We have answered some of our most frequently asked questions (FAQ) below. If the question you have is still not answered below then please either call Classic Travelling on +44 (0)1264 710375 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Why should I join a Classic Travelling tour?
Classic Travelling takes away the hassle and guesswork from a touring holiday. Your free time is precious and so you want to know that you will be driving the best roads in the area, staying at charming hotels, and that your car will have suitable parking each night. You want to know what there is to do, see and visit on each day of your trip, without having to do hours of research, or missing anything of interest.
The tour is organised, but you are not. This is no regimental exercise and you are free to spend your days as you wish, at your own pace, doing exactly want you want. We give you lots of suggestions for interesting places to visit and things to do and see. There is no convoy driving. All we ask is that you arrive at the accommodation we have booked on your behalf each evening.
All our fully escorted Group Tours and self-drive Classic Independent Tours are researched, created, tested and organised by Classic Travelling – and we also happen to be experienced, well-travelled and enthusiastic classic car owners. We accompany each Group Tour as your tour guides and organisers.
Unlike some companies and tour organisers, Classic Travelling tour directors actually drive every single mile of every single tour we offer, both as a reconnaissance trip – and then to accompany the Group Tours. We also carefully hand-pick and then visit and/or stay in every hotel we use and recommend, to ensure they are of the standard expected by us and our customers, and have suitable parking for your cars. We use small, character hotels wherever possible, not large, corporate or coach-party hotels where you’re just a number, not an individual.
We provide you with a tour book to help you make the most of your trip. This book contains your route directions and maps, accommodation information, and describes everything we think may be of interest to you, that you will be passing by each day. The tour book also gives you a little bit of history to the area, and may include some little anecdotes or stories about the places you are passing through. The idea of the book is to help you have all the information you need in just one place, and not be cluttered with various guide books, leaflets and maps.
How many cars are on a tour?
Normally, about 14-18 cars – but a minimum of 10 cars for Classic Travelling group tours. We don’t have more than 20 cars on our escorted group tours. However, we can organise tours for any party size: Some of our club tours can have between 10-60 cars.
What is the accommodation like?
All the hotels chosen for our Group Tours (and many used for our Independent Classic Tours) have been hand-picked and personally inspected by us to ensure a high standard – generally 4-5 star standard. We aim to stay in small, owner-managed establishments wherever possible. What Classic Travelling values in our recommended accommodation is a warm welcome, rooms with character, a lovely setting and good food, usually locally sourced. But our most important criterion is “Can I relax here?” We want your stay to be memorable – for the right reasons – and refuse to use large hotel chains with featureless, identikit rooms that could be anywhere in the world. It is very, very rare indeed that we would use a corporate or coach-party type hotel. Classic Travelling uses hotel that have proper bed linen, lovely decor, good food and, of course, suitable parking. Usually the hotels are within interesting or historical buildings reflecting the local architecture. The hotels we use tend to be four to five star (or equivalent). However, Classic Travelling will not use a hotel just because of its star rating: We stay in accommodation that offers good value for the experience. We do the legwork finding great places to stay – you reap the rewards.
Obviously we also ensure that there is suitable parking for your car. This may not always be under cover, but it will be in a private car park and not on the street. We also ensure that the access for our cars is appropriate (ie not grounding on ramps etc).
We try and stay two nights in most hotels, unless it’s just getting to the destination, so you have time to explore and relax, and not have to pack each morning.
What happens on escorted tours?
The key to the tour is flexibility: There are no convoys, early departures or competitive stages. The route is merely a suggested one, and you are welcome to divert off-route if you wish. Our routes give you the opportunity to stop along the way, explore the local sights, and eat where you like (we usually make recommendations) – all at your own pace. The tour is organised, but you are not. Generally crews drift away from the hotel after a leisurely breakfast. Pleasant lunch spots may be suggested and, after an enjoyable day’s driving, and having time for a few visits, you should be able to arrive at your hotel in plenty of time to relax before dinner. Should you wish to drive with other cars during the tour then that is entirely up to you.
Is my car suitable?
For our group tours all we ask is that you have a classic, vintage or sports-type car, of any age. Classic Travelling offers mechanical back-up on all our tours to continental Europe, thanks to Dan Monk of Winchester Classics and Joe Coleman of Oldtimer Services. However, please still ensure your car is properly maintained and serviced well. We also recommend that you have European breakdown cover (obtainable either from your insurance provider or breakdown service provider).
The most important thing is that your car is in excellent mechanical condition. We suggest that you tell your garage about the event and the time and distance and if in any doubt over any part, replace it or take a spare.
Power and handling are less important that robustness and reliability. Engines can tend to get quite hot when driving mountain roads, so an efficient cooling system is essential. Gradients can be severe, so please ensure your brakes are in perfect condition.
For our independent tours you can take any vehicle of your choice.
What support do Classic Travelling provide?
The Classic Travelling event director and tour guide will accompany the tour in a classic car. At least one of the Classic Travelling crew is trained & qualified in first-aid (human, not car!).Their vehicle will have a small first-aid kit, basic tool kit, and mobile phone.
Our tour mechanics will accompany all tours in Europe, but outside the UK. However, please ensure you have enough spares with you and that the car has been fully prepared for its journey. The mechanics will be able to carry your spares in their van.
The organisers’ resources are limited and may not be able to cope with a serious accident or breakdown. We recommend you have European breakdown cover, including repatriation. For tours outside Europe (eg to the USA) breakdown cover and fully comprehensive motor insurance are included in the tour price.
What insurance cover will I need?
Personal insurance: You are responsible for arranging you own travel and medical insurance, covering personal liability, theft or loss of personal effects, repatriation and cancellation. Please ensure that your insurance covers you for the full amount of time that you will be away for. We recommend that you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which entitles the holder to free or reduced cost, state-provided medical treatment in any European Economic Area country and Switzerland. The card is free and you can apply online (www.dh.gov.uk/travellers), over the phone (0845 606 2030) or by collecting a postal application from the Post Office.
Motor insurance: You will need to inform your motor insurance provider that you are travelling outside the UK (if applicable). For tours outside Europe we will arrange comprehensive insurance for your car whilst it is out of Europe, but this will be extra to the tour price. If your car needs to be shipped we will include marine insurance during shipping too.
You will need to ensure you have the necessary documentation in your car (insurance certificate, vehicle registration document, driving licence) for travel. We strongly recommend that you have European breakdown and repatriation cover, and that it covers the countries to be visited. Our mechanics are great, but even they can’t always fix everything by the roadside or hotel garage.
How do we find our way?
Each car will receive a comprehensive tour book. This includes detailed, easy-to-follow, written directions and overview maps showing the recommended routes. Those on Group Tours will also receive a road atlas. The tour book also has details of where you are staying and includes details of everything there is to do, see and visit each day, as well as a potted history of the areas through which you will pass. There is also general overview information and history on each country or region, and language information, where applicable. We also offer pre-programmed Garmin GPS units or we can send you the routes to upload into your own Garmin or Tom-Tom GPS sat nav.
See a Tour Book sample here.
Do you use Tulip routes?
No, as not everyone finds these easy. Our tour books have detailed, written, narrative-style directions, accompanied by the overview daily route, which is also marked on a map. We also provide a clear and large-scale road atlas for you (Group Tours only). We find this easier for those who may wish to deviate from our recommended route, or for those who do not wish to spend each moment looking at directions, and be able to enjoy the countryside you are travelling through. We offer a choice of so many different things to visit on or nearby our routes, that traditional maps are easier to follow, and allow you to travel exactly as you wish. We also offer pre-programmed Garmins on loan for tours, or we can send you the map files to load on to your own GPS.
What are the roads like?
Our recommended routes are usually along excellent, fully-metalled, quiet, scenic roads. We avoid motorways and main roads where ever possible. This generally ensures you will be driving along the quieter back roads, usually surrounded by lovely scenery.
On some tours (mainly outside Europe) there may be very small sections of untarred road (to which there are usually alternative routes provided), but these are of good quality and we have driven our cars along them already on the reconnaissance trip. Where we do use untarred sections it is because the road or scenery is so outstanding that we think it really should not be missed! Obviously, driveways to some of the hotels will be gravel or similar too.
Are your tours just for people interested in cars?
No, absolutely not! It does, of course, help that you take pleasure in motoring through fabulous scenery, relish individual, character hotels, and enjoy the company of like-minded travellers. But it is not the intention to make the tour exclusively car-oriented. Classic Travelling tours are first and foremost holidays to relax, enjoy and experience the countries we visit. We aim to satisfy everyone, (including non-car enthusiasts) so let us know if you have a particular interest that you would like us to try and accommodate.
What do we eat, and where?
All the accommodation includes breakfast. On group tours we tend to include evening meals on about 70% of the evenings. We only sometimes include meals at hotels in towns and cities, as there is often a good range of restaurants to choose from, and we will often be able to recommend somewhere to eat. Occasionally it is also pleasant to have a meal without the group. Where there is no alternative, such as rural hotels, we will include dinner. This will usually be a set menu or limited choice menu. Lunch is also of your own choosing.
What clothes will I need?
Comfortable travelling clothes are more important than looking stylish. However, for our escorted tours, it is preferred if guests change from their travelling clothes into smart-casual attire for dinner in hotels. You may wish to take something slightly smarter, but men usually won’t need a jacket and tie – smart casual will be fine. We also recommend that you take plenty of sun protection (high-factor cream and hats), warm clothing for cooler days, and a waterproof layer.
What sort of people can I expect to be travelling with?
Our customers book our tours to enjoy their cars, beautiful scenery, good food and wine, and quality hotel accommodation. Some of your fellow travellers are sampling European motoring for the first time, whilst others have been touring for years. Age ranges vary from mid twenties to mid eighties!
What if I would like to go on a tour that isn’t listed on your website?
Please contact us to discuss your requirements. We will seriously consider any suggestions as an escorted tour, or we can arrange a tailor-made tour for you, to meet your exact requirements.
I would like to go on tour but I don’t have a suitable car…
That’s no problem at all: Classic Travelling can arrange the hire of a suitable classic or sports car on your behalf. Please contact us to discuss your requirements. We can arrange car hire in:
UK: London, Yorkshire, Edinburgh, Stirling, Kent, Hertfordshire, Wiltshire, Cotswolds, Surrey, Cornwall
France: Dordogne & Burgundy
Italy: northern Italy – Piedmont, Lombardy, Trentino, Tuscany
South Africa: western Cape
For our Classic Independent Tours you can take any car. It’s just our Group Tours where we ask that participants are in a classic, vintage or sports car.
The tours sound fantastic. How do I book?
Once you have decided which tour you want to go on, just contact us to ensure places are still available. Then download the booking form (at the bottom of each tour page), fill it in and send it back to us – or you can book online. We require a deposit of 25% of the tour price to secure your place. Bookings made by telephone will be held for 7 days, by which time we hope to have received your booking form and deposit. The balance (75%) must be paid no less than eight weeks before departure.
There are various ways to pay: Direct bank transfer; Credit/Debit card via PayPal (3.5% surcharge imposed); Cheque (payable to ‘Classic Travelling Ltd’)
Call Classic Travelling on +44 (0)1264 710375.
Is my money protected?
In accordance with “The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992” all passengers booking with Classic Travelling have their monies held in a Trust Account that is independent of the regular business trading/current accounts. All of the monies paid into this account are only released and available to Classic Travelling Ltd on completion of your tour, so your money is safe and there to run your holiday, whatever may happen to Classic Travelling (nothing we hope, of course!)
This does not replace your travel insurance and we strongly recommend that you have this. It may cover you for various unforeseen eventualities during your trip, and may provide cover incase you have to cancel your holiday, and are not entitled to a refund.
Who are Classic Travelling Ltd?
Classic Travelling was established in 2003 and offers travel services and motoring holidays. The founder of the business, Sarah Dowding, has extensive experience of touring and motoring, having driven well in excess of 250,000 miles over the finest roads in Europe, North America, and southern Africa. With Classic Travelling’s continual presence on the best touring roads, we are second to none for advice about exploring the world by road, and off the beaten track. Our knowledge and experience means we have a in depth and unique knowledge of where and when to drive, depending upon your budget, interests and car. We pride ourselves on our attention to detail in preparing every trip we undertake. For example, we always spend a substantial amount of time inspecting the access to any car parking and ensuring that the security arrangements for your car are the best reasonably available. Our guides are knowledgeable, friendly, experienced and approachable. On our escorted tours they are there to look after you and ensure that you have an enjoyable and hassle-free holiday. Whether you need help with your bags, ordering a meal, sourcing super unleaded fuel, or seeking medical advice, our guides will help to the best of their ability. There will also always be at least one qualified first-aider.
Sarah Dowding: Founder & Director of Classic Travelling. She escorts all the group tours and ensures the tours run smoothly, and is always on hand to answer questions, sort out any problems, and generally point you in the right direction to enjoy your holiday. Sarah has a Morgan 4/4 that she’s owned since 1997 and an E-type owned since 2008, in which she has visited over 30 countries on 3 continents.
Nick Richmond: Nick is Sarah’s long-suffering husband, who also comes on many tours. Nick is a qualified McTimoney Chiropractor and is very popular as a ‘human mechanic’ fixing people after their driving, and often sorting ages-old problems. He’s a very popular and useful member of the team. At 6ft 7in he finds it a bit of a squeeze in the classic cars, but can still get in and out of a Lotus Elise, with the hood up, faster than anyone else! Nick runs the Chiros Clinic in Andover, Hampshire for treatments outside of tours.
Ella Pickard: Ella’s sunny personality and frequent laughs makes her extremely popular. She’s superb as a tour guide, and a great raconteur around the dinner table. She also knows where all the shops are on each tour, and the best bargains to be had!
Dan Monk: Owner of Winchester Classics and one of our wonderful tour mechanics, Dan worked at the Morgan Motor Company for 10 years and then for Morgan dealers. He ably looks after Sarah’s cars and keeps them on the road. He is known for working long into the night (and at dawn) to keep tour participants cars going – and is very popular with his great sense of humour.
What does Classic Travelling do?
Classic Travelling specialises in the organisation of motoring tours and holidays for classic, vintage and sports cars of any age.
Escorted Tours: scheduled tours for groups of around 14-18 cars. Wonderful camaraderie with like-minded travellers and drivers. You can rely on us for choosing lovely accommodation (with suitable parking), scenic routes and we give you a comprehensive tour book, with maps, routes, and all the details you need to make the most of your holiday. There is no convoy driving, early departures and competitive stages – just a relaxing and fun touring holiday.
Independent Tours: itineraries we have put together that can be taken at any time to suit you. This helps to take away the hassle and guesswork of organising your own trip. Our tour books are available to purchase to use all the information to make your own bookings, but enjoy the same tours.
Club Tours: We have worked with a number of car clubs (20-Ghost Club, Jaguar Drivers’ Club, XK Club, E-type Club, CAAR GB, Aston Martin Owners’ Club) to arrange tours for their members. We can professionally organise the entire tour so clubs do have have to rely on the goodwill of volunteers. We take away the hassle of arranging a touring holiday for a large number of people – which always takes far longer than any novice volunteer ever thinks!
We make all the arrangements and reservations (except for flights, where applicable). All you need to do is turn up! We are also agents for P&O Ferries, Brittany Ferries and DFDS Seaways, so do let us know if we can help with your sea crossings.