Tour questions

Hi, can anyone tell me the amount of time that is spent on the bus traveling from town to town? Also, the average age and activity level of the tour participants? And finally, would anyone recommend spending the extra money for the small group departures?



  • Based on our last two Tauck tours, the majority of participants were of retirement age, mid 60's to early 70's, a few were younger and a few slightly older. Most activities provided were either at the easy or moderate level, and most could handle the activities well. A handful were younger or in particularly fit condition and chose some more vigorous activities to meet these needs in their free times.
  • Thanks a lot for that information about participants on a tour.

    I hope someone can let me know about the bus time on this particular tour.

  • edited September 2013
    The three longest travel days were approximately as follows:
    1) Edinburgh to Langdale: 180 miles, 3.5 hr
    2) Langdale to Portmeirion: 200 miles, 3.7 hr
    3) Portmeirion to Bath: 200 miles, 4.7 hr

    The countryside is scenic, and we had no problem with the longer bus rides on travel days. The bus made frequent stops, so we were not sitting on the bus for long stretches without a break.

    We were participants in a small group tour of 25 people, and I highly recommend small group tours. There was plenty of room on the bus for couples who wanted to spread out when desired. Sometimes it is nice for both members of a couple to have a window for picture taking or better viewing. Other times it is just nice to have the extra space. We had our assigned seats that went through a rotation, but there were many rows of seats in the back of the bus that people could use when desired. No one monopolized the extra seats.

    The small group made it easier to be closer to local guides, and there were fewer people to block views at the various sites. Bus loading and unloading was quicker with the small group. Rest room lines were short.

    We had a wonderful tour with a great tour director and bus driver!
  • Thanks for the information! It is very useful. Did you always travel in the early morning?
  • edited September 2013
    As I recall departure times varied between 8:15 AM and 9:15 AM. The hotel restaurants opened for breakfast typically at 7:00 AM or 7:30 AM. There were not late night activities except for the Tower of London Dinner with the Ceremony of the Keys, so the morning start time was not an issue. Very often Tauck planned the morning schedule so that we would be one of the first tour buses to arrive at a site and we would beat the crowds.

    Tauck has been doing this tour for many years and they have figured out how to efficiently visit sites to maximize the enjoyment of the tour group members.
  • Thanks, RLMSLL

    Was there places en-route for laundry or did you get the hotels along the way to do it??

    Any other little tidbits that you can remember would be greatly appreciated!!

    We have decided to book the June tour next year.
  • I'm glad you have decided to book this tour. You will enjoy it!

    Langdale had a self-service laundry which we discovered after we had already hand-washed our underwear. It may have been the only hotel with a self-service laundry. This would be a good question for Tauck Emily to answer.

    In general we tend to over-pack, so on a typical land-based trip we take enough clothes that we can avoid doing laundry. On cruise ships we do some loads of laundry. For this trip we tried to change our ways and limit ourselves to one suitcase each. We were on travel for three weeks with the extra time we spent in Edinburgh and London. We decided to take enough outerwear for the trip, but planned on washing underwear the first night at each hotel. This is the first time we traveled using this approach. We purchased two travel clotheslines which don't require clothespins. You can find them on Amazon or Magellan. We purchased 3 large carbiners at REI, and used one to hook the two short clotheslines together and the other two to attach the clotheslines to towel rods, etc. We purchased individual packets of Woolite on Amazon to wash our underwear in the sink. The clothes dried more quickly if you rolled them first in a towel to wring out excess water. We packed some extra very large plastic bags and packed the damp clothes in them if they did not dry in time for our next move.

    The other alternative is to have the hotel do the laundry, which would be somewhat expensive.

    We are not a fan of doing laundry by hand while on travel, but it is doable.
  • edited September 2013
    Thanks so much, RLMSLL, for providing such useful information! We leave for this tour next week and found your information really helpful! Not a fan of doing laundry while on vacation, either!
  • I've found all these questions and answers very informative. My current question has to do with learning the check-out time from the Royal Horseguards Hotel on the last day. Have tried their website with no luck. I have some sight-seeing in mind for Sat. like a cruise on the Thames, but don't want to pay for an extra night in London. Have made reservations at an airport hotel. Did this in 2008 and it worked out great.
  • edited September 2013
    CWH wrote:
    I've found all these questions and answers very informative. My current question has to do with learning the check-out time from the Royal Horseguards Hotel on the last day. Have tried their website with no luck. I have some sight-seeing in mind for Sat. like a cruise on the Thames, but don't want to pay for an extra night in London. Have made reservations at an airport hotel. Did this in 2008 and it worked out great.

    From the Terms and Conditions associated with booking a room on the web: Checkout is noon unless a later time is stated as part of the booking. Late checkout after this time can be requested subject to availability and will be charged an hourly rate at the discretion of the hotel.

    I suppose you could always checkout and have the bellman hold your bags.

    By the way, we took a cruise on the Thames to Greenwich to visit the Observatory and the Maritime Museum. There were lots of interesting timekeeping pieces on display at the Observatory. It is worth a visit if you have time.

    One could take the boat in both directions, but we chose to return by DLR (light rail). When the boat reached Greenwich, we picked up a map of the town in the visitor center. We then hailed a cab and took it to the Observatory to avoid the steep hill. After visiting the Observatory, we walked down the hill to the Maritime Museum, and finally to the DLR station. It was a nice outing.
  • Thanks, RLMSLL. You've given me some great ideas. There are two things I always try to do in London: take high tea and cruise the Thames. I've learned there is a way to combine both! Through, thanks to Expert Emily. I've already made reservations at an airport hotel for Sat. night, so having my bags held would work. I can't reserve the cruise until next June or July. Same for a tour of St. Paul's and the Globe Theatre. I'm really excited about this tour. Have solved the air problem by taking the train from London to Edinburgh. Can't make those reservation for a few months either. Will have Tauck do the air portion.
  • Similar to you, we booked round trip air to London to take advantage of better rates. After spending a few days in London, we took the train to Edinburgh as you plan to do. We picked the 11:00 AM train arriving in Edinburgh just after 3:00 PM. We avoided rush hour and were more easily able to book early booking saver rates. We booked directly through the East Coast website. We had set up an alert to email us when the discounted tickets for our journey were available for booking. After joining the East Coast loyalty program, we reserved two very nice window seats in first class. We then used our loyalty points to purchase two passes to the first class lounge at Kings Crossing. The lounge is very relaxing with excellent seating and some nice light refreshments. The attendant was very helpful and told us on which track our train was located. With the lounge access, we were allowed early boarding of the train before those without lounge access, and we boarded about 45 minutes before departure, just before general boarding. This was very helpful in obtaining space to store luggage. Those that boarded late did not have room to store luggage in our car, and their luggage was placed in another car of the train.

    When you arrive at the Edinburgh Waverley train station, look for the taxi stand within the station. You do not need to exit the station to get a cab. If you get a receipt from the taxi driver, your tour director can then reimburse you for the transfer.

    It was a nice journey by train, and it was certainly more relaxing than a commuter flight.
  • Many thanks, RLMSLL for your comments on the train travel. It confirms my own feeling about going by train. I've taken trains a lot in England, but am not familiar with East Coast or the lounge you mentioned. Think I left from Euston Station for Carlisle in 2005. The attendant who met me at the plane and put me with a taxi and the driver with were both very helpful. It probably didn't hurt that it was my first overseas trip and tipped him very generously - think I handed him a five pound note - which was double US value then. I will make a note of the info you gave. I can't make those reservations for about two months; it's too early.
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