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Nicky Cox, Goway’s GroupsOnly Sales Manager, reflects back on returning to her roots and the city she grew up in so many years ago.
This past year, I was lucky enough to return twice to my original home, England. I was travelling for both business and pleasure, and, in my free time, I wanted to revisit some favourite haunts from my past, stroll the streets of London, and generally reacquaint myself with the city of my youth and see it with a fresh pair of eyes.
Growing up in the English school system, I was bombarded from an early age with all the dates and facts about kings and queens and wars won and lost in mandatory history classes. It was only after moving to a younger country that I started to appreciate once again the sense of wonder of these events. I have come to realize that the history I learned about in school is alive and well in my old city and country.
When people travel to England, they tend to start with the obligatory (and fascinating) visits to old churches, castles, and stately homes. However, the best way to get a real sense of time and place is to do as the locals do.
This past summer, I visited a village pub that dates back to the 18th century. I sat with a group of local patrons and ate a hearty pub lunch complete with a bowl of “chippies” and washed it down with a warm beer. Now I was really reliving my youth! Many of these pubs take small groups for either dinner or lunch—your group will be well fed and the price is right.
I also played nine holes of golf on a small local course in Pidley, Cambridgeshire (yes a real name). It was a fun round with fellow duffers and when we finished we toasted our best shots with a round of local brews in the welcoming clubhouse. The UK is full of small local courses along with famous championship courses to suit all levels of the game. Whether you have a serious golf group or just some avid golfers that want an optional game or two on their free days, we have the golf contacts to get your group hitting the links and meeting the locals.
Later in the year, I returned to England and revisited London, a city I used to visit weekly many years ago when I lived close by.
I admit to being guilty in the past of forgetting everything that makes London a world class city and taking my hometown for granted, so this time I took the time to be a tourist and enjoy all that the city has to offer. I also made it a point to walk as much as possible and not take the tube to get around. London was made for walking and there’s no better way to embrace the sights and sounds of the city than on a guided walking tour where all your senses can come alive.
The following are a few of my favorite options for any group wanting to “get off the bus” and embrace the real London:
If you want to walk around London then stay in hotels that are in central London; I stayed in the Whitehall area, and while hotels in this area may be a little more expensive than elsewhere, what you find on your doorstep is well worth the cost. Many of London’s best-known iconic sites are within walking distance. Guides will meet groups at the hotel and take them on walking tours where in minutes they are viewing Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square, Downing Street, the Churchill War Rooms, the Royal Horseguards, St. James Palace, and even strolling down The Mall to Buckingham Palace.
Those special interest groups wanting to indulge their specific passions will find walking tours made for them. Foodies will visit cake shops, old pubs, local artisanal bakeries, and even gourmet food stores. Movie buffs will head to film locations of such hits as the Harry Potter, James Bond and X-Men films, and even visit the busy Warner Bros. Studios. Literary buffs will walk the streets of Dickens, Keats, and Defoe before browsing the stacks at the British Library and getting lost in the aisles of the iconic Foyles Bookstore. For the garden gurus, the choices are endless with long strolls with master gardeners through London’s Royal Botanical Gardens and Kew Gardens. For the really avid gardeners, group tours can be organized around the famous Chelsea Flower Show. And for the faith-based, visits to churches and cathedrals, temples, and synagogues are readily available and can be organized so the faithful can attend a service, meet the local church officials, and sip tea with some of the congregation.
Walking through London with a fresh pair of eyes was a magical experience for me and will be for your next group tour as well.
For more information please contact:
GroupsOnly by Goway
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 800 838 0618
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