The first thing you’ll notice about these provinces – known collectively as the Maritimes – is their truly awe-inspiring coastline. Stubborn tides and shifting plates have carved out imposing and often inexplicable rock formations that stretch as far as the eye can see, as well as numerous pretty bays and sheltered coves. The other is their space; cars here are a rarity, so self-driving is a real pleasure.
This trip will show you some of the Maritimes most exceptional wilderness areas, from the Cape Breton Highlands National Park with its colourful tapestry of woodland and tundra, to the spectacular Bay of Fundy which has a spot amongst the Seven Natural Wonders of North America. You’ll soak up the quiet charm of historic towns that appear to have frozen in time, and get a chance to encounter some of the Canada’s most iconic wildlife, including moose, whales, seals, porpoises, bald eagles, red squirrels and puffins.
London – Halifax
Fly from London to Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia. You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel which overlooks the harbour. The city’s 19th century citadel is the most visited National Historic Site in the country and offers splendid views of the city and waterfront. Pier 21 – another National Historic Site – and the Maritime Museum, with its impressive collection of shipwreck artefacts, reveal the rich history of this fascinating city. The downtown attractions are all close to each other, making for superb on-foot explorations.
Stay: Two nights in a one bedroom suite at Hollis Halifax
This morning pick up your hire car and drive to Lunenberg. Your hotel is centrally located, giving you easy access to the attractions of this historic town. Dating back to the 1750s, Lunenberg has shown a strong dedication to the preservation of its rich heritage. The atmospheric Old Town – with its narrow, winding streets and century-old architecture – is one of only two urban communities in North America to be assigned World Heritage status by UNESCO.
Stay: One night in a one bedroom suite at Mariner King Inn
Next up is Digby, a town perched on the shores of the Bay of Fundy in south-western Nova Scotia. You can spend some time exploring the Admiral Digby Museum, named after Sir Robert Digby who led pioneers to the town back in the 18th century. The Fisherman’s Memorial Park is also worth a visit. If you’re travelling in August, why not attend the Digby Scallop Days, a fun celebration which pays tribute to the town’s title as the scallop capital of the world.
Stay: One night in a deluxe room at Digby Pines Resort and Spa – bed & breakfast
Bay of Fundy
Late this morning you will take a ferry – with your car – across the Bay of Fundy from Digby to St John seaport, New Brunswick. Your tranquil, hilltop hotel boasts a fantastic location close to the Fundy National Park.
The Bay of Fundy holds the record for the world’s biggest tidal range, with tidal shifts known to reach up to 15 meters. One of the best places to experience these world-famous tidal wonders is at Fundy National Park, which is filled with wildlife and hiking trails. Here at low tide, visitors can walk out for over a kilometer.
Stay: Two nights in a standard room at The Falcon Ridge Inn – bed & breakfast
Prince Edward Island
Despite being Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island is certainly not lacking in culture, beauty or character. Here you’ll find some of the most photogenic scenery in the country, delicious food, and warm, welcoming people. Whilst here you may want to visit Cavendish – home to the Green Gables house, catch a performance of Anne of Green Gables, or simply spend a day relaxing at the beach. Your hotel is located in the Island’s historical capital, Charlottetown.
Stay: Two nights in a traditional room at The Great George – bed & breakfast
On day nine you will cross back over to Nova Scotia by ferry. You will spend one night on the west coast of Cape Breton Island at the Glenora Inn & Distillery Resort. Nestled amongst the scenic hills of Glenville, the property’s rooms are restful and overlook a pretty courtyard. Whilst here you can sample some traditional Nova Scotian cuisine.
Stay: One night in an executive room at Glenora Inn & Distillery Resort
Ingonish Beach/Cape Breton Trail
Now it’s time for a two-night stay in Ingonish, a rural town nestled in north-eastern Nova Scotia. You will be ideally placed for explorations in the Cape Breton National Park, which is full of interesting wildlife and scenery.
The famous Cabot Trail – named after renowned explorer John Cabot – takes you around Cape Breton’s northern shore up to the incredible plateaus of Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The road is carved into the mountains sides high above the waters of St Lawrence, with numerous lookouts that offer sensational vistas of Cape Breton’s rugged coastline. As you explore keep an eye out for eagles soaring above and pods of whales just offshore.
Stay: Two nights in a main lodge room at Keltic Lodge Resort and Spa – bed & breakfast
Your Maritimes holiday ends in one of the wildest corners of the Nova Scotia province. In a remote area of Guysborough County, Liscomb Mills is well catered for hiking, treks and wildlife spotting. What’s more, you’ll never be far from the picturesque coastline and its beaches. Your accommodation for the night has a secluded setting where you can enjoy the sights and sounds of nature in total tranquillity.
Stay: One night in a riverside lodge room at Liscombe Lodge Resort – bed & breakfast
Halifax – Heathrow
Travel back to Halifax to catch your return flight to London, dropping off your hire car before check in.