We cater to discerning, seasoned travellers who seek to learn and understand as much about the United Kingdom and Ireland as possible, delving deep into our nation’s history and contemporary culture.
We do this by introducing our clients to the people who bring these facets of our world alive, taking them to fabulous destinations and deep into the world of history, heritage, art, sport, food, architecture, music and culture.
We are able to provide insider access to a vast range of extraordinary individuals and places, enabling our clients to gain insights and access that would otherwise be unavailable.
We operate in the luxury leisure travel market, so we do not offer package or ‘off-the-shelf’ tours; each trip is fully customised and no trip is ever the same.
We can get our clients into a whole range of privately-owned stately homes and castles, not to mention royal palaces, that are ordinarily closed to the public.
But its not just about royalty or the aristocracy; the doors we can open offer a glimpse into real peoples’ lives allowing our clients to understand a culture or a way of life in a more immersive manner. We work with multiple partners around the country to offer a whole range of fascinating experiences to our clients, be they field-to-fork days, artisanal workshops or just spending a day with a local in his natural habitat! Most importantly, our partners take joy and pleasure in welcoming our clients and inviting them into their lives.
So, you can spend a day with a graffiti street artist, learning all about his art; or make honey with an urban bee keeper; round up a flock of sheep with a farmer and his champion sheep dog; or make bouquets with a royal florist.
Maybe you have a penchant for art and want to go behind the scenes at the National Gallery to see how they restore paintings; or you love drama and want to go backstage at the National Theatre.
If fashion is your thing, we can arrange for you to spend time with an up and coming fashion designer; or if you prefer dinosaurs, we can arrange a private before hours tour to the Natural History Museum.
We can procure the best tickets to all manner of sporting, entertainment or specialist events, be it Wimbledon, Glyndebourne, or the Chelsea Flower Show. More unusual requests that we have fielded include helping a lady to learn how to joust, and another to fly in a Spitfire over the White Cliffs of Dover.
Indeed, this is our bread and butter. Nothing is too small, be it an airport transfer, or theatre ticket. When we take our clients to the popular sights, we always offer viewing or touring options: of course, we can provide an expert guide to take you around the Tower of London, but we can also get you in before it opens to the public to view the Crown Jewels in privacy. Crowds and queues are only ever an option!
Britain has long shaken off its reputation for poor cuisine; London now has 69 Michelin-starred restaurants, second only to Paris in the whole of Europe. We can get you access to the Chef’s Table at the top restaurants or we can guide you round the local market place, arranging tastings of the best locally produced delicacies.
Perhaps you would prefer to get your hands dirty; well, we can arrange private cookery courses with renowned chefs, or more intimately, you can make scones in a private farmhouse kitchen. Learn how to make Arbroath Smokies on a Scottish seashore, or how to shuck oysters in Galway. We can take you to the source of the food: visit an Aberdeen Angus cattle farm and understand the provenance of the best steak in the world, or go fishing with your very own Sea Eagle!
Of course, the UK is renowned for its beer and we can facilitate fascinating private visits to craft breweries, unchanged since Victorian days; to Scottish or Irish whisky distilleries; or arrange a gin-making workshop. But what surprises many of our clients is a visit to an English vineyard. English sparkling wine is now regularly winning international awards and the southern counties of England are today dotted with state-of-the-art wineries.
Actually, we think we are quite good at this and offer such fun and games as sightseeing and museum adventure quests; themed treasure and scavenger hunts; and movie- and documentary-making adventures, as well as edible enjoyment like chocolate-making sessions!
And each time, they ask to see something different, or some place different, or to pursue an interest or hobby.
These can include anything imaginable, from the more common, like English gardens, or Georgian architecture, to the more arcane, like medieval weaponry or Neolithic tools. We have access to experts in all these fields, from award-winning garden designers, to a Professor of Neolithic Studies at Oxford University.
Often we host small group tours on specialist topics: an English Literature tour, perhaps, or a WWII military tour. We arrange cultural tours for patrons of an orchestra or ballet school, or history tours for alumni groups.
However, if you are content just being surrounded by majestic scenery, then we can provide expert guides in all of the best hiking areas throughout the country, from the Peak District, to Snowdonia and the Lake District and, naturally, the Highlands of Scotland. And if you prefer four legs to two, then we can arrange equestrian tours as well – through the Black Mountains of south Wales is a particular favourite. Otherwise, we can set you up on a bike trail through the Cotswolds, or a paddle board on Loch Ness.
We offer a great day out kayaking down the river Spey in Scotland, with stops for a gourmet picnic and a visit to a distillery.
Britain is also the home of golf, of course, and many of our clients want to test their skills on the most iconic courses of the world: St Andrews, Carnoustie and Royal Portrush amongst many others. But if you would rather just watch sport, then we can get seats to Premiership football games or to the Wimbledon tennis final.
But often it is not the well-known galleries which amaze our clients; it is the lesser known ones with more personal, intimate collections which really leave an impression. If you haven’t been to the Sir John Soane Museum, or Leighton House, or visited the Wallace Collection, then your cultural education is incomplete! We can arrange private behind-the-scenes, or after hours’ tours at many of these museums or galleries, or if you are a serious collector, we can open the doors to the archives of many of the commercial galleries around town as well.
There is of course much to see beyond London, at other cultural hotspots such as Glasgow, or perhaps you would like to see the landscapes that inspired many of our home-grown artists and writers – relive Shakespeare’s life and works in Stratford-upon Avon, or discover ‘Constable Country’ in Suffolk and Wordsworth’s inspiration in the Lake District.
The towns and villages that appear Thomas Hardy’s novels are all still in Dorset and Somerset today, while traces of Austen can be found in Bath and Winchester. But modern Britain is not just all about dead poets and artists; contemporary culture is every bit as vibrant as it once was: follow in the footsteps of the Beatles in Liverpool, discover street art in the East End of London, or watch a play in an open-air theatre on a cliff top in Cornwall.
The home of many of the myths and legends of antiquity, our history has been shaped by Romans, Vikings, Normans, not to mention a string of Kings and Queens, both noble and wicked. Tellingly, much of our history was given birth by the very fact that we curtailed the power of those monarchs and by denying despotism and enshrining the rule of law and democratic rule, we allowed freedom of thought and action that gave rise to the enlightenment, the industrial revolution and innovation in so many fields, from sciences and the arts, to human health and development and even sporting endeavour.
Much of our island story may be about seeking adventure and exploration beyond our shores, but the freedoms we afforded have attracted and welcomed immigrants throughout our history, from Huguenots and Jews, to West Indians and South-East Asians, with each successive wave of immigrants enriching our society and culture. And yes, some of this history may be chequered, but it is nevertheless a history that has shaped us as a people and created the country you see today, from the buildings and monuments, to our attitudes, our culture and even our food. As you travel around these small and diverse islands, you will realise that history never lies far from the surface.
Working with our group of hand-selected properties enables us to secure the best prices and secure welcome amenities on arrival. As a luxury service provider, the properties we work with are naturally the best in their category in their location, be they luxury boutique hotels, grand London institutions, or even chic rural rental properties.
Extraordinary Britain curates personalised luxury travel and tours offering immersive experiences that match our clients’ interests and specific requirements. We cater to discerning, seasoned travellers who seek to learn and understand as much about the United Kingdom and Ireland as possible, delving deep into our nation’s history and contemporary culture.
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