A Review by a River Cruiser

We took this tour starting on Sun, Jul 25th. After completing 3 Tauck river cruises this was our first land tour. We were nervous about the amount of bus time and number of hotel changes. For the most part, neither was a problem.
We were impressed with how smoothly the check in process was handled. Except for the Edinburgh Sheraton, in every case our bus pulled up to the hotel, the TD got out and received a stack of envelops with room keys from the hotel staff and we headed directly there. Except for the Savoy, our bags were already in our rooms before we arrived. I’m still not in love with living out of a suitcase, but packing cubes did help. Our impressions of the hotels on the tour:

- Edinburgh Sheraton – very modern, seriously confusing light panels, the best breakfast buffet
- Lake District Langdon – beautiful buildings and setting, dinners excellent (Sticky Toffee pudding – yum), read the room safe directions BEFORE using, spa/gym needs work
- Oxford Randolph – great location, lovely room, confusing upstairs layout i.e. you needed signs every time to find your room/lobby, restaurant Meh!
- Bath Francis – another lovely old bldg in a great location, fun/quirky décor, great restaurant
- London Savoy – the best of the trip – careful ordering at breakfast – they believe in giving you your money’s worth

Yes, there is a fair amount of bus time especially on the days between hotel stops. But our TD did a good job of keeping us entertained and educated on what was to come. This was also our first experience of the Tauck bus rotation plan. It’s not a bad idea, although it might need some tweeking. I believe it was back 1 row on the driver’s side and up 2 rows on the door side. We were a small group (29) and actually did not get a chance to sit next to everyone.

We enjoyed pretty much everything on the itinerary. Some more than others in part due to cool and/or rainy weather. The best was probably the day we spent touring Stonehenge followed by lunch in the Bath Pump room then a tour of the old Roman Baths. For both tours we were provided with the audio devices where you punch in the # and listen to the recorded info. Tauck guides are great, but we really enjoyed being able to go at our own pace. Was surprised at how much we enjoyed the tours of Blenheim and Windsor. Our least favorite was dinner with the former MP, although the food was outstanding. I’ll never deride mushy peas again.

Will we take another land tour? Not sure, but this gave us a good impression of them.


Comments

  • Claudia Sails said:

    We were impressed with how smoothly the check in process was handled. Yup

    I’m still not in love with living out of a suitcase, but packing cubes did help. Yup After 8 it becomes second nature.

    Our impressions of the hotels on the tour:

    - Edinburgh Sheraton – very modern, seriously confusing light panels, the best breakfast buffet Yup Prior to leaving US we arranged (at extra expense) for a room with a Castle view- worth it.
    - Lake District Langdon – beautiful buildings and setting, dinners excellent (Sticky Toffee pudding – yum), read the room safe directions BEFORE using, spa/gym needs work Yup Only downside- though we weren't there long there wasn't much to do, no town, just small nearby pub. No AC which we actually needed in 2013!
    - Oxford Randolph – great location, lovely room, confusing upstairs layout i.e. you needed signs every time to find your room/lobby, restaurant Meh! Yup

    How was the Quay Hotel in Wales?

    Yes, there is a fair amount of bus time especially on the days between hotel stops. But our TD did a good job of keeping us entertained and educated on what was to come. Yup a good TD is essential.

    This was also our first experience of the Tauck bus rotation plan. It’s not a bad idea, although it might need some tweeking. Yup. Again, an on-the-ball TD is essential. We've only had one that keep losing track- luckily we all knew the rotation by the second day.

    We enjoyed pretty much everything on the itinerary. Yup. It looks like itinerary will change again for 2018. ( :

    For both tours we were provided with the audio devices . . . Yup. Those and the "Whisper/VOX" are worth their weight in gold

    Was surprised at how much we enjoyed the tours of Blenheim and Windsor. Yup. Blenheim was awesome!

    Our least favorite was dinner with the former MP, although the food was outstanding. I’ll never deride mushy peas again. On our tour we had farewell dinner in Tower of London!

    Will we take another land tour? Not sure, but this gave us a good impression of them. We have yet to take a cruise.


  • Oops, yep I skipped the Quay.

    I'd say our room was fantastic - but actually it was a suite on the ground floor facing the water. Score! Huge living room with great view. About half our group had suites and the rest the typical single rooms with a view of the road or the interior garden/walkway. Would have been even better if the skies hadn't been so overcast most of the visit. oh well

    Restaurant so-so. My least favorite for breakfast and dinner wasn't great. My stuffed pork chops weren't stuffed with anything and my very unpicky husband didn't like fish.

    Our farewell dinner was at the Savoy. Excellent.

    Looked at the 2018 itinerary and didn't see any differences from ours. 2017 didn't list Hadrian's wall but we did make 2 stops at different points to see part of it.



  • We made two stops at Hadrian's Wall also, one was at a small museum at one of the Roman forts, but it was listed in the itinerary. I'm glad they kept it in.

    Did you stop for lunch and take a short cruise on Lock Lomond? We did, it wasn't much.

    The biggest difference is Portmeirion vs Conway in Wales and possibly the sequence of a few visits. Also, we only stopped for the group photo in from of Anne Hathaway's house, but did tour their house in Avon. FYI, did your guide tell you the correct way to pronounce Avon- short A, accent on the first syllable, hmmm, I hadn't heard that before.
  • edited August 2017
    Just one comment here on Sticky toffee pudding. This indulgent calorific dessert was made popular by famous Delia Smith some 40 years ago. My family often demands it for Christmas dinner, the pudding parts can be made in advance and frozen, the sauce has to be made the day of but it's quick to make, you can put the ingredients in a saucepan before your guests arrive and then it is all ready to cook when you need it. Look up ' little sticky toffee puddings, Delia Smith' you are sure to find it on line these days. This recipe is superior to the offerings I have tried elsewhere on my travels.

    http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/collections/hot-puddings/little-sticky-toffee-puddings-with-pecan-toffee-sauce
  • AlanS wrote:
    We made two stops at Hadrian's Wall also, one was at a small museum at one of the Roman forts, but it was listed in the itinerary. I'm glad they kept it in. Yes, we stopped at the Chesters Roman Fort where I bought an umbrella, then later at a stop that just had a parking lot.

    Did you stop for lunch and take a short cruise on Lock Lomond? We did, it wasn't much. No, lunch was at a manor house. Interesting family and house. Nice, simple lunch of curried chicken salad.

    The biggest difference is Portmeirion vs Conway in Wales and possibly the sequence of a few visits. Also, we only stopped for the group photo in from of Anne Hathaway's house, but did tour their house in Avon. FYI, did your guide tell you the correct way to pronounce Avon- short A, accent on the first syllable, hmmm, I hadn't heard that before.
    Conwy was ok -not all that much to the town - then we walked back to the hotel which takes about 20-25 minutes. I probably would have preferred Portmerion just because I collect their pottery. We did our group photo at Anne Hathaways then toured it before heading to Stratford and Shakespeare's house. Was a very busy Sat in town. I'd hoped to chill out in the park near the narrow boat canal basin but was a mob scene with a fair going on.


  • British wrote:
    Just one comment here on Sticky toffee pudding. This indulgent calorific dessert was made popular by famous Delia Smith some 40 years ago. My family often demands it for Christmas dinner, the pudding parts can be made in advance and frozen, the sauce has to be made the day of but it's quick to make, you can put the ingredients in a saucepan before your guests arrive and then it is all ready to cook when you need it. Look up ' little sticky toffee puddings, Delia Smith' you are sure to find it on line these days. This recipe is superior to the offerings I have tried elsewhere on my travels.

    http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/collections/hot-puddings/little-sticky-toffee-puddings-with-pecan-toffee-sauce

    I have Mary Berry's recipe (I adore the Great British Bake Off) but this sounds better. I have southern roots so the addition of pecans to any dessert is considered an improvement.

    I tried to try as many local specialties I could on this trip (including haggis - meh). One drawback I've found to the high end hotels Tauck uses is they don't seem to feature local specialties as much as you'd expect. Sometimes you look at the menu and feel you could be any place in the world.
  • edited August 2017
    I have Mary Berry's recipe (I adore the Great British Bake Off) but this sounds better. I have southern roots so the addition of pecans to any dessert is considered an improvement.

    I tried to try as many local specialties I could on this trip (including haggis - meh). One drawback I've found to the high end hotels Tauck uses is they don't seem to feature local specialties as much as you'd expect. Sometimes you look at the menu and feel you could be any place in the world.

    Somehow an 'end quote' is not being read? : ) Try adding a return or two between "sauce" and the 'end quote' bracket.

    Oh, and we love Sticky toffee pudding!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sign In or Register to comment.