Blog > How do I plan a group trip to the UK?
What time of year is best?
The best months to visit the UK usually fall between May to September when traditionally the weather is at its kindest with temperatures on average falling between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit and rainfall at its lowest. However always note British weather is always unpredictable and you should always expect exceptions to this rule - so prepare for all eventualities.
Travel outside these months however is far from out of the question either - in particular the early Spring and Autumn months are often very pleasant with mild temperatures and ample sunshine - but of course the weather can be even more unpredictable during this period.
Travelling in winter is not without its own attractions too and gives the possibility of cheaper travel and less crowded attractions and city centres. Bear in mind though the shorter daylight hours particularly once the clocks change at the end of October.
How long should my trip last?
The answer to this question depends on how much of the country you want to visit. If you plan is to visit the whole of the UK (England, Scotland & Wales), then you should allow roughly 2 weeks to do it justice. If you plan a more limited trip missing out some parts of the country then 10 -12 days would be good duration. For the budget conscious then a week long trip would allow you to combine London with one or two nearby regions or alternatively just a tour of Scotland starting and finishing in Edinburgh.
What is best size for a group?
This question is partly linked to budget. To maximise the economies of scale then a full busload of up to 50 passengers is the most cost effective. However many tour organisers find this size group too unwieldy and often limit groups size to around 35 people or less. This number is a good compromise between cost and comfort. However if budget is not such an issue then smaller group size of between 15-25 people often makes a very enjoyable travelling experience
What are best accommodation options?
For groups we generally recommend 3 or 4 star hotel accommodation. In big cities we usually recommend opting for 4 star hotels as the quality of 3 star city centre accommodation can be patchy. Outside the major city conurbations however it is possible to find some very characterful and well run 3 star properties.
If you want to add a little luxury to your trip you may want to throw in an occasional five star property, maybe for 1 night or 2. It is often best to do this outside London where better value can be found.
Try to avoid choosing smaller, boutique style properties. Often these look great on Tripadvisor reviews but often are not geared to handing larger groups and often fall down on administering to the group's requirements.
What sort of budget should I expect?
Not a simple question to answer as it depends on so many factors. If you are working to a tight budget consider what you would like to include: how many meals, how many guided tours, how many attractions you want to visit, what standard accommodation you want. Also bear in mind that London and some of the main tourist cities such as Edinburgh and Bath are more expensive than a less touristy locations in the regions. So if you are willing to compromise on your hotel location this can have a major impact on price.
What places should I visit?
Usually a must see for all visit to the UK is London and a stay in the capital usually makes sense at the start or finish of every tour as it is more often or not the port of entry and exit. A full tour of the UK usually combine some of the main historic and heritage cities such a Cambridge, Oxford, York, Edinburgh, Chester and Bath alongside some of the most scenic rural areas such as the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales, the Scottish Highlands, Snowdonia National Park and the Cotswolds.
What attractions should I see?
The list of attractions that are worth visiting is too long to list here but England is blessed with a vast collection of stately homes and houses such as Blenheim Palace, Chatsworth, and Highclere Castle of Downton Abbey fame all of which provide unforgettable visitor experiences. Historic Castles with histories dating back to the middle ages abound such as the Tower of London itself in the heart of London or Edinburgh Castle, proudly sitting high above the Scottish capital. Leeds Castle in Kent, Warwick Castle and Alnwick Castle in Northumberland are fine examples too of medieval fortifications and well worth a visit. England too boasts some of the finest gardens to be found in the world and no trip to the UK would be complete without visiting one of these; Stourhead, Sissinghurst, RHS Wisley, Hidcote to name just a few. The UK is also not short of Unesco World Heritage sites such as Canterbury Cathedral, Stonehenge, the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew and Hadrian's Wall, built by the Emperor Hadrian to guard the most northerly border of the Roman Empire.
All in all you are spoilt for choice and any trip to the UK and the main problem is to decide what to miss out. Make sure you do not try to cram too much in as this will make for a rushed experience and not allow you to fully appreciate the amazing places you are going to visit.
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