Never mind the Lions, the really important stuff starts again next spring with the Six Nations, when the England rugby team look to improve on a disappointing 2005 campaign. The match against France on 12 March in the Stade de France in Paris is sure to be a cracker, and The Sporting Traveller (01737 244398; www.thesportingtraveller.com) is offering the ideal opportunity to make a weekend of it. Prices start at £449 per person, based on two sharing, including return Eurostar travel from Waterloo, two nights' b&b and that all-important match ticket.
The Ryder Cup moves to this side of the Atlantic next year, with Europe hoping a bit of Irish luck will rub off on them to record a third consecutive victory over their American rivals. From 22 to 24 September 2006 it's the turn of Ireland's lavish K Club, situated a short drive from Dublin, to play host to this highlight of the golfing calendar. Tailormade Hospitality (01753 752450; www.luxurygolfholiday.co.uk) offers a four-night package from £1,350 per person, based on two sharing. The price includes flights, transfers, b&b, standard tickets for the final practice day, opening ceremony and all three days of competition, plus a ticket to the Ryder Cup Celebration.
This year's F1 Grand Prix Championship is set to be the most exciting for years, now that Michael Schumacher is probably out of the running for victory. As the season draws to a close, why not tie in catching the third last race with a trip to Sao Paulo, for the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos on 25 September? Motor Racing International (01304 612424; www.motorracinginternational.uk.com) offers five nights in the city from £1,199 per person, based on two sharing. The price includes flights, five-star hotel accommodation with breakfast and transport to the track for qualifying and the race itself. Race tickets cost an extra £120.
Fans of the equine variety of racing turn their attention to the southern hemisphere on 1 November for the annual Melbourne Cup. Sometimes described as the Aussie Ascot, it is known locally as "the celebration that stops a nation" and has its fair share of exotic hats and designer frocks. For the first time the Victoria Racing Club is offering international visitors access to exclusive enclosures. You can get hold of one of the limited number of tickets through Bridge & Wickers (020-7483 6555; www.bridgeandwickers.co.uk). A sample seven-night package costs from £1,778 per person, based on two sharing. The price includes flights, transfers and room-only accommodation, plus a race ticket and lunch at the Elms Marquee on the day.
Men's tennis is going through an exciting period, with talents such as Roger Federer, Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt at the height of their game, and young stars such as the French Open Champion Rafael Nadal of Spain beginning to shine. Watch them all in action at the Madrid Masters from 15 to 23 September, with Robert Broad Travel (0845-003 2211; www.robertbroadtravel.co.uk). For a maximum of €650 (£465) per person, based on two sharing, you can see a lot of the action at the quarters, semis and finals. The deal includes three nights' accommodation with breakfast at the Occidental Miguel Angel & Urban Spa. The price does not include flights or transport once you are there, but you do get an official Masters Series polo shirt.
Finally, all the focus may be on the Ashes at the moment, but England's cricket team have potentially tricky tours to the sub-continent on the horizon too. This November they play Pakistan, while there is also a visit to India next February. The best way for English fans to catch their team in action is as part of the notorious Barmy Army, who are sure to be out in full force. The itinerary has not been confirmed yet, but you can pre-register for either tour online ( www.barmyarmytravel.com).Reuse content