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Special Group Tours
Travelling with just 6 - 14 guests per departure, our aim to introduce you to the 'real' country and its people, not just ticking the boxes of an itinerary. Our concept allows for a leisurely touring pace and flexibility, incorporating local events and possibly special requests from your travelling companions. Of course you'll see the major sites but so much more too! See Why Our Tours for more info about the advantages of the Small Group Touring Concept.
What to expectTravelling in small groups and on interesting itineraries throughout the United Kingdom and Europe, you will be taken behind the tourist facade. Meet the locals, seeing both the famous sites (after the crowds have left) and the hidden gems that those herded on big buses miss. Live the history of the areas you visit, sample life in small villages and have experiences not open to larger groups, in the company of your multi talented driver/guide/companion.
SMALL GROUPS An average of fewer than 11 persons per tour, with the ultimate maximum being 14 guests.
FLEXIBILITY Small groups mean we can change our daily schedule, taking advantage of weather conditions, local events and your particular interest. Each evening the group discusses the following day’s alternatives and there is scope for choice. Of course you’ll see the main sites but so much more too.
WELL-BALANCED SIGHTSEEING Days of variety with something suit all interests, seeing both the famous sights (when the crowds have left) and the not so familiar. Entrance fees, when with your guide, are included in the tour price. Please note, the detailed itineraries printed in these web pages should be read as guidelines to allow for flexibility. Attractions in bold print are usually ‘not to miss’ and the rest is up to the group and the guide during your trip.
LEISURELY PACED No 6AM morning calls, no rush to be at predetermined places, no fifteen-minute stops at places of interest, and definitely no ‘commission’ shopping stops. Please do note there are occasional and unavoidable longer drives on the longer tours when we’re driving between major accommodation bases. Inevitably, when traveling in company, everyone will have different ideas of what is the ideal length of time to spend at specific sites.
‘What is life but full of care if we have no time to stand and stare’.
INDEPENDENCE WITHOUT THE HASSLES OF DRIVING YOURSELF You’ll not be ‘herded’ and there’ll be time to explore on your own in major towns, with the help of your driver/guide, of course. On most tours there are opportunities for individuals to take alternative arrangements such as half-day walks or make visits to family or friends if you wish. If you do have a special request, please discuss options with us in advance to assist us it making your wishes possible.
INTERESTING ITINERARIES Get behind the tourist façade, meeting ‘locals’, avoiding the tourist traps. Please note our tours are designed for the reasonably active and involve some walking so some itineraries may not suit those with mobility issues. Please consult us if in any doubt.
COMFORTABLE MINI-COACH TRANSPORT The specially designed mini-coaches can travel anywhere a car can, reaching places the larger coach finds impossible. Luggage is stored under-floor or in a special boot/trunk section. You sit high above the cars and hedgerows, enjoying good all round views.
We’ll occasionally use 7 seat multiple-purpose vehicles (SUVs) where the number of tour participants is 5 or below. Otherwise, your touring vehicle will most likely be a 16 seat Sprinter. See some photos, inside and out, on the Mini-Coaches page.
THE SAME ACCOMMODATIONS FOR A NUMBER OF NIGHTS No constant packing and unpacking. Wherever possible we stay in a single accommodation for several nights and use this as a base for our daily explorations, allowing you to really get in-depth in the area and learn about the places you are visiting.
INTIMATE AND INTERESTING ACCOMMODATIONS Inns, farmhouses, manor homes, quaint B&Bs and occasionally castles, each with its own particular charm. Our accommodations are converted historical properties and not custom built hotels. Each is chosen for their location, architectural interest, ‘the welcome’ skills of the host and the quality of the food.
All accommodations are of a high standard (mostly three or four star/similar rating) and all rooms are with private/en-suite facilities. Rooms are normally doubles or twin share and a limited number of single rooms. Larger groups are sometimes split between adjoining or adjacent properties in smaller villages but this doesn’t happen often. Visit Our Accommodations page for a few photos.
ENTERTAINING EVENINGS Optional theatre, special events, visits to country pubs, dinners with the locals and fun!
EDUCATED AND ENTERTAINING TOUR DIRECTORS Our guide/companions, both male and female, boast a wide range of backgrounds and abilities. Authors, college professors, adventurers, photographers, ex-service officers and even a member of the Royal Household! Above all else, they are dedicated to ensuring your comfort, safety and enjoyment. See Meet Your Team for a few bios and photos.
WONDERFUL FOOD Enjoy the very best of local cuisine, sampling regional favorites whenever possible. We dine at restaurants, pubs and at accommodations. We even find a spot for the occasional picnic! Traditional cooked (UK/Ireland) or continental breakfasts (London/Europe) is included daily and two-three course evening meals are included on most nights. We do not include dinners on each and every night for flexibility’s sake, so you can get out and about independently for a change of pace, usually at the tour mid-way point. Specific details are outlined on the individual itineraries.
Many of our establishments utilize locally grown products – sure to be fresh and delicious!
WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET Many tour companies advertise a low initial price to attract you. Once you’re on the tour, you find your purse or wallet is constantly open as you pay for additional options and extras. Some folks say our tours are expensive but we believe that you get what you pay for, quality over quantity. It is the difference of shopping at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods versus somewhere like Sam’s Club.
Our tours are designed to be as inclusive as possible for value’s sake, while allowing for some flexibility. Breakfast is included daily and most dinners. Entrance fees are included while you are with your guide. During your tour, you are only responsible for lunches, beverages, any souvenirs you may choose to purchase and the occasional dinner. See the tour inclusions on the individual itineraries for specific information about your chosen tour.
THE BEST ADVERTISING IS WORD OF MOUTH We get an enormous sense of satisfaction when we receive a letter, call or an email from our clients stating what a fantastic vacation they have had with us! This is a huge part of why we do what we do!