Groups can get more in the Heart of England

Date Posted: 11/12/2011

Here we look at what’s happening in Warwickshire for groups in 2012.

Warwickshire is awash with things to see and do, but keeping track of the choice on offer isn’t always easy. There are events and festivals to consider, as well as attractions gearing up to offer groups even more benefits. It’s easy to see why it’s one of the most popular areas for tourism in England.

A name that springs to mind when thinking about Warwickshire is of course, William Shakespeare. But the bard’s reach stretches far beyond the borders of Stratford-upon-Avon, and no more so than in 2012 when groups can look forward to the World Shakespeare Festival in to celebrate Shakespeare as the world’s playwright. The festival runs from the 23rd April to November and will deliver an unprecedented collaboration between leading UK and international arts organisations, produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company, and with Globe to Globe, a major international programme produced by Shakespeare’s Globe.

Thousands of artists from around the world will take part in almost 70 productions, which will also help form parts of the London 2012 Festival, which is the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad, bringing leading artists from all over the world together in a UK-wide festival next summer.

The Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival is good for groups that want to combine a visit to this historic town with a literary festival event. Past speakers have included the likes of Patricia Routledge to Celia Imrie, John Simpson, Wendy Cope, Jeffrey Archer and many more. Dates for the 2012 Festival are the 22nd to the 28th April.
Whilst in Warwickshire why not plan a day visit to the city of Coventry? Steeped in a rich cultural history you can take in the historic Coventry Cathedral famously redesigned after the city's bombing by Sir Basil Spence. Extend your visit by exploring the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum directly opposite; a £20 million redeveloped cultural venue with completely free admission. Explore the history of Coventry, the legend of Godiva or even visit one of the many international touring art exhibitions.

The Compton Verney art gallery (pictured above) offers a number of group benefits for pre-booked parties of 15 or more people in 2012, including free admission for organisers, discounted admission, free introductory talk, exclusive tours, discounted menus, reserved seating in the café, special offers in the shop and a free group organisers pack.  The art gallery will host some exciting exhibitions in next year, including Gainsborough’s landscapes which runs from the 31st March to 10th June, although groups can have exclusive access to the gallery prior to public opening and be the first to see the exhibition from 11th February until 25th March. Into the light: French and British painting from Impressionism to the early 1920s runs from 31st March to 10th June. This exhibition surveys the production of paintings on both sides of the Channel during this decisive period in the history of European art. It reveals connections and allows comparisons of their stunning depictions of the shifting of light over the landscape. Flight and the artistic imagination runs from 30th June to 7th October and provides an overview of artists’ responses to flight and how they have used it as a creative resource.

The Falstaff Experience Tudor World and Tutbury Castle in Stratford-upon-Avon are offering what they describe as the ultimate Tudor day out for groups in 2012 with ‘Elizabeth I to Shakespeare: On Royal Progress’. The day begins at Tutbury Castle where guests can enjoy the historic surroundings followed by a cream tea and a history talk by Elizabeth I played by television personality, historian and owner of Tutbury Castle, Lesley Smith. Guests will then go on ‘progress’ to the hometown of Elizabeth’s favourite playwright William Shakespeare. In Stratford your group will be able to enjoy a tour of the multi award-winning Falstaff Experience Tudor World and watch a small Shakespeare show. The cost of this day out with a difference is £18.50 per person (includes lunch at Tutbury Castle); and groups need to be a minimum of 25 people.

Finally, The Heritage Motor Centre is known as home to the world’s largest collection of historic British Motor cars. With over 180 vehicles on display and set within 65 acres, the centre is situated at Gaydon, just five minutes off Junction 12 of the M40. The centre offers discounted entry for pre booked groups of 12 or more, along with organiser and driver benefits, café discounts, a personalised guided tour and ample free coach and car parking.

For coaches travelling on the M40, the HMC is offering a change from the normal comfort stops and inviting group travel organisers to use its toilet facilities and fully licensed café, and throwing in the added option of a 15 minute taster tour of the museum - all for free (pre-booking essential).

Being the year of the Olympics, the HMC will be celebrating motoring record breakers with a new exhibition opening on 11th February and running until 2nd September. Presenting things like some of the fastest British cars, the smallest, and the most economical, these will all be on show, along with a few more whacky motoring record breakers.
The HMC will also be celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee over the official Jubilee Weekend of the 2nd to the 5th June, with a display of Royal cars and the lighting of one of Her Majesty’s official Birthday Beacons on the evening of the 4th June.

The HMC is open daily from 10am to 5pm. Groups must have a minimum of 12 people and must be booked in advance. Entry is £8 per person with under 5s, event organiser(s) and the coach driver(s) gaining entry for free.


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