Paull Tickner | July 15, 2015 2:00 PM ET
The Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness
This first line in John Keats’ “Ode to Autumn” sums up the appeal of England in the fall when the Indian summer days are awash with bright ideas for shoulder season travel. An abundance of food, garden, literary, textile and antiques fairs and festivals offer creative tour planners the chance to develop eye catching new travel experiences. Here are a few suggestions for you to think about for the many untapped sources on your doorstep.
A Taste of Olde England
Think about a Foodie Tour that starts with the Melton Mowbray Food Festival (Oct. 3-4) one of the largest regional food events in the country. Set in the heart of the UK’s Rural Capital of Food, it is home to traditional Melton Mowbray Pork Pies and Stilton Cheese, delicious artisan cheeses, gold-infused bubbly, steamed puddings, chocolate kebabs, gourmet British game and locally brewed ales.
With a couple of days of pubs and tearooms in the Cotswolds, complete the trip at The Great Bath Feast (Oct. 1-31). It’s one of the hottest prospects on the food calendar this year with an extensive list of unique activities, celebrity appearances, and remarkably diverse gourmet food.
Shades of Autumn
If your garden contacts missed this year’s Chelsea Flower Show, talk to them about a trip to the Shades of Autumn Show. Staged by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) in London Oct. 23-24, it’s an art and design show that celebrates the beauty of autumn colour and it’s packed with inspirational planting ideas to extend the gardening season. Expand the potential with a visit to Kew Gardens, a side trip to the RHS Garden at Wisley, a West End theatre show and some shopping time.
Girls’ Getaway to London and Paris
October is a great time for a Girls’ Getaway. To a sophisticated London three-night shopping program add a Eurostar train ride to Paris for three more nights, where you can browse at leisure in the Galeries Lafayette or Printemps department stores on the Boulevard Haussmann in the Saint-Honoré fashion district, or go designer shopping on the Avenue Montaigne and Avenue des Champs-Elysées. Check out the St-Ouen flea market (the city’s largest) and for eclectic fashion, unique jewellery and fine art head for Le Marais. Fly into London and back from Paris or vice versa.
Quilting, Knitting and Stitching
As you’re sure to have clients who are interested in Quilting, let’s put our heads together and create a program based around the Scottish Quilt Championships (Sept 25-28). If Knitting and Stitching is more their thing, let’s apply our little grey cells to the Knitting and Stitching Show in London (Oct. 7-11) or in Harrogate (Nov. 26-29). The two shows cover everything from home furnishings and crochet to quilting and dressmaking.
Antiques, Collectors Fairs and London Markets
Here’s another shopping trip, but this time with a focus on 1,700 indoor and outdoor stalls at the International Antiques and Collectors Fair at Ardingly (early September and early November) and the London markets at Bermondsey, Portobello, Spitalfields and Petticoat Lane. I’ve also included a tour of the exotic Royal Pavilion, a visit to a privately owned castle on the way to London and a visit to the extraordinary Dennis Severs House as part of the Sunday Londoner’s London program.
The Cheltenham Literary Festival
For lovers of fiction, culture and books, the Cheltenham Literary Festival (Oct. 2-11) boasts one of the most remarkable line-ups of writing greats that you’re likely to see. In its spectacular program of over 500 events, the festival touches upon subjects as diverse as history, politics, sport, food and fashion. All the events are carefully designed to bring together highly sought-after speakers creating stimulating, surprising, and entertaining events that ignite once-in-a-lifetime conversations.
The festival’s spectacular Book It! family program also offers an unrivaled array of events for children and young people. Sign up here to be the first to hear the 2015 line-up.
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