‘THIS is the age of the train’ we were once told.
But that was in the last century, and in this day and age there’s a good case to argue ‘this is the age of the coach’. Certainly as far as holidays, day outings, and trips to special events are concerned.
While true that many older people take coach holidays, one has to consider the reason why. Could it be that good old experience leads them to the coach as their preferred choice? Certainly in part. A coach holiday/tour is not necessarily cheap, but it is certainly cost-effective, offering terrific value for money. This reporter can testify to the truth having driven his own car the 628.9 miles from the Midlands for a holiday in Orkney – and back again! Having just compared the cost of a coach trip he would have had a few more Scottish pounds top spend when he got there.
Coach travel also takes the stress out of travel – certainly for the driver/s – and also offers the chance to meet new people. You may not know anyone when you get aboard, but after a few days, chances are you will have made new friends.
And coaches are also a lot more comfortable than they have ever been.
While a large number of older people may opt for the coach, let’s immediately dispel the myth you need to be 55 plus to take a seat aboard for either a holiday or a day trip.
Variety they say is the spice of life, and coach tours certainly offer that.
A visit to London by coach, whether for a day, or a few days, makes an awful lot of sense. First it means someone else has to deal with the capital’s traffic.
But those who enjoy a trip to see a show should be aware coach operators are the lifeblood of the West End and get fantastic deals on tickets which are passed on to their customers in the form of travel packages the individual just cannot match. One of the best and most popular is Jersey Boys – the rags to riches story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
Packages do not only have to include a show. For a special occasion why not transport to a bygone era and enjoy a traditional Afternoon Tea at the world-famous Waldorf Hilton in the heart of theatre-land, or a hearty meal at the Nicholson’s run Bear and Staff pub (www.nicholsonspubs.co.uk).
Not that a coach tour to the capital is limited to seeing a show.
Those with green-fingers can transport themselves to seventh heaven with a visit to Kew Gardens in Richmond (www.kew.org). Founded in 1840, the Royal Botanic Gardens are home to the world’s largest collection of living plants. The only problem with a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site is cramming everything in to just a day.
Or for those who enjoy a good television or radio programme, then there’s the chance to take a peek behind the scenes with a tour of the BBC’s Broadcasting House – old and new – in the heart of London (www.bbc.co.uk/tours).
The fascinating and informative tour takes in everything from the One Show studio (recording schedule permitting) to the opportunity to tray your hand at making a radio show and presenting the news and weather.
Ian Hughes travelled as a guest of the Coach Tourism Council, which promotes travel by coach on behalf of 150 UK coach tour operators. They include Johnsons Coaches (www.johnsonscoaches.co.uk 01564 797000) – it has a day trip to see Jersey Boys on October 6 which costs just £65.50 including the show ticket and travel. It also offers a large number of other theatre and attractions day trips to London with prices starting from less than £30 for a day trip to the Imperial War Museum.