Land of The Prince Bishops Tour

2 nights starting from
£499

  • Durham and its magnificent Cathedral, one of England’s greatest edifices

  • Auckland Castle, once residence of the Prince Bishops of Durham

  • Norman Richmond and Barnard Castles

  • Bowes Museum – housed in a French-style chateau

During the Saxon, Norman and Medieval periods, the Prince Bishops of Durham had ecclesiastical and political sovereignty over County Durham. Their influence touched all aspects of the county’s life and left a fascinating legacy, which can still be traced today. During its greatest period in the 7th and 8th centuries, Northumbria was a great centre for arts, learning and early Christianity and was especially noted for the great saints it produced, like Cuthbert, Wilfrid and the Venerable Bede.

Your guide for this fascinating tour is Julian Humphrys, whose passion for early and medieval history has no bounds and he will entertain you with his knowledge and skill as your host and guide.

Available Departures

From

26 - July - 2024 Limited Availability Travel Info Please Call

Provisional Timings

29 - October - 2024 £ 499.00 Travel Info Book Now

Provisional Timings

ITINERARY

Day 1: Arrive independently at the Radisson Blu Hotel Durham from 15.00. This evening there will be a welcome reception followed by dinner and talk by Julian Humphrys - 'An Introduction to the Land of the Prince Bishops'. 

Day 2: Durham & Bishop Auckland.
First visit of a packed day is a guided tour of Durham Cathedral, one of Europe’s greatest buildings, set grandly on a rocky promontory next to the Castle with the medieval city huddled below. Begun in 1093 to house the shrine of St. Cuthbert, the castle and cathedral have dominated the Durham skyline for over 900 years and it is a World Heritage Site. A walking tour with Julian will show you more of this beautiful city on the River Wear, including its Castle, (now a student residence). After lunch, (not included) we will head to Bishop Auckland where we will visit Auckland Castle, which has a thousand years of historic connection with England’s only Prince Bishop. Granted exceptional powers by the Norman kings, the Bishop of Durham remained the virtual monarch in his diocese right up to the 19th century. We will also visit the new Faith Museum at the castle which opened in late 2023. 

Day 3: Richmond Castle, Bowes Museum and Barnard Castle.
Firstly to magnificent, Norman Richmond Castle, begun in 1071 and which still dominates the market town to this day. 
The best preserved part of the castle is the 12th century Keep, which towers over 100 feet above the town; the walls are actually eleven feet thick. This afternoon a guided tour and lunch is included at the Bowes Museum, housed in a magnificent French-style chateau, purpose built in the 19th century, which has diverse collections of paintings and wonderful ceramics, furniture and a solid silver swan automaton which moves to music and appears to catch a fish. The last visit of the tour is to Barnard Castle, founded by the Normans shortly after the conquest. It enjoyed its heyday under Barnard Bailleul in the latter half of the 12th century and later passed into the hands of King Richard III who inherited it through his wife, Anne Neville. Return to the hotel for approximately 17.00. 

NB: Exact order of excursions may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion.

Please note: Post tour extra nights are available at a supplement

Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 48 passengers.

INCLUDED

  • Two nights' bed and breakfast at the Radisson Blu Hotel Durham, based on shared occupancy of a twin/double room
  • Welcome reception
  • First-night three-course dinner with wine
  • Second night dinner in the hotel restaurant
  • One lunch in the Jubilee Room at Bowes Museum
  • All guided tours, visits and entrance fees
  • Coach transfers and tour manager throughout


NOT INCLUDED

  • Transport to the hotel is not included
  • Hotel Car Parking
  • Double for sole use supplement
  • Holiday insurance
  • Extra nights on bed and breakfast basis
  • Meals other than those stated
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls etc
  • Porterage and gratuities

HOTELS

Radisson Blu Hotel Durham
The Radisson Blu Hotel Durham enjoys sweeping views of the River Wear and is ideally located in the city centre with close proximity to both the A1 and Durham station. The hotel has a bar, health club and spa for guests to relax after a busy day sightseeing. Rooms are modern and all have Wi-Fi, TV, individual climate control, tea and coffee-making facilities, safe and minibar.

Car parking is available at the hotel costing £14 per night, payable directly to the hotel. 


Radisson Blue Durham Website

MORE INFO - Please click here to see full details of this tour

Your Guide

Julian Humphrys 
Julian read history at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, has worked at historical sites both in Britain and overseas and is now a trustee of the Battlefields Trust and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He has a very infectious enthusiasm for history and has published numerous books on castles and battles. He currently leads more than a dozen tours for Travel Editions and imparts his extraordinary historical knowledge with wit and panache, making a tour led by him both an educational and entertaining experience.

 

UK Tours

Please note that all our UK tours start and finish at the relevant hotel.  

You can normally check in from 3pm onwards but hotels will always be happy to store your luggage if you arrive earlier in the day. 

For full details of how to get to the hotel, directions and the nearest train station, please click on the hotel website or call our office for details. These will also be sent automatically with your confirmation. 

The welcome reception and first evening dinner / talk will commence at about 6pm - full details will be sent with your joining instructions about 10 days prior to the arrival date. 

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Our guide, Julian, was excellent and taught me a lot. He brought the history to life in a scholarly and entertaining way.

Review by Anonymous who travelled 03-October-2023


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Review by Anonymous who travelled 03-October-2023


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Good interesting tour around Durham and the surrounding area. Excellent variety of places to visit, from the majestic cathedral to different castles, to the wondrous Bowes museum. Hotel ideally suited, in the centre of the city. Food on the whole good, but the meal slightly disorganised on the first night, no wine on the tables, plus the meal was quite late, dessert only arrived after 9.15. Perhaps in future, the meal could be earlier in the evening. Also the maitre',d wanted forms filling in for the meal on the second night! Before we had eaten the first meal, poor timing. Anyway, look forward to another break in the not too distant future with travel editions.

Review by Peters who travelled 03-October-2023


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Another very enjoyable tour from Travel Editions. I learned more on this tour than on some previous ones as I had less pre knowledge on the subject. Julian's talks were to the point and I also had plenty of free time at each venue to look at things that particularly took my interest. The only admin cock up on the whole tour was entirely down to the Hotel and my only suggestion for improvement is that a tour itinerary should be available in the hotel rooms on arrival.

Review by Morris who travelled 03-October-2023


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Very pleasant holiday which I greatly enjoyed.

Review by Anonymous who travelled 03-October-2023


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Julian Humphreys was an excellent, knowledgeable guide : this made all the difference to the experience.

Review by Anonymous who travelled 03-October-2023


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This was my first solo trip since my husband died so I was rather apprehensive but it was a great group of people and Julian and Louise were excellent.

Review by Anonymous who travelled 03-October-2023


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Very enjoyable holiday. Comfortable accommodation (swimming pool a bonus) and good food. Julian very knowledgeable and enthusiastic, brought history to life. Bowes Museum particularly interesting for the range of artefacts, but all sites worth visiting. A very packed itinerary but well thought out.

Review by Beck who travelled 28-July-2023


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First time trying this and was very impressed. Thank you for arranging it

Review by Anonymous who travelled 28-July-2023


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We really enjoyed the holiday. Choice of visits excellent. All very well organised.

Review by Solomon who travelled 28-July-2023


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I very much enjoyed this tour. My only disappointment was that there was not a talk on the second evening, although our guide did give us plenty of information during the tours themselves. A glass of wine with the meal on the second evening would also have been a pleasant addition.

Review by Anonymous who travelled 28-July-2023


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The tour was well organised, good value & Julian Humphreys was witty, extremely knowledgeable & informative. Saturday was all about the Princes Bishop but the addition of visit to Bowes Museum on Sunday introduced a different theme. It was worth seeing & extremely overwhelming. I understand the lunch had to be there. But I would rather have visited Raby Castle, ( we passed it on the way to Bowes). Raby Castle follows on the flow of history about the Nevilles, relevant to the previous day.

Review by King who travelled 28-July-2023


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Julian and Maddie are stars and make the tours come alive. The hotel was clean and comfortable and their breakfasts were great but the evening meals were disappointing.

Review by Tucker who travelled 28-July-2023


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Julian is an excellent tour gude - knowledable, erudite, charming with the ability to put the information across in an engaging and lively manner. ths is the second Trave lEditions holiday where he was the guide (Lincoln,last year) and I will look for further hoidays with him as a guide.

Review by Picken who travelled 28-July-2023


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We took this trip to refresh memories of places not visited for many years and to see places we had somehow missed. Julian brought the history to life extremely well. Bishop Auckland Castle and grounds are certainly a place to visit again next year as the development work seems to be progressing rapidly. Overall, the trip completely met our hopes.

Review by Anonymous who travelled 28-July-2023


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Review by Anonymous who travelled 28-July-2023


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an excellent trip and the right balance between guided times and time doing one's own thing

Review by Anonymous who travelled 28-July-2023


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Everything was good Julian very knowledgeable brought the history alive food / accommodation very good snakes at the bar might have been a bit more interesting other then that everything was fine Rose

Review by Hayward who travelled 28-July-2023


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Julian Humphrys was excellent, we look forward to doing more of his tours. On a personal note, we would prefer to eat our evening meal earlier.

Review by Smith who travelled 28-July-2023


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Very well organised, great sightseeing and excellent historian, tour guide and coach driver. Our third time with Travel Editions and would recommend them.

Review by Anonymous who travelled 28-July-2023


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I requested a walk-in shower and was given a disabled room, which was bizarre. It was a large room, with a shower in one corner and the loo in another. The only place to put anything was a narrow shelf between the loo and the wall. There was no toilet seat and the flush mechanism was across the loo. It felt very insanitary. Other than that, the hotel was very good. They produced a most delicious pasta dish for me on the first evening. The lecturer was excellent. The coach was very good and it was a great touch to be taken to the railway station at the end of the tour.

Review by Sampson who travelled 28-July-2023


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Maddy and Julian both did an excellent job, as did our coach driver!

Review by Parnell who travelled 28-July-2023


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Review by Anonymous who travelled 30-September-2022

Travel Editions feedback:

A good and interesting tour; I enjoyed the first day better than the second.


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Review by Anonymous who travelled 30-September-2022


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While the hotel accommodation and food were good, the service in the restaurant was poor on both nights - slow and erratic. Julian was, as ever, an excellent guide - there seems no end to his knowledge on all related subjects!

Review by Fulton who travelled 30-September-2022


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Review by Anonymous who travelled 30-September-2022


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Excellent trip, Julian Humphreys a superb tour guide. Hotel was comfortable, with very friendly, helpful staff and in a good location, enjoyed the leisure facilities. Breakfast good, but dinners a little disappointing, not up to usual standard.

Review by Anonymous who travelled 30-September-2022


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Review by Anonymous who travelled 30-September-2022


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The Radisson failed to make up my room for the last extra night. I did tell them and they were very apologetic but it left a bad impression.

Review by Anonymous who travelled 30-September-2022


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Julian Humphrys outstanding - combined excellent academic knowledge with superb verbal communication skills and a gentle sense of humour. On day 2 we could perhaps have spent rather less time at Richmond Castle and Barnard Castle, and more time at the Boyes Museum. Wine with dinner on day1 was served in rather meagre quantities. Main course at dinner in hotel was always served with "seasonal vegetables" including a large lump of carrot - not always appropriate to the meal chosen.

Review by Lord who travelled 30-September-2022


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Review by Anonymous who travelled 30-September-2022


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Review by Anonymous who travelled 29-July-2022


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A full and very enjoyable programme of visits, excellent guide and good hotel.

Review by Hazelwood who travelled 29-July-2022


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The hotel fell short- mainly in the provision of room cleaning services and the separately booked exta night's stay. It was signalled up to the hotel at the time and did not need to involve Travel Editions. A separate hotel feedback review has been submitted (Rating 4).

Review by Perkins who travelled 29-July-2022


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Radisson OK, clean and comfortable. However scrambled egg rubbish along with the coffee especially decaff. Staff friendly

Review by gibbons who travelled 29-July-2022


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Mark and Maddy were a great pair! Very enjoyable trip

Review by Anonymous who travelled 29-July-2022


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Very enjoyable trip. All worked perfectly and a very knowledgable tour leader and guide. Hotel was ideally situated. I am looking forward to further travel with your company.

Review by Ward who travelled 22-October-2021


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None

Review by Hudson who travelled 22-October-2021


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A 2nd extra night was booked, prior to start of the tour and this was not linked to the 3 days resulting in our room key being cancelled after the first day. This caused problems with the hotel administration and required us to re-register our credit card as we were refused charging to the room at the bar.

Review by Laidlaw who travelled 22-October-2021


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Julian and Mandy were brilliant. The sites chosen to visit were worthwhile. The coach and drivers were superb. The hotel added nothing to a thousand others of a similar type. All in all,it was a satisfactory experience.

Review by Anonymous who travelled 22-October-2021


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How long before 11.10 email did you know Auckland C closed? I understand C gave assurances but you must have suspected from their website closure details Why no group dinner tables? I raised this with Maddie Saturday am Durham Cathedral guide poor: softly spoken wearing a plastic mask: inaudible. I could hear the guide on the N side!

Review by West who travelled 22-October-2021


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Fantastic tour. Julian Humphreys was an excellent and very knowledgeable tour guide. Hotel staff very helpful and rooms comfortable Unfortunately the Evening meals were mediocre and the worst we have experienced on Travel Editions tours.

Review by Anonymous who travelled 14-June-2019


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Review by Anonymous who travelled 14-June-2019


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I did post you the printed comments but not sure if I addressed them to the right department so I would like to reiterate that the organisation of the tour was first rate from beginning to end. Madeleine, the tour organiser was super-efficient and Julian was knowledgable and pitched the information at the right level for a mixed group. The only disappointment was the hotel food. On the first night we were given no choice of dishes, indeed not even told what we were getting until it arrived on our plates. On the other evenings the food was tasty and well presented but quite basic and of modest proportions. I felt it was designed specially for group bookings and different to the hotel's usual fare.

Review by Endersby who travelled 14-June-2019


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The meal provided in the Radisson Blu on the first night was inappropriate and badly cooked. In particular, this was a dry, tough pork chop with dried up root vegetables (no choice unless one was vegetarian) in a brown sludge. What a bad first impression after a long, crowded rail journey.

Review by BOWN who travelled 14-June-2019


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Both the tour manager and the lecturer were excellent; the places visited well-chosen; and the overall impression of the tour was: why had we not visited Durham (especially the Bowes Museum) before.

Review by Howes who travelled 14-June-2019


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We enjoyed the weekend. We were pleased the boat trip substituted for Auckland Castle as we were tired after the morning in Durham and another walking event would have been too much. The 2 hour break and a relaxing boat ride was just right. Enjoyed Julian's commentaries. Pity about the rain on the Sunday.

Review by who travelled 27-July-2018


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We really enjoyed the tour. Julian was an entertaining and very knowledgeable tour guide. We would definitely book a tour with him leading again.

Review by who travelled 27-July-2018


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We travelled to the hotel by car and were charged £18 for parking at the hotel, this didn't impress me and neither did the prices for food & drink. The food provided wasn't that exciting to say the least. The actual tour was excellent, our main reason for booking the tour was that it was led by Julian Humphries who is always entertaining and informative.

Review by Wilcockson who travelled 01-September-2017


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Julian and Sarah could not be bettered.

Review by Rice who travelled 01-September-2017


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Excellent trip, good lecturer and tour manager. Dull but adequate hotel which overcharges for a glass of wine. The blurb talked about sweeping views of the river but my room looked out over an expanse of gravel and a car park. On another tour, people should be warned to book a taxi to meet them at the station. We waited for a long. long, time and it was raining.

Review by who travelled 01-September-2017


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The Humphrys duo were informative and amusing. We did not like the Radisson blu as much as others we have stayed in. The beds and food were not really to our liking, so we would avoid the Radisson Blu in future. The tour itself was very enjoyable, and the weather was kind to us as well. Over all, we commend Travel Editions to others who might be tempted to take the plunge.

Review by who travelled 01-September-2017


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A very intresting and enjoyable weekend Julian Humphrys was very helpful and gave us an excellent background to all theplacs we visited

Review by Dr Mary Forsling who travelled 02-June-2017


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The hotel was absolutely brilliant and Julian and Sarah were brilliant hosts.

Review by Ms Ruth Garland who travelled 02-June-2017


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Wonderful tour made very enjoyable due to the knowledge of Julian and the attentive assistance of Sarah. The hotel was top notch. Bit stingy with the wine on the first evening but apart from that a very good weekend.

Review by Miss Helen Blakeway who travelled 02-June-2017


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Review by Mrs Sylvia Oates who travelled 02-June-2017


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Review by who travelled 02-June-2017


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A very good enjoyable tour. Julian is an an excellent Tour Manager

Review by Ms Eva Thornton who travelled 02-June-2017


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The tour was very good and both Sarah & Julian Humphreys were excellent as was the coach driver. The biggest disappointment was the hotel. On arrival I was greeted by the most miserable receptionist I have ever had the misfortune to meet - she could have doubled for Rosa Kleb in a James Bond film. There was not a glimmer of a smile and any comments were very tersely delivered and not welcoming or hrlpful in any way. All the other staff we met were very pleasant and helpful. The food could only be described as average, Friday night was acceptable but Sunday night's dinner was disorganised and very poor and gave Sarah a lot of unnecessary extra work sorting it all out. Also there was no choice for any of the courses. On leaving I paid £16 for car parking which I consider appalling ( I know you warned us of this) when we were staying in the hotel. To summarise: an excellent holiday let down by a very poor hotel. Henry Stewart ( I believe my wife has aslo completed a survey under my name!!)

Review by Mr Henry Stewart who travelled 09-September-2016


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There was no choice given at the Saturday evening meal. All tour locations were excellent and both Sarah and Julian (and local guides) provided well-considered information. More time could have been had at Auckland Castle if there was slightly less time given for lunch in Durham

Review by Miss Pamela Smith who travelled 09-September-2016


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Brochure description rather brief. Rooms at the Radisson Blu Durham were good and the staff delightful, but evening meals were very poor. These meals let down the trip. Breakfast was good. Our guide Sarah was excellent as was Julian our guide. He was informative and entertaining, never dry or boring. It was a very enjoyable itinerary.

Review by Mrs Linda Connor who travelled 09-September-2016


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This was a very carefully planned and superbly managed tour. Arriving late after a wretched train journey, we were warmly welcomed by Sarah and Julian who arranged for us to be fully refuelled. On every visit, tickets were ready for collection and - where necessary local guides were standing by. Ample time was given to enable us to get as much as we wanted out of each site. I am generally a satisfied customer on tours of this kind, but a positively delighted customer on this occasion.

Review by Mr Richard Perkins who travelled 09-September-2016


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We thoroughly enjoyed the weekend.

Review by Mr Martin Skeffington who travelled 03-June-2016


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JULIAN AND SARAH HUMPHRIES BRILLIANT

Review by Mrs Julie Carr who travelled 03-June-2016


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This was unfamiliar territory for me and I really enjoyed it. We had a few unexpected surprises like the Thomas Tallis 'Spem in Alium' installation and exhibition about the Durham miners at Bishop Auckland, brass and wind bands on the green by the cathedral and lots of students in their summer ball outfits waiting for their coaches at the same place as ourselves! It worked to end the tour in Durham.

Review by Mrs Mervion Kirwood who travelled 03-June-2016


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Julian was excellent at explains the history involved in the places visited. He added a humorous element to what can be a very dry subject. The dinners at the Radisson were not very good, though the cold selection at breakfast was excellent - the hot choices suffered from being kept warm for too long.

Review by Mr Christopher Cotter who travelled 03-June-2016


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Excellent organisation and our guide was outstanding. The range of places visited was good. The Bowes museum in particular was a gem. There was so much to see that it could perhaps have been spread over three days with more free time in the different places in order to have an opportunity to look around the towns or spend longer in the museums. However it was a most enjoyable weekend.

Review by Mrs Gillian Rowe who travelled 03-June-2016


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Nicely paced tour. Would have appreciated a bit smaller group, did not get round to speak to everyone.

Review by Mr David EGERTON who travelled 03-June-2016


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The young tour manager, Sarah was magnificent taking care of everyone and everything with consummate ease belying her tender years. Will

Review by Mr W Wallburton who travelled 03-June-2016


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