Kaye Holland is Co-Founder and Director of Media & Communications at Talk of the Town London. The new walking tour company aims to provide the inside track on the London scene, hosted by a team of Time Out journalists, actors and life-long Londoners, who wish to share their passion with interested groups.
TOTT was launched in August 2014, offering three ‘core’ itineraries: Grim Tales of London (Tuesday and Friday at 1800hrs) High Society (Thursday and Saturday at 1400hrs) and London 101 (Wednesday and Saturday at 1000hrs). Offering something to suit all tastes, TOTT invites visitors to make the most of their trip to Europe’s most exciting metropolis – ‘real’ London is just waiting to be discovered. Private tours are available, recommended for families, friends, stags and hens (if desired) with tailored itineraries to suit any group.
What do you think makes a good group trip?
Without a doubt, a good guide. Nothing beats a person bursting with local knowledge. You’re going to be spending most of your trip with this person, so you want someone who genuinely loves what they do. A great guide is someone that can provide an insight that you wouldn’t find in a book. For me, the best guides always end up feeling like friends.
Describe the best group trip you've been on and why?
A trip to see the Terracotta Warriors in Xian, China: the life size warriors and horses, which had been built to serve Emperor Qin more than 2,000 years ago. It had been on my bucket list, and I enjoyed seeing the famous forces even more because of our group.
Describe the worst group trip you've been on and why?
A recent trip to Mexico was memorable. What should have been a dream trip turned out to be a disaster as our group fell out over food, finance and almost everything else. It made me realize how important it is to carefully choose your companions, and to make sure everyone knows the purpose of the trip. I discovered that while group trips promise fun and friendship, they don’t always deliver.
What's your favourite destination for a group day out?
London! It’s the greatest city in the world, and one of those places that looks the part no matter what the season, with brilliant bars, parks, theatres and art galleries.
I adore seeing the old and new side by side. As Sir Samuel Johnson famously said: “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life, for there is in London all that life can afford.”
What do you always pack?
I like to travel light and I hate being weighed down. I’ll definitely pack my passport (I’m always ready to jump on a plane) camera, sun cream, waterproof jacket and a warm jumper, so I’m prepared whatever the weather. Oh, and dry shampoo. When travelling, I swear by it.
What do you always leave out?
Travel gadgets generally don’t make the grade. I’ll bring my smartphone and laptop and leave everything else at home. In my role as Director of Media & Communications at TOTT, I’m required to tweet/ post pictures on Facebook and Instagram. However, when left to my own devices, I’ll happily put my iPhone down and enjoy my new destination.
What was your favourite group trip last year?
A skiing trip to Limone Piemonte in Italy. I was nervous – partly because I had never been on the slopes before. But travelling should be a new experience. Inspired by the Sochi Olympics, I decided that 2014 would be the year I would give skiing a go – and it was great.