Our Head Battlefield Guide, Paul Reed has lived in the South Yorkshire former mining village of Elsecar for the past couple of years. In this blog he documents his experience of guiding a dedicated group tour, taking patrons of his local to the battlefields to discover the stories of the Barnsley Pals.
Elsecar is situated on the edge of Barnsley, close to the countryside, and near the impressive Wentworth Woodhouse stately home, whose owners built the local colliery and many of the houses here.
The Milton Arms pub, in the heart of Elsecar, is my local and I was delighted when the landlord, Phil, approached me to organise a tour to the battlefields. Having travelled with a few friends on a battlefield tour on one of our Luxuria coaches, he wanted to return and do his own thing with a group from the pub.
One of the great advantages of bringing a group booking to Leger is that you don’t have to book a brochure tour. With our help and advice you can discuss what you’d like to do and we offer our expertise and make it possible. Phil wanted to remember some local heroes from both World Wars, so it was decided that we would travel direct from Elsecar to the Somme, have a night in Northern France, and then move on to Normandy to look at D-Day and the battles of 1944.
We started early from Elsecar with a good supply of pork pies and plenty of drinks stock on the Luxuria coach, with drivers, Adam and Paul looking after us. Getting across to France early, we made our way down to the Somme and made our first stop at the Thiepval Memorial where several members of the group had relatives commemorated on the panels dedicated to the Missing of the Somme. From here we went on to Serre and had a gentle stroll up onto the battlefield where the Northern Pals battalions were all but wiped out on 1st July 1916: the First Day of the Somme.
Our own village had many men from the Barnsley Pals who were here that day and the group assembled around the memorial to the Barnsley lads, which was rededicated on the centenary of the battle in 2016. Elsecar to Serre in a day – so simple now, but a centenary ago, the gulf between those at home and those at the front was immeasurable.
After an excellent night staying in Arras, with its amazing main square and great restaurants and bars, we headed down to Normandy to look at the story of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. Over the course of the next few days we visited all five D-Day beaches, saw where American and British Airborne dropped in, and for many, the highlights were seeing ‘Bloody Omaha’ where so many GIs were killed on 6th June 1944, and walking across the original Pegasus Bridge. You can see these on the screen, but there is nothing like being there and seeing it for yourself.
As part of the D-Day tour we made a special visit to two Elsecar men killed in Normandy: one at Ranville, who was killed as a tank crewman and another at Ryes, who was an Assault Engineer. Again, it was great to have that local connection, and we were probably the first people from the village to ever stand at their graves and remember. The highlight of the week, for many, was at Hill 112 where Phil, and Chaplain Andy, led a Service of Remembrance. A veteran of the battle here had visited Phil in the pub and asked if we could remember his mates when we came, and it was a special pleasure and honour for us all to do this.
Group tours like this are unique: from planning to visiting the battlefields, those who organise are in total control over what they do and where they go, and have our years of knowledge to fall back on to make it a tour to remember.
Enquire today about taking your own group on a visit to the battlefields of WW1 or WW2 by visiting our website or by calling our team on 01709 787 403
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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…
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!
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.
A new start to a new year, and no, we can’t quite believe it’s 2016 either. 2015 was a brilliant year for Leger Holidays. Our new coach, Luxuria, hit the road, our website got a new look and, best of all, we got to take more fantastic customers to some great destinations and made memories to last a lifetime.
Whilst we’ve been busy preparing for the exciting year ahead, we can’t help but look back fondly on our experiences from last year. So, we’ve compiled a list of our most-viewed tours over the last 12 months. If you’re looking for some inspiration or just curious to see if your favourite tour makes the list, here’s what caught your eye over throughout 2015:
Into the top three for 2015, and first onto the winner’s podium, the tour taking the hypothetical bronze medal is Beautiful Bruges!
And in second place, it’s another appearance for the Formula 1 fanatics, our ever popular Belgium Grand Prix Race Weekend spiked your interest for another year.
Taking the top spot, the most viewed tour of 2015 is… Nashville, New Orleans and Elvis Presley’s Memphis. Heading into America’s Deep South, you liked the sound of the live jazz of New Orleans, the blues and rock ‘n’ roll in Memphis and the country sounds of Nashville. And, a visit to Graceland? We can’t disagree with that.
With a host of new tours coming up, we wonder which tour will top our most viewed tours this year. One thing we do know is that we’ve got plenty of holidays and experiences we hope you enjoy in the meantime. Where will your plans take you in 2016?
Welcome to all the Christma-holics, the festive fanatics and the yule-tide yea-sayers! We’re now under 100 days until the big day and here at Leger HQ, we’re in the festive mood already, preparing for our annual Christmas Market pilgrimages.
With a fantastic selection of new and popular tours – we’re even sending our brand new, luxury coach, Luxuria, off on some jolly journeys across the continent – we can’t wait to get your journeys started.
So, in the midst of our festive excitement, we’ve put together our inside guide to the fabulous markets of Europe. Whether it’s your first time, or you’re just looking for the perfect experience, here’s our guide to the perfect places to suit you.
First Timer -Bruges
Fancy trying out the Christmas Market experience for the first time? You want twinkling fairy lights, traditional wooden stalls and picturesque scenery, right?
A great choice for any first-time visitor is Bruges, especially if you’re looking for fairy tale yule-tide escape. With a cosy Christmas atmosphere, it’s the perfect location to get a taste of everything you’d expect from a festive market.
With an impressive ice rink in the centre of the famous market square, you can skate up an appetite for some delicious Belgian treats. From waffles to local beers, there’s plenty to keep those cheeks rosy as you experience everything this fascinating market has to offer.
A Romantic, Christmas Market Break – Salzburg
OK love bugs, here’s one for you. Thinking about that romantic escape? You and your significant other, enjoying the Christmas period just like in the rom-coms? Find your picture perfect scene in Salzburg.
Mentioned as far back as the 15th century, with stalls set around a stunning, baroque cathedral, there is a magical air around the markets as the fairy lights twinkle and the smell of roasted almonds and mulled wine fill the air in the city of Mozart.
You can even top it off with a romantic horse and cart ride through the charming Old Town, who said romance was dead?
If you’re looking for an easily accessible market, if you have mobility problems or require the use of a wheelchair, Erfurt could be perfect place for you.
Erfurt Christmas market contains an accessible infrastructure meaning it is accessible and enjoyable to everyone!
With a huge candle-lit Christmas tree and more than 200 wooden huts flanked by half-timbered houses, the atmosphere here could only be beaten by one in a certain grotto in the north…Unless the elves are having a bad day.
Something For The Whole Family – Dresden
If you’re wishing to share the experience with the whole family, Dresden offers a fantastically fun experience for young, old and everything in-between.
With elves’ houses, a children’s bakery and a grotto for the big guy himself, there’s plenty to keep the kids entertained and with plenty of mulled wine, local beers and shopping opportunities on offer, there’s plenty for the adults to enjoy too.
A Market Off The Beaten Track – Wurzburg
Some people fancy heading somewhere a bit more niche, off the beaten track so to speak. If this is you, try Wurzburg.
Smaller than its German cousins, Wurzburg’s main market hosts around 100 stalls offering regional produce and food.
There’s also a small Artists’ Christmas Market over the weekends on the run-up to Christmas, with more than 40 artists selling jewellery, hand-made teddy bears and jam to name a few.
A Christmas Market For Delicious Local Delicacies – Freiburg
If you’re a lover of all things tasty, then Freiburg is one to enjoy. Set in Germany’s Black Forest, you’re in a haven for some Black Forest Gateau.
There’s plenty more sweet treats on offer too, from ginger cake to nicely decorated biscuits. If you’re looking to re-fuel, there’s a whole host of delicious hearty meals on offer as well as some tasty local snacks such as the potato pancakes, Kartoffelpuffer.
But, maybe more importantly, there’s a wide selection of mulled wines and punches, a perfect accompaniment to the food on offer at this fantastic market. With so many fantastic Christmas Markets in Europe, it’s hard to choose where you want to head off to next. Are there any that have caught your eye this year? Check out our full list of Market tours, here.
If you haven’t heard, the BBC 1 hit show, The Apprentice, is taking on the task of putting together a one day coach tour on tonight’s episode.
The Apprentice sees 20 entrepreneurs take on a series of tasks to prove their worth. An investment of Â£250,000 is at stake to fund a business partnership with Sir Alan Sugar. Each week we see contestants eliminated with brutal honesty coining the famous phrase ‘You’re fired’
Coach tourism is worth Â£2.35 billion to Britain’s economy and forms a large part of Leger Holidays, as you can probably imagine, the talk of this episode at Leger HQ is rife.
Without giving too much away to the avid fans of the show, the task is set to create a day trip to a top UK tourist attraction outside of London. They are provided with two luxury coaches as both parties depart to their chosen destinations.
We’re said to expect a display of coach sing-a-longs and some questionable lunches on top of some unsuccessful negotiations for attraction entry prices.
Luckily for Leger customers, this is something they don’t have to worry about. With the launch of our new coach, Luxuria, entertainment is far beyond ‘Eye-Spy’ and Karaoke, you are now able to enjoy your own interactive seat back TV with plenty of games, films and music to choose from.
We’d love to know your verdict on the episode, would you go on any of the tours they put together? Leave us a comment or hop over to Facebook or Twitter.
To keep you going before the Apprentice at 9pm tonight, here’s our top 5 reasons why we love coach holidays:
From rolling countryside to snow covered mountain peaks, you can see it all on a coach trip. It makes for some beautiful photographs too!
It’s all planned for you
If you’re planning on visiting more than one city, you could be looking for moths for a great deal. Your itinerary is perfectly thought out, taking you to the best places and lovely hotels and you don’t have to lift a finger when it comes to the planning.
Meeting great new friends
A coach full of interesting people, with their own stories and experiences all there to enjoy the same thing. There’s no wonder Leger customers find life-long friends on their holidays.
Visiting several amazing locations in one holiday
Don’t place yourself in one location with the only escape being your flight home, we can take you from the beautiful island of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea to the Grossglockner Glacier in Austria within days of each other.
The value of a coach holiday simply doesn’t compare to an air holiday. Multiple destinations, luxury travel and inclusive meals for less than some plane tickets? What’s not to like?
Why don’t you pop over to our Facebook page and get involved with our Apprentice style task, put together your perfect 5 day tour!
You can also see what our brand new coach, launching in 2015, Luxuria has to offer by clicking here.
The Apprentice, Wednesday nights at 9pm, BBC1
Leger Holidays are proud to present our NEW and innovative Luxuria coach.
In 2003 when we first introduced Silver Service we set the standard for added comfort and style when travelling across Europe. Many of you have been asking “What next?”…the answer is Luxuria – the next level in escorted touring travel.
Luxuria takes coach travel to the next level of comfort, it only seats 31 passengers in rows of three, meaning significantly wider seats and extra leg room.
The deluxe armchair-style seats, some with tables, also feature retractable calf rests, fully-interactive personal touch screen TV’s, offering a wide choice of movies, T.V programmes and music so you can watch what you want when you want.
For added comfort there are cup holders along with USB and UK plug charging points. Refreshments are also available on board and porterage is offered at most hotels.
Another standout feature of Luxuria is the selection of double and single seats, including four seats face to face with tables. On each row there are just three seats rather than the usual four, meaning each armchair-style luxury seat is wider and with more personal space around it for a more comfortable journey. And with up to 7 single seats available, these are likely to be very popular with single travellers and those who enjoy their own personal space.
For more information regarding the new service and the tours Luxuria will feature on please visit our dedicated website page here.