Summer may not have even begun (and who knows if it ever will) but before we know it autumn leaves will be falling, the Pimm's will be heading back into the cupboard for another year and the pervading pong of barbecue will have faded from the air. A stark reality we're sure you'll agree. And when it comes to staving off the post-summer blues, organisation is very much the key to success, the early bird absolutely catches the worm and failure to prepare will undoubtedly prove to be preparation for failure. In short, it's time to start thinking about an autumn escape, whether chasing the sun for one final dose of vitamin D, undertaking a cultural adventure or broadening your culinary horizons...
Delights of the Douro Valley, Portugal
Portugal's UNESCO-protected Douro Valley is a far cry from the stereotypical view that we Brits have of this country, with its meandering river, steep hillsides and picturesque vineyard terraces. While the summer months are hot like Hades, autumn brings beautifully balmy temperatures which are perfect for exploring the region; be sure to take an afternoon to cruise along the river on a delightfully restored 1950s boat, enjoying local cheeses and wine as you soak up the landscape around you.
A Touch of Truffle Hunting in Tuscany, Italy
Enjoy the Tuscan countryside in all its autumnal glory with a spot of truffle hunting in the protected forest around San Giovanni D'Asso near Siena. These days, dogs are the chosen truffle sniffers because of their keen sense of smell and lack of desire to munch the precious prizes... unlike their pig predecessors. Porkers. After a couple of hours foraging in the forest, return to your hotel replete with ingredients ready to be cooked for you by the hotel's chefs. Delizioso.
An Alternative Safari Adventure in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe may have a chequered history but it's staging a major comeback. Not only is the guiding the best in Africa but with regions like Hwange National Park, famous for its huge numbers of elephant, and Mana Pools, a beautiful and unspoilt corner of Zimbabwe sitting on the mighty Zambezi River, the wildlife encounters are also second to none. Our very own tame ex-safari guide, Matt, has just returned and described it as 'a hidden gem, offering an amazing experience in some beautiful wilderness areas'. High praise indeed.
Feed your Culinary Curiosity in Oaxaca, Mexico
Burritos, quesadillas, tamales, tacos - Mexico is home to some of the most drool-worthy cuisine on the planet, all of which can be sampled in the country's epicurean epicentre, Oaxaca. For a flavour of the real Mexico (see what we did there?) we can arrange market tours and cookery classes, not to mention trips to nearby San Dioniso Ocotepec, home to distilleries brewing the finest mescal, tequila's cleaner, classier cousin.
Fall in Love with New England, USA
Fall, or autumn as we say in the old country, is the best time to be in New England. Whale watching, sailing, trekking, art, food - New England's highlights read like an all-you-can-eat buffet of travel gold. Boston is a must with its distinctly European feel, intellectual vibe and fantastic night life. From there, explore the glorious beaches of Cape Cod, the green pastures of Vermont or head to Nantucket, complete with quaint clapboard houses and clam shacks, where Boston and New York's social elite vacation. All permeated by the beautiful golden brown hues of autumn - picture perfect.
Turn it up to 11 in New Zealand
Bold statement alert (not our first): New Zealand is the ultimate luxury holiday destination. Not only is it the adventure capital of the world (kayaking, biking, zip wiring, horse riding... the list goes on) but there is plenty else besides, from iconic scenery to sensational food and wine, Maori cultural experiences and some of the most luxurious lodges and hotels of anywhere on the planet. Nuff said.