More and more tourist attractions are going out of their way to welcome groups travelling by coach. Amy Moore has found a selection of inspiring examples

Holkham Hall is a privately owned picturesque property and will see a number of new visitor facilities for 2016

Holkham Hall is a privately owned picturesque property and will see a number of new visitor facilities for 2016

Edinburgh Woollen Mill

(2)Ena Mill in Lancashire is an award-winning coach-friendly attraction that has recently announced plans to expand

Ena Mill in Lancashire is an award-winning coach-friendly attraction that has recently announced plans to expand

UK-wide fashion retailer Edinburgh Woollen Mill has a collection of tourist attractions throughout the UK.

From Trerulefoot in south east Cornwall to the most northern point of the British mainland at John O’ Groats, highlights include The Scottish Wool Centre at Aberfoyle, near Stirling, which offers spinning and weaving demonstrations.

History enthusiasts will enjoy Moffat Mill, which stocks the largest selection of tweeds, tartans and knitwear in Scotland. Here, visitors can watch weavers work on traditional Hattersley looms while they shop.

Enjoy a free whisky tasting in The Spirit of Scotland Whisky Shop, which serves true Malt Whisky and stocks over 150 brands, some of which are not available outside Scotland.

Edinburgh Woollen Mill hosts a range of special Scottish events at Leith Mills in Edinburgh and select locations, which can be tailor-made to visitor itineraries.

For more information contact Idy Davidson, Travel Trade Executive, on 01387 380611, email idy.davidson@ewm.co.uk or visit www.ewm.co.uk.


Ena Mill, Lancashire

Ena Mill is a retail outlet housed within a Grade II-listed former cotton-spinning mill in Atherton in Lancashire.

With over 200 brands packed into 45,000 square-feet, Ena Mill is one of the largest retail spaces in the country. It was a finalist in the National Coach Tourism Awards in 2014 thanks to its coach-friendly facilities and has since announced plans to expand.

The expansion includes turning the empty first floor into an additional 40,000 square-feet of retail space, housing more fashion brands and a larger, high quality restaurant.

Groups are welcomed, with free coach parking and convenient drop-off outside the front door. Meet and greet services are available, with a £10 voucher for coach drivers (valid for coaches with over 30 passengers and a minimum two-hour stay), a free snack and drink for the coach driver and a £10 voucher for the group travel organiser. Find out more and plan your group trip at www.enamill.co.uk.


BBC Shows Offer New Discounts For Groups

Organisers of the BBC Good Food Shows and BBC Gardeners’ World Live have announced new discounts for groups.

Groups can get up to 30% off tickets and will receive a free ticket with every 10 booked. This discount will increase depending on how far in advance tickets are booked. Plus, groups still benefit from a no obligation reservation period, with payment required around six weeks from the show’s start date.

Events include:

BBC Good Food Show Spring Harrogate International Centre, April 8-10, 2016

BBC Good Food Show Summer In The City Excel London, May 20-22, 2016

BBC Gardeners’ World Live and BBC Good Food Show Summer

(Two shows, one ticket) NEC Birmingham, June 16-19, 2016

For more information visit www.bbcgoodfoodshow.com or www.bbcgardenersworldlive.com. To book group tickets, call The Ticket Factory on 0800 358 0058 or email groups@theticketfactory.com.


The Edible Garden Show

The Edible Garden Show will return alongside lifestyle event Good Life Live, at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire from March 11-13, 2016.

The Edible Garden Show is popular with coach groups

The Edible Garden Show is popular with coach groups

After a successful two years in London, the award-winning three-day annual show promises exciting exhibitors, as well as celebrity speakers, interactive advice sessions and hands-on demonstrations.

Groups booking 10-plus tickets in advance will receive 50% off the door price at just £8 per ticket, in addition to receiving an 11th ticket free of charge.

To book call 0844 412 4650 or for more information visit www.theediblegardenshow.co.uk.


New Lanark World Heritage Site

The New Lanark Visitor Centre is located by the Falls of Clyde near Lanark and tells the story of the cotton mill village of New Lanark, which was founded in the 18th-century.

The New Lanark Visitor Centre is located by the Falls of Clyde near Lanark and tells the story of the cotton mill village of New Lanark

The New Lanark Visitor Centre is located by the Falls of Clyde near Lanark and tells the story of the cotton mill village of New Lanark

It is one of Scotland’s six UNESCO World Heritage sites, and still spins its own traditionally produced organic wool and creates its own hydro-electricity. A collection housed in the New Lanark Search Room tells the site’s fascinating history, from its days as a working mill to its decline, restoration and inscription as a World Heritage site in 2001.

Groups of 11-plus can add a guided tour to their visit for an extra £1 per person. Tours last an hour and can be booked between 1000hrs and 1530hrs.

Booking benefits include free admission for the coach driver and group leader, free coach parking, free food and drink allowance for the coach driver and a group welcome upon arrival. Coach drop-off/pick-up is available in the village and there’s a choice of on-site accommodation including the 38-bedroom New Lanark Mill Hotel and the 14-bedroom Wee Row Hostel.

For more information visit www.newlanark.org.


Holkham Hall

Holkham Hall is privately owned and is home to the eighth Earl of Leicester.

Although the house is closed to the public in the winter, its library, statues, paintings and furniture are frequently used for academic research.

New visitor facilities for 2016 include the transformation of the estate’s former stables into a café and restaurant, which will double the amount of indoor seating for guests. Additionally, the former pottery buildings will be converted into an indoor events facility to accommodate over 250 people.

The Bygones Museum will be replaced by a new exhibition that will tell the story of Holkham’s farming heritage, showing how the land is linked to food production, and exploring themes of nutrition and cookery.

Coaches can enter the estate via the north gates and free parking is available approximately 100-yards from the attraction.

Pre-booked groups of 15-plus benefit from a 20% discount, with free admission for the group travel organiser and coach driver. For pre-booked groups of 20-plus, the coach driver will receive a refreshment voucher.

Holkham Hall is already taking bookings for Christmas 2016, with Christmas Candlelight Tours taking place on December 7-9 and 14-16. A 10% discount is available for parties of 15-plus. For more information visit www.holkham.co.uk.


Cheddar Gorge and Caves

Cheddar Gorge is located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Somerset and is home to Britain’s biggest gorge, with dramatic cliffs rising 450-feet.

Gough’s Cave is a breathtaking stalactite cavern, where visitors can learn more (via informative audio guides) about where the Cheddar Man – Britain’s oldest skeleton – was discovered.

Alternatively, Cox’s Cave features calcite sculptures, dancing fountains and mirror pools. Younger visitors are invited to follow the Crystal Quest and meet the Lord of Darkness and his evil dragon.

Cheddar Gorge and Caves is a popular day out for children and adults. Ticket discounts are available for parties of 12-plus, with one group travel organiser admitted free. Coach drivers are admitted free of charge and are given a refreshment voucher upon arrival. There are 13 coach parking spaces.

Once a booking has been made, one familiarisation pass (valid for two adults) is provided.

For more information visit www.cheddargorge.co.uk.


Drayton Manor Theme Park

Europe’s only Thomas Land can be found at Drayton Manor Theme Park

Europe’s only Thomas Land can be found at Drayton Manor Theme Park

Drayton Manor Theme Park in Staffordshire is home to Europe’s only Thomas Land, which has increased in size by 40% and has welcomed a host of new rides and attractions.

At Drayton Manor Theme Park, visitors can enjoy Flynn’s Fire Rescue, Captain’s Sea Adventure and Toby’s Tram Express, which launched in 2015 alongside a new Sodor Airport terminal.

Thrill-seekers can board the adrenaline-inducing Apocalypse, stomach-churning Maelstrom and Europe’s only stand-up coaster, Shockwave.

Visitors can also enjoy exploring Drayton’s 15-acre zoo, which is home to over 100 animals from across the globe.

Drayton Manor Theme Park has attractions for adults and children alike

Drayton Manor Theme Park has attractions for adults and children alike

Group bookings for 12 or more people include free entry for the group travel organiser and coach driver, a free meal voucher for the coach driver, free parking for coaches and a free familiarisation visit for group travel organisers.

For more information visit www.draytonmanor.co.uk.


Beamish Museum

Opening early 2016 at Beamish Museum in County Durham is a Chemist and Photographer’s Shop.

A corner building in the mock-Edwardian town is being transformed into an early-1900s chemist, with dispensary and photographer’s studio. Visitors will be able to have their picture taken in period costume with sepia-style photographs to take home.

At Beamish, discounted admission is available for pre-booked groups of 15-plus, with the coach driver and group travel organiser admitted free, and coach parking is free of charge.

For more information visit www.beamish.org.uk.


Buckler’s Hard, Hampshire

Buckler’s Hard sits on the banks of the Beaulieu River and was once a hive of shipbuilding activity, producing ships used by Lord Nelson at Trafalgar.

Pic by Samantha Cook Photography 160814. Bucklers Hard, Beaulieu, Hampshire.

Pic by Samantha Cook Photography 160814. Bucklers Hard, Beaulieu, Hampshire.

The Maritime Museum and Buckler’s Hard Story enables visitors to discover more about the village’s maritime history, whilst learning more about the wartime role of the Beaulieu River.

Walk the Woodland Trail to find out how timber was sourced and used to construct ships for the Royal Navy. St Mary’s Chapel was once the village school and reveals a secret cellar that may have been used by 18th-century smugglers.

Pre-booked groups of 15-plus can take advantage of reduced entry rates, with guided tours available at an additional cost. Guided tours last around an hour.

Coach driver incentives include free admission, free coach parking, and a free hot drink and a slice of cake available in The Captain’s Cabin Tea Rooms.

Enhance your visit with a Beaulieu River Cruise, which is available for groups of 20 and can include a cream tea at The Captain’s Cabin Tea Rooms.

A visit to Buckler’s Hard can be combined with a joint ticket to Beaulieu Motor Museum. For more information visit www.bucklershard.co.uk.

OUT AND ABOUT

Peterborough Museum Opens Underground Vaults For Group Tours

Priestgate Vaults_ Sir Humphrey Orme Projection (2)Peterborough Museum opened its 500-year-old eerie underground vaults for group tours for the first time on Saturday, October 24.

Situated beneath Peterborough’s most haunted building, the vaults were formerly used for storage. Now, they are home to a handful of historic characters from Peterborough Museum’s past. Projections talk to visitors as they move through the vaults, with special effects in the form of laser projections onto ancient brick walls.

Characters range from a mysterious medieval monk to a young girl experiencing a bombing raid in World War Two, which recreates the shattering of windows – the only damage said to have occurred to the building during the bombing raids.

Tours are conducted by volunteer guides and culminate in the Ghost Room, which has been the scene of the museum’s most active apparitions.

Narrated by Peterborough Museum’s Interpretation Manager, Stuart Orme, the dimly lit cellar mimics a paranormal experience, recreating spine-chilling encounters experienced by visitors and staff throughout the museum.

Inside Priestgate Vaults

Stuart said: “The new Priestgate Vaults attraction at the museum is a brilliant opportunity for visitors to Peterborough and local people alike to experience 500 years of hidden history. It’s been really exciting to weave together features of an important historic building and new technology to bring these stories to life, not least some of the spooky happenings here.”

Each virtual character takes groups of up to 15 on an informative 45-minute tour, bringing their part in the building’s history to life – from its early days as a Tudor mansion, to the Georgian magistrate’s home and Victorian hospital, before it became a museum in the 1930s.

Groups of six to 15 can pre-book tours of the Priestgate Vaults all year-round. Larger groups will be split for back-to-back tours. Entry is £4 for adults and £3 for concessions.

Coaches can drop off outside before parking nearby. Some pre-booked mini-buses may be accommodated onsite.

For more information visit www.vivacity-peterborough.com.