Frozen Planet – for real
These may be frugal times but David Attenborough's dulcet tones have encouraged us to swap our living rooms for the last great wilderness. Following the BBC's Frozen Planet series, both cruise and adventure operators have seen bookings to the White Continent rise by up to 300 per cent.
Despite stringent tourism restrictions (ships with more than 500 passengers have been prohibited from landing, only 100 visitors are allowed on shore at any one time and all ships have been banned from using heavy fuel oil), high costs (prices start at £5,000) and the long and arduous journey through Drake's Passage, the wildlife and wondrous landscapes of Antarctica continue to exert a pull.
With the centenary approaching of Scott's reaching the South Pole – and all the surrounding publicity – we can expect this trend to continue long into 2012.
Abercrombie and Kent (0845 618 2200; abercrombiekent.co.uk), Exodus (0845 287 2163; exodus.co.uk), Ultimate Travel Company (020 3582 1280; theultimatetravelcompany.co.uk) and Hurtigruten (0844 448 7601; hurtigruten.co.uk) are among the best tour operators offering trips.