Archive for Britain

Scotland, Bond’s Scotland

Along with celebrating the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the longest running series of films and being the most successful of the James Bond series, SkyFall is now being credited with making Scotland one of the top tourist destinations for 2013.

Bond & M in Scotland

Bond & M in Scotland

According to CNN Travel, the scenes showing Bond driving through the ruggedly beautiful Scottish countryside has piqued interest so much that Scotland has topped such exotic destinations as the capital of Morocco and Slovakia as well as sub-Saharan Africa which finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively.  Rounding out the top 5 was Gettysburg (which is also benefiting from the cinematic boost provided by Spielberg’s Lincoln.)

For any interested in visiting Scotland, Sceptre Tours offers escorted packages to Scotland and will be introducing independent packages to Scotland as well.

Tip of the Week – Bed & Breakfasts

bed-and-breakfast-irelandClients hoping to immerse themselves in the local culture, may want to consider Bed & Breakfast stays throughout their vacation. B&B’s tend to be smaller, have fewer guests than hotels, and are managed by folks who enjoy conversing with their guests.  In fact, guests at a B&B are likely to come away with a genuine “insiders” perspective of the region.

One of the experts on B&B Travel, Rick Steves, has this to say on his site…

Staying at a European bed-and-breakfast is a bit like having your own temporary mother while you travel. In the morning, your hostess might help plan your day, tipping you off to the best places for lunch and about the live folk music in the village pub that evening. She then sends you out the door with a smile, handing you an umbrella — just in case it rains. The best B&Bs ooze warmth and local color, making these some of my favorite accommodations in Europe.

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Sceptre Tours has a large and growing network of B&Bs in Ireland, Britain & Italy.  Contact our reservations call center at 800-221-0924 or your DSM for more details.

Tip of the Week – Rail Travel, an interesting alternative

 

Irish Countryside by Rail

Irish Countryside by Rail

Sceptre Tours’ Rail Travel is ideal for clients most interested in exploring the bigger cities. Clients interested in spending a little time in the countryside as well, might consider customizing their vacation by adding a chauffeur-drive or rental car option to the beginning or end of their itinerary.

Aside from the benefits of being able to sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery while traveling by rail, your clients may also enjoy the opportunity to mingle with the locals who regularly travel by rail.  And for the environmentally-aware travelers, rail travel is the ‘greenest’ of travel alternatives when compared with cars and motor-coaches.

Spotlight on Travel by Rail

Train Travel in Britain is modernized but still an elegant and efficient way to travel

If you have clients who prefer independent travel to escorted tours, but are uneasy navigating unfamiliar roads in a rental car, Sceptre Tours’ Rail Vacations are the ideal solution. Our rail options can provide your clients with the opportunity to sit back, relax and enjoy scenery they’d likely miss if they were driving. For example, in Ireland, the rail journey between Dublin and Belfast runs along the coast and provides spectacular views of the Mountains of Mourne.

By choosing to travel on any of Sceptre’s Rail vacations, your clients benefit from the freedom of choosing a pre-designed itinerary or designing one tailored to suit their preferences in terms of destinations, length of stay and accommodations. The first step in planning is to select from one of the several different city pairings in each destination. Each of our Ireland Rail journeys originates in Dublin and travelers have the option of pairing with Galway, Killarney or Belfast. They can also opt to extend the vacation and pair all four cities.

Rail travel in Italy offers exciting views

Rail travel in Italy offers exciting views

In Italy, our Rail vacations originate in Rome and pair with Florence, Venice, or both! Once they’ve determined their preferred city pairings, those clients choosing to customize their itinerary can determine the length of stay in each destination. And no matter which destination or city pairing they select, your clients can be assured of easy access to the sites and cities they’ve journeyed to see, as well as transfers to any of our conveniently located 3, 4 and 5-star hotel partners.

Did you know? – Filming in Dublin

Jack the Ripper and the streets of Whitechapel

Jack the Ripper and the streets of Whitechapel

American TV shows and movies are often filmed in and around the US.  The same is true with movies and TV shows that are made by the BBC, ITV or any of the other entertainment companies located in Europe.  One current example is Ripper Street, a BBC production currently showing here in the US on BBC America.  Anyone familiar with the story of Jack the Ripper knows that the location for these horrible crimes was the Spitalfields and Whitechapel in London’s East End.  But did you know the show was filmed in Dublin?

Library Square, Trinity College, Dublin

Library Square, Trinity College, Dublin

According to the Wikipedia entry for the show, filming is done among locations in and around Dublin such as Trinity College and the former Clancy Barracks beside Clancy Quay.  While visiting studios to see shows and movies being created is very difficult, the reality is that when real locations are being used it is quite easy for fans of these productions to visit the locations and stand in spots where particular scenes took place.  You might even catch a glimpse of the filming going on if you are lucky.  So, if you are a fan of Ripper Street remember that Sceptre Tours can not only put you in the vicinity of the real locations of the historic Ripper crimes but we can also put you in the vicinity of where this new show is being produced.  The rest is up to you.  And if you visit in the evening we are not responsible if you get scared by ghosts or have nightmares!

Spotlight on Golf

Championship Course at Gleneagles

Championship Course at Gleneagles

Sceptre Tours golf specialists are expert at tailoring your clients’ golf vacation to their level of play. Whether your clients are recreational golfers or the club champs, Sceptre will develop a vacation in line with the type and amount of play they’re seeking. Whether they want to conquer the most challenging courses or prefer just a few relaxed rounds with friends, we know all the courses and will recommend those most appropriate. And of course, we can customize itineraries to include as few or as many rounds, and as few or as many courses as your client desires.

17th at Fairmont Kittocks

17th at Fairmont Kittocks

And, should your clients be traveling with non-golfers as well, we can build a vacation that enables the non-golfers to pursue their idea of the perfect vacation as well by adding any number of components like spas, culinary adventures, shopping, the arts, etc.

Call our dedicated golf specialists at 800-495-5049 and let us help you deliver the golf vacation your clients will brag about for years.

Spotlight on Luxury

Nothing says luxury more than your own private chauffeur, but for many, the idea of a chauffeur-driven European vacation is just a dream. It needn’t be. Sceptre Tours extensive partnerships throughout Ireland, Britain and Italy can make the dream a reality for your clients.  If your clients are interested in a truly customizable, hassle-free vacation tailored to their timeline and preferences, you may want to recommend one of Sceptre Tours’ Chauffeur-Drive options.

Chauffer Door Open

Engaging a chauffeur will enable them to sit back, relax and enjoy a worry-free vacation while someone else does the driving at a pace they determine. With a Sceptre Chauffeur Drive vacation your clients won’t have to worry about driving in unfamiliar traffic or navigating from one destination to another. And you can be assured that we contract with only professional, English-speaking chauffeurs who will double as your clients’ tour guide and enrich their journey with a wealth of knowledge.

Passengers to Ireland can even opt for a modular chauffeur-drive experience that allows them to engage a chauffeur only for those segments of the itinerary where a driver is necessary. For example, travelers will find it easy to get around on foot or via public transportation in cities like Dublin or Galway and can therefore design an itinerary in which a chauffeur is not needed for that leg of the journey.

Of course, some of your clients may prefer to drive themselves and we offer luxury options on self-drive vacations as well. For example, why not tour Britain in a Mercedes?

Canary Wharf, London’s East End and the Thames – A pleasant stroll

Canary Wharf 2013

London’s Canary Wharf 2013

 

The East End of London has been known for many things.  It has gone from one of the most feared areas of the London thanks to the exploits of Jack The Ripper and the Krays.  In between in 1903, American author Jack London wrote of the People of the Abyss, the abyss being the same Whitechapel streets that only 20 years earlier were haunted by Saucy Jack.  This same area was also heavily bombed during the London Blitz of WWII.  But what a difference a century makes.

 

 

St Katharines Docks Early 20th Century

St Katharine’s Docks Early 20th Century

London's East End Burns after German Bombing

London’s East End burns after German Bombing

 

The area stretching from St. Katharine Dock to Canary Wharf is not a 3-mile walk through history into the very upscale neighborhood it is today.  Click here to read this excellent piece from TheHistoryNet.com and discover this wonderful area that is worth a visit.

A Historic Year for the London Underground

LondonUndergroundTube

If you are making your way to London this year be sure to head into your local underground station and shout “Happy Sesquicentennial!”  Why you ask?  Because the London Underground (or as it is affectionately known by Londoners, The Tube) is 150 years old this year.  It is the oldest underground rail system in the world, over 34 years older than the Boston and Chicago lines and over 40 years older than its equally famous sibling in New York!  Its busiest station, Piccadilly Circus, is so busy that locals like to say that if you stand on the platform long enough you will run into everyone you know.  And as the Underground is one of the best ways to get around this bustling European Capital, you will experience history with every ride.  And remember to Mind the Gap.