Malvern Hills

Group-friendly tour operators and attractions let us in on what’s forecast to be popular in the coming year, plus recommend a few of their favourite destinations for groups.

Locations looking to prove popular in the UK next year range from Worcestershire to Edinburgh. Gavin Davies, managing director for Groups Direct picked out the Malvern Hills (pictured) as a hot spot for next year, which he said is easily enjoyed on a two-day break with the group tour agency.

“This getaway takes you to the Hillside Brewery for tea and cake before enjoying a tasting session at the brewery followed by locally produced sausage and mash,” said Gavin. “Afterwards taste gin and cheese at a fantastic farmer’s market before wine tasting over a three-course dinner at the hotel.  The next day make your own Christmas pudding, before finishing your two-day tour at the Boat House for a unique English tapas experience.”

Also favouring a UK destination was John Gallery, who chose ‘Herriot Country’ in North Yorkshire. The vice-chairman for Herriot Country Tourism explained that the area, associated with author Alf Wight of All Creatures Great and Small fame, offers group visits to the North Yorkshire locations that feature in the books, films and the television series.

He pointed out that interest in the area continues to grow with the showing of Channel 5 television series, the Yorkshire Vet - arrangements can be made for groups next year to even meet one of the vets during a visit.

Another UK recommendation came from Carrieann Smith, senior group bookings assistant at David Urquhart Travel, who suggested Edinburgh because there’s ‘always something going on’.


Pictured: Streets in Edinburgh.

“In winter, festive markets fill the streets with traditional Christmas stalls selling unique handmade gifts and a fairground,” she said. “In the summer, the famous Fringe Festival features displays of dance, music and comedy all set in the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle. This is also the setting for the world famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, which will commemorate the Royal Air Force Centenary year in 2018.”

Tricia Regan, sales manager for South Quay Travel & Leisure, looked beyond the UK to Seville in Spain.

“Seville has been popular this year and is set to extend into 2018 as it continues to celebrate its Baroque artistic heritage and renaissance of the city,” she told Group Leisure & Travel. “I’ve heard great feedback, and there has never been a better time to visit. My love affair with Spain goes way back and the Andalusian capital is next on the radar, for sure.”

Uganda also made the list for group trip ideas for 2018, recommended by Lesley Harris, the managing director of Venture Uganda Travel.

She said: “Uganda is such a diverse country. It has amazing biodiversity including the thrilling mountain gorillas, is one of the world’s top birding destinations, is a cultural cornucopia with over 50 tribes, offers endless hiking opportunities with spectacular scenery and boasts a vibrant capital city but most notable are the friendly people.”

Also forecasting a great group trip overseas was Rebecca Rowland, group sales consultant for Travelsphere Groups.

She said: “Our favourite European destination is Italy and in particular Tuscany – this beautiful region really should be on everyone’s “must-see” list! The stunning cities of Siena, Florence & Pisa and the pretty hilltop towns of San Gimignano and Chianti together with the wonderful wines and extensive artistic heritage make Tuscany a place you’ll want to revisit again and again!”


Pictured: Vineyards in Tuscany.

And Glen Thomas, this year’s Excellence Award winner at the Group Leisure & Travel Awards and head of group sales at G Adventures, chose South America.

“It’s home to some of the planet’s most stunning landscapes and the highlight for us is Peru,” said Glen. “On an Amazon to the Andes small group tour you can experience the wonder of the awe-inspiring Macchu Picchu, venture into the Amazon jungle to see its wildlife from the comfort of an intimate, exclusive lodge and enjoy a guided tour of Ollantaytambo and the Sacred Valley.”

Where will you go next year?  What group trips have you got on your radar? Let us know by e-mailing – we’d love to hear from you.