Orchids, Doc Martin, Malt Whisky and Roses | Travel Research Online


Orchids, Doc Martin, Malt Whisky and Roses


Capture some of the pent-up demand for UK travel with these imaginative early season tour ideas for 2021. Kew Gardens Orchid extravaganza is truly stunning, and Cornwall’s gardens are resplendent in March thanks to the warming effects of the Gulf Stream (and a dash of Doc Martin). Tulips drive an April tour and malt whisky and ancient castle influence a visit to southwest Scotland in May.

I’m joining Waddesdon Manor on their booth at ASTA’s Global Live trade show (25th – 28th August). Let’s meet there, especially if you’re a regular reader of these Agent’s Perspectives.

Kew Gardens Orchid Festival

Between 8th February – 8th March, Kew will be celebrating its 26th annual orchid festival in the Princess of Wales Conservatory, a vast tropical paradise filled with breath taking displays of thousands of colourful orchids. As there might be an Orchid Society near you, check out www.aos.org and click on Affiliated Societies. Look carefully as there may be one near where you live and then talk to them about this orchid-filled tour.

Kew Orchids © Jeff Eden

Gardens and Stately Homes In Cornwall

Taking advantage of the often favourable shoulder season air fares (avoid the two weeks either side of Easter Sunday, 4th April), this itinerary will inspire you to plan a customised March/April 2020 tour to Cornwall where spring arrives earlier than anywhere else in the UK. Adding Poldark/Doc Martin On Location visits and an hour or two at Tintagel, reputedly King Arthur’s birthplace, makes this an early season winner.

Tiptoeing Through the Tulips

With many green-fingered clients busy in their own gardens in May, this late April tour brings together leisurely visits to the extensive and breathtakingly beautiful tulip displays at 11th century Arundel Castle, the award-winning gardens at privately owned Pashley Manor and at Chenies Manor. Your garden loving clients won’t have been offered this tantalizing combination before. It works well as a pre-or-post tour to the Keukenhof Garden in Holland.

Scottish Castles, Rhododendrons, and Whisky

The region of Argyll and Bute covers a vast area including dramatic mountains, long-forgotten castles, prehistoric ruins, and a chain of islands that form the Inner Hebrides. During April and May, rhododendrons explode into a stunning display of colour in gardens, estates and woodlands of varying size, style and maturity. Traveling at the end of May, you will catch the Islay Whisky Festival centred around the small island’s nine active distilleries.

Virtual Chelsea Flower Show

As there was no Chelsea Flower Show this year, why don’t you invite your clients for English Afternoon Tea (or something stronger) and share with them this Virtual line-up of world-leading designers, plant experts giving practical gardening advice, visiting award-winning nurseries and taking owner-led tours of their own gardens. Inspired by this close look at the world’s greatest flower show, let’s talk about a customised 2021 Chelsea and English countryside tour.

Rose Tinted Gardens

Packed with special visits to no fewer than 7 former winners of the prestigious Historic Houses / Christies Garden of the Year Award, this travel-less, see-more Cotswolds-based tour can be enhanced with pub lunches and English Afternoon Tea in some memorable locations. It concludes with a colour and scent filled day at the annual Hampton Court Flower Show. Your gardening contacts will have never seen this itinerary before.

Blenheim, Woburn and Waddesdon Manor

Returning for another glorious year, the Blenheim Palace Flower Show takes place between 25th – 27th June. By a very happy coincidence, the nearby Woburn Abbey Garden Show runs between 26th – 27th June. To theses great stately homes, I’ve added a leisurely visit to the treasure-filled former home of Baron Rothschild at Waddesdon Manor. En route for London, add an edible flower demonstration and an edible flower “hands on” session followed by a floral lunch.


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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