Steve Reed Tourism was established in 1999, and since then Steve himself has been a major contributor to increasing tourism and attracting groups to destinations and attractions within the UK
Steve’s passion for the industry is clear to see for anyone who has had the pleasure of working with him, or meeting him at one of the many familiarisation trips he has arranged up and down the country over the past few years.
I recently had the pleasure of attending the final day of the Worcestershire and Shropshire showcase which took place 11– 13 May, with the day starting at the Birmingham Airport Holiday Inn (☎0871 781 6713). The day started with a useful and informative meet the Buyer Workshop at the Hotel which was attended by a host of attractions, including Coventry Transport Museum, Coventry Cathedral, Severn Valley Railway, English Heritage, and Blue Badge Guide Roger Bailey to name a few, Roger I will come back to shortly, as he played a key part in the day!
Upon conclusion of the Workshop we headed off on the coach, with transport provided by Johnson’s Coaches (☎01564 797000) with Simon Hand at the wheel. Steve Reed had arranged for our group to be assisted on the journey by Roger Bailey, a Blue Badge Guide based in the Midlands (☎02476 69 1212), and with years of experience to keep us informed en-route to each venue.Roger has a wealth of information stored away, and would be highly recommended if you are looking for a first class Blue Badge Guide to work with when visiting central England. Our first visit of the day was to take us to the superb West Midlands Safari Park (☎01299 402114) situated just outside of Kidderminster. The park itself is now 40 years old, and it is clear to see that your coach party would be more than looked after, with packages and prices to suit all budgets. Our group of around 28 people was met on the coach by Sue Day, the Parks very own Guest Relations Officer who provides a meet and greet service for coach groups. Sue welcomed us all to the Park, and took us up to Springrove House, a beautiful Georgian House built in the late1700’s in a 200 acre site, with the safari Park itself established back in 1973. The Park is very much geared towards conservation and preserving Animals that can no longer be found in the Wild. You would be more than satisfied with an action packed day full of things to do. We set off on the 4 mile drive through Safari, which gives you a great opportunity to get up close to the huge selection of animals based in the various Reserves, with the superb White Lions a must see. Your coach party can arrange in advance to have one of the Parks Guides on-board, and this really is a must, as you earn so much information about the animals and the superb work that the Park does today. West Midlands Safari Park has so much more than the drive through Safari to offer, the Park also has an excellent Ride’s section, Seal Shows, and VIP experiences. Lunch for your group can be provided at Springrove House if booked in advance, and that’s where our group headed before leaving the Park and heading to our second visit of the day to the Severn Valley Railway.
We headed off to the Station at Bewdley, the second Station on the line. The Severn Valley Railway (☎01299 403816) is now approximately 43 years old, and covers an incredible 16 miles of track. Your group would again be well looked after, and a trip on the Railway gives you a chance to take in the superb Countryside and views, The Railway itself wouldn’t run so smoothly without the superb hours and dedication given by their team of over 1,400 volunteers, who cover everything from driving the trains down to ensuring your Group can get the best package for them from the Ticket Office, the team really are passionate about what they do, and the experience of riding on the Steam Train in carriages dating back to the1930’s make this a must for any coach operators looking to take their groups on an unforgettable journey into how things used to be in times gone by. Having pulled into Bridgnorth Station our Coach was waiting for us to take us onto our final visit of the day to the superb Ironbridge Gorge.
Ironbridge Gorge (☎01952 435900) has a total of 10 Museums spread across a huge area.Our group visited one of the Museums, Bliss Hill Victorian Village, where visitors really do take a step back in time into an actual Victorian village, complete with some superb shops, an old fashioned English Pub, Lloyds Bank and a fascinating visit to the Candlemakers, who showed some of our Group how candles were made in Victorian times. The Candlemaker explained the simple technique used for making Candles, and how a typical Candlemaker would work for 16 hours a day, 6 days a week.
This however wasn’t all doom and gloom with the money earned being approximately £45.00 a week, enough to buy a terraced house in the old days. Ironbridge really does have a huge amount to offer coach groups, whilst our visit was only short and took in a small part of the attraction, you would need to allow plenty of time to get around everything on offer, with the Tile Museum and Tar Tunnel recommended by our Guide, Roger Bailey. Our group returned to the coach before taking a short trip to view the Ironbridge itself, and then set off back through the traffic to return to our starting point at the Birmingham Airport Holiday Inn.
To summarise, Steve Reed Tourism’s Familiarisation visits are well worth attending if you are a coach operator, the trips give you a real insight as to what your group can expect, and allow you to experience areas and attractions yourself before promoting them to your customers.
For more information on future events contact Steve Reed at Steve Reed Tourism
on Tel: 01420 560288 or visit his website at www.stevereedtourism.co.uk
Article by Matthew Inglis
Coach Tours UK Magazine