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Back Roads Touring

Back -
Roads
Touring

Small Group Tours

EXPERIENCE THE BACK-ROADS DIFFERENCE

With over 25 years experience in small group and tailor-made tours across the UK and Europe, Back-Roads Touring is truly the original small group touring company.

By limiting the group sizes to a maximum of 18 passengers (22 on the Charming Waterways program), they are experts at providing a friendly, relaxed, and flexible form of touring. In fact, their belief in the advantages of small group travel underpins everything that they do – from the type of vehicles that they use, to the places they visit, and the accommodation that they hand-select. In many ways, it couldn’t be further from a typical coach touring experience...read more


a few of our Favorites FOR YOUR NEXT VACATION

A Scottish Journey

Towering mountains and enchanting lochs. Dramatic cliff-top castles and hideaway villages

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Corners of Cornwall

From windswept moors and wild coastlines to historic cities and picture-perfect fishing villages...

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Tuscan Treats

A rich tapestry of idyllic countryside and ancient towns, beautiful architecture and delectable food.

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THE BACK-ROADS
DIFFERENCE

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Most of the groups travel in purpose-built Mercedes Benz Sprinters that have been converted to the highest of European standards, with many boasting leather seats, fridges and panoramic windows and roofs. Unlike conventional large coaches, their mini-coaches can go almost anywhere a car can go. So as part of a Back-Roads tour you can reach places that conventional coach touring groups can only dream of. From exploring the heart of medieval towns and villages, to enjoying the scenery along narrow, hedge-lined Cornish lanes, you can be assured that Back-Roads Touring will take you beyond the tourist facade to experience an unparalleled balance of renowned and lesser known sites.

But the advantages of travelling the Back-Roads way do not stop at their vehicles. As part of a smaller, select group they can open doors for you in all sorts of unexpected ways. Thanks to their small group philosophy, Back-Roads Touring can offer you a handpicked portfolio of Boutique Accommodation. Forget large chain hotels, with Back-Roads Touring you will enjoy small, intimate properties full of local character. No two hotels are the same and so prepare yourself for trips that include stays in traditional hostelries, medieval and renaissance castles, and fine country estates.

Also look out for their Culinary Experiences. With a maximum of 18 people in each Back-Roads group, they can schedule meals in authentic local locations. Whether it’s lunch at Rick Stein’s iconic Seafood Restaurant, or enjoying a captain’s dinner on a private Croatian yacht, you can be sure that your Back-Roads program will be a delight for your palate too!

Keeping to small groups also allows them to set a more relaxed pace - after all, the tour is your holiday so no long drives and no early starts. They also build in plenty of free time to ensure that you have the chance to see things for yourself, socialize with other members of your group, and to get to know your knowledgeable Back-Roads Tour Leader.

So, explore the UK and Europe the Back-Roads way and discover that there is no better way to travel.

A Scottish Journey

SCOTLAND


Towering mountains and enchanting lochs. Dramatic cliff-top castles and hideaway villages. Infamous battles and inexplicable legends. We journey up and down Scotland, from coastal cities to Hebridean Islands, seeking out one-of-a-kind landscapes, mesmerising history and undeniable charm.


Overview

Enjoy a private tour of Scotland’s most enigmatic castles. Enjoy an insightful whisky talk and tasting. Become an islander with two nights on the stunning Isle of Skye and the striking Isle of Mull.

Tour Inclusions

-7 nights in boutique accommodations
-Experienced Back-Roads Driver & Tour Leader
-Premium mini-coach transportation
-Ferry crossings
-Full Scottish breakfast daily (B), 1 seafood lunch (L), 4 evening meals (D)
-Entrance included to: St Andrews University, Cawdor Castle, Clava Cairns, Culloden, Iona Abbey & Nunnery, Macquaries Mausoleum, Duart Castle and Stirling Castle


ITINERARY SUMMARY

DAY 1 :
EDINBURGH – ST ANDREWS – BALLATER

Old seafaring villages, mysterious ruins and a royal love story introduces us to Scotland. We begin by travelling through towering mountains and East Neuk fishing villages before we arrive in St Andrews, a tiny town with a big reputation for world-class golf and Scotland’s oldest university. To end our day, we meet with Ballater and enjoy a delicious welcome dinner together. (D)

DAY 2 :
BALLATER – CAWDOR CASTLE – CULLODEN – INVERNESS

Our day begins in a dramatic fashion as we travel on through the awe-inspiring scenery and arrive at the Cawdor Castle. After an insightful morning, we visit Clava Cairns and observe the historic tombs and the Culloden Visitor Centre before reaching our final destination, Inverness. (B,D)

DAY 3 :
INVERNESS

We’ve had an exciting start to the week! This morning we embark on a walking tour around Inverness with your Back-Roads Tour Leader, then the rest of the day is at your leisure to enjoy. (B)

DAY 4 :
INVERNESS – LOCH NESS – PLOCKTON – ISLE OF SKYE

We can’t come here and not dip our toes in the Loch Ness legend. While we may not spy the eponymous ‘Loch Ness Monster’, we will discover the staggering sight of a deep, mirror-like loch. Our pre-lunch entertainment offers a visit to Plockton, where painted cottages are clustered around a little harbour. With our appetites for the outdoors whetted, we sit down to a seafood lunch in Kyle of Lochalsh, Wester Ross. Today’s final drive is to the Isle of Skye, where we’ll be for two nights. (B,L)

DAY 5 :
ISLE OF SKYE

Sensational landscapes, rare wildlife and imagination-firing history – Skye delivers on every level. This is North Highland scenery on a grand scale and we immerse ourselves in its unique geology, including the extraordinary Quiraing, Kilt Rock and Old Man of Storr. Of course, no visit would be complete without a dram of island-made whisky, which we sip during a whisky talk and tasting at the hotel. (B,D)

DAY 6 :
ISLE OF SKYE – FORT WILLIAM – ISLE OF MULL

Continuing our journey through soul-stirring Scottish scenery, we visit Fort William – a magnet for outdoor enthusiasts. Next, there’s just a short ferry ride to the Isle of Mull. (B)

DAY 7 :
ISLE OF MULL – ISLE OF IONA – ISLE OF MULL

The best way to see the Hebrides is by island hopping, and today we do just that. From Mull’s little village of Fionnphort we sail to Iona, a gem of an island with exquisite natural beauty. It’s a serene spot for a wander, which takes us to Iona Abbey and Nunnery. When we return to Mull we’ll have our history hats on and visit the Macquaries Museums and peek inside the Duart Castle which offers grand staterooms and empty dungeons. This craggy fortress, clinging to a coastal cliff is the oldest inhabited castle on the island. We then return to the warm welcome of our hotel and share a final group dinner together. (B,D)

DAY 8 :
ISLE OF MULL – STIRLING – EDINBURGH

Taking to the sea once again we return to the mainland. It’s been a tour delving deep in Scotland’s heritage, so it’s only right we finish with a stop via Stirling. A walk through the old town brings us to the magnificent hilltop castle. As one of Scotland’s most impressive and important monuments, it’s the perfect end to our tour before we arrive back in Edinburgh. (B)

Corners of Cornwall

ENGLAND


From windswept moors and wild coastlines to historic cities and picture-perfect fishing villages, the county of Cornwall is sure to impress. Discover the maritime heritage, rural beauty and culinary pride of western England.


Overview

Savour lunch at Rick Stein’s signature ‘The Seafood Restaurant’ in Padstow. Get the inside story on Cornwall’s largest private estate on a private guided tour. Enjoy a two-night stay in Falmouth, a historic port town set on one of the world’s largest natural harbours

Tour Inclusions

-6 nights in boutique accommodations
-Experienced Back-Roads Driver & Tour Leader
-Premium mini-coach transportation
-Daily full English breakfast (B) 4 evening meals (D)
-Full Scottish breakfast daily (B), 1 seafood lunch (L), 4 evening meals (D)
-1 lunch at Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant (L)
-Entrance included to: St Michael’s Mount, Salisbury Cathedral entrance donation, private guided tour of Tregothnan Estate, Harbour Heritage Museum, Wells Cathedral, Polperro Heritage Centre


ITINERARY SUMMARY

DAY 1 :
LONDON – WELLS – DARTMOOR NATIONAL PARK

From London, we set off on our adventure where our first stop is the tiny market city of Wells, known for its Gothic cathedral with a quirky clock and peaceful Vicar’s Close. From Wells, our path takes us from the quaint country lanes of Somerset to the heather and gorse-clad tors of Dartmoor National Park. Before the day is out, enjoy a welcome dinner together. (D)

DAY 2 :
DARTMOOR NATIONAL PARK – PORT ISAAC – PADSTOW – FALMOUTH

Today we leave Dartmoor for the sheer cliffs of Cornwall’s northern coast – a gourmet feast set firmly in our sights. For an appetiser, there’s a stroll around Port Isaac, the fishing village made famous by television series, Doc Martin. Next, it’s onwards to the main course: a leisurely lunch at ‘The Seafood Restaurant’ – Rick Stein’s flagship restaurant in Padstow. Pick from a menu of fresh-off-the-boat Cornish seafood and international favourites such as Atlantic Crab. Then it's time to take it easy as we travel further west to Falmouth, where our day ends. (B,L)

DAY 3 :
FALMOUTH – ST MICHAEL'S MOUNT – ST IVES –– FALMOUTH

After a hearty breakfast, we drive to St Michael’s Mount, a tidal island just off the coast from Penzance. Stepping ashore in the buzzing village, we witness life through the eyes of the islanders and explore the medieval castle, brimming with treasures and stories from the past. Next, we visit one of England’s prettiest towns, St Ives before we end our day in Falmouth where you can enjoy your evening at leisure. (B)

DAY 4 :
FALMOUTH – TREGOTHNAN – FOWEY

There’s a treat for the green-fingered as we set off to explore Tregothnan – Cornwall’s largest estate and the historic seat of the Boscawen family. A member of the gardening team gives us a private tour of the grounds and the tea plantation, where we learn all about tea grown in England. We then make our way to Fowey, a historic town that hugs the steep banks of the Fowey estuary, before settling into our hotel and enjoying dinner. (B,D)

DAY 5 :
FOWEY

We have no set plans today, leaving you free to explore Fowey at your leisure. (B)

DAY 6 :
FOWEY – LYME REGIS – HAWKCHURCH

Leaving Fowey, we make our way along the south Cornish coast, with a stop at Polperro fishing village before we leave the county behind us. After visiting magnificent Buckfast Abbey in south Devon, our road takes us to the green hills and golden sandstone cliffs of Dorset, before continuing to Lyme Regis where we walk in the footsteps of Jane Austen’s heroines. Tonight we hang up our hats in Hawkchurch for a farewell dinner together. (B,D)

DAY 7 :
HAWKCHURCH – SALISBURY – LONDON

The adventure isn’t over just yet. Our last scenic jaunt takes us along the Old Roman road to Salisbury, set in ancient landscape of grass plains and rolling downs. From a town steeped in history to a modern metropolis, we arrive back in London, where our tour ends. (B)

Tuscan
Treats

ITALY


A rich tapestry of idyllic countryside and ancient towns, beautiful architecture and delectable food. On our Tuscany tour you’ll seek out world-renowned treasures and hidden gems, turn into a culinary connoisseur and fall head over heels for this exquisite Italian region.


Overview

Take in UNESCO World Heritage sites – from the Cinque Terre to Siena. Unlock the secrets of Tuscan cuisine with wine tastings and an exclusive cookery class.Stay in a country house in the Tuscan Hills.

Tour Inclusions

-6 nights in boutique accommodations
-Experienced Back-Roads Driver & Tour Leader
-Local guide in Florence
-Premium mini-coach transportation
-European breakfast daily (B), 2 lunches (L), 3 evening meals (D)
-Wine tastings
-Tuscan cooking class
-Olive oil tasting
-Pecorino cheese & wine tasting
-Entrance included to: Cinque Terre Card, Baptistery of St John in Pisa, Cathedral of Siena


ITINERARY SUMMARY

DAY 1 :
FLORENCE – LUCCA

Your introduction to Italy involves an in-depth guided walking tour of Florence. But, before we get too comfortable in Florence, it’s off to leafy Lucca – where cobbled streets and red-roofed buildings make up the first stop on our journey. When we reach Lucca, unwrap layer upon layer of fascinating history and fine architecture as we go beyond its city walls. Tonight, we come together for the first of our delicious dinners at a local osteria. (D)

DAY 2 :
LUCCA – CINQUE TERRE – LUCCA

Rocky coastline. Romantic, sugared almond-coloured villages. It’s time to take the road less travelled along the more remote parts of the Italian Riviera’s sublime shoreline. Our route brings us to the Cinque Terre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a tour highlight. We explore villages dotted along this secluded stretch and marvel at the breathtaking scenery surrounding us. After time spent discovering this beautiful area, we return to Lucca in time for dinner. (B)

DAY 3 :
LUCCA – PISA – VOLTERRA

Infamous and impossible to miss, Pisa’s Leaning Tower is a staggering sight – and our first point of call today. Afterwards, we travel on to Volterra where you have the chance to explore the town at your own leisure. Perched on a plateau, this magnificent and mysterious medieval walled town is our home for the night – but before bed beckons, there’s plenty of time for you to discover its charismatic character. (B)

DAY 4 :
VOLTERRA – SAN GIMIGNANO – SIENA – PIENZA

A magnificent piazza. Meandering stepped streets. Throw in beautifully preserved architecture and a sensational location, and you have San Gimignano where we make time to visit Gelateria Dondoli, home to a master gelato maker and carry on to Fattoria San Donato for an indulgent wine tasting, complete with bruschetta and local meats. After taking in the city’s head-turning historic centre, we continue to Pienza with a stop via Siena. Tonight, the evening is all yours. (B)

DAY 5 :
PIENZA – TUSCANY

Its timeless charm and enchanting rural backdrop make Pienza a serene spot to spend this morning on foot with your Tour Leader, before we continue our journey to sample handcrafted pecorino cheese and world-class wine. Driving onwards through the Chianti countryside, another gem awaits – a Tuscan country house that we’ll call home for the next two nights. (B,D)

DAY 6 :
TUSCANY

Rise and shine as your invitation to the kitchen awaits, where we roll up our sleeves and don aprons. The villa’s chef treats us to an exclusive lesson in making Tuscan delicacies, sharing all the secrets, and then we sit down to savour the fruits of our labours for lunch. (B,L,D)

DAY 7 :
TUSCANY – FLORENCE

While we have to say goodbye to our villa this morning and we reach the final day of our trip, there’s one more treat in store: a stop-off at an oil mill for a guided tour, olive oil tasting and light lunch. All in all, it’s a fitting end to our tour that has celebrated the natural beauty and culinary traditions of Tuscany, and that ends back in romantic Florence. (B,L)