Leger Holidays annual Awards & Christmas Party 2018

Our annual Awards and Christmas Party

On the 18th November, Leger head office staff were joined at the Sitwell Golf Club in Rotherham by our coach crews and battlefield guides to get into the Christmas spirit.

And, yes… we know what you’re thinking, Christmas in November?! With many of our coach crews whisking you lovely lot off to the Christmas markets and on your festive escapes throughout December, we had to get in their diaries early!

But, it’s all for good reason, as this year, we’ve combined our Christmas party with our annual Drivers Awards, as well as our Battlefield Guide Award and awards for our Head Office staff.

Our awards recognise the hard work put in from our staff across all operations of the business, and whilst every member of staff is invaluable in providing our customers with the best experiences on a Leger holiday, there could only be a handful of winners. So, without further ado… he’s our big winners of the night.

Driver of the Year

Awarded for driving ability, excellent destination knowledge, high levels of customer service and commitment to their role.

In third place…

Driver of the Year 3rd place - Mike Brannan
Driver of the Year 3rd place – Mike Brannan

Mike Brannan

Coming in second place…

Driver of the Year 2nd place - John Doyle
Driver of the Year 2nd place – John Doyle

John Doyle

And our 2018 Driver of the Year is…

Driver of the Year 1st place - Nana
Driver of the Year 1st place – Nana

Nana


Coach Crew of the Year

Awarded to crews who have demonstrated outstanding levels of teamwork, excellent customer rapport and a positive approach to their tours.

In third place…

Coach Crew of the Year 3rd place - Mike & Keiron
Coach Crew of the Year 3rd place – Mike & Keiron

Mike & Keiron

In second place…

Coach Crew of the Year 2nd Place - Pete & Sandra
Coach Crew of the Year 2nd Place – Pete & Sandra

Pete & Sandra

And, drum roll please… our Coach Crew of the Year for 2018 is…

Coach Crew of the Year 1st Place - Nana & Leah
Coach Crew of the Year 1st Place – Nana & Leah

Nana & Leah


We’re always thrilled to hear how our coach crews have such a positive impact on your holidays and the Coach Crew Awards are always very close. There are a number of crews who have also had an excellent year who were also acknowledged with the Coach Crew Special Recognition Award. The following crews were named for this special accolade:

Paul & Lisa

Adam & Paul

Steve & Danny

Tony & John

Ivo & Dean


Driver Newcomer of the Year

This award recognises an individual who has made an outstanding contribution in their role, demonstrating initiative, enthusiasm and aptitude in their first season of driving for Leger.

And the winner is…

Driver Newcomer of the Year - Danny Wilson
Driver Newcomer of the Year – Danny Wilson

Danny Wilson


Battlefield Guide Award

Our Battlefield Guides offer such a diverse wealth of knowledge and experience, and each of them shine in their own light. Our Battlefield Guide Award not only focuses on the a guide’s outstanding knowledge and commitment, but also acknowledges an individual who has demonstrated great compassion and empathy, as well as going above and beyond their role, assisting passengers in difficult circumstances.

The winner of the award is…

Battlefield Guide Award – David Warren

David Warren


Employee of the Year

It’s not very often you get to see the faces behind the operations at Leger HQ, but their work certainly doesn’t go unnoticed. From piecing together our intricate itineraries, to the minute-by-minute timings of your holiday, from the staff members who answer your phone calls, to those who produce the brochures you so eagerly await dropping on your door mat, our head office is a hive of activity, and for the first time, this hard work has been recognised in the award ceremonies.

Awarded to the employees who have shown enthusiasm and initiative in tasks over and above their day-to-day roles and responsibilities, here is the run-down for our prestigious Employee of the Year award…

In third place…

Employee of the year 3rd place - Danny Leeming
Employee of the year 3rd place – Danny Leeming

Danny Leeming, Operations Executive

In second place…

Employee of the Year 2nd place - Caroline Thorpe
Employee of the Year 2nd place – Caroline Thorpe

Caroline Thorpe, Head of Branding and Creative

And our winner for 2018…

Employee of the year 1st place - Paul Reed
Employee of the year 1st place – Paul Reed

Paul Reed, Head Battlefield Guide


Long Service Award

Awarded for loyalty and commitment to the business, this award recognises the milestone of 25 years of continuous employment with Leger Holidays.

Long Service Award - Susan Porter
Long Service Award – Susan Porter

Susan Porter, Reservations Executive

There are also a number of staff members who hit their milestone of 20 years of continuous employment with Leger this year. Congratulations and thank you to:

Lisa Thompson, Customer Relations Executive

Lisa Taylor, Senior Product Executive

Cheryl Hamilton, Product Executive

Caroline Thorpe, Head of Branding and Creative

Tracey Dodds, Pre-Travel Team Executive

Deborah Harris, Reservations Executive

Rachel Steel, Accounts Executive

Ben Hancock, Operations Executive

Danny Leeming, Operations Executive

Julie Richardson, Reservations Manager

Joanne Risdale, Flight Co-ordinator and Reservations Executive

Craig Rattigan, Senior Developer

Andrew Parkin, Creative Manager


Newcomer of the Year

And from the long-standing staff members to those making waves in their first year of employment for Leger Holidays. Our winner for 2018 is…

Newcomer of the Year - Katie Weale
Newcomer of the Year – Katie Weale

Katie Weale, Web Design Manager


And, with the formalities over for the evening, it was time for everyone to let their hair down and party the night away!

Leger Christmas Party 2018
Leger Christmas Party 2018

Leger Christmas Party 2018
Leger Christmas Party 2018

Leger Christmas Party 2018
Leger Christmas Party 2018

Leger Christmas Party 2018
Leger Christmas Party 2018

Leger Christmas Party 2018
Leger Christmas Party 2018

Leger Christmas Party 2018
Leger Christmas Party 2018

We’d like to say a huge thank you to PA Entertainments, and the brilliant Undercovered Band who provided the entertainment for the evening.

With another fantastic year almost under our belts, we’d like to say thank you to you all for your continued support,
and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Ten Facts About The Christmas Truce

1. It was instigated by the Germans

In the lead up to Christmas, German soldiers on various parts of the British sector of the front were seen to be placing lanterns on their Trenches, in some cases Christmas Trees, and reports of carol singing were also received. Then on Christmas Day wooden signs could be seen on the German parapet saying ‘Merry Christmas’ and then German soldiers emerged into No Man’s Land, calling for a Truce. Many British soldiers were initially suspicious of this, but gradually the Truce spread. In some cases it lasted a few hours, in others it lasted several days. Thousands and thousands of men on both sides took part.

2. It was largely on the British sector

Despite some recent films, the Truce really only took place on the British sector of the front. Whether this was because British soldiers felt some natural affinity with the Germans due to shared history and culture is difficult to say. On the French front there was little desire for fraternisation, and while there were some isolated examples of a Truce, most were related to burying the dead after recent fighting.

3. No Football was played

Again, despite cinema and a recent supermarket advert, evidence shows that there were no football matches in No Man’s Land on Christmas Day 1914, between British and German troops. The nature of the battlefield, with shell holes and barbed wire, made such a match difficult anyway, but footballs were used for physical training when out of the trenches, and it is unlikely if any were available. Letters from the time show a desire to play matches, but the only example that comes anywhere near is on the front of 1/6th Cheshires where what was described as a ‘kick about’, featuring more than 100 soldiers of both sides, took place. So no organised match, and Germany did not win!

THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE, 1914 (Q 11745) British and German soldiers fraternising at Ploegsteert, Belgium
THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE, 1914 (Q 11745) British and German soldiers fraternising at Ploegsteert, Belgium, on Christmas Day 1914, front of 11th Brigade, 4th Division. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205247304

4. Peace on Earth? It was about burying the dead

For many soldiers in the front line area there was a practical reason for a Truce: to bury the dead. On the British front in Flanders there had been some local attacks on 19th December 1914, and the unburied bodies of the dead were lying out in No Man’s Land. The smell was terrible, and soldiers wanted to bury their comrades, so one of the most common activities that day was not to share your rations with Fritz, but to find and bury your dead.

5. Did they swap gifts with each other?

In many cases soldiers did give each other gifts once the Truce was active. Opposing soldiers swapped cap badges and buttons, food and drink, and some took photographs of each other, as at this stage of the war personal cameras were not banned. The 1/6th Cheshires cooked a pig in No Man’s Land and offered to share it with their German counterparts. German soldiers brought a barrel of beer to the men of 2nd Royal Welsh Fusiliers, for which they gave plum puddings in return. But the beer was of poor quality to the hardened Welsh regulars so it was not a popular present!

6. The Truce was not universal

Not every German unit wanted a Truce, and not every British unit agreed to participate. British soldiers had witnessed many examples of the Germans implementing ‘ruse de guerre’ (tricks of war) during the campaign from Mons to Ypres, and as such they did not trust the motives for the Truce. Some units were proud of their martial reputation and did not want to be seen to fraternise, and even in sectors where there was a Truce, some soldiers did not take part: having lost mates or family members in the war, as well as the diet of anti-German propaganda that had started on the outbreak of war, they perhaps had little inclination for it.

THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE ON THE WESTERN FRONT
THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE ON THE WESTERN FRONT, 1914 (Q 50721) British and German officers meeting in No-Man’s Land during the unofficial truce. (British troops from the Northumberland Hussars, 7th Division, Bridoux-Rouge Banc Sector). Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205026891

7. Men Died on Christmas Day 1914

Along the British front on 25th December 1914 more than seventy British and Commonwealth soldiers were killed or died of wounds. Of these 32 are commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial, Ploegsteert Memorial or Menin Gate, and have no known grave. With shelling, random sniper and machine-gun fire, for many soldiers Christmas Day 1914 was a typical period of trench warfare with the usual losses.

8. There were many remarkable coincidences

Men of the London Rifle Brigade who took part in the Christmas Truce were Territorial soldiers from the City of London. Before the war many waiters in London hotels were German, and a large proportion of men’s barbers were German too. One veteran recalled meeting a German soldier who used to cut his hair, in No Man’s Land that day; a few months before he had been the man’s client, now they were enemies.

THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE ON THE WESTERN FRONT, 1914 (Q 50720) British and German troops meeting in No-Man’s Land during the unofficial truce. (British troops from the Northumberland Hussars, 7th Division, Bridoux-Rouge Banc Sector). Burying those killed in the attack of 18 December. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205025418

9. Famous people who witnessed the Christmas Truce

Among those who took part in the Christmas Truce was wartime cartoonist Bruce Bairnsfather, who drew the famous ‘Old Bill’ cartoons of the period. He was photographed by one of his men in No Man’s Land that day, and wrote about it in his best-selling book ‘Bullets and Billets’ published in 1916. Nature writer Henry Williamson, most famous for his 1928 classic ‘Tarka The Otter’ was in the Truce at Ploegsteert. Having German ancestors, he felt some kinship to the enemy he met that day, and it was a life changing moment for him: one German soldier told Williamson that he was fighting for King, Country and Freedom, something he could not square that with the fact that supposedly he was fighting with the British Army for the same thing. Later in life Williamson used to get very morose on Christmas Day, thinking back to the Truce and the terrible loss of life in the war.

10. It was a remarkable day

While aspects of the Christmas Truce have been exaggerated, and there may have been no football, it was a truly remarkable day. Soldiers who were enemies stopped fighting and met each other on the battlefield. They obeyed a basic human instinct, rather than just follow orders. As the majority involved were professional soldiers they may have seen it as a rare opportunity to have a day off. Others would have been curious to actually meet a German, as it was likely few ever had. Whatever the reason, it was an event unique to 1914. While the odd battlefield truce, and a small scale one at Cambrai in the winter of 1917/18 took place, there was nothing on this scale ever again: whatever innocence remained in 1914 was lost in the great battles of the war on the Somme and at Passchendaele.

Christmas Holidays: The Beauty of Escaping it All

Set the scene of Christmas… big family dinners, drinks with your nearest and dearest, festive cheer to set you up for the next year.

What you don’t see on these picture-perfect Christmas cards and in the adverts for this years’ must-have gadgets, is the stress, the expenditure and the mountains of washing up.
For some people, that first chorus of this year’s Christmas carol bombardment fills them with dread. If this is you, we’ve got some advice… it’s time to take back Christmas!
Forget about the sprouts and put down the turkey baster… this year, it’s all about you!

Escape the Country


The odds for a white Christmas might leave you more likely to win the lottery, but winter scenery is within reach.
Sure, we can’t predict snow, but the Swiss Alps and the Italian Dolomites will give you that winter cosiness that every traditional Whovillan wishes for.
Snow-capped peaks, outstanding natural beauty and a chill in the air, the first gift of Christmas away from home is certainly the change of scenery.

Be Looked After


Forget about being the people pleaser, and the ‘who wants trifle, who wants pudding’ fiasco, you can have everything taken care of for you.
Your days expertly planned to maximise your experiences whilst you’re away. Like, a ride on the Swiss Glacier Express or just a Boxing Day stroll around Rome.
You also don’t have to worry about cooking, as all of our Christmas breaks have a festive dinner included. Yum!

Be Around Like-Minded People


You certainly don’t have to be lonely at Christmas. The great thing about escorted tours is that you’re around people who have the same love for travel as you do!
And, if you’re all enjoying Christmas away together, then you’ve all got something in common.
Our Single Traveller Christmas holidays offer a great way to surround yourself you great people, and the best part of all is that there is no single supplement!

Treat Yourself


When was the last time you put yourself first? We all do it, whether it’s work, family or friends, the easiest option is to satisfy others before yourself.
So, why not treat yourself at Christmas? And, we may be biased, but is there any better present than the gift of travel?
Ticking destinations off your bucket list, sightseeing in some of Europe’s most impressive cities – and, when there’s less crowds to stifle your views – a Christmas getaway could be just what Santa ordered.

Something for the Inner Scrooge


Maybe, you’re just not a Christmas person. And that’s perfectly okay! You are allowed to walk away from the cold weather and family gatherings, because this is about you.
In fact, the ultimate treat for the self-professed scrooge could well be a Spanish fiesta! Swap the sprouts for sangria, sit back, relax and enjoy the Spanish Coast.
There’s nothing wrong with a real winter warmer, after all.
 
If the thought of all this and more sounds like just what the doctor ordered, it’s not too late to book your Christmas getaway. Click here for more information.

Best European Cities to Visit in the Winter

Winter is coming… and, no, we’re not talking about Game of Thrones. More the crisp air, thick coats and the smell of Christmas treats galore, lingering around the cities of Europe.

The summer crowds are a distant memory yet these European cities are still very much alive, so what better time than to pack your bags and head off on an exciting winter escape to these incredible cities?

Cologne


The star of the Rhine, Cologne well and truly comes alive in the wintertime. There’s a magical air about as its many Christmas markets open their shutters to a new season and the smell of roast chestnuts waft through the air leading revellers to one of the most festive destinations on earth.
With plenty to see and do,  even beyond the Christmas markets, from the mighty cathedral to intriguing museums, you could even warm up a little by joining the locals by strapping on those skates and taking to an ice rink.
Or, if you fancy something a little less energetic, why not grab a hot chocolate and follow the route of the nativity scenes? There’s over 100 of them to find across the city.
As it is the season for giving, or even if you just fancy treating yourself after a long year of staying on the nice list, you’ll be happy to know that Cologne is one of the most popular cities for shopping.
From the well-known Schildergasse and Hohe Straße to something a little more luxururous at the Mittelstraße, you will certainly be spoiled for choice.
We love Cologne at any time of year, but there’s something about the winter season that warms our hearts.

Brussels


 
We’re giving you the chance to leave the Brussel sprouts once and for all, because this year you could well and truly have your portion of Brussels by visiting the winter wonderland that is the Belgian capital.
No longer will you have the dreaded sprout fear that the festive season brings, it’s all about chocolate, beer, waffles, fries and the sumptuous setting to the magical Winter Wonders, an unmissable event right in the heart of the city.
Spreading from the Grand Place to the Marche auz Poissons, you’ll enjoy an abundance of Christmas trees, ice-skating, Ferris wheels, merry-go-rounds, colourful stalls great tasting foods and a magical atmosphere that’s hard to beat.

Vienna


You’ll want to waltz right into this one! The music city, where Mozart wrote some of his finest work, where Beethoven enjoyed most of his success and the birth place of Schubert, you’re not short of culture in the Austrian capital.
But, it’s not just the culture that makes it worth visiting this magnificent city, the wintery hues and sparkling Christmas lights in every direction give the Vienna the cosiest of atmospheres, and with a warm heart, who cares about the cold?
Vienna comes alive with the spirit of Christmas, with the sounds of carol concerts and waltzes heard throughout the city. The December Market, or “Krippenmarkt”, now has over 20 official advent markets selling an array of gifts and mouth-watering treats.
With people wandering the twinkling streets sipping on Glühwein, nibbling on schnitzel and Apfelstrudel, it’s hard not to be filled with seasonal joy in Vienna!

Prague


Prague, the home of Gothic romance. Medieval architecture reaching from the ground, high up into the winter’s sky, glistening in the icy moonlight. Sounds like something from a romantic vampire novel, right?
But, you don’t have to be a fan of Twilight-esque stories to appreciate Prague in the winter time. Yes, it’s chilly, but wrap up in warm layers and enjoy the spectacular setting in the low winter sunshine.
From Prague Castle to the Astronomical Clock, the winter weather doesn’t stop this city and with frosty walks across the Charles Bridge and stunning views of the Municipal House to look forward to, you might be wondering what took you so long to visit Prague in the winter months.

Salzburg


Ah, Salzburg… where the hills are alive with, well, absolute perfection. If there was ever any city that truly looked like a picture postcard winter wonderland, this is it.
Crisp weather with a good chance of snow-capped mountains to set the scene, this beautiful city is not just a pretty face, there’s also plenty to see and do.
The birthplace of Mozart and the origin of the ‘Silent Night’ Christmas carol, the city comes alive around Advent. The Lebkuchen Christmas cookies are in the oven and the Glühwein is in full flow.
The Christmas Market in Salzburg are well known throughout Europe, and for good reason. Of course, in the setting of the main square, overlooked by Hohensalzburg Castle, it’d be hard not to fall for the charm.
But with caramel almonds roasting and plenty of culinary delights and crafts to pick up whilst you’re there, the magical atmosphere is certainly a winner when it comes to choosing your winter holiday.
So, if you’re lost without your fix of Game of Thrones and are longing for your next spot of winter fun, we all know that Jon Snow knows nothing… but, luckily, we do. Embrace the winter and enjoy a Christmas market, fabulously festive break or a true winter wonderland experience with Leger Holidays.

Five Fun Festive Facts for Christmas

Are you a Christmas connoisseur or a New Year know-it-all? Why not test your elf-like skills this Christmas and indulge in a little festive trivia to impress at the dinner table…

1. Did you know that the very first Christmas market took place all the way back in 1298?

Vienna is the place where the December market first saw the light.  Little did they know that the European Christmas Markets would become a tradition that is still going strong centuries later.

2. Austrians pull out all the stops when it comes to celebrating New Year.

At the stroke of midnight all church bells throughout Austria ring and in major cities people see in the New Year by dancing in the streets to the tune of the famous Blue Danube Waltz.

3. Delicious warm Glühwein is ever present at the European Christmas markets. 

It is made using red wine, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and lemon or orange zest.  And did you know you can keep the mug as a souvenir?!

4. Turkeys are safe in Germany at Christmastime! 

A roast goose is the traditional dish served and is often filled with apples, dates, chestnuts, onions, and/or prunes.  It is also common to stuff the goose with a meat or dough filling.

5. In Italy Christmas gifts are not exchanged until the day of Epiphany on January 6th

Children hang up their stockings, so that ‘la befana’, an old lady, can bring them presents and her arrival is celebrated by eating traditional sweet Christmas cake known as panettone.
 
For a fun-filled festive experience try one of our Christmas Market or Festive Breaks.  We have a superb collection of fully escorted tours and short breaks to choose from. Visit www.leger.co.uk
 
 

Christmas Markets: ‘Tis (almost) the Season

As the old Wizard track goes, we really do wish it could be Christmas every day. There’s just something about the cold winter nights, the twinkling lights and the smell of roasting chestnuts filling the air.

While we seem to be heading through this year at colossal speed, it does give us one thing that we can really start to look forward to… Christmas market season!
Yes, before we know it, we’ll be gearing our coaches up to send them on their merry way into the continent, taking all of our lovely passengers to their exciting holidays visiting the best Christmas markets.
But, if you’re still looking for a trip to some of the best Christmas markets in Europe, here’s where our Christmas markets by coach and air will be heading in 2016.

Germany

Berlin Christmas Markets
Of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas market season without a great selection of German markets. Big cities and twinkling lights, from Berlin to Cologne, you can really get the traditional Christkindlmarkt experience.
Dipping into the lesser known destinations, we’ll visit the markets of the Rhine Valley and the small yet perfectly formed resorts such as Monschau.
With plenty of Glühwein, stollen and steins, even Berlin’s toboggan run, there’s heaps of fantastic festive fun to be found in Germany.

Austria

Salzburg Christmas Markets
The Austrian lake district, Innsbruck and of course, Salzburg. We’re ticking off all of the top destinations in Austria.
Whilst Austria shares many traditions with its Bavarian neighbour, one thing you can count on is the romance of it all. The picturesque settings of the small towns can easily outweigh the big city buzz if you’re after something more cosy and scenic for you and your partner.
Even if you’re heading out to the markets solo, with so much to enjoy and the abundance of Christmas spirit, you certainly won’t feel lonely.

Belgium

Bruges Christmas Market
The master of beer and chocolate, enjoy some tasty festive treats and say hello to beautiful Belgium. From picturesque Bruges to the heart of Brussels, stay in style as you combine the most popular Belgian Christmas markets with 5-star luxury hotels!
We’ve even got you covered if you’re looking for something a bit more off the beaten track, heading to Ypres and the underground cave markets of Valkenburg.
So, get your hands on some jenever (gin), Glühwein, and some tasty deep fried sweet dumplings, oliebollen, and get into the true spirit of Christmas in Belgium.

Denmark

Copenhagen Christmas Market
Fancy some Danish flavouring this Christmas? We’ll also be heading off to Copenhagen’s fabulous Christmas markets, including the picturesque Tivoli Gardens, set in the downtown area of Denmark’s capital city. The gardens will be host to a true Nordic atmosphere with wooden huts, Christmas lights and even Father Christmas’ reindeer.
With spectacular illuminations and Danish treats aplenty, it’s the perfect opportunity to relax and enjoy the festive atmosphere with a mug of spiced grogg.
But, that’s not all! See where else we will be heading this festive season, all of our Christmas market tours by coach are available to book now. Click here for more info.

Coach Holidays: Tips for First Time Travellers

So, you’re considering taking your first coach holiday? Or, maybe you’ve just booked it? We know how excited you must feel at the prospect of visiting so many spectacular destinations in one holiday! But, you’re probably wondering just what you’ve let yourself in for.

What will it be like? Will I enjoy it? Well, earlier this week, we asked our fantastic Facebook fans for their top tips and advice for a first time traveller, and they didn’t disappoint.
We’ve pulled together our favourite snippets of advice for you to take a look over to give you a better understanding of just what to expect as you step on board a Leger coach for the first time…
 

Your drivers are always there to help…

Anne Greaves Brilliant company to travel with. knowledgeable drivers. been to Austria in 2009 and just come back from a St Patricks day tour.you meet great peopke on the coach from all ages. wouldnt hesitate to book with them again.
[quote]Anthony Okell As a driver I have worked for company’s who have worked for Leger they are a first class company with top class holiday’s, I would holiday with them any time.  They will go the extra mile to help you.[/quote]
Lynn Cooke Leger holidays are fantastic from start to finish, the drivers are fantastic they take care of you and tell you about the places you visit.
[quote]Tony Lewis Listen to your drivers, and you won’t go wrong. Your driver’s do the journeys week in, week out, they are all very professional. Enjoy your holiday, you won’t go wrong with Leger[/quote]
Karen Selby Love Leger. Very professional drivers who make your whole experience a holiday of great memories to reflect on and savour forever. Can't rate high enough. I have no worries about travelling alone either. There are always so many interesting people to meet. You even get very helpful advice. I recall when visiting Rome in 2014 one driver in particular was very helpful with regard to protecting us all from being victims of thieves. He did it in such a subtle and jolly way, but it did impress the thought firmly in your mind. Can't wait for my next trip
 
 

Elizabeth and Meinir’s tips are great if you’re considering some optional extras…

Elizabeth Wallis Listen to your drivers take the optional excursions relax take it all in and enjoy your holiday. Leger are the best
 
[quote]Meinir Ann Thomas Do all the optional excursions – best way of seeing everything.[/quote]

 

Meinir also says, treat yourself on your ferry crossings…

Meinir Ann Thomas Have a meal at the brasserie on the ferry - perfect way to start and end a holiday. Best to book a table in advance at Christmas though as it tends to get very busy - you can do this on the P&O website.
 
 

If you’re wondering about what happens when you get to your destination, here’s that June has to say…

June Rice We have travelled abroad with other Coach Companies, but always return to Leger, as they are the best. The drivers really look after you and you are taken into the Cities and dropped off and picked up. We travelled with another Company to the Classic Cities of Spain. We were dropped of at our hotels, most times and told what local buses to get into the Cities. Not good. We had a great time on our Leger's Russian Spectacular. Fantastic experience.
 
 

And, what about the Leger comforts?

[quote]Julie Bessant Wouldn’t book with anyone but leger professional drivers really comfortable journey and drinks prices were excellent.[/quote]
Pat Armstrong Simkin About to take our third holiday with this fantastic company. Silver Service all the way, two drivers, lounge to relax in, fantastic tours what's not to like
[quote]Jackie Thornton My friend & I are one our 3rd holiday with Leger we sit back,relax and enjoy[/quote]
 
 

A couple more…

[quote]Yvonne Riley Prepare yourself for the first of many holidays you will take with Leger. A great company[/quote]
[quote]Tim Forster Bring an open mind and a sense of humour.[/quote]

 

But maybe most importantly…

 
[quote]Sheana Kenyon Enjoy the ride and enjoy your holiday[/quote]
 
And these are just a selection of tips and tricks, see the full thread, here. Why not join in our conversation and get to know fellow travellers over on our Facebook page? We also have dedicated pages for our Battlefields and Motorsports tours. See you over there soon!
 

How much time do we spend on Christmas?

How much time to do dedicate to Christmas? Leger Holiday’s research reveals Brits spend an average of 1.5 years preparing for the big day in our lifetime!

Christmas is the most important time of year for us Brits. Over half of us claim they spend too much time getting organised for Christmas, with almost a quarter of people admitting that they find Christmas stressful. Take a look at our infographic below to find out what our main bug-bears are during the festive period.

Of course, Christmas is still a magical time for most, as 89 per cent of people still admit to getting caught up in the festive spirit, even more so for the 6 per cent who deliberately extend their holiday preparation over the whole year, beginning Christmas preparations in January!
One way to get wrapped up in the festive spirit is to head to one of Europe’s fantastic Christmas Markets. From Mulled Wine to tasty local delicacies, you can even pick up unique gifts for your loved ones, really take the stress out of the run up to Christmas.
Legerlogostleger

Simon Calder Q&A: Tips and Travel Advice

Simon Calder, Travel Writer and Broadcaster

Here at Leger Holidays, we’re celebrating holiday inspiration, and who better to get involved than travel writer and broadcaster, Simon Calder? We invited the Twittersphere to ask the travel man himself for his ideas and experiences. We’ve distilled the best for you here …

What are the strongest triggers to deciding on a particular trip?
My usual motivation is a word in my ear from a friend with taste – but a film, chance conversation or just a tweet can work.
Your greatest drive in Europe?
So many roads, so little time – but most of Italy’s coast, so long as someone else is driving.
Is there a secret European location waiting to be discovered?
Yes, and almost all of them are behind the old Iron Curtain, particularly Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Ukraine.
What was the last film that inspired you to travel and why?
Er, is it very uncool to say Sound of Music? Many of the locations in it, in and around Salzburg in Austria, are still exactly the same
What’s the latest about the hole in Rhodes airport runway?
The runway on the Greek island had a malfunction earlier this week but is now back in action – and a great destination in Sept/Oct.
Your favourite Christmas Market?
For me the surroundings count for as much as the stalls, chalets and cafes. So: Cologne, with Bruges, Hamburg and Frankfurt as good alternatives.
You were in Castellon last week – what’s it like?
The latest Ryanair route from Stansted and Bristol serves Castellon Airport on Spain’s Costa Azahar – the Orange Blossom Coast and mostly beautifully unspoilt, with Peniscola the best place to stay. The airport also serves as a cut-price gateway to Valencia if the fares to that fine city are too high.
Where are you going skiing this winter?
Haven’t decided yet but Slovakia and Germany are possible locations – they don’t experience the usual half-term price surge. However, Austria is also very appealing.
How far in advance is too far to book a holiday?
Booking too far in advance can be a real problem, particularly for non-refundable plane tickets. Package holidays are less risky because you can transfer them to someone else if you can’t go. But of course anticipation is sweet – and I’ve already booked an eclipse-hunting coach holiday in the US for 2017.
Former Yugoslavia – your favourite component?
I’m fond of them all, but besides Croatia (a given) I have particular soft spots for Slovenia, Montenegro and Bosnia.
What type of coach holiday would be most appealing to you?
A good guide and good company are essentials, but after that it’s terrain that you can really enjoy from a coach. So lakes (or lochs) and mountains work for me, but some UK motorways are also excellent – the M62, M74 and upper reaches of the M6 are all best seen from a passenger seat
Do you ever ask locals for tips on things to do and places to see?
Yes. Online research and guidebooks are invariably trumped by local recommendations. So, always ask.
The best place to visit in Reykjavik?
I’m just back from the Icelandic capital and it’s in great shape, with more flights from the UK than ever. Eat at the newly opened Tacobarinn, which brings Latin American style (and almost prices) to the city. Don’t bother with the Blue Lagoon – overly commercialised – but take the 5-min ferry rider to wonderful Videy Island.
Any other relatively undiscovered wildernesses in Europe, other than Iceland?
Many. In the UK: Knoydart Peninsula in Scotland. Eastern Poland/western Ukraine also wonderful.
Based on what you’ve seen so far this year, what do you think will be the travel trends for 2016?
Niche Latin America, eg Costa Rica and Puerto Rico, eastern Europe and Canada for sheer good value.
Where has reading a book led you?
George Orwell made me hitch-hike to Barcelona after I read Homage to Catalonia. The Fruit Palace by Charles Nicholl is an inspiring introduction to the marvels and madness of Colombia. And the European Rail Timetable is full of wild and wonderful places to add to the list.
Croatia, Greece or Turkey?
Great question – all offer value, beauty, history and a warm welcome, but right now Greece is the word.
Where are the best places to travel to in Europe that are still warm in autumn/winter?
I’d choose an island from Crete, Malta, Sicily, Mallorca and Ibiza, with the Canaries best for the real depths of winter.
What’s not to miss in Berlin?
The Reichstag (Parliament building) is free and brilliant. Ditto East Side Gallery. And take a trip out to Potsdam.
Which TV show or movie has inspired you to visit the filming location?
It’s only been out a week, but Everest is spectacular. I don’t want to climb it but I do want to visit Nepal.
Thank you to Simon, and huge thank you to everyone for your questions! You can take a look at all of our once in a lifetime Grand Explorer holidays by clicking here.

The Inside Guide To Europe's Christmas Markets

Berlin Christmas Market

Welcome to all the Christma-holics, the festive fanatics and the yule-tide yea-sayers! We’re now under 100 days until the big day and here at Leger HQ, we’re in the festive mood already, preparing for our annual Christmas Market pilgrimages.

With a fantastic selection of new and popular tours – we’re even sending our brand new, luxury coach, Luxuria, off on some jolly journeys across the continent – we can’t wait to get your journeys started.
So, in the midst of our festive excitement, we’ve put together our inside guide to the fabulous markets of Europe. Whether it’s your first time, or you’re just looking for the perfect experience, here’s our guide to the perfect places to suit you.

First Timer -Bruges

Fancy trying out the Christmas Market experience for the first time? You want twinkling fairy lights, traditional wooden stalls and picturesque scenery, right?
A great choice for any first-time visitor is Bruges, especially if you’re looking for fairy tale yule-tide escape. With a cosy Christmas atmosphere, it’s the perfect location to get a taste of everything you’d expect from a festive market.
With an impressive ice rink in the centre of the famous market square, you can skate up an appetite for some delicious Belgian treats. From waffles to local beers, there’s plenty to keep those cheeks rosy as you experience everything this fascinating market has to offer.

A Romantic, Christmas Market Break – Salzburg

OK love bugs, here’s one for you. Thinking about that romantic escape? You and your significant other, enjoying the Christmas period just like in the rom-coms? Find your picture perfect scene in Salzburg.
Mentioned as far back as the 15th century, with stalls set around a stunning, baroque cathedral, there is a magical air around the markets as the fairy lights twinkle and the smell of roasted almonds and mulled wine fill the air in the city of Mozart.
You can even top it off with a romantic horse and cart ride through the charming Old Town, who said romance was dead?

The Bigger the Market, The Better – Cologne

If you want to visit multiple markets in a large city, Cologne has exactly what you’re looking for.
The city has an impressive 8 markets! Some of which are amongst the biggest in the whole of Germany. There’s even a floating market on the River Rhine.
With the main market set in the shadow of the magnificent Cologne Cathedral and others set in its picturesque old town, whether you’re there for the scenery the experience or just something different, it may sound rather cliché, but, there really is something for everyone.

Excellent for Restricted Mobility Access – Erfurt

If you’re looking for an easily accessible market, if you have mobility problems or require the use of a wheelchair, Erfurt could be perfect place for you.
Erfurt Christmas market contains an accessible infrastructure meaning it is accessible and enjoyable to everyone!
With a huge candle-lit Christmas tree and more than 200 wooden huts flanked by half-timbered houses, the atmosphere here could only be beaten by one in a certain grotto in the north…Unless the elves are having a bad day.

Something For The Whole Family – Dresden

If you’re wishing to share the experience with the whole family, Dresden offers a fantastically fun experience for young, old and everything in-between.
With elves’ houses, a children’s bakery and a grotto for the big guy himself, there’s plenty to keep the kids entertained and with plenty of mulled wine, local beers and shopping opportunities on offer, there’s plenty for the adults to enjoy too.

A Market Off The Beaten Track – Wurzburg

Some people fancy heading somewhere a bit more niche, off the beaten track so to speak. If this is you, try Wurzburg.
Smaller than its German cousins, Wurzburg’s main market hosts around 100 stalls offering regional produce and food.
There’s also a small Artists’ Christmas Market over the weekends on the run-up to Christmas, with more than 40 artists selling jewellery, hand-made teddy bears and jam to name a few.

A Christmas Market For Delicious Local Delicacies – Freiburg

If you’re a lover of all things tasty, then Freiburg is one to enjoy. Set in Germany’s Black Forest, you’re in a haven for some Black Forest Gateau.
There’s plenty more sweet treats on offer too, from ginger cake to nicely decorated biscuits. If you’re looking to re-fuel, there’s a whole host of delicious hearty meals on offer as well as some tasty local snacks such as the potato pancakes, Kartoffelpuffer.
But, maybe more importantly, there’s a wide selection of mulled wines and punches, a perfect accompaniment to the food on offer at this fantastic market.
With so many fantastic Christmas Markets in Europe, it’s hard to choose where you want to head off to next. Are there any that have caught your eye this year? Check out our full list of Market tours, here.