Travelling by coach is the best choice for everyone
Nowadays coach tourism comes in many shapes and sizes - in Britain and around the globe. Coaches don't just do day excursions, short breaks or longer holidays. Sports superstars, pop music fans, theatre goers, conference delegates, cruise passengers – all often choose to travel by coaches. Even our Royals use coaches when there aren't enough carriages and horses to go round!
Tours and holidays appeal to all tastes. Seaside holidays have not lost their appeal but in the UK today you can choose anything from a trip to the theatre in London or a day at Royal Ascot to longer tours taking in the spectacular scenery of the Yorkshire Dales or Scottish Highlands . It's amazing to learn that more than 13 million people booked tickets at London theatres in 2007, with a huge number coming by coach.
On the Continent arts and culture tours of the great Italian cities and Lakes have been joined by holidays to Croatia and Slovenia , Portugal and Scandinavia while long-haul tours take in China , New Zealand , South Africa and North America . Closer to home Ireland continues to be one of our favourite destinations.
So what do you get on a coach tour today? Perhaps most importantly, there's no driving stress – many tour operators will even arrange a taxi from your home to the coach. When you join your tour, the driver takes over, packing your suitcases safely, while you relax in your seat.
A coach is not a bus. A typical modern coach is double-glazed, air conditioned and has reclining seats for extra comfort. It rides on air suspension, cosseting its passengers. The driver has the benefits of a luxury car – traction control, anti-lock brakes and even electronic stability control.
This means you can doze or admire the passing scenery, chat to new-found friends or partners, enjoy a coffee and simply relax. And when you reach your destination you will be dropped off at the door of your specially chosen hotel and your luggage unloaded meaning you can go straight to the bar for a drink without even thinking about driving! In short, the perfect ingredients for a perfect holiday.
What journalists say
Each year many travel writers embark on a coach tour organised by the Coach Tourism Council. Here are some of their observations on how a coach tour is often the best way to travel.
Peter Sharples, writing in the Liverpool Post, went on a trip to Fjord Norway and recalled: “This was my first coach holiday in 50 years. The last time was back in pre-motorway days when, as a seven-year-old, I was dragged along by my parents on a tour of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs. That experience didn't do a great deal for me and for years I swore never to board a coach again. However, times have changed and the coach tour of the 21st century is a completely different experience from what it once was. The clientele no longer has to be in bed by eight o'clock with their teeth deposited in a bedside glass of water - well, not all of them anyway!
Also writing about the Fjords in the Huddersfield Examiner, Andrew Baldwin commented: “It's certainly hairy on some twisting roads, clinging to the cliff sides. No way would we have dared to go in a car. We were glad that we were letting someone else do the driving as we relaxed on a coach while admiring the great views. Forget any bad memories you may have of coaches of the past. Standards today are high. Sitting in armchair comfort was a brilliant way to take in the wonders of Norway .”
Natalya Wilson, writing in the York Evening Press about a tour to Northern Ireland , said: “Many people might associate coach trips with rickety buses and the ‘blue rinse' brigade, but that's where they'd be wrong. Travelling by coach can be an enjoyable way to sit back, relax and take in the country you are visiting. The coach we travelled in was sleek, plush and comfortable, with plenty of legroom, leather seats and an on-board bathroom.”
For his part, Ken Bennett in a feature in Wales on Sunday reported: “Eight years of peace in Northern Ireland are revitalising its tourist industry. Its stunning scenery, culture, history and widely varying nightlife is best visited in the serene luxury of a coach loping across this green and very pleasant land.”
So next time you are thinking of taking a touring holiday which starts at your front door – to literally anywhere in the world – think about booking a coach tour. They're fun, rewarding, safe and environmentally friendly too.
For ideas on where to book a short break by coach this autumn click here
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