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NOV/DEC 2013 grouptravelworld.com £3.95

A DAY AT THE MUSEUM – looking beyond London for some of Britain’s best museums and art galleries

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OF THE BESTS TRAVEL APP

GTOs REVIEW OUR EXCLUSIVE FAM TRIPS The Medieval Banquet, Chelsea stadium tours and City Cruises

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WALLPLANNER INSIDE

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PLUS

● An expert’s advice on accessibility ● 5 of the best wall maps ● War Horse reviewed ● WIN a family ticket to The View From The Shard 28/11/2013 17:00


p00_GTW_1113 Great Days

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Group Travel World, First Floor, 3 The Office Village, Cygnet Park, Forder Way, Hampton, Peterborough PE7 8GX Switchboard: 01733 293240 Fax: 0845 280 2927 Web: www.grouptravelworld.com ISSN: 2048-3392

EDITORIAL Editor: Caroline Gregory T: 01733 293486 M: 07415 507 285 E: caroline.gregory@grouptravelworld.com Art Director: Ian Blaza E: ianblaza@raspberryjamcreative.co.uk Editorial Assistant: Amy Moore E: amy.moore@grouptravelworld.com Features E: features@grouptravelworld.com

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A Maasai on his way to World Travel Market 2013 at ExCel London gets a few funny looks on the Tube

EDITOR’S LETTER

Advertising Production June Barnard T: 01473 858761 E: june@adsproduction.co.uk

One year on

GTW MEDIA LIMITED Chairman Jonathan Taylor E: jonathan.taylor@grouptravelworld.com

SUBSCRIPTIONS/CIRCULATION Subscriptions & Circulation Manager Samantha Noble T: 01733 293480 E: samantha.noble@grouptravelworld.com Subscriptions Executive Lorraine Jackson T: 01733 293483 E: lorraine.jackson@grouptravelworld.com Group Travel World only subscription £39. © 2013 GTW Media Ltd. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or system or in any means without the written permission of the directors. This is considered a breach of copyright and action will be taken where this occurs. This magazine must not be lent, sold, hired or otherwise disposed of in a mutilated condition or in any authorised cover by way, or by trade, or annexed to any publication or advertising matter without first obtaining written permission from the directors.

Join the discussion on Twitter by following us at @GTWMagazine and find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/grouptravelworld

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his past month saw the biggest industry event of the year, World Travel Market, take place at ExCel in London. 50,000 delegates descended on the capital for four days that resulted in more than £2 billion in industry deals. Where else is it possible to say you were in a room with people from no less than 180 countries and regions from all over the globe? After all the hype of the vast sums of business deals being made, all the glamour and beauty of the stands, it is this aspect of WTM that is actually the most exciting and inspiring. For me personally, it provided a much-needed reminder, after a hectic few weeks, of why we all love this business of travel. My highlights included meeting the world’s most travelled man, Fred Finn, as you can see above. Mr Finn holds the Guinness World Record and has travelled over 15 million miles and visited 139 countries. It’s a record I’d love to match or beat one day! This issue also marks my one year anniversary in this role and at Group Travel World. It’s been a whirlwind year. I have really enjoyed meeting you all at

My hero: Fred Finn, the world’s most travelled man

various shows and events and getting to know this industry inside out – please do stay in touch, or get in touch, as I love hearing from you. I’d also like to say a big thank you to my lovely colleagues here at Group Travel World and on our sister magazine Coach and Bus Week, who have made this year so enjoyable and have enabled me to jump in at the deep end. I’m really looking forward to next year. As we go to press it still feels a bit early to be saying this, but the time has come: Merry Christmas! Caroline Gregory — Editor

Cover picture: Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art. LEIGH HENNESSY ROBSON www.grouptravelworld.com

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November/December 2013 ● Group Travel World

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IN THIS ISSUE

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NEWS The latest travel and tourism stories and current affairs

PEOPLE, POSITIONS AND PRIZES

Who is moving where within the industry, plus awards and promotions

VOICE OF A GTO Fam trip reviews from our GTO guests

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20 BEST TRAVEL APPS We recommend the apps that make travel easier

A DAY AT THE MUSEUM

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Some of Britain’s great galleries and museums outside London

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UKINBOUND A profile of one of the leading UK tourism and travel organisations

GROUP ACTIVITY: WINE TASTING Private wine tastings for groups, plus some recommended tipples

RETAIL THERAPY IN BAVARIA Germany’s Chic Outlet Shopping villages and the cities of Ingolstadt and Nuremberg

MANOR HOUSES IN THE SOUTH EAST Beautiful stately homes with unique English charm, ideal for group visits

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RAIL, COACH, FERRY Some of the best transport providers in group travel

TAKE TO THE WATER River and ocean cruising for groups

ACCOMMODATION Our first-hand reviews of hotels all over England

COACH TOURISM COUNCIL The association’s latest news and stories

STEPHEN WARD Ticketmaster Groups interviews Robert Fox, producer of this newest West End show

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CONTRIBUTORS

Amy Moore Amy Moore is an editorial assistant at Group Travel World and is studying journalism at the University of Winchester. Her passion for travel and journalism is reflected in her university role as editor of an adventure travel magazine. She aspires to become a top quality travel journalist after university and one day editor of a travel magazine.

Lorraine Jackson Lorraine Jackson is a subscriptions executive for Group Travel World. She enjoys travel, especially in the United States, and reviewing hotels and restaurants for the magazines. Her hobbies include visiting art galleries and reading non-fiction. She reviews country house hotel South Lodge on page 58.

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LONDON & PARTNERS

The organisation provides news of the latest tourism developments in the capital

THEATRE REVIEW A first-hand account of wonderful West End show War Horse

THEATRE NEWS Stories and current news about plays, musicals, ballets and pantomimes

THEATRE LISTINGS Up-to-date details for all the current and upcoming West End musicals and shows

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GTO GRAPEVINE Five of the best wall maps, plus win a family ticket to The View From The Shard

INSIDER INSIGHT This month’s expert advises on how tourism businesses can ensure they are accessible for all to enjoy

UP CLOSE & PERSONAL

Theresa Foley from MyFerryLink answers our monthly interview all about group travel

CarrieAnn Lightley Carrie-Ann Lightley is this month’s industry expert. She runs Tourism for All’s information service which gives disabled and older people advice and support for anything to do with leisure, tourism and travel. Tourism for All works with the sector and government to improve accessibility in the industry.

Theresa Foley Theresa Foley completed our interview ‘Up Close & Personal’ this month. Theresa is head of trade sales for MyFerryLink, having worked in travel for 30 years. Theresa loves going abroad so much that she and her partner have bought a house in France. November/December 2013 l Group Travel World

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NEWS

Travel Tidbits ●

Durham County has announced new ventures set to bring in even more visitors in 2014. Beamish – The Living Museum of the North is opening a new bakery where visitors can try and buy authentic goodies. Herron’s Bakery will sell loaves, empire biscuits, jam and coconut sponge cake and gingerbread, all made according to Edwardian and Victorian recipes from the Beamish archives. At The National Railway Museum Shildon, visitors have a chance to see the locomotive Mallard which still holds the steam locomotive world speed record, set in 1938 at 126mph. ‘Locomotion’ brings together Mallard with its five surviving sister locomotives, some of which now live abroad. The Bowes Museum is all set to welcome a jewel from the National Gallery Collection in March, Manet’s ‘The Execution of Maximilian.’

A new destination management organisation for Stratfordupon-Avon, Warwick, Kenilworth, Royal Leamington Spa and the surrounding area has been officially launched. ‘Shakespeare’s England’ is a new public-private partnership set up by tourism businesses and cultural organisations in South Warwickshire and area, along with Stratford and Warwick District Councils. Its remit is to market and manage the area’s visitor economy, backed up by funding from the two councils of £150,000 per year for the next three years as well as private sector funding contributions. Tanya Aspinwall from Marketing Aloud has joined the organisation as the new PR consultant.

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Opening date announced f or English Heritage has announced that the muchanticipated new visitor facilities at Stonehenge will open as planned on Wednesday 18th December. The final stage of the switchover will happen overnight, as the old facilities, including the existing car/ coach park and entrance close to the Stone Circle, will be used on 17th December. From 9.30am on 18th December, the new visitor centre and parking two kilometres away will be used instead. From that date, pre-booked timed tickets will be required for all groups of 11 or more and are strongly recommended for individuals as well. The team behind the redevelopment has carefully considered the needs of groups and GTOs and has implemented a number of facilities to assist with such visits. A Stonehenge-only booking line, exclusively for use by GTOs and tour

are delighted to be opening on time and have consulted extensively with our travel trade and group partners to help make the transition from old to new as seamless as we can.” English Heritage recommends that GTOs and operators plan for groups to spend around two hours at the site once the new facilities are open. A new visitor centre will take pride of place, housing permanent and temporary exhibitions and featuring a ‘stone circle’ which visitors can stand inside to experience a virtual solstice. Information on the theories around the origins of the monument will be on display as well as some of the site’s archaeological finds. There is also a spacious shop, café with internal and external seating for up to 260 visitors and ample toilet facilities. Early in 2014, an external exhibition featuring a cluster of Neolithic houses is being built.

BHA welcomes home office pledge to improve visa service for Chinese tourists Home secretary Theresa May is seeking to bring in a joint visa application for the UK in order to benefit Chinese tourists, making the process of visiting the UK less expensive and more straightforward. The move comes after extended lobbying efforts from the British Chambers of Commerce, the British Hospitality Association and the Confederation of British Industry among others, who are campaigning for swift visa reform. According to the UNWTO, China is the world’s third largest tourism spender. The UK’s estimated loss to competitors last year was £1.2bn of Chinese tourism receipts. All the evidence points to UK visa policy and visa processing as the single largest barrier to growing the UK’s market share of tourism from China. Visiting the UK from China costs considerably more than visiting France, Spain and Italy and

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operators, is now open (0870 333 0604). There will be dedicated parking for up to 30 coaches, with a drop-off bay outside a group reception building, where group leaders can collect pre-printed tickets and free audio tours in ten languages. There is a 10% group discount on bookings of 11 or more people, with a free place for a driver and tour leader. English Heritage has also produced an easy to use step-by-step planner especially for GTOs and tour operators, to help plan visits to the transformed Stonehenge – please call 020 7973 3529 for a copy. Emma Peters, Stonehenge and travel trade marketing manager at English Heritage, said: “These changes will bring enormous benefits to our clients, enrich the experience of our visitors and enhance the stature of Stonehenge as a leading visitor attraction and World Heritage Site. We

Theresa May has heard pleas for change to the Chinese visa process

takes longer to arrange. At the British Hospitality Association’s annual summit in June this year, Ning Ning Yu, president of China International Travel Services, pointed out that in 2012 only 149,000 Chinese visitors came to the UK - five times more visited Australia, which has a longer flight time. She believes that until the UK government improves the access to the UK for Chinese tourists, there is limited opportunity to bring groups here.

Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, said: “By 2023, China will be the largest outbound tourism economy in the world. Therefore, the opportunity for Britain to grow tourism receipts and jobs is unmissable. However, steps need to be taken now to ensure that we demonstrate a welcome to the Chinese traveller in time to compete for this significant market opportunity on an international scale.” www.grouptravelworld.com

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d f or Stonehenge’s new dawn

Stonehenge’s new visitor centre and facilities will at last make the most of one of Britain’s best tourist highlights

Amazing Animal of the Month

Where you can currently see other sub-species of black rhino in the UK: Chester Zoo Chester Zoo is a member of the European Endangered Species Programme for rhinos. Their black rhino programme started in 1999, in partnership with ‘Save the Rhino’, providing financial support to the Kenya Wildlife Service. Black rhinos have been successfully bred at Chester for many years, and the group has been expanded due to its endangered status. Paignton Zoo

Less cheerful animal news this month – in early November it was announced that the western black rhinoceros is now officially extinct. After great efforts against poaching in Africa, the continent is currently experiencing a huge surge in poaching, with the result that almost 900 rhinos will have been poached in South Africa alone by the end of the year. This is up from just 13 rhinos in 2007; a shocking and dramatic rise. The black market value for horn is staggering; rhino horn is currently fetching more than gold and platinum. Conservationists are warning that other rhino species and sub-species are going to rapidly follow into extinction unless immediate action is taken to tackle the rise in poaching and protect remaining rhinos.

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Visitors can book to feed the black rhino pair, Manyara (male) and Sita (female). Howletts and Port Lympne Wild Animal Parks 20 eastern black rhino across the two parks means that Howletts and Port Lympne hold the largest captive collection of black rhino outside of Africa.

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NEWS

Travel Tidbits ●

Cheddar Gorge and Caves has created three new group and corporate packages around the adventure sports offered at the destination. ‘Adventure Abseiling’, ‘Corporate Caving’ and ‘Rustic Rock Climbing’ are the packages now on offer to groups of five or more visitors, all of which include refreshments, a guided tour of Gough’s Cave, free car parking and a gift bag in addition to the sports activities. Optional extras include group cheese tasting sessions, team building exercises and a tour of the gorge on an open-top sightseeing bus.

The 2014 edition of Hudson’s Historic Houses & Gardens will be available to purchase from Monday 16th December in time for Christmas. This annual 500 page guide contains over 1,500 stunning images, essential information and interesting articles about the UK’s heritage sites. Now in its 27th year, it brings together over 1,300 historic houses and gardens, including privately owned properties and those run or owned by the National Trust, English Heritage, Historic Scotland, Cadw, charities and local authorities.

World Travel Market saw Egypt’s Minister of Tourism give updates on the current situation and reassure tourists of the destination’s safety. The tourism authority has a vigorous programme of improvements and new developments currently taking place in the country, and is working to ensure the world is aware of all Egypt can offer. This was followed on November 8th by the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office lifting its advice against all but essential travel to most of Egypt, and the FCO has now also lifted the advisory against travel to Cairo.

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Mayors Boris and Bloomberg renew tourism partnership between London and NYC New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg joined London Mayor Boris Johnson at London City Hall recently to sign a renewal of the tourism partnership between the two cities, which aims to boost travel and tourism for and between the two destinations. Originally formed in 2009, the partnership represents a commitment by both cities to their respective tourism industries and acknowledgment of the enormous economic impact of the leisure and hospitality sectors. As in the past, NYC & Company and London & Partners— the respective tourism and marketing organisations for each city—have agreed to exchange outdoor media advertising space and share best marketing and tourism practices. Boris Johnson said: “As great world cities for culture, London and New York offer the visitor an extraordinary number of attractions, so I am delighted

to be renewing this important partnership. Let’s shout it out loud: London loves New York and New York loves London, and as big, bold cities, tourism has a vital part to play in the prosperity of each. As the global economy emerges from this economic downturn, our goal is to build on the mighty reputations of each as

preeminent destinations for culture-hungry visitors.” Last year, New York City welcomed 1,033,000 visitors from the UK and forecasts show a projected 2.5% increase for 2013. Americans made almost 1.8 million visits to London last year. The United States remains London’s number one market for international visitors.

Retro travel poster exhibition extended

Tourist duck boats were “an accident waiting to happen”

Due to popular demand, London Transport Museum’s current exhibition ‘Poster Art 150: London Underground’s Greatest Designs’ will now run until 5th January 2014. The exhibition showcases 150 of the greatest Underground posters ever produced, chosen from the museum’s archive of over 3,300 by a panel of experts. Part of the 150th anniversary celebrations of the London Underground, many of the posters were created by famous artists and designs are featured from each decade of the last 100 years. The exhibition

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Boris Johnson and Michael Bloomberg enjoy a close working relationship

is organised into six themes, including ‘Finding your way’ which features maps and etiquette posters and ‘Away from it all’, when London Underground posters were used to encourage people to escape to the country and the suburbs and enjoy other leisure pursuits away from central London. For more information see www.ltmuseum.co.uk

A manufacturer of amphibious vehicles has warned that the latest ‘duck boat’ accident, the third in 2013, was “an accident waiting to happen.” Porcellio Manufacturing Ltd managing director Howard Slater believes many amphibious vehicles risk lives, as they are over 70 years old and do not meet safety standards. Slater said: “Based on the safety record of these vehicles, we are lucky we have not yet seen a much higher injury toll, even deaths ... They don’t have enough internal buoyancy and are made with unsafe metal, which can easily spring a leak. As a result, some owners fill them with foam to aid flotation, which can mean they get too hot and run the risk of catching fire.” www.grouptravelworld.com

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PEOPLE, POSITIONS AND PRIZES

The latest industry news about jobs, people, promotions and awards OBITUARY

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ADMIRAL SIR NICHOLAS HUNT has passed away at the age of 82 following a short illness, it has been announced. Bill Ferris, chief executive of Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, said: ‘Sir Nicholas was a much loved and highly effective chairman who led Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust through a period of major renewal and development which saw many of the dockyard’s historic buildings repaired and brought back into use, HMS Gannet (1878) restored and the future of HMS Cavalier secured... Sir Nicholas joined the trust at the end of 1997, following the death of Sir William Staveley… [he] was instrumental in ensuring that the Historic Dockyard is now recognised as a thriving community in its own right as well as a successful tourist destination, leading museum and education resource. Following his retirement he retained a keen interest in the work of the trust and the development of the dockyard. He will be much missed and we offer our deepest sympathy to Lady Hunt and his family.’

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MARY RANCE, the current chief executive of UKinbound has announced she is leaving at the end of the year in order to head up the charity Contact the Elderly. Rance has been at UKinbound since September 2008 and is credited with transforming and repositioning the association into one of the leading trade bodies in tourism, and the only trade body to represent inbound tourism to the UK. Rance said: ‘Naturally I am sad to be leaving UKinbound but glad to be leaving the organisation in such good shape. When I joined the organisation I developed an ambitious growth strategy, a plan to double the membership, increase our influence and enhance the business benefits

for our membership, all of which have been achieved or are on track. I have loved being a part of the travel industry and will miss it but I believe my future now lies in the charitable sector.’ UKinbound’s chairman Rita Beckwith said: ‘We are sad to be saying goodbye to Mary who has done a wonderful job at the helm of UKinbound these past five years. She leaves our organisation in superb shape in terms of membership satisfaction and industry influence and she has driven a political lobbying campaign that has made the voice of inbound tourism heard in Westminster. We have a business plan in place to further growth and the hunt is now on for her successor.’

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Culzean Castle and Inverewe Garden, to Falkland Palace and Culloden Battlefield. Pietro Cecchini, head of travel trade at the trust, said: ‘We’re delighted to have Ting on board as our China representative, demonstrating our commitment to this rapidly expanding market. Ting’s enthusiasm, language skills and knowledge of both the trust and China markets will ensure we are best placed to maximise business opportunities for 2014 and beyond.’

TING MOU has been introduced by The National Trust for Scotland as its new China sales agent. Based in Shenzhen, Mou will be representing the trust at VisitBritain’s China sales mission in Chengdu in November and will now be the trust’s first point of contact for China operators. Mou is currently developing marketing collateral in Mandarin for the travel trade and MICE markets, covering a range of world-class attractions from

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TIM WAGGOTT has been confirmed as the chief executive of Dover Harbour Board. Re-appointed chair George Jenkins said: ‘It is clear to the board that Tim has now demonstrated his ability to undertake the role on a permanent basis. He has quickly established improving relationships with the customers and the community as well as implementing organisational changes. I am therefore pleased to confirm and congratulate Tim on his appointment as chief executive.’ Earlier this year, the board was refreshed with the appointment of three new non-executive directors with special responsibilities: Erik Ostergaard for port marine operations, Frank Martin for local partnerships, and Bob Lane for regeneration. Tim Waggott is likely to be a popular choice.

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CIARÁN LAVERY has been appointed head of technical services by Jurys Inn. Lavery will be responsible for the management of capital expenditure, new developments and refurbishment projects across the group. With over 16 years’ experience in project management and development, Lavery was previously project manager at Steve Cunningham & Associates, where he worked extensively with Jurys Inn Hotel Group on the design, construction and handover phases of its Newcastle, Glasgow, Leeds, Chelsea, Heathrow and Exeter hotels, as well as project managing the €1 million refurbishment of its Galway hotel. www.grouptravelworld.com

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VOICE OF A GTO

This month, our review pages bring you reports of three recent Group Travel World fam trips from Rupert Williams, Arthur Rowe, Patrcia Crooks, Sylvia Saxon and Joyce Pollard

Voice of a GTO… Rupert Williams

Rupert Williams is a tour operator for Edwin Doran Sports Tours. They specialise in bespoke sports tours both inbound and outbound to/from all over the world. Rupert works on the inbound tours; mainly school groups who always dedicate a few days to London.

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Stamford Bridge has an informative museum, describing Chelsea FC’s history and displaying memorabilia

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he more excursions I am familiar with around London the better, as I can properly tailor the tour to match the group’s needs. As a passionate Chelsea fan who frequently visits Stamford Bridge, the thought of experiencing a stadium tour and museum visit was very exciting. I know the stadium well but you never get to see the full extent of it on matchday. My colleague Louise and I were fortunate enough to be invited by Group Travel World and we both snapped up the chance (although she might dispute this being a United fan). It was Wednesday 25th September when we met Sam Noble in the museum shop. There was a general buzz around the place before the tour and we were met by a representative, Wesley from Chelsea FC, to take us round. We were immediately taken to the Matthew Harding Stand behind the goal and Wesley gave us a brief history of the club and pointed out the different stands and where various people sit. I was

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surprised to see the huge flags demonstrating support for Chelsea from all over the world were there even on a day with no match. We proceeded to the Chelsea hotel where the club puts up recently signed players – one of whom decided to stay for several years! Passing Marco Pierre-White’s restaurant, we headed into the press room. The original slightly battered table from the mid-90s, which was used to sign the contracts of so many international players, proudly takes centre stage. My favourite section was definitely the changing rooms. First we toured the away one – roughly the same size as the ones I use in my local Kingston & District Sunday league. It was bare, and designed to be slightly uncomfortable. There were two wooden physio beds and an old white board with the remnants of permanent marker and sellotape all over it. Chelsea’s changing room was unsurprisingly luxurious. It was about three times the size with five specially-created, padded, physio beds. There were fridges stocked with sports drinks and a huge interactive

whiteboard. The lockers were vast and all had phone chargers in them and ample room for all types of accessories. After going pitch-side and sitting in Jose Mourinho’s very low bucket seat, we headed inside towards the museum. Wesley left us here and we were left to our own devices, free to roam the museum at our own pace. Stamford Bridge has a long history from hosting FA Cup Finals to England internationals to Speedway and dog-racing. The museum was fantastic and even had a section where you could hone your shooting skills and a reaction board to keep you on your toes. The ever-increasing collection of silverware is proudly and beautifully displayed and they have a vast collection of old shirts and memorabilia. All in all I had a very pleasant experience thanks to Group Travel World. The whole tour lasted about 90 minutes. In the future I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to send school groups along to Stamford Bridge for Chelsea’s stadium tours and to visit the museum based on this experience.

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VOICE OF A GTO

Voice of a GTO… Arthur Rowe

Arthur Rowe enjoyed an interesting and varied career lasting over 30 years in international banking, visiting many different countries some desirable, some less so! Retirement allowed time for more travel, but in a more leisurely style, and time to take up duties as a GTO. Arthur organises trips for the Barclays Spread Eagle Club. The club has approximately 200 active members and enjoys lunches out (preferably in locations of historic or other interest), annual trips to the Isle of Wight, National Trust properties and an occasional exotic venture such as a recent visit to the Rolls-Royce Aero Engine Works!

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The Medieval Banquet gives visitors a lively evening in authentic style

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ell, somebody had to be lucky! And that’s the group tour organisers who were included in a fam trip to the Medieval Banquet on a Saturday evening in late September. The venue was well-chosen, as it is located in the Ivory House in the former St Katharine Docks close by Tower Bridge in London. We enjoyed an early evening stroll on the banks of the Thames by the Tower of London with views across the river, then under Tower Bridge brings one to the yacht basin, surrounded by new apartments, boutique shops and numerous cafés. Julie Cousins of Group Travel World met us where the Medieval Banquet is located appropriately downstairs, with several alcoves and curved low brick ceilings, all furnished and decorated in the style of the era. Tables arranged to seat 10-12 persons allow groups large and small to seat their members where they prefer.

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Pre-dinner drinks soon got the conversation going among the GTOs from different areas as period-dressed wenches invited guests to drink what they preferred. Delicious soup was served, live music started and a lively atmosphere ensued, helped by visitors on other tables as well. The amount of time between courses for more entertainment, drinks and conversation was just right. An excellent chicken main course was enjoyed with a good choice of wines, soon followed by desserts and more entertainment, until some GTOs realised that the evening was passing too quickly (as usual!) and it was time to find their way out into the dark evening and by the yacht basin walkway back into the 21st century. Many thanks to Julie and colleagues of Group Travel World for arranging this fun, enjoyable evening and for finding such a suitable and interesting venue in a great location.

Voice of a GTO… Patricia Crooks Freemans Sports & Social Club GTO

“This fam trip was quite a surprise to me as I’ve never been to a medieval banquet before. The evening began with a private drinks reception, with free-flowing sparkling, red and white wine, non-stop ale and juice for those who do not drink. While drinks were flowing, we were entertained by a live medieval show, including acrobatics, carousing and dancing from characters including Henry VIII. Each table had their own wench and when drinks ran low, we would all bang on the table and the wench would come immediately to top up. This was followed by a four course meal, starting with soup which we had to drink directly from our bowls, no spoons allowed in traditional medieval style. During this time we were entertained at intervals by singing, acrobats and our wench, with lots of fun and laughter. The second course soon followed, a platter of salad and a selection of cold meat. The third course was roast chicken and vegetables, lots of it, and the final course was apple pie with cream. After dinner was finished, the band ceased to play traditional music, the floor was cleared, and we were brought into the 21st century with modern tunes and everyone having a grand time on the dance floor. What more can I say, if you have never been to a medieval banquet it’s one that every group needs to try. We would like to say thank you to Julie from Group Travel World and also to our hosts at the medieval banquet for a fantastic evening. I really look forward to arranging a group booking in the coming months.” www.grouptravelworld.com

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VOICE OF A GTO

Voice of a GTO… Sylvia Saxon Dorset NHS GTO

“My friend and I travelled from Poole, Dorset, by train to spend an evening at the Medieval Banquet, St Katharine Docks, London, courtesy of Group Travel World Magazine. Wow, what a brilliant evening it was: superb food, great entertainment in a medieval atmosphere with staff in authentic costume. Perfect for any group spending a fun night in London; I will certainly be booking this for my group. Everything is so well organised, a real group organiser’s dream: all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the evening with everyone else. Unfortunately we had to leave while the dancing was still in full swing; next time it will definitely be worthwhile staying in a hotel to get the full benefit of this wonderful value-formoney medieval banquet.”

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Voice of a GTO… Joyce Pollard Joyce Pollard organises trips for the Cascade Social Group. Dubbed ‘the friendliest social group in Greater Manchester’, it is run by the members, for the members (over 35s). Activities include walking, dining out, holidays, theatre visits, a reading group and tenpin bowling.

“The City Cruises trip was most enjoyable, with delicious food. We very much appreciated the full commentary, as it made the cruise even more interesting, knowing what one was looking at. It is an ideal activity on its own, but taking a leisurely City Cruise along the River Thames

is ideal for groups resting up in between hectic London activities while still doing some sightseeing and learning about London. Being able to have lunch or afternoon tea on board also takes the hassle out of having to make another arrangement for eating on top of everything else.”

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20 of the T R AV E L A P P S

best l e v tra s p p a

by AMY MOORE

These days, many travellers turn to their smartphones for information and help ahead of any other medium. Travel apps are an invaluable resource, offering immediate and urgent assistance with up-to-date information, and doing many clever things that no individuals or guidebooks could do – all at your fingertips and within seconds

Top

OUR

Five

1.

LocalGuiding connects travellers with local tour guides in over 600 destinations in 100 countries worldwide. As well as a detailed profile of each guide with user reviews and ratings, it provides information on the usual attractions and also those that only a local would know about. Tours can be booked using the app. For iOS, available free

3.

Wi-Fi Finder

Flight Track

Tracks live flight statuses and includes zoomable map with information on departure gate, delays and cancellations. Recommended for people who regularly travel by air. Available on iPhone (£2.99), iPad (£2.99), Android (£2.99) and Windows Mobile (£3.99)

18

2.

Local Guiding

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Everybody knows that data roaming charges are expensive, but abroad, they are laughably high. Knowing where to find a decent Wi-Fi hotspot is essential. Loaded with over 320,000 locations in 140 countries worldwide, Wi-Fi Finder provides directions to the location. Wi-Fi Finder is available for free on iOS, Android and Windows Mobile

4.

Google Translate

This app translates through text and voice recognition and contains around 60 languages. Perfect for those moments when you need a translation but also need to know how to pronounce the words, as it says them aloud for you to copy. Available for free on iPhone and Android

5.

TripIt

Like having a digital PA, this app creates a digital itinerary for any trip that can be shared and printed out as well as viewed on a smartphone. Users simply forward their hotel, flight and car rental reservations and the app does the rest, amalgamating all the information into a very handy ‘at a glance’ programme so your trip is seamless. For iOS and Android, free www.grouptravelworld.com

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Best

Rest

THE B

E OF TH

6. Skyscanner

9. Photosynth A specialised photography app that allows users to create a horizontal, vertical and spherical panoramic of a landscape. It also includes an option to share what is created with friends on Facebook. Available for free on iPhone, iPad and Windows Mobile

This app summarises the best ticket prices available around the user’s possible travel dates from airlines and the big travel sites. The search can be pinned to the home screen so users can keep a close eye on prices – handy for those flying on a budget. Skyscanner is available for free on iOS, Android and Windows Mobile

7. Kids Compass This app offers parents a guiding hand by listing the top ten must-sees for children in London, Paris and Amsterdam. It also includes a city map with GPS support (no internet connection required), maps of public transport, practical travel information and lots of fun facts for children. Available for Android, Kindle and iOS for £1.99

12. TravelSafe Pro Emergency service numbers for a range of different countries. Also includes embassy details (for passport loss) with pin widget option for more direct access to police, ambulances and fire engine services.

Packing List available for free on Android, Packing Pro £1.99 for iPhone

11. Toptable Users can search for restaurants via location and filter the search results by price. Never go hungry again.

13. HostelBookers Travel search, hotel reviews and booking website app which also features exclusive mobile discounts for last minute. Available free on Android, iPhone and Windows Mobile

16. Wikitude Sometimes a cheap bed at the last minute with minimum hassle is what you need. This app is ideal for making sure you’re never stuck no matter where you are. Search by price, rating or property type and book with no booking fees.

Free on Android and iOS

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This app converts 180+ currencies on-the-go using live data, and includes a calculation feature so an exact equivalent price is displayed for any amount entered. It stores the latest rates and so can be used offline too. Free for iPhone, iPad and Android

19. Booking.com

Free for Android and iPhone

14. TripAdvisor

Available free for Android, Blackberry, iPhone, iPad and Windows Mobile

8. Where To Eat? No matter where you are in the world, this app displays the closest restaurants. Select from over 45 cuisine types and even get turn-by-turn directions to the chosen restaurant.

18. XE Currency

Available for Android for 99p

10. Packing List/ Packing Pro Create packing lists from scratch or from an existing template. Users can group items by location and luggage using a simple drag and drop feature. With Packing Pro you can choose from a range of set templates (male, female, family, etc.) with an additional option to preset reminders. Ideal for anyone who finds packing an impossible chore.

15. Expedia Hotels & Flights

App version of the famous website. Reviews of hotels, restaurants, attractions. Available for free on iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows Mobile

Uses camera display feature on phone to highlight certain points and places of interest with all information sourced from Wikitravel. Information on people, places and restaurants.

With over 355,000 properties to search, this app helps just about anyone find their ideal accommodation anywhere at anytime, with a guarantee of best price.

Available for free on iPhone and Android

Free for Android and iOS

17. Lookout

20. JetLag Genie

Backs up your phone’s data in case of loss, with the option to remotely wipe all information off device if stolen. A handy precaution that could save the day.

This app helps travellers over the worst of jet lag. By entering travel dates, destination and usual bedtime, the app returns personalised alarm clocks.

Available for free on Android

£1.99 for iOS

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p00_GTW_1113 Tate Liverpool

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AatDay the Museum T

he Tate Liverpool is the most visited gallery of modern and contemporary art outside of London. Covering four floors in one of the Albert Dock’s former warehouses, the gallery shows work from both the Tate Collection and special exhibitions, bringing together painting, photography, sculpture and installations. Tate Liverpool’s anticipated 2014 summer exhibition is ‘Mondrian and his Studios: Abstraction into the World’, which will run from 6th June to 5th October 2014. Commemorating the 70th anniversary of the artist’s death, the exhibition will provide new insight into the artist’s practice and his relationship with architecture. It will consider the relationship between Mondrian’s artworks and the space around them, and focusing on this connection between painting and architecture, a major highlight of the exhibition will be a life-size reconstruction of his Paris studio. Paintings and drawings from Mondrian’s 1914 series ‘Pier and Ocean’ will be presented alongside the stunning views of the former Cunard liner piers seen from Tate Liverpool’s fourth floor riverside galleries. A number of paintings on display will showcase his distinctive abstract style which www.grouptravelworld.com

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Tate Liverpool runs a comprehensive programme of talks and tours

Groups thinking about a trip to a museum still tend to automatically gravitate towards London and the famous collections. Britain has an incredible array of specialised and regional museums however, with no compromise on facilities or the status of the pieces they house and display embraced primary colours and straight lines. Visitors to Tate Liverpool can enjoy daily guided tours and special events as part of their visit. Visitors can also take time out from the gallery in the on-site Tate Café, which boasts lovely views of the historic Albert Dock. Groups of 10 or more should book their visit in advance and Tate Liverpool would appreciate being informed if GTOs want to lecture to their group on the way round. They also run a comprehensive programme of tours and talks themselves, for groups large or small. A private group tour is an excellent way to make the most of a visit to Tate Liverpool. 0151 702 7400 VisitorAssistants_TL@ tate.org.uk www.tate.org.uk/visit/tateliverpool The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts is a grade II listed

art gallery and museum designed by Norman Foster situated in the parkland of the University of East Anglia’s campus. Housing world-class collections, it contains work from Francis Bacon portraits to Picasso drawings, a Degas sculpture, 1,500-year-old Mayan figurines and antique Japanese scrolls. Admission

to the permanent collections is free. The Modern Life Café serves breakfasts, lunches, tea and coffee and the awardwinning shop carries a range of high-quality and unique books, cards and gifts. Groups should book in advance using the details below. 01603 591033 lisa.blowers@uea.ac.uk www.scva.ac.uk Dr Jenner’s House is exactly that - the former home of Dr Edward Jenner and the birthplace of vaccination. Dr Jenner was born in Berkeley in 1749 and after training to be a surgeon with John Hunter in London, he returned to his home town of Berkeley, purchasing The Chantry in 1785 and living there until his death in 1823. Dr Jenner

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A great day out in Northamptonshire STOKE BRUERNE SatNav NN12 7SE

Visit the former home of Dr Edward Jenner (1749-1823), pioneer of vaccination, showcasing his life, career and achievements including his famous research on vaccination against smallpox! Find out about... • The story of vaccination • Jenner’s studies in Hedgehog Hibernation, Bird Migration & the Nesting Habits of Cuckoos • Jenner's “Temple of Vaccinia” & his Vinery in the Garden

...and see our

The Canal Museum 50TH ANNIVERSARY YEAR 1963-2013

200 YEARS OF INLAND WATERWAYS HISTORY – TELLS THE STORY OF HOW BOAT PEOPLE LIVED

• Boat trips to Blisworth Tunnel • Meet the working Blacksmith • Beautiful walks • Two pubs • Voted Best Canal Village in Countryfile • Free coach parking • Free hot drink & cake for driver & tour guide Only 10 mins from Jt 15 M1 – good short stop for tea & toilets

Normal Price £4.75p Group Rate £3.25 per person Opening Times 10am - 5pm from April 1st- 31st October 2014. Reduced opening times in the winter

The Museum has an excellent shop on site as well as providing hot drinks and homemade cakes in the waterside cafe

01604 862229

www.canalrivertrust.org.uk

• “Immunology Works” Exhibition • Jenner’s Dining Room & Study • Ghosts in the Attic Exhibition (tours by appointment booked in advance) Public Opening Sunday to Wednesday 5 April - 5 October 2014, plus Saturdays in July & August and 26 - 29 October, 12.00 noon - 5.00pm Open year-round to pre-booked groups by arrangement Reduced rate for groups of 10 or more

Dr Jenner’s House & Garden, Church Lane, Berkeley, Glos. GL13 9BN Tel: 01453 810631 email: info@edwardjenner.co.uk


MUSEUMS & GALLERIES had a plethora of interests including geology, music, poetry and natural sciences and was made a Fellow of The Royal Society for his work on the nesting habits of cuckoos. However, he is most famous for his pioneering experiment that created vaccination and changed medical science forever, paving the way for the eventual eradication of the deadly disease smallpox in 1980; smallpox is the only human disease ever to have been completely eradicated. Owned by The Jenner Trust, an independent charity, Dr Jenner’s House and Garden is open to the public from 5th April to 5th October 2014 and year-round to groups (and individuals by appointment). It is a beautiful Queen Anne style grade II listed building in Berkeley, Gloucestershire. A visit to Dr Jenner’s home includes seeing his elegant dining room, a period recreation of his study, and displays of artefacts and memorabilia that tell the story of Jenner’s life and work. Fascinating exhibitions illustrate the journey to the final eradication of smallpox and ‘Immunology Works’ follows the developments in medical treatments and technology to fight infectious diseases. Set in just under an acre of grounds, visitors to Dr Jenner’s House also have the opportunity to explore a woodland garden that, amongst historical plants, trees and flowers, is home to Dr Jenner’s ‘Temple of Vaccinia’. This rustic thatched hut is where he provided vaccinations to the poor of the district free of charge and it is considered

by many to be the birthplace of public health. There is also a vinery where Dr Jenner planted vine cuttings taken from Hampton Court Palace. The original vines that Jenner planted can still be seen today; they are over 200 years old and still provide delicious ‘Black Hamburg’ grapes in the summer months. There is a car park at the house with free parking and a designated disabled parking space, along with a gift shop. Groups (minimum of ten people) receive a ticket discount and can be catered for by prior arrangement. Coach drivers get free admission and refreshments. 01453 810 631 www.jennermuseum.com The Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne is celebrating its 50th anniversary year. Telling the story of 200 years of inland waterway history and how boat people lived, the museum is housed in a restored corn mill. There are two floors of working models, videos, images and 3D displays that portray every aspect of life and work afloat. The fascinating insight into a transport system so fundamental to Britain’s Industrial Revolution is complemented by the ‘living canal’ outside, with its locks, boats and Blisworth Tunnel. Admission to the museum includes an audio tour which brings to life the characters and events that shaped the history of the picturesque village of Stoke Bruerne and the canal alongside. The museum shop is full of interesting items and stocks quality souvenirs, painted canalware and a large selection

The Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne is housed in a restored corn mill of gifts. The Waterside Café offers an extensive range of refreshments including tea, coffee, homemade cakes and sandwiches. Group rates are available and all coaches get free parking with a free hot drink and cake for the driver and the GTO. 01604 862229 www.canalrivertrust.org.uk The Geffrye Museum explores the English home from 1600 to 2000, focusing on the living

rooms of the urban middle classes in England, particularly London. A chronological sequence of period rooms shows how such homes have been used and furnished over the centuries, reflecting the changes in society and patterns of behaviour as well as style, fashion and taste. The museum is set in the former almshouses of the Ironmongers’ Company; elegant, 18th-century buildings in Shoreditch, East London.

Learning more about the pieces at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts www.grouptravelworld.com

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MUSEUMS & GALLERIES It is surrounded by attractive gardens, including an awardwinning herb garden and a series of period gardens which chart the changing style of town gardens. Special exhibitions and events are run throughout the year. 2014 marks two significant anniversaries for the Geffrye Museum: the tri-centenary of the opening of the almshouses for London’s poor and elderly,

and the centenary of the conversion of the almshouses into a museum. To celebrate, there will be a full programme of exhibitions and events for all ages, starting with a special exhibition in the spring exploring the best in cuttingedge, contemporary domestic design, from furniture and textiles to lighting and technology, providing a glimpse into what our homes

An 1830 drawing room, recreated for the Geffrye Museum

may look like in years to come. Throughout the summer, celebrations will focus on the Geffrye’s gardens and buildings, including special tours of the restored historic almshouse, a designer-makers’ fair, tea-themed events during Chelsea Fringe, live musical and theatrical performances and behind-the-scenes tours of the museum’s collections and archives. In September, the annual ‘Ceramics in the City’ fair returns, showcasing the work of 50 potters from across the UK. As autumn closes in, events will include candlelight performances and talks, a banquet through the ages, tours of the almshouses with historic lighting and fires and the much-loved ‘Christmas Past’ exhibition, where the period rooms are adorned with authentic festive decorations to reflect 400 years of seasonal traditions in English homes. Admission to the Geffrye Museum is free and groups can book a visit. A programme

of talks and lectures is offered with details and topics listed on the website. Facilities include a restaurant overlooking the gardens and a gift shop. 020 7739 9893 bookings@geffryemuseum.org.uk www.geffrye-museum.org.uk Castle House, base of The Munnings Collection, is the former home of artist Sir Alfred Munnings (18781959). The house, grounds, studio and garden café are set in forty acres of beautiful countryside in the Dedham Vale on the borders of Essex and Suffolk. Described by Munnings as ‘the house of my dreams’, this elegant Tudor and Georgian building is now home to the largest collection of paintings by the artist, who was president of the Royal Academy from 1944 to 1949. Munnings always wished that his pictures and estate should be left to the nation and after his death Lady Munnings

World Rugby Museum The Spirit of Rugby Rugby’s Story Play Rugby Rugby Moments

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at an additional cost. A group visit enquiry form is available on the website for GTOs to complete 01206 322127 info@siralfredmunnings. co.uk www.siralfredmunnings.co.uk

The Beaney Art Museum will host a National Gallery Manet painting worked towards the setting up of Castle House as an art museum. The house has wellproportioned rooms, has been restored structurally and the original Munnings furniture has also been restored, enabling the essential character of the house as lived in by the Munnings to be retained. Two more galleries have been added and the pictures are displayed in pleasant and attractive surroundings. A considerable number of pictures have been

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purchased by the trustees in order to make the collection representative of Munnings’s life span of work and to augment it, with other pictures being borrowed from time to time from other museums and private collections. For groups who visit within usual opening hours, a reduced ticket price is available if prebooked. Groups are also able to book visits at other times. Curatorial talks and ‘behind the scenes’ elements can be built into out of hours visits

The Beaney Art Museum and Library is situated in the heart of the historic city of Canterbury. Following a £14 million restoration project, the Beaney re-opened its doors to the public in September 2012. The building takes its name from its benefactor, Dr James George Beaney, who died in 1891 and left money in his will to the city of Canterbury. The council had the Beaney Institute (as it was formerly known) built using this funding along with some of its own resources, and it was officially opened in September 1899. The Beaney has state-of-theart exhibition galleries, a new extended library, excellent educational facilities and a

programme of events. The permanent collections include everything from Ancient Egyptian and Greek artefacts, to Anglo-Saxon archaeological finds from the local Kent area to a collection of Thomas Sidney Cooper paintings. The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge in Canterbury has been selected by the National Gallery as the first venue to host the first painting in their three year ‘Masterpiece Tour’. Edouard Manet’s ‘The Execution of Maximilian’, painted around 1867-68, depicts the moment when the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian was captured by Mexican revolutionaries and executed in 1867. The Masterpiece Tour is part of the National Gallery’s aim to promote the understanding, knowledge and appreciation of Old Master paintings to as wide an audience as possible, and the Manet painting will be arriving at the Beaney in January 2014.

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MUSEUMS & GALLERIES The exhibition and supporting programme at the Beaney will focus on the way in which artists, including photographers, have selected and arranged their compositions to create iconic images that come to define events involving political killing. A comprehensive supporting programme of activities and events is being developed in partnership with universities, colleges and the local community. The exhibition will be on view from 17 January to 16 March 2014 and entry is free. The Beaney has a café on the ground floor – ‘The Kitchen’ serves organic coffee, toasted flatbreads, sandwiches and cakes from a local bakery. They are also able to offer refreshments and catering for a variety of events in their education room; ideal for group visits. 01227 378100 beaney@canterbury.gov.uk www.canterbury.co.uk/ Beaney

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Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art is housed in an elegant 18th-century neo-classical building in the heart of the city. For over 100 years, this building was a centre for business and commercial exchange where information and goods were traded. GoMA continues that philosophy of exchange by being a centre for people to gather, discuss and learn, inspired by the art it collects and shows. GoMA offers a thought-provoking programme of temporary exhibitions, featuring work by local, national and international artists. Cuttingedge international works on display are from a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, prints, photography, video and installations. GoMA offers a year-round programme of events, including artist talks, and the regular Saturday Art Club for families. Scotland’s most visited modern art gallery, the work that GoMA displays highlights the interests, influences and

working methods of artists from around the world as well as their finished pieces Running until 2nd February 2014, ‘A Picture Show’ features the work of 12 painters. The artists all live and work in Glasgow and they all consider painting to be central to their practice. Other than these common factors, there is no overall theme to the exhibition as each artist is unique, showcasing their work as standalone pieces. GoMA has worked closely with the artists, selecting the works, discussing the ideas and generating the texts associated with the show. This is the first group show of Glasgow-based painters at GoMA and rather than a comprehensive survey it is a focused selection, bringing out some of the complexity, subtlety and variety of this art form. In front of the building on the Queen Street pavement stands the equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington sculpted by Carlo Marochetti in 1844, as

on this issue’s front cover. The statue usually has a traffic cone on its head; for many years the authorities regularly removed cones, only for them to be replaced. The traffic cone has come to represent, particularly in tourist guidebooks, the city’s light-hearted attitude to authority. On the occasion of Glasgow hosting the 2002 UEFA Champions League final, the cone was replaced by a football-patterned hat bearing the logo of one of the tournament sponsors. The cone was also painted gold during the 2012 Olympic games as a celebration of the record haul of gold medals won by Team GB. The GoMA building also houses the ‘Library at GoMA’, which has a café, free internet access and an extensive collection of art and design books alongside its general books for loan. Admission is free to the galleries and library. 0141 287 3005 museums@glasgowlife. org.uk

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U K I N B O U N D // P R O F I L E

FOCUS ON: UKinbound Group Travel World works with a number of leading UK tourism and travel organisations. One of our partners is UKinbound, the only association which focuses solely on the interests of the UK’s inbound tourism sector. We take a closer look at this leading society, the benefits of membership and their current campaigns

UKinbound representatives, including chief executive Mary Rance (front right), at the industry show World Travel Market in London

I

t is now over 30 years since UKinbound first began, expanding from an organisation set up solely to represent the interests of inbound tour operators to one which now includes among its membership suppliers to the inbound industry. UKinbound represents the interests of, and unites, more than 300 diverse inbound tourism businesses, including inbound tour operators, wholesalers, destination management companies, hoteliers and other accommodation providers, attractions, retailers, restaurateurs and transport providers. All members are based in the UK and have businesses which wholly, or to a significant extent, depend on inbound tourism (both leisure and business tourism and travel). UKinbound’s primary aim is to represent the interests of their members and the businesses they represent. It provides www.grouptravelworld.com

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business and networking opportunities and also promotes best practice and the highest standards of operation in the industry. The organisation also strives to remove the barriers to growth and campaigns for policies and practices which will enable the industry to flourish. Lobbying government and engaging with the media, travel trade and general public in order to raise awareness of the importance of inbound tourism to the UK economy is a key part of its role and mission. Members enjoy an extensive range of benefits, including: l Opportunities to participate in and host a wide range of networking events throughout the year - including the UKinbound Annual Convention, regular members’ meetings, seminars, breakfast briefings, workshops, and the summer ball. l Extensive business development

opportunities and chances to meet key contacts from the industry. l Inclusion in the UKinbound Members’ Directory, which is distributed to all members and overseas trade contacts by VisitBritain. l An exclusive website section where they can access news, contact details for all members, market insights and discounts. l Access to overseas agent enquiries for tour bookings to the UK. l Monthly newsletters, which include opportunities for promotion for individual businesses. Advocacy and lobbying benefits include: l Getting views heard - UKinbound lobbies government on behalf of members on issues pertinent to the inbound tourism industry. l Representation on panels across all the key trade bodies within the industry

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U K I N B O U N D // P R O F I L E influencing changes to legislation. l Regular meetings with government and key industry figures, to challenge issues which prevent growth to the inbound tourism industry. Business development opportunities include: l Substantial savings on a variety of commercial services. l An extensive events’ programme, including seminars and briefings on specific industry-related topics, which also provides chances to network with key travel trade contacts while getting updates on business information and news. l Regular familiarisation trips allow tour operators to experience new and unique itineraries, and enable suppliers to showcase products to operators. Business intelligence and support benefits include: l Annual, quarterly and bespoke business barometers determining the state of play from within the industry. l Access to specific market intelligence, sector reports and guides produced to provide a sound understanding of current trends, changes in the markets, and comparison against industry standards. l The UKinbound team are available to advise on numerous travel-related matters, and if they don’t know the answer themselves, they will know someone who will. l Close links with the major national tourist boards and other key industry panels.

CURRENT ISSUES, OPPORTUNITIES AND CAMPAIGNS Tourism is one of the largest industries in the UK and the 6th largest export earner behind the chemical industry and financial services. In 2010, prime minister David Cameron outlined the country’s aims to increase tourism, stating a target of welcoming over 40 million tourists to the UK by 2020, pointing out the significant role that the industry has to play in the recovery of the economy. However, a number of obstacles still prevent the UK from realising its full potential as a tourism destination, despite the impetus following 2012’s Diamond Jubilee and Olympic Games. These include: l Competitiveness Although some positive advances have been made in the area of competition, the UK still ranks 139 out of 140 countries in terms of taxation on tourists. This undoubtedly puts off many visitors and damages Britain’s standing in the marketplace. l Visas Visas are recognised as one of the biggest barriers to inbound tourism. UKinbound is involved in lobbying government and is trying to secure radical improvements to the UK’s visa system, including the 30

Membership of UKinbound means advice, support, information and business opportunities removal of unnecessary red tape and a speeding up of the whole process. It is recognised that improvements to the visa process would dramatically increase the numbers of overseas visitors that come to the UK. Recent news has seen the Home Office and home secretary Theresa May pledge to implement a joint visa application for the UK in order to benefit Chinese tourists. l Air Passenger Duty UKinbound supports the ‘A Fair Tax on Flying’ campaign. Along with other travel organisations including airlines, airports and trade associations, it is campaigning for the government to reduce levels of APD. Indications within the industry suggest that international visitors are amending their itineraries to reduce the time spent in the UK, in order to depart from Europe and thus overcome the tax. UKinbound is commissioning further research to explore the effects APD has on the industry, but this is seen as an urgent issue that needs to be addressed

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before travellers begin to remove the UK altogether from their itineraries. l Airport Capacity Increasing airport capacity in London and the South East is another urgent issue, especially as Heathrow already operates at 99% capacity. Expanding current facilities, and increasing use and capacity of regional airports, will open up the UK to a number of new markets, since new routes which currently do not have access to the UK could be introduced. l VAT The UK’s VAT level (20%) is one of the highest in Europe, which causes Britain to fall behind international competitors in terms of value. UKinbound wants VAT levels for hotels, restaurants and tourism services to be reduced, which would make the UK more competitive, boost perception of the UK as an affordable destination, and would also stimulate investment, employment and growth, hence contributing greatly to the UK’s economic recovery.l www.grouptravelworld.com

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NORTHBANK R

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‘good food and a great view across the Thames’ - Fay Maschler,The Evening Standard • Friendly Service • Spectacular River Views • Delicious Seasonal British Menu • Eclectic Wine List, Cornish Ales & Ciders • A short walk from The Globe,Tate Modern, St Paul’s

• Groups welcome • Lunch & Dinner up to 100 • Total Venue Hire up to 175 • Summer Parties & Weddings • Christmas & New Year’s Eve Parties

NORTHBANK RESTAURANT & BAR Millennium Bridge, One Paul’s Walk, London EC4V 3QH (vehicular access on High Timber St) Tel: 020 7329 9299 www.northbankrestaurant.com Open Mon-Sat 12noon-11pm

@NorthbankLondon


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GROUP ACTIVITIES

Wine

Tasting

Last month, ‘Voice of a GTO’ reviewed walking tours of vineyards and wine tasting in England’s South Downs. Groups don’t need to take to the road or footpaths - in order to sample world wines under expert guidance however; experts will come to a venue of your choice to conduct a specialist and bespoke wine tasting for your group

Hannibal Brown is run by experts with many years of experience

W

hether your group is interested in wine, is expert in the subject or is made up of complete novices who fancy trying something new, a private tasting organised for the location and time that suits everyone is a fantastic group activity that can cost surprisingly little. Group trips and events that make things easy for the GTO are obviously popular and there could hardly be anything simpler than arranging a private wine tasting. Specialist tasting companies will come to your venue, whether it is a hall, club room or private home, with the only stipulations usually being that there is a large enough table and preferably a sink somewhere. They will bring all necessary items with them, including multiple glasses per person, information sheets, nibbles and of course plenty of bottles of wine. Group members have little to do but sit back, enjoy the expert advice and learn something new, with ample time for questions and sampling of course. Hannibal Brown Wines, ‘for explorers of great wine’, launched only a year ago. An online wine merchant based in Epsom,

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GROUP ACTIVITIES

Our choice of top quality tipples to get your group started on their exploration of great wines SPARKLING – Champagne JACQUART (rosé) rrp £19, stockists include www.majestic.co.uk

All wines are personally chosen, with an emphasis on those produced using natural methods in addition to offering a personal wine delivery service they run regular tastings. Hannibal Brown wines come from all around the world and all are personally chosen for their quality and for the credibility of the vineyards and makers behind them; this is no supermarket plonk, but instead comes from artisan producers who follow organic or natural winemaking principles. Interestingly, there is evidence that demonstrates that such wines are unlikely to leave you with a headache the next morning – surely an added bonus! Using appropriate quality glassware, typically a glass of fizz might begin proceedings and get everyone in the mood for an enjoyable experience. The expert from Hannibal Brown will then guide the group through a tasting of about 6 to 10 different wines, a mixture of reds and whites unless stipulated otherwise by the group. Advice on how to swirl correctly, how to smell and discuss the aromas and how to describe the flavours helps everyone to get the most from the event and pick up some handy tips for the future. Along with information about the vineyards and winemakers behind each of the wines, the Hannibal Brown informal, friendly style invites open discussion about the wines and opinions of each one, as well as suggestions for the sorts of food that might go with each. Their approach to tastings – expert yet completely free from snobbery - means that all group members from experts to beginners feel comfortable expressing

their opinions, with no ideas ridiculed or dismissed. Expert pointers and tips direct the conclusions in the right direction without being overbearing or patronising; surely the sign of good teaching. At the end of the tasting, there is of course an opportunity to buy bottles of any tipple that has been particularly enjoyed, and the very reasonable prices and special offers are likely to entice group members to indulge in their favourites. Bottles that have been opened for sampling but are unfinished can be left for the group to enjoy too. Hannibal Brown wine tastings usually include a competition with prizes included in the overall event price, and the tasting can of course be tailored as a quiz if requested. The highly flexible, personal service that the company offers means that they will work with a group organiser beforehand to develop exactly the right sort of event, for the right budget, and can advise on aspects such as location. A group looking for a company to conduct a private wine tasting needs to ensure that it is enthusiastic, experienced experts who will lead the event. A good wine tasting event will be very interactive, informative, bespoke to your particular group and above all great fun. Hannibal Brown makes sure that their wine tastings have all this covered. 01372 253170 team@hannibalbrown.com www.hannibalbrown.com

Champagne JACQUART was begun by winegrowers who wanted a brand that was born in the vineyard, not in the boardroom. This cuvée has Chardonnay finesse rounded out by ripe Pinot Meunier and the structure of Pinot Noir. The addition of Pinot Noir red wine results in a balanced Champagne that is a beautiful salmon pink. On the nose, the aromas are red berries followed by plum. The flavour is fresh, fruity and full. WHITE - Vergelegen Sauvignon Blanc rrp £14.99, stockists include D.Byrne & Co and www.nzhouseofwine. co.uk The Vergelegen estate in South Africa produces wines that have won over 200 awards. The winery design is based on principles such as gentle handling, visual control and gravity flow, ensuring high quality. The sauvignon blanc is pale straw in colour, with a nose of passion fruit, fig, guava and lemon. Fresh, balanced and lively on the palate with a long aftertaste. RED - Esk Valley Merlot/ Cabernet Sauvignon/ Malbec rrp £14.99, stockists include www.oxfordwine. co.uk In New Zealand’s Hawkes Bay, the Esk Valley winery uses very local fruit as the region consistently produces high quality grapes. They use traditional, hands-on methods rather than modern technology. This full-bodied rich blend is densely coloured, with a bouquet of dark fruits and oak. The palate is softly textured. Due to well-ripened tannins, it can be enjoyed young, or left to develop.

Wine tasting is an ideal group activity and can take place in a location that suits your group 34

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www.grouptravelworld.com

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Germany’s two Chic Outlet Shopping villages offer luxury brands and high quality service

Retail therapy in

Bavaria

The impressive Chic Outlet Shopping brand has two villages in Germany, located in the historic Bavaria region and surrounded by several key tourist destinations

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arge shopping villages and centres are highly popular destinations for group visits. Everything in one place, convenient facilities and undemanding in terms of GTO planning … the best retail destinations realise what they have to offer to the group travel market. Chic Outlet Shopping® has a collection of luxury outlet shopping villages in Europe, with a new one also opening soon in China. The brand is defined by the attractive open-air ‘village’ settings, luxury brands at outlet prices, superior service and a calendar of events. World-

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leading brands offer authentic previous seasons’ collections with savings of up to 60% (and sometimes more) on the recommended retail price, in their own luxuriously appointed boutiques, all year round. Currently, Chic Outlet Shopping® has Bicester Village near Oxford in the UK, Kildare Village near Dublin in Ireland, La Vallée Village near Paris in France, Las Rozas Village half an hour from Madrid in Spain, Fidenza Village midway between Milan and Bologna in Italy, Maasmechelen Village in Belgium, Wertheim Village close to Nuremberg and Frankfurt in Germany and Ingolstadt Village near Munich also in Germany. All offer the same levels of

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luxury goods, great facilities and various services and packages including travel, visits to local attractions, gift cards and dining, but each with individual and locally-sympathetic architecture and design. Wertheim Village has outlet stores ranging from Barbour to Diesel to Versace, interspersed with restaurants and cafés for taking a well-earned break. The neat L-shaped Ingolstadt Village is also packed with key international brands and can be reached by using the regular ‘Shopping Express’ bus from central Nuremberg and Munich. Both these villages offer great services to shoppers, including a play area, dog kennels, personal shopper and tourist information centres. GTOs should place an enquiry using the online form in order to get the best possible service ahead of group visits.

IN THE AREA… Ingolstadt is a city in the centre of Bavaria, midway between Nuremberg and Munich. Ancient streets, gabled houses and impressive fortifications in the Old Town offset the cutting-edge industries and world-famous manufacturers who occupy the outskirts, including the Audi Forum. The earliest mention of Ingolstadt dates back to 806 in a document compiled by Charlemagne detailing www.grouptravelworld.com

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Nuremberg’s Gothic “beautiful fountain” is one of many historical sights in the city

Nuremberg’s market sells local produce

The Audi Forum displays the history of the automobile

his empire; the city’s position on the Danube was strategic and important for trade, which led to the fortifications that sprung up at various points in history. Ingolstadt has many Gothic buildings, such as the Herzogskasten (the old ducal castle) and the New Castle, built from 1418 onwards. Several Gothic churches, the Gothic city hall and an imposing gate from the old city wall can all be visited along with a host of other significant buildings and sights. Ingolstadt University was one of the most influential and powerful institutes of higher learning in Europe and played key roles in the Reformation and aftermath; the legacy of learning continues today as the Ingolstadt School of Management is a leading German business school. The infamous Illuminati were founded in Ingolstadt in 1776 and among many other important connections, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has a chapter set in the city. With many museums to explore too, Ingolstadt has a vast amount for visitors to enjoy. Guided tours and themed walks are readily available for groups wanting to see all that the city has to offer. For something completely different, yet still linked to the city’s past as important for trade and the economy, the state-of-theart Audi Forum is an incredible museum on multiple levels, exploring the history and technology of the automobile and the www.grouptravelworld.com

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Audi brand in particular. Ingolstadt has more than 40 hotels including the ideallylocated ARA Comfort Hotel, which offers spacious bedrooms and a stylish bar and restaurant. Visitors will find plenty of shops selling everything from traditional crafts to modern souvenirs and a whole host of dining options; for traditional, delicious, ample Bavarian cuisine the

The earliest mention of Ingolstadt dates back to 806 in a document compiled by Charlemagne

cosy ‘Schanzer Rutschn’ restaurant is an excellent choice. Nuremberg has much in common with Ingolstadt, including a strategic and ancient past, significance in trade, an impressive array of famous sons and several important museums. Its history is significantly more tumultuous and bloody than that of Ingolstadt however, including

many massacres of Jews dating back to 1298, multiple outbreaks of plague, the Nuremberg Nazi rallies, severe damage from Allied bombing (including the destruction of 90% of the medieval centre in a single hour in January 1945) and the Nuremberg Trials in 1945 and 1946. Despite the massive damage to Nuremberg’s historical buildings during the war, the city was rebuilt and was greatly restored to its pre-war appearance including the reconstruction of some of its medieval buildings. Visitors can therefore enjoy many splendid and notable sights, including three castles, many churches, the 1332 ‘Hospital of the Holy Spirit’ and Nuremberg’s famous Gothic ‘Schöner Brunnen’ (Beautiful Fountain). The central square hosts the world-famous Christkindlesmarkt every December, including plenty of stalls selling the Nuremberg speciality lebkuchen. Visitors should not leave without also sampling Nürnberger bratwurst, which is shorter and thinner than other bratwurst sausages; the dark wood panelled ‘Bratwurst Glöcklein’ restaurant is a great choice for this, serving the traditional charcoal-grilled sausages with sauerkraut, potato salad and horseradish on bell-shaped tin plates. For more information visit www.chicoutletshopping.com

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SOUTH EAST

Marvellous manor houses of South East England The UK is filled with stately homes for groups to visit, ranging from vast labyrinthine mansions to crumbling castles to family estate dwellings. GTW takes a look at manor houses in the South East – often smaller, frequently more liveable, each with a comfortable and unique English charm all of its own

© Waddesdon Manor, National Trust. Photo: Stuart Bebb

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ghtham Mote is the most complete medieval manor house in England. This picture-perfect, 14th-century timberframed manor house sits on its own little island surrounded by a moat full of water. Built nearly 700 years ago, the house has seen many changes and been owned by medieval knights, courtiers to Henry VIII and high-society Victorians. The gardens and surroundings are equally diverse, featuring a formal lawn, flower borders, secret glades and a sweetly scented cuttings garden, not to mention the only grade I listed dog kennel in England. The property is owned by the National Trust and has great facilities including the Mote Restaurant, gift shop and lots of parking. 01732 810378 ighthammote@ nationaltrust.org.uk www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ ightham-mote A Renaissance-style château in Buckinghamshire, Waddesdon Manor belongs to one of the most influential European families in history, the Rothschilds, known for their patronage of the arts. Built by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild, the manor houses one of the finest collections of French 18th century decorative arts in the world. The Victorian garden has a parterre and an aviary, and with shops, restaurants and a plant centre Waddesdon has a lot to offer for group visitors. Benefits for groups include a coach drop-off point, group ticket rates for prebooked groups, free entry for the GTO, and a refreshment voucher for the coach driver.

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International artist Bruce Munro has created a ‘Winter Light at Waddesdon’ light installation, the latest exhibition in his ongoing collaboration with Waddesdon. A trail through the gardens leads visitors around the six new light installations, illuminated from 3pm each day. The gorgeous ethereal glow of each installation complements aspects of the surrounding garden. 01296 653226 deborah.read@ nationaltrust.org.uk www.waddesdon.org.uk In 2014, Pashley Manor Gardens, an award-winning garden on the border of Sussex and Kent, will be open on Fridays in addition to its usual open days. Groups can book now to enjoy the gardens, café, gift shop and sculpture and art exhibitions from 1st April to 30th September. Pashley Manor Gardens feature romantic landscaping, imaginative plantings, fine old trees, fountains, springs and large ponds. The Tulip Festival was initiated to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the tulip’s arrival in Europe from Persia and has become an extremely popular annual event held in association with Bloms Bulbs. 2014 will mark the 20th anniversary of the Tulip Festival at Pashley. Over 20,000 bulbs in 100 varieties are planted throughout the gardens in carefully themed colours to create a stunning effect, from the vibrant red and hot orange coloured tulips in the herbaceous borders to the cream, white, pale goldenyellow and apricot tulips in the Elizabethan Garden and the www.grouptravelworld.com

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SOUTH EAST

Penshurst Place is a manor with eight different architectural styles

Preston Manor has a period walled garden for visitors to explore

pink and white tulips along the terrace. 01580 200888 www.pashleymanor gardens.com

take advantage of discounted rates, guided tours, GTO advance visits and free admission and refreshments for coach drivers. 01892 870307 contactus@ penshurstplace.com www.penshurstplace.com

Described as “the grandest and most perfectly preserved example of a fortified manor house in all England”, Penshurst Place in Kent was originally built in 1341 by Sir John de Pulteney. The medieval and Tudor building has been modified and extended over

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the centuries, resulting in eight different architectural styles evident today. Penshurst Place has been owned by the Sidney family since 1552 and they continue to run the house. Visitors can explore the manor and gardens, including the magnificent medieval Baron’s Hall, the state dining room full of family portraits, the Queen Elizabeth Room where she held audience during her many visits and the Tapestry Room. Groups can

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Preston Manor in East Sussex is a delightful manor house which belonged to the Stanford family for over 200 years and which still has the atmosphere

of an Edwardian country house. Collections of furniture and antiques include ceramics, glass, silver and clocks. The servants’ quarters, butler’s pantry, boot hall, kitchen, head housemaid’s and personal maids’ rooms can all be seen, together with a period walled garden. There is a gift shop, café and free parking and group ticket rates are available. 03000 290900 visitor.services@ brighton-hove.gov.uk

www.grouptravelworld.com

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RAIL, COACH & FERRY BY AMY MOORE

Group Travel

Looking to get away? Take your pick from these group-friendly modes of transport to take you throughout the UK and beyond

RAIL

E

urotunnel is an ideal mode of transport for groups that prefer to stick to dry land, offering a fast and frequent service between the UK and France. Active 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, this convenient coach and car carrying service has a total journey time of just 35 minutes, with 80 daily crossings. After disembarkation from the shuttle, groups can look forward to direct connections onto motorway networks. As the most eco-friendly means of transport across the Channel (having reduced its carbon footprint by 55.5% since 2006), even apart from the convenience, eco-conscious passengers travelling by coach are guaranteed to make huge net savings on their greenhouse gas emissions. Virgin Trains has now offered long distance city to city transport for over 12 years, providing groups with connecting lines from London to Manchester and separate services along the North Wales coast. In December 2012, its streamlined ‘Pendolino’ and ‘Super Voyager’ shuttles were awarded the Investors in People gold status, guaranteeing passengers the highest level of comfort and customer service. Discounts on groups of three

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Virgin Trains offer comfortable, speedy services between UK cities and in North Wales or more makes travelling much more affordable, with complementary wifi available in first class and an onboard walk-in shop that stocks sandwiches, snacks and a wide variety of hot and cold drinks for your journey. Each shuttle is designed to accommodate bicycles. Interrail specialises in online passes for all ages, allowing groups and individuals to plan their own journey around Europe

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by train. With a choice of around 30 different countries, it provides the perfect opportunity for any group travelling on a tight budget. Departing at all hours of the day by 32 individual railway companies, travelling by night train, regional train or perhaps opting for scenic routes, passengers are encouraged to use the facility of hopping on and off as they please throughout Europe. www.grouptravelworld.com

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RAIL, COACH & FERRY

Epsom has 90 years of industry experience

With a crossing of 35 minutes, 80 times a day, 365 days a year, Eurotunnel is a popular choice

Woods took 6,500 people on holiday last year

Harry Shaw offers European trips

COACH Epsom Coaches specialise in tailor-made group tours and holidays within the UK, operating a flexible service all year round from their base in Surrey. 130 modernised PSV vehicles take groups on day trips to historical Boulogne or the Surrey Lanes and longer breaks throughout the UK and Europe. 90 years’ experience catering for a wide range of groups means passengers can enjoy tours, with accompanying guides upon request, without compromising on luxury or comfort. Epsom coaches are also available for hire for weddings and school parties. Woods Travel has been operating in the travel industry for over 40 years and has grown to the point where last year they carried over 6,500 passengers to various destinations ranging from the Isles of Scilly to Eastbourne to the Austrian lakes. They recognise that today’s market wants a quality product at a reasonable price, so all coaches are luxury and accommodation is chosen carefully. Woods Travel won ‘Coach Operator of the Year’ at the UK Coach Awards this year and offers useful services such as a door-to-door taxi pick-up to take passengers to the coach starting point. Already operating day excursions and European holidays, the Sussex Cruise Club was added to the Woods group in 2008. 48

MyFerryLink has won awards for the excellent service offered on their cross-channel ferries Harry Shaw is a privately owned coach and travel company that operates great value trips and holidays for groups within the UK and Europe, and is one of the few UK coach companies to offer coach trips to Spain. Family day excursions to venues such as Alton Towers, Cadbury World and Camden Market are available alongside longer trips to a wide range of European countries.

FERRY MyFerryLink is a new service between Dover and Calais, offering a stylish and comfortable journey across the channel. The MyFerryLink fleet is made up of two state-of-the-art passenger vessels, the ‘Rodin’ and the ‘Berlioz’, both custom built for the route across the channel ensuring groups can relax and enjoy their journey. Plenty of comfortable seating allows passengers to sit back and enjoy the great views, while a tempting choice of bars, cafés and restaurants ensures there are menus to suit everyone’s budget and taste. There are dedicated spaces on board for children of all ages, including an enclosed kids’ playzone. With a travel time from just 90 minutes and 16 crossings a day, MyFerryLink provides a fast and frequent service for vehicles and passengers. Brittany Ferries offers a fast and affordable

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service for group tour operators wishing to travel to France and Spain, with significant savings on parties of at least 10 adults. With a total of eight passenger ships, options include a high-speed service from Portsmouth in the summer months which takes approximately three hours, saving valuable time on the crossing and maximising holiday time. Award-winning on board service and facilities include restaurants, shopping and entertainment. Hundreds of cabins and reclining seats are also available for those who would like to use nights to sleep while still making progress towards their destination. Advantages for groups include special rates on tickets, group meal prices and free travel for drivers of groups of 23 or more. Shannon Ferries connect passengers between Kerry and Clare, two of Ireland’s most attractive tourist destinations. The 20 minute journey across the Shannon Estuary saves 137 kilometres from the same journey by road. Shannon Ferries offer transport all year round (except for Christmas Day) on two vessels, the ‘Shannon Breeze’ and the ‘Shannon Dolphin’, each of which can carry 350 passengers and nearly 60 cars; the ferries can also take other vehicles including coaches. As the Shannon Estuary is sheltered, the ferries are seldom affected by bad weather. n www.grouptravelworld.com

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p00_GTW_1113 Fred Olsen

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CRUISES

Take to the

water

If your group is tired of dry land and the tedious turning of tyres, have you considered taking your group by water instead? Turn the travel into the focal point of the trip, with one of these cruising companies who take care of all the details and make life easier for GTOs

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red. Olsen Cruise Lines caters for exceptional group travel abroad to a wide range of destinations ranging from the sublime sands of the Caribbean to the frosty face of the Arctic. They operate four unique, modern vessels: the ‘Balmoral’ (its 710 cabins can house up to 1,300 guests), the ‘Braemar’, the ‘Boudicca’ (aptly named after the Celtic warrior queen) and the ‘Black Watch’ (voted ‘Best for Entertainment’ by Cruisers Choice UK in 2012). All cruises are inclusive of en-suite accommodation and are packed with a number of daytime activities well suited to group travellers who want to enjoy the comfort and functionality of a good quality cruise holiday. Certain packages also offer groups the chance to indulge in, for example, guided tours in France of the city of La Rochelle’s artsy walkways and ancient wooden houses, or a visit to the renowned Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, or perhaps immersion into the unique history of St Peter’s Port in Guernsey. With future plans to increase trips to 246 destinations within 85 countries, sailing from local ports such as Southampton, Liverpool and Belfast, extended overnight stops will allow for more exploration time. Group organisers specifically can enjoy invaluable perks

onboard, including free travel with parties of 10 to 20+ passengers, free parking and assistance with certain group events. There are no limits to the amount of free places available. 01473 746 169 group.sales@fredolsen.co.uk www.fredolsencruises.com Riviera Travel has boasted an enviable collection of comprehensive river cruises over the past 30 years from the comfort of its own ‘floating hotel’, which is a wonderful way to explore Europe. Stops include classic sights and more intimate places, and groups are welcome to participate in the substantial range of informative tours in destinations such as Salzburg, Prague and Switzerland. All Riviera staff undergo intensive resortbased training annually, ensuring the unique experience provided is both high quality and value for money. Dining onboard is also of the highest quality, prepared and served by a dedicated and highly professional brigade of chefs. As all cruises are chartered exclusively by Riviera Travel, catering for groups is refreshingly straight forward. They personally select every single element of their holidays, from hotels and

»

Fred. Olsen’s ‘Braemar’ cruise ship

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www.grouptravelworld.com

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Europe’s Finest Four & Five-star River Cruises 4JKPG &CPWDG /QUGNNG /CKP 4J�PG QT 5GKPG

Voted one of the top holiday companies in the UK by readers of Which? magazine and awarded their coveted ‘Recommended Provider’ status in June 2013 A choice of ten stunning itineraries Beautifully appointed four-star superior and Ć‚XGUVCT ECDKPU YKVJ JQVGN UVCPFCTF DGFU private bathrooms and river views Exceptional cuisine with full board throughout Seven fully chartered vessels

/QTG HQT [QWT OQPG[ YKVJ CP GZVGPUKXG programme of excursions included in the price alongside essentials such as taxes and luggage costs Tours designed to get ‘under the skin’ of a FGUVKPCVKQP IKXKPI CNN VJG DGPGĆ‚VU of group travel whilst treating everyone as individuals # nPQ UWTEJCTIGo IWCTCPVGG CPF DGPGĆ‚VVKPI HTQO HWNN Ć‚PCPEKCN RTQVGEVKQP VJTQWIJ ABTA and ATOL Escorted by an experienced cruise manager


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River Cruise Line visits beautiful Bruges in Belgium among other European destinations

River Cruise Line’s four star vessel ‘Serenity’

River Cruise Line itineraries visit Antwerp

‘Lord Byron’ belongs to Riviera Travel who personally select all elements of their cruises

suppliers to local guides and visits, in order to match the expectations of their clientele – they also offer 24 hour, UK-based emergency telephone help should it ever be required. In June 2013, Which? members voted Riviera Travel as one of the top holiday companies in the UK and awarded them the coveted ‘Recommended Provider’ status.

Other trips take certain themes as their cue, such as a four day history cruise that includes a full day excursion to the battlefields of WWI or the Rhine Valley Christmas Markets break. The fleet of ships all offer en-suite accommodation, cosy, attentive service and great food. River Cruise Line has more than a decade of experience in the travel industry and has been awarded accolades including ‘Best Group Tour Operator’ thanks to the service they offer; the team can tailor-make packages to suit specific requirements and can even charter other ships. Their group travel coordinator Janet Fielding also won an award this year for her outstanding service to group travel organisers.

01283 742 300 info@rivieratravel.co.uk www.rivieratravel.co.uk River Cruise Line takes passengers along Europe’s waterways on carefully planned routes, with something to suit groups on a wide variety of budgets. Groups looking into a river cruise for the first time are likely to be impressed by prices that start from £329 per person. The charming three star and four star vessels include a spacious sun deck for passengers to freely absorb the glorious views on the banks as they float past. River Cruise Line trips take place along famous European waterways and rivers including the Danube, Rhine and Moselle, covering key destinations for sightseeing such as Vienna, Paris and Amsterdam. www.grouptravelworld.com

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0844 544 6587 enquiries@rivercruiseline.co.uk www.rivercruiseline.co.uk Cruise and Maritime Voyages sail directly from the UK throughout the year, offering country-house style and ambience with excellent facilities onboard their three ships Astor, Marco Polo and Discovery. Most cruises offer their passengers a choice of special guest

speaker and arts and crafts programmes in addition to a range of onboard activities and land visits and tours. Group benefits with Cruise and Maritime kick in on bookings of just 12 passengers or more and include a 10% group discount, a free place for every 20 passengers booked, and exclusive welcoming cocktail parties for groups of 30 or more. The group benefits begin even before booking however; a dedicated group sales team offers great customer service, a simple quotation and can deal with any specific requirements that a group may have. Cruises begin from a range of British ports, including London, Hull, Newcastle, Liverpool, Greenock and Leith. As the ships are relatively small in scale, they are capable of travelling to smaller, out-of-the-way ports that larger cruise ships are unable to visit and they also have a unique home-from-home atmosphere. Staff onboard quickly learn the names of passengers and their favourite drinks, ensuring personal service. 0844 414 6199 groups@cruiseandmaritime.com www.cruiseandmaritime.com

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Invitation

To all group organisers, why not let Woods do all the work?

Whether you want a day trip to London, a UK short break or a continental tour, Woods Travel can arrange it all for you! Ferries, cruises, flights, accommodation, coach, itinerary and even door to door taxi transfers for any group of any size. Testimonials: ‘Many thanks for arranging yet another superb holiday for our members. All hotels were excellent and the choice of places visited varied from National Memorial Arboretum, the Falkirk Wheel to the highlight, of course, the Edinburgh Tattoo (despite the rain). Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

that it was important to let you know how we felt following this recent trip to Alsace and without hesitation we would be very happy to have E take us on future holidays. Thank you very much indeed.’ AB a Group Organiser from Emsworth, Hampshire

Praise must go again to PS for safely driving us - this time it was over 1000 miles. I had many comments from those on board regarding his excellent driving skills - careful and calm throughout. He has a very good rapport with us and is very much part of our group these days - it wouldn’t be the same without him! Again many thanks for your hard work, looking forward to getting the next one off the ground later this year.’ DG a group organiser from Portslade, East Sussex ‘We have recently returned from a private holiday on one of your coaches and were driven by E. This is the second occasion that E has taken us to the continent and we would just like to say that this driver does your firm the utmost credit! The holiday went like clockwork and his level of service, aid, thought and general help to the group was remarkable. We thought

For further information please call

01243 871651 Woods Travel Group Park Road, Bognor Regis, West Sussex PO21 2PX

COACH OPERATOR OF THE YEAR

www.woodstravel.co.uk


A C C O M M O D AT I O N

Accommodation Reviews The GTW team has been out and about reviewing hotels all over England this month. Here is our round-up of the best ones, ranging from contemporary streamlined city hotels to historical country houses to strategically-located business hotels GREAT NORTHERN HOTEL Amy Moore Described by its general manager as a ‘home from home’ type hotel, the Great Northern Hotel directly next to Peterborough Railway Station offers a luxurious and affordable stay. Guests are welcomed downstairs through a rotating door, at one stage removed, but back by popular demand. The hotel first opened on 1st April 1852 and has currently been managed by a new owner for four years, who has plans to further modernise and refurbish many areas. The Carriages Restaurant serves a continental and cooked breakfast to guests each morning. It also offers lunch and dinner, and there are plans to develop it into a steak and fish grill restaurant, while also transforming the Victorianesque welcome lounge into a coffee shop. The building’s historical feel creates a cosy,

homely feeling throughout, which continues into the 37 uniquely-decorated bedrooms. The Great Northern Hotel has become a popular destination for wedding receptions with its antique-filled interior and two rooms ideal for hosting such occasions. Impressive chandeliers add to the atmosphere and the hotel also has a ballroom available for weddings. Each en-suite room is equipped with an information pack in a black leather-bound

portfolio, detailing the hotel’s history and places to visit in the surrounding area. The ‘superior’ room has a glamorous black and gold theme, including a darkened, quirky-framed mirror that adds to the rather Gothic vibe. The highly impressive spacious bathroom comes complete with a freestanding bath and old-style taps, and a chessboard tiled floor. A selection of good quality toiletries are provided for guests to enjoy during their

stay. The Great Northern’s logo is a shield coat-of-arms suggestive of their ‘test of time’ attitude and ethos which has maintained this hotel through many years. When it is regrettably time to check out, there is no need to order a cab as there is a taxi rank right on the doorstep and the railway station is a few yards away. 01733 552595 reception@gnhotel.co.uk www.gnhotel.co.uk

MERCURE ST PAUL’S HOTEL Harley Denham We arrived in Sheffield late on a Friday night and found the hotel; a tall, modern building in the city centre. The reception staff were extremely helpful and I couldn’t help but notice the fantastic Champagne bar towards the rear end of the reception area, a great place for drinks before heading out into the city centre. Although there are no parking facilities actually at the hotel, reception advised us about the nearest car park, where residents are entitled to a reduced parking rate of £6 until the morning, and which is very close. The hotel has 161 guestrooms, all en-suite, including single, double, twin and family rooms. Our room had a lovely view out over the water features on the plaza below. There were complimentary drinks on the table and a kind note from the staff to greet us. www.grouptravelworld.com

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The bathroom included built-in sound, so you can listen to the TV or music whilst showering! The spa at the hotel includes facilities such as an indoor swimming pool, sauna, steam room, snail shower and ice fountain, great for unwinding and relaxing after a busy day in Sheffield city or elsewhere. The hotel also has its own restaurant, The Yard at St Paul’s, serving delicious British cuisine made from fresh local

produce. The central location of the hotel means that there are plenty of other local bars and restaurants to explore as well. www.mercure.com Places to visit nearby: Millennium Gallery – www.museumssheffield.org.uk Sheffield Cathedral - www. sheffieldcathedral.org Sheffield Institute of Arts Gallery – www.shu.ac.uk/sia/gallery

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A C C O M M O D AT I O N MERCURE SHREWSBURY ALBRIGHTON HALL HOTEL AND SPA

SOUTH LODGE HOTEL

Caroline Gregory A beautiful 18th century manor house with 15 acres of gardens and ornamental lake, just four miles from the centre of Shrewsbury, Albrighton Hall has a setting and facilities ideal for a whole range of uses and visitors, including business and conference delegates, leisure and family guests and large events such as weddings. The building is grade II listed and The Oak Room restaurant has original panelling and fireplaces, but the traditional country-house feel is complemented by highly contemporary services such as wireless connectivity and a luxurious modern spa. The thermal spa suite is the only facility of its kind in the whole of Shropshire. There are two saunas, two steam rooms, an ice room, two snail showers, swimming pool, jacuzzi and five beauty treatment rooms. A full body massage in a darkened, cosy, comforting treatment room with the experienced and friendly therapists is one of the best ways to thoroughly relax in an atmosphere that feels reassuring and soothing. The candlelit pre- and posttreatment room allows users to take their time winding down both before and after

I recently enjoyed an overnight stay at South Lodge Hotel near Horsham, a magnificent five star country house hotel situated in the heart of rural West Sussex. South Lodge was built as a family home, on the site of a previous Tudor building, in 1883 by Frederick Du Cane Godman, in the neo-Jacobean style typical of many Sussex country houses of the period. The drawing room wing was added in 1911. The house became part of the Exclusive Hotels collection in 1985 and has been sympathetically extended and refurbished to include modern bedroom wings. Upon arrival we were warmly welcomed and a lovely member of staff showed us to our room, explaining a little of the hotel’s history along the way. Our room, named Seven Sisters after the landmark on the East Sussex coast, was a vast luxurious space with a huge king-sized bed, comfortable lounge chairs and a fantastic bathroom with flatscreen TV and separate walk-in shower room with multiple shower jets on each surface. The bedroom was very well-appointed with beautiful decor, quality soft furnishings, another large flatscreen TV, Bose surroundsound system and French

doors which opened onto a balcony with far-reaching views across the lawns to the South Downs and beyond. This was one of 89 bedrooms and suites, all individually designed and offering exemplary levels of comfort. That evening, we were booked into The Camellia, one of two restaurants on site and holder of two AA rosettes. The Camellia, named after the original flowering shrub growing on the south terrace when construction began in 1883 and still thriving today, is an elegant and intimate space complete with original oak panelling and pretty floral wallpaper. It has delightful views of the patio and gardens. We were served by friendly and professional staff and had both a set and an a la carte menu to choose from. Our starters consisted of mackerel with gooseberry and chicken wing, and slow-cooked duck egg with goats cheese and pickled vegetables. To follow, we enjoyed roasted cod with pea and black olive and Sussex pork belly and fillet with fennel and pink grapefruit. We both thoroughly enjoyed our respective choices. The ambience in the restaurant was comfortable and relaxing, especially appreciated after a very busy day. To finish we chose desserts of chocolate and salted caramel mousse, and blueberry and

and The Source Grill restaurant offers fine dining at breakfast, lunch and dinner. The check in experience was hassle-free, including a welcome from helpful, informative and neatly presented staff who perfectly

balance friendliness with professionalism. Personal touches like offering a reservation for dinner at check in, asking if you’d like your breakfast brought to you on request the following morning and the general attention to

Lorraine Jackson

massages, ensuring that the restorative benefits are not lost by rushing out into the busy world too quickly. The Albrighton Hall Hotel has conference facilities for up to 300 delegates including executive boardrooms and meeting rooms to suit all types of business event. The 87 contemporary bedrooms each have internet access and satellite television. The hotel has several different dining options; The Oak Room restaurant has fine dining in a traditional setting, the Mallard Room is perfect for private dining, and the Terrace Bar serves drinks and light meals throughout the day. 01939 291000 www.mercure.com

PETERBOROUGH MARRIOTT HOTEL Amy Moore One of the area’s leading venues for events, the exterior of the four star Peterborough Marriott Hotel, situated next to Peterborough Business Park, is reminiscent of a leisure club. Its appeal as a place for business guests and leisure customers alike to come and rest their weary heads is reflected in 163 well-designed and furnished en-suite bedrooms. Each room welcomes guests with a generous selection of refreshments including sachets of hot chocolate and oat and honey biscuits. With recent renovations made 58

to most facilities, the hotel has a warm and welcoming atmosphere that encourages maximum relaxation with minimal disturbance. A leisure pool and spa is available throughout the day, The Pulse Bar serves snacks and drinks,

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contemporary art galleries, restaurants and tea shops and is a good base from which to explore the South Downs countryside. Arundel has a museum and cathedral and castle with gardens. The castle is set high on a hill overlooking the market town with views over the South Downs and River Arun. Built at the end of the 11th century by Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Arundel, the castle plays host to various events and exhibitions from March to November.

almond sponge, both utterly delicious. South Lodge’s other restaurant, The Pass, is an award-winning restaurant holding a Michelin star and no less than four AA rosettes. It offers a selection of tasting menus with seasonal and complementary dishes served in a vibrant, modern setting. After an incredibly comfortable night’s sleep we returned to The Camellia for breakfast to enjoy a choice of cooked breakfasts, including vegetarian options, and a cold buffet. Service was again polite and friendly in the

tranquil setting, and the view from the window over the grounds was made even better by a brilliant blue sky. South Lodge is quite simply a wonderful retreat, only one hour’s drive from London and within easy reach of Gatwick Airport, Goodwood and Brighton. It is set within 93 acres of woodland and parkland, with fantastic outside terrace, ponds, tennis court and its own lake and jogging trails. It lends itself perfectly to group functions and conferences with bright and well-equipped function

detail shows concern for the comfort of the customer. Equipped with plenty of space and storage, each room more than delivers on functionality, including a mini safe for valuables, a fresh feather-pillowed bed and a cream cushioned sofa designed for relaxation. The latest film releases are advertised for pay per view with 60 free additional channels provided on a 32 inch flatscreen television. For the ultimate workaholic, a spacious desk certainly fits the bill. Bathrooms are plentifully equipped with various soaps, shower gels and shampoos, with mouthwash, cotton buds and an emery board thrown in for good measure, ensuring nothing will be wanting.

The Marriott’s modernised leisure club entices guests with an airy indoor swimming pool and sauna and a fully equipped gym which is at the disposal of guests. A prepaid buffet breakfast is available for guests, with a range of options from continental to traditional English. The restaurant staff were efficient at showing guests to a table and an experienced chef cooks omelettes to order if desired. The overall quality of service at the Peterborough Marriott Hotel was of an exceptional standard and contributed to a stay that was a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

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rooms and banqueting facilities. There are wonderful areas to relax in and enjoy throughout the hotel, not forgetting the stylish Billiard Bar with huge chandeliers of twisted coloured glass. www.southlodgehotel. co.uk PLACES TO VISIT NEARBY ARUNDEL Within 30 minutes is the historic market town of Arundel. It is home to independent shops,

WWT ARUNDEL WETLAND CENTRE The centre is on a beautiful site encompassing reed beds, ponds and meadows and is home to many varieties of duck. There is a choice of pathway which leads you round the park and can accommodate wheelchair users and buggies, with a wooden boardwalk getting you up close to many wildfowl species. For those who enjoy the water there is a boat trip, included within your entrance fee, with a knowledgeable guide who takes you amongst the reed beds. There is also a waterside café and gift shop, and picnic facilities throughout the park. Arundel Wetland Centre is a great place for groups, offering educational facilities and providing a unique location for corporate events.

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A C C O M M O D AT I O N MYHOTEL BLOOMSBURY Caroline Gregory The unpretentious entrance to myhotel Bloomsbury belies its location in the very centre of London, just off Tottenham Court Road on a corner of Bedford Square. Very close to key tourist destinations such as Covent Garden, Oxford Street and the British Museum, it is also not far from Euston, St Pancras International and King’s Cross railway stations. Despite its situation at the heart of the action however, myhotel Bloomsbury is a perfect oasis of calm and cosiness, overlooking the peace of green Bedford Square. This juxtaposition of opposites is a theme that runs throughout the hotel and creates an overall vibe that means all guests feel at home and comfortable, no matter what the purpose of their stay. For a building that feels small and compact, there are surprisingly no less than 78 guestrooms, ranging from standard singles up to ‘myplace 1’ and ‘myplace 2’, two homely penthouse suites at the very top of the building among the chimney pots. These suites have their own front door and staircase within the hotel and are fully furnished and equipped in a way which makes them feel more like lovely little flats than hotel rooms; ideal for longer stays in particular. They each have a door out onto a decked roof balcony with tables and chairs, with wonderful

HOLIDAY INN (PETERBOROUGH WEST) Amy Moore According to psmag.com, the colour green is supposed to promote innovative thinking and enhance creativity. As its signature colour, there can be no doubt that the Holiday Inn brand aims to promote these aspirations as part of its image. The three star modern Holiday Inn situated in Thorpe Wood in Peterborough offers a comfortable stay. 133 nonsmoking rooms and crisp suites welcome guests, with all bedrooms decorated to a high 60

views across the London skyline. Up among the rooftops and chimneys, the balcony feels like a secret hideaway and window onto the bygone London of attic servants’ bedrooms and Mary Poppins. Despite myhotel Bloomsbury’s location and

compact feeling, there is a laidback and peaceful atmosphere, complemented by black wooden corridors and doors and comfortable carpets. The hotel again manages to combine opposite attributes successfully, since it feels very private and quiet but at the same time

standard including soft beige, brown and fern green decor. The executive room in particular succeeds in combining old style retro with modern sophistication, which is reflected in its compact and neat bathroom complete with sliding door. The hygiene set provided includes a mini sewing kit and shoe shiner, perfect for business travellers needing to smarten up for an important meeting. A disposable bathmat is placed next to the squeaky clean bathtub. It is obvious that the comfort of the customers is of the utmost importance, with features that include a personalised choice

of pillows, from firm to soft, that are arrayed on a king-sized bed that could easily fit the whole family. Brochures and magazines are provided on a coffee table along with a leather chair and matching pouffe. Guests can relax with crunchy oat and wholemeal biscuits and a refreshing cup of tea in their rooms. Alternatively, the hotel’s comfortable bar and lounge is situated next to reception. A delicious continental and cooked breakfast is served every morning by helpful and chatty staff. Other services include a business centre, which is open throughout the day, and on-site spa facilities, complete with

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carries a sense of dynamism and informality. The GAIL’s Kitchen restaurant occupies much of the hotel’s ground floor space and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Friendly and professional, the menu features classic recipes from various countries and periods turned into plates to share. The GAIL’s Bakery side of the business takes care of breakfast, serving up their renowned freshly baked breads. Service at myhotel Bloomsbury is discreet but helpful. Mobile worker desks are available at the back of the café adjoining the hotel, making myhotel Bloomsbury a perfect hub for business stays in the city in particular. For more information visit res@myhotels.com www.myhotels.com

a heated sauna and jacuzzi. Modern gym equipment is available at the health and fitness centre. With 14 additional meeting rooms, it is clear that Holiday Inn was built with business in mind. However, the facilities make it great for weddings and other large gatherings too. The overall style and attention to detail, including artwork and black and white photography hung on the walls, means that guests can enjoy their surroundings no matter what the purpose of their visit. 0871 942 9139 www.ihg.com/holidayinn www.grouptravelworld.com

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By Yasmin Mears, UKinbound Membership Manager

Since its foundation 23 years ago the CTC has become the leading organisation for promoting travel and tourism by coach

C TC B U L L E T I N From Paul Ovington, CTC Public Relations

Press trips promote coach touring

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uring the year the CTC runs a number of taster trips to promote coach touring to consumer journalists from national newspapers and magazines, as well as key regional newspapers whose distribution area is covered by CTC coach tour operators. These result in great features and lots of column inches in media which are read by more than ten million people and show why short breaks by coach are so attractive. They also encourage readers to visit the CTC’s own consumer website www.findacoachholiday. com, with publicity helping to drive unique visits to the site of around 20,000 a month, more than double within a year. This autumn, trips have featured Belfast and Northern Ireland as well as Luxembourg. The former was generously hosted by Tourism Ireland and the Northern Ireland Tourism Board, with CTC member Ulsterbus Tours showing the modern face of coach touring by providing a tri-axle Irizar coach. The trip took in the really excellent Titanic Experience in Belfast, before the coach took the group along the scenic Antrim coast with stops at the seafront Ballygally Castle

Press trips are the best way to get informative, enthusiastic press coverage about coach trips

Ballygally Castle Hotel on the Antrim coast

Hotel, Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, Dunluce Castle and Giants Causeway. After staying overnight at the National Trust owned Causeway Hotel, the coach headed for the Old Bushmills Distillery, before travelling on to European City of Culture, Derry, for a not-to-be-missed guided walk along the

city walls and the new Peace Bridge. The tour also took in the 17th century Springhill House, another National Trust property. Luxembourg may not be on everyone’s holiday wish list, but it is a hugely popular destination for coach tours as we discovered on a press trip to the Grand Duchy. Transport on a Setra coach was kindly provided by Buzzlines Travel of Folkestone and following a relaxing crossing from Dover to Dunkirk with DFDS Seaways, we headed for the picturepostcard town of Vianden with its fairytale castle. Here the group was generously hosted by Bart and Wil Peverelli, owners of the Grand Hotel de Vianden, which is used by more than 40 CTC operators for their tours. Our own tour took in the Roman city of Trier on the banks of the Mosel, just across the border in Germany, Luxembourg City and a tour through the really pretty Little Switzerland.

Pre-Christmas social and fam trip New members Gloucester Quays Outlet Centre and the City of Gloucester kindly hosted a fam visit to the Gloucester Quays Victorian Christmas Market on Sunday 24th November. Afterwards, CTC members travelled on and got into the festive spirit at the CTC’s own pre-Christmas social, which was generously hosted by Marriott Hotels at St Pierre, Chepstow that same evening.

More members for CTC

Tourism Ireland kindly hosted a recent meeting of the board of the Coach Tourism Association when new directors elected at the AGM, Andy Day of Towergate Chapman Stevens and Louise Fitzpatrick of Marriott Hotels, were welcomed. Pictured here (left to right) are Vanessa Markey, Head of GB for Tourism Ireland, Andy Day, Louise Fitzpatrick and CTC chairman Sean Taggart.

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VisitWiltshire, promoter of tourism to a county which has Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral, Longleat and the Kennet and Avon canal, is the latest destination manager to become a CTC member. Also joining is another West Country destination, the City of Gloucester with its worldfamous cathedral, Beatrix Potter museum and restored docks. Groups are welcome at

three major country estates which have become individual members - Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfries and Galloway, Bowhill House and estate in Sir Walter Scott country in the Scottish Borders and Boughton House in Northamptonshire. Last but not least we welcome Tours Isle of Man - an independent family business providing coach hire and a new UK and Europe coach holiday programme for 2014. www.grouptravelworld.com

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TICKETMASTER NEWS

Stephen Ward Ticketmaster Groups recently caught up with Robert Fox, producer of the much anticipated new show Stephen Ward which opens at the Aldwych theatre in December. We wanted to find out more about the show, which is based on the biggest scandal of the 20th century.

Q

For those of our readers that may not be familiar with the historic events that Stephen Ward is based on, can you tell us more about who Stephen Ward was and how he became involved in one of the biggest scandals of the 20th century?

A

Ward was a society osteopath with a very high class clientele. He was also quite a man-about-town and enjoyed the company of young girls. He had a weekend cottage on the estate of Lord Astor at Cliveden and it was there one weekend that Christine Keeler, a young and very attractive girl, was introduced to the then minister for war, John Profumo. From that chance meeting a series of events unfolded that became one of the most notorious scandals of the 20th century.

Q A Q A Q A Q A

Stephen Ward is a tragic story, but in contrast is set during a wonderful period in London: the beginning of the swinging 60s. What can audiences expect when they book to see Stephen Ward?

A terrific story set in a glamorous period with a wonderful Andrew Lloyd Webber score and a series of events that combine humour, intrigue, corruption, betrayal and court room drama.

Alex Hanson as central character Stephen Ward

Stephen Ward is directed by Richard Eyre, a renowned film and stage director who is also heavily involved in working with the National Theatre. Will Stephen Ward be a play with music rather than a straightforward West End musical?

Q

This is not a sung-through musical. It has a very strong book behind it, but it is still a musical, not a play with music.

You have a fantastic creative team collaborating on Stephen Ward: Andrew Lloyd Webber, Christopher Hampton and Don Black. Can you tell us more about the music that has been written for the show?

For fans of Lloyd Webber musicals there will be no disappointments but there will also be some surprises.

What drew you personally to the story of Stephen Ward?

I am old enough to remember it happening and after 50 years it is still a story that intrigues many people, me included. This show also sets the record straight for Ward, who was betrayed by his so-called friends in order that they could save their own reputations. He was scapegoated by the press and the Tory government of the time. This retelling I believe gives a very fair account of what may have been the real story, although of course there are many different theories. 64

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A

Can you tell us more about the cast of Stephen Ward?

We are lucky enough to have a brilliant cast. Alex Hanson is playing Ward and I think this will be a career defining role for him. We have two wonderfully talented and gorgeous girls playing Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice Davies and the cast also includes the two-time Olivier-award-winning Joanna Riding as well.

Q A Q A

Even though Stephen Ward is set in the 60s, do you feel that the story is relevant to audiences today – in a society where scandals are rife?

Political intrigue, sex, betrayal, scandal, treacherous tabloids and government skulduggery are rife just as much now as they were then.

Finally, what do you think makes Stephen Ward a great night out for groups?

Hopefully all of the above!

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28/11/2013 17:10


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LO N D O N N E W S

Welcome to the ‘London News’ brought to you by London & Partners, the official promotional organisation for London - keeping you updated with all that’s going on in the city! For more information on London go to visitlondon.com

From Michelle McCracken, Marketing Executive

Imperial War Museum – London

The London Story

As part of the IWM London transformation, the new groundbreaking galleries will open next summer with an immersive and interactive exhibition to commemorate the centenary of World War One. The exhibition will give life to the stories of those who lived, contributed, fought and died in the war.

London & Partners unveils new London marketing campaign The London Story, London & Partners’ new international consumer marketing campaign, was launched at the start of October and invites you to discover the unique and inspiring stories from the people who know London best. Have you ever wondered how the waxworks at Madame Tussauds stay true to life, or who is behind the splendour of the city’s Royal Parks? Meet the people behind the scenes that make this incredible city what it is – exciting, inspirational and full of fascinating stories. World War One will come to life in the IWM’s new galleries

Looking ahead to everything new coming in 2014 NEW OPENINGS QUEEN ELIZABETH OLYMPIC PARK The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will re-open fully from spring next year with an array of visitor attractions. The park has already played host to several exciting events and you’ll even be able to try out the Olympic venues for yourself. SHAKESPEARE’S GLOBE The brand new Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at the

Globe will open its doors to the public for the first time on 9 January 2014 with an eclectic season of early modern drama, opera and exclusive one-off performances and concerts.

ATTRACTIONS BRITISH MUSEUM Discover the world of the Vikings at the British Museum from March 2014. At the heart of the exhibition will be a 37-metre-long warship, found in 1997 and dating back to around 1025, as well

as many new discoveries and personal objects that will reveal more than ever about the Scandinavian warriors, seafarers and conquerors.

THEATRE MISS SAIGON Legendary musical Miss Saigon is back and Encore Tickets has pre-bought £1.2 million worth of tickets, its biggest ever pre-purchase, to ensure maximum availability for group organisers and coach operators. The show opens

on 3 May 2014 and tickets are available for booking now. THE FULL MONTY A stage version of the hit 1997 film, The Full Monty, will be playing at the Noel Coward Theatre for 16 weeks between 20 February and 13 June 2014. Based on the story of six steelworkers-turnedstrippers, the stage production is currently on a UK tour.

KEEP IN CONTACT WITH US!

Travel Trade Newsletter Going out once a month and featuring the latest news and information from London for the travel trade, the newsletter is delivered to key travel trade contacts across the globe. Sign up now at londonandpartners.com/ traveltrade

Follow us on LinkedIn Our LinkedIn group, ‘London & Partners – Travel Trade’ is constantly growing. Join us for up to the minute news and discussion with your peers in the travel trade.

Travel Trade Website

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© London Legacy Development

Our travel trade website is designed to help you sell London to your clients, check it out now! londonandpartners.com/ traveltrade

www.grouptravelworld.com

27/11/2013 18:53


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A magical Christmas ballet for all the family

London Coliseum 11 Dec 2013 - 5 Jan 2014 020 7845 9300

ballet.org.uk/nutcracker

Generously supported by Swarovski, the Garfield Weston Foundation and Nutcracker Appeal donors *Terms and conditions apply. Please visit www.ballet.org.uk

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Daria Klimentová and Vadim Muntagirov Photo: Patrick Baldwin and Guy Farrow

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Registered charity 214005

28/11/2013 22:43


T H E AT R E // R E V I E W

War Horse S

itting in the second row, surrounded by gunfire, clouds of smoke, wounded horses and the feathers of a flapping goose, I (silently) bawled my eyes out. Transfixed throughout the whole show, War Horse at the New London Theatre absorbed me in a way which I haven’t experienced for a very long time. I don’t let myself watch any animal hospital type programmes and change the channel if the news features a story on animal cruelty. I refused to watch the film of War Horse, despite assurances that the ‘distressed animals’ sections were minimal. So it was with some apprehension that I went to review War Horse, which has now been showing since 2007. The puppetry in this production is completely incredible. The Lion King has made us familiar with this type of ‘visible puppeteer’ work, where those operating the

animal are openly apparent but a combination of great costumes and exceptional skill makes the animals very lifelike. In The Lion King, I wouldn’t be the first to comment that the way the actors are amalgamated into their animal costumes and puppet parts ends up making a whole that is neither actor nor animal but something even more wonderful than either. The method and result is not quite the same with War Horse; the internationally-renowned Handspring Puppet Company operates the huge horse puppets in an entirely visible way, often completely outside the body of the horse. As each horse requires at least three and often more puppeteers to operate, it is difficult to grasp without seeing it for yourself just how this could even be possible without losing all sense of realism and authenticity. Yet within minutes – or even seconds – something magical happens. Not only do you not see the

War Horse takes the audience on an epic journey through history

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The incredible skill of the puppeteers brings the horses alive in dramatic fashion

puppeteers anymore – unless you choose to specifically watch them – but the animals become living, breathing, realer than real beings. It is difficult to describe how this happens, but a second row viewpoint put me in a perfect position to judge just how good this effect is. The total immersion of the puppeteers into their roles as parts of a horse is wonderful to watch, although such is the elegant, powerful beauty of the horses as characters themselves that it is actually difficult to focus on the humans alongside for more than a few seconds. War Horse is an epic, with a plot that takes the audience on a gripping journey across lands and through history. In typical epic style the story begins at home, with domestic scenes on a farm including Joey the horse as an adorable foal and a funny

flapping goose who, despite a minimal role, captivates the audience immediately. This quickly escalates into an odyssey as World War I breaks out and both Joey and his young owner Albert are caught up in battles, trench warfare, death and terror. Based on the celebrated novel by Children’s Laureate (200305) Michael Morpurgo, War Horse is riveting, consuming and very moving. There is no question that the horses are the stars of the show, but they are ably supported by a talented cast. It was impossible not to leave feeling drained (my sniffs were audibly echoed throughout the rest of the audience too) but thrilled and in love with the horses; a testament to the skills of the puppeteers who take a back seat in order to let these creatures shine through. n www.grouptravelworld.com

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T H E AT R E // N E W S

Three year collaboration Five ballet favourites reprised by Russian State Ballet for theatre’s finest duo The Barbican and the RSC have announced a partnership, beginning with the muchanticipated Richard II starring David Tennant. Other plays will include Henry IV, Parts I & II in 2014/15 and the organisations will also collaborate on an extensive creative learning programme over the three years. Aiming to engage and excite new and existing audiences, the programme will include pre- and post-show events, intensive weekend laboratories for emerging artists, conferences and workshops for students and teachers and special projects in east London schools and communities. The exciting new production of Richard II transfers to the Barbican in December after a run in Stratford-upon-Avon which has included a live screening of the play in 100 cinemas around the country

CHARLIE SETS NEW WEST END RECORD After just six months at the Theatre Royal, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory recently achieved sales of gross £1,062,606 in a single week, the highest ever for a West End show. Between 28th October and 2nd November, the nine shows had a total audience of almost 20,000 people. Since the box office opened in October 2012, the show has taken £21 million in ticket sales and is now booking through to November 2014.

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Audiences have a chance to see ballet favourites performed by masters

Tennant takes on another RSC role

and cinemas in North America, Australia, Japan and Northern Europe. A display following the creation and journey of RSC costumes is available in the foyer at the Barbican.

PUCCINI AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL La Bohème arrives at London’s Royal Albert Hall in February 2014 for a production staged fully in-the-round, in Italian with English surtitles. The iconic venue will be completely transformed into 1940s Paris, including the vibrant café scenes, the police checkpoint and a student’s stark surroundings. Accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, La Bohème contains some of Puccini’s finest music and will be performed by an internationally acclaimed and experienced cast.

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The Russian State Ballet of Siberia, along with The Russian State Ballet Orchestra of Siberia, is returning to the UK in 2014 for a nationwide tour running through January to March. The tour will see the world’s five favourite ballets brought to life in beautiful traditional productions: Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Don Quixote and of course Swan Lake. Formed in 1981, The Russian State Ballet of Siberia has become

INTERACTIVE THEATRE AT COVENT GARDEN

For those who like their theatre interactive and energetic, Covent Garden is the place to be this Christmas as the Look Left Look Right theatre company takes over the area for a festive adventure. A type of pantomime with a twist, for adults only, Once Upon a Christmas sees the company having free reign of Covent Garden’s boutiques, bars and restaurants to take audiences on a journey throughout these locations and the London Transport Museum on a mission to save Christmas. Audience members will have individual encounters with Christmas characters conventional and distinctly unconventional and will have an impact on the story.

one of Russia’s leading ballet companies and this will be their twelfth visit to the UK. Their dancers are acclaimed worldwide for performances of outstanding quality and depth. Since 2002, leading dancers from across Russia have forged their skills and artistry performing an expanding repertoire of new works and exceptional productions of timeless classics. For tickets, please go to www. raymondgubbay.co.uk.

TONY ROBINSON RETURNS TO THE STAGE AFTER 16 YEARS The Royal Opera House production of The Wind In The Willows is transferring to the Duchess Theatre for an eight week Christmas season. Based on Kenneth Grahame’s timeless classic, the adventures of the four woodland friends are retold through dance, song, music and puppetry in a production which is recommended for everyone aged five and over. Narration has been written by former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion, Martin Ward has written the score, and Tony Robinson stars as Kenneth Grahame himself.

www.grouptravelworld.com

28/11/2013 14:07


At Best Western we understand how important it is to find the perfect hotel for your group. Whether it’s the location, facilities or the price, we’ve got it covered. We are delighted to introduce our Coach Friendly Charter, an exclusive offer aimed at the coaching market. Our aim is to provide you with quality accommodation, food and service with added benefits at prices suitable for all your group’s needs and requirements. Benefits include:

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T H E AT R E L I S T I N G S / / W E S T E N D

Theatre Listings LONDON

London’s West End theatre remains the most vibrant in the world. On these two pages lists the major West End shows currently open, or about to open. Always check the details before making any arrangements Victoria Palace

Victoria Street SW1

BILLY ELLIOT – THE MUSICAL

Musical about a northern working class boy who wants to dance. n Booking to: 16 May 2015 n Times: Mon-Sat 7:30pm, Thur & Sat 2:30pm n Length: 3hrs 00mins n Booking Codes: AP EN GL TM SE Adelphi

Strand WC2

THE BODYGUARD

Musical based on the legendary film that starred the late Whitney Houston. n Booking to: 8 March 2014 n Times: Mon-Sat 7:30pm, Wed & Sat 3pm n Length: 2hrs 30mins n Booking Codes: AP EN GL TM SE Savoy

LET IT BE

Strand WC2

Musical about The Beatles. n Booking to: 25 January 2014 n Times: Mon-Sat 7:30pm, Sat & Sun 3pm, Sun 7pm n Booking Codes: AM AP EN GL TM Theatre Royal

Drury Lane WC2

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY

Roald Dahl’s deliciously dark tale. n Booking to: May 2014 n Times: Mon-Sat 7:30pm, Weds & Sat 2:30pm 72

n Length: 2hrs 30mins n Booking Codes: AM AP EN GL TM SE Duchess

Catherine Street WC2

THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS

Ballet and dance version of the Kenneth Grahame classic. n Booking to: 1 February 2014 n Times: Mon-Sat 7:30pm, Weds & Sat 2:30pm n Length: 2hrs 30mins n Booking Codes: AM AP EN GL TM SE Piccadilly

Prince of Wales

Coventry Street W1

THE BOOK OF MORMON

Hilarious Broadway musical about a pair of Mormon boys on mission. n Booking to: 5 April 2014 n Times: Mon-Sat 7:30pm, Wed & Sat 2:30pm n Length: 2hrs 30 mins n Booking Codes: AM AP EN GL TM Queens

Shaftesbury Avenue W1

LES MISERABLES

Novello

Aldwych WC2

MAMMA MIA!

Musical featuring Abba hits. n Booking to: 25 October 2014 n Times: Mon-Sat 7:45pm, Thur & Sat 3pm n Length: 2hrs 35mins n Booking Codes: AP DM EN GL TM SE Cambridge

Earlham Street WC2

MATILDA THE MUSICAL

Roald Dahl’s much-loved tale of an extraordinary genius child. n Booking to: December 2014 n Times: Tues 7pm, Wed-Sat 7:30pm, Wed & Sat 2:30pm, Sun 3pm n Length: 2hrs 40mins n Booking Codes: AP DM EN GL TM SE

The long-running musical about the French Revolution, based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel. n Booking to: April 2014 n Times: Mon-Sat 7:30pm, Weds & Sat 2:30pm n Length: 2hrs 50mins n Booking Codes: AP DM EN GL TM SE

Shaftesbury Shaftesbury Avenue WC2

Lyceum

St Martin’s

Catherine Street WC2

THE LION KING

Stage adaptation of the Disney film set among the wild animals of Africa. n Booking to: 20 April 2014 n Times: Tues-Sat 7:30pm, Weds, Sat & Sun 2:30pm n Length: 2hrs 45mins n Booking Codes: AM AP DY EN GL TM SE

FROM HERE TO ETERNITY

Epic new musical from Tim Rice, set in 1941 Pearl Harbor. n Booking to: 26 April 2014 n Times: Mon-Sat 7:30pm, Tues 3pm, Sat 4pm n Booking Codes: AP EN GL TM SE West Street WC2

THE MOUSETRAP

Agatha Christie’s whodunit and the West End’s longest running show. n Booking to: 3 January 2015 n Times: Mon-Sat 7:30pm, Tues 3pm, Sat 4pm n Booking Codes: AP EN GL TM SE

War Horse tells the story of an epic journey through war and turmoil

Denmark Street W1

DIRTY DANCING

Adapted from the Oscar-winning film, including all the most famous songs. n Booking to: February 2014 n Times: Tues-Fri 7:30pm, Sat 2:30pm & 7:30pm, Sun 2:30pm & 7pm n Length: 2hrs 25mins n Booking Codes: AM AP EN GL TM SE Phoenix

Charing Cross Road WC2

ONCE

The love story of two musicians in Dublin. n Booking to: 28 February 2014 n Times: Mon-Sat 7:30pm, Thur & Sat 3pm n Length: 2hrs 20mins n Booking Codes: AM AP EN GL TM SE Prince Edward Old Compton Street W1

JERSEY BOYS

Broadway musical telling the story of 1960s pop group Frankie Valli and the

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Four Seasons. n Booking to: February 2014 n Times: Tues-Sat 7:30pm, Tues & Sat 3pm, Sun 5pm n Length: 2hrs 40mins n Booking Codes: AP DM EN GL TM SE

www.grouptravelworld.com

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Billy Elliott is the story of a northern working class boy who wants to dance

Her Majesty’s

Haymarket SW1

PHANTOM OF THE OPERA

Most successful musical of all time. ■ Booking to: 26 April 2014 ■ Times: Mon-Sat 7:30pm, Thur & Sat 2:30pm ■ Length: 2hrs 30mins ■ Booking Codes: AP EN GL TM SE Criterion

Piccadilly Circus W1V

THE 39 STEPS

Based on John Buchan’s classic novel, this is a comedy version. ■ Booking to: 18 October 2014 ■ Times: Mon-Sat 7:45pm, Fri & Sat 3pm ■ Length: 2hrs 30mins ■ Booking Codes: AP EN GL TM SE Noel Coward

St. Martin’s Lane WC2

THE FULL MONTY

Musical based on the acclaimed 1997 film about six unemployed steel workers. ■ Booking from: February 2014 ■ Times: Mon-Sat 7:30pm, Thur & Sat 2:30pm ■ Length: 2hrs 30mins ■ Booking Codes: AM AP DY GL TM SE Palace

Shaftesbury Avenue W1

THE COMMITMENTS

Roddy Doyle’s best-selling novel, adapted into a musical, tells the story of a band in 1980s Dublin. ■ Booking to: October 2014 ■ Times: Tue-Sat 7:30pm, Sat & Sun 3pm ■ Length: 2hrs 30mins

■ Booking Codes: AP EN GL TM SE Ambassadors West Street WC2

STOMP

Toe-tapping dance and rhythm using everyday objects, this show makes the audience want to join in. ■ Booking to: 21 December 2014 ■ Times: Mon, Thurs-Sat 8pm, Thurs & Sat 3pm, Sun 3pm & 6pm ■ Length: 1hrs 40mins ■ Booking Codes: AM AP GL TM Lyric

Shaftesbury Avenue WC2

THRILLER LIVE

A celebration of Michael Jackson’s career and music. ■ Booking to: 28 September 2014 ■ Times: Tue-Fri 7:30pm, Sat 4pm & 8pm, Sun 3:30pm & 7:30pm ■ Length: 2hrs 20 mins ■ Booking Codes: AP EN GL TM SE Aldwych

Aldwych WC2

STEPHEN WARD

The story of the infamous Profumo affair. ■ Booking to: 1 March 2014 ■ Times: Mon-Sat 7:30pm, Wed & Sat 2:30pm ■ Length: TBC ■ Booking Codes: AP EN GL TM SE Palladium

Argyll Street W1

I CAN’T SING!

New musical about the X Factor, with a script from Harry Hill, depicting life behind the scenes of the TV show.

■ Booking to: 26 March 2014 ■ Times: TBC ■ Length: TBC ■ Booking Codes: AM AP EN GL TM New London

Drury Lane WC2

WAR HORSE

The moving story of a boy and his horse, based on Morpurgo’s novel. ■ Booking to: 15 February 2014 ■ Times: Mon-Sat 7:30pm, Thur & Sat 2:30pm ■ Length: 2hrs 40mins ■ Booking Codes: AP EN GL TM SE Dominion

Tottenham Court Road W1

WE WILL ROCK YOU

Musical featuring hits of Queen, now celebrating over 4000 performances. ■ Booking to: 5 April 2014 ■ Times: Mon-Sat 7:30pm, Wed & Sat 2:30pm ■ Length: 2hrs 45mins ■ Booking Codes: AP EN GL TM SE Apollo Victoria

Wilton Road SW1

WICKED

The untold story of two witches from the Wizard of Oz. ■ Booking to: 31 October 2014 ■ Times: Mon-Sat 7:30pm, Wed & Sat 2:30pm ■ Length: 2hrs 45mins www.grouptravelworld.com

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■ Booking Codes: AM AP EN GL TM SE Fortune

Russell Street WC2

THE WOMAN IN BLACK

The hit ghost story now in its 23rd year of frightening audiences. ■ Booking to: July 2014 ■ Times: Tue-Sat 8pm, Tues & Thur 3pm, Sat 4pm ■ Length: 2hrs ■ Booking Codes: AM AP EN GL TM SE Theatre Royal

Haymarket SW1

ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS

Adaptation of Carlo Goldoni’s 18th century comedy Servant of Two Masters. ■ Booking to: 1 March 2014 ■ Times: Mon-Sat 7:30pm, Wed & Sat 2:30pm ■ Length: 2hrs 30 mins ■ Booking Codes: AM AP EN GL TM KEY TO BOOKING CODES AM Ambassador Groups AP Applause Groups DY Disney Theatrical TM Ticketmaster Groups

GL Groupline SE SEE Groups EN Encore Tickets

When booking, please mention

November/December 2013 ●

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For Group Travel Organisers, a page with useful tips, tourism gossip and travel product reviews

GTO GRAPEVINE

5 of the best: wall maps Large Scratch Map £16.99

Labelled World Map Wall Sticker

Stitch Your Journey Map £15

A unique way to track countries visited and how many you’ve left to go. This world map has a gold foil top layer which can be scratched off once a country is visited to reveal the coloured country with geographical detail underneath. A great way to show off your travels to any visitors and plan where to conquer next. www.theletteroom.

WIN

British Isles Political Wall Map

Collins World Wall Laminated Map £12.99

£31 This colourful map sticks directly to walls, with each country labelled for ease of reference. Made from vinyl, it measures 1300mm x 600mm overall. Easy to apply and remove without damaging paint, this map is great as both decoration and a learning tool.

A beautiful way to commemorate a special journey. The route can be easily stitched onto the map – plenty of red thread and a needle are included. Or, you can request that the route is stitched on for you. The maps show main cities, towns, roads and counties. Maps can be given a title and framed if desired.

www.redcandy.co.uk

www.theletteroom.com

A family ticket to The View from The Shard!

£9.99 Exceptionally clear and attractive British Isles map in a useful size. It includes a mileage distance guide, clearly demarcated county lines, all main roads and ferry routes. Measures 914mm x 1105mm on thick quality paper.

This sturdy map of the world is right up to date, showing South Sudan and other political changes. Ideal for use in offices and classrooms due to its laminated covering, each country’s capital city, major roads and railways are shown, as well as national flags.

www.globalmapping. uk.com

www.harpercollins. co.uk

Latest news from two key travel shows

A well-earned break. Industry shows are great for reconnecting with friends and industry contacts

To mark the release of discounted group rates for entry to London’s newest attraction, we are offering a ticket for two adults and two children. Opened in February this year, The Shard is the tallest building in western Europe and almost twice the height of any other viewing platform in London. The spectacular 360 degree view stretches to 40 miles. The first person to email caroline.gregory@ grouptravelworld.com with the answer to this question will win the ticket:

Which travel app did we rate fifth? (Answer somewhere in this magazine) www.grouptravelworld.com

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Excursions™ celebrates its 10th anniversary at Alexandra Palace in 2014, marking the year with a move into the Great Hall to allow more UK and international exhibitors than ever. Joey, the amazing life-sized puppet star of the acclaimed National Theatre production War Horse, will be officially opening the dynamic exhibition. Held on Saturday 25th January 2014, the succesful programme of free coach transfer is being extended to over 50 pick-up points across the south east and East Anglia as well as to the north and west of London. New ventures at

the show include a ‘Give IT a try’ lounge, where group organisers can discover everything on offer to assist them online. The South West Group Travel Show will be held on Saturday 8th February 2014 at the popular Winter Gardens on WestonSuper-Mare’s seafront. Visitors should register now and book a free coach place, as the transfer service has been extended to include pick-ups from a wide range of cities and towns in the south west. www.excursions.org.uk www.southwestgroupshow.com

November/December 2013 ●

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The B2B page for all suppliers who provide services and amenities to the travel and tourism industry

INSIDER INSIGHT

How to...ensure you are accessible for disabled travellers and visitors

I Carrie-Ann Lightley has been running Tourism for All’s information service, based in Kendal, since October 2005. She loves travel and working for Tourism for All UK is her dream job. TFA is an independent charity supporting leisure and tourism opportunities for all, operating an information service for older and disabled people - which is her main responsibility - and working with the industry and government to raise the standards of welcome to all guests. As a wheelchair user with a fondness for travel, she has empathy with others who may have experienced difficulty in finding suitable facilities and services. www.tourismforall.org.uk

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t is now proved that the market for accessible tourism is a sizeable one. There are around 11 million disabled people in the UK with a combined spending power of £50 billion; there are also 10 million people over 65 in the UK. Since the Equality Act (which in October 2010 replaced the Disability Discrimination Acts of 1995 and 2005) has come into effect, it is no longer acceptable for a business to do nothing to make itself accessible to its customers. Being accessible is not about protection against the law, or even how to avoid problems, but about an opportunity to raise standards and to grow. Accessible and inclusive tourism is about making tourism possible for everyone – whether you are young, old, a mum pushing a buggy, a wheelchair user, a visually or hearing impaired person, a carer or someone recovering from an accident or an illness. The following is a stepby-step guide to becoming an inclusive and accessible business.

1. AN ACCESS STATEMENT What is an Access Statement? An Access Statement is a written, clear, accurate and above all honest description of your current facilities and the services you offer, to enable a potential visitor to make an informed decision as to whether your business meets their particular access needs. From April 2007 it has been a requirement to prepare an Access Statement as part of your quality grading assessment. You will need to present an Access Statement annually to your quality assessor at the time of your quality assurance visit. During your assessment, the assessor will ask if you have prepared an Access Statement/ information. If you haven’t

prepared anything, the assessor will highlight this in the deficiencies part of your report. The fact that you have this information to hand (available at reception and over the telephone) can be advertised and means it will be available if requested by a disabled customer or their representative.

2. MAKE A SELFASSESSMENT We suggest that you might find a self-assessment a useful starting point. Information can be found on the VisitEngland website about the National Accessible Scheme. Here you will find useful guidance about assessments, so that you are able to inform guests about what access is like at your establishment.

3. GET PROFESSIONAL ADVICE An access audit, assessment or an advisory visit will help you decide what adjustments you need to make. Tourism for All offers an advisory visit. We also offer our members some free advice over the phone or by email. Joining Tourism for All is an inexpensive and effective way to get access to our advice, and to get the information out about your facilities to potential customers.

6. IMPLEMENT CHANGES TO POLICIES, PRACTICES AND ADJUSTMENTS TO BUILDINGS

Create your own action plan, covering your planned changes to the physical environment, and to your policies and practices, including your information giving. Detail the costs incurred. You may like to consider the changes on different timescales, i.e. short term/immediate changes, second stage/ medium term and long term/ full realisation. Keeping a record could be crucial if you were ever challenged over the reasonableness of your response to the Equality Act 2010 (which replaced the Disability Discrimination Act).

7. ACQUIRING AN ACCESS STANDARD Once your plans are in place, you can apply for a grading in the National Accessible Scheme. Originating as the Tourism for All standards,

Carrie-Ann empathises with anyone who has experienced accessibility difficulties while out and about

4. HAVE SOME TRAINING There are a number of training courses available, including from Welcome All, who have a network of trainers around the country, People First, and Tourism for All, whose online training course is available on their website, and is free to members.

5. CHECK IF THERE IS ANY FUNDING AVAILABLE It is possible that there may be a local source of funding for access improvements in certain areas of Britain.

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Left and above: Travel and tourism experiences should be available to all

the scheme was overhauled and relaunched in 2002 and is now administered by VisitEngland. The scheme has a rating system which can show at a glance to wouldbe holidaymakers what accessible facilities to expect. Independent assessment means that there is a consistent standard, which is a useful way of giving a level of assurance to the customer.

8. MARKETING YOUR ACCESSIBLE BUSINESS Once you have spent time, effort and resources on improving your accessibility, make sure that your potential guests get to know about it! Make sure that your marketing materials and websites are themselves accessible Here are some recommended steps: l Prepare an Access Statement and include this on your website, together with helpful images of the accessible facilities – in particular the accessible bathroom or shower room and WC. l Join Tourism for All. You can use the logo to advertise your support for the aims of accessibility and your information can be passed to potential disabled visitors through the Tourism for All information service, which is setting out to be a comprehensive source of accessible holiday information in the country. As a TFA member, you will get news of events, awards, activities and any changes in the law, and be able to share experiences and information with other members in the industry. l Take out a listing on Tourism for All’s OpenBritain website - easy to use, search and book and it includes all www.grouptravelworld.com

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quality assessed tourism businesses providing up-todate accessibility information. l Join the National Accessible Scheme. The recognisable NAS logo makes it easier to search for appropriate accommodation, and independent assessment gives a level of assurance not available in any other way. The self-assessment tool recommended by us is the first step in an NAS grading. l Use conventional means of publicising your business in the media, through the internet, and tourism associations. Creating accessible facilities is a good news story. l You can also enter the Visit England Awards for Excellence Access for All awards to highlight your facilities (regional heats are held by the Regional Tourism organisations).

9. JOINING WITH OTHERS As well as joining TFA and the NAS, you can get involved with others in your area by finding out what policies your local authority or destination management is promoting.

10. EMPLOYMENT Employing disabled people can be a major help in gaining disability awareness within a business, as well as opening up new sources of recruitment.

11. GETTING FEEDBACK FROM VISITORS Evaluate your efforts by getting feedback from your visitors. Make sure you keep a record of their comments, and where appropriate build suggestions in to the next phase of your action plan. Nothing ever stays still, and expectations are constantly changing, so try hard to stay ahead of the game.

November/December 2013 l

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INTERVIEW

Theresa Foley has worked in the travel industry for nearly 30 years after leaving the army. Since February 2013 she has worked for MyFerryLink as head of trade sales and in her own words, ‘has never been happier.’ Theresa moved to Kent in 1985 from the north east of England, and stayed, as without hopping on a ferry there was no further to go! The mention of ferries is dear to Theresa’s heart as she has spent the majority of her time since moving to Kent in the cross channel industry. She considers herself fortunate in that although she has changed jobs, her customers have remained the same and relationships forged over many years can continue, which is of huge importance to Theresa personally.

Personal and

A group trip that appealed to Theresa with her past in the army - paintballing with military vehicles

The best group trip you have ever been on?

Not a typical group day out as you will see from the photograph! I took a group of clients to ‘Armourgeddon’ in Leicestershire for a day of tank paintballing; what an amazing day out. We had the chance to drive a range of military vehicles including a snowcat while taking part in a woodland paintball battle, fought a tank paintballing battle which was the highlight of the day, and also got to drive a ‘Hagglund’ and a ‘Ferret’, to name but a few; that’s what happens when you’ve been in the army!

And the worst? I attended a conference in the French Alps at Les Arcs, a very beautiful place and no doubt many people’s dream location, especially as April of 2012 saw the best snow of the season … however, not so good if you hate the snow! Need I say more? Enjoying a wedding at one of the most beautiful castles in the world

What’s your favourite UK destination for a group day out? I was recently very fortunate to attend a wedding at Leeds Castle in Kent, ‘the loveliest castle in the world’, which was fantastic. It would take more than a day to see and do everything: the architecture is magnificent, you can go punting, visit the maze, enjoy segway tours not to mention the beautiful grounds to take a walk in. If you ever have the opportunity to stay in the castle then do, it’s amazing! 78

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Leeds Castle in Kent has lots to see and do for any type of group to enjoy

● November/December 2013

What makes a good group trip?

What was your favourite trip last year?

Prior preparation and planning, the people and the location, location, location. Oh and good weather always helps but that’s not something you can arrange to order!

I didn’t have a holiday last year or this year, nor will I have for the foreseeable future as my partner Roger and I have bought a house in the Poitou Charentes region of France and all our time at the moment is spent renovating it. It will be wonderful when all the work is done and we can enjoy the weather and the lifestyle. Meanwhile, a girl can dream of a trip back to Thailand!

What do you always pack? My iPhone, iPad and my hairdryer!

And what do you leave out? The kitchen sink!

www.grouptravelworld.com

28/11/2013 10:28


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p00_GTW_1113 Riverdance

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