An Encouraging Step In The Right Direction | TravelResearchOnline


An Encouraging Step In The Right Direction


Last Tuesday, our UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that from 4th July, the self-distancing figure shrinks from 6 feet to 3 feet which will enable hotels, pubs, restaurants, and many attractions to reopen. This is the biggest leap to near normality since the lockdown started on 23rd March.

Responding to this encouraging news, I’ve focused on the month of June and have chosen four annual events which you can use as the foundation for a 2021 customised UK tour for 2-3 clients, or even a small group of 10-12.

The first one features the Dickens Festival in the cathedral of Rochester with the second centred on the Jane Austen Regency Week in the Hampshire villages of Chawton and Alton, where she spent much of her life. June is also a good month for an On-Location Doc Martin/Poldark tour to Devon and Cornwall. At the end of the month, I’ve created a fantastic stately homes and gardens tour that combines the Blenheim Place Flower Show and the Woburn Abbey Garden Show with the great estates at Waddesdon Manor and Hatfield House.

The sources for the garden tour will be found among contacts you have with Master Gardeners; Orchid, Rose, Herb and other specialist garden societies; Friends of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta; Landscape gardeners and their clients; TV, radio, newspaper and magazine gardening personalities; Your local garden Club.

For the Dickens and Jane Austen Festivals and the Doc Martin tour, you’ll find interest among Masterpiece fans; Reading Circles; The American Library Association; General and specialist bookstores and antiquarian book dealers; Teachers and lecturers in English literature at schools, colleges, universities and continuing education colleges; and if there’s a Christmas Dickens Festival in your area, offer them the Dickens Festival in Rochester, England as a fund-raiser for their December 2021 Festival.


Celebrating Charles Dickens

This year, the annual Dickens Festival (13th-14th June) in Rochester would have been jam-packed with people marking the 150th anniversary of his death with street theatre, music, dance performances and roaming characters like Fagin, Mr. Pickwick, Scrooge, Miss Havisham, Nancy, Bill Sikes and Bull’s Eye the dog. It’s likely to take place on the corresponding dates next year. To avoid sticking out like a sore thumb, participants are encouraged to dress up for the event! It adds a lot of fun to the occasion.

Jane Austen Regency Week

This annual 9-day festival is held in Alton and Chawton (Jane Austen’s House pictured) and next year’s dates have been confirmed as Saturday 19th – Sunday 27th June 2021. It is likely that they will stage the events originally planned for 2020, including the popular regulars like the Alton Regency Day and the Alton Regency Ball. You can dress up for this festival as well. The rest of the itinerary includes a visit to her final resting place in Winchester Cathedral and a couple of days in the Georgian city of Bath where she also lived.

Doc Martin and Poldark

Letting the train take the strain out of the journey from London to Cornwall, use these two TV shows as the foundation for a 4-5 night tour that also includes the legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, a demonstration of how to make a Cornish Pasty and at least one Cornish Cream Tea before reaching the picturesque fishing village of Clovelly used as the location for the port of Guernsey in the movie The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie.

Two Flower Shows, Some Herbs, An Edible Garden…

For garden lovers unable to get away during May, this tour brings together the 3-day Blenheim Place Flower Show (25th-27th June), a celebration of the very best of gardening and the Woburn Abbey Garden Show (26th-27th June) which is known as ‘The Gardeners Garden Show’. Woburn Abbey also is where the English social custom of taking Afternoon Tea was popularised in the 1840s by Duchess Anna Maria. Tea and cakes here will definitely be a special experience. There are also visits to a garden specialising in herbs for healing and afternoon tea in an edible garden.

…And Two Grand Houses

Also included in this travel-less, see-more itinerary are visits to the treasure filled, French château-style Waddesdon Manor which was built in the late 19th century by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild to display his remarkable art treasures which came to be known as the Le Goût Rothschild. There’s also a leisurely visit to the imposing Jacobean Hatfield House, used as a location for the filming of The Favourite, timed to coincide with the infrequent opening of the elegant parterres, topiary and rare plants in the East Garden.


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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