European Tour Specialist, Reformation Tours, has launched a collection of fully commissionable Mayflower-themed tours that have been tailored to meet the increased demand from ancestral tourists keen to learn more about the momentous Mayflower journey undertaken from Plymouth UK to Plymouth Massachusetts in 1620.
Themed tours will enable visitors to learn more about the Pilgrims’ lives in England before they set sail from Plymouth. Highlights will include The Pilgrim Roots region, which was home to the Scrooby Separatists, some of whom became Mayflower Pilgrims. Expert guide Sue Allan will take visitors to see Scrooby Manor, home of William and Susanna Brewster, the 11th century church where Governor William Bradford was baptized, the newly opened Pilgrim Gallery in Retford, and many other key sites. Groups will also dine in the Mayflower Pub in London, where its ship’s Master Christopher Jones and the other sailors would often gather.
Rowena Drinkhouse, Vice-President of Reformation Tours, has been working on the new Mayflower 400 Tours brand for a few years, “Most tour operators don’t have time to do the lengthy research to create tours with this level of detail around a specific theme or anniversary and many of the sites will be unfamiliar to them, so we have designed comprehensive packages they can offer their clients.
“Our carefully curated specialist tours will tap into the upcoming Mayflower 400 anniversary and the undeniable appetite that UK inbound tourists travelling from the US have to learn more about this momentous journey.”
Research conducted in 2017, among over 4800 US citizens aged 18+, has showed that 5.5% are very likely to travel for the anniversary in 2020, and that increases to 21% of members of ancestral societies with an existing interest in genealogy. Plymouth, Leiden, Boston and Southampton were in the top places to visit, and 90% of those likely to visit also said that they were interested in attending historical talks and lectures. They also expressed an interest in experiencing England’s culture, enjoying local cuisine and visiting major sites.
Emma Tatlow, Project Manager for Mayflower 400 comments, “There are over 35 million descendants of the passengers and crew who sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 and the Mayflower 400 UK national visitor project aims to reach out to these descendants and other ancestral tourists to invite them to visit England and be a part of the anniversary year. We are delighted to be working with Rowena as an official partner for Mayflower 400”
The 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s journey offers a unique opportunity for a truly international commemoration of the Pilgrims’ progress, from England to the Netherlands - and on to the land of the Wampanoag in what is now the United States.
England’s national programme of events highlights the impact of the Mayflower’s journey on Native American communities and addresses themes of migration, tolerance, freedom and democracy that have such contemporary relevance, as well as the long-standing relationship between the UK and the USA and the history of Thanksgiving, ensuring the Mayflower’s legacy lives on.
PHOTO: Pilgrim historian and expert guide Sue Allan