There are some things that are too good not to share. Then there are things to share that are SO GOOD, they strike an emotional chord. And really, shouldn’t ALL travel be that transformational? Read more about my extraordinary Ireland and UK travel experiences here.
And so it is, when I have been scouting what clients can have in their travels in the UK and Ireland they don’t even know to ask for, or even they could have, that I have compiled a list of these types of experiences. Here are a few- can you guess the one that made me cry? I will provide a BIG HINT at the end of this blog.
First, let me start this by saying the way to really get under the skin of a destination is to not stand in lines to ”see” something. First, it is a waste of precious vacation time, time that could be spent in conversation with a local or falling into a serendipitous moment that will live in your memory forever. Second, it could tax yours or a child’s patience- and that’s no fun for anyone.
The solution? Skip the line and have a private tour. Here are some good ones:
For the shopaholic:
LUXURY PRIVATE TOUR AT FORTNUM & MASON, LONDON
Fortnum & Mason is one of London’s most loved and iconic stores. Nothing gets put on the shelves here unless it is of the utmost quality, so be prepared for world class products. Starting at the fifth floor and working your way down, this private tour will teach you about the history of the building and the company, while allowing you to indulge in some of the delightful delicacies Fortnum & Mason has to offer. Finish the tour in the Crypt, where the store’s food hall and wine shop is located. With a glass of Fortnum’s Champagne in hand, I guarantee you will feel exclusively at home in the lap of London’s luxury.
For the musical one:
A PRIVATE SINGING LESSON AT CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL, DUBLIN
Christ Church Cathedral dates back to 1030 when Dunan, Norse King of Dublin, founded the original Viking church. The Cathedral is particularly known for its bells, which date back to 1738. Enjoy an exclusive evening at Christ Church Cathedral, with the rare opportunity to have a private singing lesson from the Organist and Director of Music. After warming up your vocal chords you will perform your newly rehearsed piece in the world-class acoustics of the cathedral’s nave. Soak in the atmosphere and echoes that reverberate around this stunning building, as your voices ring out in perfect harmony (hopefully). Wouldn’t this be great for a group????
For the foodie, part one:
ABERDEEN ANGUS FARM & STEAK TASTING EXPERIENCE, SCOTLAND
Enjoy a private behind-the-scenes experience at an organic Aberdeen Angus beef farm. You will get a true insight into the breeding, feeding, handling and history of Scotland’s most famous breed. The experience is not complete, however, without sitting down to a one-of-a-kind tasting experience. Prime cut organic steaks, cooked just for you, followed by local cheeses and oatcakes to finish.
For the foodie, part two:
COASTAL FOOD FORAGING TOUR, EAST OR WEST COAST OF IRELAND
Get up close and personal with the fruits of land and sea in a fascinating and delicious foraging experience with a local guide who is also well-versed in history, culture and geology. There is no more a complete land (or sea) to table eating adventure than that which is harvested yourself using local native vegetation people have relied on for centuries, along with the shellfish you learn to find. A time for pulling on your wellies and enjoying nature!
For the museum lover:
PRE-OPENING TOUR OF THE FITZWILLIAM MUSEUM, CAMBRIDGE
The grandest of Cambridge’s museums, the Fitzwilliam is a treasure trove of art and history, with over 30 exhibition rooms that range from Egyptian sarcophagi and Chinese pottery to Renaissance masterpieces and French impressionist paintings. Arrive before the museum opens and be greeted by two pairs of imposing stone lions, who guard the columned steps that lead into the museum’s grand, neoclassical entrance. Legend has it that they come alive at night and head down for a midnight drink from a nearby waterway. With a curator by your side, delve into the wonders of this spellbinding museum, and come away with a renewed thirst for knowledge.
For the theater lover:
BEHIND THE CURTAIN OF LONDON’S THEATRES
From the Royal Opera House to the London Coliseum, and the West End to the South Bank, London prides itself on the quality of its theatre, and there is always something to suit everybody’s taste. Going behind the curtain provides a unique glimpse into life backstage; from the hidden world of costumes and makeup, to the artistic excellence of the scene builders and the tech wizardry of sound and lighting. Just try not to be on stage when the curtain goes up at show time!
Imagine this for a group!
For the history lover:
JOURNEY THROUGH TIME AT BROOMHALL HOUSE, SCOTLAND
The Bruce family have been at the heart of Scotland’s story since the 12th century, and visitors to the remarkable Broomhall House will be greeted by Lord Bruce himself – who’s family lineage extends back to one of Scotland’s national heroes, King Robert The Bruce. The house is full of fascinating objects that reflect an extraordinary and unique family history, and your charismatic host will make you feel part of the family. With endless stories of adventure, politics, warfare and romance, you will be taken on a journey through time, with secrets revealed at every turn…
Here’s a hint to the things that made me tear up during my extraordinary Ireland and UK travel experiences:
#1 I am a long-time choir singer.
To sing under the baton of a great conductor in a place of wonderful acoustics… well, that is certainly a g=dream come true!
#2 I am a nature lover.
I love to find nature immersion in travel, and that food foraging tour was among the best experiences I had in Ireland this summer!
If you’d like to have more ease in your travel planning in 2019, I’d love to help!
You can stay informed and inspired in planning your travel by reading more of my blogs. You can also follow me on Facebook. Twitter @enlitndjrntrvl, and Instagram @enlightenedjourneystravel. Sign up to receive the blogs and a newsletter filled with more insights and offers so you don’t miss a thing.