On Monday 8th November, the champagne corks were popping as we celebrated the lifting of the onerous transatlantic flight restrictions. What a long and difficult nineteen months it’s been, but at last the airlines are beginning to increase their London-bound lift. You can now start making some serious UK/Ireland plans for a couple of clients, four-six friends travelling together and, in due course, small groups of ten-twelve or more.
For the next few months, many customers will continue to be cautious about criss-crossing the pond. I believe that you and other enterprising travel advisors will play an influential, confidence-building role by reminding and inspiring them with ideas for UK-bound tours in May and with others in the months of June and July.
This week, the spotlight sharpens on some of the irresistible festivals and events you can use to start a conversation about travelling to Britain next August and September.
The International Beatleweek, Liverpool
Taking place annually and scheduled for 24th- 30th August, this annual event celebrates the music of the most famous pop group the world has ever known, in the city where it all began. With live music as its focus, it is a truly an international event driven by seventy bands from over twenty countries and fans from over all over the world. Not only is there live music on the Cavern’s three stages all day, every day (with a different band every hour), but they also go out into the city to various venues so you can really experience Liverpool.
Strawberry Fields Forever
If August doesn’t work for you, there are other opportunities for a Beatles Experience in Liverpool. For cruises spending a day in the city, I can offer a tried and tested shore excursion that includes the award-winning Beatles Story, a private Magical Mystery singalong tour to Penny Lane and Strawberry Field tour (see image) and a special tour of the Casbah Coffee Club where the Beatles legend truly began. Another longer 2-night version includes the memorabilia-filled Liverpool Beatles Museum and the childhood homes of John Lennon and Sir Paul McCartney, and at least one night at the famous Cavern Club.
Malt Whisky, Caber Tossing and Massed Marching Bands
The high summer month of August is a perfect choice for a tour that’s totally based in Scotland. Let me create an itinerary that includes visits to some of Scotland’s finest castles, includes samplings at your client’s must-visit malt whisky distilleries and time it to coincide with a day of caber-tossing, tug o’ war, hammer throwing, dancing and music at a Highland Games. Top and tail it with a spectacular evening at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (5th-27th August), be entertained at the incredible Edinburgh Fringe (5th-29th August) and browse your way around the Edinburgh International Book Festival (13th-29th August).
Lincoln Cathedral’s 950th Anniversary
The colourful and fragrant Lincoln Cathedral Flower Festival (3rd-8th August) will celebrate the life and works of St Hugh of Lincoln, and many other visionaries, who had the inspiration to build such a wonderful building and those who followed, changing people’s lives throughout history. Stunning displays will blossom in every area of the magnificent building, bringing it to life in a unique and inspiring way, covering poetry, theatre, film, and fashion alongside history, exploration and invention. There will be something for everyone, from the Mayflower Pilgrims’ journey to the North American continent to the moon landing and even Harry Potter.
Majestic Floral Displays at RHS Wisley
If your green-fingered clients can’t make it to the Chelsea Flower Show (end May) or the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show (early July), don’t forget the late summer spectacular (6th-11th September) at Wisley, the flagship garden of the Royal Horticultural Society. It includes majestic displays in the Floral Art Marquee, from the National Dahlia Society and imaginative creations from the talented Surrey Area of the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to listen to the experts in the recently opened RHS Hilltop, the home of Gardening Science and to see the new gardens they’ve created.
On Location With the Great Detectives
Inspector Morse, Lewis and Endeavour, Midsomer Murders, Father Brown, Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. Why not bring them all together in an unforgettable fiction-into-fact tour based around next year’s International Agatha Christie Festival. Set for 10th – 7th September on the English Riviera aka Torquay, and coinciding with the anniversary of her birth, let’s create a tour based around the Queen of Crime Writers. If the September date doesn’t work, I can time it to coincide with Crimefest in Bristol (12th-15th May) or with the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate (21st – 24th July).
Experience Georgian England at the Jane Austen Festival
Immerse yourself in 18th century England at the annual Jane Austen Festival (9th-18th September), and celebrate all things Austen in the beautiful city of Bath. Rub shoulders with five hundred Jane Austen fans in the spectacular, opening Grand Regency Costumed Promenade and join other fans on guided walks and day trips. Sit back and enjoy talks, music recitals and concerts, or get hands on at workshops and dance classes. At the Regency Summer Ball, you can join fellow Jane Austen enthusiasts and promenade in your Regency finery for an evening of elegant and refined Regency dancing and dining. Costume hire available.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.