Month: January 2019

British Coach Tourism Awards 2019 – finalists

The finalists in the British Coach Tourism Awards 2019 have been announced. The winners will be announced on 20 March at the National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham.

For more information, go to www.britishcoachawards.co.uk/awards-2019


British Coach Tourism Awards

Coach Friendly Destination

Bournemouth & Poole





Coach Friendly Attraction

Beamish, The Living Museum of the North, County Durham

The Bishop’s Palace, Wells, Somerset

Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire

Brick Lane Music Hall, London

The British Ironwork Centre, Oswestry, Shropshire

Chatsworth House, Derbyshire

Holkham, Norfolk

New Lanark Mills World Heritage Site, Lanarkshire

RHS Gardens Wisley, Harlow Carr, Hyde Hall and Rosemoor

West Midland Safari Park, Bewdley, Worcestershire

World of James Herriot, Thirsk, North Yorkshire


Cross-Sea Carrier


Eurotunnel Le Shuttle

P&O Ferries


River and Inland Cruise Operator

Princess River Cruises, Nottingham

Stuart Line Cruises, Exmouth

Ullswater Steamers, Glenridding, Cumbria

Windermere Lake Cruises, Bowness, Cumbria


Heritage Railway

Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway, Cumbria

Swanage Railway, Dorset

Vale of Rheidol Railway, Aberystwyth


Accommodation Provider (Independent Hotels)

Hallmark Hotel Leyland, Preston

The Hallmark Queen Hotel, Chester

Mill Rythe Holiday Village/Away Resorts, Hayling Island

The Portbyhan Hotel, Looe

Rendezvous Hotel, Skipton


Tour Wholesaler and Industry Supplier

Advantage Now

Action Tours

Ashley & Newey


Greatdays Travel Group

ICT Group Travel

Norman Allen Group Travel


Dining Experience

360 Cookhouse Restaurant, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford

The British Ironwork Centre, Oswestry, Shropshire

Planet Hollywood, London

Poplars Garden Centre, Toddington, Bedfordshire

Rendezvous Hotel, Dinner Cruise, Skipton, North Yorkshire


Coach Holiday Programme

Bakers Dolphin

Crusader Holidays

Eastons Coaches

Edwards Coaches

Galloway Coach Travel

Johnsons Coaches

Reays Coaches


Day Excursion Programme

Johnsons Coaches

Bakers Dolphin

Eastons Coaches

Gardiners NMC

Lucketts Travel

Richmond’s Coaches


Coach Tourism Innovation of the Year

All About Tours Coach

Buzzlines Travel

Rendezvous Hotel, Skipton

Teignbridge District Council

United Minibuses & Coaches


Coach Tourism Professional of the Year

Kate Bastin – Bakers Dolphin

Suzanne Evans – Boon’s Calibre Travel

Andrew Simpson – Classic Britain Hotels

Martin Slater – Greatdays Travel Group

Amy Lizzimore – Groups Direct

Kristy Elsmere – Woods Travel


Coach Tour Driver of the Year

Allan Londsdale – Alfa Travel

Barry Jolly – Woods Travel

Chris Nelson – Galloway Coach Travel

Ken Cato – Masons Minibus & Coach Hire


Coach Tour Operator – small fleet

Acklams Coaches

Hough’s of Lincolnshire

Masons Minibus & Coach Hire


Coach Tour Operator – medium fleet

Bluebird Coaches (Weymouth)

Crusader Holidays

Kirbys Coaches

United Minibuses & Coaches

Woods Travel


Coach Tour Operator – large fleet

Bakers Dolphin

Edwards Coaches

Johnsons Coaches

Lucketts Travel

Shearings Holidays

National Express reunion 2019

The 22nd National Express reunion took place on Friday 11 January at the Wolverhampton Novotel.

More than 80 former managers of National Express, National Travel and assorted and associated bus and coach companies, including this writer, gathered for a evening of good company and good chat.

The event, which has become a key date in the diary for many of us, is organised by Mike Grant. The after-dinner speech was given by Clive Myers, partly to welcome first-timers to the event, and embarrass them suitably, and partly to bring guests up to date with related events from the past year. It was also an opportunity for Clive to say a few words about colleagues who are no longer with us. This year, our thoughts turned to Tom McLachlan of Grey Green who passed away during the year.

The event brings together an eclectic mix of industry professionals, most of whom have retired, but all of whom have played one role or another in the development of National Express and its associated companies.

The photos that follow provide a snapshot of the event.

Photos and words: Stuart Render

Footnote: After an evening of drinking, eating, chatting, and more drinking, departure from the hotel on the Saturday morning for many, this writer included, can often be later rather than earlier. For those who enjoyed a lie-in, their check-out may have been enhanced with the appearance in the reception area of the ‘lovely’ Debbie McGee, perhaps best known as a participant in the BBC’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, and wife of the popular entertainer and magician Paul Daniels, sadly no longer with us. She was appearing in ‘Sleeping Beauty’ at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre. Sadly, there wasn’t an opportunity to capture a photo of Ms McGee. However, we can be reasonably confident that her eventual departure from Wolverhampton, at the end of her appearance in panto in the city, probably wasn’t by coach.

National Express