Exclusive for Mail on Sunday readers: Enjoy the blooms of the Madeira Flower Festival with Christine Walkden
Rising from the ocean floor 600 miles south-west of Lisbon, Madeira is a subtropical paradise that captures the hearts of all who visit.
Thanks to its fertile volcanic soil, it is often called the ‘Floating Garden of the Atlantic’. This lovely Portuguese island is a plant-lover’s paradise, boasting a huge range of species from purple-blossomed jacaranda trees, orchids and bird of paradise plants to its Unesco-listed native laurel forest. It was named Europe’s leading island destination 2019 at the World Travel Awards.
On this eight-day trip next spring you’ll visit in time for its famous Flower Festival, when the streets of the capital Funchal are filled with colours and scents from the floral floats. There are daily parades and performances as locals celebrate the beauty of their island in bloom.
Vibrant: Tour some of Madeira’s finest gardens, such as Monte Palace Tropical Garden (pictured), on The Mail on Sunday’s exclusive eight-day trip
You’ll enjoy the excitement in the company of a very special guest – horticulturist and TV presenter Christine Walkden, who will join you at the festival, host an exclusive talk and spend a day with you touring some of Madeira’s finest gardens.
Funchal, where you’ll be staying, is packed with highlights such as its 15th Century cathedral.
You’ll also get to discover the delights of the farmers’ market, sample the local wine and enjoy an excursion to the wonderfully manicured Botanical Garden in the hills overlooking the city.
On the trip next you’ll visit in time for Madeira’s famous Flower Festival, when the streets of the capital, Funchal (above), are filled with colours and scents from the floral floats
ABOUT OUR SPECIAL GUEST
You will be joined by Christine Walkden
Christine Walkden is a well-loved TV presenter, and with a horticultural career spanning more than 40 years she is highly regarded for her knowledge on all things outdoors. She has worked at Kew Gardens and presented on Gardeners’ World, Christine’s Garden and is the gardening guru on The One Show.
Reasons to book
Explore Funchal: Nestled in a great natural amphitheatre, facing the blue Atlantic with a backdrop of dramatic mountains, the birthplace of footballer Cristiano Ronaldo is the island’s largest city.
Often called ‘Little Lisbon’ for its harbour and grand 18th Century buildings, you can explore the narrow winding streets, lively squares and tree-lined walkways along with landmarks including the Socorro Church.
You’ll also enjoy a Madeira wine tasting and see the patterned pavements, painstakingly pieced together by hand, and the colourful street art.
Enjoy the Madeira Flower Festival: One of the highlights of the island’s calendar, you’ll be mesmerised by the sights and smells of the colourful festival that parades through the streets of Funchal.
Meet Christine Walkden: The gardening expert will join you for an evening reception, give an insightful talk and guide you as you explore the Flower Festival and several of Madeira’s beautiful gardens.
Stay in comfort: The stylish four-star Enotel Magnolia Hotel has a spa and two swimming pools where you can chill out after a day’s exploring.
See incredible landscapes: During the trip you’ll have ample opportunity to explore Madeira’s diverse and often spectacular landscapes.
The east coast features some of the island’s highest peaks as well as the Ribeiro Frio National Park, where you’ll enjoy some of the best views on this amazing island.
- Visit to the Madeira Flower
- Festival with Christine Walkden (with reserved seat)
- Talk and drinks reception with Christine Walkden
- Walking tour of Funchal
- Seven nights’ all-inclusive at the four-star Enotel Magnolia Hotel
- Visits to several of Madeira’s best gardens, including Botanical Garden and Jardins do Lago
- Visit a winery and wine tasting
- Afternoon tea at the Belmond Hotel, Reid’s Palace
- Return flights from London to Funchal
YOUR ITINERARY: DAY 1 & 2 Explore Funchal DAY 3 Eastern Madeira DAY 4 Visit Curral das Freiras, Eira do Serrado and Camara de Lobos DAY 5 Palheiro Gardens DAY 6 Monte Palace Tropical Garden, Quinta do Lago & Jardins do Lago DAY 7 Botanical Garden and Flower Festival DAY 8 Departure
HOW TO BOOK
The dates: May 3-10, 2023 The price: £1,699pp*
CALL 0330 828 1196 quoting MOS MADEIRA. To find out more, visit mailtravel.co.uk/madeirawalkden.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS: *Price is per person, based on two people sharing a double room. Single supplement available on request. Deposit: 30%. Prices and itinerary shown are subject to availability and change. Holidays are operated by and subject to the booking conditions of TS Travel Ltd (ATOL-bonded), a wholly independent company. Full cancellation terms available at tstours.co.uk/assets/tandc.pdf. In the case of unforeseen circumstances, expert(s) may be substituted, and any expert-led events may be subject to change. Expert(s) will not join you for your full trip duration unless otherwise stated.