Extraordinary Britain started life under a different name – In Any Event – which was established by Jane McCrum in 1998. Prior to that, Jane was a Blue Badge guide and decided to set up In Any Event when she realised that repeat clients were asking just for her.
What started out as a hobby based on her love of travel and people, and of offering them exclusive and remarkable experiences, evolved into one of the most reputable and highly sought-after luxury travel operators in the United Kingdom.
When Jane threatened to hang up her spurs, her son Philip – a former Ernst and Young management consultant – didn’t need much persuading to assume the reins of the business. Although not quite a hostile takeover, when Jane refused to ditch her abacus and learn excel, he had to reassign her role to Chief Vendor Entertainer. She now ‘does lunch’ on behalf of the company, singlehandedly helping London’s restaurant industry remain solvent.
Other than introducing excel and other cutting edge and innovative business tools, like a CRM database, Philip took the big step of rebranding the company, changing the name to one that more closely reflects the extraordinary experiences the company offers its growing range of clients.
Philip came late to the travel industry, having spent many years working for The Economist and then Ernst & Young in the Middle East. But he always harboured a desire to be his own boss and run his own business and the moment he saw a chance to elbow his mother out of the way, he grabbed it. Although he still makes tea for her occasionally. It seems natural, though, that he has ended up in travel, having spent much of his life wandering the globe. He is particularly excited about ‘coming home’ and discovering more about his own country. And after having visited a large swathe of world, he is of the firm belief that there are few – if any – better destinations on this planet than the UK and Ireland.
Julie is the office ‘hub’, the reliable nexus around which the business revolves. She has been with Jane right from the start and is the reassuring voice of experience with an elephantine memory, ensuring that the company is constantly growing and evolving. She oversees the operational and administrative functions in the office and has coped well with the belated shift from analogue to digital. Maybe this is to do with the calm bestowed upon her by her regular yoga sessions, interspersed with occasional Greek dancing.
Calm, unflappable, Dawn is a real people person, and her innate chatty and sociable nature has been charming clients and suppliers alike ever since she joined IAE back in the mists of time. Working for a travel company was a natural progression for her, having travelled widely throughout Europe in her trusty camper van and beyond to North America, Africa and Asia. She has also explored every nook and cranny of the UK and is the first in the office to be able to describe some far-flung corner of the Outer Hebrides. Her primary occupation is helping Julie work out north from south and swaps tips with her on how to care for her rescue cats.
Claire is another family member – sister/daughter-in-law – who also has wide experience in the travel industry. She is a seasoned and confident globe-trotter, catching the travel bug by travelling through Africa by herself in her late teens, before turning up at Philip’s flat in Cairo unannounced. There she met his brother… but that’s another story. Firmly rooted back in the UK, she has a love of her own little island and of Ireland in particular, where she has spent many a summer. She brings a healthy dose of curiosity and inquisitiveness to the team and is super-efficient and focussed.
New to the travel industry, Becky brings a wealth of experience in process management and running remote teams – an unexpected boon when Covid hit! Since her arrival, she has been instrumental in ensuring greater efficiency and attention to detail, admitting that her secret passion is for organisation and Trello (an online project board)! Her degree in Fine Art brings artistic flair to the marketing side of the business, while at home, her two dogs Ziggy and Florence help keep her fit and active.
Sophie is a quiet hive of industry. Imperturbable, she manages her workload with calm serenity, effortlessly accomplishing every task we throw at her. With a father in the Army, whilst growing up she never lived in the same place for more than three years at a time. Her itinerant childhood bred an insatiable curiosity for other cultures but also an appreciation of what Great Britain has to offer. Today, with a large family dotted around the UK from Inverness in Moray, through York and right down to Cornwall, she is constantly on the road exploring every corner of our incredible country. And when at home in London, her weekends are spent discovering family friendly activities in hidden corners of the capital with her children.
Not just the founder of In Any Event, but a doyenne of the UK travel industry, who now works very hard maintaining her incomparable list of contacts by attending innumerable social events, lunches and dinners. Grandmother to eight adoring, if slightly incredulous, grandchildren.
Our experience, knowledge and most importantly, our personal contacts, are unrivalled, allowing guests to gain access to exclusive destinations, be it a farm or a stately home, and to meet the most engaging and entertaining people along the way. After all travel, like life, is all about people and ‘experiential’ travel is all about meeting fascinating people from all walks of life and having a window into their world. These may include a farmer or a carpenter, a chef or a brewer, a Member of Parliament or even a Lord.
Outstanding, experienced and fully accredited guides are the bedrock of the service we offer. They are all knowledgeable and charismatic; many are reputed experts in their field. They may be professors, authors, artists or musicians, but they have one thing in common: they wear their knowledge lightly and quickly grasp the level of detail the client requires. So much so, that it is better to think of them as informative and entertaining travel companions, rather than guides.
We carefully select the guides we work with, personally vetting them to ensure they are capable of meeting the exacting demands of our seasoned travellers. We have been in the business long enough to have built up a strong stable of tried, tested and trusted guides, each with different interests and skills, allowing us to match them carefully to the needs of the client.
Wendy Perrin WoW List
Trusted Travel Expert, UK & Ireland
Conde Nast UK Travel Specialist
Altour Preferred Supplier
Jane, Philip and the rest of the team were great at planning this trip. I travelled with twin teenagers around England and Scotland and there wasn’t a day that didn’t create lasting memories.
I was especially pleased with their planning in the Peak district and in Scottish Western Highlands. Each day we had a unique adventure, be it hiking in the Peak district, taking part in skiff races in the Highlands or meeting a wonderful musician-hotelier couple in Scotland. Book with this team and you will be in experienced, deeply-caring hands.
— MR MD, USA
With short notice, Jane and her team put together an interesting program highlighting a few important London stops. From a personal tour of Chartwell to tea and a personal tour of the chapel at Windsor Castle with one of the military knights, Jane planned three special days. She secured the best table for us at The Ivy and organized a walking tour of London which was capped off by a personal tour of Buckingham Palace. For a veteran traveler who has visited London many times but hasn’t visited many of the “standard tourist sites,” it was nice to visit some tourist destinations with an expert guide. Excellent job!
— MRS GD, USA
Our trip was fabulous in every respect. I would recommend Jane for attention to detail, efficiency, and flexibility with all of our itinerary changes and excellent guides. Special touches included entrees into private homes, a courtesy gift and follow up email when we returned home. Truly made the trip a smooth and first class delight. If you want an insiders trip to London/ England choose Jane! They can open special doors for you. All of Jane’s staff were very prompt in responding to our may queries during the planning stages; sometimes even late at night. They are the best!”
— MRS CW, USA
We asked Jane to plan two full days for us, one in London, and one on the outskirts. We also asked her to get us tickets to a show for a different night. Our itinerary was as well planned and thought out as any of our other trips, in spite of our small number and few days. A knowledgeable, private driver took us on trips to Oxford, the Wormsley Library, and to an amazing luncheon served at the Getty Estate. Our City guide met us at the flat and travelled with us by taxi to our very special, behind-the-scenes private tours of the Churchill War Rooms and Tower of London, which were amazing. Using Jane’s wonderful service made this short trip one to remember the rest of our lives.
— MRS VC, USA
“Jane McCrum was simply excellent. She and Julie did a fantastic job customizing our experience and ensuring we had the benefit of their years of work experience and extensive networks in London. This was a trip my family will remember forever. The attention to detail and ability to help us decide where to spend our time and money was top notch. I really have no constructive criticism or complaints.”
MRS KM, USA
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.
t. +44 (0) 207 737 0242e. firstname.lastname@example.org
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