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The best guided tours, from Thailand to Canada via Cornwall and Ireland

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Whether you’re a solo tourist looking to explore with like-minded travelers, a family looking for guided adventures, or a foodie looking to navigate a new destination, there’s every kind of guided tour out there.

Don’t forget to pack your sense of adventure…

FAMILY FIRST

Beach Ready: Visit Koh Samui on a two week family adventure to Thailand with Explore

Thailand impresses: A guided tour is a brilliant way for active families to get off the beaten track in Thailand. An Explore adventure includes a raft house stay on the River Kwai and Muay Thai boxing lessons.

Plus, there’s plenty of time to go to the beach on Koh Samui.

How to do that: A two week trip including accommodation, tours and transfers and some meals from £1,395 pp, based on departure 10th April 2022 (01252 883761, explore.co.uk). Fly to Bangkok from £505 (thaiairways.com).

Highland sensation: Do you have teens with energy to burn? Head north of the border for a six-day tour of the Highlands.

Admire views of 13th-century Urquhart Castle on an action-packed six-day tour of the Highlands

Admire views of 13th-century Urquhart Castle on an action-packed six-day tour of the Highlands

Intrepid Travel’s active family holiday includes two four-hour walks to Cow Hill in Fort William and Creag Bheag in the Cairngorms National Park, as well as an 11-mile canoe trip on the Caledonian Canal. The 13th-century Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness and Ben Nevis all fill the horizon.

How to do that: A six day trip including activities and transfers costs £1,360 for adults and £1,224 for children, based on a family of four sharing two B&B rooms (0808 274 5111, intrepidtravel.com).

ADVENTURE SEEkers

Santiago calls: Put your best foot forward on the last leg of the legendary Camino de Santiago in Spain’s northwest corner.

The spectacular Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, pictured above, is the official end point of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage

The spectacular Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, pictured above, is the official end point of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage

Saga’s seven-night ‘Way of St James’ guided holiday lets walkers set a moderate pace and view pretty villages and green countryside on a 120-mile route.

Rejoice as the spectacular Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, the official end point of the pilgrimage, comes into view.

How to do that: Seven nights including meals, accommodation and flights costs £1,049 pp, based on departure 30 March 2022 (0808 223 0146, travel.saga.co.uk).

Madagascar magic: The lemur may be its most famous resident, but this island idyll in the Indian Ocean 250 miles off the southeast coast of Africa is teeming with glorious wildlife – including turtles, baobab trees and mongooses.

Stop and admire the carved sandstone landscapes of Isalo National Park (above) on the 'Madagascar Wildlife Adventure' tour

Stop and admire the carved sandstone landscapes of Isalo National Park (above) on the ‘Madagascar Wildlife Adventure’ tour

Cox and Kings’ ‘Madagascar Wildlife Adventure’ showcases a land of dramatic canyons, lush jungle and dazzling coastline. Stops include the Mantadia Rainforest, the UNESCO-listed Ranomafana National Park, and the carved sandstone landscapes of Isalo National Park.

How to do that: A 13 night tour including 3 star accommodation, flights and excursions, plus some meals, from £3,895, based on 6th November 2021, departure (0203 811 0523, coxandkings.co.uk).

HISTORY AND CULTURE

Promise from the Far East: If the Tokyo Olympics has whetted your appetite for a visit to the Land of the Rising Sun, there are plenty of guided tours out there.

Japan's Mount Fuji is one of the breathtaking pit stops on Wendy Wu's epic 'Ancient Empires of China & Japan' tour

Japan’s Mount Fuji is one of the breathtaking pit stops on Wendy Wu’s epic ‘Ancient Empires of China & Japan’ tour

History buffs will love Wendy Wu’s epic “Ancient Empires of China & Japan” tour, which puts iconic Chinese landmarks like the Great Wall and Terracotta Army on the same ticket as Japan’s Mount Fuji, Tokyo, and Hiroshima.

Knowledgeable English speaking guides explain the sights.

How to do that: 20-day tours from £6,290 pp, including flights, accommodation, meals and excursions, based on 20 March 2022, departure (0808 2230 701, wendywutours.co.uk).

Moroccan metropolis: Perhaps the most exotic destination within a short flight from the UK, Morocco has otherworldly Saharan landscapes, mesmerizing souks and a windswept Atlantic coastline.

Wander the Unesco-ranked Roman ruins at Volubilis - pictured above - on the week-long 'Imperial Cities of Morocco' tour

Wander the Unesco-ranked Roman ruins at Volubilis – pictured above – on the week-long ‘Imperial Cities of Morocco’ tour

Explore Marrakech, Casablanca, Rabat and Fez on a week-long tour with Tui. Guides will help you swap souvenirs in Marrakech’s Jemaa el-Fna square, see Morocco’s largest mosque in Casablanca, and wander the Unesco Roman ruins in Volubilis.

How to do that: Seven nights half board including flights and transfers on the Imperial Cities of Morocco tour from £906 pp, based on 22 October departure (0203 451 2688, tui.co.uk).

TRACK JOY

Grand tour of Canada: Stepping aboard the gleaming Rocky Mountaineer means plowing through some of Canada’s most dramatic scenery.

Travelsphere's 17-day grand tour takes tourists through Canada's most awe-inspiring landscapes, such as the peaks of Lake Louise, pictured

Travelsphere’s 17-day grand tour takes tourists through Canada’s most awe-inspiring landscapes, such as the peaks of Lake Louise, pictured

Travelsphere’s 17-day grand tour uses road and rail to transport tourists from the walled beauty of Quebec in the east to Vancouver in the west, passing Montreal, Niagara Falls and the peaks of Banff and Lake Louise.

How to do that: A 17-day tour costs £4,799 pp for departures in May to September 2022, including flights, accommodation and some meals (01858 415128, travelsphere.co.uk).

Swiss delight: Experience the precise efficiency of the Swiss mountain trains with Titan Travel’s eight-day train zigzag, which in high mountains and mirror-like lakes.

Titan Travel's journey includes a seat on the Bernina Express (pictured above) - 'the loftiest railway in the Alps'

Titan Travel’s journey includes a seat on the Bernina Express (pictured above) – ‘the loftiest railway in the Alps’

Starting in Davos, the journey includes a seat on the Bernina Express, the highest railway in the Alps, with glaciers filling windows as you glide up to 7,391 ft (2,253 m) on the Bernina Pass. Other highlights include a trip on the Glacier Express and a cruise on Lake Constance.

How to do that: An eight-day trip costs from £2,099 pp, including accommodation, transfers, flights and some meals (0808 250 9781, titantravel.co.uk).

FOODIE TOURS

Sicily on a plate: Don your finest apron and join a guided gastronomic adventure that serves up a hands-on masterclass in the food of Sicily.

Taste the street food in Sicily before making island specialties.  Pictured is Palermo's Ballaro Farmer's Market

Taste the street food in Sicily before making island specialties. Pictured is Palermo’s Ballaro Farmer’s Market

Exodus has a week-long trip that includes street food in the capital Palermo, wine tasting in Marsala and a cooking class with a local chef in Trapani.

There’s the chance to make island specialties including cannoli and arancini, plus plenty of time to eat gelato as you explore pretty Sicilian towns and villages.

How to do that: Seven nights B&B including some lunches, excursions and flights from £1,999, based on departure 24th April 2022 (0203 131 6467, exodus.co.uk).

Devour Ireland: A self-drive tour that charts a gastronomic route from Dublin to Galway, Abercrombie & Kent’s eight-night ‘Tastes of Ireland’ holiday begins with a lesson in Irish cooking at Ballyknocken House, in the Wicklow Mountains.

Participants in Abercrombie & Kent's self-drive tour have the chance to admire the Atlantic Ocean from the Cliffs of Moher, pictured

Participants in Abercrombie & Kent’s self-drive tour have the chance to admire the Atlantic Ocean from the Cliffs of Moher, pictured

As the route winds south and west, there are more culinary lessons in Cork plus the chance to admire the Atlantic from the Cliffs of Moher.

How to do that: An eight night tour that runs all year round and includes flights, rooms only, car hire and excursions costs £3,929 pp (01242 386 463, abercrombiekent.co.uk).

SOLO TRAVEL

Jersey trip: Fly to St. Peter and join a band of fellow solo travelers to explore the largest of the Channel Islands.

A six-day group tour with Leger Holidays takes tourists past beautiful, sun-drenched coastal towns such as St Aubin and the capital St Helier.

A six day trip with Leger Holidays takes in beautiful sun-drenched coastal towns such as St Aubin (above)

A six day trip with Leger Holidays takes in beautiful sun-drenched coastal towns such as St Aubin (above)

How to do that: A six day trip with half board including flights and accommodation costs £579, based on departure on 3 March 2022 (01709 787 463, army.co.uk).

Southern Soul: Few destinations can rival the Deep South for music heritage.

Cosmos’ eight-day single-traveller tour shows you the best of it. You come from blues-soaked New Orleans and cross Louisiana, Tennessee and Mississippi, passing Memphis’s Beale Street and Elvis’ native Graceland.

How to do that: An eight-day tour room-only from £1,239 pp excluding flights (0330 0588 237, cosmos.co.uk). Fly to New Orleans from £524 (ba.com).

Memphis's Beale Street is one of the highlights of Cosmos' eight-day single-traveller tour in the Deep South

Memphis’s Beale Street is one of the highlights of Cosmos’ eight-day single-traveller tour in the Deep South

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