Following the success of our visit in 2018, we are returning to this magical island which lies five hundred miles off the coast of Africa, and is clothed in glorious sub-tropical vegetation that has delighted botanists and gardeners - as well as winter sun-seekers - for centuries. The climate and volcanic soil have also proved hospitable to generations of Portuguese and British producers of the deliciously complex fortified wines that bear the name of the island. Leave behind one of the darkest months of the year and discover the colour, warmth and tastes of Madeira while based in a luxurious hotel, perfectly placed for exploring, shopping, eating and drinking in the historic centre of Funchal. Kirsty has led many Oldie trips and is an excellent garden guide. Kirker is also providing a tour rep.
Tuesday, 3rd November – arrival
Depart London Gatwick with BA at 09.50 arrive Funchal 13.45. We fly direct to Funchal and transfer to the centrally located Castanheiro boutique hotel (pictured above) (www.castanheiroboutiquehotel.com)
Wednesday, 4th November – Old Funchal
We will begin our day with a walking tour of the historic centre of Funchal. Our visits will include the cathedral and the famous Mercado des Lavradores: fragrant with dozens of flower stalls and housed in an open-roofed two storey building. After an included lunch we will take the cable car and visit the city’s famous botanical garden with its collection of more than 2,000 species of plants.
Thursday, 5th November – Monte Park
This morning we drive to Monte Park, situated high above Funchal and filled with more than 700 species of trees and plants. We visit the lush sub-tropical Monte Palace gardens and then lunch locally in the delightful Quinta da Monte hotel. Free afternoon.
Friday, 6th November – Tour of the island
We’ll enjoy a full day tour of the entire island today, visiting the sharply contrasting north and south coasts. In the north we will see a dramatic coastline of rugged mountains and cliffs, traversed by the levadas which were designed to bring water to the more densely populated southern side of the island, where the climate and scenery are appreciably milder.
Saturday, 7th November – Quinta das Cruzes museum and Blandy gardens
This morning we visit the Quinta das Cruzes museum before visiting the world-famous Blandy Garden at Quinta do Palheiro. The Palheiro gardens form part of an estate owned by the Blandy family, former owners of the famous Reid’s hotel and dynastic producers of fine Madeira wine. After the tour we will have lunch at Blandy’s wine bar. Free afternoon.
Sunday, 8th November – Orchid nursery
Today we visit the impressive orchid nursery, Quinta da Boa Vista, set in the grounds of a 200-year-old villa on the eastern side of Funchal. We will then have lunch at a little seafood restaurant overlooking the sea. Free afternoon.
Monday, 9th November – Camara de Lobo
Today is devoted to west of Madeira, and we will travel through Camara de Lobos, where Winston Churchill painted scenes of the village, to the cliffs at Cabo Girao. Enjoy lunch by the sea in Porto Moniz before returning to Funchal via Paul de Serra. We will enjoy our last evening at Blandy’s Wine Lodge for a guided tour and tasting.
Tuesday, 10th November – Departure
Free morning; depart Funchal 15.30 arrive London Gatwick 19.05
£2,598 per person inc. flights, transfers, accommodation, all meals with wine, all excursions and entrance fees. Single supplement £299
To book: call Patrick on 020 7593 2281 or email firstname.lastname@example.org