Many years ago, I formed my love affair with North America by taking advantage of Greyhound’s amazing offer of 99 days of travel for $99. I spent nearly 5 months touring your fine country and still have the Rand McNally map to prove it.
While you and your customers may not have spent as long falling in love with the UK, many will thank you for suggesting a London and York holiday. Here are some reasons why they’d willingly let the train take the strain out of the fast 2-hour journey between the two locations.
York is a vibrant city packed to the brim with heritage, cultural activities, events, festivals throughout the year, with something different to offer every month. The calendar celebrates everything from Vikings to chocolate, showcases a whole host of cultural connections in literature, film and history, explores a taste of York’s foodie scene, entertains with music and comedy and lights up a city with contemporary art. Check out www.visityork.org/media/presskits/.
An Amazing Journey Through Time
Few cities can bring history to life in quite the way that York does. The Living History Experience begins at the Jorvik Viking Centre before a closer look at medieval York at the timber-framed Merchant Adventurer’s Hall The nearby Fairfax House gives a vivid impression of York in Georgian Times and the Chocolate Story develops a theme for which the city is justly famous (samplings are included!). The tour concludes with a special tour of York Minster which is timed to include Choral Evensong at 5:15 pm.
Yorkshire’s Great Houses Castles and Gardens
With 2016 being billed as the Year of the English Garden, Yorkshire is well worth a closer look as it is home to three of the fiercely contested Christies/Historic Garden of the Year awards. Just two hours up the East Coast Main Line, your clients will thank you for steering them to York as the base for a tour of nearby stunning stately homes, castles, and gardens. Take a look at www.castlesandgardens.co.uk for examples of what you can include in a perfect pre or post tour for the Chelsea Flower Show (late May) or for the Hampton Court Flower Show (early July). Castle Howard has to top your list of must see gardens.
The Mystery Plays Return to York Minster
Next year, the 800 year old Gothic Cathedral of York Minster will undergo a spectacular transformation in May 2016 to provide the setting for a five-week-long staging of the York Minster Mystery Plays 2016. It’s the first time since 2000 that the Minster has hosted the prestigious plays and be transformed into a monumental auditorium for the performances, which will run from Thursday 26 May to Thursday 30 June.
The York Mystery Plays date back from medieval England and dramatize the Christian message from creation to judgement through 48 short plays. They were financed, organized, and produced by the city’s craft guilds, which represented York’s various trades and skills. In medieval England, the word ‘mystery’ meant ‘trade’ or ‘craft’, and it also refers to a religious truth or rite – hence the name Mystery Plays.
Do you have a Minister for a client? Maybe a client that might want to engage their church? This re-enactment will become the focal point for a tour of the great cathedrals and abbeys, all on York’s doorstep.
York for Girls Getaways
With more than 2,000 shops, shopping is one of York’s main attractions. The fantastic range of unique independent and designer shops so perfectly intertwines with magnificent attractions, pedestrianized streets, and peaceful havens, making shopping in York an experience in itself.
The new exhibition at the Fairfax House in York spotlights luxury shopping in the Georgian age. Exploring the exotic, precious, and quintessentially luxurious commodities for a society obsessed with consumption, Consuming Passions reveals a lavish array of treasures that define luxury; goods to furnish homes in the latest taste, to clothe and accessorize, to entertain, or to simply satisfy a desire for novelty. The exhibition closes on 31 December, 2015.
Just outside the city is York Designer Outlet containing over 120 stores with up to 50% off all the labels you love, including Armani Collections, Coast, LK Bennett, Hobbs and Jaeger.
Feast of Steam Tour
You may not have considered Steam Preservation Museums/Societies as the source for a high value small group tour, but to encourage you, look at the UK products offered by the Heritage Railway Association. Then take a look at Railway Museums of America and the Association of Tourist Railroads and Railway Museums. To put the two together, they need a travel agent, and that means you!
York is home to the National Railway Museum (NRM) where you’ll see a replica of Stephenson’s world-changing Rocket, Mallard, the world’s fastest steam locomotive, and meet the stars of the national collection in giant halls full of steam and diesel engines. Other notable must see visits include the East Lancs Railway, the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, and a train ride to the NRM’s sister location at Shildon.
Paull Tickner, creator of Special Interest Britain, is an expert in developing customized niche travel programs for the United Kingdom and Ireland. Check out his website at www.customgb.co.uk and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org