My Faves

Click the bookmark icon to save all the stuff you love.

Congratulations to the 2019 Muddy Stilettos Awards Winners!

Meet our winners here

Muddy Stilettos Awards logo
Reader Treats Just For You!

Top 5 Rough Luxe holidays

Maybe you were like me, back in your *sigh* early twenties (pre-kids, pre-mortgage), and were lucky enough to do a bit of travelling. At that time the tourism industry was much more sharply divided into two categories – the independent travellers (backpacks and a devil-may-care attitude) or package holiday goers (itinerary sorted for you and everything pre-paid). Us independent travellers could imagine nothing worse than being told where to go and what to do (especially since that ‘what to do’ might involve dressing up for a round-the-pool theme night). We wanted adventure, we wanted to experience the real culture and wildlife of the lands we visited, we wanted to drink Ouzo with the locals while watching the sun rise without the risk of being made to wear a Sombrero and stick-on moustache.


Luckily the travel industry has come a long way since then. Holiday experiences that are arranged for you (to take away the hassle and maximise your money) are now moving towards truly authentic and adventurous packages. Two bright young things spearheading the way in this new movement are Jessica Hargreaves and Catherine Gallagher and they are based right here in Kent. Tunbridge Wells to be precise.

Originally introduced through mutual friends Jessica and Catherine soon discovered their shared love of independent travel and the conviction that they could deliver the convenience and luxury of a high-end package holiday alongside the excitement and character of independent travel (without the need for stick on moustaches). Last year they launched The Beyond Travel Company, working from their funky Travel Studio which was once the ground floor of Jessica’s Tunbridge Wells residence.

The Beyond Travel Co Girls
The experiences they put together are top-quality, but far from manufactured and safe. Do you like stuff that’s not too commercial, a bit hard to reach, with a touch of local culture thrown in and the chance to immerse yourself in wildlife? Er, YES! then this is pretty much your perfect holiday. Oooh – and there’s a name! Yup, like all good trends it has it’s own tag. Introducing (drrrrrrum roll please)… Rough-Luxe!

So if you’re a bit of a hippy at heart, believe in the power of adventure to heal the mind and body but also fancy luxuriating in silk sheets once the Bear Grylls moment has passed, then feast your eyes on these:


Rough:Luxe Scale… Rough 1 = not really slumming it at all… Rough 5 = wild camping involved!


1. Wild Britain | £590pp Based on 6 sharing a Land Rover, 3 nights. Rough: 5  Starts with a 24 hour bushcraft experience Bear Grylls would be proud of. Learn how to forage, make fire with a bow, and create camp where you will sleep out under the stars. Luxe: 4. On your last night you’ll enjoy the luxury of Dormy House complete with spa treatments and fine dining.

morocco--la-mamounia-s-stylish-pool-and-pool-house--_Fotor2. The Marrakech Experience | £495pp (excluding flights) Based on 2 sharing, 3 nights. Rough: 2 adventure through souks and truly immerse yourself in the local culture of the old town    Luxe: 4 Luxuriate in a beautifully designed Riad and indulge in the roof top bar.

exterior view

3. Glass Igloos & Lapland | £973pp (including flights) Based on 2 sharing, 3 nights, half board. Rough: 3 Husky ride into the wilderness in search of the Aurora Borealis Luxe: 4  Warm up under fur throws in an achingly cool glass igloo for some serious star gazing.


4. Namibian Road Safari | £4,250pp (excluding flights) Based on 5 sharing, 12 nights. Rough: 4 privately guided safari where you sleep atop your trusty landrover. Luxe: 4 Your time on the road is broken up with comfy nights in luxury lodges along the way.


5. An Indonesian Odyssey | £11, 275 (excluding flights) Based on 2 sharing, 16 nights, including yachts, a variety of beautiful hotels and tour of green school.  Rough: 3 Traditional Phinisi sailing to a remote outpost bohemian beach.  Luxe: 5 Bamboo palaces, lush jungle fortresses… Need we go on?

The Beyond Travel Company, 01892 548992,

Find more ideas here

Overseas TravelTravel

Tell us what you think

Your email address will not be published.

* Required
* Required

Little Black Book

The Little Black Book

Our A-Z of the grooviest local businesses to help make your life easier

View the businesses
Home icon Back Home

The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Kent