SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP TOURS OVERVIEW
Looking for something completely different for you and your group? Want to arrange a tour around a theme? Interested in a specific part of history? Love railways? Or sports? We have you covered - our special interest tours are designed with YOU in mind! A hand-crafted special interest group trip is created specifically for you & your party as a private holiday, personalised to your individual tastes, giving you all the freedom to make your own choices.
Our philosophy here is simple: Give us the theme/topic/interest and we will begin the process of arranging the perfect tour for you and your group to include your theme not only as a static piece within a puzzle but as a flowing story throughout your trip to your chosen region(s).
Below are some examples of tour themes - by no means all of them! Let us know what it is you are looking for & we will get to work!
KEY FEATURES FOR SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS
- Local team giving expert advice & dedicated to the highest personal customer service
- Free personal service throughout from planning until after your special interest tours holiday with your dedicated travel planner – plan in person, telephone, email or virtual meetings creating a completely hassle-free & flexible tour planning experience
- Choose your theme/topic/interest & be as involved as you like in any planning
- Every detail planned and booked for you – your ideal accommodation, transport, tour itinerary, meals, professional tourist guides, organisation of all services to suit tastes & budget
- Design of marketing materials (posters, leaflets etc.) to help advertise your tour
- Full financial protection through TrustMyTravel plus our Fair Pricing & Book with Confidence policies giving you peace of mind
- Group Travel Organiser Association members representing the interests of our GTOs
CRADLE OF THE RAILWAYS GROUP TOURS
The history of the railway - yes, we can go back as far as ancient Greece but this focus is on Northern England - in particularly places such as Shildon, Newcastle upon Tyne, Gateshead, York, Darlington & Stockton.
Yes, it was in North East England (just a few years prior North West England's Liverpool Manchester Railway started in 1829, where it all began (in 1825)... Journey back and follow in the footsteps of Stephenson or Hackworth, relive the Golden Age of Steam, travel on heritage railways and discover museums that bring historic rail to life!
The ‘age of steam’ began here almost 200 years ago and, at Northern Secrets, we are building towards that big year of 2025, the anniversary of the famous Stockton Darlington Railway. Join us for one of our special interest tours evolving all around the age of steam.
MUSIC SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP TOURS
Are you part of a group of musicians, maybe a choir or orchestra? We operate fully tailored music tours to Northern England, Scotland and North Wales and have access to numerous truly memorable venues.
Our mission is simply to ensure that every group has a well-organised and truly successful experience in our regions.
We can organise travel arrangements, all accommodation, concert & excursion itineraries built around your requirements. From initial consultation, we work closely with you to design the perfect concert tour for your group.
We have close relationships with venues, conductors, choirs & orchestras across the regions we love and can curate joint concerts or workshops, rehearsals & social gatherings. Speak with us and together we can build a unique music tour for your group.
The North was THE powerhouse of Great Britain during the Industrial Revolution sweeping through the country during the late 18th and early 19th century.
While coal was king in Newcastle upon Tyne and ship building boomed, Manchester was dubbed as “Cottonopolis” due to its many cotton mills and, at one point, 40% of the world’s trade passed through Liverpool’s docks.
In Scotland, industrial centres developed around Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee & Falkirk, the junction of two canals and centre for the iron and steel industry. Transport was vital for business and an extensive canal network and later the railways helped accelerate this growth.
It’s truly amazing how much innovation was achieved over a relatively short period of time. Meet some of the movers and shakers of their day and find out more about their ingenious inventions! From “biggies” like the first incandescent light bulb, the steam engine or penicillin right through to the invention of handy everyday helpers such as the thermos flask, the windscreen wiper or the flushing toilet – there are bags of stories waiting to be discovered!
Step back in time and ride on heritage railways, take a leisurely canal cruise or immerse yourself at some of the award-winning industrial heritage museums of the North such as Beamish Open Air Museum near Durham, the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester or the National Slate Museum in Wales. Let us create one of our special interest tours all around our rich industrial heritage.
RELIGIOUS TOUR GROUPS
Although the Romans had already brought Christianity to the British Isles it wasn’t until the 6th century that the new religion spread and was widely accepted. Saint Augustine was sent North by Pope Gregory to convert the “Angels” becoming the first Archbishop of Canterbury. Meanwhile, the Celtic tradition was brought over to Scotland and Northern England by the Irish monks Saint Aidan and Saint Columba.
Eventually these two traditions would clash at the famous Synod of Whitby in 664 with the Roman tradition being championed.
Trace the stories of these early saints and visit ancient religious centres such as Lindisfarne, or Holy Island in Northumberland or the magnificent UNESCO world-heritage site of Durham Cathedral, also home to the tomb of the Venerable Bede, the “Father of English History” and Saint Cuthbert, one of the most venerated English saints.
HORTICULTURAL TOUR GROUPS
There is nothing as quintessentially British as their love for beautiful gardens and the North has plenty of gardening gems on offer.
Whether it is intricate Elizabethan knot gardens or sweeping English landscape gardens of grand country houses or contemporary takes – the choice is yours! Visit Levens Hall Gardens in Cumbria with the world’s oldest topiary gardens or the stunning 18th century water garden at Studley Royal Watergarden in North Yorkshire, a UNESCO world heritage site or the exotic Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh.
The Alnwick Gardens in Northumberland boasts a magical 21st century garden with its very own “Poison Garden”. This is incidentally also the home county of one of Britain’s greatest landscape gardeners: Landscape Capability Brown. If gardening is what you enjoy, then Northern Secrets will tailor your special interest tours around your preferred pastime.
CULINARY SPECIAL INTEREST TOURS
Special interest tours come in all shapes and sizes - and foods! Are you a food lover and enjoy exploring new places through your palate? How better to find out about local places and their people than by finding out what they put on their plate?
Every region has their own distinctive recipes and delicacies: from salty kippers straight from the smokehouse in the North East, to a true steaming Liverpudlian scouse, Welsh rarebit (which must be the poshest cheese on toast) to the inevitable Scottish haggis.
At Northern Secrets we have done the legwork for you: we have found local food aficionados who love bringing unique local tidbits your table. Enjoy food at quirky local pubs and restaurants, enjoy behind the scenes tours to artisan cheese makers or even have a go at making sausages yourself. And we haven’t even started on the desserts and drinks yet…from traditional cream tea treats to local gin, whisky or craft beer makers.
The world is your oyster, quite literally and this is a trip to tantalize your taste buds.
Incentive programs are not just a way to celebrate your success in business but create an atmosphere of camaraderie and excitement leaving lasting impressions far beyond any other motivational tool.
Let us create the perfect incentive tour for your team - large or small - and build a group experience within Northern England that will impact positively on your staff's morale, teamwork, spirit and enjoyment! Being based locally, our expertise and destination knowledge of the regions we serve is second to none.
Our incentive specialists work with you as an integrated part of your corporate team to develop a unique and creative program tailored to your exact requirements. Speak with us to plan your incentive tour to Northern England!
HIKING GROUP TOURS
What can be more rewarding than discovering areas of outstanding beauty in slow motion on foot? Whether it is hiking along glorious coastlines, over wind-swept hilltops, through scarce moorlands or lush forests.
The low population density in the North of England and Scotland has one clear advantage: ample space to roam and enjoy nature! You may wish to follow a designated long-distance hiking trail along the Northumberland Coast to discover amazing marine wildlife and revel in breath-taking scenery dotted with stunning castle ruins or uncover the past by tracing the northern-most frontier of the Roman Empire along Hadrian’s Wall. Or you may wish to enjoy individual circular hikes each day exploring entirely different landscapes.
The National Parks of the Cairngorms, Loch Lomond & Trossachs, English Lake District, Northumberland, the North York Moors or the Yorkshire Dales are all a hiker’s paradise and well worth exploring on foot. Speak with us to create your own special interest tours itinerary.
ART, ARCHITECTURE & DESIGN
Are you a leader of an arts appreciation class or U3A group and enjoy travelling together? At Northern Secrets we create bespoke special interest tours to suit your exact needs.
For example, seek the story behind the scenes and find out more about some of Scotland's most treasured art on a tour to the capital, Edinburgh. Classical or contemporary, we will connect you directly to your favourite Scottish pieces. Tailored to your requirements, we provide a truly unique set of experiences for you. Please call us to discuss what you would love to experience from the Edinburgh arts.
Add in Glasgow and learn more about the arts & architecture of this great city. We offer a range of professional tours for those interested in finding out more about the architect, artist and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Or enjoy a more calm approach, away from the city, to the English Lake District and follow in the footsteps of Lake Poets such as William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge or Robert Southey...
Focus today: North East England - what an amazing place to discover wildlife!
Take special interest tours to the next level: boat trips to the Farnes Islands to spot whales, dolphins, seals or the thousands of seabirds like the cute Puffins that breed here every spring. The mudflats along the coast at Budle Bay or Lindisfarne are great places to spot migrating wading birds and wild fowl such as pale-bellied Brent geese or peregrines during the autumn and winter season. With the Hauxley Wildlife Discovery Centre at Druridge Bay or the Lobster Hatchery at Amble – there are plenty of interesting places to visit.
Kielder Forest and Reservoir – on the other hand – are fantastic to see our endangered native red squirrel, roe deer, otters, bats or ospreys or to visit the largest Salmon hatchery in England and Wales.
The Pennines and the Upper Teesdale regions are perfect places to spot moorland birds such as black and red grouse, golden plovers, curlews or peregrines. Ever heard of Chillingham Wild Cattle? This unique herd of cattle is believed to have roamed the forests of Britain since Roman times…
At Northern Secrets we endeavour to provide you with the wildlife experience you are looking for.
PHOTOGRAPHY GROUP TOURS
Our approach is as individual as the participants who join our photographic holidays. We pride ourselves in being able to offer a range of services during our tours to cater for each participant’s differing degree of experience and commitment to photography. We work with outstanding photographers who share our goals of spending quality, informed time watching – and capturing – once-in-a-lifetime moments.
Group sizes on these holidays are strictly limited, not only to allow you plenty of room in which to work (and play), but, just as importantly, to enable you to benefit from the dedicated time of our expert leaders & experience the places you are visiting to the full.
Our destinations include all four national parks in Northern England, hidden gems within the regions, Scotland's vast scenery from cityscapes to the remote islands off the west coast. Let us know your interests and we will start creating the right tour for you and your group.
SPORTS TOURS & GROUPS
Whether you are a sports club or a simply group of friends interested in sports in general, we can organise a complete programme & group tour for you.
If you’re looking for a weekend away with your team or club, the North of England or Scotland are great destinations to consider. Enjoy the sport you love in some fantastic facilities across the regions.
The UK is also highly popular with touring teams/clubs from all over the world. Combine the beauty of sport with taking in the sights of Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester or Edinburgh...