Receive updates on our range of cultural tours and music festivals via email:
We aim for faultless administration from your first encounter with us to the end of the holiday, and beyond. Personal service is a feature. And if anything does go wrong, we will put it right or compensate appropriately. We want you to come back again and again – as most of our clients do.
Counter to attitudes widespread in the travel industry, we never forget our clients are responsible adults, deserving of respect and courtesy at all times.
The price includes nearly everything, not only the major ingredients such as hotel, transportation and the costs of the lecturer, but also tips for waiters, drivers and guides, wine with meals, airport taxes and credit card charges.
We do not levy surcharges for fuel price increases, exchange rate changes, additional taxes or for any other reason. The price published in this brochure is the price you pay.
At Martin Randall Travel we aim to provide the best planned, best led and altogether the most fulfilling and enjoyable ‘cultural’ tours available.
Within the areas of the world on which we concentrate – principally Europe, India and the Middle East – we offer an unsurpassed range of holidays focusing on art, architecture, music, archaeology, history or gastronomy. They are designed for people with enquiring minds and a desire to learn, understand and appreciate.
Inventive and pioneering, MRT has for twenty-five years led the cultural tours market by incessant innovation and by setting the benchmarks for itineraries, operational systems and service standards. Widely emulated, much imitated, never surpassed.
MRT is one of the most respected specialist travel companies in the world.
Expert speakers are a key ingredient of all our holidays. Academics, writers, curators, broadcasters and researchers, they are selected not only for their knowledge but also for their ability to communicate that learning to a lay audience. Their brief is to enlighten
and stimulate, not merely to inform. And they also have to be good travelling companions.
We select our lecturers through reputation, interview and audition, and provide them with guidance and training. Most of our tours are also accompanied by a trained tour manager, one of our staff or a freelance professional.
Our itineraries are original, imaginative, well-paced and carefully balanced. Thorough research and assiduous reconnaissance underpin the design process. Knowledge of the subject matter and the destination combine with meticulous attention to practical matters to ensure an enriching and smooth-running experience.
Many of our holidays incorporate special arrangements for admission to places not generally open to individual travellers, or for access at times when they are closed to the public. In innumerable small ways, we lift the experience for our clients above standards and services which are regarded as normal for tourists.
We bring organisational skills of a high order to our large and complex events, principally our all-inclusive music festivals.
We select our hotels with great care. All have been inspected, and many have been stayed in, by a member of our staff. Hundreds of others have
been seen and rejected.
Obviously comfort ranks high among our criteria, together with service standards and warmth of welcome, and we also set high priority on charm and appropriate style. An important consideration is location. For city-based tours, there is a strong preference for the historic centre, where this does not conflict with the criterion of quiet.
Most of the hotels we use are rated as 4-star, with some 5-star and a few 3-star. We invest similar efforts into the selection of restaurants, menus and wines.
For flights and trains, we try to choose the most convenient departure times and airports, although for many routes there is little choice of either. Seats on Eurostar are in ‘superior class’.
We can provide a holiday without the international flights or trains if you prefer, allowing you to make your own arrangements for international travel.
(It is usually possible to make other variations to the package. There is an administrative fee of at least £40.)
Most of our tours run with between 10 and 20 participants. We strictly limit the numbers, specifying the maximum in each tour description, which is rarely more than 22 and often fewer.
The higher costs of smaller numbers are outweighed by the benefits of manoeuvrability, social cohesion and access to the lecturer.
The small-group principle is not applied to tours on which there are private concerts, arranged by ourselves.
Not the least attractive aspect of travelling with MRT is that you are highly likely to find yourself in congenial company, self-selected by common interests and endorsement of the company’s ethos.
Ours are active holidays, with walking an unavoidable element. They are also group holidays, which means that participants need to move around together at a pace which is comfortable for the majority.
The amount of walking varies. On some tours there is a lot on streets that are steep or poorly paved, on others you may need to scramble over fallen masonry and uneven ground. More usually it is just a case of getting from one place to another within a town. Coaches can rarely enter historic city centres or get right to the entrance of a country house or concert hall.
Like a convoy, groups move at the pace of the slowest; slow walkers reduce the time at the places everyone has come to see.
Our tours should not present problems for anyone who manages everyday walking and stair-climbing without difficulty. But please consult us if you have any doubts about your ability to cope. If for any stage, including the airports, you would like the use of a wheelchair then these holidays are unlikely to be suitable for you. It is also unlikely that you would cope if you habitually use a walking stick.
We do have some tours which are designated as walking holidays and offer countryside hikes as an integral ingredient. There is another scale of fitness requirements for these.
Age limit. We regret that applications for small-group tours from people who would be aged eighty-one or over at the time of the tour will not be accepted. We know this is a harsh and somewhat arbitrary rule but it has virtually eliminated instances of tours being spoilt for the majority because of the inability of one or two individuals to cope.
There is no age limit for our own large-scale music festivals (Rome, Seville, Bach Journey, Danube, Yorkshire, Rhône), though the same fitness criteria apply, because there is more opportunity to move at your own pace. And there is no limit for our UK chamber music weekends and symposia.