Christian Dior, Downton Abbey and some Royal Connections | Travel Research Online


Christian Dior, Downton Abbey and some Royal Connections

We have a saying, ‘you wait ages for a bus and then 2 or 3 come along at the same time.’ It’s sometimes like that with big-potential fueled new ideas for UK travel and this week’s edition showcases a couple of examples, namely the ‘Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams’ Exhibition at the V&A in London and the long-awaited film version of the hugely popular Downton Abbey. The exhibition starts in February, but the movie’s launch date is still to be confirmed. Both will attract extensive media coverage which will make offering the tours I’ve created much easier to sell.

My Fashion Tour of England will help you to develop interest in a customised UK tour, and my Downton Abbey tour features picture-perfect English villages and a ‘life below stairs’ visit to the kitchens beneath a large stately home. Email me for details.

Attending Sunday Morning Worship or Choral Evensong in St Georges Chapel, Windsor is becoming popular. Clovelly’s Lobster and Crab Festival is a tasty addition to a Poldark tour of Cornwall. The Cotswolds provides the perfect base for some more travel less, experience more tour ideas.

The Christian Dior Exhibition at the V&A London

There is no other country in the world, besides my own, whose way of life I like so much. I love English traditions, English politeness, English architecture. I even love English cooking.” Christian Dior.

From February to July and spanning 1947 to the present day, the V&A Museum will celebrate one of the most ingenious and iconic designers in fashion history. Re-imagining the highly popular exhibition from Paris, more light will be shed on Christian Dior’s admiration of the grandeur of Britain’s great houses and gardens as well as British-designed ocean liners including the Queen Mary.


Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams is at the V&A from 2 February –14 July 2019 at

A Fashion Tour of England

The V&A holds one of the world’s largest and most important fashion collections which, with the Christian Dior exhibition, gets any programme off to a fantastic start. With special visits to other notable costume collections in and around London and side trips to Bath and Brighton, with some careful thought, you already have clients and contacts who will be fascinated by this idea.

Downton Abbey

The long-awaited film version of Downton Abbey is coming to the big screen and shooting begins in September. Many of the stars from the original main cast are returning and the new film is sure to send visitor numbers soaring once again. To avoid disappointment, let’s get ahead and start a conversation about a 2019 Downton Abbey On Location tour.




Worship in St George’s Chapel, Windsor

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve created several customised tours for Inside Track readers that include either Sunday Morning Worship or Choral Evensong in St George’s Chapel Windsor. The burial place of 10 monarchs and one of the most beautiful ecclesiastical buildings in England, it’s where Prince Harry and The Countess of Sussex were recently married. This is a thoughtful addition to a tailor-made tour.

Lobster and Crab Feast

Northern Devon has a sustainable lobster fishing programme that feeds the coastal waters with tens of thousands of baby lobsters each year from our hatchery. The picturesque, cliff-side village of Clovelly celebrates this each year at their Lobster and Crab Feast. This year’s is Sunday, 2nd September 2018 with cook outs on the ancient quay and across the region via the and its app.


Saved and Restored

Bedern Hall is a ‘hidden gem’ tucked away in the heart of medieval York near the Minster where it was discovered in the early 1980s. An event venue for 35 years, it tells the tale of the ‘Vicars Choral’ who originally occupied the Hall and other uses in later centuries, even as a Pork Pie Factory in the 20th Century!

Putting the ‘T’ in the Cotswolds

With the Berkeley Hotel’s Prêt-àPortea in mind, come with me into the Cotswolds for a slower-goer’s tour where whatever the day’s plans may be, there’s not going to be a great rush to get it all done. Here the focus is on cups of morning coffee in award-winning tea rooms, leisurely lunches in pubs that date back to the 15th century, and tea and cakes after a fragrant stroll round privately-owned gardens that open rarely to the general public. Dinner one evening will include the Parade of (English) Puddings at the renowned Pudding Club.


Gold, Gardens and Antiques

If you’re a golfer and have female friends who play regularly, invite some of them to join you in the Cotswolds for a couple of loosening rounds of golf before a mini Solheim Cup match against a local women’s team. Add in a couple of privately-owned gardens and some antique shopping time in Tetbury, Stow on the Wold, Chipping Campden, and Broadway – then top and tail it with a few days in London.

Tapestries, a Spa, and Royal Connections

Based mainly in the Cotswolds, this programme takes a close look at a textile trail of wall hangings and historic tapestries, the former home of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement, time for self-improvement at Herbs for Healing, a relaxing swim in the roof top spa, and other “make you feel great” treatments at the Thermae Bath Spa. Returning to London, there’s a close look at the Duchess of Cambridge’s early years in and around Marlborough and Bucklebury and lunch in one of her favourite pubs.




Calling All Quilters

A couple of travel agents I know recently requested suggestions for a UK Quilting tour. It piqued my interest and with an itinerary on my website and over 1000 Quilters Guilds in America. Last week’s Britain Insider column highlighted the UK’s, perhaps unexpected, potential as a quilting destination. Read on and then use it to start a conversation with a Quilters Guild near you.

Paull Tickner, owner of U.K.-based Custom GB, is known for his expertise in creating and operating imaginative, value-added tours of Great Britain and Ireland. Visit his website at or email him at

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