Author Archives: Paull Tickner

There are 78 articles by Paull Tickner published on this site.


This week, I’m sharpening the focus on some irresistible travel experiences in the north of England which are made all the more accessible because of Virgin Atlantic’s non-stop flights to Manchester. With airside to curbside in around 30 minutes, let me whet your appetite with an amazing Liverpool and London Beatles tour (also available in a modified format as a Liverpool shore excursion) and the idea of creating imaginative three county combinations like England, Wales and Scotland, or England, Wales and Ireland – which is what the Manchester gateway can deliver for you. Nearly all of these suggestions are for August and September 2020. Read the rest of this entry »

For you and many of your clients, the names in my top story read like a list of old friends. You, and they, will have studied them at school, college and university and then watched them as they appear on Masterpiece. With all the groundwork done, you will find that they need little persuasion when it comes to discovering the sources of literary inspiration and making visits to On Location sites of their favourites. To heighten the interest, we need to blend in privately owned castles, stately home and gardens, a pub lunch here and an afternoon tea there, and choral evensong in one of our magnificent cathedrals.

The UK has the product experiences. The target audience is ON YOUR DOORSTEP. The missing link? YOU, the travel agent with the skills to make it happen as you convert popular fiction into profitable reality.

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This week’s short stories focus on several bright ideas for September 2020, and I’ve kicked off with a very tasty offering for the York Food and Drink Festival. Just under 2-hours north of London and easily accessible with Virgin Atlantic direct flights into the northern gateway of Manchester, it includes a class at the Cookery School at the 5-star Grand Hotel. Beer, tea, and wine-themed tours come next – followed by an absolutely fabulous garden tour to the Wisley Flower Show, the flagship home of the Royal Horticultural Society. Plus, for this year only folks, the floral extravaganzas at fairy tale Leeds Castle and in majestic Salisbury Cathedral. For fans of murder mystery novels, I’ve closed with a heads up for the International Agatha Christie Festival on England’s Riviera.

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As 2020 is the ‘Year of The Bookworm’, with 17 conversation-starting itineraries on my website, here’s a list of potential sources where your literary contacts may already be customers. Chapters of the American Library Association looking for literary/on location fundraisers; general and specialist bookstores and antiquarian book dealers; teachers and lecturers in English literature at schools, colleges, universities and continuing education colleges; Murder Mystery Book clubs/stores; Reading Circles; Fans of Masterpiece Theatre; North American Dickens Festivals looking for a UK Dickens Festival tour in the spring. These ideas are available for couples, 4 friends travelling together, families and small groups. Read the rest of this entry »

I often find that many travel planners like the sound of the words ‘The Cotswolds’, though many are unaware that the region covers an area of England with Shakespeare’s England (aka. Stratford upon Avon to the north), the Roman and Georgian city of Bath to the south and the university city of Oxford as the front door when travelling from London. By English standards, this is a large area of almost 800 square miles and filled with quintessentially English villages of honey-coloured stone, lively market towns and some of the country’s greatest palaces, castles, country houses, gardens, traditional country pubs and charming tea rooms. Read the rest of this entry »

Happy New Year!

If 2, 4 or 6 of your clients are planning to visit the UK this year, let’s talk about an itinerary that can be customised to meet their interests, time frame and budget. Being the home to some of the world’s finest Flower Shows, these internationally renowned horticultural extravaganzas make a very good focal point for tours that also include visits to stately homes, cathedrals, literary and on-location venues, ancient pubs for lunch and interesting places for English Afternoon Tea. This collection offers some imaginative starting points for a profitable conversation.
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Last week, a travel advisor asked me to put together a Grandparents and Grandchildren’s tour, which didn’t spend the entire vacation in London. My response seems to have hit the nail firmly on the head as I brought together Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter, Roald Dahl’s BFG, a dash of Paddington Bear in London and an evening performance of Mathilda. The dates they chose were early July, which meant I could also include a visit to the fantastic new Alice in Wonderland Exhibition at London’s V&A Museum. If you have clients who’d like something similar, send me an email.

Wishing you and your family a very Happy Christmas.

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Welcome to another inspired collection of short UK programmes which will help you to increase your profits from cruises sailing in, and out, of Southampton.

My top stories focus on well-known names like Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple and Inspector Morse; and I have highlighted a couple of Crime Writer Festivals which could be of interest. Elsewhere, there are reminders of the interest that can be generated when you offer clients tours that include names like Downton Abbey, Alice in Wonderland and Harry Potter, Stonehenge and King Arthur, the Cotswolds and the Royal Horticultural Society flagship garden at Wisley.

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With interest in UK customised pre and post cruise extensions on the rise, this week’s collection of 2-3 nighters for Southampton arrivals and departures will certainly catch the eye – especially with those who want a closer look at the living history and traditions of their old friend Britain.

I’m a great fan of matching UK tours to niche markets ON YOUR DOORSTEP and if you know any flower arrangers, my final story will really grab their attention for a unique tour next September.

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We have a saying here in England, “You wait ages for a bus and then three come along at once” – and so it is with UK Tea Room Tours. I’ve been banging on about them for a very long time and this week, 6 small group requests have come in one after another! Give my top story careful thought and then let’s start an email conversation.

Elsewhere, I’m commending a visit to the World of Wedgwood, a lovely hotel just north of London, some new Beatles shore excursions in Liverpool and some terrific flower shows and flower festivals.

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Previously, I’ve introduced you to eight great Flower Shows staged between April and September by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). This week, I’m showcasing the four – soon to be five – RHS gardens around the country, which have to be included in itineraries for the most experienced horticulturists and those like myself who just love to be surrounded by the beauty of some of the best gardens in England.

Offering a year-round calendar of Rose Festivals, Sculpture Trails, craft showcases imaginatively themed private tours and festive ‘Glow’ illuminations, RHS gardens are inspirational at any time of year with something different to see and experience whenever you visit.

From RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey (their historic home) to the quintessentially English country garden that is RHS Garden Rosemoor in Devon, and from RHS Garden Harlow Carr in Harrogate, Yorkshire to the wide-open spaces of RHS Garden Hyde Hall in Essex, each has its own distinctive personality; but all of them bring delight and inspiration in equal measure.

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With the Wave Season just around the corner and a steady increase in the number of travel advisors requesting customised pre and post cruse extensions, this week I’m introducing 9 imaginatively themed 2-3-night ideas that will start conversations with clients planning cruises starting or finishing in Southampton, Dover, Tilbury or Harwich. With a little help from me, they will strengthen your relationship with each of them and generate some very valuable extra commission. Read the rest of this entry »

If you’re seriously into gardening, the odds are that you might visited the annual RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London, but what you may not know is that between April and September, they organise 7 more wonder-filled gardening events in the UK. Four of them take place in April and May with four more spread across June, July and September. Five of them are in the London area with another on the edge of the Cotswolds and another in Cardiff. The Chatsworth and Tatton Park events are both in the northwest of England and, while it’s very easy to include them in a circular tour that starts and finishes in London, you can do your customers a big favour by booking them onto one of the growing number of non-stop flights Read the rest of this entry »

On Location tours, Viking Festivals, Wallabies in one of England’s finest woodland gardens, and an audio tour of a fine collection keyboard instruments. Welcome to the world I live in and the experiences I include in customised itineraries for couples, families and groups cruising or flying in and out of the UK. Read on and discover more about the bubble, fizz and pleasant surprises I can add to your tours.

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From the steady flow of interesting travel advisor requests greeting me every morning here in the UK, two clear patterns are emerging as more and more of your UK-bound independent travellers and small groups are looking for tour ideas that:

  • Travel less, so that they can see and experience a whole lot more.
  • Match their interests, time frame and budget.

From my swift responses, they can see that they’ve come to the right person for quick and imaginative replies and as you read on, you’ll see that this week’s selection will help you to achieve both objectives.

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A travel counsellor recently asked me for a UK garden tour that her clients hadn’t seen before. My suggestion combined the Journées des Plantes in Paris and the Chelsea Flower Show in London. She’s now promoting this programme and shooting for a small group of 12-15 for late May 2020 and it’s my top story.

Other eye-catching updates include two new attractions in the Viking city of York, news of a major ceramics event in the World Capital of Ceramics aka Stoke on Trent, and the annual re-enactment of the 1066 Battle of Hastings. The improved dollar/sterling exchange rate offers possibilities for UK shopping trips and I’ve added a couple of bright ideas for November/December Christmas tours. Bon Voyage!

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I know you’re extremely busy but as I want you to generate some profitable new UK-bound business, please spare me 5-10 minutes by listing the names of people you know who are Master Gardeners –  members of orchid, rose, herb and other specialist garden societies: friends of botanical gardens and arboreta; landscape gardeners; TV, radio, newspaper and magazine gardening personalities; clients who are members of your local garden Club. These contacts are potential pied pipers and some of the ideas in this week’s edition will start conversations that can top and tail visits to the Chelsea Flower Show.

As many of your green-fingered clients will be busy with their own gardens/gardening events in May, think seriously about a Cornwall garden tour in March/April. It’s worth considering because the warming effect of the Gulf Stream ensures that spring comes early in this part of the world, making March/April the best time to visit when everything is fresh and lush. Airfares might also be better…

Having made the list, read on for more hooks to hang a customised UK garden tour and let’s exchange emails about the value added, customised tour you can offer them. Read the rest of this entry »

If you’re a regular reader of these Agent’s Perspectives (and there are many of you out there) you’ll be aware of my longstanding commitment to helping you identify and profitably develop some of the untapped niche markets close to where you live. It’s why my website is divided into separate sections for GARDEN, FAITH, VISUAL AND PERFORMING ARTS, GIRLS GETAWAYS, etc.

Many of your anglophile clients will be interested in themes with a LITERARY/ON LOCATION slant, and with 15 conversation starting itinerary outlines on the Literary Tours page, you can take a look at some of the potential sources ON YOUR DOORSTEP. Read the rest of this entry »

Bustling and colourful Christmas markets in historic settings, treasure-filled castles and stately homes in full festive mode: carol singers, sparkling and highly decorated Christmas trees, mulled wine, mince pies and ice skating outdoors at famous London attractions. Welcome to an exciting series of London and the countryside tour ideas that can be gift-wrapped to generate valuable extra commission in the run-up to Christmas.

My top story brings together 5 Christmas markets in London, Winchester, Salisbury and Bath which can be given extra festive flair by adding one or more of my After Dark Tours. December also sees the appearance of outdoor skating rinks at several famous heritage sites in London, and they provide a starting point for an unusual Girls Getaway.

I couldn’t resist creating a programme where you can meet a crowd of much-loved characters at Rochester’s annual Dickens Festival, complete with visits to the castles at Hever and Leeds, both fully decorated for Christmas. Read the rest of this entry »

Ours is a creative industry and if you like thinking out of the box, you’ll love what’s in store for you and your clients on this side of the northern gateway of Manchester. As many of you can easily use Virgin Atlantic’s flights from Atlanta, Boston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York and Orlando (see schedule) start a conversation with anglophile clients about customised tours that include Beatrix Potter, the Brontës, Wedgwood, David Hockney, Hadrian’s Wall and the heritage cities of Chester and York. Let’s create something that matches their interests, time frame and budget. Take a close look at this website and discover no fewer than 23 exciting new products that are waiting, just for you! Read the rest of this entry »

The recent announcements about the new ePassport gates at UK airports (see my top story) started me thinking about other ways in which you can help your clients enjoy a smoother and better start to their UK visit.

Having gained time by a quicker journey through immigration at London Heathrow, don’t squander it by joining the Monday-Friday rush hour traffic jams heading into London—only to find that their hotel rooms won’t be ready until the early afternoon. Get the trip off to a more enjoyable start by heading northwest for about an hour and use one of these suggestions as the starting point for a customised UK tour. Read the rest of this entry »