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Mancunians and solo travellers boost UK tour booking boom


Rabbie’s reports spike in Wales and the Lake District trips along with 42 percent rise in solo travel.

As UK tourism continues to return to pre-pandemic levels, latest bookings for small-group tour specialist Rabbie’s show its tours out of Manchester to have the largest increase compared to this time last year (a rise of 64 per cent for bookings made in March). The independent sightseeing specialist also reports a 10 per cent uplift in international and domestic bookings across its UK portfolio in March (compared with March 2023), including for its ever-popular Scotland tours.

The tour company reports a significant rise in solo travellers with bookings from across Asia – Japan, Korea and China – Australia, the UK and Europe fuelling a 42 per cent first quarter year on year increase in individual travel.

Rabbie’s one-day Snowdonia, North Wales and Chester tour, which explores the mountains, marvels and myths of the region, has seen a huge 51 per cent increase in bookings. The one-day Windermere and the Lake District tour, also departing from Manchester, has seen the second biggest booking boost with a 40 per cent year-on-year increase. The city’s proximity to such stunning rural vistas makes it the ideal location for the touring company’s round-trips which depart from Manchester Piccadilly daily, all year round and cost from £56 per adult.

Rabbie’s offers a range of UK and Ireland tours from daytrips to week-long adventures departing out of cities across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland. Its small-group tours are taken in luxury 16-seater mini-coaches and are led by expert driver-guides who know the places like the back of their hand and tell the little-known but unforgettable stories that bring the facts to life.

Heather Reekie, director of marketing and sales, said: “Since we started operating out of the city in 2019, our trips departing from Manchester are becoming increasingly popular. The positive booking figures over the turn of year period is indicative of the increased desire for rich experiences – travellers want to take away more than a fridge magnet souvenir or a temporary glow when visiting somewhere new. They’re looking for experienced guides who can bring the destination alive. It’s testament to our brilliant tour leaders that solo travellers are also so at home on our trips – making new friends and connecting with different places on another level.”

While Manchester as a departure point shows the largest overall increase, the business’s single tour that has seen the biggest surge in bookings is its one-day Oban, Glencoe, Highland Lochs & Castles tour from Glasgow. A staggering 62 per cent increase sees more explorers booking to experience the epic ruins, stunning mountain scenery and tales of old clan rivalries.

One of the Scottish travel brand’s most popular tours – the one-day Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Highlands tour from Edinburgh – has boosted its popularity further with a 17 per cent lift in bookings. And Nessie remains a pull for visitors to Scotland with The Complete Loch Ness Experience, a one-day adventure from Inverness travelling the full length of the loch, seeing a 16 per cent bookings increase.

Since the start of the year, Rabbie’s most booked tours include the one-day Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Highlands tour from Edinburgh followed by two of its ever-popular tours to the Isle of Skye – its three-day tour from Edinburgh and its daytrip from Inverness.

The most popular tour outside of Scotland for Rabbie’s is its one-day Oxford and Traditional Cotswold Villages tour, which remains a pull for international and domestic tourists alike. Taking in the colleges and cathedrals of Oxford and the vivid greens, lush waterways and charming cottages of the Cotswolds makes for a memorable must-do.

Rabbie’s offers small group tours that are driven by curiosity and guided by storytellers. The tours take guests beyond the standard tick-list landmarks to explore the lesser-known and uncover the hidden gems across the UK, Ireland and Europe.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.