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Town & Countryside
This wonderful coach day trip takes you to one of Europe's most beautiful and best-preserved medieval cities, with something to see at every turn.
Not many people realise that the historic Belgian town of Bruges, or Brugge in Flemish, is in fact within easy driving distance from Calais to make an ideal day trip destination. Bruges has been called "The Venice of the North" due to its canal-lined streets and stunning architecture. It is easy to explore on foot, by horse-drawn carriage or canal cruiser. Tempting Belgian chocolates, beautiful hand-made lace and world-famous beers make Bruges one of our most popular destinations.
Bruges boasts a rich cultural heritage. The majestic past of Bruges lives on in the many works of art that can be seen in the many museums, often housed in historic buildings. The many places of interest, too, are silent witnesses to the city’s rich heritage. Bruges has a lot to offer from a culinary perspective too. Many restaurants, cafes and bars offer typical regional dishes of Bruges as well as exotic delicacies for different tastes and budgets. Trip Advisor may be able to help you choose a suitable venue.
Normally a minimum of 4 hours in Bruges subject to travel time. So as to preserve its unique heritage for locals and visitors alike,coaches are not allowed into the inner city. We therefore park at the coach park which is a flat, leisurely 20 minute walk to the main city centre or closeby there is a bus stop where a frequent bus service runs to and from the city centre.
Price includes return travel by coach and scheduled Eurotunnel crossing.
PLEASE NOTE THERE ARE NO STOPS AT ANY WAREHOUSES, SUPERMARKETS OR OTHER OUTLETS SCHEDULED TO BE INCLUDED ON THIS TRIP.
For our other trips to Bruges, please click here
For more information on Bruges including maps and other practical information plus city highlights and places of interest, please click here
Sun 24 May 2015
£38 per adult
Romney Marsh Rail Rover
Our new series of “Closer to Home” day excursions introduces us to lots of exciting new destinations here in Kent or just into East Sussex. No worries about traffic on the M25 or in Central London, we can expect a short and easy journey giving us maximum time to enjoy our destination.
Today we offer a special day with the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Light Railway as you have an all-day, all-stations pass on the RHDR between Hythe and Dungeness. Your day-pass also covers entry to the toy and model railway exhibition at New Romney. You can enjoy a stroll around the centre of Hythe and alongside the Royal Military Canal, or you can alight at Dymchurch to visit the sands and funpark just a few hundred yards away. The vast shingle beach at Dungeness will also be of interest, and there are also great views from the old lighthouse if you can manage the 300-odd steps!
During the day there are around eight steam trains in each direction, so essentially it is an hour between services, perfect for hopping on and off to take in the sights and attractions of Hythe, Dymchurch, New Romney and Dungeness. The Station Cafés will be open at Hythe and New Romney and there is a wider selection of regular food outlets in Hythe and Dymchurch including some great fish & chips at the Torbay restaurant in Hythe High Street – a 10 minute walk from the light railway station.
Our service will be timed to arrive at either Hythe or New Romney by around 10:00 in time for the first departures of the day. For the homeward journey at the end of the day, our coach will start from New Romney at 17:00 and also pick-up in Hythe at 17:30 before departure. Some local feeder vehicles may run direct to and from Hythe.
Sun 24 May 2015
£29.50 per adult
Duxford - VE Day Anniversary Air Show
Duxford’s air shows are absolutely unmissable.
Starting the air show season in spectacular style, join us as we head to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford for the VE Day Anniversary Air Show.
The VE Day Anniversary Air Show pays tribute to the people who endured the Second World War. The flying display honours the Allied forces, from across the world, which contributed towards Victory in Europe. Across the museum, we remember victory on the Home Front. Join us to commemorate the 70th anniversary of VE Day
The flying display will start at approximately 2pm and finish at approximately 5.30pm, leaving time beforehand to explore the museum, take part in activities across the site and soak up the atmosphere provided by trade stands. We will aim to leave Duxford once the flying displays have finished at around 6pm.
(All flying is subject to serviceability, weather and operational commitments.)
For more information, please click here
Includes return travel by coach and entry ticket.
For our other trips to Duxford, please click here
Sun 24 May 2015
£50 per adult
Shropshire & The Welsh Borders
Shropshire must surely be one of England’s hidden gems lying on the border with Wales and set on a backcloth of patchwork fields, wooded valleys, picturesque rivers and rolling hills leading in to the Welsh Marches. Unspoilt countryside, lovely medieval towns and a remarkable heritage are all there to be enjoyed. From our stunning base, we ‘step back in time’ and catch a glimpse of England and Wales in times gone by.
We join the Llangollen Railway for a steam train ride which runs for 7½ miles along the banks of the River Dee through some of the most beautiful scenery in the UK. After some time exploring the quaint Welsh town of Llangollen with its stunning valley setting, we board a narrowboat for a lovely cruise through the borderlands along the Llangollen Canal. Other highlights include Attingham Park, one of Britain’s finest Regency mansions now in the care of the National Trust, and Weston Park, an award winning 17th Century stately home set in beautiful gardens with a medieval deer park, lakes and follies. We visit historic Shrewsbury, renowned for its spectacular black and white buildings, and also include RAF Museum Cosford, an enthralling museum not just for aviation enthusiasts, home to over 70 aircraft of international importance including the world’s oldest Spitfire and a Lincoln Bomber.
Monday - Today is spent making our way north to arrive at our hotel in ample time to settle in and perhaps enjoy a stroll around the grounds or enjoy the facilities before dinner.
Tuesday - After a leisurely breakfast, we head to The Royal Air Force Museum Cosford which offers a fun, entertaining visit for everyone. Situated next to an active airfield, you can get close to a huge array of breathtaking aircraft, displays and exhibitions. Visit the new Cold War Exhibition housing many Cold War aircraft like this Gloster Javelin and Britain’s three ‘V bombers’ – the Vulcan, Victor and Valiant. The Museum's collection of fighters and bombers includes those of Allies and our enemies, and is unique in the world. The Warplanes collection is home to what is believed to be the world's oldest Supermarine Spitfire 1, K9942. In the afternoon, we make the short journey to Weston Park, an award winning 17th Century stately home set amongst 1,000 acres of landscaped parkland and former home to the Earls of Bradford. The House boasts an internationally significant collection of furniture and many famous paintings, including works by Van Dyck, Gainsborough, Lely and Stubbs. Take a stroll through the beautiful gardens and ‘Capability’ Brown’s Pleasure Grounds which include woodland walks, lakes and follies.
Wednesday - In the morning we visit the beautiful medieval town of Shrewsbury, set within a loop of the River Severn. Shrewsbury's most famous son, Charles Darwin would still recognise his home town, renowned to be one of England’s most splendid heritage towns with over 600 listed buildings, an ancient street layout of shuts and passageways, plus picturesque cobbled alleys and squares. Shrewsbury has a remarkable number of interesting independent shops. Wyle Cop with its black & white timber buildings, boutiques, crafts and interiors shops is particularly attractive. On the outskirts of Shrewsbury, we discover Attingham Park, a Regency masterpiece built for the 1st Lord Berwick in 1785. It was in continuous ownership by the family for more than 160 years and is now in the care of the National Trust. Highlights in the Mansion include the impressive Picture Gallery and the atmospheric Dining Room set for an evening banquet that reflects its Regency splendour. There is also the delicate decorative scheme in the Boudoir, which has recently been revealed. These projects are part of 'Attingham Re-discovered', which has been carefully bringing the house and grounds back to life since 2006. The Mansion is at the heart of this great estate between Shrewsbury and the River Severn and is set in beautiful parkland designed to impress. Home to a wide range of wildlife, the main highlights on the estate include the Deer Park, the Walled Garden and miles of beautiful walks. If you are a National Trust member please advise us on booking this tour – you will qualify for a reduction on the tour price as you do not have to pay to enter Attingham. Just present your Membership Card on arrival.
Thursday - We make a scenic drive taking in the awe inspiring Horse Shoe Pass before heading to join the Llangollen Railway. See England from the previous century as we travel by steam engine from Carrog to Llangollen, passing through the borderlands and entering the Welsh glens on a 30 minute train ride. In the afternoon, after some free time to explore Llangollen itself, we enjoy a two hour motorised boat trip taking you along a five mile stretch of the Llangollen Canal World Heritage site which runs along the picturesque Dee Valley. The journey includes a crossing of the world famous and spectacular Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, built by Thomas Telford between 1795 and 1805 and this length of canal is a World Heritage Site. The country's biggest navigable aqueduct towers a massive 126ft (38m) above the River Dee supported by 18 stone piers. The canal runs through an iron trough over 1000ft long, 11ft wide and 5ft deep. Water is fed from the River Dee at the Horseshoe Falls near Llangollen.
Friday - Today we return home after what we trust has been a most enjoyable break. We take a suitable stop on the way before arriving back into Kent late afternoon / early evening.
Mon 25 May 2015
£399 per adult
Greenwich with National Maritime Museum and more
Set in the heart of the Greenwich World Heritage Site, the National Maritime Museum comprises three sites of architectural and historical significance: the Royal Observatory, the Queen's House and the Maritime Galleries. World Heritage Site status was awarded to 'Maritime Greenwich’ by UNESCO in 1997. Set on the banks of the River Thames just four miles downstream from Tower Bridge it is particularly noted for its magnificent architecture, beautiful parkland and a lively town centre not far away.
You can enjoy a walk along the River Thames or in Greenwich Park before eating in one of Greenwich’s restaurants. Greenwich shopping is excellent, and you can walk everywhere and easily enjoy the fascinating combination of historic Greenwich Market and quirky, independent and designer shops. Also close by, you could visit the Cutty Sark which has relaunched, opening a new chapter in the extraordinary life of one of the world’s most famous ships. The last surviving tea clipper and the fastest and greatest of her time, she is a living testimony to the bygone, glorious days of sail and, most importantly, a monument to those that lost their lives in the merchant service.(Admission costs apply)
Includes return travel by coach. This may be a shared departure.
Admission charges may apply to some special exhibitions and events at the Museums and these are not included unless otherwise stated
For more information on Greenwich, please click here
Tue 26 May 2015
£24 per adult
London & River Rover Unlimited Hop on Hop off
See London from the river perspective in this great day excursion which includes an all-day riverboat pass with Thames Clippers.
Our day starts with the coach ride to North Greenwich pier, alongside the O2 arena. If you like you can pause here to take the spectacular Emirates cable car service to and from Royal Victoria dock on the north side of the Thames. Back at North Greenwich, your Thames Clipper River boat services then depart about every 20 minutes throughout the day, and you have many onward options…
- Canary Wharf for the financial hub skyscrapers and perhaps a trip on the DLR to Tower Gateway
- Tower Millennium for the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, perhaps walking across the bridge via the new glass walkway to take in the South Bank regeneration and to re-connect with the riverboat service at…
- …London Bridge City, for the Shard, London Dungeon or the London Design Museum
- Bankside, for the Millennium Bridge, the Tate Modern, Bankside Gallery and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
- Blackfriars, for Fleet Street, Holborn Viaduct and St Pauls
- Embankment, for Trafalgar Square, Strand, Aldwych, and Covent Garden
- London Eye, for the Eye, Aquarium, and a walk over Westminster Bridge to Whitehall, Westminster Abbey and Parliament Square.
- Millbank, for Tate Britain
For further information, please click here.
Please note that if you decide to try the Emirates Airline cable car the round trip from North Greenwich costs are payable separately at the cable car terminal (as at Jan 2015 - £8.60 for adults, £4.60 for children).
Price includes return coach travel and all-day hop-on hop-off riverboat ticket.
This may be a shared departure with another day trip.
Tue 26 May 2015
£34 per adult
Cutty Sark & Greenwich
The Cutty Sark has relaunched, opening a new chapter in the extraordinary life of one of the world’s most famous ships. The last surviving tea clipper and the fastest and greatest of her time, she is a living testimony to the bygone, glorious days of sail and, most importantly, a monument to those that lost their lives in the merchant service.
Venture aboard and beneath one of the world’s most famous ships. Walk along the decks in the footsteps of the merchant seamen who sailed her over a century ago. Explore the hold where precious cargo was stored on those epic voyages then marvel as you balance a 963-tonne national treasure on just one hand.
Also enjoy free time in Greenwich. It’s always a great time to visit Greenwich and browse the museums and markets, wander around Greenwich Park or relax in a riverside pub.
For more information on the Cutty Sark, please click here
Our day trip includes return travel by coach plus entrance to The Cutty Sark. This may be a shared departure with another day trip.
Tue 26 May 2015
£35 per adult
Bellewaerde Park, Ypres
Buzzlines is delighted to offer this great-value day excursion to Bellewarde, one of Belgium’s finest theme and animal parks, followed by a free evening in Ypres which gives us all - and perhaps especially the youngsters - a chance to reflect on the events of 100 years ago by joining the 8pm salute at the Menin Gate.
To make the most of Bellewarde we will aim for a tunnel departure before 8am, so please be conscious that pick-ups are likely to be between 05:30 and 06:30. We should then arrive at the Park, which is just outside Ypres, by 11am local time, giving you 6-7 hours to enjoy all the animals and rides, and of course to break for lunch there.
We will aim to depart from Bellewaerde at 5.30pm for the short hop into Ypres, allowing you plenty of time for a stroll around the spectacular Market Square, with its beautifully restored Cloth Hall and Bell Tower.
You will find it hard to believe that Ypres was almost completely destroyed in the Great War, and its restoration faithful to the town’s original medieval layout remains as a lasting testament to the determination and vision of the townspeople of 100 years ago. You will find many pavement brasseries where you can enjoy an early evening meal before we advise you to make for the Menin Gate by no later than 19:30 (and ideally a bit earlier for the best positions) for the 8pm Last Post ceremony.
The coach will be positioned to depart from Ypres at around 20:30 for a return crossing that is expected to get us back to Kent around 22:30 our time, and feeder services will aim to have you swiftly home from there.
Includes return travel by coach and scheduled Eurotunnel crossing.
For further information on Bellewaerde Park, please click here.
£55 including entrance and all rides, £25 for children under 1 metre height
Wed 27 May 2015
£50 per adult
Picardy - Two Gorgeous Gardens
In this day excursion to savour, we take the Channel Tunnel and make for the heart of Picardy to visit two of the region’s most celebrated gardens.
We take the 08:20 tunnel crossing to bring us into Calais at around 10am local time, and we then enjoy a scenic drive southwards on the autoroute through rolling countryside to the small village of Paillart, situated between Amiens and Beauvais. There will be an en-route pause at the Baie de Somme Services. At Paillart we find a treasure of a garden at the Jardin de Moulin Ventin, rated their favourite by customers on a Gardens of Picardy tour with Buzzlines in May 2014. The waters of the River Noye pass through the heart of this lovely spot, with the waterfalls and cascades of the old mill adding period atmosphere.
We give ourselves a good 90 minutes to enjoy the Moulin Ventin before moving on to the second wonderful garden of the day as we make a scenic cross-country drive to the Floral Gardens of Digeon. Previously unvisited by Buzzlines and so new to us, these privately owned gardens in the grounds of a chateau should not disappoint as they have attracted the French Jardin Remarquable accolade, on top of which the adjoining chateau and farm are historic monument registered. These buildings are surrounded by a park of some 6 acres, richly-adorned with ancient trees and banks of flowers. A rose garden and floral path also feature, and the garden has tea rooms and a produce shop.
We expect to have about two hours at Digeon before we head for home at about 5pm to fit with our tunnel crossing which should have us back in Kent for around 8pm.
Customers are welcome to bring a packed lunch as there are no refreshment facilities at the first garden visited.
Thu 28 May 2015
£45 per adult
10cc at the Royal Albert Hall
One of the most inventive and influential bands in the history of popular music, 10cc, return to the Royal Albert Hall to perform their seminal Sheet Music album in its entirety, followed by a second half of classic hits.
Few other acts have achieved commercial, critical and creative success in equal measure, and with eleven Top 10 hits, including three No 1s – Rubber Bullets, I'm Not In Love and Dreadlock Holiday – it's no surprise that the band has sold 15 million albums in the UK alone.
"The current band is as near as you’re ever going to get to hearing the perfect 10cc. Hit after hit after hit. It’s relentless. We show no mercy." Graham Gouldman.
Price includes return coach travel and Circle seats at the Royal Albert Hall for the concert which is scheduled to begin at 730pm. The seats are located in Blocks W and X.
For more on 10cc please visit www.10ccworld.com
For further information about the Royal Albert Hall visit www.royalalberthall.com
Thu 28 May 2015
£40 per adult
Amiens is located in the Picardy region of northern France, north of Paris and south-west from Lille and Arras.
The town is best known for (and most visited by tourists because of) the impressive 13th century Amiens Cathedral of Notre-Dame, a listed World Heritage Monument and the largest gothic style cathedral in France. It was built from the profits of woad (a plant prized for its blue dye) to house the head of John the Baptist. It remains today a focal point for pilgrims who come admire the statues and detailed reliefs.
But there is more to Amiens than just a cathedral and the town itself has other highlights during a visit.
Start to explore in the picturesque medieval quarter of Saint-Leu below the cathedral, which is a region of canals lined with small houses and is a pleasant part of Amiens to explore, and one of the busiest places for cafes and restaurants. It is also possible to take a boat ride along the river from here.
Other highlights in Amiens include the curious looking belfry (belltower) dating from the 13th - 15th century and one time important meeting point for the nobles of the town. The lower, square part of the belfry is original but the upper part, in baroque style, was added in the 18th century.
The Town Hall and Palais of Justice are important buildings from the 18th-19th centuries, both in the neo-classical style popular at that time. The substantial 16-sided Cirque Municipal dates from the same period.
Even more recent, the Perret Tower is an interesting example of more recent architecture in Amiens. Built around 1950 it was one of the earliest skyscrapers to be built in France, and for many years was the tallest skyscraper in Europe.
The Museum of Picardy, another imposing 19th century building, has some interesting archaeological items, and paintings by Old Masters, along with an extensive range of paintings and items spanning the last 2000 years. Enthusiasts of Jules Verne will want to visit the extensive museum and collection of items relating to the life of the famous 19th century author at Maison à la Tour, his home in Amiens for almost two decades at the end of the 19th century. There are also several interesting parks and gardens in Amiens and a substantial park (300 hectares) to enjoy at the Hortillonnages - a marshy region where numerous canals criss-cross the garden and wildlife intensive landscape.
Includes return travel by coach and scheduled Eurotunnel channel crossing. Subject to travel, you should get around 5 hours free time in Amiens.
For further information on Amiens, please click here.
Thu 28 May 2015
£38 per adult
BBC Broadcasting House Tour London W1A
You have been inviting the BBC into your homes for many years, and now it's your turn to visit them!
Join us for a new tour of BBC Broadcasting House and step inside the exciting world of broadcasting! At BBC Tours we're invited to peek behind the scenes of the dynamic live broadcasting hub and hear what goes on at the beating heart of the BBC!
We start the day with some free time around the museums in Kensington before we drive you over to Broadcasting House for our timed entrance in the afternoon. The entertaining and informative guides on this tour will bring to life the work of the BBC’s brand new, state of the art, multimedia broadcasting centre in the heart of London. Some of the things you are likely to experience on the tour include a camera’s eye view via the big screen into some of the studios broadcasting to the nation such as the Six o’clock News and Radio 1. As well as hearing about the rich history of the building and the BBC. You’ll look down on the new state of the art newsroom and there will be the opportunity to have a go at reading the news and weather yourself on the interactive news set. The guides will also tell you about how BBC Radio Drama is made and you’ll be able to have a go at making your very own radio play complete with music and sound effects! On some but not all tours, you may get the chance to peek into the newly restored Radio Theatre (production schedules permitting) where Radio 2 concerts and popular radio comedy shows such as Just a Minute, the News Quiz and The One Show have recently been recorded. There is a large public café on site where the tours start and finish, serving light meals and soft drinks so there will be chance to get some refreshments before we begin our journey home. There is also a small BBC Shop in the café selling BBC Branded items.
Your BBC tour will last approximately one and a half hours. Please remember that Broadcasting House is a working building so no two tours are the same, but they will always be informative, interesting and fun.
DISABLED VISITOR ACCESS - As BBC Broadcasting House is a large building, the tour covers a fair distance. If you are a wheelchair user or have any other disability related needs, please contact us prior to booking.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION
Please be advised that there are security checks before and during the tour – please do not bring large bags. Sharp or pointed objects including nail files, scissors, knives and cutlery are not permitted on BBC premises and any unsuitable items will be confiscated by BBC Security. There are no cloakroom facilities available. Due to copyright and security reasons, photography at BBC Broadcasting House is restricted. Please do not bring long-lensed cameras on the tour. There will be several photo opportunities on the tour. This is a working building, so there is no guarantee who or what you will see. Please be aware there is a fair amount of walking involved. This excursion is unsuitable for babies or children under 9 years of age.
Price includes entry, free time in Kensington and return coach travel
This may be a shared departure with another day trip. The coach for this excursion may serve more than one destination in the same general area. Please note that this may mean that the journey to your destination could involve a slightly indirect route. If you are at all concerned about this the Buzzlines sales staff will be happy to advise further.
Sat 30 May 2015
£39 per adult
Our Mystery Tours have been a favourite for many years, travelling to different secret destinations across the country and staying at some of our highest rated hotels. 2015 will be no different; we have a selection of Mystery Tours planned for you to enjoy.
We include our longstanding 3-day trips, plus weekend breaks. In addition to these, we have our special 4-day Easter, Christmas and New Year Mystery Tours and a 5-day Mystery Turkey & Tinsel break.
We continue to follow the same principles on all of our Mystery Tours. Accommodation will be of a very high standard with included excursions along the way and, as usual, they continue to represent great value for money. Each date will feature a different hotel and destination.
Where will our new departures take you - Up North? Way out West? Could it be in the country, in a city centre or by the sea?
Please note: Never take a bet with your driver about your destination.... he will always win!
Alongside our existing mystery travellers, we look forward to welcoming anyone joining us to try these out for the first time. Enjoy one of the best regions in the UK, whilst staying at a super hotel with bed, breakfast and evening meal, and with daily excursions also included all for one great price.
Friday 16th October: Theres a twist to this 3 day Mystery Tour with a musical influence being added to your weekend away.
Sun 31 May 2015
£184 per adult
Enjoy Guildford by luxury coach.
Guildford, the historic and vibrant county town of Surrey offers a wealth of attractions including Guildford Cathedral, Guildford Museum and Castle. Experience the beautiful architecture for yourself. Subject to travel, should be a minimum of 4 hours free time in Guildford. At certain times of the year, some of the attractions may not be open.
Price includes return travel by luxury coach.
May be a shared departure. The coach for this excursion may serve more than one destination in the same general area. Please note that this may mean that the journey to your destination could involve a slightly indirect route. If you are at all concerned about this the Buzzlines sales staff will be happy to advise further.
For further information on Guildford, please click here.
Tue 02 June 2015
Buy one get one free per adult
Pyrenees and Cathar Country
South of France in Villa Accommodation. A 13 day coach holiday or the option of a 11 day coach holiday with initial high-speed Eurostar/TGV train transfers.
Stay in one of a range of delightful villas at the 3* Domaine L’Espinet park in the foothills of the Pyrenees as we revisit this popular spot this time for an extended holiday of just under two weeks.
L’Espinet lies in wooded country near the town of Quillan on the River Aude, and is situated for British visitors in one of the great unexplored regions of Southern France. The site has a very flexible range of villas of up to three bedrooms to suit lone travellers, couples, or larger parties of families or friends, and we have negotiated the use of the “luxe” and “comfort” standard villas at the upper end of the range. All villas face south and have patios for you to relax and enjoy the (almost) guaranteed sunshine and magnificent mountain views.
Luxe Villa at L'Espinet
Our price includes dinner, bed & breakfast, linen, towels and post-departure cleaning – all you have to do is relax and enjoy! All the chalets and studios have a kitchenette, so as and when you fancy you can self-cater for lunch or a simple tea break. There is a Carrefour supermarket immediately off-site, for which we will offer the occasional coach or minibus shuttle.
Lone travellers will be offered studio accommodation, not quite the standard of the chalets but at no greater cost, so for the first six single travellers who book this trip we are able to avoid single supplements. Thereafter there will be a £40 single supplement for unaccompanied travellers who travel by coach, this to cover the additional cost of the overnight stopovers in Orleans. There will be no tour supplement at all for singles who travel by train, but they do attract a train supplement of £50 which we explain further below.
A note of caution, however. The Pyrenees are mountains, and L’Espinet is in them! The site is set on sloping ground and the chalets are well dispersed to offer peace and privacy. There are some uneven surfaces and a few steps. Some chalets are a good 400m from the pool area and restaurant. We will hire a minibus for our stay in L’Espinet so that we can operate a breakfast and dinner shuttle to and from the chalets, and this will also help us to offer some local drop-offs for those who would like to make unscheduled visits on days when we otherwise plan to stay on site.
None of this should deter those of limited mobility who are happy to tackle the steps and the slopes – those who went on our September 2014 tour found it hard work at times but still made the most of being in such stunning scenery. And having a minibus this time should keep the amount of local trekking to a minimum. Don’t be deterred if you’re up for it!
We schedule a very relaxed programme that allows you to make the most of this secluded and scenic base in the foothills of the Pyrenees. There are visits to Carcassonne and Toulouse, and spectacular days in the Pyrenees with a memorable ride through the mountains and gorges on the Petit Train Jaune, plus another great day out on a heritage railway line as we ride the Train du Pays Cathare et du Fenouillèdes and include a guided visit to the vineyards of Maury, famed for its Vin Doux. We also take in the town of Limoux, with its own historical significance as the original home of sparkling wine and a delightful garden, and we include some guided local walking with trails designed to suit those of differing levels of mobility. On one of these days we will also be accompanied by a local ornithologist.
There is still plenty of free time for relaxation or private sightseeing, and you will be able to hook-up with buses & trains from Quillan if you want to do your own exploring – Montpellier, Nîmes, Béziers, Bordeaux and Narbonne are all within easy reach by train and we will be pleased to help you with timetables and connections to and from the station.
If you exercise the option to travel to the South of France by train you don’t then leave until Wednesday 3rd, and you return home on Saturday 13th. We will organise Eurostar tickets for you from Ebbsfleet or Ashford to Paris Nord; and then onwards by TGV from Paris Gare de Lyon to Languedoc, where our coach will meet you. The destination station will depend on schedules which we won’t have available until about three months pre-travel – it will be one of Montpellier, Béziers, Narbonne or Carcassonne and we will be sure to let you have that detail and all supporting information, tickets etc well before the departure date.
You will be accompanied by a Buzzlines courier for the entire rail journey as we connect between Paris Nord and Paris Gare de Lyon by local suburban service for which we will provide the Metro tickets – just two stops. We err on the safe side in scheduling your connection in Paris so at no stage should you expect to be rushed. Your luggage will be collected a day or two before you travel and will go on the coach the whole way – you will need only to make your own way to your selected Eurostar station on the day of travel, and of course home again on the return trip with your baggage to follow.
For those travelling by coach, we savour a leisurely opening day as we cross to Calais and journey onwards around the north side of Paris, via Rouen and Chartres to our staging post in Orléans.
Our base in Orléans in both directions is the 4* Suite-Home in Orléans Saran, a modern, comfortable and well-equipped hotel offering a splendid breakfast. On arrival evening the coach will take us to the centre of Orléans to choose our own restaurants and to see a little of this lovely city, its bridges over the Loire and memorials to Joan of Arc.
On Wednesday our rail travellers will be setting off from Kent, lightly laden as we will already have their holiday baggage on the coach. Coach passengers will continue their journey southwards, and we expect to stop for lunch somewhere near Clermont Ferrand. We then continue through the spectacular setting of the Massif Central, pausing again at the visitor centre alongside the breathtaking Millau Viaduct.
The coach continues through to the Mediterranean coast via the spectacular Gorges de L’Herault, and here we rendezvous with our train travellers before all continuing on to L’Espinet at Quillan where our ETA will be around 8.30pm.
We give ourselves Thursday to relax after the long journey, and there will be a lunchtime visit to Quillan, just 3km away. There is much to do in and around the holiday village, where facilities include:
- Both indoor and outdoor pools
- An onsite shop
- A Bar, and restaurant Le Brantalou
- a sauna complex with steam room, Jacuzzi and gym (available at a supplement)
- a beauty salon
- a range of sports facilities including tennis courts, basketball, badminton, volleyball, football, table tennis and petanque
- hiking tracks on and around the domain
- hire of mountain bikes
For Friday we begin the day with a briefing by Patrick, our local guide, before we set off on a gentle exploration of the mountains, gorges and villages around Quillan. We will firm up on the day’s programme nearer the time.
Looking down the Aude at Quillan
On Saturday we venture just a few kilometres to enjoy a great heritage railway line – the Train du Pays Cathare et du Fenouillèdes, known as the Train Rouge. This route of over 60km starts from only just up the road from Quillan in the village of Axat via the spectacular gorge setting of the upper Aude, and our excursion is themed around the more mountainous section of the line and the succession of spectacular viaducts between Axat and the village of St Paul de Fenouillét, after which we continue by train along the Languedoc plain to the AOC Village of Maury. Here we will break for lunch before enjoying an afternoon with local wine producer Mr Bernard McGuile, who will guide us in a visit to the co-operative cave in the village centre before we go on to view the vines early in the season and have Bernard explain to us all the science behind the Maury AOC. Let Waitrose whet your appetite, and bring a bar of whole nut! www.waitrosecellar.com/all-wines/popular-regions/waitrose-seriously-plummy-maury
The Train Rouge
We revert to relaxation on Sunday as we schedule a lazy day at Parc L’Espinet. Then, with the start of the new week we make the short trip down to the Aude Valley to visit the medieval walled citadel of Carcassonne, second only to the Eiffel Tower in the list of tourist attractions in all of France. We give ourselves a couple of hours here to stroll the citadel walls and take in the splendid views, and we then move down to the oft-missed old town of Carcassonne where there is a delightful mix of boulevards, squares, shops and bistros where we can spend a couple of hours spanning lunch. We go on to enjoy a stroll alongside the tree-shaded Canal du Midi before our late afternoon return to base.
Tuesday should be especially memorable. We take an early breakfast and make an 07:30 start to head across the Languedoc plain and around Perpignan before continuing up the valley of the River Têt to Villefranche-en-Conflent. Here we join the 10am Petit Train Jaune, on the world’s first third-rail electric railway line originally commissioned in 1909 for the conveyance of mineral ore from the mountains down to the Mediterranean ports. Now converted for passenger services, this intricate line seems to defy impossibility as it crosses precipitous viaducts and passes through dozens of short tunnels, stopping occasionally at a small village or hiker’s halt. We follow the line for around 25km all the way to the head of the Têt gorge before alighting at Mont Louis for a return train to Villefranche. This most spectacular journey takes about three hours and, if the weather behaves, you can choose to make it in an open wagon providing an unobstructed view of the magnificent mountain setting. But take something warm to wear.
The Petit Train Jaune - pictured on our September 2014 trip
On returning to Villefranche we break for lunch and have the chance to walk around the UNESCO World-Heritage listed Vauban fortifications, dating from around 1707. The original town datesfrom 1098, and was fortified because of its strategic position in lands that repeatedly changed hands between French and Spanish occupation. Villefranche will offer some fascinating opportunities for souvenir hunting too, with its range of craft and local produce outlets including one with every conceivable choice of scented soaps!
Mid-afternoon we make our final stop of the day as we visit the Grandes-Canalettes caves, just a few hundred metres from the walls of Villefranche. One of the most visited of all attractions in the Pyrenees, this remarkable cave system was only discovered in 1951 and its spectacular White Chamber remained undiscovered until the 1980s. A note of warning that the caves involve walking about 1km and going up and down about a hundred steps, but they are well lit and have good handrails, and you can take them at your own pace.
On Wednesday we again join with our local guides to explore the surrounding country. As on the previous Friday, we will run parallel itineraries to support both some walking trails for the more mobile, and some village and museum visits for those preferring to sightsee from the coach. Today we will also enjoy the services of a local birdwatcher to help us identify some of the birdlife we will spot. By way of a flavour, L’Espinet itself has a colony of Griffon Vultures to be seen riding the thermals on the nearby hill, and closer to home the site has its own resident blackcaps, redstarts, and stonechats. There are many other birds of prey to be spotted on the mountains, including Golden Eagles and Red Kites. Bring your binoculars!
For Thursday we make for Toulouse, only 90 or so minutes away. Those wishing to go to Toulouse can choose to be dropped off in the city centre or at the Cité de L’Espace theme park where you can see full scale models of the space station and an Ariane rocket. This is also a day where independent travellers might like to take the coach as far as Carcassonne and then head off elsewhere by train. We will help you to plan train times and to set a return pick-up time at Carcassonne later in the day to get everyone back to L’Espinet.
On Friday we turn northwards again in the direction of Carcassonne, but this time only to the small town of Limoux, half-an-hour away. Friday is market day, so we make an 8.30am departure to get there fairly early. Mid-morning we return to the coach for the short hop to the Jardin aux Plantes la Bouichère, just outside of town. The garden was created circa 2001, and now contains some 2,500 perennials, shrubs, and trees, with a focus on aromatic plants, including 60 types of salvia and 30 types of mint. The garden is organized into a number of small areas: an exotic garden, garden of colors, vegetable garden, rose garden, moon garden, medieval garden, orchard, nursery, and vineyard. It also contains a collection of conifers and grasses, as well as an aviary of birds from Australia, Asia, and South America.
From the garden we return into Limoux where we conclude our day with a visit to the home of Blanquette de Limoux We visit the cave of the Maison Guinot producer in Limoux, with a guided tour of the production process and cellars, and of course the chance to sample what many hold to be the predecessor of champagne and superior to it as well as a lot less expensive!
On Saturday 13th we leave our friends at L’Espinét as we make first for our local railhead where we see our rail travellers away on their journey to Paris and onwards back to Kent. The coach will then retrace its steps back northward, again via the Millau bridge and the lovely scenery of the Auvergne, and we hope to have time in the afternoon to pause in the fine city of Bourges and see its great cathedral. We again eat out in Orléans ahead of our final day’s travel back to Kent, which will include a lunch break in Beauvais for the chance to the visit the magnificent Cathédrale Saint-Pierre de Beauvais and the spectacular National Tapestry Gallery right alongside it. Our return crossing will be timed to get everyone home around mid-evening.
Tue 02 June 2015
£795 per adult
Loseley Park Stately Home
Built in the reign of Elizabeth I, Loseley Park stands in ancient Surrey Parkland close to the North Downs. Still the home of the More-Molyneux family, it is remarkably unchanged since 1562 when Sir William More laid the first stones, and remains, as he intended, a place of calm, grace and subtle beauty.
From the house itself, where the intricate panelling in the Great Hall was once in Henry VIII’s Nonsuch Palace; to the Tithe Barn with its ancient oak beams; to the elegant and restful walled garden, Loseley Park has been the location for films such as Sense and Sensibility. But it’s also a place to visit, to enjoy the grounds, the garden and house, and relax in one of England’s friendliest historic homes.
For more information on Loseley Park, please click here.
Price includes return coach travel, entrance to House, Garden & Grounds with a guided tour of the House.
This may be a shared departure. The coach for this excursion may serve more than one destination in the same general area. Please note that this may mean that the journey to your destination could involve a slightly indirect route. If you are at all concerned about this the Buzzlines sales staff will be happy to advise further.
Tue 02 June 2015
£30 per adult
Plugstreet and Armentières (Guided)
Another in our series of day trips to the great battlefield locations in Flanders and the Somme. On this occasion we concentrate on the visitor centre and memorials at Ploegsteert (adulterated by British troops to “Plugstreet”), and we also give ourselves time for a lunchbreak and brief visit to nearby Armentières.
Our 08:50 channel tunnel crossing brings us out in Calais at around 10:30 local time, and from here it is about an hour’s drive to the small town of Armentières in the French/Belgian border. Armentières of course enjoys its own association with the Great War in song, but it does little to promote itself to visitors and that suits us well in taking it as a typical unspoilt French market town with its Hotel de Ville with belltower and a striking church façade. We give ourselves a couple of hours here to enjoy the town centre and perhaps do a little shopping before we make the trip a few miles onwards into Belgium and to Ploegsteert.
The nearby Ploegsteert Wood was the site of fierce fighting in World War One. Winston Churchill served as Commanding Officer of the 6th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers in the area from January to May 1916. He was then a Lieutenant Colonel. With the help of our Guide we are able to tour the area and visit some of the many surrounding cemeteries and memorials.
Ploegsteert Visitor Centre – developed from First World War underground shelters
During the afternoon we will spend an hour or so at the excellent new visitor centre. In its own words, the Plugstreet 14-18 Experience tells the story of the fighting, the suffering and the military losses on both sides, but also highlights the fears and insecurities of a civilian population faced with occupation, evacuation and exile. A series of exceptional documents illustrate the danger and the distress that can result when soldiers and civilians are forced to live side by side in a combat zone. Other documents testify to the more human face that the war occasionally showed: entertainment for the troops, their comradeship, their fraternization with each other and, above all, the remarkable Christmas Truce of December 1914.
Immediately adjacent to the visitor centre are two of the main cemeteries of this part of the front, and they face each other on either sides of the man road. The smaller of the two is known as Hyde Park Corner, one of many London place names adopted in this section of the front. Across the road, guarded by two majestic stone lions – one calm, the other aggressive – is the Royal Berkshire Cemetery Extension, which also contains the Memorial to the Missing. This graceful circular structure, opened in 1931, is devoted to those who lost their lives in action between Warneton and the Estines, but whose bodies have never been recovered. The marble is engraved with the names of the 11,447 officers and men of the forces of the British Empire who have no known grave. On the first Friday of every month the Last Post is sounded here at 7pm.
As the afternoon draws to a close we make our way back to Calais for our 20:20 return crossing, and this should give us enough time for a brief pause at the Auchan Hypermarket at Dunkerque. We expect to be back in Kent at around 8pm our time.
Main Image "Armentières" by Millevylle.steven - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Wed 03 June 2015
£38.50 per adult
Arundel Cathedral Carpet of Flowers
This coach day trip allows you the chance to see Arundel's Cathedral transformation to celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi with a Carpet of Flowers. The Cathedral's 90ft long nave floor is filled with a display of thousands of fresh flowers, a truly magnificent sight. The Flowers get trampled on during mass on Corpus Christi, so the day before is the only chance to see them. This popular annual event attracts many visitors to the Cathedral. There is no charge for admission and refreshments are available throughout the day in the Cathedral Centre, a short distance from the Cathedral.
Alternatively you can just spend free time in Arundel. The gothic Cathedral and Arundel Castle, seat of The Dukes of Norfolk, dominate the skyline. Set in 40 acres of sweeping grounds and gardens, Arundel Castle is open seasonally and is the second largest caste in England with priceless works of art and The Collectors Earl’s Garden. Discover more about the town’s colourful past at the Arundel Museum History Store. Enjoy time leisurely strolling through this quirky, fun and cosmopolitan town. Arundel captures the essence of heritage, urban chic and country pursuits. Experience Arundel and you will discover more than you'd expect on this coach day trip, most of all it's a place to return to and tell others about. Combining a thousand years of history with independent shops, contemporary art galleries, restaurants and pubs... there is something for everyone when you visit Arundel.
Price includes return travel by coach.
For more information on Arundel, please click here
Wed 03 June 2015
£28 per adult
Visit the wonderful and often overlooked city of Ghent for the quaint cobbled streets, and speciality restaurants tucked away in back streets in this delightful medieval town. Take a stroll through Ghent’s history with its backdrop of tiny houses overhanging the River Lys with their intricately carved stonework or climb 90 meters to the belfry of the Cloth Hall and see the whole of the city in one go.
Under the watchful eye of Gravensteen Castle or Castle of the Counts, the city boasts an Opera House, 18 museums, 100 churches and over 400 historical buildings. The most visited site in Ghent is the famous polyptych, The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, painted by the brothers Jan and Hubert van Eyck in 1432. It still hangs in its original location, the St. Bavo Cathedral.
For more information, please click here
Includes return travel by coach and scheduled Eurotunnel crossing.
Wed 03 June 2015
£29 per adult
Chartwell - Home of Winston Churchill
Spend the day at the beautiful Chartwell House, the family home where Britain’s wartime Prime Minister lived for more than 40 years.
See the rooms as they were in Churchill’s time right down to the daily papers and his famous cigars.
Bought by Sir Winston for its magnificent views over the Weald of Kent to Sussex, Chartwell was his home and the place from which he drew inspiration from 1924 until the end of his life. The rooms and gardens remain much as they were when he lived here, with pictures, books, maps and personal mementoes strongly evoking the career and wide-ranging interests of this great statesman. The terraced hillside gardens reflect the importance to Churchill of the landscape and nature. They include the lakes he created, the water gardens where he fed his fish, Lady Churchill's Rose Garden and the Golden Rose Avenue – a Golden Wedding anniversary gift from their children which runs down the centre of the productive kitchen garden. Many of Sir Winston's paintings can be seen in the garden studio where talks are given most days about 'Painting as a Pastime'.
For more information, please click here
Includes return travel by luxury coach and entrance ticket. This may be a shared departure. The coach for this excursion may serve more than one destination in the same general area. Please note that this may mean that the journey to your destination could involve a slightly indirect route. If you are at all concerned about this the Buzzlines sales staff will be happy to advise further
A travel only price is available for National Trust members and can be selected during the online booking process or when making a telephone booking.
Thu 04 June 2015
£36 per adult