Why we started BURROWS & BIRD
Through Burrows&Bird, we'd like to give you more than just an unforgettable holiday: we'd like to offer you a journey that changes the way you think about the world. If you go home still trying to figure out exactly what you feel about all you've seen and experienced, we'll consider our job well done.
True luxury is having the freedom to choose how to spend your time. We believe that, when travelling, this involves time spent getting to know a place's history, culture, art, food and philosophy, particularly through meeting and learning from the people who live there.
Every Burrows&Bird trip adds that little extra to give you a deeper sense of place, be this is a simple glass of chilled Persian rose water after a long day, or a architectural tour of a privately owned and not usually open to the public 200-year-old mansion in Kashan.
In India, we can set up a cooking class on the unique cuisine of the Himalayan foothills in a village home, have you paddled in a wooden rowboat down a silent river in Madhya Pradesh, or have one of India's top novelists guide you through his country's sacred cities.
Burrows&Bird trips are designed to let you see below the surface to gain a richer understanding of a place and its people.
Style of trip
We create bespoke individual or small-group trips to Iran and India.
Solo travellers, couples, families, groups of friends or professional peers, just let us know what you have in mind and we can arrange a unique itinerary focusing on your interests.
We also run small-group set departures at seasonally defined times of the year.
We take care of all transport from the moment you land, from airport transfers no matter the time of night or day, to booking trains, domestic planes, and private, air-conditioned automobiles.
We book your hotels, recommending our personal favourites and those we think would best suit your requirements and preference.
We believe you get the most out of travelling with a guide. Our English-speaking guides can accompany you throughout the trip, provide specialist information only at certain sites, or lead you on specific activities.
We're happy to offer advice on where to eat, drink and shop.
We can also provide help with getting certain visas.
Type of accommodation
We avoid cookie-cutter big-chain hotels. Wherever possible, we opt for boutique-style hotels that incorporate local design traditions.
We often choose peaceful, family-run guesthouses with a garden courtyard for sitting back with a book and a cup of tea. But if there's a big shining tower of a hotel that offers an unmissable view, we won't discount it – we're more guided by what gives you the most remarkable experience of each place than by following a format.
Let us know if you have a preference for glamour or romance, eco-resorts or heritage buildings, and we can tailor our recommendations to match.
Victoria Burrows was born in Wales, grew up in South Africa, studied in England, and lived and worked in Hong Kong and India for more than a decade. A journalist for the BBC, Wall Street Journal, Travel + Leisure, the South China Morning Post and more, she's travelled to more than 70 countries. She also managed one of India's top luxury hotels, Glenburn Boutique Hotel, located on a remote tea estate in the Himalayan foothills.
In her four years in India, she traversed the country – sometimes on her vintage Royal Enfield motorcycle, the Queen Victoria – from the harsh majesty of Spiti Valley to the coconut palms of Kerala, through the wild heart of Madhya Pradesh and the misty valleys of Sikkim to the empty beaches of Odisha. She's turned her favourite experiences of India into Burrows&Bird's unique itineraries.
In Iran, she fell in love with the country's past – the ziggurat at Choqa Zanbil, the fire temple at Takab, the mud walls at Bam, the Pink Mosque of Shiraz – as well as its present: the glory of Esfahan in spring, the poetry of Hafez that every Iranian knows by heart, and the daily invitations for lunch from total strangers. A land of contradictions, it'll challenge your preconceptions, as it did hers. You may even be inspired to learn Farsi to read Hafez in the original Persian, as she was.
While Iran and India are two very different countries, they share strong historical links in art, textiles, music, architecture, food and language. She's passionate about sharing her love for these two unique, yet interlinked, countries with you.
Isabella Bird, one of the 19th century's most remarkable travellers, is the inspiration for Burrows&Bird. The first woman to be elected as a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, Isabella was a fiercely independent British explorer, writer, photographer and naturalist. Her many travel books made her a household name at the time at home and abroad.
Overcoming poor health and a male-dominated world, Isabella spent her life seeing the world from America to Singapore, the Hebrides to Australia. In her late fifties, she travelled to India, exploring Ladakh and setting up a hospital in Srinagar. She then traversed Persia, capturing her adventures in the wonderful Journeys in Persia and Kurdistan (1891) published by John Murray, her lifelong publisher and close friend.
Isabella's passion for exploration and compassion for the people around her make her a role model for any traveller. At Burrows&Bird, we try to infuse every trip with Isabella-style spirit.