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The best celebration holidays

by Francesca Syz

Big birthdays, landmark anniversaries and epic achievements deserve a wonderful treat. Push the boat out for a once-in-a-lifetime experience - a trip you'll never forget. 

Belmond Grand Hibernian, Ireland



Always wanted to go on the Orient Express? Why not join a two, four or six-night journey aboard the new Belmond Grand Hibernian in Ireland instead, taking in its most iconic sites, from Blarney Castle to the historic city of Galway. The train sleeps up to 40, so you can book one of the en-suite cabins or rally family and friends and take over the whole train. Offering the full old-school luxury train experience, expect fabulous itineraries departing from Dublin, comfy beds and an observatory car that feels like an atmospheric Dublin saloon. 

The Pavilion at Gidleigh Park, Devon



There’s something wonderfully old school about antique-filled Gidleigh Park, whose wood-panelled restaurant held two Michelin stars for years under Michael Caines and was re-awarded two Michelin stars last year, under new chef Michael Wignall, who introduced an innovatively modern menu packed with West Country ingredients. For a very special twist on a traditional stay at Gidleigh Park, why not book the two-bedroom pavilion? It’s a traditional sports pavilion-turned-adorable thatched cottage, overlooking the croquet lawn. Offering the intimacy of a private home, it’s also just a short walk from the main house and wonderful restaurant..

Plush Tents Glamping, West Sussex


Why not turn your family celebration into a mini-festival? A glamping site from Quality Unearthed, specialists in unusual, back-to-nature places to stay, Plush Tents Glamping is right near the South Downs National Park. There are spacious yurts (each with its own gas-fired barbecue), five retro bell tents and a ‘Lotus Belle’ tent. It comes with its own cinema tent, a 12-seater wood-fired hot tub, a bandstand and a 30ft ‘home yurt’ that makes for the ideal party space. You can also expect hammocks, a tree house, a bean bag tipi and a mess kitchen. 

La Traviata, Paris Opera


Watching La Traviata being performed at the Paris Opera is a seminal moment for many opera lovers. For a double-treat, if you see it in February, you will witness soprano Anna Netrebko perform it for the last time. Visit Travel For The Arts for more information.

Hales Hall, Norfolk


Gather together your favourite people and book the Downton Abbey-esque holiday rental of your dreams. A glorious Tudor pile built by Henry VII’s attorney general in 1478, Hales Hall comfortably sleeps 14, and if you add its gatehouse, another cottage in the grounds and a handful of garden rooms, there’s room for around 25. Set in lovely rolling countryside, there are walks right from the front door and The Broads National park and proper sandy beaches are just a short drive away.

The Trugnei cabin, Alta Badia, Italy


If you’ve always wanted to go ‘off-grid’, how better to celebrate a special occasion than by doing just that? A 30-minute stroll up the hill from the village of San Cassiano (or 15 minutes in a jeep), Rosa Alpina Hotel & Spa’s rustic mountain Trugnei cabin is available for overnights between June and September. Let the staff bring you a barbecue to enjoy on the terrace in the evening before cuddling up by the fire. In the morning, they’ll appear with breakfast and even mountain bikes should you wish to freewheel down.

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