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A Pot Pourri of Pleasant Surprises

Virgin Atlantic have recently started non-stop services from San Francisco and Boston to the north of England city of Manchester. With flights already heading across the pond from Atlanta, Chicago, Newark, JFK, Philadelphia and Washington DC it’s worth taking a much closer look at why you should be actively promoting this user-friendly gateway to North Wales, northern England and Scotland.

As first, second and even third timers will have London at the top of their agenda, your target audience for these routes will mostly be anglophiles who will thank you for helping them to discover Wales’ 12th century castles, Roman Britain at Hadrian’s Wall and in the walled city of Chester, internationally renowned award winning gardens and corners of England that inspired some of our greatest artists, writers and poets.

Fly Manchester for Green Fingered Clients

Instead of talking to your clients about the Chelsea Flower Show, start a conversation about a customised tour that includes special visits to some of the previous winners of the prestigious and fiercely contested Historic Houses Association/Christies Garden of the Year Award. There are no fewer than ten of them in North Wales and the north of England.

To take the tour to a higher level, you can then work in Head Gardener tours of the region’s top rated two star gardens (Bodnant, Powis Castle, Levens Hall and Fountain’s Abbey and Studley Royal etc). There are nine of them to choose from.

As far as the timing of the tour is concerned, you can hang the departure on one of the six outstanding garden shows that take place between April and September. The list includes the brand new Royal Horticultural Society spectacular in June at treasure filled Chatsworth House, home of the Duke of Devonshire.

To add something extra special, you can work in a couple of smaller privately owned gardens that open as part of the National Garden Scheme. Tea and cakes, often with the owner goes down very well in these special places.

Fly to Manchester for Tours of your Bookshelf

Create itineraries that visit the places that inspired Beatrix Potter, creator of The Tale of Peter Rabbit and William Wordsworth and the Romantic Poets. Include a side trip to Whitby Abbey, birthplace of Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula and if you’re a Masterpiece Theatre fan, create an On Location tour that includes Victoria, Brideshead Revisited, All Creatures Great and Small and the medieval monk detective Brother Cadfael.

Fly to Manchester for Girls Getaways

Use the much-improved exchange rate to promote a Shop ‘n’ Ship and hands on programme at Wedgwood and Emma Bridgewater in the World Capital of Ceramics, aka Stoke on Trent with a side trip to Europe’s largest International Antiques and Collectors Fairs at Newark. If textiles are your thing, the north of England and Wales will supply some of the best threads for a tailor-made embroidery and needlework tour.

Fly to Manchester for the Visual and Performing Arts

Museums and art galleries are always looking for new fundraising ideas. Introduce the idea with names that they’ll instantly recognise – LS Lowry, David Hockney, JMW Turner, the Pre-Raphaelites and Sir Henry Moore and then follow it up with an itinerary that’s full of value added and curator-led tours.  Time the programme to coincide with one of the region’s top arts or music festivals.

As you will have recognised many of the names I’ve listed and with access now so much easier, let’s start an email exchange that will give you an itinerary that’s full of bubble, fizz and pleasant surprises.


Paull Tickner, owner of U.K.-based Custom GB, is renowned for his expertise in creating and operating imaginative, value-added tours of Great Britain and Ireland. Visit his website at www.customgb.co.uk and email him at ptickner@customgb.co.uk.

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