MysteryShopperAn older traveller wants to spend Christmas in the UK countryside, in a hotel with a festive feel. She’d like to go by coach and doesn’t want to be the only single traveller on the trip. Budget: £500.

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Hays Travel

117 York Road

A friendly agent struck up conversation as soon as I entered and, when I said I didn’t have a particular destination in mind, asked intelligent questions to find a trip to suit.

She seemed knowledgeable and investigated several operators, showing me hotels and destinations on her computer and offering brochures to take away.

The recommendation was for Folkestone Christmas Celebration from National Holidays’ Festive Breaks Brochure, for £319 departing December 23, including single supplement, dinner, B&B at the Grand Burstin Hotel, excursions to France and Canterbury and Christmas dinner.

She offered an alternative, Scarborough Grand Christmas for £339, but this was a bit close to home. The agent encouraged me to book quickly without being pushy, and gave me her full attention throughout making me feel nothing would be too much trouble.