Textiles, arts and crafts of Bhutan

Join Zara Fleming, an independent art consultant, researcher and exhibition curator who has specialist knowledge of Buddhist art, on a cultural exploration of the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. Bhutan has preserved its unique traditions in a way that is unheard of in the modern world. Since the 1970s, it has pursued a policy of Gross National Happiness, which requires the protection and promotion of cultural values and the natural environment. You will discover Bhutan’s rich cultural heritage first-hand, by immersing yourself in the living arts and traditions of the Himalayas.

Crossing the Ancient Silk Road: China and Central Asia

The ancient Silk Road was not just a single route, but a vast network of roads stretching from Xi’an to the Eastern Mediterranean. It passes through  spectacular cities and tiny hamlets, and through forbidding mountains, vast open steppes and hot deserts. Explore the lost cities, marvel at the great artistic achievements and discover the magic and beauty of these ancient routes with Dr Jamie Greenbaum. Trip scholar, Dr Greenbaum will reveal that the Silk Road was not simply a highway for trade; it was also the main East West artery for the flow of ideas.

Astronomy in India

India has a long and proud history of astronomical observation, where scholars and priests have studied the heavens since ancient times. By the time the Vedas were written c.1500 BCE, astronomy was recognised as an important intellectual and spiritual discipline throughout the country.

Seychelles island-hopping: A natural history eco-safari by yacht

The 115 granitic islands of the Seychelles, ringed with pristine white sand beaches, are a sanctuary for some of the rarest species of flora and fauna on earth. This seven-night cruise aboard an exclusively chartered schooner takes you islandhopping in comfort between the stunning granite islands of Mahe, Praslin, La Digue, Curieuse and Silhouette.

Ancient Ethiopia: Aksum, Lalibela and the Meskel Festival (second departure)

Join Dr Jacke Phillips on an exploration of the monasteries, churches and dramatic mountain scenery of Ethiopia. Witness the colourful orthodox festival of Meskel, and learn about the incredible empire of Aksum, once the most powerful state between the Eastern Roman Empire and Persia. Venture on to the holy city of Lalibela and over the spectacular Simien Mountains, where there is a chance to see gelada baboons. Also see the Blue Nile Falls and Lake Tana, the famed source of the Blue Nile, dotted with island churches.

Highlights

Jordan: Romans, Crusaders and Lawrence of Arabia

Experience mesmerising Jordan and explore its incredible archaeological sites and ruins before they are once again overrun with tourists. Your journey will take you to Roman ruins and crusader towns to the desert landscape of Wadi Rum. You will be accompanied by trip scholar, Neil Faulkner, a Cambridge-educated archaeologist, who specialises in Roman archaeology and the military campaigns of Lawrence of Arabia. A visit to Jordan would not be complete without a full day to enjoy the incredible Nabataean sites of Petra and Little Petra, voted one of the new seven wonders of the world.

A geology field trip to Oman

This journey offers a rare opportunity for amateur geologists to travel with Professor Mike Searle and Professor Bruce Levell to the eastern Arabian  Peninsula to explore the landscapes, geology and cultural sites of Oman. From the desert sands of the Empty Quarter and jagged peaks of the Semail Ophiolite, to the towering limestone cliffs of Jebel Akhdar, Oman is a geological paradise. You will travel to world famous sites including Wadi Nakhr, Oman’s own Grand Canyon, and Jebel Akhdar, including  important locations such as Wadi Muaydeen and the Saiq Plateau.

Wellington invades France: The final stages of the Peninsular War

Join expert historians Colonel Nick Lipscombe and Professor Jeremy Black as they follow in Wellington’s footsteps examining the final stages of the Peninsular War, where the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom and Portugal fought to repel the Napoleonic invasion of Spain and Portugal. Start this exclusive tour in picturesque Biarritz before setting off eastwards and examining Wellington’s battle-hardened army’s audacious crossing of the mighty Ardour River.

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