I’ve been on a lot of memorable journeys, but one that stands out is a coach trip for a group of Chinese Tourists in 2018.
I collected the passengers from Manchester Airport early one cold winter morning and met my guide for the week, "Vikki" (not her real name). I already had the itinerary, so off we went.
The first stop was Bowness on Windermere for a boat trip on the Lake and a steam train ride from Lakeside to Haverthwaite. It was a one way trip, so I drove the coach empty to Haverthwaite Station and met them as they came off the steam train. Next, it was time for lunch in a lovely Chinese Restaurant back in Bowness.
After lunch, it was time for shopping, so back down the M6, M61 and M62 we went over to Leeds for some sightseeing around the city centre before staying at Jury's Hotel overnight.
The next day, we ventured to York in the morning and Cambridge in the the afternoon (they didn't stay very long in each place!) After a lovely Chinese meal in Cambridge it was into London to our hotel.
Day three involved a Tour of London, where we went to Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, a boat trip to The Tower of London, a meal in Chinatown, British Museum and shopping on Oxford Street before arriving at our hotel at 9pm (rather exhausted by this point might I add!)
Day four was Windsor Castle, Stone Henge, Bath and Wookey Hole, overnight. Day five was Bibury, Oxford and shopping at Bicester Designer Outlet Village. They loved Bicester and bought lots of designer gear to take home with them.
All the passengers were lovely people, very polite and enjoyed being on the coach, travelling from place to place. They wanted to see as many places as possible each day and took lots of photographs as memories of their trip to the UK. Vikki was very knowledgeable about all the places we visited and talked non-stop on the microphone for the whole 5 days. I picked up a few Chinese words too, so every morning I greeted them in Chinese.
This was a 10 day trip, so I handed the coach over to a second driver at the hotel at the end of day 5 and he did the next 5 days. We can only drive for a maximum of 6 days without a day off, so on continuous tours we split the 10 days between 2 drivers.
You have to like Chinese food to do these trips, as they only eat Chinese and Vikki had an app on her phone showing where all the Chinese restaurants are, so it was easy to find them!