November 2023 – The NEC Motorcycle Show is well under way, great to see so many regulars & meet new folks – come & see us on stand 4A26 if you’re there.
We start with an empty shell…
Hours later we have our stand
Denise & Martin have been 8 times
Ken’s done 25 trips – WOW!!
“Parker”s done 14, Chris 11 trips
Ken’s done 3 trips – Tom’s not on the board!
Ron’s done 4 trips
Martin’s done 8 trips
Brothers Richard & Simon have done 6 trips
October 2023 – That’s it – season finished! The reviews are now all live under Testimonials – we had fantastic weather on the Monte Carlo or Bust! Tour that finished on 8 October – John’s birthday – see the photos below of his day out when we got home! 2024 tour dates have now been released – there’s an outline of our new Spanish Cities tour – we’ll be doing the usual research to finalise this in Feb 2024. We’ll be exhibiting at the NEC Motorcycle Show taking place from 18 – 26 November 2023, come & see us on stand 4A26 if you’re there. Sorry but no “Bash” this year as we couldn’t get a function room – maybe next year…Please note – it seems that the introduction of the ETIAS (European Travel Information & Authorisation System) has been put back even further to May 2025 so the visa waiver will not be necessary for travel to Europe next year.
He’s spoilt for choice!
They’re so cute!
September 2023 – The latest tour reviews are live under Testimonials – we had a sweltering 44C and a rainy 4C on the Italian Lakes & Swiss Alps Tour but what a fantastic group!! We’re trying to arrange 2024 tour dates but are struggling with hotel availability! We had hoped to run the Chateaux & Sancerre Wine Festival again but the hotels in Sancerre are already full!! Tour dates will be shown a.s.a.p. but at this stage it is unlikely that we’ll be running the Picos, Pyrenees & Volcanoes tour but the new Spanish Cities tour should be going ahead in late summer (cities to include the fabulous Salamanca (2 nights), Toledo, Segovia plus others) There’s a review of the first “Spain – Masked Guinea Pig Tour!” in July 2020 when we managed to get away during Covid but couldn’t go to Portugal so hastily arranged this instead. Sorry but we can’t do everything as we’re limited to 90 days in Europe!!
The group in Italy
Most of the group in Switzerland
July 2023 – The season is now well under way with Portugal & Spain, Black Forest & Vosges Mountains and 5×4 Tours all complete, the reviews are now live under “Testimonials”. John’s off to Colmar next & then Ireland while Jen has time with Otto (dog) & gardening! Some disappointing news to report – we discovered when we visited Boppard on the 5×4 Tour that the Rhine in Flames spectacle is unlikely to be held in the future due to the high cost of the firework displays and the increased risk of fires. As a definite decision is unlikely before March 2024 we’re unable to book the necessary hotel rooms and advertise this tour as the risk of it not taking place is too great. Apologies to anyone who has been considering doing this tour next year.
The group on the 5×4 Tour
The group on the Black Forest & Vosges Mountains Tour
The group on the Portugal & Spain Tour
June 2023 – The WW2 Extended Sights Tour and the Picos, Pyrennes & Volcanoes (in reverse!) Tour were a great start to the season, the reviews are now live under “Testimonials”. Off to Spain & Portugal next week, great to be back on the bikes on the brilliant roads abroad.
The WW2 group at the Gun Batteries
The Picos group in the Volcanoes
May 2023 – Well where have the last few months gone?! We’ve been on holiday, long walks with Otto – who came 2nd in a local dog show – & spent time gardening before the season begins. We’ve been out on the bikes a few times as our first tour starts next Sunday 14 May when John leads a group on the WW2 Extended Sights Tour. Looking forward to seeing everyone on the tours this year, lets hope we get better weather on the Continent than we have here at the moment!
Jen on her Suzuki GSXS1000
Otto came second
January 2023 – Happy New Year! We’ll be at the London ExCeL motorcycle show 17 – 19 February 2023 so do come along and see us (just John!) if you’re there.
Visit us on Stand R372
See you there!
December 2022 – Back from a week in The Gambia – what a contrast – 30 degrees sunshine to minus 3 ice !! We wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year – see you in 2023 !!
November 2022 – The NEC show has finished – hurray! It was great that so many regulars visited our stand and hopefully we have attracted some new customers to join our merry band! The “Bash” was again a huge success thanks to everyone’s participation in filling the dance floor! Lots of photos below. Off on holiday for a week then John will send out a newsletter with the latest availability.
We start with an empty shell
Work in progress…
Hours later – our finished stand!
Chris & Cath have been 8 times
Sarah’s changed a bit!!!
Dick & Sarah with John
David’s been 12 times
David – 6 times, Brenda 4
“Parker” 14, Chris 11, Pete 6
Sorry Geoff & Ian – 3 trips required!
John 7, Rob 6
Nigel’s been 18 times!!!
Janet’s been 10 times
We always have a giggle!!
Us with Nigel & Janet, John & Jackie
More – Phil, Paul & Tana, Karen, Paul & Pauline
Paul’s been 10 times too
We hit the dance floor
Rees with Pete
Sue & Jen
Lynne & Stuart with Jen
Andy’s in there…
Lynne & Stuart
Fran & Terry
Lizzie & Clive with Jen
Tana & Paul
Ros has done it!
What a great night! Apologies for not taking photos of everyone who came on the stand – especially Ken on 23 trips!!! We look forward to seeing many of you on trips next year.
October 2022 – The season has finished with the final Portugal & Spain Tour being a huge success, the review is now live under Testimonials. We’ve released 2023 Tour dates which are all now showing on the Fully Guided Tours page. We’re exhibiting again at the NEC Motorcycle Live Show which takes place from 19 – 27 November 2022 on stand 4A23 in Hall 4 – we look forward to seeing many of you there and on tours next year. There are a few places left for our “Bash” on Sat 26th November being held at a 3* Best Western Plus hotel in Solihull, prices are £170 in a double or twin room, £115 in a single room to include B&B, 3 course dinner & live DJ.
August 2022 – The Champagne Extravaganza and Rhine in Flames Tours were a huge success – the Testimonials are now live. Off to Italy & Switzerland next.
4 August 2022 – The EU have announced that the introduction of the new European Travel Information Authorisation System “ETIAS” (visa waiver system) has been put back to November 2023. This will be an on-line application with a small fee, valid for 3 years with unlimited visits to the EU – but still subject to not exceeding 90 days in any 180 days.
20 July 2022 – Reviews are now live for the Ireland (Wild Atlantic Way) Tour, Picos, Pyrenees & Volcanoes Tour, Portugal & Spain Tour and the two Black Forest & Vosges Mountains Tours. Colmar, Champagne & the Rhine in Flames are coming up next. There are 3 spaces on the Italian Lakes & Swiss Alps Tour running from 20 – 31 August 2022 – it’s a fantastic trip if you can get away…it’s great to be travelling again with virtually no Covid restrictions at all – come & join us & see what you’re missing!!
23 May 2022 – Our first tour of the season – Monte Carlo or Bust! – was very eventful to say the least! The review is now live under Testimonials. John is now over in Ireland with a group following the Wild Atlantic Way, review to follow soon.
The group in the Verdon Gorges
Most of us at the Millau Bridge
1 May 2022 – John exhibited for the first time at the Stafford Classic Motorbike Show – great to see some regulars there – and congratulations on their wedding to Garry & new wife Judith 🙂 Back to work next week as our first tour to Monte Carlo or Bust! starts on Sat 7 May, 22 of us hopefully heading for some sunshine!
Garry & Judith
Ron’s been 6 times!
15 April 2022 – Having been marked as FULL for ages we have just had a cancellation on the first Black Forest & Vosges Mountains Tour taking place 3 – 9 July 2022 – be quick – first come, first served!!
1 April 2022 – (updated July 2022) Well at last it feels like things are getting back to normal with the Monte Carlo or Bust! Tour packs ready to be sent out! The travel restrictions throughout Europe are now fairly standard so we have summarised the main requirements and noted any exceptions below:-
Fully vaccinated travellers – the NHS app is accepted evidence of this. The main vaccination course has a validity of 270 days but if you have then had a booster there is no expiry date for that.
Non-vaccinated travellers can present a negative PCR test (taken within 72 hours) or a negative antigen test (taken within 48 hours) – this must be a private test – NOT a self-administered NHS test – but see exceptions below:-
Non-vaccinated travellers may present a Proof of Recovery Certificate which is only valid for 6 months from the date of the positive test result.
You may be asked to complete an EU Passenger Locator Form (France & Italy at present) – link here EU-PLF Form
Spain no longer requires a PLF.
Germany – From 11 June 2022 there are no longer any Covid-19 related restrictions. You can travel to Germany for all travel purposes including tourism.
Ireland & Switzerland – no requirements whatsoever.
Returning to the UK – from 18 March 2022 there are no requirements whatsoever.
We’ll monitor these throughout the summer and note any changes. See you soon !!
22 March 2022 – John exhibited at the London ExCeL bike show back in February and will be exhibiting for the first time at the Stafford Classic Motorcycle Show taking place 23 – 24 April 2022. With most travel restrictions having been lifted we are looking forward to resuming our tours this year – there are some places still available so be quick – first come – first served!!
17 January 2022 – although this tour has been marked as FULL for many months there are now 2 places on the Monte Carlo or Bust! Tour taking place 7 – 15 May 2022 – further details can be found on the Fully Guided Tours page.
31 December 2021 – We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year.
December 2021 – belated photos of the NEC Motorbike show and the BN “Bash” – great to see so many guests at a brilliant party – thanks so much to everyone who came along and made it such a fun night. Numbers at the bike show were much lower than usual but hopefully those we did meet were serious about travelling & we’ll get to see many of you next year.
We start with an empty shell…
and many hours later…
we have our finished stand!
Jackie’s been 4 times (so far!)
Jen did the off-road experience!
The setting for our “Bash”
DJ & dancing
A game to start…
Steve wins the Prosecco!
Great to see so many guests…
After a really good dinner…
We all hit the dance floor…
30 November 2021 – Following the latest changes to travel regulations resulting from the new Covid variant and the possibility that there will be many more changes over the winter months the “Country Entry Requirements” as set out below (19 July) will NOT be updated until next Spring as I fear I will just be wasting my time!! (Jen).
30 November 2021 – Following the latest changes to travel regulations resulting from the new Covid variant and the possibility that there will be many more changes over the winter months the “Country Entry Requirements” as set out below (19 July) will NOT be updated until next Spring as I fear I will just be wasting my time!! (Jen).
29 October 2021 – The EU Commission has recognised the UK’s NHS Covid Pass and all fully-vaccinated UK travellers can now travel for non-essential purposes to all EU and Schengen area countries.
11 October 2021 – STOP PRESS! There will be another BN BASH on the evening of Saturday 4th December 2021 – the first day of the NEC bike show. It’s at a 4* hotel with swimming pool about 15 minutes from the NEC. We have reserved rooms and there will be a 3 course carvery, DJ and games. Cost is £80 pp in a double/twin room or £110 in a single room (breakfast included). Please let us know a.s.a.p. if you would like to attend as last time the event was sold out. Be there or be square!!!!
11 October 2021 – We’ll be at the NEC Bike Show as usual this year in Hall 4. The show runs from Sat 4 Dec to Sun 12 Dec – do come & see us if you’re there.
11 October 2021 – We’re back from the last tour of the year – the Autumn Glory review is now LIVE!
29 September 2021 – We’re back from our first “proper” tour this year to Portugal & Spain – it was great to be riding some fantastic roads with superb scenery & great weather. The review is now LIVE! While we were away we welcomed the news that from 4 October 2021 the pre-departure covid test to return to the UK will no longer be required – although the test to be taken within 2 days of return will still be necessary. Our final tour of the year – Autumn Glory – starts on Saturday.
9 September 2021 – Our tour to Ireland was a great success, the review is now live under Testimonials. Off to Portugal & Spain on Sunday – we can’t wait!!
27 August 2021 – Hurray!!! The latest Government travel announcement leaving Spain & Portugal on the Amber list means our tour scheduled for 13 September can go ahead for fully vaccinated travellers only – otherwise there are quarantine requirements when entering Portugal. Tour packs have been sent out & we can’t wait to be back riding the fantastic roads in Europe. Off to Ireland tomorrow for a week long tour as a quick replacement for the cancelled Italy & Switzerland Tour.
13 August 2021 – The FCDO no longer advises against all but essential travel to Italy.
9 August 2021 – We ran another great riding tour to Somerset & Wales in place of the cancelled second Black Forest Tour, the review is now live under Testimonials.
8 August 2021 – The Government has removed France from the “Amber Plus” list and placed it on the Amber list meaning that there is no longer a requirement to quarantine on returning to the UK. Entry requirements as detailed below have been updated.
29 July 2021 – The Italian Government has announced that the requirement for anyone who has been in the UK in the previous 10 days to quarantine for 5 days upon arrival in Italy has been extended until 30 August 2021 therefore unfortunately we have had to cancel the Italian Lakes & Swiss Alps Tour scheduled to start on 24 August 2021. Everyone booked on the Tour has been notified and we shall be running a 7 day Tour to Southern Ireland instead.
July 2021 – We ran a great 7 day tour to Somerset & Wales in place of the first cancelled Black Forest & Vosges Mountains Tour – the review is now live. We shall be running a second 6 day tour to Somerset & Wales starting on 1 August in place of the second cancelled Black Forest Tour.
July 2021 – Well the Government announcement on stating that France will NOT be included on the Amber list of countries which allow quarantine-free travel for the fully vaccinated has yet again scuppered our scheduled Tours. We have unfortunately had to cancel the next Black Forest & Vosges Mountains Tour and the Champagne Extravaganza Tour. We shall be contacting everyone booked on those Tours very shortly. For the Italian Lakes & Swiss Alps Tour scheduled to start on 24 August we shall wait until 1 August before making a decision in case circumstances change – again!
19 July 2021 – These regulations may now NOT be up to date following changes announced in November 2021. These will be updated in 2022 prior to the start of our touring season.
With effect from 19 July 2021 the FCDO will no longer be advising against travel to Amber list countries for leisure purposes (with some exceptions) so our Tours should be able to resume and your Travel Insurance should now cover your trip abroad. Taking the information from the Government FCDO website our understanding of the travel regulations are as follows:
UK: Returning to the UK from abroad there will no longer be a requirement to quarantine or take a PCR test on day 8 PROVIDED THAT you have had two Covid-19 vaccinations (the 2nd within the previous 14 days) and have not visited a Red list country in the previous 10 days. You DO have to complete a Passenger Locator Form “PLF” – link here – https://www.gov.uk/provide-journey-contact-details-before-travel-uk and show proof of your vaccination status. In order to do this you should download the NHS Covid Pass app – link here – https://www.nhs.uk/apps-library/nhs-app/ (NOT the NHS track & Trace app) as this will also be required for entry into most EU countries. From 4 October 2021 you no longer have to take a Covid test within 72 hours before your arrival in the UK. You do have to pre-book & pay for a Covid test to be taken on day 2 after your arrival – from 24 October this can be either a lateral flow or PCR test. We have sourced a Government approved testing company https://covid.randox.com/day-2/ The lateral flow test is £19.99 and by entering the code KLM there is a £5 discount available reducing the cost to £43 for the PCR test. You MUST pre-order this as details are have to be entered on the PLF. The free NHS testing kits are NOT ACCEPTABLE for any country entry requirements nor are the NHS vaccination appointment cards acceptable proof of vaccine. (If you are not fully vaccinated you will have to quarantine for 10 days and take a Covid test on day 2 and day 8 after your return). Returning from Southern Ireland – no PLF or testing is required.
July 2021 – IRELAND: The entry requirements are as follows: If you are NOT fully vaccinated you will need a negative PCR test and will have to quarantine for 14 days or 5 days with a further negative PCR test. Fully vaccinated travellers do not need to quarantine (provided you have not been to a high-risk country in the previous 14 days – see list here https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/b4020-travelling-to-ireland-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/#designated-states-mandatory-hotel-quarantine . You have to provide proof of your vaccination status (UK NHS app accepted) and you have to complete a Passenger Locator Form before departing the UK – link here https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/ab900-covid-19-passenger-locator-form/
July 2021 – FRANCE: The UK is on France’s Amber List. The entry requirements are as follows: If you are NOT fully vaccinated you can only travel for essential purposes, will have to quarantine for 7 days and then take another PCR test. Fully vaccinated travellers do not need to quarantine. From 18 July you no longer have to present a negative covid test result on arrival. You have to provide proof of your vaccination status and you have to complete a “Sworn Statement” link here is available in English https://www.interieur.gouv.fr/Actualites/L-actu-du-Ministere/Certificate-of-international-travel
July 2021 – GERMANY: The UK is a “high-incidence area” and as such the entry requirements are as follows: ONLY fully vaccinated travellers from the UK can enter Germany. You also have to complete a pre-departure digital registration form which needs proof of a negative PCR test or proof of vaccination (contradictory but this is on the FCDO website) – link here is available in English https://www.einreiseanmeldung.de/#/
July 2021 – SPAIN: The entry requirements are as follows: You EITHER have to present a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours prior to arrival (antigen test not accepted) OR provide proof of your vaccination status – NHS app accepted. You also have to complete a pre-travel declaration form – link here is available in English https://spthm.puertos.es/
July 2021 – PORTUGAL: The entry requirements are as follows: If you are NOT fully vaccinated you will have to quarantine for 14 days. Fully vaccinated travellers do not need to quarantine. You have to present a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours prior to arrival or a negative antigen test taken within 48 hours prior to arrival and provide proof of your vaccination status HOWEVER according to the Portuguese website “Servicio de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras” (Border Control) from 30 April 2021 there is freedom of movement for travellers between Spain & Portugal (as we shall be doing) and there is NO REQUIREMENT to show a negative Covid test. Passengers from the UK are not required to quarantine provided you have a vaccination certificate from the UK – the NHS app is acceptable. You also have to complete a pre-travel declaration form – link here for arrivals by land – https://travel.sef.pt/Forms/Form.aspx
July 2021 – ITALY: Update September 2021 – fully vaccinated travellers no longer have to quarantine upon arrival. The other entry requirements at the moment are as follows: You have to present a negative PCR test result or antigen test result taken within 48 hours prior to arrival. You have to provide proof of your vaccination status. You have to call the Covid-19 helpline to inform the region of your visit – link here – https://www.salute.gov.it/portale/nuovocoronavirus/dettaglioContenutiNuovoCoronavirus.jsp?lingua=english&id=5371&area=nuovoCoronavirus&menu=vuoto You also have to complete a digital localisation form – link here is available in English – https://app.euplf.eu/#/
July 2021 – SWITZERLAND: If you are not fully vaccinated you will have to quarantine for 10 days. From 26 June 2021 travellers from the UK can enter if fully vaccinated – no PCR test is required. You have to complete an on-line location form – link here – https://swissplf.admin.ch/home
July 2021 – BELGIUM: Updated September 2021 – The UK is currently on Belgium’s RED list and as such we can only travel there if fully vaccinated. There is no need to complete the PLF or take any tests if staying for less than 48 hours which is all we ever do on any of our tours. If you are not fully vaccinated you can only travel to Belgium for essential purposes and testing, quarantine and a PLF is required.
July 2021 – LUXEMBOURG: Updated September 2021 – according to the Swiss Government website UK nationals as defined by the EU Withdrawal Agreement are permitted entry to Luxembourg provided fully vaccinated. There are no border controls in force.
5 June 2021 – Well the latest Government announcement has scuppered even more Tours. We have had to cancel the Spain & Portugal Tour due to start on 14 June and also the Colmar trip following numerous cancellations. We have cancelled the Rhine in Flames as the River Cruise & Fireworks will not be taking place this year. Participants on the Black Forest Tour due to start on 4 July have been contacted and many have agreed to await the next travel list review just in case we can go at the last minute. As mentioned before, our T&C’s set out exactly what will happen to your money in the event that either you choose to cancel a booking or we have to cancel a Tour – please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
10 May 2021 – The Government announcement on 7 May 2021 unfortunately placed both France and Spain on the Amber travel list. Although it is permitted to travel to an Amber list country (subject to quarantine and PCR testing) the FCO guidance is that you should not travel there for leisure purposes. We shall therefore NOT be travelling to any country on the Amber list whilst the FCO advises against such travel. Our next scheduled tour is to Portugal & Spain with outward travel starting on 13 June 2021. We have looked into whether we can transit Spain to arrive in Portugal which is a Green list country but even transiting a country without stopping is treated as having been to that country and the same quarantine & testing is required. We saw Simon Calder on the Independent Live broadcast yesterday and in his opinion the next review of the travel lists will be announced between 1-4 June taking effect from 10-11 June 2021. He expects that France & Spain will be downgraded to the Green list and possibly the requirement for PCR tests downgraded to lateral flow tests. For the P&S Tour we have contacted all participants to either offer a refund if they wish to cancel or wait in the hope that we shall be able to run the tour – this may be with only a few days notice. We are contacting all the hotels to establish if they will hold our reservations until early June and trying to find out from either the hotels or tourist information offices how we would go about sourcing a PCR test if this is still required (Brittany Ferries are not able to provide any help at all!) Brittany Ferries will however allow customers to amend their tickets with 24 hours notice. Please bear with us & we will be in touch again shortly. For future tours – the next being to the Black Forest in Germany starting on 4 July – we shall await the next travel list review & contact participants then. As mentioned before, our T&C’s set out exactly what will happen to your money in the event that either you choose to cancel a booking or we have to cancel a Tour – please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
15 April 2021 – We are still here! With the details on International Travel still being very sketchy and unlikely to be clarified before 17 May we have unfortunately had to cancel the WW2 Tour and the Picos, Pyrenees & Volcanoes Tour. As all our Tours start in either France or Spain we have to hope that these countries will be on the “Green” list to allow us to travel. Obviously as soon as we know more we will post it here. As mentioned before, our T&C’s set out exactly what will happen to your money in the event that either you choose to cancel a booking or we have to cancel a Tour.
23 February 2021 – Following the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday that there can be no International Travel before 17 May 2021 we have unfortunately had to cancel the Monte Carlo or Bust! Tour scheduled for 8-16 May 2021. Everyone booked on the Tour will be contacted over the next few days. The PM also stated that a report on International Travel will be prepared the result of which will be announced on 12 April 2021. Until then we cannot forsee how other Tours may be affected. There is talk of a Vaccine Certificate which may permit International Travel – until more details are confirmed (e.g. potentially the need to have had two vaccinations) we cannot make any decisions. Our Terms & Conditions set out exactly what happens to your money in the event of cancellation by you the customer or us, please refer to these if you have any concerns or please contact us if you have any questions.
January 2021 – A belated Happy New Year to everyone, we hope you had an enjoyable Christmas & New Year in spite of all the restrictions. We have planned all the Tours for this year and already have lots of bookings – the availability is up to date. We can only hope that we will be able to travel but we do not have a crystal ball and have no idea at the moment whether restrictions will still be in place in May when our first Tour is scheduled. We have to follow the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) guidance and will obviously closely monitor the situation as the season approaches. We will make a decision as to whether a tour can proceed around 4 weeks prior to the start date. Our Advice page (under Bookings) has been updated with all relevant travel requirements post-Brexit. Our Terms & Conditions set out exactly what happens to your money in the event of cancellation by you the customer or us, please refer to these if you have any concerns or please contact us if you have any questions.
19 October 2020 – The sale of our French property Le Champ Masse has finally taken place – it only took just over 2 years. The end of the Bike Normandy era came with mixed emotions as although we love being here in Somerset we had a great time living and riding our bikes over there (was that work?) with some really memorable weekends over 16 years (the “Black Widows” wedding! Power cut & piano by torchlight; “Star in a Reasonably Priced Office Chair” Racing!! Quiz nights with the losers cycling to Chambois for the croissants! Spaghetti & marshmallow constructions; Disco nights; Pedalo racing; Gnomes; Spaniels, apples & cider making; Della on her bench; Otto nicking baguettes & spark-plugs!) just too many to mention them all and thanks to everyone who sent feedback with their memories. We look forward – hopefully – to seeing many of you again next year on the tours.
3 October 2020 – We’re now planning for next year and all our tour dates for 2021 are showing on our Fully Guided Tours page. We really hope that travel restrictions will be lifted so that we can enjoy a biking season again. We are taking bookings on the same terms as for this year – i.e. we shall only cancel a tour when it is clear that we cannot travel (probably around 4 weeks beforehand) – in which case you could either transfer any monies paid to a tour later in the year or we would refund any balances paid and transfer deposits to 2022. Please note: If you choose to cancel a booking for a tour in advance of us making a decision as to whether it will go ahead then our Terms & Conditions will apply. If anyone has any questions regarding this then please do not hesitate to contact us. On a separate note, the usual NEC motorbike show is not taking place this year. There will be a “virtual” show on-line – details to follow.
14 August 2020 –Well everyone survived the 5×4 (Five Nights in Four Countries) Tour by the skin of their teeth as we high tailed it out of Luxembourg and then Belgium before quarantine regulations came into force. The same for the new Colmar & Vosges Mountains Tour (replacing the cancelled Rhine in Flames Tour) as everyone (except us!) got back to the UK before quarantine rules were introduced. Unfortunately, with the FCO now advising against all but essential travel to France and having to quarantine upon return, we are having to cancel the Italian Lakes & Swiss Alps Tour and the Monte Carlo or Bust! Tour. We are constantly monitoring the situation and if the travel restrictions are lifted we shall continue to run the remaining scheduled tours. We shall only cancel these when it is clear that we cannot travel, in which case we shall refund any balances paid and transfer deposits to next year. If you choose to cancel a booking for a tour which is scheduled to start in September or October then our Terms & Conditions apply. If anyone has any questions regarding a booking then please do not hesitate to contact us.
28 July 2020 – The review of the “Masked Guinea Pig Spanish Tour” is now live! Huge thanks to those who came along, we had a great time and now have a new tour to boot! Fortunately we arrived home before the new quarantine requirements came into force. We’re now back in France about to start the 5×4 (Five Night in Four Countries) Tour with a full contingent. This is quickly followed by our new Colmar Tour (replacing the cancelled Rhine in Flames”). We shall continue to run our tours unless the Government introduces quarantine requirements which are known BEFORE we travel – or if the destination country has quarantine requirements. If restrictions are brought in WHILE WE ARE AWAY then there is nothing we can do about that and we will just have to deal with the consequences. Many countries now have additional entry requirements (Spain, Belgium and returning to the UK) the relevant forms are available through links on the UK FCO website, we shall also bring all the necessary details for each tour with us. If travelling you MUST bring a supply of face masks. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you are booked on a tour and have any questions.
4 July 2020 – The announcement that the UK will now allow travel to most European countries without the need to quarantine upon return means that our remaining tours can now go ahead!! The FCO will be lifting its restriction on non-essential travel w.e.f. 10 July 2020 except, unfortunately, for Portugal. Unless this changes in the next week our planned tour to Portugal & Spain WILL be going ahead but ONLY to Spain. We have contacted everyone booked on the tour but if you are looking for a last-minute holiday then please contact us for details of the revised itinerary. We will of course be observing all safety requirements on board the ferry and in the countries we visit. Upon arrival travellers entering Spain must have completed a document for the Ministry of Health (we will provide details with your tour pack), have a temperature check and a visual health assessment. There is a requirement in all countries that face masks must be worn on public transport and in public places where it is not possible to respect the required social distances – e.g. in restaurants when using the toilets etc. In Spain and Germany the social distance is 1.5 metres, in France it is only 1 metre, all have a maximum of 10 people in a group. We can liaise with hotels where meals are included for us to respect these conditions. The requirement to self-isolate upon arrival in France was voluntary and should shortly be lifted now that the UK has removed this requirement. We are asking that everyone booked on a tour brings their own supply of face masks and hand sanitizer. Please contact us if you are unsure of any of the requirements, there is also lots of information on the FCO website.
11 June 2020 – The EU Commission has stated that the European countries in the Schengen zone (for us that covers our Tours to Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain & Switzerland) will re-open their borders to travellers from 15 June 2020. France has in place a reciprocal quarantine period of 14 days with visitors arriving from the UK – however this will be voluntary, not enforced and no penalties for non-compliance. Spain still has a 14 day quarantine requirement until 1 July 2020. The EU Commission has suggested that the restriction on non-essential travel should be lifted w.e.f. 1 July 2020. As the UK still has a 14 day quarantine requirement for arrivals until 29 June we have unfortunately therefore had to cancel our planned Black Forest Tour scheduled to start on 28 June 2020. We are very hopeful that we will be able to run the Spain & Portugal Tour in July.
8 June 2020 – Cafes & restaurants are opening in Germany
2 June 2020 – Cafes & restaurants are opening in France (already open in Spain & Portugal)
26 May 2020 – Spain announces that the requirement to self-isolate will be lifted from 1 July 2020 – great news for our Spain/Portugal Tour if the UK does the same…
24 May 2020 – France announces the same 14 day self-isolation rules for arrivals to France from overseas w.e.f. 8 June 2020
22 May 2020 – UK announces that starting from 8 June 2020 arrivals to the UK from abroad will have to self-isolate for 14 days. This is to be reviewed every 3 weeks so our “2nd” Black Forest Tour may be in jeopardy unless there is some negotiating in the next few weeks.
15 May 2020 – Spain has introduced a 14 day self-isolation period for anyone entering the country. This restriction will be reviewed every two weeks so we will continue to monitor the situation in advance of of first tour to Spain & Portugal on 13 July 2020
11 May 2020 – France has extended its State of Emergency with a gradual programme of “deconfinement” over the coming weeks. The re-opening of cafes and restaurants will be considered at the end of May.
7 May 2020 – Unfortunately we have heard that the firework display at Koblenz – part of our “Rhine in Flames” Tour – has been cancelled due to the restrictions on public gatherings in Germany during the Coronavirus outbreak. We shall be offering an alternative tour for the same dates & duration (i.e. 5 nights) to Colmar in France with a ride-out into the Vosges Mountains and free time to visit local attractions. Price t.b.c. Please contact us for more details.
29 April 2020 – Well the good news couldn’t last…Germany have today extended their worldwide travel ban until 14 June 2020. Obviously we shall keep our eyes on the situation as our Tour to the Black Forest is scheduled to start on 28 June 2020. We will just have to wait & see what happens after 14 June.
29 April 2020 – We have some good news for a change – today is Otto’s second birthday!! Happy Birthday Otto!!
Otto at 8 weeks old
Now he’s two years old
24 April 2020 – We have taken the decision to cancel the WW2 Extended Sights Tour scheduled to start on 24 May 2020 due to the continuing travel restrictions resulting from Covid 19 – the Coronavirus. This is the first time in our 18 year history that we have ever cancelled a Tour. The current “lock-down” in France is in place until 11 May 2020 however, talking to hotelliers and others there, it is expected that this will be extended for a further month. As of 8 April 2020 the FCO guidance for essential travel only is for an indefinite period and will be reviewed once European borders start re-opening. The first Black Forest Tour which should have started on 7 June 2020 will also not be taking place, many thanks to those customers who have moved to other Tours. Our next scheduled Tour is to the Black Forest starting on 28 June 2020 so at the moment we hope that we will be able to run this trip. Thanks to everyone for their patience in this difficult situation.
3 April 2020 – To be on the safe side we have rescheduled the Monte Carlo or Bust! Tour to run from 30 August to 7 September 2020, thanks to all participants for being so understanding.
Obviously the situation regarding summer holidays is still very uncertain. The travel restrictions have not [as yet?] been extended but we are receiving so many “what if” enquiries that we have expanded our Terms & Conditions to reflect the provisions of the European Union (Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements) Regulations 2019 in respect of “extraordinary circumstances” as follows:
In the event that the Foreign & Commonweath Office advise against travel to a particular country as a result of the Covid-19 “Coronavirus” pandemic and this affects a scheduled Tour then you may transfer your deposit and balance to another Tour in 2020 (subject to availabilty). However, if this is not possible, then any balances that have been paid will be refunded by the Company and any deposits may be transferred to another Tour in 2021.
The Company is not required to pay any additional compensation as the reason for the Tour not taking place is outside of our control.
This ONLY applies when a Tour cannot take place due to the FCO travel advice; it does not apply to any non-immediate departures that are not currently affected. Any cancellations for future Tours that are not affected will be subject to the Cancellation Charges as set out in our Terms & Conditions.
If balances are not paid when due (i.e. 8 weeks before the tour start date) then we will have to consider this as a cancellation and the deposit paid will be forfeited – as per the Cancellation Charges as set out in our Terms & Conditions.
Forebearance: If anyone has watched the Martin Lewis programmes you will have heard him speak of this. It is now clear that some insurance companies do not provide cover for cancellation of a holiday due to a pandemic. This seems extremely unfair to us (they take your money but want their umbrella back when it rains!) so we have amended our T&C’s so our customers do not suffer a loss. However, we have already paid out large sums in deposits to hotels on many of our Tours. There are companies that do include such cover e.g. AA, Admiral, Aviva, AXA, Churchill, Co-op, Direct Line, Halifax, Nationwide, Virgin…although not for any new policies. So if you do have a travel insurance policy with any of the above companies then we would ask that – in the event your Tour is affected – you try to make a claim against them first before seeking a refund from us. Unlike employees or the self-employed we’re not entitled to any Government grants, so as Tesco says, “Every little helps”…
March 2020 – Coronavirus update 17 March – The UK Government has stated that UK residents should avoid all foreign travel for the next 30 days. In France the Government has restricted all non-essential travel also for the next 30 days. These restrictions still do not impact on any of our tours, the first of which – to Monte Carlo – starts on 9 May 2020. As we wrote in the paragraph below, if you decide to cancel a tour due to a disinclination to travel it is most unlikely that your travel insurance will accept your claim. If the travel restrictions are extended and impact on the start date of a tour only then will you be able to make a claim. As we have no way of knowing if these restrictions will be extended there is nothing further that we can do at the moment except wait to see what happens.
March 2020 – many customers are asking about our policy regarding the Coronavirus outbreak. We cannot predict with any certainty how this is going to play out during the summer months as the situation is changing on a daily basis. We can only abide by advice given by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office:
in the event that the advice is NOT to travel to a particular country when a tour is scheduled to start then this will be considered a “Force Majeure” event. If this means a tour cannot go ahead then, to be clear, in accordance with our Terms & Conditions, no refunds or compensation payments will be made by the Company. In such an event you should claim against your travel insurance. [deleted April 2020] At the time of writing (14 March) all our tours are going ahead as planned – the only country that we travel to that is currently affected is Italy where the travel restrictions are in place until April – the tour is in August. Obviously we shall keep abreast of what is happening over the following months. Unless prevented from travelling due to advice from the FCO, if you decide to cancel a booking – i.e. you have a disinclination to travel – then it is most unlikely that you will be able to claim on your travel insurance. We cannot stress strongly enough how important it is to have suitable travel insurance in place.
Jan & Feb 2020 – John’s just finished exhibiting a the London ExCeL motorbike show, great to see so many regulars & we hope to see some new faces on our tours this year too. Don’t forget if you’re considering buying luggage we can offer our customers a huge 20% discount from SHAD – contact us for more details before you buy!