UK Tour Ideas That Will Put a Spring in Your Step | TravelResearchOnline

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UK Tour Ideas That Will Put a Spring in Your Step

With swathes of yellow daffodils and the forsythia bursting into flower, the long-awaited spring is finally here and with it, there’s an encouraging upward trend in travel advisor inquiries for later in the year and for 2022, in anticipation that planes will once again be crisscrossing the Atlantic.

To encourage you to take part in this Britain-bound renaissance, I’ve put together some updates on festivals taking place in September. They include the annual Jane Austen Festival in Bath, with some tips on costume hire; and the International Agatha Christie Festival in Torquay, where a link to last year’s Virtual event is a very useful marketing tool.

Finally, if your clients are into china and porcelain, they’ll thank you for helping them to attend the British Ceramics Biennial in the World Capital of Ceramics, aka Stoke on Trent.

 

The Jane Austen Festival in Bath

This year’s celebrations will take place from Friday 10th to Sunday 19th September. Opening with the Grand Regency Costumed Promenade on Saturday 11th September, it continues with the Country Dance Ball and the Masked Ball in the Pump Room, with its reception by the Roman Baths. There’s also numerous walks, food events in a Georgian town house, concerts, their favourite literary expert Professor John Mullan, and the local thespian group, The Natural Theatre Company, with a brand-new piece as well as their hugely popular hilarious Austen Undone tours. Let’s create an itinerary that includes her birthplace and former home at Chawton near Winchester, her final resting place in the Cathedral, and a visit to Downton Abbey and Blenheim Palace.


Dressing Up for the Occasion

One of the biggest draws to the Jane Austen Festival is that, for 10 days of the year, it is completely acceptable to meander around the city in full Regency costume and no one blinks an eyelid. On the contrary, you’ll probably find that you turn into a mini celebrity for the week! However, it’s not mandatory to be in costume for the whole Festival! Only two of the events have a strict Regency dress code: the Grand Regency Promenade and the Masked Ball held in the Pump Rooms. In addition to giving you advice on what Ladies and Gentlemen should be wearing, I can also help them to hire what they need to fit the part.


The International Agatha Christie Festival

Running between 11th-18th September on the English Riviera, aka Torquay, it is one of the UK’s premier literary events. In addition to talks by high profile speakers and a new exhibition, an undoubted highlight will be a talk on the Dartmoor mysteries of Christie and Conan Doyle at the famous prison itself, and an exclusive guided tour of the moorland cemeteries where 271 American prisoners of war, captured in the War of 1812, are interred. Another venue will be on board a full-sized replica of the Golden Hind, the ship in which Sir Francis Drake sailed round the world nearly 500 years ago January. To generate interest, share last year’s Virtual Festival with your anglophile clients.


The Great Detectives

To ensure that your murder mystery-loving fans can join the International Agatha Christie Festival bright-eyed, bushy tailed and with jetlag behind them, let me organize a 2-3 day close encounter of some of our great television detectives. This includes a tour that showcases Oxford locations used in the filming of Endeavour, Inspector Morse, Lewis and Hathaway, areas of the Cotswolds featured in Father Brown, the village used in Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death, and the English market towns, countryside and pubs they will have seen in Midsomer Murders. Returning to London after the Agatha Christie Festival, finish off with a half day Sherlock Holmes tour and a performance of The Mousetrap, hopefully reopening after the pandemic.


7-Up for the British Ceramics Biennial

One of the biggest celebrations of ceramics in the world, the British Ceramics Biennial festival returns to its spiritual home of Stoke-on-Trent (just south of Manchester Airport), from 11th September to 17th October. 2021 marks the seventh Biennial, and it will also be a year like no other. While it will once again present work from the UK’s leading contemporary ceramic artists in a series of new exhibitions and special events, it will be based largely in the original Spode factory and in locations in (and around) the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery. The Festival’s centrepiece will undoubtedly be its eye-catching AWARD exhibition, within the Spode China Hall which continues to be a stunning showcase of experimental and eye-catching work.


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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