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Group Travel Grapevine February ’19

Ideas and opportunities for group travel buyers from the team behind GTO magazine. Published since 1988 and the authoritative source of group travel knowledge.

Hello again...

This month's Grapevine has a spring flavour - and certainly explores some lovely possibilities for group activities this season.

Devon has a really special place in British summer holiday tradition, and here you can find an article which I've just written about both the well-known and less well-known places to visit across the delightful county.

Another enduring attraction is heritage houses - it is not just the grand houses of the rich and famous that provide excellent places to visit, as there are plenty of quirkier properties to explore. We have a link to a tour of such places around the UK. Many interesting properties now have very helpful group visit guides published both in print and digital forms, and at the end of the Grapevine we give you links to three such publications.

We've also a got a link to a comprehensive list and contact directory for the ferry services that connect Britain to the Continent and its many offshore islands.

Elsewhere, you'll find a focus on the amazing 20-year story of the Mamma Mia musical, news of some treats in store at this year's GO Travel Show in April at Kempton Park, Racecourse and the best of this year's air shows and food festivals.

See you next month!

Val Baynton, Editor

This month’s menu

Discover bees, donkeys and castles in Devon

With its pretty fishing villages, varied coastline, historic properties, gardens, moors, wildlife and countryside, Devon has much to offer all types of groups. In the cover feature of the February issue of GTO Magazine Val Baynton has taken an in-depth look at the best of the county's attractions. Highlights include the very last castle built in England, a chance to see behind the scenes of bee-keeping, learn about the care of rescued donkeys, and the UK's largest public aquarium. We've also got information on an excellent hotel for groups near Launceston and all the delights of the fishing village of Clovelly.

Read more

MAMMA MIA! celebrates 20 years

Hit musical MAMMA MIA! will celebrate 20 years in London's West End in 2019. The show is as popular as ever and has now spawned two major movies, plus touring and international theatre productions, and is even the inspiration for Cher's latest best-selling album.

On a recent tour backstage, Fiona Horan from GTO Magazine was impressed by the array of magnificent costumes. The quick change area to the side of the stage is tiny, and here the large cast have to rapidly get into their next glamorous outfit - which must be absolutely manic every night and matinee! There were racks of hats and awesome vintage shoes, including silver platform boots. In pride of place were the utterly "ABBAtastic", very expensive, Super Trouper outfits for six lead cast members and their understudies.

MAMMA MIA! is an ideal theatrical experience for groups of all ages - with good discounts for groups of 10 or more - there can be no better time to don those sequins and flares, get yourself some tickets and release your inner super trouper! 

Learn more

Magic on the menu at the GO Travel Show on 16th April!

Meet the Cast of hit West End show Wicked!

The 4th annual GO Travel Show is coming up soon! As well as our 90+ exhibitors, we want to ensure that alongside discussions with them, visitors to the show at Kempton Park Racecourse can have a little bit of fun and be entertained. This year our plans include an opportunity to meet the cast of award-winning West End production Wicked: The Musical!

Enter the world of Wizards, witches and dragons!

Visitors to the GO Travel Show will encounter Black Knight Historical's specially created world of wizards and witches. Wizards Abramelin and Melchizadek, and Sorceress Morgana, will be in their own kingdom offering insights into the history of the magical arts and the early sciences, sharing secrets and demonstrating simple experiments and tricks. You might even meet a dragon!

Sea routes to Europe and the isles

GTO Magazine's annual guide to Ferry and Cross Channel Services is out now!

The map and full service listings and contact information are available in digital easy-to-read form by just a click from below. There is also news of new ships and group offers. Find out the latest news and check out our useful guide to UK ferry routes.

Learn more

Aerial artistry

Summers brings a wealth of exciting air shows of all kinds to enjoy - military shows, seaside spectaculars, and vintage displays. And for something a little different - how about the Weston Park International Model Air Show in Shropshire in June where visitors can enjoy a miniature Red Arrows duo display amongst many other perfect flying cameos, all set in the grounds of a 15th Century stately home! Sounds like a delightful event for all ages! Read a preview of all the delights in store.

Tasty trips

You surely can't go wrong with a group day out at a food festival. And with niche cuisine and local produce of increasing importance on everyone's menu, there are more and more interesting events every year around the country. We've compiled a round up of the different options. Waddesdon Chilli Fest and Lincoln Sausage Festival are just two of the scrummy delights Simone Brookes has discovered to whet your appetite in her article.

Discover the quirky at heritage homes

Britain is blessed with hundreds of incredible stately homes, castles, and gran period properties to visit around the country. Many hold eccentric collections lovingly gathered by former residents with an eye for more unusual objects, and life stories to match. Link here to GTO Magazine's new round up of the latest visit opportunities plus some special more off-beat gems across the country, including Middleton Hall and Gardens, pictured above.

More online group guides for 2019

Most major attractions publish an annual guide for groups and now, as well as in print, many of them are available at the click of a button online, to read or download at your own convenience. In this spot we will draw your attention to some of the latest ones!

This month, we have Beaulieu's guide to its Palace House and Gardens, Abbey and National Motor Museum in the New Forest, full of ideas, tours and itineraries; The Savill Garden, Windsor, which has some great group packages twinned with stately homes and river trips have also issued an excellent guide; and Hever Castle, Kent Group and Travel Trade Guide for 2019 offers an assortment of private tours and has a full calendar of interesting events. Click on the front covers below to read them online. 

Copyright © 2019 Landor Travel Publications, All rights reserved.

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