or on a boat ride around Lake Windermere, home of Beatrix Potter.

Learn what it was like to be a Roman soldier when you visit the fun and interactive Roman Army Museum before crossing into Scotland for two days in Edinburgh, where you will hear tales of bravery and intrigue when a Local Specialist shares their stories of the Royal Mile and unveils the Scottish Crown Jewels at Edinburgh Castle.

 

 Ireland - Feel like royalty & enjoy a stay at Ashford Castle, a Trafalgar Authentic Accommodation
 Turkey - Be welcomed into the homes of traditional dressed families for a home-cooked traditional meal
 Italy - Visit the Piedmont region to learn the art of grape growing & explore a private estate & cellars
 Myanmar - Gain a rich understanding into Aung Myay Thuka Monastic School, where the kids learn & play
 Canada - Meet the Guinn family on their ranch for a traditional hoedown including a BBQ feast & music

Lunch in a Turkish village family home

In the tiny mountain village of Demircidere, surrounded by olive groves, local farmers welcome Trafalgar guests into their houses to be treated to a home-cooked traditional Turkish meal. In groups of four, disperse into the homes of traditionally dressed families, who will serve you freshly-made soup, stuffed vine leaves, hand-picked olives and fresh bread straight from the oven, all washed down with home-made wine. Enjoy this unique experience in which the only way of communicating across the language divide is likely to be through hand gestures and smiles!

Elsewhere in Turkey, you will have the chance to scratch beneath the surface when a local historian joins your private sight-seeing experience of Istanbul’s magnificent Hagia Sophia. Learn more about how, over nine centuries, this elaborately decorated Byzantine monument transformed from a church into a mosque and finally into one of Turkey’s most popular museums now visited by three million people a year.

 

Private estate wine tasting in Italy

Food-loving Italy has many ways to draw you into its delicious way of life and a host of hand-picked experiences in the Piedmont region will leave you wanting another helping.

See how local grapes are transformed into the excellent regional varieties that are famous across the country when you visit wineries in Cherasco and Asti. Taste Barolo over antipasto in Cherasco, before heading to the village of La Morra, which is famous for its locally made chocolate and nougat.

In Asti, you will explore the private estate and cellars of the Nicola family who produce the sparkling wine synonymous with their region. Join them for a gourmet home-made luncheon and taste Spumante and Barvera D’Asti wines.

You’ll also take in the lively atmosphere of Europe’s largest fresh food market in Turin, the Porta Palazzo, where hundreds of food stalls crowd into three vast precincts. A picnic paradise, soak up the aroma of fresh bread, cheese, herbs and coffee as well as a smorgasbord of multicultural morsels.

 

Johnny Cash magical music moment in Nashville

Musical manna from heaven awaits country music fans during a private performance and informal meet-and-greet with the son of Southern legends Johnny Cash and June Carter, John Carter Cash. John and other members of the family will treat you to a line up of their own music as well as toe-tapping hits made famous by the celebrity pair.

Food for the senses continues during a special evening in which you will visit two historic Antebellum homes – first, the pianist and historian Joe Stone’s family home, where he will entertain you on the ivories as you sip cocktails. Later, move on to another period home where renowned southern chef Esther Carpenter will serve you up a meal of classic southern fare.

In Louisiana join a Local Specialist for an insider’s tour of New Orleans’ famous French Quarter. Be treated to tales from history around the Jackson Square and Bourbon Street precincts and gain present day insights into the city where live music, exciting bars and Cajun food are hallmarks of daily life.

 

Burn the floor in South America

If dancing the samba in Brazil is on your bucket list, you’ll be able to cross it off after your visit to a dancing school in Rio. Your Local Specialist will take you behind the scenes of Carnival Week and lead you through an explosion of highly colourful and theatrical props used in the famous street festival. Join local fans in a samba lesson and let the distinctive sound of Brazil invigorate you. Now learn how to mix the perfect caipirinha, Brazil’s national cocktail, under expert guidance from a local barman. Enjoy the fruits of your new mixology skills while you dine at a local Portuguese barbecue restaurant – or churrascaria – where you can savour a variety of tasty chargrilled meat on skewers.

In Buenos Aires, relish the chance to wine and dine with a local family home in their home in the bohemian Palermo Soho neighbourhood, sampling a range of home-cooked traditional specialty dishes. Enjoy an interactive demonstration on making  Argentinian bread with a local family recipe twist and get up on your feet for a tease of tango dancing in their living room!

Cap off your adventure with a private tour of the city’s Opera House and take your chance to channel your inner diva standing on the main stage.

Making a difference at a monastic school in Yangon

Daily life in Myanmar is informed by many Buddhist rituals which are respected and revered by most locals, and in its busiest city of Yangon, monastic schools play a big part in educating disadvantaged children.

As part of Trafalgar’s Secrets of Myanmar guided holiday you will have the unique opportunity to visit the classrooms of Aung Myay Thuka Monastic School where young boys and girls in red and pink robes learn and play. Be part of the Trafalgar Cares programme and take part in our regular donation event where our guests help distribute much-needed exercise books and pencils to the children who are also being educated in a Trafalgar-sponsored computer room. See the impressive nearby Ngar Htat Gyi pagoda as part of this school visit.

Later in the journey in Mandalay you will have the rare chance to join a prayer ceremony at a nunnery an hour away from the city, in in the hills and join the nuns afterwards for lunch as they take their seats at long communal tables and dine on traditional Burmese fare.

Hoedown in Banff

A family of ranchers in the Rockies turns on an evening straight out of the movies for guests, right down to hay rides, line dancing and a traditional barbecue feast of Alberta beef and corn on the cob.

Set against the astonishingly beautiful backdrop of the ice-topped peaks, Boundary Ranch has been home to the Guinn family for three generations. During your hoedown, the Guinns will regale you with tales riding the scenic mountainous trails on the land the family has called home for 70 years.

Scenic horse-drawn hay rides take groups out into the wilderness surrounding Boundary Ranch, passing buffalo grazing in the Kananaskis Valley. Cowgirls and boys will help you try your hand at horse-shoe throwing while the brave hearts can test their skills on the mechanical horse as they try to rope in a stray mechanical calf!

Finish your evening with live music and a line dancing lesson, complete with cowboy hat.

This is just a taste of what is on offer when travelling with Trafalgar. Find your own unique, authentic experience now.