The Durrells Life in Corfu

Tailor made holidays and honeymoons to Colourful Corfu – home of The Durrells

Contact us on 01728 748209 or send an enquiry for any holiday to Corfu or Greece

Renowned naturalist and founder of the Durrell Wildlife Park (Jersey Zoo) Gerald Durrell grew up from the age of 10 on the Greek island of Corfu when his family, lead by mother Louisa left the UK for a better life in the sun. The ITV programme The Durrells (series one shown on UK TV in Spring 2016 and series two is now showing Spring 2017) relays the true story of the family as they fall in love with the unspoiled island of Corfu with its olive and fruit groves, azure seas and plentiful wildlife (much of which was collected by Gerry in his bedroom!). 

If you are a keen walker contact us to take ‘The Corfu Trail’ 

Literary holiday makers who have read the book My Family and Other Animals’ will enjoy visiting the old villas of the island which still to this day offer a flavour of the ‘old Greece’. The Durrell’s villas included Strawberry-pink, Snow-White and Daffodil villas. 

Corfu is the greenest and most northerly of the Ionian Islands and has 200 km of coastline full of quaint fishing villages and coves.  Groves of tall, silvery-green olive and cypress trees cover the slopes of the central hills tumbling down to the steep west coast, with its sweeping sandy beaches and magnificent sunsets. The small resort of Aghios Gordis here appeals to all generations and there is no coastal road running behind the superb beach here. Still among olive trees the south of the island levels out and the tiny hideaway of Maltas combines an untouched countryside, rich in traditional ways, with one of the best sandy beaches on the island. To the north of Corfu is a different landscape – a rocky, twisting coastline of cliffs and gorges curl around the great mountain called Pantokrator, ‘Lord of Creation’. The north east, with its white pebble coves, stunning views and countless walks, is particularly magical.

The island of Corfu is full of colourful myths, legends and history.  Locally known as Kerkyra one legend says that this was the daughter of a river god Asopus. Poseidon first abducted and then seduced her on the island where she gave birth to a son, Phaeax, the ancestor of the Phaecians who lived on Corfu in antiquity. Jason (of the Argonauts) was one of the first visitors. Having stolen the Golden Fleece as well as the beautiful Medea he sought refuge on the island. Not only did he manage to hang onto his treasure but he married her in a cave near the palace at Alcinous.

The island has continued to inspire writers and poets, including Shakespeare who probably used the island as the model for the magical kingdom in The Tempest. Much later, prior to World War Two the eccentric but talented Durrell family came to live on the island. Gerald memorably described the island, inhabitants and animals in his evocative book, ‘My Family and Other Animals’.

As The Durrells found, the Corfiots are the most friendly and generous people, especially the country folk. They work hard on their land and many still follow traditional lives. Walkers, botanists and ornithologists will find an inexhaustible source of natural history interest in Corfu. The Corfu trail, which winds from north to south through some of the island’s most beautiful and enduring landscapes, can be tackled in small parts and runs close to some lovely small resorts. To quote from ‘Landscapes of Corfu’, “Walking on Corfu is sheer bliss. You will be spoilt by a kaleidoscope of landscapes, and you needn’t be an intrepid hiker to find these beauty spots. The walks lead to some of the most beautiful beaches you will ever see.

With a perfect, fertile climate, Corfu has been treasured and fought over by many warring nations, including the Venetians, Saracens, French and British, finally achieving union with an independent Greece in 1864. The heritage left by all these uninvited guests, together with the fascinating archeological remains of earlier civilisations means that the island today is a unique blend of ancient myth, classical architecture and a vibrant culture as well as being the ‘emerald isle’ of the Ionian.  Corfu Town, with its warren of narrow streets, its graceful Venetian facades and its wonderful main square, has been renovated without losing any of its character. Many of the narrow alleyways have been pedestrianised and venerable buildings sensitively restored.

Of course there are still busy resorts, but in recent years the waterfronts are far more likely to be busy with families enjoying themselves than late night revellers! A network of roads lead out from the capital across the island, whilst the quiet byways and lanes of the rural interior have been re-surfaced but are still relatively traffic free, the hamlets and villages they connect remain unspoilt.

Stay in a little piece of history at The White House, one of the Durrell’s original homes in Corfu!

Gerald Durrell, the famous naturalist, zoo keeper, television presenter and conservationist, was born in India in 1925 and, on the death of his father a few years later, the family moved back to the UK. However, the British weather soon drove his mother and three older siblings to seek refuge in Corfu in 1935, where they lived until 1939. His book, My Family and Other Animals, recounting his experiences on this magical island and his encounters with the local fauna, was written in 1956. Very few in their early teens in the 1960s failed to read the book, which described an idyllic existence on Corfu. For many, the book captures the carefree approach to life, the informality and the friendship that epitomise life on the Greek Islands. The north-west of Corfu is one of the most beautiful coastlines in Greece, and the White House, sitting on the water’s edge in the fishing village of Kalami, has become part of the island’s heritage. Originally, the house was a single storey property owned by Anastasios Atheneos, the grandfather of the current owner, Tassos. The second floor was added for Gerald’s elder brother Lawrence, the famous writer, who also lived on the island with his wife during the same period. The ground floor is still the Atheneos family home, while the basement and traditional old fisherman’s hut are now the White House Restaurant. But the rooms on the upper (first) floor (a four- bedroomed apartment where Lawrence Durrell and his wife lived and wrote) – are available for holiday stays. The house and apartment are of course old in style and full of character, with antiques and Durrell memorabilia everywhere in the living room, from which French windows open onto a balcony overhanging the sea; the sound of the sea beneath will lull you to sleep. The location is stunning and the exterior of the the White House has lost none of its original character; it literally sits on the water’s edge with amazing views. A few steps from the upper floor lead down to a private patio with a myriad of Mediterranean potted plants. A few more steps down and there is a common patio overlooking the villa’s private jetty and the beautiful bay of Kalami. This is an iconic property and it delivers both the epitome of the traditional Greek lifestyle and a taste of the home and surroundings that so inspired Gerald Durrell’s ‘My Family and Other Animals’.

The Durrells memorabilia in The White House

The Durrells memorabilia in The White House

We work with independent AITO operators and selected villa suppliers to offer you a wide range of properties have been chosen to represent the real Corfu, an island of clean beaches, green hills and valleys, excellent museums, fine tavernas and restaurants. Try and get a table with a view, which is typically Corfiot. You should be able to make out the lattice of traditional fish traps and fishermen tending their nets as they and their ancestors have done for a thousand years or more. This is the magic of Corfu, ancient and modern…..

Here are just a few of our suggested favourite places to stay:

Elsa’s Limani House in Agios Stefanos. Perfectly positioned apartments on the waters edge in the heart of an idyllic fishing village. 

Villa Agni-Stefania near Agni. An elegant hillside 3 bedroom villa with private swimming pool, hidden amongst the cypress trees with breathtaking views 

Villa Georgina near Nissaki. A superbly located 2 bedroom villa with a private swimming pool and spectacular sea views towards Corfu Town 

The Stone Cottage is a small 2 bedroom stone cottage with a private swimming pool surrounded by mature gardens close to the unspoilt harbour and hamlet of Nissaki on Corfu’s northeast coast. 

St George’s Bay Country Club is a low key lovely hotel in the north east of Corfu with a pool and spa and lush gardens. 

Art Hotel Debono is in Gouvia, close to the marina and the beach at Dassia, and has 32 acres of lush gardens filled with olive and palm trees.

Most flights to Corfu operate on a Monday from various airports. 

Contact us for your own idyllic holiday to Corfu – boutique hotels, cosy cottages, B&Bs or family villas, something for everyone! 01728 748209 or send an enquiry. 

Thank you for booking our lovely holiday to Rhodes. The Atrium Prestige was beautiful, the food at the hotel was very nice, service at the restaurants and beach bar very professional. The sea was amazingly clear as you can see from all the fish pictures Leo took whilst snorkelling! Waters were crystal clear and not too cold to swim in just fab - overall this holiday was another winner, thanks so much! Rebecca x
Brooks Family – Greece – Rhodes (July 2017)
August 5, 2017

We had a fabulous holiday to Corfu thank you! We opted for Kalami Bay in Corfu (home of The Durrells) Things we enjoyed most included; The little bay next to Kalami – Kouloura – had a great little beach and top taverna (Taverna Kouloura); Driving off the beaten track and exploring the little mountain villages, like Sinardes. High points provided spectacular views; Reading two Durrell books overlooking The White House! Thank you for making it happen we will come back to Travel With Jules again.
Clare & Gerry Sheehan – Corfu (June-July 2017)
July 28, 2017

The whole trip was great, you chose lovely accommodation - just what we wanted. Highlights included beach life in Naxos, village in Crete, awesome sights in Santorini, and Athens is one of our favourite places. If I had to choose the best, the small hotel in Panoramos was fantastic and we enjoyed the ferries between islands etc. and the friendliness & service of the Greek people.
Chris and Annette – Greece Island Hopping (July 2017)
July 19, 2017

Loved Kefalonia and Assos as you had said we would. Good job, you! Managed to do 400 km in the little Fiat Panda so must have had fun in the sun. Cavos Inn was fine, the view from room 7 was probably better than the front sea view ones as we got to see the village as well. Good time had by both, only spoiled by coming back! We loved the holiday - thanks again!!
Jenny & David Stagg – Greece, Kefalonia (June 2017)
June 29, 2017

As a very busy local business owner and family man I do not have the time or energy to flick through hundreds of High Street Travel agents brochures. This is why I use Julie and Mags at Travel with Jules. These lovely ladies ask questions and talk to you to find what your "perfect" holiday would be. Having booked several times with them they now know what we as a family enjoy doing on holiday.
Darrell & Vicki – Kefalonia (Greece) May 2017
June 7, 2017

We got home last night after a fab week away at Cosi's Inn, thank you! It was wonderful. We loved the island, people, food, local wine etc etc - magical ! Everything went to plan as far as travel, transfers, accommodation, car hire etc. We would definitely ask you to help us with our travel plans again as well as recommending you to friends and family. Speak to you soon x
Greece, Kefalonia – Sarah & John (Sept 2016)
September 19, 2016

We loved The Pelion and Pounda Paou so much when you picked it for us in June, we had to go back again!
Greece Pelion – Jenny and David (Sept 2016)
September 13, 2016

The holiday was great, and different from our usual - was great not to have a car! Some of it surprised us how much we liked things we hadn't tried! Villa Anatoli was just beautiful. Quiet, relaxed, in a brilliant location where we could walk to the beach and the harbour for evening meals and the view blew us all away. A lovely part of the the chilling out process. We are totally refreshed and had a great break - is it too early to plan for next summer?!
Island Hopping in Greece – Waine Family (August 2016)
August 13, 2016

Thank you for finding and booking this hotel for us - we could not fault this place - perfect if you are looking for a nice relaxing holiday. Food, rooms, staff, beach all fab (might need jelly shoes to get in water as slightly rocky at waters edge (we managed) but once in the water sandy bottom and beautifully clear and lovely to swim in. We popped into town a couple of nights all very pleasant and nice atmosphere. A great holiday thank you xxx
Greece Thessaloniki – Brooks family group x 10 (July 2016)
August 10, 2016

I have always been an independent traveller booking the holidays by myself as I found it was the only way to get what I wanted, however with Jules, I have found she has a great understanding of what customers need and since she organised our USA road trip last year I have not considered the DIY option any more. Jules and Mags managed to find a perfect holiday again, within the budget, leaving the time for me to plan what I want to do during the holiday.We loved being able to discover the island at leisure, this was the best part of our holiday. The information we received in advance (booking pack with maps, leaflets) was extremely helpful....
Anna Alcalde-Mills – Greece, Kefalonia (May 2016)
June 9, 2016

We had an amazing time and are so grateful to you for finding such a beautiful place for us to go on our honeymoon at the last minute! It was paradise. Straight after our wedding I contacted Jules and asked her to help with a last minute honeymoon. Jules spent time listening to our requirements and came back with various options. Once we agreed on our destination Jules promptly booked everything and a few days later we were off on our honeymoon to the most wonderful luxury spa resort in Rhodes.
Marianne & Ray – Greece, Rhodes (May 2016)
June 9, 2016

We wanted to have a relaxing week away with some sunshine, good food and fabulous views and Kefalonia had everything we were looking for!
Sam and Andy – Kefalonia (October 2015)
October 27, 2015

The villa you found was absolutely perfect. It was peaceful but within walking distance of everything we needed. It was our best family holiday ever.
Waine Family – Kefalonia, Greece (August 2015)
August 31, 2015

In my view life is too short NOT to use Julie's experience and contacts when booking a holiday! I couldn't recommend Travel With Jules more highly.
Nicky Fussell – several destinations (July 2015)
July 3, 2015

Julie managed to find us the most wonderful villa on the gorgeous island of Lefkas (which we had never heard of!) that we would never have known about going through the normal route of booking a holiday ourselves. Everything worked like clockwork from the flights to the hire car pick up and to being met at the Villa by the owner himself.
Claire Ambler – Greece (August 2014)
August 26, 2014

Our feedback is genuine and meant from the heart. I would love for you manage our travel reservations from now on. You have an amazing business and you do it well.
Laura & Robin – Greece, Crete (Oct 2013)
October 25, 2013

Our holiday to Greece was perfect. The cottage was great, the resort was very child friendly. Not too expensive and really nice beach. Thanks for finding it for us! (stayed at Marguerita Cottage in Stoupa)
Holden Family – Greece Peloponnese (August 2013)
August 27, 2013

Lets start by saying a big thank-you for all your help. Our idea of having a Europen adventure in the car (as an alternative to our usual sailing holidays) came last year after watching Micheal Portillo on the mountain trains in Switzerland and our desire to encorage our daughters interest in  history by visiting Rome. […]
Young Family – Road trip to Italy (August 2013)
August 27, 2013

Just a big thank you for the holiday and all your work finding me a late sun getaway! I really enjoyed Vasilikos (on the Greek Island of Zante). It was very beautiful and peaceful and the hotel (The Belvedere) was really nice too. Although very remote and right at the beginning of the season. But this allowed for a little exploring, so it was great. I'll be in touch for my next holiday!
Lee Young – Zante (May 2013)
May 20, 2013

Our honeymoon was everything it should be and more - the place was perfect, the administration and logistics went as smoothly as could be and we could not have been more delighted. Thank you very much: we appreciate your unique combination of very professional yet always relaxed and so friendly. We will start saving up for next year now!
Helen & Mark – Corfu Honeymoon (Sept 2012)
September 18, 2012

We have just returned from a fabulous week in Kefalonia, organised at lightening speed (a day and a half in fact!). Jules' unflustered approach, helpful advice, huge enthusiasm and willingness to put herself out for us is something we will not forget in a hurry, and really appreciate. We will not hesitate to consult her when we next want a holiday - thanks Jules!
Helen Roberts – Kefalonia (July 2011)
August 6, 2011

Within three hours of me posting a Tweet for holiday help, I received a phone call from Jules. By the next morning my week’s holiday in Crete was researched, sorted and agreed, including a good deal on car hire. We stayed in some great apartments in the heart of the resort and enjoyed a really relaxing week. I can’t recommend Jules highly enough (or Twitter!) and will certainly consider using her services again.
Graham Richards – Crete (July 2011)
August 24, 2011

One of the things I have come to love about you, Jules, is that you listen and take on board what makes me tick, and then tailor the holiday to fit me, not just try to convince me to fit a holiday in a brochure!
Ian Furbank
June 30, 2011

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