Powys Castle, Wales. Photo by Paul Coopersmith
Q.Who goes on your trips?
COOPERSMITH'S clients come from all over North America—with
a few from Europe and elsewhere. Ages typically range from thirties
to around eighty, with an average age of around sixty-five. Though
some of our clients are professionals in the landscaping/gardening
fields, most come from a variety of vocational backgrounds. Approximately
one-third to one-half the members of any given tour are "solo travelers."
And while women invariably outnumber men, we have noticed a marked
increase in male travelers in recent years.
I'm used to going places on my own. Why go on a COOPERSMITH'S tour?
To begin with we'll save you a considerable
amount of time and effort, before and during the tour, by doing
all the research and legwork ourselves. All you need to do is show
up each morning—we'll take care of the rest. We make use of the
best hotels, country inns and restaurants. Our drivers know the
most interesting and scenic routes. Our experience and the many
contacts we have made over the years enable us to gain entrance
into gardens and stately homes that rarely, if ever, open to the
public. Our tour leaders help you understand and appreciate the
sights, culture, history and people. And your fellow tour members,
often with many of the same interests as your own, provide the sort
of companionship that will enrich and enliven your journey.
What is a typical day like on one of your garden tours or fine arts
After a leisurely breakfast, we board the motorcoach at 9 or 9.30.
We then proceed to visit two or three gardens, stately homes
and/or museums, with lunch in a village pub, cafe or garden restaurant,
before returning to the hotel around 5. Some evenings we dine as
a group, sitting at tables of four or five, in our hotel dining
room or at a nearby gourmet restaurant. Every two or three days,
we have a free evening: a chance for tour members to choose their
own restaurant, or simply enjoy a quiet evening "at home."
Bloomfield House, Christchurch, New Zealand.
Photo by Suzanne Parker
Is there any free time during the day?
On most tours we schedule one or two half days of free time. Those members
who wish to have more time off can easily arrange it, given that
our average hotel-stay is three or four nights. Just let your tour
escort know the night before that you'll be on your own the following
day. (And of course he or she will be happy to help you rent a car,
find out what's on at the local theater, suggest a scenic walk,
cozy village pub, or some special off-the-beaten-path attraction.)
Who leads your tours?
Our British, Japanese and New Zealand excursions are led by tour
escorts native to those countries; our Continental trips by either
British or European tour leaders who have lived and worked in that
particular country. Our guides are not horticulturists, per se,
though they are well acquainted with the gardens to be visited.
More importantly, they have a broad knowledge of each country and
its people, history, culture and fine arts, plus many years' experience
leading upscale, special-interest tours.
We have been specializing
in garden and manor house tours of the British Isles,
Europe, New Zealand & Japan since 1984considerably
longer than any other North American-based company.
All our tour leaders typically have at least ten years' experience in the field. Most are native to the countries in which they lead. All are extremely knowledgeable and resourceful, and are a pleasure to travel with.
We use only the finest manor
house hotels and historic country inns. Our accommodations
include Cragwood Country House Hotel in Windermere,
which consistently rates among TripAdvisor.com's top
three hotels in the entire Lake District; and The
Royal Hotel on the Isle of Wight, one of only thirty
establishments to appear in every Michelin Guide since
it was first published in 1911.
I will be joining the tour as a “solo” member. Why do I have to
pay a “single supplement”?
The main reason why tour companies charge “single supplements” is
that most hotel prices are on a per room, rather than per person,
basis. So even though you’re just one person, using one pair of
sheets and towels, and having just one breakfast, per day, we may
have to pay nearly as much for your accommodations as we would for
two people sharing a room.
way in which our tours differ from most others is that many of the
rooms we obtain for single occupancy are full size double rooms,
oftentimes with a queen- or king-size bed, and lots of space to
move around in. One might expect this in most American hotels; but
in Britain and the Continent, single occupancy rooms are often not
much larger than walk-in closets!
alternative to paying the single supplement is sharing a room with
another tour member. If you are open to this idea, we will strive
to pair you with an appropriate fellow traveler.
I’ve found other garden tours that cost less than COOPERSMITH'S.
Why do yours cost more?
While it’s true that some of our tours are priced higher than the
average, we believe—-and have been told repeatedly by our
clients—-that we offer excellent value for money.
mentioned above, our groups stay at world-class country inns and
stately homes, while dining at topnotch hotels and gourmet restaurants.
We routinely use motorcoaches that are large enough to guarantee
each tour member a window seat, if he or she so chooses. When we
visit an estate where separate fees are charged for entrance into
the house and the garden, you get to visit both, rather than just
one or the other. Our tour leaders—-the best in the business—-are
encouraged to add in extra visits, when time permits, to gardens,
stately homes, museums, etc., at no extra cost to tour members.
all, when you travel with COOPERSMITH'S you know you’re in the best
of hands—-being looked after by a family-owned company established
in 1984, committed to the enjoyment, comfort, and safety of its
clients, and recognized internationally as a leader in its field.