Your group will love these chillingly good destinations, guaranteed not to invite a frosty reception. Mince through the markets and mull over what you want to buy, some offering the ultimate in season’s eatings.
Set within a prestigious manor house and surrounded by stunning views, the American Museum in Britain hosts the finest collection of memorabilia outside the United States. Displayed chronologically in Period Rooms, the galleries featured complement with Native American crafts, Civil War artefacts and picturesque Folk Art. From November 22 to December 14, the museum will be revamped to celebrate the Christmas season, with displays documenting winter activities of the times. Bright, festive colours will be introduced through the replacement of costume, textiles and floral arrangements. Groups could travel to see the attraction’s seven foot Nordman Fir Tree, which dominates the Central Hall. The shrub is smothered with over a thousand lights, with handmade ornaments adding a personal touch. Such crafts are inspired by a different theme each year.
The attraction welcomes pre-booked groups, with a reduced admission rate for parties of 15 or more. GTOs can receive friendly assistance and advice when booking. Coach drivers can enjoy free parking on the premises, free admission and complimentary refreshments.
Diamond Holidays has been organising coach tours for groups for over 15 years, offering a generous selection of four day itineraries abroad to a host of festive themed markets. Such destinations as France, Belgium and Germany are included, with packages starting from as little as £229. Groups can enjoy the architectural beauty of Cologne, with its many stalls overshadowed by its dominant cathedral, with such hidden treasures as the caves of Valkenburg, which provide the ideal opportunity to purchase uniquely crafted gifts for family and friends within intimately confined surroundings. Groups are taken on a relaxing getaway to some of the most sublime settings, with Christmas on the continent welcoming a truly magical affair. From fir trees and fairy lights, handmade toys and trinkets, why not sip on spiced wine or indulge in some hot roasted chestnuts whilst soaking in the historic open air attractions, where guests are guaranteed to receive a warm welcome whatever the weather. Diamond Holidays offer fantastic group discounts, allocated free space and localised pick up points.
Opening its doors to groups throughout the festive season, the Houses of Parliament offers a deluxe choice of informative tours, with highlights that include access to the magnificent Lord’s Chamber. Audio tours take around 60 to 75 minutes to complete and offer an entertaining commentary featuring clips from key parliamentary figures all at a cost of around £14 per person. Alternatively, groups can enjoy the engaging company of a first-hand ‘Blue Badge’ guide, with each tour lasting 100 minutes and costing just £19 per person. Both invite the opportunity to soak in this remarkable structure, with tours held on Saturdays and select weekdays throughout the year. Groups can endeavour to explore the famous green benches of the Commons Chamber, the imposing statues of former Prime Ministers in the Members’ Lobby, as well as the gigantic stone-vaulted roof situated in the Central Lobby. Dating back to the late 11th century, all tours begin and end in Westminster Hall which will be kitted out with festive decorations suitable to the season. Discounted rates on tours are available for parties of 10 or more.
Christmas at Kew Gardens (as it’s commonly known) offers evening entertainment, with its stunning landscape illuminated to highlight the beauty of a calmed winter setting. Looking ahead to late 2014, the attraction will feature a new, one-mile trail of enchanting light installations to suit the theme of snowflakes and sparkle. This will include a magnificent fire garden, a glittering tunnel of lights and the added opportunity to indulge in some romantic mistletoe moments. The venue’s iconic Palm House and accompanying lily pond will be bathed in light and can be enjoyed as your group sip on a choice of spiced cider, mulled wine or hot chocolate. Festive food treats such as hot chestnuts and toasted marshmallows can also be purchased. Kew’s well-stocked gift shop invites the ideal opportunity to purchase a unique souvenir or gift to commemorate this one-of-a-kind experience. Group bookings are being taken from July 15, with festive themed events running from November 26 to January 3, 2015.
Also suitable for those who enjoy intricate displays of light, Longleat will be playing host to a truly spectacular event to accompany its traditional festive offering. This year, the attraction is welcoming the World Famous Chinese Lanterns, which aim to combine distinctive cultural displays and a bespoke interpretation of the venue’s most famous safari animals. Each standing at 60 feet wide and 50 feet tall, the lanterns will glide through the stunning gardens surrounding Longleat House. The collection is renowned for its large scale magnificence, having been constructed from a range of delicate fabrics and are adequately stuffed with hundreds of LED lights for illumination. Two striking porcelain dragons will welcome guests to the vicinity, further enticing visitors to explore the grounds. Additional themed events, such as a dazzling display of drama and trickery, where an artist switches his mask at mind boggling speeds, are also available for groups to enjoy. The experience is included in the price of a day ticket. Groups of 12 or more are offered a reduced rate.
Tatton Park sees a new attraction open to groups this year, with guests welcomed to enjoy a specialised tour at its 18th century mansion. From November 25 to December 21, The Nutcracker entices visitors to walk from the festive Dining Room to the grand tree in the Cupola Hall, whilst along the way, witnessing the fictitious battle between the gingerbread soldiers against the army of mice. Can your group keep up? Parties of 12 or more are taken on a journey through the Christmas Forest towards the Land of Sweets. A visit to the Servant’s Quarters boasts baking demonstrations plus a number of mincemeat treats to enjoy. Groups can also pre book a freshly prepared three-course festive lunch and a glass of wine, hosted at the impressive Tenants’ Hall for only £20 per head. A gift fair is also on hand from November 28 to November 30. It’s not around for long, so GTOs better get organising. All groups visiting can benefit from a free ticket to the attractions award winning gardens.
Sample seasonal delights at West Midland Safari Park this winter, with an action packed itinerary tailored to all ages. Despite already hosting a distinct Discovery Trail, the attraction will see the annual opening of its Santa Safari, due to commence on Saturday, November 15. It will run on select dates up until December 24. The safari itself has been described as a unique seasonal experience, where children especially are pampered with the opportunity to have their photo taken and receive a gift of their choosing. For adults, a generous selection of mulled wine, hot chocolate and mince pies are included in the price of a ticket. Senior citizens are also well accounted for, with an exclusive Christmas Luncheon due to start on November 24, with select dates up to December 19. The event combines a visit to the safari as well as a wander through the newly constructed winter wonderland, with the attraction’s Discovery Trail decked out with an impressive amount of realistic ‘snow’. Once embarked to the Explorers Restaurant, a reception drink and two-course Christmas dinner is on hand, all of which is included in the price of the package.