Size Matters – The Growth of Small Group Touring

Heading towards the end of the year, here at adeo Travel we have been reminiscing the changes and the reshaping of the travel industry. Focused on what we know the most – Britain – we wanted to share our thoughts about one specific type of tour, that has become a perfect solution for many visitors from around the world.

As England, Scotland and Wales are well-connected nations with excellent transport links, an average visitor crossing the country have a host of travel options available! Youthful backpackers might tour by budget “Greyhound” style coaches and public busses; those seeking a luxurious experience might hire a driver to chauffeur them around; whilst independent travellers can opt for travelling via Britain’s excellent rail network or hiring a car to give you that extra flexibility. For those seeking a little extra assurance, historically escorted touring by motor-coach has been a great option; comfortable coach transport, an inclusive price and a tour director to entertain and educate. But large groups must stay in large hotels and tend to travel on the highways to cover long distances and dozens of destinations in short spaces of time; not ideal for those seeking to experience the quaint lodgings, rich culture, historic villages and country lanes of rural Britain.

Hence the growth of – the small-group tour!

Highlands, Scotland
Highlands, Scotland

What is small-group touring?

There’s no such thing as a silly question – and the answer is right in the question! Small-group touring is travelling in a smaller-size group, usually capped between 16 to 18 people with a transport provided in a vehicle suited to this size (such as a mini-coach or a people carrier style vehicle instead of traditional big-size coach). Guided by your driver, who will generally act as your tour-leader too, you will have an organised daily schedule and visits. The driver / tour leader does all the driving, provides with commentary and directs in each location. British small-group tour is similar to a traditional tour whereby you’ll follow an outline itinerary exploring key attractions, cultural highlights, beauty spots and points of interest as you travel around England, Scotland and Wales.

What are the benefits of a small-group tour of Britain?

Small-group touring offers the modern traveller many benefits. Compared with independent rail or self-driving tours, it offers visitors a truly stress-free means of travel. Participants enjoy the comfort of knowing that their transit is all seamlessly organised each day from the collection from your hotel to scheduled stops and attractions, to drop-off at your accommodation each evening. Your experienced driver will take care of all of the navigation leaving you to sit back and enjoy the scenery – and of course, he’ll know the best routes and hidden gems you may never stumble across on your own! Compared with larger motor-coach touring, it also means you get to stay in quainter, more traditional hotels and there is greater opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers. Whilst the smaller vehicle allows the driver to get off the highways, you can experience Britain’s beautiful coasts and countryside, and at times truly get off the beaten track!

Are there any drawbacks?

Small-group touring though isn’t for everyone – whilst most drivers will be flexible, you’ll be travelling as a group, so be prepared that they won’t be able to accommodate the requests and whims of every passenger but will rather have to go with the consensus of the group if they are to make a slight detour to the itinerary. A smaller bus means less space for luggage so you will be asked to pack-light and, if you’re travelling in the UK for an extended period, you may need to leave excess bags at a hotel or luggage storage facility for the duration of the tour. Finally, whilst the drivers will make frequent stops, there’s no onboard bathroom on the mini-coaches.

Cornish Coast, England
Cornish Coast, England

What are small-group itineraries like?

As their popularity grows, there is an increasing number of small-group itineraries available throughout Britain; now you can reach every corner of the country from the tip of Cornwall to the Scottish Highlands! Each tour tends to focus on a particular area or region such as Cotswolds or Wales, and is generally between five and eight days in length; however it is now popular to combine two or more tours to enjoy an extended touring program taking in more destinations. You’ll find that each tour is well-balanced; most itineraries will take in both “must-see” sites along with lesser known attractions and offer a harmony of structured visits and free-time to relax or explore independently in selected destinations.

Small-group touring – is it for me?

Due to their many benefits, small-group tours in Britain attract a broad range of people. Here at adeo Travel we find that our small-group tours really appeal to clients who traditionally may have done their own thing but now want to be a little more “taken care of” on their travels. They’re generally sociable travellers who retain their “explorer spirit” but now enjoy the finer things in life including comfortable accommodation, good food and good company! Couples, pairs of couples, small groups of adult friends and solo travellers all feel right at home on these heritage journeys.

Small Group Tours of Britain

Why is small-group touring so popular?

Small group tours have been growing in popularity for the last decade – they ensure you don’t just get a passing glimpse of a site but rather have time to spend and immerse yourself in a destination. You’ll get to know your driver and fellow-passengers, enjoy quality food and accommodation in smaller, more characterful establishments and generally enjoy an intimate touring experience. What’s not to like?!

Where can I find some small group itineraries of Britain?

Whether it’s one of our own carefully created tours or an itinerary operated by one of our trusted partners, we have put together a list of our recommended tours on our website – please browse away and let us know your preferred trip. If you need a little help in choosing, give us a call and speak with one of our friendly customer service agents who’ll be happy to take you through the ins and outs of the itineraries to work out which one is best for you.

Whether it’s a small-group tour or one of our independent rail or self-drive itineraries, adeo Travel will be happy to help you plan your trip to Britain and navigate the booking process!


December 10, 2021

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