Purveyor of Dreams
Welcome to Island Holidays, a personally run, specialist tour operator which I've been operating since establishing it in 1987. We offer relaxed special-interest holidays for small guided groups and also, using our superb network of contacts worldwide, offer independent birding, wildlife and natural history holidays.
For many years we have offered a high number of tours. Now we have decided to specialise in certain areas - notably the South Atlantic Islands with southern Africa and the Polar Regions - the Arctic and Antarctica. But there are so many wonderful places which we still want to offer now and again and these are found in our 'Featured Favourites' section.More about Island Holidays…
NewsFinal Voyages of the Royal Mail Ship A new airport opening on St Helena will see the end of an era with the Royal Mail Ship being withdrawn from service in 2016. Price Cuts Great news! With the strength of sterling against the euro we have been able to cut the prices of our Arctic and Antarctic expedition cruises, saving you anything from £100 to £1,000! Galapagos - We Decided to Return We found the right partner to operate in Galapagos! View all Island Holidays news…
Latest tour updates
- Antarctic Odyssey 2017Ross Sea, Peter Ist Is., Campbell Is.
- Crete 2016 - New Itinerarybird migration, botany & Cretan culture
- Antarctica 2016 / 2017 cruise dates, prices & itineraries
- Birding in Islay 2016winter birds, exploration & history
- Shetland & Fair Isle 2016 date, prices & itinerary now available
- Orkney 2016date, prices & itinerary now available
The mid-Atlantic islands which make up The Azores are very special. Unspoilt by tourism, there is a wonderful peace to the place as well as much to see and do. Our holiday explores their fascinating geology, seeks out the endangered Azorean Bullfinch, spends time at sea looking for the whales and dolphins which haunt the protected waters and learn what makes Azorean wine so unique.
During our 9-night holiday we'll be staying on three of the nine islands and visiting another. We start on the largest, São Miguel, where we'll spend a couple of days walking in the fabulous scenery and exploring the more remote parts of the island. Our next base will be Pico, where we'll find out all about the islands' wines and have plenty of opportunity to taste them! En route we'll spend a day visiting the World Heritage Site of Terceira. Our last base will be on the island of Faial, where we'll visit the caldeira and the new part of the island formed when a volcano erupted in 1957.
At last this amazing, remote island in the South Atlantic Ocean is to become more accessible. An airport is opening in February 2016 and the wonderful Royal Mail Ship St Helena will be withdrawn from July of that year. The whole experience will be completely different.
One thing which won't change is the fascination of this incredible island. Historically it was a vibrant port on the trade routes with more than 1,000 ships calling every year. It was strategically important and had a large British garrison. Later it became famous when Napoleon was sent there in exile for the last five years of his life. He was not the only one to have the island imposed upon him – later there were two Boer prisoner of war camps.
It's not just the history. Scenically St Helena is spectacular and it boasts many endemic plants and one endemic bird – the Wirebird which is listed as endangered. Off shore a resident school of around 400 Pan-tropical Spotted Dolphins delight visitors, as do the occasional Whale Sharks and, of course, the seabirds. The people are wonderfully welcoming and, all in all, it's terrific that more people will now be able to enjoy this extraordinary destination with weekly flights from South Africa and the occasional charter from the UK.
Island Holidays currently offers an escorted and guided tour (maximum of 12 clients) on RMS 232 (Napoleon bi-centenary events – October 2015) and in 2016 on RMS 237 and RMS 240.
Please note that between now and April 2016 there is only very limited accommodation available on the ship for independent travellers. Let us know your preferred dates and we'll discuss options with you.
It's never too early to start planning for what is undoubtedly the trip of a lifetime. Antarctica is a place of incredible icescapes and rich wildlife. If you're a penguin enthusiast this is the place to go! The regular programme takes in the Falklands, South Georgia, Weddell Sea and the Antarctic Peninsula. We also offer a fantastic Antarctic Odyssey which starts in at the southern tip of South America and ends in New Zealand taking in such iconic places as the Antarctic Peninsula, the Ross Sea and the World Heritage Site of Macquarie Island.
Made famous by Charles Darwin, the Galapagos Islands have to be one of THE must-visit destinations in the world. Nothing you have read or watched prepares you for the actual experience of being close up to such amazing birds and wildlife. After a gap of several years since we last featured the islands, Island Holidays has found the perfect partner in Silverseas Expeditions. Her newly refurbished ship, Silver Galapagos, not only offers outstanding standards of luxury in an informal way but also boasts top class naturalists on their staff whose knowledge and experience complements that of your Galapagos National Park guide.
And the time on mainland Ecuador equally complements the amazing Galapagos experience. After a night near Quito on arrival, we then spend three nights in the Mindo Cloud Forest which was the first ever Birds & Biodiversity Important Area declared by BirdLife International. Here as well as more than 40 species of Humming Bird and countless other birds, we will be enjoying the orchids and butterflies of this stunning part of Ecuador.
This is a spectacular and beautifully balanced holiday which will remain in the memory banks of the participants for the rest of their lives.
Located where the Arctic meets the Atlantic, Greenland is the world's largest island is also the world's largest National Park. Here Musk oxen are still hunted by wolves and seals by man. The scenery has to be seen to be believed with big pointy mountains reflected in narrow fjords, icebergs of unbelievable colours and the countless greens, greys and oranges of mosses, liverworts and lichens with patches of bright flowers.
Throughout the summer our trips change their emphasis from whale-watching further south to watching for the Aurora Borealis in the far north. As well as scenery and wildlife, there's a fascinating culture and heritage to explore.
The Falkland Islands
January 2013 saw the 25th anniversary of the date when five intrepid travellers set out for the Falkland Islands in the company of Bobby Tulloch. It was Island Holidays' first ever tour, the business having been set up in August 1987. And what a success it was. Everyone was amazed by what they found, most especially by the fact that birds and animals seemed to have no fear of man and the more curious would come to inspect us.
Much has changed in the islands from those early days but the warm hospitality and the attitude of the wildlife to people remains unspoilt, as does the landscape and atmosphere.
The islands are much in the news lately - the people are more British than the British and proud of it. That's the message they're trying to get across to certain South American countries who think it should be otherwise!
Upcoming holidays in 2015