Air Shows, Antiques and Afternoon Tea In The Cotswolds | TravelResearchOnline

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Air Shows, Antiques and Afternoon Tea In The Cotswolds

The recent announcements about the new ePassport gates at UK airports (see my top story) started me thinking about other ways in which you can help your clients enjoy a smoother and better start to their UK visit.

Having gained time by a quicker journey through immigration at London Heathrow, don’t squander it by joining the Monday-Friday rush hour traffic jams heading into London—only to find that their hotel rooms won’t be ready until the early afternoon. Get the trip off to a more enjoyable start by heading northwest for about an hour and use one of these suggestions as the starting point for a customised UK tour. Bear in mind that they work well as 2-3 nighters before heading elsewhere in the UK with London at the end of the tour. They also make very good pre or post cruise extensions for anglophiles who have been to London on numerous occasions and who want to while away a few days in the English countryside.

Easier UK Access

I know you’re inundated with emails and must-read items in the travel trade press, but just in case you’ve not spotted this bit of good news and the UK is on your agenda for 2019 and 2020, US and Canadian citizens can use ePassport gates which will improve the flow of passengers and give them easier and faster access to the UK. Eligible nationals will be exempt from the landing card requirement, providing faster access through the border. Look here for more information and start spreading the word to your anglophile clients flying or cruising in/out of Britain. They’ll be really pleased.

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The World’s Greatest Air Show!

Few events can rival the intensity, drama and spectacle on offer at the Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford with one of the most diverse flying displays in the world. Taking place between 19th-21st July, they’ve got 28 air arms so far confirmed from 20 different nations, which means the Air Tattoo is the best place to see military aircraft on display to the public. If the lead time for this is too short, think about the Battle of Britain Air Show at Duxford near Cambridge on 21st and 22ndSeptember.

Wagner’s Das Rheingold in The Cotswolds

Running from 5th June and 3rd August, the internationally renowned Longborough Festival Opera is an intimate 500-seat theatre set amidst the glorious rolling hills of the Cotswolds. The exciting 2019 programme includes four new productions: Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, and Cavalli’s rarely-performed La Calisto, along with Wagner’s Das Rheingold. It’s their first step to a new Ring Cycle. For culture vultures, add a couple of nights in Stratford upon Avon for visits to the Shakespeare Houses and an evening performance at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Irresistible!

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An Antique Collector’s Paradise

Antiques aficionados will appreciate your steering them towards the Cotswolds, home to one of the largest concentrations of art and antique shops outside London. With those in Stow on the Wold, Tetbury and Broadway topping the list, you could time their visit to coincide with the Cotswolds Antiques, Decorative and Art Fair (2nd-4th August), a must for collectors, home furnishers and interior designers. The ideal days of the week for this are Monday to Wednesday, with a drive to London on a Thursday to be there for Bermondsey Market (Friday), Portobello Road (Saturday) and Spitalfields and Petticoat Lane (Sunday)

Everything Stops For Tea

At least one traditional English afternoon tea has to be included in any tour of England, and with so many private gardens, historic castles, grand stately homes and quaint tea rooms to work with in the Cotswolds, TEA can become the focal point of a customised itinerary. Until 22nd September 2019, you can also include A Tea Journey exhibition at the award-winning Compton Verney Art Gallery which takes you on a plant to pot journey from its roots in China to its importance in British society.

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Festival of Eventing

I’m certain that several of you have contacts at riding schools/equestrian centres. You may even enjoy horse riding yourself. For families, offer them the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park (3rd-5th August) at the home of the Princess Royal and her family. Topped and tailed with London, you have clients that will love this new idea. Notice too short? Consider the Burghley Horse Trials (5th-8th September at Stamford and or the Badminton Horse Trials (6th-10thMay 2020) back in the Cotswolds.

An Essentially English Experience

On London’s doorstep, 35 minutes from Heathrow and just off the main route between London and Southampton, the cathedral city of Guildford makes a great hub for a 2-3 night cruise add-on. Don’t forget the Flower Show at Wisley, the flagship garden for the Royal Horticultural Society, the home of motorsport and aviation at Brooklands Museum, and the Watts’ Gallery with its chapel, artist’s home and studio.

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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 www.customgb.co.uk or email him at ptickner@customgb.co.uk

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