The Destinations Show took place at The Olympia, London from 1-4 February 2018 so I decided to head down on the Friday and find out more… I was particularly interested in the Stanfords Travel Writers Festival that was taking place there but also thought it would be a good opportunity to check out some exciting, new travel destinations.
The Olympia is a great venue, although it’s a shame that the underground doesn’t run there during the week, meaning I had to walk from the nearest tube station about 10 minutes away.
As soon as I arrived, I checked out what talks were on so that I didn’t miss anything. I picked out a handful that sounded like they may be of interest and headed into the mass of bright coloured stands, promoting diverse destinations, from Lithuania to India to New Zealand and everywhere in-between. I could see that there was going to be too much for me to see and do in one day but I decided to do my best to get round as much as I could!
After picking up a few brochures I headed to the Stanfords Travel Writers Festival area and caught the end of the Travelling Solo session, which was of interest to me as I have travelled alone many, many times. I then settled down to listen to Tim Moore’s Cycling the Iron Curtain session. Whilst I am not a cyclist myself, something about it piqued my interest… and I am so glad I stayed as it was an inspiring tale of one man’s long journey along the old Iron Curtain on a very basic bicycle! What an incredible adventure!
Afterwards, I wandered around some more, picking up a few more brochures, before heading back for Michael Portillo’s talk on the Great Railway Journeys. Unfortunately, most visitors to the show seemed to want to hear this talk and it was impossible to get anywhere near so I listened from afar for a while then gave up and went to check out some of the show’s other attractions…
One of the highlights of the show for me was a fantastic talk in the Meet The Experts Theatre by Wild Frontiers, called Journeys Along the Old Silk Road. This was not a region I had particularly thought about visiting before, but the passionate account and stunning photographs have definitely put exploring the the silk route high up on my bucket list…
My next visit to the Stanfords Travel Writers Festival area was to check out a talk called Islander: A Journey Around Our Archipelago by Patrick Barkham. This was a talk that I wouldn’t have missed for anything – Patrick was a knowledgeable and truly engaging speaker and had the audience enthralled with his tales of travelling around some of the islands around the British Isles. This really brought home that you don’t have to travel too far from home to have a real adventure!
I also checked out some of the stalls (and there were a lot!) – many were selling travel gear but there were also stalls selling items entirely unrelated to travel! There were also occasional demonstrations of local cuisine and world music performances to be enjoyed – I managed to find time to check out some of the very talented singers/musicians from around the world who were performing!
I was also impressed by the various methods of transport at the show, including a sleek airstream, a comfortable camper van for touring around the US (already on my bucket list!) and a few all terrain vehicles for getting to those out-of-the-way places.
My last stop was the Wanderlust Travel Photographer of the Year Gallery to check out some of the amazing photos that had been submitted this year. Taking such beautiful travel photographs is definitely something I aspire too! Having looked at the ones on display, I definitely need a little more practice!
I had a really fun day at the Destinations: Holiday and Travel Show and would highly recommend paying a visit if you like travelling – I definitely came away inspired to plan my next adventure…