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Our first publication of 2024 looks forward to an exciting year of cultural experiences across the globe, and we have curated a selection of tours that we hope will inspire ACE travellers to explore the richness and beauty of the world's cultural tapestry.

 

 

Spring

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Crete: Birds, Flowers & Minoans

30 April - 7 May, 2024

With Kevin Hand

 

Enjoy breathtaking views and abundant spring wildlife on this exploration of the Cretan landscape. Seek out plant and birdlife on the Lassithi Plateau, at the precipitous Samaria Gorge, and at the Minoan palace at Knossos. Our tour coincides with Orthodox Easter, and we will take in local celebrations during our stay.

 

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Dutch Masters: Rembrandt & His Legacy

13 - 18 May, 2024

With Rupert Dickens

 

Learn about the life and works of Rembrandt and explore the Netherlands’ later contributions to art history through the prism of his legacy, focusing on Van Gogh and Mondrian. Visits include Rembrandt’s beautifully restored house and studio and the grand Mauritshuis in The Hague.

 

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Houses & Gardens of Northern Ireland

17 - 22 May, 2024

With Cosmo Samuel Brockway

 

Explore some of Northern Ireland’s most magnificent stately homes with a special focus on private homes and gardens not often open to the public, from Baronscourt and Ballywalter Park to the eccentric Castle Ward with its opposing classical and Gothic façades.

 

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Jewels of the Loire: Châteaux & Gardens

21 - 28 May, 2024

With Andrew Spira

 

Discover the magnificent treasure houses of the French kings from the peak of the Renaissance, and delight in their world-famous gardens - from Chenonceau to Villandry. A special highlight will be an overnight stay at the luxurious La Borde en Sologne Château & Spa, an exquisitely restored 17th century château.

 

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Summer

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Buxton International Festival

5 - 10 July, 2024

With Russell Keable

 

In the pretty spa town of Buxton, take in a range of performances at one of the UK's most stimulating arts festivals. Highlights will include Verdi's Ernani, historically one of the composer's most popular operas, alongside Haydn’s La Canterina and Handel’s oratorio The Triumph of Time and Truth.

 

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Art & Landscape in Switzerland

8 -13 July, 2024

With Suzanne Fagence Cooper

 

The Alpine peaks and elegant cityscapes of Switzerland have long captured the imaginations of travellers and artists. Explore internationally important collections from the dedicated Paul Klee museum in Bern to the kinetic sculptures at the Museum Tinguely, and revel in the beauty of the surrounding lakes and mountains.

 

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Art & Ceramics of the Industrial Revolution

5 - 9 August, 2024

With Lars Tharp

 

Study the rich history of the ceramics industry in Staffordshire and Shropshire with visits to factories and potteries, and discover the unique assembly of architecture and museums that chart the story and legacy of the Industrial Revolution.

 

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Lucca Puccini Festival

21 - 25 August, 2024

With Sandy Burnett

 

In the warm summer air at the grand open-air theatre on the banks of Lake Massaciuccoli, we will attend three performances at this celebrated opera festival: La BohèmeTosca and Turandot – all firm favourites among the Puccini's repertoire. 

 

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Autumn

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Scottish Art & Craft in Edinburgh & Dundee

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2 - 7 September, 2024

With Sarah Burles

 

Explore Scottish art - from Sir Henry Raeburn to the Scottish Colourists and Glasgow Boys - with visits to important collections including the superb new permanent galleries devoted to the country’s art at the Scottish National Gallery, and the impressive new waterfront V&A Dundee.

 

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Turin: Art & Architecture of the Kingdom of Savoy

24 - 30 September, 2024

With Sarah Burles

 

From its history as the capital of the Duchy of Savoy to the intellectual centre of the Risorgimento and later as the Capitale dell’automobile, explore the artistic treasures of Turin in its churches, galleries and palazzi - from the Turin shroud in the Palazzo Reale to the rooftop gallery at the Lingotto car factory.

 

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Wildlife of Albania

4 - 11 October, 2024

With Kevin Hand

 

Surrounded by forests and mountain peaks, the tectonic lakes of Ohrid and Prespa are home to several species found nowhere else in the world, whilst the varied habitats along the Albanian Riviera shelter a multitude of wetland birdlife. During a boat trip on Great Prespa Lake to Maligrad Island, we will keep watch for the lake’s most famous residents, the Dalmatian pelican.

 

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The Riviera di Levante

10 - 17 October, 2024

With Christopher Wellington 

 

For centuries the maritime republics of Italy dominated the Mediterranean. These powerful city-states were fiercely competitive, and our tour will trace the history of their stormy rivalries and the art and architecture they produced, as we make our way along the Riviera di Levante (‘coast of the rising sun’) between Genoa and Pisa.

 

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Winter

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Oxford College Chapels & Organs

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23 - 25 October, 2024

With Nicholas Wearne

 

Explore several Oxford colleges and hear private recitals given on the chapel organs. New for 2024 will be a visit to Lady Margaret Hall, and to Brasenose College which will this year welcome a new Romantic-style organ built into the chapel’s historical casework.

 

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From Bologna to Parma: A Feast for the Soul & Senses

11 - 17 November, 2024

With Andrew Spira

 

Both centres of intellectual and artistic learning for centuries, explore the cultural and gastronomic highlights of Bologna and Parma with excursions along the way to graceful Mantua and the walled Renaissance town of Sabbioneta.

 

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Bruges

28 October - 1 November, 2024

With Sarah Burles

 

Take in the delightful medieval town of Bruges, characterised by its fine churches, canals and cobbled streets, and discover the works of the Flemish Primitives, including Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling, with visits to the Groeningemuseum and the recently reopened Memling Museum at the Hospital of St John.

 

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Vienna 1900

12 - 17 November & 19 - 24 November, 2024

With Alex Koller

 

The dawn of the 20th century saw a dazzling burst of creativity in Vienna, with innovations in art, architecture, literature, music and science. Trace these changes from the 19th century imperial city to the period post-World War One, focusing on the works of the Secessionists and the Wiener Werkstätte.

 

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