Tour Ideas For UK-Bound Travel in April/May 2021 | Travel Research Online


Tour Ideas For UK-Bound Travel in April/May 2021


Last Tuesday’s headlines like ‘One small jab for man…’ (Daily Mail) and ‘A shot in the arm to beat Covid’ (Metro) lifted our spirits on this side of the pond. No doubt, you saw something similar in your own media. After nearly 8 months of profound hope-deprivation (we’re in total lockdown here in the UK until 2nd December) the light at the end of the tunnel could be leading us all towards a brighter future.

With the prospects improving for the restoration of transatlantic flights and cruise ships weighing anchor, here are a few ideas that will help you to harness some of the pent-up demand for UK-bound travel in April and May.


Sample the Spirit of Speyside

My favourite tipple is a measure of Maker’s Mark over ice. For you and some of your clients, a shot of 10-year-old Laphroaig or Glenmorangie Single Malt with a splash might be the whisky of choice. Name your favourite brands and let’s include a visit to the chosen distilleries in a tour centred on the Spirit of Speyside Festival. This annual celebration of Scotland’s national drink has developed into one of the largest events of its kind anywhere in the world. With over 700 whisky-inspired events over 6 days, it’s a mecca for the curious beginner and the whisky connoisseur alike. Slàinte Mhath (or Cheers in English)!

PIC: P. TOMKINS/VisitScotland

Tulip flowers in front of green field
© Kate Wilson

Tiptoe Through the Tulips

The words Tulips and Tours conjure up images of the Keukenhof and Holland. I’d like to introduce you to the south east of England where you’ll discover magnificent tulip displays in the gardens of some of our great castles and stately homes. Arundel Castle dates back over 1000 years and hosts a sumptuous display of around 130,000 tulips in more than 180 different varieties. 13th century Hever Castle, the romantic trysting place for King Henry VIII and Ann Boleyn and award-winning, privately owned Pashley Manor are among other notable additions to this colour-filled itinerary. Consider this as a 3-night extension before or after a visit to Holland.

Be Part of the Brighton Festival

For 3 weeks each year (1st-23rd May 2021), the seaside city of Brighton produces the largest curated annual arts festival in England with an extensive programme of music, theatre, dance, and circus in familiar and unusual locations. With so much going on, it’s hard to find time to visit other locations; but I recommend an afternoon at Charleston Farmhouse, the former home of the Bloomsbury Set and a visit to the award winning garden at Borde Hill for their annual Sculpture Exhibition. Opera lovers will be very pleased to know that Brighton is a good base for the nearby annual Glyndebourne Festival which starts on 20th May.

Stonehenge with sunset behind it
© English Heritage

Break Your Journey in Salisbury

Next year’s Salisbury International Festival (dates still TBC but normally between the end of May and early June) could be included in a tour that starts with 3 nights in Brighton before catching the last few days of the Bath Festival. If Salisbury’s plans follow the pattern of previous years, they will explode out of the Playhouse and Arts Centre and into the streets and spaces of the city with performances, talks and events featuring dancers, musicians, and international artists. Add a journey through time at Stonehenge, Old Sarum, and a viewing of the Magna Carta and Choral Evensong in Salisbury Cathedral and you’re all set.

Immerse Yourself in The Bath Festival

The Bath Festival (16th – 24th May with the Finale Weekend 29th – 30th May) is a celebration of music and literature brought together by some of the world’s leading musicians, writers and cultural figures who perform in a variety of beautiful and historic venues and spaces in this World Heritage city. In addition to a visit to the famous Roman Baths and a Jane Austen-themed guided walking tour, you should try to make time for visits to Glastonbury Abbey and the spectacular Wells Cathedral. To the east of the city, discover Lacock’s On Location role with the filming of Harry Potter, Downton Abbey, and Pride and Prejudice.

Spring Comes Early in Cornwall

Because of the warming effects of the Gulf Stream, Cornwall is the April and early May travel-less, see-more home to some of England’s most magnificent woodlands, landscaped parklands and sub-tropical glades both large and small, which will deliver what’s expected by your most discerning garden club contacts. Broaden the appeal and attract a bigger audience by including locations used for the filming of Poldark and Doc Martin, Tintagel Castle and other historic sites associated with King Arthur, open-air theatre at the Minack, the artist’s colony in the coastal town of St Ives, and an upstairs/downstairs visit plus picnic at Lanhyrdrock, Cornwall’s grandest house.


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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