If you are interested in the Arts & Crafts Movement – a little or a lot – I heartily encourage you to give our small group tours a try. What makes a good trip? Lots of advance research. Unless you like to go to the same place over and over (I know many people who go to Paris every chance they get, for example), it’s disappointing to spend a lot of money and time visiting a new destination only to learn later that there were specific places you could have visited, but didn’t know about while you were there.
The truth about traveling is that it takes a lot of time and work to plan a trip to a new place. One can spend hours upon hours taking travel books out of the library, buying the ones you like best, talking with people who have been to the place(s) you’re going, reading comments on Trip Advisor, asking for advice from Trip Advisor contributors, making lists upon lists of things to do, and then finally making hotel and restaurant reservations. Private guides are wonderful but often expensive. Many people don’t have the time or don’t want to spend that much time planning their own trips.
Arts & Crafts Tours does all this advance planning for you and also gives you some free time for choosing your own restaurant for dinner or to go shopping if we are in towns or places big enough to make it worthwhile. Further, we never take more than 12 guests and sometimes our groups are smaller, so we can go places inaccessible to large bus groups.
Our tours are fun, well planned and you’ll learn something new almost every day.
Most of our advance planning work is done by Elaine with a lot of help from Peyton. Elaine has been offering these tours for more than 25 years. Over these years she has amassed an amazing network of contacts. These are people who are Arts & Crafts scholars, curators, authors and owners of private homes and art collections. We can therefore take you into places you would never be able to go on your own, and into public museums of all sizes in off-hours when the public is not admitted. You get to ask questions of people who really know the answers. We have also found that homeowners and curators are frequently so delighted to have knowledgeable people visiting, that they take the group into rooms not otherwise open to the public.
Elaine and Peyton have been friends for many years and as Peyton lives in London, and is a scholar and author of many books and articles related to the Arts & Crafts, he brings his own network of contacts to our planning. Together they select only guides who are knowledgeable and who are also engaging and fun to be with.
We don’t book hotels unless we have visited them, and usually have stayed in them. We reserve tables in restaurants we have visited before or have very positive references from people we trust. Further it is not unusual to have a reception, lunch or dinner in one or two of the private homes we visit. These experiences are a very special joy and are necessarily only available to small groups – we never take more than 12 guests.
It is our experience that people who come on our tours find our traveling pace not too slow and not too fast. We try to accommodate requests wherever possible. Often there is good collegial discussion on the coach rides as we travel to our next destination. After about the first day, we find that everyone is friendly and we often use place cards at dinner so that everyone gets to talk with new people and most people have an opportunity to talk with guides who are invited to have dinner with us. All our tours are escorted by at least two of us.
If you are an Arts & Crafts Movement enthusiast, or just curious about William Morris, C.F.A. Ashbee or Charles Rennie Macintosh, let us know. And please don‘t hesitate to come alone. As I said earlier, within hours you will have made new friends and as everyone has an interest in the Arts & Crafts, you will already have a lot to talk about. Our tours are fun, well planned and you’ll learn something new almost every day.