Specialist Expeditions Worldwide

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Rome & Tuscany

Posted on: July 25th, 2021 by Amelia Dalton

Braving the COVID rules on travel in May, I nervously set off for Italy. Fully jabbed and with all the required paperwork my first out-of-the-UK venture in 16 months felt surprisingly unsettling. It soon was clear every moment of concern, planning and worry was worth it. I shared the Sistine Chapel with merely a handful of others, strolled the Uffizi’s glorious galleries virtually alone and stayed in delightful comfort at the Belmond Villa San Michele for my birthday.

Birthday Breakfast, Thank you Belmond & Florence

Andaman Isles: a Durrell Conservation Voyage 2019

Posted on: March 25th, 2019 by Amelia Dalton

“Thank you so very much for such a brilliant trip.  I know it must have been a difficult one to organise and from our point of view it seemed to go seamlessly.  That is if you ignore 5000 other people landing on the quay at St Martin’s Island at the same time (which we thought was a hoot), and being within 6 hrs of running out of water in the Sundarbans (could be challenging)!  Seriously though, we thoroughly enjoyed it all.  The food on the ship was the best we have had and catered for our dietary issues without any issues whatsoever.   The vibes on the ship were the friendliest we have had, and it was like a family re-union…..”  DL February 2019

Andaman Isles: a Durrell Conservation Voyage 2019

Posted on: March 25th, 2019 by Amelia Dalton

“……it was so much fun meeting up with old friends and making new ones too. Your trips always have such a great feel about them. The ship was very comfortable, food fabulous, lectures very interesting;  it was a very happy and fascinating expedition, so thank you very much.”  BK February 2019

Tour review, in the June issue, 2018

Posted on: May 18th, 2018 by Amelia Dalton

H & G title snip  “When you come down to it, travelling is essentially about doors and getting them to open. Money usually works, for tickets, passes, vouchers and the like. Sometimes, though, they’re not enough. Two of the most valuable commodities in travel are exclusivity and access and, of course, you can buy those too. Which is just what the select little group I joined in Andalucia had done…………..doors were unlocked by Amelia Dalton, an avid traveller herself who has been running wildlife, wine and garden tours since 2004. Before that she was finding imaginative things to do for the passengers of a classy little cruise ship. If anyone knows the difference between gaining entrance and having an entrée, she does. ”   PETER HUGHES, travel writer.

DOWNLOAD Peter’s article 

Christmas in Sri Lanka

Posted on: March 31st, 2018 by Amelia Dalton

Father Christmas thankfully discovered us in SRI LANKA, where we were ensconced in style.  Our days we filled with variety, from the highly painted caves at Dambulla, rock climbing at Sigirya, bird watching in Yala as well as strolling beaches and dining with our toes in the sand;  it was a perfect Christmas escape.

xmas day EDambulla EXmas Day Stroll EBee Eaters Yalla E

Mistress & Commander: the book

Posted on: July 23rd, 2017 by Amelia Dalton

misstress-cmdr-coverA tale of high jinks, high seas and highlanders

As featured on SATURDAY LIVE with the Rev. Richard Coles,

BBC  Radio London & Radio Scotland. She was also a guest at the Borders Book Festival discussing her book –


NOW BEING REPRINTED!  2 months after publication.  

“…..a page turner with attitude”, it’s THE read of the summer.   Published by Sandstone Press, available from Amazon or any good book shop 


Mistress and Commander is exuberant, heart-warming and inspiring, a captivating read.”    Lee Durrell’s comment 

“Imagine A Year in Provence with the cast of Para Handy; add a touch of James Herriot, and you’ll get the drift of Mistress and Commander. Imagine Freya Stark, or some other dauntless female, taking on the alpha male communities of maritime Scotland and you’ll have the measure of Amelia Dalton.”    Peter Hughes, travel writer, FT & Telegraph

THANK YOU, Lee and Peter !




Mistress & Commander: the book

Posted on: July 17th, 2017 by Amelia Dalton

A tale of high jinks, high seas and highlanders.

 “My encounters with Amelia Dalton have been mostly on the high seas near places like Madagascar, Borneo and Venezuela, where she has proven time and again her ingenuity, resilience and courage.  Now I know how this mix of attributes came to reside in one extraordinary person.  Mistress and Commander is exuberant, heart-warming and inspiring, a captivating read.”  Lee Durrell 

“Imagine A Year in Provence with the cast of Para Handy; add a touch of James Herriot, and you’ll get the drift of Mistress and Commander. Imagine Freya Stark, or some other dauntless female, taking on the alpha male communities of maritime Scotland and you’ll have the measure of Amelia Dalton.”  Peter Hughes, FT & Telegraph travel writer. 

misstress-cmdr-cover  monaco-brochure-cover165  loch-sunart-crpd-e

NOW being REPRINTED only 2 months after initial publication. Available @ AMAZON, your local bookshop or Waterstones.

[email protected] 

Yorkshire’s Very Best; stylish houses & charming concerts.

Posted on: August 4th, 2016 by Amelia Dalton


‘Behind-the-Scenes’ in God’s Own Country! a Private Minibreak

Four highly varied days of private mansions, open dales, soaring ruins, country pubs & memorable concerts. We visited the pretty Georgian mansion of Beningborough Hall, privately toured the stunning Adam house of Newby Hall with its famous river gardens and the unusual gem of Hovingham Hall. We dined well in country pubs, gazed in awe at soaring ruins of Rievaulx and Fountains Abbeys, toured through the Yorkshire Dales and Pennine Moors.  In York we strolled with medieval streets, lunch in unmissable Betty’s before the Ryedale Festival evening of concerts in three different rooms at Castle Howard climaxing with a spine tingling performance by the Marian Consort in the pre-Raphaelite chapel.

Rievaulx Newby



Will the tour run again?

17TH – 21ST July 2017

What did I like best?  Newby Hall & the Marian Consort

TOP TIP –      bring a sunhat!

Telegraph Article

Posted on: February 26th, 2016 by Amelia Dalton

Telegraph cover e


Oranugtans, Dragons for The Durrell Conservation Trust;  Indonesia & Borneo


Turtles & Submarines in the Indian Ocean

Posted on: February 13th, 2016 by Amelia Dalton

zodiac Xmas am EIt was flattering to be asked to a ship’s naming ceremony and one with it’s own mini sub – the same as the one David Attenborough has been exploring the Great Barrier Reef in, was sensational.  CRYSTAL ESPRIT is a new, mini expedition ship and now I know her from stem to stern. Days of snorkelling followed, floating along with turtles (I saw 15), smooth elegant eagle and manta rays plus  a myriad of reef fish at ALDABRA. Enormous, gentle whale sharks slid passed me on the TANZANIA coast.  As a recce for my next Durrell trip ( see Future  Tours & Media for the Telegraph article on my last ) it was a fantastic Christmas & start to 2016.

Crystal Esprit E  Aldabra fan coral E










Would I do it again:       I shall in February 2017 – come with me for my third visit to this lonely atoll

What did I enjoy the most:   snorkelling with turtles and rays.

What did I not like:          staying in the ‘wrong’ hotel in Mahe

TOP TIP:   take a waterproof camera

Amazon & Pantanal: the world’s biggest Wetland

Posted on: February 13th, 2016 by Amelia Dalton

Amazon morning E

I knew it would be tough, but the heat and humidity were even sapping our local guides.   We stretched the boat’s air con, but our cameras captured such an amazing variety of wildlife, mesmerizing river-scapes and bonkers Manaus with the extraordinary rubber barons’ opera house. On Amazon river dolphins dived round us in droves, we ate piranha and swam: in the Pantanal rare hyacinth macaws peered from nests and giant river otters posed. We were fortunate from start to finish and all loved out little eco lodge in the Pantanal and powerful Iguassu Falls on foot and by chopper!

Macaw E

Igguzz E











Would I do it again:              yes, but differently now I know more

What did I enjoy most;       the extraordinary vastness of the Amazon

What’s not to like:                 having to take 5 showers a day to feel human

TOP TIP:                         total cover up;  night viewing is good but the mozzies are bad.

Boating in Burma

Posted on: February 13th, 2016 by Amelia Dalton

Riverside Pag crpd EIn January 2015, after the charter of the delightful Orcaella from Belmond with CAZENOVE & LOYD, I stayed on as lecturer for BELMOND’s guests and was amazed by the change in the mighty Irrawaddy over a month. I feel well acquainted with its many moods, as I have experienced the whole length of the navigable river in differing months – August, September, October, January and February. I am good at doling out soup, slipping off my shoes to visit a temple, as well as sipping champagne in unlikely spots. Burma is unique and genuinely an experience not to be missed. It is such a pleasure for me to create itineraries for clients and be so confident their expectations will be met.

Irrawa boats E  Burma chillies E







Would I go again:                tomorrow morning!

What did I enjoy most:        the scenery, shopping and of course wonderful people.

What’s not to like:               January and February – ask me why

 TOP TIP                                uncreased dollar bills.


Touring the British Isles

Posted on: October 13th, 2015 by Amelia Dalton

Lt Langdale view E

A new and exciting venture for me which proved to be amazingly rewarding as well as great fun.  My lovely American clients could not have been more interested, charming and fun.

Caerhays 3 EI had to sharpen up on British history, geology and good pubs! We journeyed from Edinburgh to the Scilly Isles, through the slate villages of the Lake District to the slate cottages of Delabole, checked out the literary haunts of teh Brontes at Haworth in the Yorkshire Dales, visited Jane Austen’s pretty cottage and the magnificent cathedrals of York, Winchester and Salisbury. Brighton Pavillion was classy, the Pier less so and the Tresco cottage a delightful rest at the end.

Tresco Gdn E


Would I do it again:                  yes with such lovely people

What did I enjoy the most?      being reminded of our stunning unspoilt countryside

What did I not like:                   the Endsleigh Hotel – v v disappointing

TOP TIP:                                    good map, better than a satnav!

Tinkling Bells in Java

Posted on: September 13th, 2015 by Amelia Dalton

Borob carving E

JAVA – from its seething, traffic choked capital to the calm Buddhist temples of BOROBUDUR is a fascinating island.  The superb museum in JAKARTA is massive, well laid out and simply stuffed with fascinating items from all over Indonesia;  the food is excellent and even the civit cat coffee surprisingly good.

Borob 'bells' E

At Borobudur the calm temple with the tinkling bells and incense drifting through the morning mists was a delight; it’s a small site compared with Bagan in Burma and excellent for a short break with the benefit of a superb hotel – luxurious and architecturally breathtaking.

Aman pool E


Would I do it again:

love to, for more time everywhere!

What did I enjoy the most:  

still mornings with tinkling temple bells

What did I not like:

traffic crawl in Jakarta

 TOP TIP                               

go slowly, there’s much to absorb

Lakes & Gardens: Italy in April

Posted on: May 13th, 2015 by Amelia Dalton

My bedroom view

Boating around the Italian lakes of COMO and MAGGIORE  from garden to Garden – what could be more charming. The ice cream is of course delicious, food and wine memorable, the architecture wonderfully fin de siècle and of course the gardens were a plethora of colour and scents.

Come and join me and my GARDEN guru Mike Nelhams in Sicily in 2018.  Mike has good friends there and his TRESCO ABBEY GARDENS connections will open up rarely trodden garden paths.

Ornges & Lemons E Cicgogna M E







Would I go again:             every spring

What did I enjoy most:      the lake and garden views and wonderful scents

What’s not to like:              nothing

 TOP TIP                           binoculars to study the posh villas

Deep Sea from New York

Posted on: September 21st, 2014 by Amelia Dalton

Dep NY E

Another box ticked – an Atlantic crossing by LINER.  

Note – Liner, not cruise ship.  There is a massive difference between a cruise ship, built to take you to destinations and a liner, built for space with no other entertainments than those on board.

In brilliant sunshine, New York’s spiky skyline slipped away astern as the band played, bubbly popped and the Statue of Liberty gazed down on the impeccable decks lined with teak steamer chairs, neat with their blue and white cushions.  It was all just as I had hoped: Queen Mary 2 my ‘Liner’ of choice was whole world on the move.Stmr Chairs E

She is also incredibly complicated. Even as a pro, when booking, the nuances of which class, special restaurants and reserved areas had been confusing. So my first afternoon absorbed careful exploring and detailed reconnaissance.  Time spent……..seldom wasted etc. I thought!  Once you’ve understood how the different grades are structured, it works well.  I checked out the various standards of cabin and the top ones are sensational with dining rooms, spacious bedrooms and sheltered terraces.  The Library is superb and the wide-windowed ‘secret’ bar, a delight. There is a good variety of restaurants, both casual and smart, with additional-cost dining as a decent treat. Wide decks E

We steamed smoothly over the staggering depths of the mid Atlantic, alone.  There is no help out there, it is simply too far away for a rescue service.  I sipped bubbly on my delightful sheltered balcony, watched dolphins, whales and diving gannets. In brilliant sunshine I walked the wide decks gazing at the smooth blue sea between relaxing massages, Planetarium shows, jazz concerts, RADA plays, classical guitar recitals and line dancing.  Fortified by cream teas, cocktail parties and dinner with the Captain, I finished writing my book and acquired knowledge of a new experience.  

Would I go again?            Not by myself.

Did I enjoy it?                    Yes, but I was pleased to see Southampton.

DON’T GO                           expecting to make friends for life.

DO GO                                  with a project or a friend.

TOP TIP you can take your dog or cat

Wines of the Rhone Valley

Posted on: June 22nd, 2014 by Amelia Dalton
The Cellar at Beaucastel

From Chateauneuf du Pape to Condrieu we spent 4 sunny days in the Rhone Valley.  Arriving into Marseilles we went straight to the Roman city of Orange. Our first grand tasting was at Beaucastel, courtesy of Berry Bros. before lunching at the family restaurant in the square at Gigondas.  After checking out the castle and steep streets, our lunch in the shade of the plane trees, en plein air, started with a light fresh turbot, before delicious pink veal almost buried under thick slices of white summer truffles accompanied by a memorable Perrin

L’Argnee Vieilles Vignes Gigondas 2010.  

Moving north Rene Rostaing introduced us to his  Cote Rotie La Landonne 2011, which James Price, our wine guru, described as “An instant step up from the Ampodium. Same house style but with oodles more depth to the fruit and bigger structure.” 

Lunch was at the local vignerons’ restaurant in Ampuis where we rubbed shoulders with the locals and tucked into a glorious white Condrieu Les Terrases du Palat Francois Villard 2012.  The warm sunny evening was spent amongst the the medieval streets of Valence where some of us had space for more food!

Next morning we started the day at Maison Chapoutier where we strolled the vineyards just outside the village, before a sensational tutored tasting watched over by some interesting Australian art demonstrating the breadth of the Chapoutier empire. Lunch included the luscious Ermitage de L’Oree 2010: “Superb nose, could smell this for hours.” James enthused.

With time for a walk in the afternoon, in the evening, with much anticipation, we entered the hallowed halls of the 3 star MAISON PIC where Sophie, France’s only 3 star female chef came to greet us.  We were all entranced and staggered by our dinner; one of the great meals of all time, we all agreed. The dishes burst with flavour and were simply sensational, whilst the presentation amazed us all with its beauty and precision, and the wines were not bad either!  James and the sommelier ‘bonded’ over the bottles and again luscious local wines flowed.

Finally we joined Natacha Chave at her diminutive cave before moving into the nearby vineyards.  Natacha had organised a delightful picnic under the shade of the oak trees.  Looking across vineyards whilst we feasted on local pate and cheese and tasted her small production wines was a charming rural end to our memorable tour of the lower Rhone Value. 

In all it was a varied and eye-opening few days for all, as well as being an enjoyable short break!


Temples at Mrauk Oo

Posted on: March 12th, 2014 by Amelia Dalton

Recce’ing in Burma

Posted on: February 10th, 2014 by Amelia Dalton

Flying out of Rangoon, the golden pagoda pinnacles dot the cityscape, I peered through the murky plane window – that must be the empty 20 lane highway leading to the new capital, but I was bound for the empty shores of the Andaman Sea: I went to the Andaman Isles in 1998, so knew I was in for a treat.  We bumped down at the tiny airport and ten minutes later I was on one the most empty and spotless beaches I’ve ever seen.  This was my treat after a splendid but exhausting trip up the Irrawaddy leading a lively group to distant hill villages, golden pagodas and bustling markets (see Burma in January).  Now I had two blissful days of clean, warm sea and empty beaches while ensconced in a relaxing teak beach-front villa.Ngap hotel W  Fully restored, I moved on to remote Mrauk Oo with its temples, rustic villages and slow rural life: just getting there was an adventure with a six hour river voyage, much of it in the dark thanks to the delayed flight. The next morning, I set off in an open very bouncy jeep past rice stacks and beetle-nut plantations, to join my private boat for a journey up river to check out markets, have tea with Chin village chiefs, bargain for colourful blankets and meet the famous tattooed ladies.
Lemhro W

Chin lady W  Day 2 was in and around the town, starting with breakfast in a street cafe of sweet Burmese tea and strange but delicious pancakes, I jumped onto a bike to follow my two cheerful guides. Nervously, with no brakes, I negotiated the market traders, wobbled over little wooden bridges and followed along dusty roads to the magnificent temples, some literally stuck with stupas!

AD Mrauk Oo W

Mrauk Oo W
  Buddha lined passages, deeply carved with elephants, crocodiles and birds disappeared round corners into the dark, time to find that torch app I had so carefully downloaded!Mrauk Oo carvings W It was fascinating, delightfully relaxed with no one much about , so it’s on the list and I’d love to take you there. The tour will be early in 2015 and details will be available shortly, but please enquire meanwhile.

Burma in January

Posted on: February 10th, 2014 by Amelia Dalton

‘This is BURMA and it will be quite unlike any land you know about’, so wrote Kipling and he remains entirely correct.  My recent three weeks and previous visits spread over seven years have merely confirmed the charms of this mesmerising land.  It’s virtually impossible to encapsulate the contrasts of dust and gold, romance and practicality, city crush and open country: no one ever forgets their time in Burma.AD & Orcaella E

With Robert Gordon, British Ambassador in the ‘90s, and his entertaining wife, Pam, I took a mixture of my clients and those of Cazenove+ Loyd on board the luxurious small boat newly launched by Orient-Express. We sailed away from Mandalay launching into a programme I had designed to provide maximum time exploring the inaccessible rural areas to the south.

Beautiful Chin textiles

Beautiful Chin textiles

We doled out vermicelli soup, books and rulers at schools, marvelled at pretty Burmese village girls in their finery en route to an ‘ear-piercing ceremony’, dined by candle light in Italian forts and used every available form of transport from tuk-tuks to bullock carts; some less popular than others!

Hitching a ride

Hitching a ride

Come and join me, see Future Tours

January 2014 post tour client comment:   We did indeed have a wonderful trip to Burma …must have involved an enormous about of work ….the result was a triumph – definitely one of our best ever holidays’