England tours & Ireland tours.
Small group, leisurely guided tours. Lots of history & fun!
BUNRATTY CASTLE, SHANNON.
INCLUDED banquet in this authentic 15c MacNamara castle.
Enjoy an INCLUDED trip along Dublin Bay.
DURTY NELLY'S PUB, SHANNON.
Enjoy INCLUDED drinks in this historic tavern opened in 1620.
INTER-CITY EXPRESS TRAIN.
Enjoy INCLUDED train trips in Scotland & England.
DEVON CREAM TEA.
Enjoy an INCLUDED yummy Devon cream tea in Dartmoor.
BAKER STREET STATION.
Enjoy FREE travel on London Underground trains.
Enjoy INCLUDED dinners in ancient pubs like 800 years old Turf Tavern, Oxford.
THE MERRY PLOUGHBOY PUB, DUBLIN.
Enjoy INCLUDED music nights with dinner in Irish pubs.
IRISH SEA FAST-FERRY.
The Club Class Lounge is INCLUDED on certain routes.
Enjoy INCLUDED porterage at hotels.
THE ROCK OF CASHEL.
Enjoy an INCLUDED guided tour of St. Patrick's spectacular Rock of Cashel.
Enjoy an INCLUDED pint or two or three of Guinness in Ireland.
Enjoy your INCLUDED River Thames cruise.
England tours & Ireland tours : Honesty Page.
ARE YOU CUT OUT TO DO A GUIDED COACH TOUR OF EUROPE? (INCLUDES IRELAND & GREAT BRITAIN.)
The following information is generally how guided coach tours of Europe work & is to help you with England tours, Ireland tours & European guided coach tours generally. Quite simply you have to know what doing a guided coach tour in Europe is all about as it is not everybody’s cup of tea. The information below does not represent how Jolly Good Tours operates as we have tried to resolve all the issues. Click on the “Our tours work!” box to see why we think we have succeeded. I would strongly recommend scouring the reviews on Tripadvisor or Epinions for European coach tours which will help you understand more about guided coach touring. It helps if you can be tour operator specific.
- What is a guided coach tour? A coach is a posher version of a bus. It is the most important component of a tour in a way since you are sitting in it a lot. A tour guide is someone who knows the history, culture, customs, geography and where the best pubs are on the tour. They do not have to be citizens of the country you tour as many tours visit several countries. They should also have a bit of fun about them and most importantly regard your trip as ‘your trip of a lifetime’ which can be difficult as often tour guides do many back-to-back tours. If you have time, watch this episode of Inspector Morse in Oxford, “The Wolvercote Tongue.” You will find two guides in it who don’t have a bit of fun about them! Although your tour guide doesn’t have to tuck you up in bed at night they are there to look after you within the parameters that a tour operator allows them to. Tip : If you are contemplating taking a budget coach tour in Europe try to avoid June, July, August & September as the more experienced guides tend to be deployed on those tours out of season.
- Remember that you will be sitting in a touring coach on many days for a total of 6 hours perhaps. Ask yourself if you can sit with another 50 people or whatever the max. seating is for that amount of time.
- Depending on the tour you may be zooming around a lot with very little time off the coach. I am looking at a European tour online as I write that visits 6 countries in 8 days! Nothing wrong with that if that is what you want to do but ask yourself would you tour 6 American states in 8 days and really enjoy it? The truth is that so many people take those ‘speedy’ tours and then complain that they are too rushed! Remember it is horses-for-courses.
- European hotels are a lot different to the ones you are accustomed to at home especially hotels on coach tours. By and large European hotel rooms are small by comparison to other countries with more space! Europe is a crowded & compact continent. You have to approach the hotels aspect with an open mind on the basis that your hotel room is where you sleep and do nothing else otherwise you will go home forgetting that you went up the Eiffel Tower & just remember that your hotel room in Paris was 50% smaller than a Days Inn you stayed in just off I25. You have come to see & absorb not vegetate in your hotel room.
- Hotel tour dinners are pretty boring. We have to be perfectly honest here. If uninteresting repetitive hotel food is a big no-no for you then under no circumstances take a guided coach tour. If culinary delights are what blow your skirt up you will be better off wearing pants on a guided coach tour. Do not despair however because Jolly Good Tours has taken steps to alleviate a lot of the boring dining! Once again click on the “Our tours work!” box to find out how we go a long way to take the boredom out of tour dining.
- Be prepared to be offered lots of optional extra trips during the tour which can add around 30% extra to the tour price & reduce time at featured visits in the tour itinerary on many tours. (Jolly Good Tours do NOT sell optional extra trips.)
- Be prepared for well over 50% of nights during the tour NOT to have dinner included in the tour price. (Jolly Good Tours INCLUDE dinner every night.)
- Remember that your tour guide will be telling you what time to get up in the morning, how long you have for lunch etc.. In other words they are the boss! Not everybody likes that but it has to be that way. That is a small price to pay to enjoy and understand those wonderful things that you are seeing & experiencing.
- Once people have done a guided tour of a country they like it is much easier to go back & travel independently which is one of the big bonuses of a guided tour in the first place.
- Even though your main means of transport is your touring coach there are lots of occasions when you have to use ‘shanks’s pony’. In other words walk. Remember that ancient castles were not built for tourists. In fact the very opposite if you regard roaming medieval militias as an early version of tourists but with pikes in their hands rather than cameras. So expect lots of steps as well as walking.
OK. We confess we are beaten on this one!
We have seen comments on Tripadvisor & Epinions from people who have done guided coach tours in Europe complaining that they were never allowed to sleep in by the Tour Guide! We are quite prepared to admit that you won’t get a chance to sleep in on our tours either. We explain that on the link “Our tours work!”
In conclusion you have a choice when you visit a foreign land. You can rent a car, do your own thing and endure a lot of hassle getting around on your own AND MISS OUT ON LOADS OF IMPORTANT INFORMATION & LOCAL EXPERTISE. Sure you can be more picky with hotels (Although we doubt the average independent traveler fares any better than coach tour passengers overall.) & of course you have a lot more flexibility. A guided coach tour allows you to sit back, relax & be chauffeured around by experts with lots of interesting information thrown in. There are some very good tour operators around with some brilliant tours & outstanding tour guides – we know dozens. All you have to do is think about whether a guided coach tour suits your personality & read, read & re-read itineraries until you find what you want. The term ‘shop around’ must have been invented for guided European coach tours.
Gregg. Jolly Good Tours.