Tour company can cater England trip to group's interests



September 10, 2006|By San Jose Mercury News

We're looking for a small group tour to southern England for a weeklong visit. Do you have any recommendations?

You might enjoy traveling with Vacation England (, a small tour company we found in Bristol, which limits its groups to five or fewer and specializes in southern England and Wales. The company usually provides customized tours based on travelers' interests - castles, antiques, nature and wildlife and so on - but it also has sample itineraries you can choose. Prices start at about $1,241 per person and include everything but dinners and airfare.

Another is Coopersmith's One-of-a-Kind Travel (, based in Inverness, whose England tours are usually based around visits to gardens and stately homes, with some museums. You'll also spend an average of three or four nights in the same hotel, with day trips to nearby towns. The six-night "Art Tour of London and Constable Country," starting Sept. 29, costs $3,345 per person. Spring offerings include the Chelsea Flower Show.

What's the best time to travel to China in terms of weather - and avoiding typhoons?

If you are thinking about visiting soon, better hold off. Southern China is being lashed by a series of storms, including Tropical Storm Bilis and Typhoons Kaemi and Prapiroon, resulting in about 1,500 deaths so far this season, the Associated Press reports. Several thousand airport passengers were stranded in Hong Kong as flights were delayed, canceled or redirected. More storms are predicted.

Typhoons (known as hurricanes in our part of the world) occur more frequently in China than anywhere else. The season extends from May to December, with most (about 80 percent) from July to September.

If you are looking for dry weather and Beijing is on your itinerary, consider traveling in April and May, when temperatures range from the high 60s to the high 70s and rainfall averages less than 1 inch per month.

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