12 dream holidays to take now that we can travel again

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Photo credit: Experience Lake Louise on a Rocky Mountaineer tour. Peter Unger
Photo credit: Experience Lake Louise on a Rocky Mountaineer tour. Peter Unger

Dream holidays take you to the breathtaking places you've seen in magazines and on social media but have always wanted to experience for yourself.

They're ideal for ticking amazing places off your bucket list as you witness rare events, like wildlife encounters and natural phenomena, and visit heavenly destinations around the world.

Now that we can travel again, we thought we'd help inspire your post-pandemic travels by telling you about some of the exclusive, dream holidays we think you'll like.

Our carefully curated selection are one-of-a-kind, exclusive and give you the chance to travel with like-minded Good Housekeeping readers - as well as a few of your favourite celebrities.

From seeing Japan during the picture-perfect cherry blossom season to riding through Scotland's Hollywood-worthy scenery, these are the places to tick off your holiday wish-list. Check out the dream holidays to take this year and next.

1. Witness the Northern Lights in Norway

The Northern Lights are one of nature's phenomenons that you need to see to believe. With easy access to the natural light display that other parts of Europe don't offer, Norway is our top pick for a remote Aurora-hunting holiday, where you can search for the mysterious green lights on a cruise around the Lofoten Islands, Tromso, Bergen and the North Cape. What's more, you can experience the incredible sight in the company of TV star Carol Kirkwood this December.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Good Housekeeping's exclusive trip takes in the Northern Lights by cruise to give you the best possible viewings. We're so sure that you'll spot the displays that if you don't we'll give you another trip for free! Find out more about our winter trip with Strictly star and weather presenter Carol Kirkwood.

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Alternatively, you can experience the Northern Lights on an expedition cruise with legendary explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes this December.

2. Ride through natural scenery on Canada's Rocky Mountaineer

When it comes to the greatest train journeys in the world, Canada's Rocky Mountaineer train is up there with the Royal Scotsman and the Trans-Siberian Express. This epic train ride glides through the majestic Rocky Mountains, taking in superb destinations like Lake Louise, Jasper, Whistler and Calgary, while allowing you to spot amazing wildlife, such as grizzly bears, bald eagles, elk and big-horned sheep.

Photo credit: Rocky Mountaineer
Photo credit: Rocky Mountaineer

One of the best ways to experience the train is by starting with a city break in Vancouver, where you can explore one of the world's best places to live and enjoy its fabulous attractions and lifestyle. On Good Housekeeping's exclusive train tour, you'll start in Vancouver, ride the Rocky Mountaineer and spend time in Banff and Calgary for a true Canadian adventure.

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Alternatively, you can experience the Rocky Mountaineer's new USA route on a fabulous Southwest adventure, visiting multiple national parks and Las Vegas, too.

3. Sail the Caribbean's turquoise waters in style

A water-based journey around the Caribbean's most stylish islands is a must-have on everyone's bucket list. From Barbados to Dominica and the French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, you'll want to get to know the flavours, scenes and relaxed vibes of these idyllic islands. If you're after something royal-worthy, Bequia's the spot as the perfect alternative to Kate and William's favourite holiday destination Mustique - but more of a secret (and more fun).

Photo credit: Pawel Toczynski - Getty Images
Photo credit: Pawel Toczynski - Getty Images

A great spot for winter sun, the Caribbean is best explored on a luxury sailing trip: think on-board service, food and facilities that rival a private yacht. Square-rigged sailing vessel Golden Horizon offers a stylish way to get to know the islands, with the romance and heritage of a boutique cruise ship. Good Housekeeping's eight-day Caribbean escape takes in five beautiful Caribbean islands.

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Alternatively, you can try a nine-day cruise holiday that includes St Barts and St Lucia, or an eight-day holiday that visits St Vincent and Grenada.

4. Soak up the romance of Venice

One of the world's most romantic cities, Venice is a classic European hotspot. The enchanting destination is one every Italophile needs to visit at least one. There's St Mark's Square, Doge's Palace and Rialto Bridge to explore, plus more. Foodies will be in their element, with a visit to Rialto's food markets, and if you're looking to get out of the centre, you can venture to the islands of Burano and Murano to discover their colourful architecture.

Photo credit: Getty/Grafissimo
Photo credit: Getty/Grafissimo

Russell Watson is joining Good Housekeeping readers on a boutique music-themed cruise around Venice, where he will give a private talk and host an exclusive live concert.

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5. Make like Harry Potter in the Scottish Highlands

If you're looking for a staycation like nothing else, a trip to Scottish Highlands offers all the goods. Here, you can take to the spectacular 21-arch Glenfinnan Viaduct, which was a location of the Harry Potter films and take in the impressive sight of Britain's highest mountain, Ben Nevis, as you ride the Jacobite, one of the greatest railway journeys in the world.

Photo credit: Catuncia - Getty Images
Photo credit: Catuncia - Getty Images

The Highlands make for a great spot to experience Britain's wild beauty and Good Housekeeping's dream holiday is one way to see its glorious scenery on the steam train ride of your childhood dreams.

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6. Have the icy adventure of a lifetime in Antarctica

For a cold adventure like nothing else, Antarctica offers the dream holiday of a lifetime. Once a destination that was out of reach (and budget) for travellers, the most discerning of explorers can visit the incredible White Content on an expedition cruise in February. Making your way through Drake Passage, before attempting landings at several sites to show you the incredible diversity of landscapes and wildlife of Antarctica, this will be the most unforgettable trip you've ever taken.

Photo credit: David Merron Photography - Getty Images
Photo credit: David Merron Photography - Getty Images

From spotting orcas, humpback and minke whales, leopard seals and a variety of penguins up close, to having access to activity equipment, including trekking poles and kayaks, so you can experience life as a true explorer, Good Housekeeping's exclusive and sustainable trip with Antarctica expert Hurtigruten is one to book for a unique travel experience.

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7. Take in the beauty of the cherry blossom in Japan

A natural wonder that only occurs for a few weeks each spring, the Japanese cherry blossom is a seriously big deal and a must-have on your travel bucket list for its sheer beauty you can only truly appreciate by being there. Tokyo's parks offer many cherry blossom viewing opportunities, while you'll want to get out of the capital to see the flowers in bloom.

Photo credit: Shutterstock
Photo credit: Shutterstock

On Good Housekeeping's 14-day tour of Japan in spring 2022, you can see the stunning blooms in Osaka, Kyoto, Tokyo and Mount Fuji. You'll take in all the culture, experiencing sake tasting, a gold-leaf chopsticks class and more.

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8. Get to know the Caribbean-like Isles of Scilly

For a taste of the exotic at home, the picturesque Isles of Scilly, off mainland Cornwall, is a beautiful staycation spot. Its fans include the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who have holidayed here with their children, and the archipelago boasts glorious white sands, unspoilt nature and fabulous coastal walks.

Photo credit: Ashley Cooper - Getty Images
Photo credit: Ashley Cooper - Getty Images

One of the best ways to explore the isles of Tresco, St Mary's and Bryher is with top guide and nature expert Will Wagstaff, who will join you on a boat trip to spot seals and puffins, take you around Tresco's stunning Abbey Gardens and show you the wild beauty of Bryher. Good Housekeeping has a six-day tour, with various departures during the mildest seasons.

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9. Glide through the Swiss Alps on the Glacier Express

If you don't have the time or capacity to travel halfway across the world to experience a dream holiday, there's good news - you don't have to! Just a short hop away in Switzerland, you can ride an iconic red train that makes its way through snow-covered forests, Alpine valleys and over stunning bridges.

Photo credit: Shutterstock
Photo credit: Shutterstock

Known as the slowest express train in the world, the Glacier Express offers a magical winter break. On our terrific trip, you'll ride the train, explore the underrated city of Bern and enjoy a lake cruise.

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10. Be wowed by Holland's world-famous tulips

You won't find a better time to visit the Netherlands than spring, when tulip season arrives, bringing colourful fields full of the blooming flowers. It's when you can visit the magnificent Keukenhof Gardens to witness the seven million tulips, daffodils and hyacinths which cover the attraction. The canals, windmills and streets of Amsterdam are also at their most beautiful.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Good Housekeeping's unique trip taking in Amsterdam's tulips takes you to visit the city's famous flower fields with Gardeners' World presenter Adam Frost. You'll get to hear his tips and tricks to use in your own garden as you take in the culture and scenery of this wonderful part of Europe.

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11. Experience the magic of Scotland's Royal Scotsman

For something you'll find on many British bucket lists, a ride on the Royal Scotsman invites you to enjoy the glamour of vintage train travel while discovering Scotland's spectacular scenery. If shimmering lochs and gourmet dining is your thing, then this is the dream holiday for you. The mahogany-clad cars, Edwardian elegance and comforts of a country house - this is no ordinary train ride. The Royal Scotsman has 10 intricately designed carriages, which include a fabulous spa, for a unique train holiday.

Photo credit: Belmond
Photo credit: Belmond

Good Housekeeping has an exclusive holiday on the Royal Scotsman in spring, including three nights on the train, all meals (from full Scottish breakfasts to lunches and four-course dinners with cheeseboards), guided tours and excursions and a 24-hour steward service.

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12. Have a real adventure in the Galapagos Islands

Few places will inspire, enthral and amaze you like the remote Galapagos Islands, home to 9,000 species of flora and fauna. These fascinating islands, around 600 miles from mainland Ecuador, are where you can travel in the footsteps of Charles Darwin, who was inspired by them and wrote The Origin of Species. With a lack of predators, the unique wildlife ranges from blue-footed boobies and sea turtles to giant tortoises and sea lions - it's the ultimate dream holiday for wildlife-lovers.

Photo credit: Westend61 - Getty Images
Photo credit: Westend61 - Getty Images

For an exclusive trip to the Galapagos islands in October 2022, you can join TV's Kate Humble, who will talk about the Galapagos and help you explore the islands to the fullest - because who better to explore this paradise than a wildlife presenter? Good Housekeeping's incredible, celebrity-led tour takes place over 11 days.

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Can't wait until October 2022? Try our Galapagos cruise in January 2022.

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