Airlines & Airports
Paull Tickner | April 15, 2015 2:25 PM ET
Topping the Agenda for 2016
With spring just around the corner, the camellias in bloom and an exchange rate that seems to be trading happily at around $1.50, there’s been a noticeable increase in requests for customized tours for 2016. If the U.K. is on your radar, here are five good reasons why you’ll be able to convert your ideas into tailor-made programs for groups and individuals cruising or flying in or out of England next year.
Year of the English Garden 2016
England has some of the finest gardens in the world, from dramatic historic landscapes designed by “Capability” Brown to fragrant English rose gardens and hundreds of privately owned gardening “works of art” that rarely open to the general public. To illustrate what you can include in a customized U.K. tour, take a look at Renishaw Hall, this year’s winner of the fiercely contested Historic Houses Association/Christies Garden of the Year award.
As many of your customers will be reading a lot about the Year of the English Garden in their gardening magazines, take the initiative and start talking to your contacts about a tailor-made tour that’s packed with value-added visits to some of England’s finest castles and stately homes. Time it to coincide with the Chelsea Flower Show (May 24-28) or the Hampton Court Flower Show (June 28 – July 3).
Capability Brown Tercentenary
I mentioned this important anniversary in my Jan. 29 Britain Insider column, and given its tour potential there’s no harm in giving you a gentle reminder. Lancelot “Capability” Brown is the visionary master gardener who changed the face of eighteenth century England by designing country estates and mansions, moving hills, making flowing lakes and serpentine rivers and creating a magical world of green. The Capability Brown a la carte garden menu comprises the likes of Blenheim Palace, Bowood, Longleat, Compton Verney, Burghley, Chatsworth and Holkham Hall and many more very impressive smaller fry in some lovely corners of England.
Bishop Francis Asbury 300th anniversary
To give a slightly different twist to a U.K. Methodist heritage tour that follows in the footsteps of its founding father John Wesley, start thinking about a U.K. tour that includes the 300th anniversary of the death of Bishop Francis Asbury. He was one of the first two bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church in America and during his 45 years there, he devoted his life to ministry, traveling on horseback and by carriage thousands of miles to those living on the frontier.
As Easter Sunday falls on March 27 next year, if you leave the U.S. on Monday March 28 your group could be in his home town of Dudley in the West Midlands when they celebrate the anniversary on Wednesday March 31.
The Roald Dahl Centenary
Children's author Roald Dahl wrote the classics Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda (now a Broadway and West End hit musical) and other hugely popular stories. They’ll be celebrating his anniversary in Llandaff near Cardiff where he was born and at the award-winning Roald Dahl Museum in Great Missenden just north of London where he lived and wrote for 36 years. Families traveling to the U.K. will thank you for coupling this with a visit to the nearby Making of Harry Potter.
Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary
If your local theatre stages a season of Shakespeare plays or is involved in a Shakespeare Festival, last year they will have celebrated the 450th anniversary of the Bard's birth. They will already be preparing to mark the 400th anniversary of his death in 2016.
I don't know how many hundreds of theatre lovers fill the seats for these performances (you may be one of them) but this is your target audience for a wonderful fund raising London and Stratford theatre tour which can be led by an experienced English Shakespearian actor or adapted to become a dramatic pre- or post-cruise extension.
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