Based in Urmston

Paul Westhead

Available for new enquiries

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Hello and welcome to my webpage

So why do my customers choose to book a holiday through me? They enjoy entrusting their precious holiday plans with a travel professional whose number one priority is doing the right thing. Taking the time to find the right holiday for them, providing full financial protection, independent advice, around the clock support and having an accessible, single point of contact throughout. Also having all those tasks from online flight check-ins to hotel special requests taken care of for them.

I was hooked on travel at an early age following my first overseas holiday to Majorca. I went on to achieve a university degree in Tourism Management followed by many years of experience working at various travel companies in sales and marketing roles. I have also been running my own travel business since 2016 so have plenty of knowledge to share.

The core of my business is organising bespoke, multicentre tailor-made travel experiences across the world. I create itineraries to meet customers unique requirements and dreams and can include everything from flights, accommodation, transfers from airport to hotel or hotel to hotel, cruises, car-hire and all those memorable experiences to enjoy. As I work with a number of Destination Management Companies who are based in resort, they can share plenty of local knowledge and expertise when I’m organising my client’s trips.

I have enjoyed many travel experiences myself, ranging from an around the world trip exploring Thailand, Singapore, Australia, Hawaii and the US mainland to travelling across the length and breadth of mainland Spain and Portugal by rail. I have also visited destinations including the Balearic and Canary Islands, Morocco, Sardinia, Sicily, the Italian Mainland, Greece, Portugal, Cyprus, Malta, Turkey, Germany, Belgium and have also travelled onboard cruises.

My business is backed by the fantastic Travel Counsellors head office support team who provide a 24 hour duty office, the latest technology to search thousands of travel suppliers and also the handy MyTC app. Plus access to accommodation reviews and recommendations from my network of other Travel Counsellors.

I'm available for an informal, no pressure chat about your travel plans and once you've booked I will be available to help and give you advice until you travel, so the only thing you need to worry about is what to pack!

Thank you for visiting my webpage and I look forward to hearing from you soon.


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My Blog

I absolutely live and breathe travel and I love to write about my experiences! Please take a look through my posts - you might find your own holiday inspiration.

Tropical Thailand

18 April 2023

We flew to Phuket with Singapore Airlines via Singapore on an A350 Airbus which offers business, premium economy and economy class. The aircraft had great inflight entertainment and the friendly crew offered plentiful drinks, snacks, and meals. Flight time of approx 13 hours to Singapore and then a connecting flight of 1 hour 30 mins to Phuket. I’d arranged a private airport transfer to the resort area of Khao Lak, a 1 hour 15 minute drive. Khao Lak is an uncrowded tourist destination close to the Phang-Nga area’s rugged natural beauty. It’s made up of a few towns, all scattered along a long stretch of beautiful white sandy beach. Travellers who like their holidays low-key, will enjoy the resorts easygoing feel.. There’s a good choice of local restaurants and shops at the two main centres, Bang La On and Bang Niang, which are both easily reached. The night market at Bang Niang is popular for shopping or a late-night snack, or you can go further afield to the Sunday market at Takua Pa Old Town where stalls are set up among pretty buildings. We stayed at the Sands Beach resort, a stunning hotel with a fab kids splash park with slides and lazy river. Lots of other pools including adult only where you can chill (if you get lucky!) Three restaurants - buffet and A La Carte. Stunning gardens, spa, massage area by the beach and spacious rooms, some with swim up rooms. On our ventures out of the hotel we stumbled across some great little beach bars (like Hippie Fish) and remained there until the sun went down and beyond. We also visited the Bang Niang night market which has an array of vendors of local handicrafts & street foods, such as great Pad Thai’s! I’d highly recommend the area of Khao Lak and the hotel! It was hard to drag the kids away. I organised a private transfer to take us the 1 hour 30-minute ride to out next stop, Bang Tao on Phuket Island. Bang Tao curves along a beautiful white sandy bay and has something of a bohemian edge. Its stretch of white sand is overlooked by an eclectic mix of stylish hotels and rustic beach bars. Days here tend to be spent relaxing under the shade of the palm trees or sampling the array of water sports. The nightspots of Bang Tao are along the beach and the back roads. Some are thoroughly rustic, with just a few wooden stalls and barrels for drink-placing. Others are higher end like the Carpe Diem beach club we visited and would highly recommend. Many of the bars have DJs playing Ibizian style beats while you enjoy the sunsets and fire juggling shows. We stayed B&B at the Sunwing. Very chilled spot set in a tropical paradise, good spacious rooms, plenty of pools, couple of nice restaurants that do takeaway food too, massage place set on the beach and sun beds overlooking the most amazing of beaches with simply stunning sunset. So many bars and restaurants within walking distance on the beach and on the road at the back. There is also an entertainment programme for children. I organised a private transfer to collect us from the hotel and take us on the 30-minute journey from the hotel to Phuket airport for a 2-hour flight to the city of Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is rich in culture. The Old City – an attraction in itself – hosts most of the best temples, museums, and other interesting sites, with many more just outside the ancient city walls and moat. If you are willing to travel a little further afield, you will find that Chiang Mai is ringed with outstanding, unique places to see and things to do. There’s Thailand’s tallest mountain nearby, as well as two different tribal villages and various national parks. It’s great to experience the night markets and we particularly enjoyed the Ploen Ruedee food and drink market, which was openair in a nice environment with music. We also visited the Doi Suthep Temple, a 30-minute journey up winding roads (much to the kids delight!) lots of steps to get to the entrance and in the heat, it is tough but worth a visit. We stayed B&B at The Pingviman hotel, which offers total escapism from the hecticness and noise of the city…a real retreat, calm and collected and very traditional in look and feel. Staff were friendly and the hotel was clean and tidy with a stunning pool in the centre of all the rooms which overlook it…a real gem and in the old part of the city so good for exploring! A two-hour shared transfer to our next stop and a definite highlight was an overnight stay at the Bush Camp, Chiang Mai. Such a unique and amazing experience set in wilderness. We stayed in a Safari Tent (there are 10 here in total) the scenery is beautiful and it’s super-hot at this time of year, but thankfully there is serious air con and fans in the tent! Day 1 of the experience involves a swim in their infinity pool, eating a traditional Thai lunch in their beautiful restaurant, taking part in the feeding the elephant experience, learning more about the “Karen” tribe. Then back to the restaurant for a barbecue and drinks whilst watching the sun go down and then dinner/drinks in the restaurant. On day 2 we had breakfast followed by a quick swim and then activities that involved making paper out of elephant poo and then making our own piece of artwork with it. Elephant feeding again and then watched them bathe, coffee and pancake eating and then back to the restaurant for lunch/swimming, before returning to Chang Mai for a flight to Bangkok, The Bush Camp is well worth a visit, such a unique experience…sad to leave but grateful for having the opportunity to experience this beautiful place! One arrival in Bangkok I’d arranged a private transfer to our hotel, which took around 30 minutes. Bangkok is a bustling, buzzing metropolis of craziness! 48 hours and here is what we did. Swam in the hotel’s rooftop pool, Sealife centre, Madame Tussauds, shopping at CentralWorld, Tuk Tuk ride, river ferry to the Wat Arun temple and Asiatique (waterfront food/drink area) and dinner at Redsky on the 55th Floor! We stayed B&B at the Novotel Platinum Pratunum. We had a room on the 23rd floor with fantastic views. The hotel has a great pool and bar with views over the city and nice comfortable rooms you would expect from a Novotel. Location is great too particularly is you want to visit the shopping malls. The kids slept for several hours during the overnight flight back to Manchester and I would have absolutely no hesitation doing a journey like this with the kids again in the future. Looking forward to our next visit!

Idyllic Isla Canela!

14 June 2022

During the June’22 half term holiday we discovered a part of Spain we had never visited before, Isla Canela on the Costa de la Luz. The island is located close to the border with Portugal and the nearest airport is Faro in Portugal. We hired a car at the airport to make the 1-hour journey. Isla Canela is a peaceful island found in Andalucía’s most western point. The north is covered by wetlands, while a six-kilometre stretch of soft sand lines the southern coast. The beautiful beach is one of the longest and widest in the region so it’s a bit of a walk to the sea. We pretty much had the beach to ourselves and enjoyed lunch at one of the nearby beach bars (or known as Chiringuitos locally). During our stay we visited the Spanish town of Ayamonte, which is just a 15-minute drive across the bridge. Its typically Andalusian, with narrow shopping streets and pretty plazas decorated with wrought-iron gates and tiled fountains. You could also take in the Baroque architecture of Huelva, an hour’s drive away – while the sights of Seville are just another half-hour on from here. We stayed All Inclusive at the 4-star Iberostar Isla Canela. Guests at the hotel during our stay were mainly Spanish and we really enjoyed the relaxed nature of the hotel. Guests tended to eat much later here than other hotels we have stayed at with the restaurant accepting diners at 10.30pm. It was nice to know we didn’t have to rush and on one evening our daughters stayed in the pool til nearly 9pm! The hotel is set on a long pedestrian walkway lined with palm trees which runs alongside the beach. It offers a Spa Sensations Centre with an indoor swimming pool and hot tubs. Treatments include massage and aromatherapy, and a gym is also available. Room types at the hotel include double, family rooms and suites. All the air-conditioned rooms have a balcony with seaview rooms available, and all have a contemporary décor. There is also a varied daytime and evening entertainment programme. This hotel is a great choice for families looking for a relaxed holiday on a beautiful beach without the crowds!

Magnificent Madeira

27 April 2022

During the Easter 2022 holidays, we stayed on the Portuguese island of Madeira. After the approx. 3 ½ hour flight, our transfer driver collected us from arrivals to take us on the 25-minute journey to our hotel on the edge of Funchal city centre. During the journey one of the first things that we noticed is how lush and green the island is compared to the not too distant Canary Islands. Funchal, the islands capital has famously colourful gardens and a cobbled old town that comes with a 15th-century cathedral and loads of traditional restaurants. There are plenty of shops, sophisticated bars, and a smart marina ringed with upscale places to eat. For the first 5 nights of our trip, we stayed B&B at the Pestana Village & Miramar Garden Resort. The resort is located amongst 5,000 square metres of tropical gardens. The Miramar section of the resort is built within an old manor and has incredible views over the city of Funchal. There are 2 outdoor pool areas and a heated indoor pool. Our two girls randomly wanted to spend most of the time in the indoor pool!! The village atmosphere is one of the resort’s greatest strengthens, offering peace and relaxation alongside welcoming and friendly service. The hotel is positioned between the city centre and the Lido area of the city so great for exploring both these areas on foot. The final 2 nights of our holiday we stayed at the Enotel Lido resort which has recently been refurbished and has a great setting overlooking the Funchal Lido coastline. The hotel offers an All Inclusive Plus concept offering a variety of restaurants to dine in, rather than just a standard buffet. You can also enjoy internationally branded spirits and not the usual local drinks offered with standard All Inclusive. There is a spa if you want to escape, and also the location gives you easy reach of the local bars and restaurants around the Lido if you fancy venturing out. The Lido coastal promenade in Funchal is lined with palm trees and bordered by lovely botanical gardens, this promenade links with the pebbled Praia Formosa beach at the western end of Funchal, offering breath-taking views over the sea. During our stay we visited the Lido Bathing Complex, which features a large solarium, two saltwater pools, whose water is renewed every day. If you are feeling brave, there is a high driving board into the sea! Another must thing to do in Funchal is a trip to Monte on the cable car. This trip offers magnificent panoramic views high above Funchal and provides access to botanical gardens. To get back down you can take the ‘toboggan ride!' and go sliding at high speed on narrow, winding streets down to Funchal. These wicker sledges glide on wooden runners, pushed and steered by two men traditionally dressed in white cotton clothes and a straw hat, using their rubber-soled boots as brakes! There is so much more the city and island in general has to offer that we didn’t have chance to explore. Our only regret from the trip is not hiring a car in advance to explore the island and this will be a most on our next visit this beautiful, welcoming island!

Fabulous Fuerteventura!

25 February 2022

During the February 2022 half term, we visited the Spanish Canary Island of Fuerteventura for 7 nights. After the 4-hour flight, we collected our hire car and headed 1 hour south to the area of Jandia, near the town of Morro Jable. The area boasts fine, long sandy beaches, which certainly rival the Caribbean and staggering volcanic scenery. Plus, lighthouses, historical buildings and nature reserves all add to the areas charm. Our hotel, the 4-star Iberostar Playa Gaviotas Park is located by the seafront and a perfect hotel for families with its water slides, activity programme and kids club. There are 3 outdoor pools and a choice of spacious room types. We had a seaview suite with great views over the pool area and the Atlantic Ocean. The suite had a small kitchen area with a sink, fridge & microwave. Plus, a lounge area with sofa beds and a separate bedroom. During our stay we ventured into the town of Morro Jable, which has a nice traditional Spanish feel. It's lovely seafront promenade lined with bars and restaurants overlooks the beach and crystal clear water. For those who enjoy cycling there is a cycle path right outside the hotel which runs into Morro Jable. We hired a quadracycle and I think it’s safe to say some were peddling more than others! It was great to have a car to get around the island. We had a day out at the nearby Oasis Wildlife, which is a Zoo and botanical park and great for kids. Plus, a visit to Playa de Sotavento is a must. Its length and natural beauty will leave you speechless. The 9km golden sandy beach and clear sea can be summed up in one word, paradise! Our hotel is also located next to two other Iberostar properties, which I visited during our stay. The 5-star Selection Fuerteventura Palace and the 4-star Playa Gaviotas. Both hotels more aimed at couples and those seeking rest and relaxation! Sounds perfect doesn't it!?!

Beautiful Barrosa Beach!

04 November 2021

During the October 2021 half term, we enjoyed a five-night holiday to the Costa de la Luz, Spain on the Atlantic coast. We flew to Seville, collected our hire car and drove for 1 hour 30 minutes to Playa de La Barrosa, which in my opinion is one of the nicest beaches in Spain. Very clean, nice sand and plenty of space! It has received so many awards, including the Ecoplaya (green beach) flag, the Q for tourism quality and the prized Blue Flag. We stayed on an All-Inclusive basis (other board basis available) at the 4-star Iberostar Royal Andalus. It’s a really great hotel for families, but don’t worry if you want to escape kids. It has an adult pool too! The food at the hotel is good quality with a wide selection to suit all tastes. They had an area with different themes each evening and my personal favourite was the seafood evening with plentiful lobster and king prawns! The kids favourite mealtime was breakfast due to the unlimited Spanish churros! If you prefer to dine outdoors this is also an option. The family room we had was spacious, the children had their own sleeping area, a nice sized bathroom and large master bedroom with a balcony. We had a seaview and were located opposite the kids splash park which kept them entertained all day! Next time I would request a room on the ground floor for ease of access to the splash park. The hotel is just a short walk from the beach with access directly from the hotel. The hotel has a nice beach bar, which is a lovely spot to watch the sunsets. Iberostar also have a golf club near to the hotel with 36 holes, designed by Seve Ballesteros! So the place is very popular with golfing groups. Certainly, during our time at the hotel this meant we had plenty of space around the hotel grounds during the day while the golfers golfed. The hotel also has a kid’s clubs, plus plenty to keep people entertained during the day and night. During our time in Spain, facemasks were still compulsory in all indoor settings unless seated, which was no bother to us at all. Plenty of places around the hotel for hand sanitising and everything kept spotlessly clean. Weatherwise, mainly sunny and warm during the day, approx. 25 degrees. Bit chilly early morning and in the evening. With the location being on the Atlantic coast, it can be windy at times. Overall, the weather was excellent for the end of October. For places to explore the hotel is around 45 minutes away from the cities of Jerez and Cadiz. Both cities are well worth a visiting, having stayed in both on previous trips to Spain. If you require any further information, just ask!

Mini cruise onboard Independence of the Seas - August 2018

05 September 2018

In August 2018 we embarked on a 3-night, full board mini cruise onboard the ship Independence of the Seas. Sailing out of Southampton the ship called at Zeebrugge with access to the lovely Belgium town of Bruges and the French port of Le Havre with trips available to the city of Paris. The ship has undergone a massive refurbishment with new features including an onboard Sky Pad, a virtual reality trampoline experience; a laser tag arena, two water slides and a kids' aqua park, as well as new dining and bar areas. The ship is perfect for families and has a huge amount of facilities to offer younger guests. In addition to the new facilities mentioned, the ship offers a variety of child friendly entertainment. Our children loved the Grease musical, with production of a similar standard to a theatre production. Plus, your children can enjoy on board surfing and even ice skating! Adult passengers will still find plenty of facilities to enjoy, with a great selection of restaurants, a nightclub, a variety of bars and huge amount of entertainment options, including comedy shows. There is also an onboard casino and an adult only Solarium pool. Plus, take your pick from specialty restaurants including an Italian and a steakhouse. The ship has several cabin options including Suites and Balcony cabins. The beds are extremely comfortable with luxurious bedding and facilities including tea and coffee making facilities, interactive TV & movies and an in room safe. The friendliness and level of service from all the staff onboard was excellent. Always greeted with a smile and happy to help at all times. So, if you're after endless activities, entertainment, fine dining or if you just want a great kids' club and kids' facilities the Independence of the Seas has it all!

Ibiza - June 2018

09 July 2018

In June 2018 we visited the Balearic Island of Ibiza. We decided to stay in two different parts of the island, firstly for three nights in San Antonio on the western side, a place we have visited many times before and secondly for four nights in Cala Llonga on the eastern side. In San Antonio we stayed at the Blau Park, which is in a fantastic, quiet location right on the seafront. The hotel guests were a mixture of different age groups, including families like ourselves. We decided to book a guaranteed sea view studio room, so we could enjoy the view and the spectacular Ibizan sunsets during the evening. The hotel has a large inviting pool and an a la carte restaurant with an elevated position with stunning sea views. We spent time on the beach at Cala Gracio, which is a nice secluded cove around a 15-minute walk from the hotel, with golden sand and crystal-clear waters. Of an evening we enjoyed watching the sunsets from one of the many bars which line the seafront and eating out at the local restaurants. We than took a 30-minute taxi ride to Cala Llonga and stayed at the El Pinar Aparthotel in a sea view one-bedroom apartment. The views from the balcony were fantastic overlooking a pretty cove with clear blue waters. The aparthotel is perfect for families and couples looking for a relaxing break. The hotel has a nice quiet swimming pool, a bar area overlooking the beach and a restaurant offering a great selection of quality cuisine with spectacular views to enjoy in the evening. On three evenings each week the hotel provides evening entertainment and our two girls enjoyed the magic and dance show. Cala Llonga is one of the most beautiful and quietest areas on the island, but still have plenty of nice bars and restaurants to visit. You can also get buses or ferries to Santa Eularia (5km) and Ibiza Town (10km). One of the highlights of our holiday was a visit to Amante bar/restaurant, which is about a 15-minute walk from Cala Llonga. It’s a great rural restaurant perched on a cliff overlooking the Sol Den Serra bay. Its family friendly too and open during the day and in the evening. There are sun loungers and large beanbags to sit on an admire the views. The staff are extremely friendly and made us all feel very welcome. Overall, we really enjoyed staying in two different places during our visit to Ibiza and felt this enhanced our enjoyment of the holiday!

Puerto Mogan, Gran Canaria - Easter 2018.

16 April 2018

During the Easter 2018 holidays we enjoyed a sunny seven-night holiday to the Canary Island of Gran Canaria. We stayed in the lovely resort of Puerto Mogan which is roughly a 45-minute drive from the airport. We have visited Puerto Mogan on a few previous occasions from the nearby resort of Puerto Rico and knew we would like to have a holiday here. In the resort you will find a nice horseshoe shaped beach, palm-lined avenues, top quality restaurants and a harbour full of yachts. The centre of the resort is pretty much traffic free and Italian style footbridges criss-cross the canal. It’s not surprising the resort is known as ‘Little Venice’. Each Friday the resort also boasts a very popular street market. We stayed at the Cordial Mogan Valle apartments on a self-catered basis in an apartment which sleeps up to four. The apartment had a main bedroom and a separate lounge/kitchen area. We had a large balcony with a table, chairs and sun loungers and had fantastic views over the resort area and out to sea. The apartments had three swimming pools, two Jacuzzis, kids pool and splash park, playground, mini club (age 4-12) and entertainment during the day and night. There is also a spa which includes a Finnish sauna and steam bath. Free Wi-Fi is also available throughout the complex. In addition to self-catering the apartments also offer dining options including bed and breakfast, half board and full board. There are so many nice restaurants to eat out in the evening along the beach front and around the marina. A favourite of ours was Blue Marlin – great Sangria and seafood! There is a good bus service from Puerto Mogan so you can visit other towns such as the capital Las Palmas, Puerto Rico, Maspalomas, Meloneras and Playa del Ingles. We had a trip out to Meloneras which has a great seafront promenade with many upmarket shops and restaurants. I would highly recommend Puerto Mogan to both families and couples looking for a holiday in a very pretty, relaxed holiday resort. It’s certainly my preferred place to stay in Gran Canaria!

Thailand Tour 2018

16 March 2018

In March 2018, I was one of the lucky Travel Counsellors to go on a seven-day trip to Thailand. Our trip included overnight stays in the vibrant city of Bangkok, the beach resort of Hua Hin and along the banks of the River Kwai. We flew to Bangkok via Dubai from Manchester Airport with Emirates onboard the Airbus A380. The onboard experience was excellent as you could sit back and enjoy up to 3,000 channels of entertainment, savour gourmet meals and connect to the onboard Wi-Fi. After arriving into Bangkok our guide for the week was waiting for us in arrivals and we were then transported to the 5-star Centara Grand, Central Plaza Ladprao. The hotel has a fantastic roof top bar called the Blue Sky which offered breath taking views across the city. You could take a dip in the hotels outdoor pool, a welcome retreat after a day exploring the cities sites. During our time in Bangkok we took a longtail boat tour through Bangkok’s canals to discover the city. Our journey started along the Chao Phraya River, where you could admire the passing skyline where glittering pagodas stand in the shadows of the cities skyscrapers. We then made our way through the network of canals where we observed local villages and traditional houses along the route. A stop at the Royal Barge Museum was included and we enjoyed viewing the spectacular boats used by Thailand Royal family to mark special occasions. Our final stop was the Wat Arun temple, an amazing site along the river bank. During the evening we visited the Asiatique Night Bazaar and river front. The area offers a fantastic shopping experience and a range of bars and restaurants along the river front, so you could sit back and watch the world go by. Our evening ended at the Muay Thai Live, an enthralling stage show of Thai boxing, suitable for all audiences. The following morning, we were transported to the beach resort of Hua Hin, approximately a 3-hour drive from Bangkok city. Our hotel was the 5-star Centara Beach Resort and Villas, a fantastic hotel on the beach, with an elegant colonial-style and remarkable service. The hotel also features four outdoor pools and beautifully landscaped gardens. The following morning, we visited a local food market to look at the types of wonderful foods used in traditional Thai cooking. We then had our own Thai cooking course and had the chance to sample our own creations. Later that evening we then visited a nearby hotel, the excellent 5-star Anantara Hua Hin, set in a tropical jungle paradise of 14 acres and located alongside a pristine white sandy beach. A fantastic choice for honeymooners. The following morning, we travelled to the 3-star River Kwai Resotel. We were transferred by boat from the pier to the hotel which is nestled on the banks of the river. The resort has a swimming pool, bar and restaurant and is surrounded by tropical gardens. Later that day we were collected by boat and taken to the Mon Village to witness the way of living of the Mon people, an ethnic minority who originate from Myanmar. They continue to live peacefully and practice their traditional way of living. We then took a bamboo raft back to the hotel and those feeling brave enough could jump into the river and let the current take you back to the hotel. A definite highlight of the trip! That evening we enjoyed a cultural Mon dance show, a performance you would witness only in this area of Thailand. The following morning on route back to Bangkok we stopped at Hell Fire Pass, which is part of the Death Railway and cuts through the stone mountain. Many prisoners of war died during the construction of the railway and the visitor centre at the site gives you the opportunity to learn about the hardship faced by those people forced to work during the construction. A very interesting and emotional look back at history. We then arrived at our final hotel, The 5-star Centara Grand Centralworld in Bangkok. The hotel is in the very heart of Bangkok’s shopping district. The hotel offers a wide range of facilities and the highlight being the roof top pool, offering wonderful views across the city. That evening we enjoyed an exhilarating Tuk-Tuk ride in convoy through the city to Chinatown and enjoyed sampling a range of seafood dishes at a local restaurant. The evening was ended with a visit to the vibrant nearby street market. Thailand was a truly amazing country with exceptionally friendly people and so much to see and do. I can’t wait to visit this remarkable country again soon.

Magical Marrakesh

21 February 2018

In February 2018 we took a three-night break to Marrakesh in Morocco. We wanted time to relax, but to also experience the city itself. We therefore opted for two nights all-inclusive in a hotel roughly 6kms outside the city, followed by one night in a Riad, a traditional Moroccan house in the old town. The first two nights we stayed at the recently opened Be Live Experience Hotel. The hotel is a great choice for both couples and families. You can lounge by the pool or relax with a drink in the lobby bar, all while the little ones enjoy the hotel-run kids' club and activities. The food at the hotel was excellent with nice touches like freshly squeezed orange juice at breakfast included, made to order snacks and a variety of Moroccan dishes to try. The rooms are all nice and modern with a variety of rooms types to choose from including duplex, suite and double rooms. The hotel also provides free return shuttle buses throughout the day into the centre of Marrakesh for those who want to sample the old city. On our final full day, we took a four-hour guided tour provided by one of our suppliers, which took in the Medina, Palaces and Tombs. I would highly recommend taking a guided tour as it is very easy to get lost and you will see and hear things you would probably miss if you went alone. The tour included a stop at the Palais de Bahia. This palace and its gardens are one of the most beautiful areas in Marrakech. This haven of shady courtyards and mosaics was once home to the high and mighty of Marrakech, a place where rich men and their various wives would relax in their luxurious surroundings. Here you can stroll through the many rooms, whilst your guide tells you all the local stories about slaves and sultans. You will also visit the Photography Museum. Here you can browse the rotating selection of 4,500 photos and get as close as you possibly can to glancing into the world of Marrakech 100 years ago. With portraits of the locals, vintage village scenes, and even photos of the Berber tribes of the Atlas Mountains, a visit to the Photography Museum is one of the essential things to do in Marrakech to really understand its history and culture. You will also learn about the cities Mosques, visit interesting parts of the city like the Jewish quarter and the Kasbah and pass through the shopping area of the souks. Try out your bartering skills if you fancy taking home some local goods. The tour finishes in the main square known as Djemaa El-Fna which is surrounded by cafes and restaurants. You can see snake charmers bewitch cobras with flutes, medicine men and even tooth-pullers! In the evening the atmosphere of the square changes as musicians and entertainers take their place. You can also sample the local food from one of the many food stalls around the square. On our final night we stayed at the Riad Diana in the old Medina. The Riad is family run with just five rooms with panoramic views over the internal Arabic styled patio. The Riad boasts a central setting and an abundance of traditional Moroccan architecture and even a roof terrace if you want to escape the excitement of the city for a few hours. Most of the larger hotels in Marrakesh serve alcohol and there are also some bars around the city, where you can get alcoholic drinks including wine, beer and cocktails. During our stay we enjoyed an evening in Kosy Bar, which boosts a great roof terrace and serves food. I would highly recommend Marrakesh to anybody looking to experience a truly different culture during their holiday and I look forward to returning to this fascinating city once again!

Tossa de Mar

12 September 2017

During the August 2017 holidays, we took a seven-night holiday to Tossa de Mar with friends on the Spanish Costa Brava. With a flight time of two hours and a resort transfer time of 30 minutes, its perfect for families with young children. We stayed on a half board basis at the hotel Costa Brava. The food at the hotel is great with a wide selection to suit all tastes. The children particularly liked the evening with chocolate fountains and the wide variety of dipping goodies! There are activities day and night to keep everybody entertained ranging from mini discos, live music, aqua aerobics and magic shows. The hotel also offers facilities including an outdoor pool, a spa which is free to use, a children’s play area and mini club. The hotel is just a short walk from the beach and the beautiful seafront promenade and old town of Tossa de Mar. The seafront is lined with lovely bars and restaurants, and the old town is filled with great little shops and cafes along its narrow streets. The oldest part of Tossa is known as the Vila Vella, which is surrounded by a city wall with seven watch-towers offering a beautiful panoramic view over the beaches and the town itself. The buildings within the Vila Vella really give you that feeling of an old traditional Spanish village. I would certainly recommend taking a walk up to the lighthouse bar at the top of the hill as the views out to sea are spectacular. During out visit we were also lucky enough to see the Tossa Carnival. The locals put on a great show with a variety of different processions to enjoy. The carnival takes places annually in August. For anyone who likes to get out and about to explore, there are many opportunities including boat trips to other resorts such as Lloret de Mar or you can catch a bus to the fantastic cities of Barcelona and Girona. For those who like waking there are numerous signposted walking routes to enjoy. I would highly recommend Tossa to anyone who would like to combine a beach holiday with the opportunity to enjoy an enchanting Spanish town. The fact that I have visited 8 times and will continue to return speaks for itself!

Dusseldorf July 2017

12 July 2017

During July 2017 we enjoyed a 2-night city break to the German city of Dusseldorf and stayed with some friends, who live in the Hamm area of the city. The flight time from Manchester was just over an hour. During our first evening, we visited an area called MedienHafen, which is the harbour area of the city. An area which has been redeveloped and is filled with architecture, restaurants, bars and hotels. The area is located about a 20-minute walk away from the city centre and well worth a visit. The following day we visited the city centre and walked along Königsallee, which is a tree lined boulevard full of shops and perfect for anyone looking to buy fashion items during their visit. We then ventured into the old part of the city with its attractive cobbled streets and offers a variety of bars and restaurants. An interesting place to grab a snack is Carlsplatz market. Choices range from German sausages, crepes to bread and pasties. As well as traditional German food, you can also enjoy international cuisine such as Italian, Indian and Asian. After lunch, we walked along the River Rhine and watched the barges and boats go up and down the river. The river is lined with bars and restaurants with outdoor seating areas to watch the world go by. We had a drink (or two) on the MS Allegra which is a boat moored on the river bank and has been converted into bar. Well worth a visit! Later that evening we returned to the old town and visited some of the bars in the area. We sampled a local liquor called Killepitsch which is very similar to Jagermeister. We then walked through a bustling street known as the longest bar in the world as its lined with numerous bars. We stopped in a few places to sample the local Altbier before finishing off the evening sampling some great cocktails. Dusseldorf is a fantastic, bustling city and well worth a visit for a city break.

Sunny Stalis in Crete - June 17

28 June 2017

For the June’17 half term holidays we took a 7-night holiday to the Greek island of Crete. We stayed in the resort of Stalis which is roughly a 30-minute drive from Heraklion airport. We stayed at the very friendly Hotel Anastasia on a half board basis in a family room which sleeps up to 4. The room was perfect as it has a main bedroom and a separate smaller room for children. The room had a large balcony which overlooked the nice pool area and out to sea. The hotel had two pool areas so there was never a shortage of sunbeds. Each pool had a main pool and a children’s pool. There are plenty of parasols around the pool to escape the heat of the sun when you need it. To keep the children occupied during the day there is also a football pitch and mini golf. The hotel has a small restaurant which offered a selection of dishes including typically Greek dishes and all food was of a great standard. We particularly liked the fact that many of the restaurant tables are located outside which makes a change from being seated indoors. Each evening they had entertainment including a children’s disco on some nights. The entertainment ranged from live music to dancing shows. All the children enjoyed it. The resort of Stalis sits between the busy resort of Malia and Hersonissos. The resort has a very relaxed feel about. There are plenty of bars, restaurants and shops but nothing over the top. Some bars/restaurants being typically Greek and others more modern beach front bars. All the locals are extremely friendly and make you feel very welcome. There is a train which runs around the resorts of Stalis, Malia and Hersonissos and takes about 1 hour 30 minutes to complete the circuit. On your journey, you pass by ancient ruins, countryside and can enjoy both mountain and coastal views. There is also a longer train journey for half a day which also stops in villages giving you the opportunity to look around before heading back to the main resort. I would recommend the hotel Anastasia and the resort of Stalis to anyone looking for a friendly, relaxed holiday to Greece.

Easter on the Algarve

19 May 2017

During the Easter holidays, we took a 7-night break to the Algarve in Portugal. We choose the resort of Albufeira which is roughly a 40-minute drive from Faro airport. We stayed at the Roca Belmonte Apartments on a self-catered basis in a 2-bedroom apartment. The complex is only small with approximately 19 rooms. Our room had been recently renovated and we were extremely satisfied with our choice. Very spacious, nice décor and very quiet. The apartments had a nice pool area with a small pool for young children and nice comfy sun loungers. During our stay, we often had the entire pool area to ourselves which felt like we had our own private villa. There was a small bar which served a good selection of drinks, there is no food menu which didn’t bother us as we generally ate lunch in the apartment and went out into Albufeira during the evening. There is no entertainment at the hotel which added to the quiet and relaxed atmosphere. We thought the lack of entertainment might be an issue with us having two young children but this did not bother them at all. The old town of Albufeira is roughly a 20-minute walk away, there is a large beach and numerous bars, restaurants and shops. The resort is quite lively in certain areas but generally has a nice old town feel to it and a nice big square surrounded by bars and restaurants. The apartments are about a 5-minute walk to two large supermarkets and the nearest bars and restaurants. Handy if you didn’t want to walk all the way into Albufeira old town. There is also a new town area of Albufeira known as Sao Joao, which has an area know as ‘The Strip’ and is the place to go for nightlife. We did not visit the area on this occasion but have been on previous visits. This area is roughly a 20-minute walk from the apartments. We went on a day trip to the area of Vilamoura, which is a resort with many golf courses and a nice marina and beach. Well worth a visit. The marina is surrounded by some lovely restaurants where you can sit an admire the yachts and is very relaxed with it being generally traffic free. The weather was generally sunny and warm all week during our stay with a few days when it was particularly windy. Still great considering it was April. We will certainly be returning to the Roca Belmonte Apartments again in the future and would recommend to anyone looking for a peaceful self-catered holiday, if you don’t mind a bit of a walk to the resort centre.

Sunny Costa Del Sol - June'16

20 December 2016

For the June 2016 half term holidays we decided to take an eight night break to the sunny Costa del Sol. We choose the resort of Benalmadena which is roughly a 15 minute drive from Malaga airport. We stayed at the recently refurbished Hotel Sirocco on a half board basis and were pleased to have the sea view room we requested. The room also offered great views over the hotel garden which was a nice quiet spot within the hotel complex. The hotel had a large pool area with a small pool for young children which was perfect for us with having two young girls. There are also grassed areas near to the pool with shade provided by some palm trees to escape the heat of the sun when you need it. The hotel has a large restaurant which had plenty of choice to suit all tastes and we never had any issues finding something we all liked. Plenty of tables for the guests so never had to wait around to be seated. There are plenty of activities during the day and evening at the hotel to keep all age groups occupied. The resort of Benalmadena has plenty to offer, a large beach which is a short walk from the hotel Sirocco, a nice marina which rates amongst the best in the world with numerous bars, restaurants and shops. We ate out one afternoon at the Metro Italian restaurant located in the Marina which is highly recommended. We caught a little train which takes you up to the area of Arroyo de la Miel which has a more Spanish feel and plenty of nice shops and restaurants. You can catch the train from here to Malaga or in the oppose direction to Fuengirola. We alighted off the little train at Tivoli World which is a theme park which will keep the children occupied for the day. Plus you can also catch a cable car which will take you up a mountain to give you a view right across the Costa del Sol. This was certainly one of the highlights of our trip. Also a must when in the area is to visit the lovely Mijas located up in the hills and can be reached by bus from Benalmadena. On route to Mijas you will also pass through Benalmadena old village which is also worth a visit too. This whitewashed village of Mijas is stunning, it has a tiny bullring, offers spectacular views and if you fancy a donkey ride you can even do that too! Benalmadena is close to the larger resort of Torremolinos. The beach here is huge and stretches for miles. Plenty of beach bars and restaurants to choose from and some really nice old parts of the resort which have a very Spanish feel to them. During my stay in Benalmadena I made the time to visit various hotels in the resort so can therefore recommend which ones are the best! I would recommend Benalmadena to anyone looking for a beach holiday with plenty of things to do for all age groups.

Costa Brava and Barcelona - July 2016

19 December 2016

For our summer holiday this year we decided to go to the Costa Brava and stayed in the resort of Malgrat de Mar which attracts a wide range of nationalities. We stayed at the recently refurbished Rosa Nautica hotel on a full board basis, which is located directly opposite the beach and close to the old town area of Malgrat. The hotel has a small outdoor pool so easy to keep the children under control and also offers a variety of evening entertainment to keep the little ones and grown-ups entertained. The food in the hotel restaurant is of a good standard and is one of the aspects many people comment on during their stay. The staff in the restaurant are extremely friendly and worked hard to ensure guests are promptly seated and food kept in plentiful supply. We had a decent sized room to accommodate the four of us which had a fantastic sea view across the Mediterranean. Fantastic to wake up to in the morning! In the resort of Malgrat itself there are plenty of shops, bars and restaurants around the old and new parts of town. There are tapas restaurants for those who want to try typically Spanish dishes and there are also many nice bars along the beach. Great if you have children as you can sit (for a bit at least!) and have a drink whilst your children play on the beach! A great day out for children is the nearby Marineland which also offers free return transport from the resort. There is a waterpark with areas to suit all age groups and various shows throughout the day to keep you all entertained. The great thing about Malgrat is that the town is on the train line into Barcelona which takes about 1 hour 20 minutes. The train also stops at Plaza Cataluna at the top of Las Ramblas in the city centre so very convenient. We walked down the famous Las Ramblas and stopped off to visit La Boqueria market. Very busy but without doubt worth a visit as the produce on sale is simply fantastic. We then wondered through the labyrinth of narrow shaded streets of the Gothic Quarter and admired the numerous old buildings on route. The streets open out into many squares one of which includes the beautiful Barcelona cathedral. We sat on the steps outside and listened to the music a local busker performed to an admiring audience. We then ventured down to the harbour area which has been redeveloped since my last visit and you can visit an aquarium or enjoy a drink or a bite to eat in one of the many bars/restaurants. I would recommend the Costa Brava to anyone who wants a holiday in the sun without a long flight. There are many beautiful resorts/towns in this area which I have visited and include Tossa de Mar and Girona to name but a few.

Cornwall – October 2016

08 November 2016

After deciding whether to stay in the UK or go abroad for the October ‘16 half term we opted to take a trip down to Cornwall as we enjoyed our visit there in the summer of 2011. We stayed at White Acres Holiday Park, a short drive inland from the popular resort of Newquay. The site is great for families with facilities including an indoor pool, playgrounds and activities for children during the daytime and evening. Plus, for adults there is a gym, spa bath and sauna. The site also boasts fishing lakes for anyone that is interested in this activity. On our previous holiday to Cornwall we had visited many places including Looe, Polperro, Fowey and Mevagissey. This time we wanted some new places to explore. The weather was great during our stay with a few days being rather warm for October which meant we could happily walk around without jackets. We only had one rainy day which was a perfect opportunity to take the girls to Newquay Aquarium. It’s not the biggest aquarium but still worth a visit on a wet day. We visited the National Trust Elizabethan manor house of Trerice, which will take you on a journey back in time and also allows you to enjoy the great outdoors in its garden. There are activities to keep the children entertained such as crafts and games to play in the garden. We visited the charming fishing village of Port Isaac, where you can sit on the beach and watch the local fisherman bring in the day’s catch. Any seafood lovers can then buy the fish from the local fish merchants based in the village. The village is also the set of the TV series Doc Martin and you can wander up the hill to see the cottage which is used on set. We then ventured to the resort of Polzeath and enjoyed lunch in the sunshine on the terrace of a great café/bar called TJs. The beach is stunning and very popular with surfers. There are surf schools too which cater for all age groups. Our next port of call was the town of Padstow, which is home to Rick Stein’s restaurants. They are so popular with people queuing out of the door! The town itself has a harbour surrounded by lots of nice pubs, cafes, restaurants and shops. You can also enjoy boat trips or walk around the bay to a beautiful beach. It was even warm enough to have a paddle in the sea! Towards the end of the week we visited St Michael’s Mount, which has a castle perched on top of a hill which can be reached by boat from the village of Marazion or via a causeway if the tide is out. The castle itself is great for exploring and you can admire stunning views across the coast towards Penzance. We then drove to the seaside town of St Ives which is voted as one of Cornwall’s top destinations and offers beautiful sandy beaches and clear blue waters. Its beauty attracts famous artists all your round and has everything you need for a great holiday. On our journey home we stopped off in Devon at our friends lovely B&B in South Malton called Sampson Barton Guest House. It’s full of fantastic original features and located in beautiful rural countryside. The hosts make your feel extremely welcome and you can also enjoy a superb dinner in the restaurant. Highly recommended! If you are looking for a holiday in the UK, I can book a range of accommodation types from hotels and cottages to caravan/lodge holiday parks. Plus, if you would prefer to avoid the long drive why not let me book you a flight to the likes of Newquay and arrange car hire for you to collect at the airport. Finally, we are certainly looking forward to visiting some new places and old favourites on our next venture down south.

My customer stories

Sent by Kerry Alldred

Paul areanged my delayed 50th birthday holiday with 7 ladies, all with competing diaries, so agreeing a date was difficult enough!! However, Paul was fantastic and got us the most beautiful resort and hotel in Portugal. Nothing was too much trouble, from booking, through to checking us in and printing our boarding passes. It made the whole holiday experince stressless. He even arranged a bottle of champagne on the flight over, it was such a treat. I could not recommend him enough, thank you so much.

Sent by Sarah Wint

Paul as always is brilliant with this knowledge and service. Thank you again!

Sent by Christine Wealleans

Paul has been very helpful with moving holiday dates and coping with the extended family bookings.

Sent by Claire Cash

Paul has been a pleasure to deal with through the whole process. Very knowledgeable, efficient and approaches each enquiry with genuine care & enthusiasm

Sent by Nicholas Wealleans

We have used Paul's services a number of times and cannot recommend him highly enough. Booking a holiday is no longer a chore, it's actually quite enjoyable

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Sent by Stephen Barcas

I know Paul Westhead as a a business aquaintance from our local independant business club. I had received good feed back from other memebers in our group who Paul had arranged there family holidays. Paul had suggested destinations for my planned romantic birthday holiday break for my girlfriend, Paul arranged this very efficientley. I would recommend Paul and Travel Counsellors to friends and family.

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Sent by David Mclennan

I have booked numerous things (flights, hotels, transfers, activities, entire packages) through Paul over the past couple of years and he always provides excellent service. I have already recommended him to friends, family and colleagues and I will continue to do so.

Sent by Margaret Walsh

Paul has spent many hours searching for holidays for my husband and I and our family, we have always been so pleased with what he’s found,, from totally chilled hotel days on our own to villa family holidays I’d recommend him to anyone you won’t be disappointed

Sent by Caroline Catterall

Would have no hesitation in asking Paul for his assistance again. He has gone above and beyond expectation and cannot thank him enough

Sent by David Hodson

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Sent by Nick Wealleans

We have just return from a 2 week break booked through Paul and could not be happier. From the start he was attentive, listening to our requirements and selecting suitable locations/accommodation. Nothing was too much trouble and the final holiday was extremely competitive in price. Before we left Paul had prepared a pack with all the documentation we would need and really took away any of the usual travel stresses. I cannot recommend his services highly enough and will definitely be back for more bookings, quite soon if the wife gets her way! Thanks again Paul.

Sent by Joanne Glenn

We had a number of needs when booking our holiday and Paul worked continuously to ensure that we have the right holiday to meet these needs. A very reliable and friendly service, thank you!

Sent by Debbie Marshall

Hugely impressed with the service from searching for our holiday right up to travelling. Would definitely use again.

Sent by Nicholas Wealleans

From the first point of contact to finally paying a deposit Paul made life very easy. He understood what we were looking for and was more than happy to make any necessary amendments. We will definitely use him again.

Sent by Kathryn Diamond

This is the second trip I have booked with Paul and wouldnt go anywhere else. His customer service is top level and he is always happy to help.

Sent by Jacqueline Skinner

Excellent, knowledgable and very timely service provided by Paul

Sent by Helen Mason

Paul offered a professional, friendly and quick service which took the hassle and time out of finding a suitable destination and searching for a holiday. Would definitely recommend.

Sent by L Cooper

Paul's been brilliant! Takes all the hassle out of booking holidays. I recommended him to my friend and she uses Paul now to book all of her cruises! He has also booked our holiday to Crete so far this year. It helps because he know places so well!

Sent by Tracey Ralph

Paul went the extra mile for us and finding the right holiday for our family. He took all the stress of booking away from us and the service he provided was fantastic. I will book with Paul again!

Sent by Elizabeth Cooper

Wow, great service - my holiday was done and dusted within hours with absolutely no hassle at all. I would thoroughly recommend Paul, thank you!

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Paul was really helpful and helped us find the perfect hols. It’s reassuring that I know he is on the other end of the phone if we have any issues or questions

Sent by Rebekka Stabler

Paul has been excellent and has got us a holiday with all our requests that we asked for. He was very efficient and gave us his searches within 24 hours. He took the stress out of searching and found a better holiday than I could, for the budget we had.

Sent by Anthony Mundy

The service I received was excellent and I have already recommended Paul to 4 people, 1 who I know has already booked a holiday with you!

Sent by Kenny Lawler

My wife and I had been through quite a stressful time supporting our disabled daughters and having stressful jobs. Time is taken up at home seeing to the children, so it's not easy to sit down and spend hours finding a dream holiday - which we very much needed. To our extreme delight, that's where Paul Westhead came in. He made everything really easy and stress-free. From our initial conversation about what sort of holiday we were looking for, right through to landing back home, Paul was there for us all the way through. His support was a blessing. We were looking for somewhere that was family friendly, which had entertainment for the children, with a nice place for us to relax both day and night. We gave him an idea of what our budget was and Paul found the perfect resort for us which catered for all our needs, with a price that was very competitive. We were able to contact Paul day and night with any questions we had and we always received a swift and helpful response. Communication was extremely good with Paul and he ensured we were given all the information required about our flights and apartment as soon as it was ready for us and in a very simplistic way, which made things really easy. We feel Paul went the extra mile for us. It's very clear he's very experienced in his line of work and it is very clear he cares for the people he provides his service for. Will definitely be working with Paul, again! Many thanks from a very happy and relaxed family!

Sent by Mary Loach

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Sent by Ian Beeston

Cannot find fault with any of the service provided.

Sent by Andrew Mclennan

Paul was super helpful and accommodating during the whole booking process. I needed to change details at the last moment and Paul quickly helped coordinate a new travel itinerary. Paul understood I was busy at work and so he took the stress out of finding the perfect flight/accommodation options.

Sent by Sharon Machon

Great support for all the arrangements, thanks.

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Very professional and personal service

Sent by Michelle Woodrow

Thanks to Paul Westhead at travel counsellors for booking our summer holiday to Corfu! Fantastic to have you listen to our needs, search and select top 5 hotels for us to pick from..made a usually endless frustrating search on an evening - into an exciting & much shorter process!

Sent by Helen Mason

Friendly, professional and personal service - thank you!

Sent by Lee Kinsey

I heard about Paul through friends and was more than happy for him to find me the holiday I was looking for. Great personal service without the hassle of running round yourself. Will definitely use Paul for all future holidays.

Sent by J Magnall

Paul was exceedingly helpful and was happy moving at our speed when booking our trip. He never rushed us into a decision and gave us plenty of thinking time. Would definitely book with Paul again!

Sent by David Mclennan

Thank you Paul Westhead for organising and booking our trip, and even checking us in for our flight. Top service!

Sent by D Hodson

Excellent service.

Sent by D Beeston

I found Paul to be very helpful in finding us just the right holiday we have been looking for. We had been planning to visit Carcassonne for some time but just didn't get round to doing it. However having Paul do all the planning for us was brilliant and we are really looking forward to our trip.