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The Johann Sebastian Bach Journey

Ten private concerts in the places where Johann Sebastian Bach lived and worked.

Both the St John and St Matthew Passions are performed, as well as the B-Minor Mass.

International musicians of the highest calibre.

Sir Nicholas Kenyon gives daily talks on the music.

Four packages to suit different budgets with accommodation in 4- and 5-star hotels.

Free time to explore Eisenach, Weimar, Leipzig and other historic towns.

Suits independently-minded travellers as well as those who like the social aspect of these events.

97% of participants rated this festival as excellent last time it ran (2015).

Due to strict space limitations at several of the concert venues, we are now at full capacity and are unable to accommodate any more bookings.

  • Eisenach, 20th-century etching.
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Journeying to the places where Johann Sebastian Bach lived and worked is an experience as near to pilgrimage as is offered by the history of music. Hearing his music in buildings which he frequented, or even where it was first performed, must rank among the highest delights available to music lovers. This unique biennial festival provides the opportunity.

Ten concerts, ranging from a solo violin partita to the St Matthew Passion, from an organ recital to the Mass in B Minor, present a comprehensive range of Bach’s output. For this, the seventh Johann Sebastian Bach Journey, we have assembled artists and ensembles who are world leaders in performance of the repertoire.

The distances travelled are quite small, but the event is emphatically a journey. It starts, as Bach did, in the little towns and cities of the principality of Thuringia and finishes, again like Bach, in the free city of Leipzig. The audience stays in hotels in three places, Eisenach, Weimar and Leipzig, and the concerts take place here and in four other towns.

Admission to the concerts is exclusive to those who take a complete package which includes hotels, flights from the UK, coach travel, most dinners and lectures.


The Musicians

Gabrieli Consort & Players

Founded by Paul McCreesh in 1982, Gabrieli Consort & Players are world-renowned interpreters of great choral and instrumental repertoire from the Renaissance to the present day. Their performances encompass major works from the oratorio tradition, virtuosic a cappella programmes and mould-breaking reconstructions of music for historical events. They are regular visitors to the world’s most prestigious concert halls, and their recordings have garnered numerous international awards. 2017 is the nineteenth year of fruitful collaboration between the Gabrieli and Martin Randall Travel.

Their conductor and artistic director Paul McCreesh is not only recognised as one of the most authoritative and exciting conductors of the earlier repertoire, on the concert platform and in the opera house, but is also much sought after across Europe as a guest conductor for later music.

Rachel Podger

Rachel Podger is one of the most creative talents to emerge in the field of period performance. Over the last two decades she has established herself as a leading interpreter of the music of the Baroque and Classical periods. She has won numerous awards for her recordings, including J.S. Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin and his Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord (with Trevor Pinnock). Both were awarded first place by the BBC’s ‘Building a Library’ programme.

Rachel holds chairs for Baroque violin at the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. She is also founder and artistic director of her the Brecon Baroque Festival.

Angela Hewitt

One of the world’s leading pianists, Angela Hewitt appears in recital and with major orchestras throughout Europe, the Americas and Asia. Her performances of Bach have established her as one of the composer’s foremost interpreters of our time. Angela began her piano studies (in Canada) aged three, performed in public at four and in 1985 won the Toronto International Bach Piano Competition. Among her awards and honours are Gramophone ‘Artist of the Year’ 2006, OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2006, Companion of the Order of Canada 2015 and seven honorary doctorates.

Freiburg Baroque Orchestra

Recognised worldwide as among the very finest of period-instrument orchestras, the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra’s performances are characterised by tremendous verve and immaculate precision. They are usually directed by the leader rather than a conductor, an arrangement they believe produces not only an intensity reminiscent of chamber music but also a unique timbre. Founded in 1987, they have given over a thousand concerts, have toured all the major European cities, Southeast Asia and the Americas and performed at many of the top concert venues and festivals (Tanglewood, Mozartwoche Salzburg, BBC Proms, Wigmore, Concertgebouw, Berlin Philharmonie).

The guest leader is Mechthild Karkow, Professor of Baroque violin at the University of Music and Theatre in Leipzig since 2013.


The CordArte Ensemble was founded in Cologne in 1998 with the aim of giving new life to early music by performing it expressively. The players are Markus Märkl (harpsichord), Daniel Deuter (violin) and Heike Johanna Lindner (viola da gamba), and their chief focus is the 17th-century trio sonata from Germany, England, France and Italy. Bavarian-born Markus Märkl is one of Germany’s leading harpsichordists, having studied at Augsburg and at the Schola Cantorum, Basel.

Vox Luminis

Founded in 2004 in Namur, Belgium, Vox Luminis specialises in 16th- to 18th-century vocal music and aims for a seamless blend of high quality individual voices, exquisite tuning and clarity of sound. Their passion for early music is evident in their performances. They have performed in festivals and concert halls all over Europe and the 15/16 season saw them return to Wigmore and Cadogan Hall, appear at several UK festivals and make their debuts in Boston, Krakow and Oslo. They also became artists in residence at the Concertgebouw in Bruges.

Director Lionel Meunier’s musical education began in his birthplace, Clamecy in central France, and continued at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague. In 2013 he received the Namurois de l’Année award for culture (Citizen Of The Year, Namur province).

Cantus Cölln

Cantus Cölln was formed in 1987 by lutenist Konrad Junghänel. All the singers in the group have successful solo careers, and it is recognised as one of the most accomplished Early Music ensembles in the world. Its core repertoire includes German and Italian vocal music of the Renaissance and Baroque, and their numerous CDs include highly-acclaimed recordings of Bach motets and cantatas. In 2000, they received the Buxtehude Prize for extraordinary achievement in the field of sacred music.

Konrad Junghänel is one of the leading conductors in the field of Early Music. As well as an internationally renowned lutenist and interpreter of J.S. Bach, he is also a professor at the State Conservatoire of Music in Cologne.

Martina Pohl

Martina Pohl began playing music at the age of three and studied at the Hochschule für Kirchenmusik (College for Church Music) in Halle 1980–86. She focusses principally on the German Romantics and J.S. Bach. She accompanies well-known soloists, instrumentalists and choirs on concert tours in Germany and elsewhere and on recordings. Since 2004 Martina has had charge of the Hildebrandt organ in Sangerhausen.


The Speaker

Sir Nicholas Kenyon. Managing Director of the Barbican Centre since 2007; former Controller of BBC Radio 3 and Director of the BBC Proms. He has been music critic for The New Yorker and The Observer, music editor of The Listener and editor of Early Music. He is author of the Faber Pocket Guides to Bach and Mozart, and edited Authenticity & Early Music and The City of London: A Companion Guide.


The festival package

Access to the concerts is exclusive to those who take the festival package, the price for which includes:

Access to all ten private concerts.
Hotel accommodation for six nights. You choose between four price options.
A choice of flights between London or Manchester 
and Germany. (There is a price reduction if you arrange 
your own travel.)
Travel within Germany by coach.
Five dinners and three lunches with wine, water and coffee, and a light lunch or afternoon tea on the day you arrive.
Talks on the music by Sir Nicholas Kenyon.
The assistance of a team of festival staff.
Practical and cultural information and a detailed programme book.
All tips for drivers, porters and restaurant staff.

In addition, there are extra services which can be booked:

The choice of two pre-festival tours: Mitteldeutschland 
(27 August–4 September 2017) and Organs of Bach’s Time 
(30 August–4 September 2017). 
Arriving a day early (please see the practicalities section).


The programme

Day -1, Sunday 3 September

We are offering the option of arriving at your hotel in Eisenach a day before the festival commences (see Practicalities for accommodation and prices).

The supplement includes the amended flight, the transfer from Frankfurt to Eisenach and an extra night at your chosen festival hotel. Lunch or afternoon tea are included depending on your arrival time. Dinner is independent.

For information on travelling to Eisenach please see Practicalities.

Overnight Eisenach.

Day 1, Monday 4 September

For information on travelling to Eisenach please see Practicalities.

Eisenach is the town where J. S. Bach was born in 1685 and where he was raised until the death of his father ten years later. He was baptised in the Gothic church of St George, now a cathedral. The font is still there, and it retains its 17th-century Protestant appearance with three tiers of galleries filling the side aisles. Eisenach is dominated by the Wartburg castle, a unesco World Heritage Site since 1999, and also where Martin Luther stayed while translating the Bible into German (1521–1522).

The first festival event is dinner in your chosen hotel.

Overnight Eisenach.

Day 2, Tuesday 5 September
Mühlhausen, Eisenach

Drive to Mühlhausen, where Bach held the post of organist at the church of St Blasius 1707–8. The town is one of the delights of Germany, a dense matrix of streets and alleys and little open spaces threaded between half-timbered and stone-built buildings. Six Gothic churches rise heavenwards, and all is bounded by a complete circuit of mediaeval walls.

There is a lecture followed by a recital in the town hall, which is little changed since Bach’s time.

Concert, 11.30am: Mühlhausen, Town Hall

Bach and his North-German Predecessors

Daniel Deuter violin
Heike Johanna Lindner viola da gamba
Markus Märkl harpsichord

This programme, which explores the North-German style and its influence on the young J.S. Bach, includes works by Becker, Krieger and Buxtehede as well as Bach’s own Violin Sonata in E minor (BWV 1023), Toccata in G for harpsichord (BWV 916) and Trio Sonata in G (BWV 1038).

Lunch for all is in the Brauhaus restaurant, followed by some free time.

Return to Eisenach, where there is time to visit the excellent Bach Museum.

Concert, 4.45pm: Eisenach, Church of St George

The Bach Dynasty

Vox Luminis | Lionel Meunier director

In the church where Johann Sebastian was baptised there is a concert of cantatas by older members of the Bach family, great uncle Johann Bach (1604–73), uncles Johann Michael (1648–94) and Johann Christoph (1642–1703, also organist at this church). It finishes with a motet from J.S. Bach, the famous Jesu meine Freude (BWV 227), written in Leipzig 1730–35. 

Dinner for all participants and overnight in Eisenach.

Day 3, Wednesday 6 September
Ohrdruf, Arnstadt, Weimar

Leave Eisenach and drive to Ohrdruf where Bach lived with an elder brother for five years after the death of his father.

Concert, 11.00am: Ohrdruf, Trinitatiskirche

Violin Solo I

Rachel Podger violin

Partita No.3 in E (BWV 1006), Flute Partita in G minor (original key A minor, BWV 1013), Sonata No.1 in G minor (BWV 1001)

Arrive in Arnstadt in time for lunch. Founded in 704, Arnstadt claims to be the oldest town in eastern Germany. Spreading down the side of a hill, it has retained much of its picturesque historic centre. Bach’s first significant employment (1707–1708) was as organist at the Neukirche, as it was then called, and there is a concert here. There is time also for the small Bach museum in
the Schloss.

Concert, 3.30pm: Arnstadt, Bachkirche

Mass in B Minor (BWV 232)

Vox Luminis | Lionel Meunier director

Bach’s B-Minor Mass is among the greatest achievements in the history of music. Compiled and composed towards the end of his life, Bach may have regarded it as a summation of his life’s work. Whatever its enigmas – was it intended to be performed in its entirety? Why did this stalwart Lutheran steer so close to Catholic tradition? – it remains a work of exceptional potency and beauty.

Drive to Weimar.

Weimar has few rivals among the smaller cities of Europe in terms of its importance in the history of literature and music. Bach worked at the court in 1703 and again from 1708 to 1717, following such eminent musicians as Schütz and Westhoff. Liszt’s period of residence (1842–61) attracted many musical visitors including Wagner, Brahms, Smetana and Borodin, and turned Weimar into an international centre of the musical avant-garde. Richard Strauss was court Kapellmeister 1889–94.

Weimar is also revered as a centre of literature and Enlightenment thought, largely owing to the sixty-year residence and service at court of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Herder, Schiller and Nietzsche are among the other great names to have spent time here.

There is time to settle in and have dinner.

First of two nights in Weimar.

Day 4, Thursday 7 September

Weimar is now one of the liveliest, perhaps the most prosperous, and certainly the best restored of Thuringian towns. The city is adorned with a magnificent range of classical architecture and landscaped parks, and as the last home of Lucas Cranach and the first site of the Bauhaus school the significance of the city in the history of art reaches across four hundred years.

Much of the day is free for exploration of Weimar, its streets and squares, museums and parks. There is a talk followed by a recital in the morning or the afternoon – the small hall means the audience has to be split and the event repeated. In the evening, hear the St John Passion in the St Peter and Paul (Herderkirche), the most important church in the town with its altarpiece by the Cranachs, father and son (1552–55). Four of Bach’s children were baptised in the font.

Concert, 10.30am & 3.30pm: Weimar, Cranach House

Violin Solo II

Rachel Podger violin

Sonata No.3 in C (BWV 1005)

Dinner is independent today, so you can choose to have it before
or after the evening concert.

Concert, 8.00pm: Weimar,
Church of St Peter & Paul (Herderkirche)

St John Passion (BWV 245)

Cantus Cölln| Konrad Junghänel conductor
Magdalene Harer, Mechthild Bach soprano
Elisabeth Popien, Alexander Schneider alto
Hans Jörg Mammel, Georg Poplutz tenor
Wolf Matthias Friedrich, Markus Flaig bass

The 2017 Journey offers a rare juxtaposition of both Passions: ‘Of Bach’s two extant Passion settings, the St John Passion is the shorter, more dramatic, more concentrated… In recent years, thanks to a wide variety of performances using historically based forces, the St John Passion has been revealed as an equally affecting and powerful work, and has leapt up in popular estimation’ (Sir Nicholas Kenyon).

Second of two nights in Weimar.

Day 5, Friday 8 September
Sangerhausen, Leipzig

Leave Weimar and drive to Leipzig via the attractive small town of Sangerhausen. The church of St James (Jakobikirche) possesses a fine organ by Zacharias Hildebrandt 1726–28, a pupil and rival of Silbermann and occasional collaborator with J. S. Bach.

Concert, 11.15am: Sangerhausen, Church of St James

Organ Recital

Martina Pohl organ

Recital of Bach organ pieces on a 1726 instrument.

After lunch in Sangerhausen, reach Leipzig in the early afternoon.

Bach was employed at Leipzig as Kantor of St Thomas in 1723. With his various additional responsibilities he effectively became director of music for the city until his death in 1750.

Concert, 6.00pm: Leipzig, Altes Rathaus
(former Town Hall)

Concertos & Orchestral Suites

Freiburg Baroque Orchestra

Brandenburg No.3 heads the list of four of Bach’s brilliant, life-affirming orchestral pieces, with a Vivaldi sinfonia thrown in for good measure.

First of two nights in Leipzig.

Day 6, Saturday 9 September

Leipzig is the only large city of the Journey – though with a population of just half a million, and a fifteen minute walk to traverse the historic centre, it is not a metropolis. After the degradation of the GDR years, the subsequent transformation of the city seems little short of miraculous. Restoration and rebuilding have gone hand in hand with the emergence of pavement cafés, smart shops and good restaurants.

There are fine museums and art galleries here including an excellent collection of musical instruments, an apartment where Mendelssohn lived and the excellent Bach Archive.

Concert, 10.30am: Leipzig, Alte Börse
(Old stock exchange)

The Goldberg Variations (BWV 988)

Angela Hewitt piano

One of the pinnacles of the keyboard repertoire, played by the greatest living exponent of Bach on the modern piano.

Concert, 8.00pm: Leipzig, Tomaskirche 
(Church of St Thomas)

St Matthew Passion (BWV 244)

Gabrieli Consort & Players, Paul McCreesh conductor

Nicholas Mulroy Evangelist
Benjamin Appl Christus
Rowan Pierce soprano
Sophie Junker soprano
Tim Mead alto
Helen Charlston alto
Jeremy Budd tenor
Matthew Brook bass

‘The most monumental of Bach’s works, and for many the peak of his output… The work grows directly out of its liturgical and cultural context and is fully grounded in it, yet it seems to reach beyond that context, beyond narrow sectarianism and even beyond religious observance, to say something to the whole of humanity’ (Nicholas Kenyon). It was first performed in Leipzig on Good Friday 1727 and revised in 1736. Its revised form is distinguished by having two orchestras and two choirs. 

The day finishes with dinner and the second of two nights in Leipzig.

Day 7, Sunday 10 September

Depending on your flight option there may be some free time in Leipzig.

See Practicalities for details of transfers and flights.

More about the concerts

Private events. All the concerts are planned and administered by Martin Randall Travel, and the audience consists exclusively of those who have taken the full festival package. The concerts are therefore private.

Seating. Specific seats will not be reserved. You sit where you want. Seating in the churches may be a little uncomfortable; consider bringing a cushion.

Acoustics. This festival is more concerned with locale and authenticity than with acoustic perfection. Some venues have idiosyncrasies or reverberations of the sort which are not found in modern purpose-built concert halls.

Capacity. There will be up to 200 participants on the festival. At venues which cannot accommodate this number the audience is divided and the concerts repeated.

Changes. Musicians may fall ill, venues may have to close for repairs, airlines may alter schedules: there are many circumstances which could necessitate changes to the programme. We ask you to be understanding should they occur.

Participation in our festivals is a very different experience from conventional group travel – no repetitive or redundant announcements, no herding by elevated umbrella, no unnecessary roll calls, little hanging around. We work on the assumption that you are adults, and our staff cultivate the virtue of unobtrusiveness.

We provide sufficient information to enable you to navigate the festival events without needing to be led. However, festival staff are also stationed around the events to direct you if needed and for some events, coaches or taxis are provided.

Accommodation & Prices

About the hotels

You choose between four hotel options, A–D.

Eisenach (2 or 3 nights) has a range of accommodation ranging from a 5-star establishment perched by the Wartburg castle to smaller, family-run, 4-star hotels in the centre of town. Bathrooms are a mixture of shower only and baths with shower fitments.
Twin and double beds are usually two mattresses on a single base. The hotels do not have air-conditioning.

Weimar (2 nights) has a very good range of 3-, 4- and 5-star hotels. A small city, the hotels we have selected are no more than 10 or 15 minutes’ walk from the venues. There is no air-conditioning in the Elephant (Option D), nor at the Anna Amalia (Option A) but windows can be opened.

Leipzig (2 nights), as a trade fair city, has a good selection of hotels of all categories though some lack charm and individuality. We have selected ones within or on the periphery of the mediaeval core of the city; none is more than 15 or 20 minutes on foot from the venues. All have air-conditioning.

Wireless internet is available at all hotels. It is free of charge in all hotels except the Fürstenhof in Leipzig and the Elephant in Weimar where access is charged at €6 per night.

If you intend to share a twin room with a friend, the best options are D and C (due to visibility of the shower cubicles from the bedroom area at the Park and Radisson hotels in Leipzig).

Option A


EITHER: Eisenacher Hof. A small, traditional, family-run 4-star hotel located in the centre of town. Rooms are neutrally decorated with oak flooring throughout.

OR: Glockenhof. A modern 4-star hotel set in a 19th-century property, a 4-minute walk from the Bach House museum. Bedrooms are plain and functional.

You do not have to make the choice – we allocate you to a hotel randomly.


Anna Amalia. A family-run hotel in a quiet cobbled street in the centre of town. Rooms are simply furnished with cream walls and light wood furniture. Bedrooms vary in size. 


Park. This is a modern and comfortable hotel. The quirky design uses plenty of wood and is vaguely nautical. Bedrooms are a good size. There is a glass panel in the wall separating bathrooms and bedrooms. There is a good restaurant.

Option B


Steigenberger Thüringer Hof. A large, centrally located hotel with a neoclassical facade. Bedrooms are bright and simply decorated. All bathrooms have bathtubs with shower fitments. There are two restaurants, a bar, as well a spa with sauna, exercise room and rooftop terrace.


Dorint am Goethepark. Comprising two historic houses connected by a new addition, this is now a thoroughly modern hotel pleasantly situated by the park and a short walk from the town centre. The decoration is somewhat austere, but the public areas are spacious and the rooms elegant and comfortable. There is a restaurant in the hotel. Internet access is available free of charge when using a public computer in the lobby.


Radisson Blu. A modern hotel, purpose-built in 1964 and completely renovated in 2006. It is situated on the Ring overlooking Augustusplatz and the Gewandhaus. Geared more to the business market, its interior of cool elegance is nevertheless comfortable. Beds can be divided into twins, but there is no more than 15cm of space between them. Bathrooms are separated from the bedrooms by a glass wall (though the lavatory cannot be seen). There is a restaurant in the hotel but we do not use it for the group meals as standards vary.

Option C


Steigenberger Thüringer Hof. A large, centrally-located hotel with a neoclassical facade. Bedrooms are bright and simply decorated. Two restaurants, a bar, as well a spa with sauna, exercise room and rooftop terrace.


Russischer Hof. An elegant hotel dating to 1805 and furnished in a partially modernised, opulent Russian Neo-classical style. Impressive public areas and restaurants, comfortable rooms with luxurious bathrooms, excellent location.


Marriott. A traditional hotel decorated in marble, wood and brass. Rooms are spacious with cosy, country-style furnishings and all mod cons. Centrally-located but quiet. There is a swimming pool.

Option D


Romantik Hotel auf der Wartburg. Adjacent to the hilltop Wartburg castle, this elegant, 5-star boutique hotel is located a 3 km drive from the centre of Eisenach – the final stretch is completed by minibus. Views are of the surrounding forest, castle or over the town. Most bathrooms have baths with shower fitments. There is a good restaurant, a bar with terrace and a spa and sauna area. There is the option of staying in a room with a single bed in this hotel for which there is a reduction to the single supplement.


The Elephant. A famous, historic establishment blending classical gravity with contemporary understatement. Bedrooms are spacious and very well equipped and there are two restaurants, including the finest in Weimar.


Fürstenhof. The best hotel in the city, although not large, and with the feel of a private club. A 19th-century building, it is furnished with antiques. Rooms are spacious and superbly equipped. Service is impeccable. There is a restaurant, wine bar and pool.

Prices – per person

Arriving on 3rd September
(a day before the festival begins)

Arriving on 4th September
(first day of the festival)

Hotel option Two sharing Single occupancy Two sharing Single occupancy
A £2,830 £3,030 £2,760 £2,920
B £3,150 £3,480 £3,080 £3,350
C £3,640 £3,990 £3,570 £3,860
D £4,040 £4,430 £3,910 £4,230
(with a single room in Eisenach)   £4,320   £4,160

Not taking one of the festival flight options? Deduct £190 for the prices above.


Joining and leaving the festival

Flights from London Heathrow or Manchester form part of the festival package.

All options fly into Frankfurt and back from Berlin Tegel. Those travelling to/from London fly out with Lufthansa and back with British Airways. For those travelling to/from Manchester, both the outbound and inbound flights are with Lufthansa.

There is also the option to fly out on the 3rd September, the day before the festival begins. Accommodation in Eisenach is included should you choose options 1 or 2 below, and for this there is a supplement which varies depending on your hotel choice (see above for prices).

Arriving a day early

Option 1: Heathrow, a day early

3rd September: depart Heathrow 09.30, arrive Frankfurt 12.05 (LH 901).
10th September: depart Berlin 12.20, arrive Heathrow 13.30 (BA 983).

Option 2: Manchester, a day early

3rd September: depart Manchester 08.50, arrive Frankfurt 11.30 (LH 941).
10th September: depart Berlin 14.45 (via Frankfurt), arrive Manchester 17.25 (LH 191, LH 946).

Arriving on the first day of the festival

Option 3: Heathrow

4th September: depart Heathrow 09.30, arrive Frankfurt 12.05 (LH 901).
10th September: depart Berlin 12.20, arrive Heathrow 13.30 (BA 983).

Option 4: Heathrow

4th September: depart Heathrow 10.30, arrive Frankfurt 13.05 (LH 903).
10th September: depart Berlin 14.35, arrive Heathrow 15.40 (BA 993).

Option 5: Heathrow

4th September: depart Heathrow 11.30, arrive Frankfurt 14.05(LH 905).
10th September: depart Berlin 16.45, arrive Heathrow 17.45 (BA 985).

Option 6: Manchester

4th September: depart Manchester 08.50, arrive Frankfurt 11.30 (LH 941).
10th September: depart Berlin 14.45 (via Frankfurt), arrive Manchester 17.25 (LH 191, LH 946).

Making your own arrangements

Option 7: no flights

You can take the package without flights and make your own arrangements for joining and leaving the festival. You are welcome to join our airport transfers from Frankfurt and back to Berlin, though we cannot wait for you should you be delayed. There is a reduction in the price of £190 per person for this option.


Fitness for the festival

This is a physically demanding festival and fitness is essential.

Within the towns and cities, you will be expected to walk for anything up to 25 minutes and at a pace which is unlikely to slow others down when moving as a group. Many surfaces are uneven or cobbled and there are some ascents and descents. You will need to climb stairs at some venues and hotels, check in and out of three hotels and be comfortable travelling some considerable distances by coach, particularly on the first and last days.

If for any stage of the festival, including the airport, you would like the use of a wheelchair, then this festival is unlikely to be suitable for you.

We ask that prospective participants assess their fitness by trying these simple exercises:

1. Chair stands. Sit in a dining chair, with arms folded and hands on opposite shoulders. Stand up and sit down at least 8 times in 30 seconds.

2. Step test. Mark a wall at a height that is halfway between your knee and your hip bone. Raise each knee in turn to the mark at least 60 times in two minutes.

3. Agility test. Place an object three yards from the edge of a chair, sit, and record the time it takes to stand up, walk to the object and sit back down.
You should be able to do this in under seven seconds.

Are you fit enough to join the tour?


Travel advice

Before booking, please refer to the FCO website to ensure you are happy with the travel advice for the destination(s) you are visiting:

‘This was a very special holiday. Congratulations on organising it so well – it was a complex operation!’

‘Sublime. I am still on a high. I loved the St. John and the Mass particularly.'

‘Organised with MRT perfection, music performed brilliantly by a great variety of performers and an interesting programme.’