Leger Holidays annual Awards & Christmas Party 2018

Our annual Awards and Christmas Party

On the 18th November, Leger head office staff were joined at the Sitwell Golf Club in Rotherham by our coach crews and battlefield guides to get into the Christmas spirit.

And, yes… we know what you’re thinking, Christmas in November?! With many of our coach crews whisking you lovely lot off to the Christmas markets and on your festive escapes throughout December, we had to get in their diaries early!

But, it’s all for good reason, as this year, we’ve combined our Christmas party with our annual Drivers Awards, as well as our Battlefield Guide Award and awards for our Head Office staff.

Our awards recognise the hard work put in from our staff across all operations of the business, and whilst every member of staff is invaluable in providing our customers with the best experiences on a Leger holiday, there could only be a handful of winners. So, without further ado… he’s our big winners of the night.

Driver of the Year

Awarded for driving ability, excellent destination knowledge, high levels of customer service and commitment to their role.

In third place…

Driver of the Year 3rd place - Mike Brannan
Driver of the Year 3rd place – Mike Brannan

Mike Brannan

Coming in second place…

Driver of the Year 2nd place - John Doyle
Driver of the Year 2nd place – John Doyle

John Doyle

And our 2018 Driver of the Year is…

Driver of the Year 1st place - Nana
Driver of the Year 1st place – Nana

Nana


Coach Crew of the Year

Awarded to crews who have demonstrated outstanding levels of teamwork, excellent customer rapport and a positive approach to their tours.

In third place…

Coach Crew of the Year 3rd place - Mike & Keiron
Coach Crew of the Year 3rd place – Mike & Keiron

Mike & Keiron

In second place…

Coach Crew of the Year 2nd Place - Pete & Sandra
Coach Crew of the Year 2nd Place – Pete & Sandra

Pete & Sandra

And, drum roll please… our Coach Crew of the Year for 2018 is…

Coach Crew of the Year 1st Place - Nana & Leah
Coach Crew of the Year 1st Place – Nana & Leah

Nana & Leah


We’re always thrilled to hear how our coach crews have such a positive impact on your holidays and the Coach Crew Awards are always very close. There are a number of crews who have also had an excellent year who were also acknowledged with the Coach Crew Special Recognition Award. The following crews were named for this special accolade:

Paul & Lisa

Adam & Paul

Steve & Danny

Tony & John

Ivo & Dean


Driver Newcomer of the Year

This award recognises an individual who has made an outstanding contribution in their role, demonstrating initiative, enthusiasm and aptitude in their first season of driving for Leger.

And the winner is…

Driver Newcomer of the Year - Danny Wilson
Driver Newcomer of the Year – Danny Wilson

Danny Wilson


Battlefield Guide Award

Our Battlefield Guides offer such a diverse wealth of knowledge and experience, and each of them shine in their own light. Our Battlefield Guide Award not only focuses on the a guide’s outstanding knowledge and commitment, but also acknowledges an individual who has demonstrated great compassion and empathy, as well as going above and beyond their role, assisting passengers in difficult circumstances.

The winner of the award is…

Battlefield Guide Award – David Warren

David Warren


Employee of the Year

It’s not very often you get to see the faces behind the operations at Leger HQ, but their work certainly doesn’t go unnoticed. From piecing together our intricate itineraries, to the minute-by-minute timings of your holiday, from the staff members who answer your phone calls, to those who produce the brochures you so eagerly await dropping on your door mat, our head office is a hive of activity, and for the first time, this hard work has been recognised in the award ceremonies.

Awarded to the employees who have shown enthusiasm and initiative in tasks over and above their day-to-day roles and responsibilities, here is the run-down for our prestigious Employee of the Year award…

In third place…

Employee of the year 3rd place - Danny Leeming
Employee of the year 3rd place – Danny Leeming

Danny Leeming, Operations Executive

In second place…

Employee of the Year 2nd place - Caroline Thorpe
Employee of the Year 2nd place – Caroline Thorpe

Caroline Thorpe, Head of Branding and Creative

And our winner for 2018…

Employee of the year 1st place - Paul Reed
Employee of the year 1st place – Paul Reed

Paul Reed, Head Battlefield Guide


Long Service Award

Awarded for loyalty and commitment to the business, this award recognises the milestone of 25 years of continuous employment with Leger Holidays.

Long Service Award - Susan Porter
Long Service Award – Susan Porter

Susan Porter, Reservations Executive

There are also a number of staff members who hit their milestone of 20 years of continuous employment with Leger this year. Congratulations and thank you to:

Lisa Thompson, Customer Relations Executive

Lisa Taylor, Senior Product Executive

Cheryl Hamilton, Product Executive

Caroline Thorpe, Head of Branding and Creative

Tracey Dodds, Pre-Travel Team Executive

Deborah Harris, Reservations Executive

Rachel Steel, Accounts Executive

Ben Hancock, Operations Executive

Danny Leeming, Operations Executive

Julie Richardson, Reservations Manager

Joanne Risdale, Flight Co-ordinator and Reservations Executive

Craig Rattigan, Senior Developer

Andrew Parkin, Creative Manager


Newcomer of the Year

And from the long-standing staff members to those making waves in their first year of employment for Leger Holidays. Our winner for 2018 is…

Newcomer of the Year - Katie Weale
Newcomer of the Year – Katie Weale

Katie Weale, Web Design Manager


And, with the formalities over for the evening, it was time for everyone to let their hair down and party the night away!

Leger Christmas Party 2018
Leger Christmas Party 2018

Leger Christmas Party 2018
Leger Christmas Party 2018

Leger Christmas Party 2018
Leger Christmas Party 2018

Leger Christmas Party 2018
Leger Christmas Party 2018

Leger Christmas Party 2018
Leger Christmas Party 2018

Leger Christmas Party 2018
Leger Christmas Party 2018

We’d like to say a huge thank you to PA Entertainments, and the brilliant Undercovered Band who provided the entertainment for the evening.

With another fantastic year almost under our belts, we’d like to say thank you to you all for your continued support,
and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

RAM Tracking Q&A | Leger Coach Holidays

Leger Holidays Silver Service coach that utilises RAM Tracking.

Established in 2004 by industry experts, RAM Tracking has over 50,000 GPS vehicle tracking systems on the road for 7,500 customers!

As a holiday company that relies heavily on our vehicles, here at Leger, we wanted to ensure we had the most efficient technology to help us maximise our customer’s experience and satisfaction.

We needed a way to keep track of our vehicles, at all times, to ensure we had the most efficient route planning, to help us minimise delays and manage customers’ expectations.

After doing some research we decided RAM Tracking‘s vehicle tracking solutions were going to help us achieve this.

RAM Tracking interviewed our Operations Manager, Richard Oxspring, to find out about our experience with their Vehicle Tracking software. Read the full interview, below.

RAM Tracking: Why did you initially feel vehicle tracking was necessary for your fleet?

Richard: “We needed a way to not only improve our service for our customers but also ease the pressure for our staff. RAM Tracking’s Vehicle Tracking software does both by giving us live access to driver whereabouts at any given time. This means we are able to reduce queries about our vehicle whereabouts as we can now provide more accurate eta’s and are able to answer any queries in the first call rather than having to contact the driver and arrange a call back to the customer. Also, it was imperative in helping us to meet and exceed our business KPIs such as speed efficiency and fuel savings.”

RAM Tracking: Would you say therefore that RAM Tracking has helped you improve your own customer service levels?

Richard: “Yes without a shadow of a doubt.”

RT: Do you feel as though having vehicle tracking installed has improved the safety of your fleet?

Richard: ‘Yes definitely. Now that we have the vehicle tracking installed we no longer have to keep contacting our drivers to query their whereabouts as we can see their location straight away on our vehicle tracking dashboard. This means drivers are concentrating more on the job at hand and have less distractions whilst driving which makes us as a company feel more confident about the safety of our drivers when out and about on the road.”

RT: Did you shop around and consult and other vehicle tracking providers prior to choosing RAM Tracking? And if so how did you decided RAM tracking was the right company and product for you?

Richard: ‘We were actually recommended you by another company who used your vehicle trackers and were very impressed with your product themselves. We did still look at other companies but decided to go with RAM Tracking as they seemed to have a more competitive price compared to other tracking companies and more features and functionality.”

RT: What are the main benefits have you seen to your business since having tracking installed?

Richard: “RAM Tracking vehicle tracking gives us quick and accurate access to our vehicle locations allowing us to easily monitor out fleet and keep our customers accurately informed and up to date with estimated times of arrival.”

RT: Have you noticed any cost saving benefits since having vehicle tracking installed on your vehicles:

Richard: “We have definitely noticed an improvement on fuel costs as the vehicle tracking software has allowed us to massively reduce idling of our vehicles which we’ve been closely monitoring through idling reports. This also makes us feel better as a company as we’re now being more environmentally friendly.”

RT: Can you describe the RAM Tracking product and service you have received in 3 words?

Richard: “Efficient, accurate and time-saving.”

To find out more about our vehicle tracking solutions call RAM Tracking today on 0330 100 3622 or visit their site at www.ramtracking.com. 

Italian Süd Tyrol & the Dolomites – A Passenger's View

The Dolomites

Amazing, Beautiful, Spectacular, Wonderful, Fantastic, Stunning…. You really do run out of words to describe some of the places you visit and sights you see on this Dolomites tour, but I think the coach crew would sum it up in their own word ‘Amazeballs’ as that’s just what this tour was.

Day One – Outbound to Liege

We were lucky enough to join our tour coach at our pick-up point and were able to sit in our allocated seats from the start. Once on board, Mum had a lovely surprise as her seat had been decorated by our drivers, Paul & Lisa, to celebrate her birthday. This was a lovely gesture and Paul & Lisa also made sure that they presented each passenger who celebrated a birthday on tour with a personal card & gift. This made the tour extra special for those 3 passengers who celebrated their birthdays on this tour of the Dolomites with us.

Following the usual efficient service at the interchange, we re-joined our tour coach and continued on to our overnight hotel in Liege. We arrived at a reasonable hour and were able to enjoy a drink at the bar and the chance to get to know our fellow travellers. One thing we love about Leger tours is the opportunity to make new friends and discover wonderful new places. This tour was no exception!

Day Two – Liege to Uttenheim

It’s an early start and a long day, but travelling through some wonderful scenery, as we did, it’s a very enjoyable journey. There were plenty of refreshments available on board, regular stops to stretch your legs and the lounge on board is a great place to spend some time getting to know the new friends you meet on board. During the journey, Paul explained the itinerary and provided additional information & interesting facts about the planned excursions and places we passed during the day. His knowledge of the area and enjoyment of the tour was obvious and both he & Lisa were more than happy to answer any questions about the tour, or indeed any other tour we were thinking of booking after perusing the brochures on board.

At the end of the day, we arrived at the lovely Zum Schlossl hotel in Uttenheim to find a warm welcome from our hosts Anna & Peter along with a lovely 3-course dinner waiting for us.

Day Three – Dolomites

I think this Dolomites tour has to be one of the highlights of the holiday. Stunning scenery around every bend, and plenty of stops for that perfect picture postcard photo opportunity. Our lunch stop on the Pordoi Pass, in the Dolomites, was fantastic with more than enough time for those who wanted to take the cable car to the top. I can thoroughly recommend doing this if you get the chance as the views were stunning…. snow, ice, blue skies and amazing vistas. The first of many lunches with a view this week….

After dinner, those who didn’t want to watch the football tonight had a fun evening of Bingo provided by Lisa & Paul …. It did get a bit competitive but was a great end to our day. There were a lot of laughs and everyone really enjoyed the fun end to a wonderful day exploring the mighty Dolomites.

Pordoi Pass, Dolomites
Pordoi Pass, Dolomites

Day Four – Lake Garda

This optional excursion was well worth booking. We travelled to Lake Garda and had time to explore Riva before catching our first boat of the day to Limone. Once there, we had plenty of time to explore this lovely town and enjoy lunch in one of the many cafes offering views of the lake. Our last boat ride of the day took us to Malcesine where there was time to visit the castle, browse the local shops and of course enjoy the obligatory ice cream in the Italian sunshine before re-joining the coach for our journey back to the hotel. On board the coach for our return journey we enjoyed our first taste of Meloncello which was lovely and the perfect end to the excursion.

Riva, Lake Garda

Day Five – Brunico & Lake Misurina

In our opinion, this was the best day of the tour and is an optional which really should not be missed. Our first stop of the day was Brunico, where we were given plenty of time to explore both the new and old parts of town and enjoy coffee & cake in one of the many cafes.

Some of us climbed up to the Woodland Soldier Cemetery which Paul had suggested we visit and the castle and I can recommend both on a visit to this beautiful town.

Brunico Soldier Cemetery is a forest cemetery and is unlike any other war cemetery I’ve seen. Set amongst the woodland, overlooking the town, all of the graves are carved from trees. Amongst them, you can find Hungarian-Austrian & German army next to Russian & Serbian Prisoner of War graves. Every one of them, whether Catholic or Orthodoxy, Mohammedan or Jewish, were buried according to their religious rites, and all of the graves are equally cared for and decorated all year round by the town. When visiting Brunico it is well worth the walk up to visit this woodland cemetery and we were so glad Paul told us about it.

Brunico Soldier Cemetery
Brunico Soldier Cemetery

Walking across the bridge from the Woodland Cemetery we found Brunico Castle, which overlooks the town. We had the time to go in and explore the castle and were glad we did. There is so much to see within it that we could have spent a lot longer there and would definitely go back again. The views from the castle over the town and surrounding area are worth climbing the stairs of the tower, although a lift is also available if the thought of the stairs is too daunting.

Brunico Castle
Brunico Castle

Lake Misurina

What a place for a lunch stop! There was the chance to walk around the lake if you wanted, which many of the group did. We chose to take our first chair lift ride and enjoyed a very nice lunch (& being at the top of the mountain we couldn’t not try the apple strudel for dessert!) with a spectacular view overlooking this beautiful lake and the surrounding snow-topped mountains.

Without a doubt we would recommend that you do this optional excursion if you get the chance….it’s just Wow!

Lake Misurina

Day Six – Venice

This is a long day with an early start and because of that, not all the passengers joined this optional excursion. Those of us who did had a lovely day in Venice with perfect weather. We enjoyed our first gondola ride and enjoyed wandering around the streets of Venice exploring before finding a lovely local restaurant for lunch. There was time after that to take photos at the Rialto Bridge and enjoy another ice cream while we walked back via St Mark’s Square to catch the boat for the optional Lagoon cruise.

Rialto Bridge, Venice
Rialto Bridge, Venice

Venice is a lovely place to visit and we enjoyed our day, but because of the long drive, it deters a lot of passengers from booking the excursion. It may be worth changing this day and including some of the other wonderful places in the Tyrol which are closer to the hotel. Some of the passengers who didn’t come to Venice had a lovely day exploring the local towns or going for walks from the hotel. Whether they joined the excursion or not, everyone enjoyed their day.

Day Seven – Bolzano

A nice short day after Venice but we still had plenty of time to explore this lovely town. The architecture of the buildings and the beautiful surrounding countryside provide some great photo opportunities. We took time to look around the local shops, visit the castle and enjoy lunch soaking up the sun with overlooking the Cathedral with its beautiful mosaic roof which stands at one end of the central square, Piazza Walther. In the centre of the square is a statue of the poet and bard, Walther von de Vogelweide and we found it was a wonderful place to sit and enjoy lunch whilst watching the world go by.

Bolzano
Bolzano

Hotel Zum Schlossl, Uttenheim

There is not one bad thing to say about this hotel. We had a room in the annexe which had a balcony with fantastic views over the mountains. The hotel is run by Anna, Peter and their son and is just across the quiet road from the annexe. The food is all fresh and homemade by Anna and, believe me, you will never leave the dinner table hungry. After dinner, there is a very nice terrace where we enjoyed a drink in the evening with our fellow passengers and I am being totally honest when I say we really can’t fault anything about this hotel or the wonderful staff. We only wish we could have stayed there longer!

Coach & Crew

There is not one negative thing to say about the coach or Paul & Lisa, our fantastic crew for this Italian Sud Tirol and the Dolomites tour.

The coach was always kept spotlessly clean inside & out, and with plentiful refreshments on board, there was no chance of spending any part of the tour thirsty or hungry.

Paul & Lisa are a wonderful team and they work extremely well together. Their obvious love of their work and knowledge of the tour and the places we visited was infectious and I don’t think one person left the tour without having a thoroughly enjoyable time.

Throughout the week, both Lisa & Paul were happy to answer any questions about any tours that we saw in the brochures on board the coach. Then, on the Friday night, they had the great idea of a ‘Booking Night’. This gave the whole group the chance to talk to each other and ask any questions of Paul & Lisa about future tours they were thinking of booking. We were lucky enough to make some wonderful new friends this tour and by the end of the night, we had booked another 3 tours to look forward to with our new friends.

To find out more about our Summer in the Italian Süd Tirol & the Dolomites tour, click here to find out more. 

Top Viewed Tours of 2017

As we near the end of 2017, we’re taking time to reflect on another fantastic year and what an honour it has been to take so many of you on wonderful holidays.

And we’re thrilled that, with all the hard work of our teams at Leger HQ and, of course, our coach crews and guides out on the road, we’ve helped create incredible memories and a lasting impressions, as you voted us the Best Medium Coach Holiday Company for the second year running at the British Travel Awards.
But, we couldn’t round off the year without giving you the rundown of our most viewed tours on of 2017. So, without further ado, if you’re on the lookout for holiday inspiration or just wanting to know if your favourite tour made it onto our list, here’s what really caught your eye this year…

10. The Beauty of Lake Como and Lake Maggiore

The third largest lake in Italy, and the first of four Italian tours to make it onto our list. But it’s not just our customers who love Lake Como, it’s also a hit with George Clooney, Madonna and Richard Branson.
Lake Como

9. Picturebook Norway – Fjordland Spectacular

Our dream tour seems to be your dream tour, too. With our first departure sold out and our 2019 dates now on sale, the Norway effect is still in full swing.
Norwegian Fjords

8. Splendours of Paris

Paris is always a good idea, and it seems that’s something we can all agree on! The romantic capital city of France comes in at a respectable 8th on our list.
Paris 2017

7. All Quiet on the Western Front

A perfect WW1 Battlefields experience for first-timers and experienced travellers, 2017 has certainly captured your interest of visiting the Western Front.
Tyne Cot Cemetery

6. Lake Garda, Venice and Verona

The mighty Lake Garda, incredible Venice and the home of Romeo and Juliet, Verona, this is three world-class destinations in one impressive tour, we’re not surprised to see this tour make it into our top 10.
Venice 2017

5. Picturebook Italy

A Leger Holidays favourite, Picturebook Italy, of course, makes its way into our top 5. Well, a holiday visiting the best that Italy has to offer, it’s bound to happen.
Florence

4. The Wonders of Rome & Pompeii

Italy still seems to be a big hitter in 2017, but the Wonders of Rome & Pompeii comes out top of the Italian pickings. And it’s no wonder when Rome alone attracts around 7 – 10 million tourists each year.
Trevi Fountain, Rome 2017

3. Dutch Bulbfields & the Delights of Amsterdam

Tulip mania lives on! In 2017, the beautiful Dutch Bulbfields really caught your attention, or is it the visit to Amsterdam? Either way, a trip to Holland doesn’t get much better than this.
Dutch Bulbfields

2. D-Day Landings in Normandy

Taking the hypothetical silver medal in 2017, our D-Day Landings in Normandy tour narrowly missed out on the top spot. But, with the recent launch of our D-Day 75th Anniversary tour, could it snag the top spot next year? We’ll have to wait and see.
Pegasus Bridge

1. Nashville, New Orleans & Elvis Presley’s Memphis

And with over 300 tours to choose from, for the third year running, our most viewed tour is our Nashville, New Orleans & Elvis Presley’s Memphis tour. Whether you’re an Elvis fan, a music buff in general or just fancy a visit to America’s Deep South, we seem to have got it right with this one.
New Orleans 2017
From everyone at Leger Holidays, we wish you a very happy New Year!

All New, Now! Our Top Picks from our New Tours

September… the summer is over, the leaves are turning golden and the air is becoming a little more crisp. The year is certainly coming to an end. But, we don’t like to dwell on that, in fact, we think September is the month for new starts… well, a new brochure at least.

As is the procedure, with a new brochure comes new tours! And, this year, we’ve got some real corkers. 31 to be precise. And, what better way to get over those post-summer blues than to get ready for your next holiday?
With a big year coming for our Battlefield programme, and an exciting batch of new tour experiences and destinations on offer, you hardened Leger lovers will be spoiled for choice through 2018/19.
But, we would be here for days if we were to talk you through all the amazing new experiences that have just been launched, so we’ve hand-picked 5 of our favourites!
So, if you’re looking for a little holiday inspiration or just a deeper look at our new tours, then you’re in the right place.

Bavarian Forest Winter Wonderland – Huskies and Igloos


Yes, this is probably one that you’ve already heard about, but it’s finally making its way into our brochure. And, after an incredible launch, it certainly seems to have caught your attention.
Our first departure will be heading off on the 22nd January 2018 and we already have 2019 dates in place for those of you who like to book early.
So, what can you expect? Well, a true winter wonderland experience! Mulled wine, winter walks over the world’s biggest treetop path in the Bavarian Forest National Park and you’ll even get chance to visit a real igloo village!

Dreisessel

But, we’re sure this is the real pièce de résistance… heading into the husky farm of Dreisessel! You’ll learn all about the beautiful dogs, from the housing, feeding and training they undergo.
These big balls of fluff are impressively bred, born to run with impressive endurance and a high tolerance to the cold. They can even survive on small amounts of food which is why they’re perfect sled dogs.
But, like many of our furry friends at home, they all have their own personalities, are super cute, heart-warmingly loving and you’ll even have the opportunity to give them a little fuss. Paw-fect!

French Grand Prix

Paul Ricard Circuit

Yes, for all those with a need for speed… the French Grand Prix makes it return to the Formula 1 calendar in 2018, a whole 10 years since the last time tyres touched track in France. And it’s also making an appearance in our 2018 programme.
The race will take place in the south of France at the Circuit Paul Ricard – which last staged the event in 1990!
The French Grand Prix is actually the world’s oldest, originating in France in June 1906. Fast forward to the future 2018 season, Ferrari hold the title of most wins with Massa and Räikkönen taking top spot in the last two races held.
10 years on, will Ferrari remain dominant in France or will Mercedes start to make its mark on French soil? We’re still waiting to see the outcome of the 2017 season, but the early bird gets the worm, so why not secure your place on our French Grand Prix by Coach tour?

Oberammergau and the Austrian Tyrol

Oberammergau

The word on everybody’s lips, and there’s still 3 years to go! Our Oberammergau tours are flying off the shelf, so to speak, so we’ve added an extra tour to our 2020 programme.
This time we’re heading deep into the spectacular Austrian Tyrol, enjoying destinations such as Kitzbühel, Salzburg, Lake Achensee as well as the German delights of Cologne, the Rhine Valley and, of course, Oberammergau.
If you’re new to Oberammergau, every 10 years the residents of the small German town put on a Passion Play, and have done since 1634!
Passion Play Painting, Oberammergau

Performed as a thank you for being spared from the Plague Epidemic, the residents of Oberammergau prepare for years to make the production a success… they even undergo strict preparations that sees them banned from shaving.
Without going into too much detail (more of which can be found over on our Oberammergau blog) we can safely say this will be the performance of the decade… one not to miss!

Château Tilques, St. Omer & the Opal Coast

© Najeti Hôtel Château Tilques

Dreaming of France, you can get lost in thoughts of stunning rolling countryside, opulent coast lines and tasty cheeses and wines. So, why not go one better than the dream and enjoy your stay in an actual Château?
Just a short hop across the channel, this really is an idyllic short break. Nestled in the Caps et Marais d’Opale Natural Regional Park with peacocks roaming the grounds, this 17th century manor house has a certain je ne sais quoi.
Visiting pretty little market town of nearby St. Omer, you’re also given the chance to enjoy stunning architecture from the medieval streets to the Notre Dame Cathedral, even the incredible ruins of Saint Bertin’s Abbey.
Le Touquet

You’ll also have time on day three to enjoy Boulogne, Le Touquet, the playground of wealthy Parisians, and the Opal Coast giving you a real taste of Northern France.
Back at the Chateau, there’s a chance to enjoy gourmet food at the Le Vert Mesnil restaurant, make use of the indoor swimming pool or just enjoy the stunning grounds the Chateau is set in.
And, we think there’s a Lord or Lady in all of us that would enjoy their time in the manor.

First & Last Shots

Mons

2018 marks a significant year for WW1 history. 100 years ago, we saw the end of the Great War and our attentions will once again turn to commemorating a significant centenary in military history.
The city of Mons, Belgium, is where the first and last shots of World War One were fired by the British, and where the first and last soldiers died.
With departure dates throughout the year, we’ll take groups on a journey of remembrance visiting significant areas around Mons.
Visiting the 4th Dragoon Guards Memorial close to the spot where they engaged the Germans just before the Battle of Mons, firing the first shots of the British Army on the Western Front and crossing the road, we visit a Canadian memorial on the site of their final advance on 11th November 1918: four years of war separated by a few yards of ground.
George Lawrence Memorial, Mons

But not just that, we’ll also spend time commemorating the battle of Mons, head to Nimy Bridge, where the first two Victoria crosses of the war were awarded. And, drawing the tour to a close, we visit the Memorial to George Lawrence Price, the last British and Commonwealth casualties at 10.58am on 11th November 1918, just two minutes before the end.
A battlefield tour not to be missed, we’re sure you’ll agree! There’s plenty to interest seasoned Battlefield travellers on this tour and it will prove an insightful experience for anyone visiting the battlefields for the first time.
 
Our brand new brochure is out now, so why not request your copy? Simply click here to order today.

Coach Holidays: Breaking the Stereotype

You could probably stereotype any type of holiday, from an 18-30s or a couples’ retreat, and if we don’t usually associate ourselves with those we assume we would be travelling with, it could well be a make or break factor.

But, what about coach holidays? Who exactly would you be travelling with? What sort of people would go on a coach holiday? Well… everyone!
We asked a collection of passengers, who have previously travelled on a coach holiday, a series of questions to shine some light on the mysterious passengers on board your coach and what it is you can really take away from a coach holiday.

Let’s take a look at your fellow passengers…

A common question we get asked from people who are thinking about travelling on a coach holiday is about the age of fellow passengers. Will they feel that they are too young or too old?

71% of people we asked thought, prior to their coach holiday, that their fellow passengers would be over 50 years old with 9% thinking all of their fellow passengers would be 70+. Once on board their coach, 47% of these people actually travelled with passengers that were under 40.
But, if you’re thinking about going on a coach holiday for the first time and your age is playing on your mind, you may be glad to know that only 2% of those surveyed said that the age of their fellow passengers was an important factor in their holidays with 59% saying they would recommend a coach holiday to any age group. So no matter how old you are, you’ll always be made to feel welcome on board.

A comfortable setting for a solo traveller…

When the itchy feet set in, you just want to go. It’s not always easy to have your travel companion free to travel at the same time, or circumstances might make it difficult. Solo travel is a coach holiday speciality.
You get the benefit of being able to head off where and when you want and with the sociability of being in a group. And, you have the option to travel on our Single Traveller holidays, alongside a group of like-minded individuals, or join our main tours and feel welcomed into the Leger family with a wider variety of passengers.

And, don’t worry too much, everyone is different and enjoys different things, and a coach holiday doesn’t have to be restrictive. Whilst 29% enjoyed their holiday with their group as whole, 70% enjoyed the best of both worlds, having a great time with their group, also enjoying time to themselves, doing exactly what they wanted to do. What more could you ask for?

Social and relationship benefits of a coach holiday…

Following their coach holidays, our passengers weren’t thrown back in the real world with memories alone. In fact, 21% of our customers flouted the post-holiday blues, and came back feeling happier than before they left.

But, for the people travelling with a friend or partner, 83% have taken away lasting memories with each other, 9% feel it has brought them closer together and 3% have said it’s even made them want to spend more time together!

The benefits of being an experienced traveller…

Stories, experiences and the ultimate travel envy, there are many ways in which others can influence your holiday choices.
When travelling on a coach holiday, you visit many destinations within your holiday, ticking off those bucket list destinations or visiting places you’ve never even heard of, you’ll certainly come back at least a little more knowledgeable in travel. And, it makes you far more interesting too…

The coach holiday also broadens horizons with a whopping 76% of people feeling they are more likely to visit new places. But, it can also create a new love story with the destinations you’ve visited, 23% of people said after a coach holiday, they were more likely to go back to the places they found themselves to love.
The benefits of a coach holiday means you can really make the most of escorted touring. In fact, 70% of people feel they return feeling more enlightened and 80% feel they are more knowledgeable, and how incredible is that?

Travelling for long periods, how would I pass the time?

Luckily, with our Luxuria coach, with your own touch-screen TV at your seat, you’ve got plenty to keep you entertained. But, even without that, our previous passengers have found passing the time a breeze.

And, then you’re hooked…

An incredible 62% of people surveyed have enjoyed 5 or more coach holidays and 88% of passengers would consider them to be their main holiday! And, with so much on offer, from short breaks to our impressive Grand Explorer holidays, the choice is almost endless.
Has this got you thinking a coach holiday might just be for you? Well, take a look at our incredible collection of exciting itineraries available to book, now: leger.co.uk
Survey conducted with 144 previous Leger travellers who are members of the Leger Holidays – Very Important Passengers Facebook group.

2016: Our Top Viewed Tours of the Last Year

Another year has come and gone and whilst it seems to have gone in warp-speed, there was plenty to remember it by. From a spectacular show from team GB at the Rio Olympics to Andy Murray lifting his second Wimbledon trophy, unexpected results at the polls and a certain Pokémon game sweeping the nation, we can truly say 2016 has been a roller-coaster of a year. With all that being said we do hope that your Leger holiday brought bundles of happiness and incredible memories to last a lifetime.

But, as we move on into 2017, we take one more look back into the year just passed and bring you our top 10 viewed tours of 2016. Compiled from the most popular tours you viewed on our website, we reflect on which tours caught your eye in 2016.

10. Beer & Battlefields

Soldiers drinking beer

Coming in at number 10, a relatively late arrival in 2016, our Beer and Battlefields tour has certainly caught your attention in the short time it’s been online. A brand new concept tying in the prominent battlefields of Belgium alongside the prominent breweries of WWI and WWII.

A perfect Battlefields starter tour, expertly crafted by our specialist guide, Marc Hope, it’s a great way to gain knowledge of our history and the impact and sacrifice of these wars alongside a more light-hearted approach looking behind the front lines and just how these beers and breweries affected our soldiers. As Marc himself said, there are ‘hoppy’ times ahead as we kick off our maiden tour in 2017.

9. Cruising the Rhine and Moselle

Boats along the Rhine river

River cruises are becoming increasingly popular and where better to set sail than down the Rhine and Moselle? Known as the heart of River cruising, you get everything you could wish for meandering through two of Germany most picturesque valleys.

And, it’s certainly proving popular among Leger customers! Sailing on the MV Prinses Christina, you’re in for a real treat. Plus, with both valleys being notorious for their wine production, let’s raise a glass to a fantastic river cruise.

8. Beautiful Bruges

Bruges canal
The pinnacle of short breaks? It is no surprise that our Beautiful Bruges tour pops up on this list. A short hop across the channel yet a world apart from the day to day life at home. Stunning architecture, quaint canals and chocolate! What more could you ask for?

With a four-day tour starting from as little as £249*pp, it really is the perfect little getaway.

7.The Elegance & Charm of the Italian & French Rivieras

Portofino Harbour
The glitz and glamour capital of Europe, who wouldn’t fancy time on the Riviera? With this one, with all those fantastic places to visit, you don’t have to choose between where to go. From the iconic French Riviera taking in the likes of Cannes, Nice and Monaco, to the stunning Italian fishing village of Portofino, you really will enjoy the best that this exquisite part of Europe has to offer.

With air options and dedicated single traveller packages available, there really is the perfect trip to the Riviera lifestyle for everyone.

6. Austrian Gems

Kitzbuhel

The hills are alive with the sound of music, and it seems to be calling you over to Austria, the home of the Von Trapp family. Touring through Austria’s most beautiful villages, stopping off at the wonderful Krimml Falls and, of course, enjoying time in spectacular Salzburg. You don’t have to be a fan of the film to enjoy this trip.

With prices from just £349*pp for 7 days, you’ll be stepping into the shoes of Julie Andrews and feeling like bursting into a rendition of ‘My Favourite Things’ before you know it.

5. Lake Garda, Venice and Verona

Lake Garda

The Italian lakes are still a hit for British tourists and where better to get a true taste of a lake holiday than at the wonderful Lake Garda? And with excursions to Verona and the picturesque and popular city of Venice, there’s plenty to enjoy whilst you’re there.

Departing from April to October, there’s the perfect opportunity to experience the changing seasons in an already stunning destination.

4. Belgian Grand Prix

Williams Formula 1 Car on track
The highlight of the racing calendar, the Belgian Grand Prix proves ever popular in our list of most viewed tours. In fact, for the 2016 race, we sent out 13 coaches taking around 650 Leger customers to the summertime race at the Spa-Francorchamps.

If it’s the electrifying race atmosphere you’re looking for, this could be the tour for you in 2017.

3. Imperial Capitals – Prague, Vienna and Budapest

Budapest Parliament Building
There’s plenty to be said about each of the focus destinations on this tour, so combining them into one trip seems to be perfect for the adventurous traveller among you. Who could say no to 9 days taking in the most delightful destinations that Eastern Europe has to offer? Your journey of discovery will be second to none when you embark on this tour.

From the Astronomical Clock and the Charles bridge in Prague, to the Fisherman’s Bastion in Budapest and, of course, the Hofburg Palace standing pride of place in Vienna, you can’t deny this tours popularity.

2. All Quiet on the Western Front

The Menin Gate, Ypres
One of the staple battlefield tours, the ever popular All Quiet on the Western Front was still one of the most popular tours on our websites in 2016. It’s an ideal introductory tour covering the major battlefields of Flanders and France and is a great trip for people of all ages with an interest in our military history.

Our expert guides provide a 5* service giving you every chance to really walk in the footsteps of heroes. We think this tour will still be standing proud at the top of this list as we head into 2018, the centenary year of the end of WW1.

1. New Orleans, Nashville & Memphis

Memphis
You can’t seem to get enough of the Deep South, our New Orleans, Nashville and Elvis Presley’s Memphis tour is once again our most viewed tour of the year.

The idea of jetting off to the USA and sampling the soul of these fantastic cities is extremely popular, once again. And, with a visit to Graceland itself, it sure is one of the best (if we do say so ourselves). If you’re wanting to rock ‘n’ roll over to the states for a trip that’s music to your ears, we’ve got you covered with this one.

*Prices including early booking discount, correct on publication date.

Top Tips for Travel Blogging

The rise of social media means we’re much more likely to share our travelling experiences now, than ever before. From posting pictures or even the odd Facebook boast, we like to let people know what we’re up to.

And, we think it’s a brilliant thing! With 60% of Brits updating their status TEN times whilst on holiday, we certainly have a lot to say.
If you’re happily guilty of being a social sharer, have you considered blogging? We love to post personal accounts from our passengers on this very blog, and if you want to try your hand at travel writing, here are our top tips to create the perfect post.

Don’t be too formal

We know, when you read travel guides, you’re not only left to pick out a few key bits of information from hundreds of pages, but it’s jam packed with big words and industry jargon. It can be slightly overwhelming.
When it comes to blogging, write simply. Write as if you were speaking to a friend, easy to understand language keeps your reader focused, there’s no need to over complicate it.
Keep your sentences and your paragraphs short, and break up your text with sub-headings. When people are taking time to read your piece, make it easy for them to see what’s written within.

Write in first person and past tense

It’s your experience and your story, so write from your perspective. When people are reading travel blogs, they’ll be looking for opinions. What you thought about a certain place, where you would suggest people visit.
Your visit gives your writing credibility, and your reader is there to read about what you got up to, just to see if it’s something they may like too. Don’t feel like it has to be written like a story book. Aim to entertain, not necessarily impress.

Start strong!

You don’t have to recall all of your trip in chronological order, what you want to do is to cherry-pick the best bits of your story.
And, this is no different with your opening paragraph. Let us know what makes your story interesting, grab your reader’s attention, and then, write about your favourite experiences.
A great tip would be to break your blog down into destinations, rather than days. Use sub-headings and let us know if you have any quirky little stories from your visit.

Find your angle

Are you a single traveller heading to unknown lands? Are you heading off on a special pilgrimage with your partner? Maybe, you’re on a journey of discovery? Each can be a unique angle to write from.
Think about what you’d like to have known prior to your trip. Whilst writing can be your hobby, it can also be an information source for others. If you have a reason for people to read your piece, they will.

Mix up your content

Keep your writing light by using photos, treat it like a show and tell. As they say, a picture can tell a thousand words, but it can also enhance your writing.
You will give the reader a better idea of what you’re talking about with visuals as images are easily digested. And, according to Content +, articles with images get 94% more views than those without.
(Be sure to use your own images, though. Pictures found online will, more often than not, be covered by copyright.)
It’s always great to throw in some interesting facts, or quotes from locals, your guides, or your travel companions, too. Keep your readers interested and give them something to take away from your writing.

Have fun writing!

Most importantly, have fun writing your blog. Your enthusiasm and passion for the subject will come across through your writing and make your blog post a pleasure to read.
So, there you have it. Our top tips for travel writing. Are you ready to begin? If you fancy writing a blog post for Leger Blog, send your work over to blog@legerblog.co.uk
 

New Tech Innovations Revolutionising Global Travel

Cameras and film, cassette players, and mobile phones like the old Motorola handsets – these are the types of technology that would be labelled as being ‘brick-like’ by millennials nowadays.

15 years ago (a period that almost feels like a lifetime), all of these items would have provided far too much inconvenience by taking up a large proportion of your luggage space.
But with times changing, so does technology. In a time when our phones hold everything from our most prized photographs to the means to pay for your morning coffee, we’re well and truly in a digital age and we think that’s something to embrace!
With a little help from some experts, and also some of the innovators currently looking to revolutionise the tech sector, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to the travel gadgets that are currently available, and what’s coming to the market in the near future.

Tablets and mobile devices

Coming in a range of options – from simple eReaders to powerful miniature computers – tablets have taken the world by storm.
Eric Plam, VP of North American firm SkyRoam, which produces a wi-fi hotspot gadget, advises: “While travelling, people seek to stay connected to work via e-mail, apps, and online tools. For pleasure, they share their experiences on social media and keep in touch with family and friends at home. On the ground, travellers use tools such as Google Maps, currency converters, and translation apps to navigate new cultures and customs in a foreign country.”

Image1
Source: Wakefield Research/Wi-fi Alliance

For the bibliophiles travelling overseas, devices like the Amazon Kindle allow you to keep all your favourite novels, biographies and magazines at the touch of a button, reducing space taken up in suitcases of books.
It isn’t just books either. Tablets have also embraced the culture of games and apps, making dull moments a thing of the past. With tablets now available from around as little as £20, they are more accessible than ever.
For people like bloggers, social media users, or those who just want to stay in touch with family and friends using their tablet and mobile devices, additional products from the likes of Skyroam help people to stay online across the world.
Plam continues: “The internet is changing the way people travel and work, and connectivity is emerging as king. With the explosion of travel apps and technology for planning and more, staying online on the road has evolved from a “want” to an actual “need.”
According to an infographic from Tnooz, 82.6% of leisure travellers use their smartphones all the time on vacation, and 88% of leisure travellers identify their smartphones as the top must-have device while on vacation. Those numbers tell a story about how many people want to stay online on the move!”

Portable battery chargers

Keeping your devices charged whilst you’re away can be a difficult task, especially when you’re travelling for long hours or spending a lot of time sightseeing.
Although our lucky Luxuria passengers have charging spots for their devices, there are handy little gadgets that can keep you charged if you’re heading out in alternative transport.
image 3
Portable battery chargers are a useful device to have with you just in case your camera batteries go flat or your phone needs a boost. All you need is a USB connector (if the attachment isn’t already included) and you will have all the power at your finger-tips… again.

Fitness trackers

New cultures and cuisines can play havoc on our diets when we’re on holiday, but one thing you may not realise, especially on an escorted tour, is just how much more active you may be.
Fitness trackers are all the rage and they can be helpful in so many ways. Whether they’re a feature of your smartphone or you’ve invested in the wearable type, they will tell you just how much exercise while you’re casually walking through the incredible cities in Europe or out on one of our incredible walking tours.
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© Fitbit.com
From how many steps you have taken to how many calories you have burned, a fitness tracker is one piece of technology whose good health we can certainly toast.

Bluesmart suitcase

Hot in the press in 2016, the Bluesmart suitcase really has packed everything you need, want and possibly never even thought of, all into a rather sleek-looking carry-on.
As a rather pricey investment, $449 to be precise, you’d expect something special and, if you’re into your gadgets, it certainly won’t disappoint.
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Source: © Bluesmart.com
So what is so special about this suitcase, we hear you ask? Well, it locks digitally using the corresponding app, and has location tracking, so you’ll always know where your belongings are; it will even let you know if you’ve left it behind.
Not only that, it has a built-in digital scale to see just exactly how much you’ve packed, and can let you know your planned itinerary and update you with essential information through your smartphone (which you can keep charged up with its in-built USB chargers). Impressive, right?

Smart cameras

If you’re an avid photographer, or just enjoy taking your point-and-shoot holiday snaps, did you know you can now pick up a camera with Wi-Fi? And, paired with a Wi-Fi SD card like Mobi’s Eyefi, you will save all the hassle of importing your photos to another device.
Whether it’s your smartphone, Mac or PC, your photos will appear instantly on your other devices so you can use your best snaps to bring out that holiday envy on imahe 5Facebook and beyond.
And cameras aren’t just stopping there. With imagery for social media becoming more significant, companies have now developed cameras that can take pictures and video in 360-degree fields, such as this one from Giroptic, to ensure that none of the action is missed around you.
Michael Ty, an expert in 360 degree cameras, advises: “One of these cameras can capture a 360-degree view around the photographer, which makes it an ideal camera for travel. They also play into the popularity of virtual reality.”
©Eyefi.com
 

Jet lag and insomnia-curing tech

You may have seen in our top tips for getting an air holiday off to a flying start that regulating your circadian rhythm is a great way to avoid jet lag. We suggested taking an eye mask and ear plugs, but now companies are using technology to fight the strain of long journeys.
Retailing at £149, Re-timer Light Therapy Glasses naturally adjust your sleeping habits by taking advantage of light therapy, using a greeny-blue glow to change the hours or length of time you sleep.
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©Re-timer.com
Just 30 minutes per day will regulate your sleeping pattern to make sure you’re bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in order to really make the most out of your holiday.
Meanwhile, Finnish company Valkee Oy has created a light-therapy product called HumanCharger, which works by shining UV-free blue-enchrined white light throughout the ear canal to the light-sensitive part of the brain. They claim, following a study, that the product helps to cut jet lag down by half.
Marketing Manager Johanna Flyktman tells us: “Technology to travellers nowadays is very important. High tech gadgets are everywhere, and travellers are looking for more comfort and entertainment during travels. The world has become a much smaller place than 100 years ago, because of travel.
“There are so many people in the world who suffer with jet lag. For example, athletes travel a lot and they need to be in shape as soon as possible when they arrived at their destination. Beating jet lag couldn’t be easier!”

Selfie stick

A selfie may be thought of as a fad of the younger generation, but travellers’ struggle for the perfect snap has certainly been made easier since the invention of the Selfie Stick. Whilst they’re not the ‘coolest’ gadget on the planet, we think they’re great.
Remember the times you’ve taken it in turns to get a picture of yourself at an iconic landmark? Or even had to ask a stranger to take a photo for you?
With a Selfie Stick, you can simply pop your camera on an extendable pole, and through the power of Bluetooth, you’ve can capture the perfect picture with no one left out and no building cropped off.
Plus, if you’re really not into walking around with the Selfie Stick, they retract into the small handle, and are perfectly shaped to slip in and out of your bag when needed.
 
As we all know, technology moves fast, and next year there will surely be a whole host of new gadgets and gizmos on the market. Is there a piece of technology you swear by or something you now fancy giving a try? Let us know in the comments.
 

Why Coach Holidays Offer More Than You Think

We know that coach holidays are some of the best holidays that you can head off on, but some might say we are biased.

We get it, though. Some people may have never even considered a coach holiday before, for many reasons. But, we’re here to tackle that stereotype and tell you why coach holidays are great!
So, whether you’re new to coach travel, just want to see what it’s all about, or, of course, if you’re a seasoned traveller looking to sway your unconvinced friends and family, here are our top reasons to try a coach holiday in 2016.

Tick some of the best destinations off your list in one fun-filled trip.

Take Italy for example, we know it’s full of iconic places and it would probably take quite a few trips to see them all.
Venice, Lake Garda, Pisa AND Rome. We can dream, right? Well, there’s no need for dreaming, on a coach holiday, you can visit all of them during one trip. There are even tours that will take you to several different countries!
And, best of all, you don’t even have to lift a finger. You don’t have to worry about arranging your own transport and booking hotels in various destinations, it’s all part of your coach holiday package. Sounds ideal, right?

You don’t even have to stay close to home

Coach holidays are more than just fish and chips by the sea, they’ve entered the 21st century with a bang!
With exciting itineraries that will rival even the most enthusiastic traveller’s bucket list, you won’t be left longing for that gap year never taken.
With coach tours of New Zealand, South Africa and the USA thrown into the mix, you can sit back, relax and let some of the world’s most impressive destinations come to you.

You can use our local joining points

Forget about the long drive to the airport, hours in advance, the worry of parking and packing all your luggage into a small space. On a coach tour, we’ll pick you up closer to home.
With over 500 joining points around the UK, your holiday will start right away. There’s even the option to be picked up from your home with our door-to-door service. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
Plus, there’s a maximum of only 5 pick-ups on your journey, so you know you’ll be on your way in no time.

Meet new people

Coach holidays are a great opportunity to socialise and meet some fantastic new friends, this also makes them a great choice for single travellers.
If the fear of setting off alone has held you back, you can be safe in the knowledge that you will be included and looked after with your tour group, guides and drivers.
Plus, with lounge facilities on board, our Silver Service coaches with drinks and snacks available, it’s almost like a hotel on wheels.

But, the Journey is long and boring, you say?

Whilst we do have a lot of ground to cover in some cases, the journeys certainly aren’t boring, and here’s why…

Entertainment

Of course, you can bring your own entertainment. Books, magazines, Sudoku, even bring along a pillow if you fancy catching a few hours’ sleep. But, we also like to do things a little more high-tech.
Take our Luxuria coach, for example, you will have a world of fun right at your fingertips. Your own, personal, seat back T.V. and entertainment system with USB ports and plug sockets to keep your devices charged, the journey might not be long enough to fit it all in!

Fantastic Scenery

Don’t get us wrong, the view from up in the clouds is pretty spectacular, but it gets a bit samey, don’t you think?
Swap those clouds for something a little different. How about a jaunt through the snow-capped mountains of the Alps? Or, maybe driving along the stunning Amalfi Coast? The Wild Atlantic Way?
When even your journey is a photo opportunity, you know you’re in for a good ride.

And, whilst we’re talking about those photo opportunities, get your selfie-sticks at the ready…

On a coach holiday, you’ll get dropped off at the places that you want to see, and with guided tours and knowledgeable drivers you won’t be left fumbling with maps, you’ll be ready to get those picture-perfect holiday snaps right away, so keep your cameras charged!

Even after all that, you’re not convinced to try the whole coach travel experience

There’s the option to fly to-and-from your holiday with our Air Holiday packages, and we’ll pick you up right from the airport. The best of both worlds!
But that’s enough about us, what do you think are the highlights of a coach holiday? Let us know in the comments.