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from Aberdeen to the Arctic

A unique combination of Polar Bear, Whales, Pack Ice and British Birding!

Destinations
Focus
2025 Dates
  • 31 May - 09 Jun 2025
Duration10 Days
2025 Price
Based on sharing quad cabin £3195 pp
No single supplement. Deposit £1600
More Info

Extend your holiday by taking a further 7 nights aboard in Svalbard at great prices. See 'itinerary' for details.

This thrilling voyage promises to be an unforgettable adventure, as we visit some of the most remote and inaccessible northern locations to experience the wildlife of the North Atlantic in spring, amidst awe-inspiring scenic landscapes. Enjoy some key 'bucket-list' experiences as we combine birding for migrants on Fair Isle with the cetaceans and seabirds of the open north Atlantic Ocean, and the thrill of Polar Bears, Walrus and Arctic birding on Svalbard. Our journey begins in Aberdeen, and we are able to offer extremely good value prices. You may extend by a further seven nights aboard, or take our exclusive extension in Svalbard at the end of the tour, see itinerary for details. As always, Heatherlea will tailor your polar experience to help you join smoothly in Aberdeen, and to return you to the UK airport of your choice (ATOL Protected).

You certainly don't need to be a birder to enjoy this adventure, lovers of all wildlife, scenery and thrilling Arctic experiences will be delighted; this is a unique, exciting and rewarding holiday!

Reserve the cabin of your choice with a low initial deposit!

Beginning in Aberdeen, we sail north to Fair Isle, halfway between Orkney and mainland Shetland. This is a mecca for British birders, with rarities and a variety of seabirds expected at the time of our visit.

Next we visit the remote Norwegian volcanic island of Jan Mayen, home to thousands of Arctic seabirds including substantial breeding colonies of Little Auk and Brünnich's Guillemot. As we head further north, there are excellent chances of Bowhead, Humpback, Blue, Fin and Minke Whales before we reach the edge of the polar pack ice and Svalbard, only 600 miles from the North Pole. The pack ice and Svalbard itself are of course a major feature of the holiday, home to Polar Bear, Walrus, Arctic Fox, Svalbard Reindeer and a variety of exceptional Arctic birdlife. We hope for excellent views of bears, perhaps even with cubs at this time.

Polar Bear seen on this tour in May 2022!

 

We expect to see many of these;

BIRDS: Red-throated Diver, Fulmar, Pink-footed Goose, Barnacle Goose, Common Eider, Long-tailed Duck, Ptarmigan, Ringed Plover, Sanderling, Purple Sandpiper, Grey Phalarope, Pomarine Skua, Arctic Skua, Long-tailed Skua, Great Skua, Sabine’s Gull, Glaucous Gull, Kittiwake, Ivory Gull, Arctic Tern, Common Guillemot, Brünnich’s Guillemot, Black Guillemot, Little Auk, Puffin, Purple Sandpiper and Snow Bunting. There is also the distinct possibility of rarities for your British List on Fair Isle, and of King Eider in Svalbard.

MAMMALS: Polar Bear, Arctic Fox, Svalbard Reindeer, Walrus, Bearded Seal, Ringed Seal, Harp Seal, Common Seal, and cetaceans perhaps including Bowhead, Humpback, Blue, Fin and Minke Whale, with the possibility of Beluga in Svalbard.

Your holiday includes return travel to Oslo. Flights to the UK can be added, please contact us for a quotation.

DISCLAIMER Please note: Most clients join this tour to see Polar Bears and Walrus, and while we have every chance, there are other tours which offer even better chances, though they work out more expensive. Joining the extension (see itinerary), involving a second voyage based completely in Svalbard means you will have maximum chances of bears and Walrus, and our 'around Svalbard' tour also spends much more time in the region where these fantastic mammals are found. Having said this, we did find three bears in both 2022 and 2023, and enjoyed good long views of Walrus from land on both tours.

We must also point out that all landings are subject to weather including sea conditions. It is possible that any landing may not be possible, including Fair Isle and Jan Mayen. Please view this holiday as a genuine adventure, where we are very isolated in the northern Atlantic, and where the unexpected frequently happens! We suggest you read our Trip Reports before deciding if this unforgettable experience is right for you!

Because international transfers are minimised, we are able to offer very attractive pricing and a choice of two exciting extensions, allowing you to either enjoy a night on land in Longyearbyen, or stay aboard for a further seven nights cruising Svalbard on very advantageous terms.

Walrus seen on this tour in June 2023!
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PRICES (2025 dates).
Fully inclusive of cruise, international flight Longyearbyen - Oslo, and our office and guiding services.

All quoted per person in shared cabins:

                                         2025 dates

Quad. Porthole               £3195
Triple Porthole               £3545   
Twin Porthole                 £3945
Twin Window                  £4145
Twin De Luxe                  £4395
Superior                          £4795   
Junior Suite                     £5045
Grand Suite                     £5325

Singles - please consider sharing with people of the same gender, this works very well in comfortable accommodation on this voyage. 

Friendly and experienced Heatherlea Guides and Expedition Guides will be excited to share their knowledge and enthusiasm, and we will be flexible in our itinerary, paying close attention to weather and ice, changing course and using inflatable zodiacs amongst the ice-floes, and spending as much time ashore as possible. Expect a friendly, intimate atmosphere in a cosy and comfortable onboard environment.

OUR VESSEL                               M/V Hondius

All cabins in the M/V Hondius are comfortable and nicely decorated, but not luxurious. It is made for explorers! Cabins have either window or porthole, private shower and toilet, desk and chair, flatscreen TV, telephone and internet connection, hair dryer and ample storage space. Click here for full ship information, and after consulting the deck plan, contact us to reserve the specific cabin of your choice!

Passengers:           170 in 80 cabins

Staff & crew:         57

Length:                   107.6 meters

Breadth:                 17.6 meters

Draft:                       5.3 meters

Ice class:                 Polar Class 6 (equivalent 1A-Super)

Displacement:       5,590 tonnes

Propulsion:            2 x ABC main engines; total 4,200 kW

Speed:                    15 knots

The M/V Hondius offers high-quality accommodation for 170 passengers in six grand suites with balconies (27 square meters, 291 square feet), eight junior suites (19 to 20 square meters, 205 to 215 square feet), eight superior cabins (20 to 21 square meters, 215 to 226 square feet), 11 twin deluxe cabins, (19 to 21 square meters, 205 to 226 square feet), 14 twin window cabins (12 to 14 square meters, 129 to 151 square feet) as well as 27 twin porthole cabins, two triple porthole cabins, and four quadruple porthole cabins that vary in size from 12 to 18 square meters, or 129 to 194 square feet.

Please be aware that a small number of cabins may have a partially obstructed view due to the design requirements of the ship. The best view is always on the outer deck or the bridge.

One deck consists of a large observation lounge and separate lecture room, which are reserved for a wide variety of interactive workshops, exhibitions, and performances particular to Hondius. Though elegantly designed in stylish mid-century modern décor, this vessel holds true to Oceanwide’s distinctive cosy and informal atmosphere.

To give you the maximum contact with the nature and wildlife you travelled so far to see, we employ a tough fleet of rigid-hull inflatable Zodiac boats that guarantee swift and safe landing operations for the passengers. Hondius has two separate gangways and a sheltered indoor Zodiac boarding are that can also be used for special outdoor activities, such as kayaking.

 

 

Pre-itinerary This is an ‘open-jaw’ voyage, beginning in Aberdeen and ending in Svalbard. You might fly, drive or take the train to join in Aberdeen. Call our office and we will help plan your ideal journey. 

The quoted holiday price includes return flight from Longyearbyen to Oslo. Flights from Oslo back to UK can be added depending on your preferred destination, please contact us for quotation.

Day 1: Saturday 31 May 2025                                                            Aberdeen
We recommend you travel to Aberdeen on Monday 27 May, ready to embark M/V Hondius in the afternoon. Once settled, we will gather for our first briefing, and the first of many a delicious dinner. Birding might include terns, gulls, auks and skuas as we set sail northwards!

Day 2: Sunday 1 June                                                                   Fair Isle
This iconic location is perhaps at its most exciting in spring, and just about anything might be here today! Birding for rarities in local island hotspots is often rewarding. Commoner seabirds including Puffin, Great Skua and Arctic Skua are very accessible, and with birding as we approach and leave the island, you will have a good list of auks, skuas, gulls and terns before we leave British waters. This might be the easiest way to visit Fair Isle, as sadly the famous Bird Observatory was destroyed by fire in 2019, though a new building is currently under construction. 

Days 3 and 4: Monday 2 and Tuesday 3 June                                    At sea  
We sail north to the Norwegian island of Jan Mayen, situated 300 nautical miles north-east of Iceland. During our two days at sea there will be plenty of time to watch for the blow of a Minke, Fin or Blue Whale, which could herald a rewarding encounter with these gentle giants. Perhaps we might run into a pod of Orca, which can often be quite curious about boats such as ours.

Day 5: Wednesday 4 June                                                                 Jan Mayen
This is a volcanic island of breath-taking beauty and mystique, dominated by Mt Beerenberg. From the slopes of the 2300m volcano, impressive glaciers spill into the sea, and the black sands show its volcanic origins. Until recently, the island was off-limits as it is a military base, and was rarely visited by tourists, but with permission from the Norwegian authorities we hope to visit the weather station. If weather allows, we will walk across the island towards Kvalrossbukta to look at the remains of a 17th century Dutch whaling station and a substantial colony of Fulmar and Little Auk.

Days 6, 7 & 8: Thurs 5, Fri 6 & Sat 7 June       On the edge of Arctic ice
In the midnight sun, we sail north along the edge of the sea-ice, looking out for Bowhead Whale, Harp Seal, Polar Bear and a variety of seabirds, until about 79 North, then we sail east to the edges of the continental shelf off West Spitsbergen, where we have good chances to see Fin Whale, and near the mouths of the big Spitsbergen fjords, Minke Whale.

Day 9: Sunday 8 June                                                                  Svalbard
Depending on the position of sea-ice, we cruise the maze of fjords in the spectacular Hornsund area of southern Spitsbergen, which is ringed by towering mountain peaks, which show why early Dutch explorers gave the name 'Spitsbergen' - pointed mountains - to the island. There are magnificent glaciers in the area, and the scenery is nothing short of spectacular. The area is of course renowned for its abundant and varied Arctic wildlife. We have good chances of seeing seals and of course the very symbol of the Arctic - Polar Bear. Bearded Seals often cruise the inner fjords, whose cliffs are lined with colonies of Brünnich's Guillemot, Puffin (the world’s largest individuals) and Kittiwake. On this voyage our best views of auks will perhaps come at sea. On the tundra we will have good opportunities to observe foraging Barnacle Geese, and while passerines are few, there are good numbers of Purple Sandpiper and Snow Bunting. We expect to look for Walrus at Poolepynten or at another convenient haulout. There are good chances of King Eider.

Day 10: Monday 9 June                                                           Svalbard
We disembark in Longyearbyen, the administrative centre of Spitsbergen, for flights south to Oslo and then onwards to the UK. Transfer to the airport is included, and if flight times allow, we will visit the town of Longyearbyen briefly. Should you wish to join us for a little longer in the town, we offer an extra night's stay and a couple of walks, see below. 

LONGYEARBYEN extension (one night, Monday 9 June)
Many of our clients enjoy visiting the quaint little town of Longyearbyen, and this short extension allows you some extra time here, in the company of at least one Heatherlea Guide. We transfer from MV Hondius to the town and drop bags at our comfortable hotel. In good weather, a birding walk will be offered, and though limited, there is very interesting birdlife to observe. Snow Bunting sing from the rooftops, and flutter around the buildings. There are Purple Sandpiper, Barnacle Geese and Ptarmigan (these can be 'scoped' from the streets!), Common and possibly King Eider, Glaucous and possibly Ivory Gull, Kittiwake, Arctic Skua and more, perhaps including new birds for the tour. Arctic Fox are seen in the town on occasion, and Svalbard Reindeer are common. For those wishing to experience the culture of Svalbard, there are two fine museums, an art gallery, the world's northernmost church, a brewery, and a range of interesting shops, see more here! Your accommodation and breakfast are included, and other meals can be taken at your leisure. Morning transfer to the airport is also included on Day 11: Tuesday 10 June. One night at a comfortable hotel in Longyearbyen. 

PRICE: TBC
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North Spitsbergen - in the realm of the Polar Bear! extension (seven nights)
You may wish to extend your holiday by remaining aboard Hondius, and continuing with a second voyage based entirely in Svalbard. You may stay in your allocated cabin (or move to another if prebooked), and during the next voyage, explore the rugged coastline and fjords of this magical land. We have negotiated very advantageous prices for this voyage as an extension, and of course your entire trip is covered by our services including ATOL Protection.

This second voyage offers hikes on shore twice per day (subject to weather, ice and bears), and you can choose from various options to best suit your fitness and ability level. There will be very easy beach walking (good for photographers), and a range of easy, medium and challenging long hikes. Alternatively of course, you might choose to stay close to your zodiac on shore, or remain aboard the M/V Hondius and just relax and enjoy the comfortable facilities.

EXTENSION PRICES (seven nights aboard): TBC

At the end of a long Arctic winter, spring is starting to awaken. The climate, however, still clings to the cold: ice-covered mountains, snow-swept shores, temperatures around –4° C (25°F). It’s a good time to experience the last of the winter scenery, and with a little luck, also see Polar Bear, Walrus and seals into the bargain. Birding is fascinating, with cliff-nesting birds arriving daily, and many birds seen in the coastal areas, on the water and on the wing.

Day 10: Monday 9 June 2025                       Largest town, biggest island
Instead of making a transfer to the airport, those staying for the second voyage can choose to visit Longyearbyen, the largest settlement and administrative centre of Spitsbergen. You can stroll around this former mining town, whose parish church and museum make fascinating attractions. Birds might include Glaucous Gull, Purple Sandpiper, 'Svalbard' Ptarmigan, Arctic Tern, Snow Bunting, Brent, Pink-footed and Barnacle Goose, Northern ('Borealis') Eider, Little Auk and also short-legged Svalbard Reindeer, Arctic Fox and perhaps flowering Svalbard Poppy close to the town.

You rejoin Hondius late this afternoon, and sail north up the west coast in early evening. 'Blue' Fulmar, Puffin, and Brünnich’s Guillemot can be expected.

Day 11: Tuesday 10 June Kongsfjorden, Blomstrandhalvøya, Krossfjorden
Blomstrandhalvøya is located on the northern side of the fjord, offering shelter and room to change plan according to weather. The landscape is likely to show signs of winter, with crags and slopes still blanketed with snow. Here there are rich opportunities to visit places of historic interest including Ny London, where you can see the remains of early 20th-century marble mining, and Ny Ålesund, one of the northernmost settlements on Earth. Once a mining village served by the world’s most northerly railway – you can still see its tracks – Ny Ålesund is now a research centre. Close to the community is a breeding ground for Barnacle and Pink-footed Geese, and Arctic Tern. In the evening, we head north along the west coast and spend the night in the sheltered surroundings of Krossfjorden, with views of colossal glaciers and lofty mountain peaks, though the extent of fjord ice dictates the itinerary here.

Day 12: Wednesday 11 June                       Exploring the North West
Next we head toward Amsterdamoya, where you may see the remains of a 17th-century whaling station, and enjoy the beautiful scenic panorama of Smeerenburgsleta. In the afternoon, we make for the islands around Fair Haven, home to a small colony of Puffin, Brünnich’s Guillemot, and other wildlife including Arctic Fox and Snow Bunting. Nearby Fuglesangen may also offer the chance to see Little Auks flying overhead as they return to their nests among the rocks.

Day 13: Thursday 12 June                                     Rugged Raudfjorden
We sail to Raudfjord on the north coast of West Spitsbergen, a beautiful fjord dominated by spectacular glaciers and favoured by Ringed and Bearded Seal. The cliffs and shoreline of the fjord also support thriving seabird colonies and a surprisingly rich vegetation, which flourishes in sheltered spots. Polar Bear are frequently seen here.

Day 14: Friday 13 June                  The stunning sights of Liefdefjorden
Depending on the weather we may sail to the mouth of Liefdefjorden and go ashore for a walk on the tundra island of Andøya. Many Common Eider and Pink-footed Goose nest here, and rarer King Eider may also be seen. We hope to sail into Liefdefjorden, cruising near the 5km long face of the impressive Monaco Glacier. The waters of the glacier face are a favourite feeding spot for thousands of Kittiwake, and on previous voyages Polar Bear have been seen on the glacier, providing wonderful opportunities for photography.

Day 15: Saturday 14 June                         North Spitsbergen splendours
This is our reserve day for activities around North Spitsbergen. Weather and wildlife permitting, we will choose the right location for another day of splendid outdoor adventures.

Day 16: Sunday 15 June                   Forlandsundet or St. Johns Fjord
Forlandsundet, between the main island of Spitsbergen and narrow Prins Karls Forland, is a place of great beauty and fascinating wildlife. Walruses sometimes haul out here, and seabirds can be found around Fuglehuken. We may also see walrus populations around Sarstangen and Poolepynten. Alternatively, we might sail into St. Johns Fjord or south to the mouth of Isfjorden, landing at Alkhornet. Seabirds nest on these cliffs, Arctic foxes search below for fallen eggs and chicks, and reindeer graze the sparse vegetation. Reindeer may seem unbothered by human presence, but this is not really the case. The animals must survive the harsh winter, when temperatures plummet and food is hard to find, so they preserve what energy they can, fleeing only when it is absolutely necessary. In the afternoon we cruise through beautiful Borebukta, following a glacier face before continuing to Longyearbyen.

Day 17: Monday 16 June                      There and back again
Even the greatest journeys eventually come to an end! Today we disembark in Longyearbyen, taking the flight back to the UK via Oslo.

Please note: all itineraries are given as a guide only. Actual holiday content may vary according to the judgement of your guide, and elements beyond our control (eg weather).

What's included in your holiday price:

  • Full-board accommodation (as specified) during voyage. Includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and all excursions, talks and reports provided by Expedition Leaders.
  • Scheduled flight from Longyearbyen-Oslo, airport taxes, baggage and hand luggage up to airline-included limit.
  • Airport transfer in Longyearbyen, ground transportation during the cruise as specified.
  • The services of your Leader(s).
  • The services of our office, who will help you choose travel and hotel arrangements before and after your voyage. 
  • A 'Heatherlea Beanie'! The first item on the menu of international fashion, this little article of headgear will come in very handy. Wear your beanie with pride!

What's not included in your holiday price:

  • Travel to embarkation point in Aberdeen.
  • Hotels and activities prior to boarding.
  • Optional extension in Longyearbyen.
  • Holiday insurance, optional tips to ship's crew/other staff, drinks, and other personal expenses.
  • Hotel/onward travel from Oslo (these may be booked through our office).

More holiday information

Accommodation: is in comfortable, very well appointed cabins with en-suite facilities. See full details here.
Food: food on board is very good European cuisine, with a choice for all courses. Breakfast and lunch are usually an extensive buffet. There is a well stocked bar run by the crew's Hotel staff, who are efficient, courteous and very helpful.
Mobility/Walking: is generally light/moderate, and an average level of fitness is required. There are no lifts on MV Hondius, though if you are mobile enough to manage stairs, you should be able to enjoy all aspects of this holiday. Staff are patient and courteous, and assistance is provided at both ends of zodiac voyages, all of which are optional. Land conditions can be wet and slippery, with uphill and downhill gradients, though an option to engage in very little walking when ashore is usually available. 'Muck Boots' are provided and included in the quoted price. When on land all participants will be under the management of the Expedition Leader and their team, and must obey instructions which are there for your safety and benefit.
Weather: expect cold weather, though it can be surprisingly warm and pleasant. At this latitude bad weather is quite possible. Warm clothing is essential, though your large vessel offers more than adequate cover and warmth. Daytime temperatures can be around 5 - 6°C .
Insects: biting insects are not expected, though there will be flies on the boggy landscape. Little other insect life is expected.
Group size: you will part of a ship's complement of up to 108 clients. There is no restriction as to how many of these will be Heatherlea clients.
Holiday Payment: deposit payment of just £400pp secures your booking. Please take appropriate personal Travel Insurance to cover the possibility of your cancellation.
Photography: Opportunities are good to excellent, particularly for bears, Walrus, some birds and above all scenery.
 

Essential Information

TRAVEL TO ABERDEEN
The Group Meeting Point is at the vessel in Aberdeen. We will board in the afternoon of Day 1. Directions to the Meeting Point will be provided nearer the time. Pre-holiday hotel and car parking are not included, though these can be arranged if requested at the time of booking.

 

Oceanwide Leaders/Guides
The voyage will be under the supervision of a resident on-board Expedition Leader, plus expedition staff to a very high standard. We expect a number of expert naturalists to be among their number!

Field Notes

Summer at this latitude features generally settled weather, with light winds and perhaps a little rain. Temperatures should be between minus and plus 5 degrees Celsius. We spend two days entirely at sea as we travel north, though sea conditions are unlikely to be adverse. Days are long, and you can expect wildlife to appear at any hour. You will need waterproof boots, gaiters and wellies (full kit list provided nearer the time), and can expect maximum walking distances of around three miles, over moderate terrain (though of course most of the holiday is spent on the vessel). Biting insects are not expected. Due to the light, the dramatic landscape, and the quality and quantity of wildlife, this is an ideal location for photography.

The itinerary is given as a guide only. Actual holiday content may vary according to the judgement of our captain and crew, and elements beyond our control, especially weather.

A quick note about Polar Bears

Polar Bears make their way across the Arctic pack ice to Svalbard in winter, and our voyage gives us excellent chances of seeing them. Bears need frozen sea ice to hunt seals, and are great travellers. On this voyage we have chances of Bear as soon as we reach the pack ice, and then throughout our voyage. Nothing is guaranteed of course, although this is a very cost effective way of looking for Polar Bear!

PREVIOUS VISITS BY HEATHERLEA TO SVALBARD
Here are a couple of observations from Kenny Taylor, BBC Wildlife Expert on that voyage, and also from Heatherlea Guide Dylan Walker.

'A Midsummer's Ice Bear' - Kenny Taylor

'The sky is overcast, the cloud low, the ice white alongside the ship. The polar bear we’ve watched since very early in the morning  - a young adult, its coat yellowish and stained with seal blood down one leg - is now a few hundred metres away, moving very slowly over the frozen sea. I train a telescope on it, just in time to see it slip into a thin, dark gash of open water. The bear vanishes, then a few seconds later, its head emerges, and submerges.

There’s a seal hauled out near the channel, in the bear’s direction of travel. The bear surfaces again, now very close to the seal. The scene is like a frame from a cartoon – white bear head seen from behind, small, rounded ears prominent as it stares, motionless, at the equally motionless dark shape only metres away. But this is no comedy.

Slowly, slowly, the bear slips underwater once more. The seal dozes. Suddenly, there’s an explosion of water and bear from the far side of the slab of ice as the big predator, now facing in our direction, propels itself from the sea and lunges at the target. The seal escapes, but only just, as the bear cuffs the water, perhaps as an attack move, perhaps in frustration. After a pause, it moves on, still searching for food.

In not much more than a couple of hours, we’ve gone from the first, almost dreamlike impressions of the edge of the pack ice, to this first experience of a polar bear hunting within full view. There will be other bears and another hunt seen during the course of what will be a remarkable day’s journey. But it’s the first encounter and the first hunt that will stay in mind, as if etched in crystal, coloured in grey, white and glacial blue'.

'Awesome Encounters' - Heatherlea Guide Dylan Walker

'One of the things that struck me most about our Spitsbergen cruise was the inseparable link between the land and the sea. The impoverished islands of Svalbard are almost entirely reliant on the bountiful ocean to function. Seals, Polar Bears and seabirds may come ashore to breed, but they forage on ice and under water. Arctic Foxes rely on the eggs from seabird colonies, whilst the guano deposited by auks provides vital nutrients for Arctic plants, which are grazed by herds of Reindeer. We were lucky enough to see nearly all of the animals positioned at, or near, the top of that food chain – whales, seals, seabirds and, of course, Polar Bears!

In a European context, Spitsbergen is a first class destination for viewing marine mammals, as most species are almost impossible to see anywhere else. These include Bearded Seal, Harp Seal, Ringed Seal, Walrus, Beluga, and Polar Bear (which is classified as a marine mammal because it spends most of its time on sea ice).

I am sure that we all feel extremely privileged to have had such incredible encounters with these ‘rare’ mammals. Watching them in one of the harshest environments on Earth has only heightened my respect for these superb animals still further.'

Other birding and wildlife holidays in Norway

Why choose Heatherlea for your birding and wildlife holiday?

Our overseas holidays are planned with care to offer great birding and wildlife, led by capable Leaders who really look after you. Every holiday is run the 'Heatherlea Way', and we hope our Overseas Adventures remind you of the quality and care so many of you enjoy in Scotland. That means rewarding and exciting days in the field, and good quality accommodation and meals, with a real flavour of the country we are visiting. Heatherlea always seek to include the personal touches that make all the difference.

Heatherlea holidays are not ‘dawn to dusk’ expeditions. Our less-intensive approach is ideal for those who want to relax whilst experiencing the best wildlife watching, and wherever possible we organise early or late activity on an optional basis. We also take sensible breaks when in very hot places and regular comfort breaks on every holiday whenever possible. All itineraries are planned carefully around the best wildlife opportunities, and you won’t miss out on memorable wildlife, whilst enjoying relaxed, informal days that are great fun.

The really important part of any wildlife holiday is the experience for you, our valued customer. Heatherlea invest in many things to offer you the best possible service;

  • We have been organising birding and wildlife holidays for over 30 seasons, and have a highly experienced and capable office team. We also offer a telephone and email service outside normal office hours.
  • Heatherlea overseas holidays have a maximum of 12 clients per trip, putting the emphasis on personal service, and helping you get the best possible experience.
  • Our holidays often include things which others might invite you to pay yourself, for instance Departure Taxes and tips to hotels.
  • All elements of our holidays are sold under our own licence, ATOL 6113. Under ‘Flight-Plus’ legislation it is a legal requirement of any tour operator to hold an ATOL licence for the supply of any overseas holiday where a flight is involved, if that holiday includes either overseas accommodation and/or car hire. It can be a criminal offence for an operator to book flights as part of a package without an ATOL licence. Heatherlea also hold full Tour Operator Insurance for your added protection.
  • Heatherlea is your complete wildlife holiday provider. Our ‘Back Office’ team can organise all your pre-flight and other travel needs. Our specialists will help you book the right services, at the best price. Book holiday extensions through us, and your ATOL protection is extended further. We don’t charge extra for this service.
  • Heatherlea is a limited company, registered in Scotland, and registered to pay VAT (applies to all holidays within the European Union).

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About Heatherlea Holidays

Contact Information

The Mountview Hotel, Nethybridge,
PH25 3EB Scotland

T: +44(0)1479 821248

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