First tour this Wednesday the 9th of July!

Essential-Guide_Ad_June2014As per the previous post our first tour is this coming Wednesday the 9th of July. It’s been a while in the making but we’re nearly there!

If you’d like to join us on the tour then please contact me through the contact page, e-mail me on tom@gocotswolds.co.uk or call me on 07786 920166. Who knows, as we’re feeling generous in our first week, if you join us on a tour, we may even throw you in a discount! 🙂

The tour departs Stratford in a 16 seater minibus at 10am and returns at approximately 5.30pm – traffic depending – and takes in Chipping Campden, Dover’s Hill, Broadway Tower, Stow-on-the-Wold, Bourton-on-the-Water and the Rollright Stones amongst many other beautiful villages in the Cotswolds.

Over the course of the next couple of weeks you’ll see a lot more Go Cotswolds related materials at and about – namely the liveried minibus out and about and our leaflets & posters – once they’ve been printed!

Go Cotswolds is finally starting – hurrah!

 

On your marks, get set, GO!

Go CotswoldsThe last two weeks have been a complete whirlwind as we’ve motored closer to our first scheduled day trip of the Cotswolds.

Considering we didn’t even have a vehicle then we’ve made huge strides to actually beginning the day tours that I’ve dreamed of doing for the last 10 years.

As of yesterday – when I picked up the minibus from the tachograph fitters – we’re now a fully functioning, legally operational minibus company complete with a qualified driver, an operator’s licence, a transport manager and 17 seat vehicle.

This means we have everything in place set to start day trips of The Cotswolds from Stratford-upon-Avon. Hurrah!

I’m incredibly proud of this considering that this industry is completely new to me and as recently as February I wasn’t even sure I had the relevant skills or resources to actually do it.

But, the layers of red tape have been picked off one by one and we’re now pretty much ready to go – for both private hire bookings and for those tours of the Cotswolds.

My target date for the first day tour was initially tomorrow (you have to challenge yourself!) but we’re now due to commence on  Wednesday the 9th of July as there are still a couple of intricacies of the route to sort out and also the graphics need adding to the minibus.

But, we’re nearly there. Brace yourselves Stratford-upon-Avon and the Cotswolds – we’re coming to get you!

The Go Cotswolds minibus

Minibus

Fanfare please….we have a minibus!

Pictured above is the first Go Cotswolds minibus which we will be using on our day tours of the Cotswolds from Stratford-upon-Avon. It still needs it’s livery but this is something we hope to get before we commence our day tours.

The plan is to get it into operation before the end of the month – our plan has always been to be operational by June – although this may slip into early July as there is still a few things that still need to be sorted before we begin.

Either way, we’re getting ever closer to getting started now – can’t wait!

It’s nearly time to Go Cotswolds people..

Hello again world!

Go CotswoldsSuch has been my intense revision (cramming!) over the past 3 weeks for my Certificate of Professional Competence for Transport Managers (Passenger Transport) exams – which I took last Friday – it’s been 24 days since I last posted.

The qualification – which I require if I’m going to be my own transport manager for Go Cotswolds (we currently employ a consultant to undertake this role) – was  really intense.

I feel relatively confident but with a sketchy track record of examinations I really don’t know how I got on. Fingers crossed though.

It’s not just the blog  posting that has been on hold. So have a number of things that are needed to advance Go Cotswolds which I’ll be working on this week.

I sincerely hope our projected start date (29th of June) won’t slip but there’s a multitude of things that still need to fall into place before then.

This week is all about finding the right vehicle, finalising and scheduling the tour route, getting the leaflets to print and building the website. So much to do!

The website (www.gocotswolds.co.uk) is currently a bit of a mess – the look will be completely different once we’ve finished tinkering with it but the content is gradually being updated. So, if you do visit the site, then please do bear with us. It will look great when it’s finished!

More posts will follow but in the meantime check out these two articles that I like this morning.

16 Enchanting UK Spots To Visit Other Than London – Huffington Post. Stratford-upon-Avon is at number 9 (I think it should be higher!) but the article does include the line “the perfect base for exploring the Cotswold countryside”. Couldn’t agree more.

Simon Reeve on India and Penis Soup – Rough Guides. You’ll have to excuse the name of this post (!) but it’s a great interview with my favourite TV travel broadcaster Simon Reeve. He’s got such a grout outlook on travelling and life in general. His bit about the Kenyan refuge is particularly poignant.

On a tour with Go Cotswolds

Go CotswoldsIt’s now time to reveal what we’ll be doing, what the tours will entail and a provisional timescale for this happening!

I’ve been working on Go Cotswolds since November – practically full time – and everything is now falling into place slowly but surely.

It’s taken it’s time as I’ve slowly come to terms with the enormity of the undertaking and worked out which direction I wanted it to go in – both physically and metaphorically!

Now though it’s nearly time to actually begin what I’ve been talking about for so long. So here’s goes.. here’s what Go Cotswolds will be introducing to begin with:

The basics..

  • Guided tours of the Cotswolds on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays in a 16 passenger seat minibus from Stratford-upon-Avon (other pick points available on request).
  • Minibus available for chartered tours and/or private hire on other days.

What a Go Cotswolds tour will consist of

  • An approximate 80 mile/6-7 hour scenic tour of the North Cotswolds.
  • Live tour commentary provided by your jovial driver guide* over a PA system and at stops en route.
  • Departure from Stratford-upon-Avon at approximately 10am from accommodation providers, transport hubs or a single town centre location.
  • Visits to and stop offs at a variety of Cotswolds towns, villages, viewing spots and attractions including Chipping Campden, Broadway Tower, The Slaughters, Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on-the-Wold and the Rollright Stones.
  • An optional short walk.
  • Opportunity to challenge your guide to a bout of the traditional Cotswoldian game of shin kicking.
  • Cream tea on the way home (tbc)
  • Drop off in Stratford-upon-Avon at approximately 4.30-5pm.

What the commentary will consist of

All sorts; from the historical to the social to the geographical to the mysterious, it’s a cheerful narrative that involves a number of different things including Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the Devil, sheep and actress Renee Zellweger.

Hope that’s whet your appetite!

The Cost

£35pp for adults and £25pp for children under the age of 16.

Charter and private hire prices available on request.

When?

First commercial tour is pencilled in for Sunday the 28th of June 2014.

Trial tours and promotional tours will be taking place in the weekends and evenings leading up to the 28th. Keep an eye on the blog for further details!

Go Cotswolds – an approved PSV operator!

Operator's licence disc - editGo Cotswolds is now an approved Public Service Vehicle operator. This was the final piece of red tape that we needed to come through before we start running our tours and now we have it!

The disc arrived today (pictured right) which will be displayed in our vehicle at all times whilst in operation. The PSV Operator’s licence allows us to drive for hire and reward effectively approving Go Cotswolds as a commercial operation.

Needless to say – I’m absolutely over the moon about this. The legal bit is now out the way so all I need now is a vehicle!

This should hopefully be a relatively simple process (if a little costly) paving the way for us to be operational in approximately 6-7 weeks time.

Watch this space!

Telling stories

Go CotswoldsI’ve been researching The Cotswolds over the past 10 days as I’m working on and adding to the stories I’ll be telling about the area during the tour. It’s been so enjoyable as the more I delve, the more I find out and the more it interests me.

In fact, it’s been that enjoyable it doesn’t really feel like work!

I’ve researched via various means predominantly online but also at the local libraries and on occasion through e-mails/conversations with people in the know in the Cotswolds.

The route itself for the full day tour is now pretty much worked out and I’ve been piecing together the stories to go alongside it. I really can’t wait to share them.

From witchcraft to The Manic Street Preachers and from Devil’s rocks to marshy bogs it’s all covered. And I haven’t done half of it yet!

The actual talking during the tour is something that I’m getting some help with over the course of the next few weeks. I’ve acquired the services of a local voice, presentation and communication coach who will hopefully be helping me improve my story telling skills and oration which I’m really looking forward to.

We’ll be up and running very soon – can’t wait!

 

 

Go Cotswolds progress

Go Cotswolds blog

Essential Guide Ad It’s been an incredibly busy last couple of weeks that have absolutely flown by.

My target of a June start date is still on; a fact that I felt confident enough in to place an advert in the latest Stratford-upon-Avon Essential Guide which was published today (see scan to the right). If you see a copy of it around Stratford – do pick it up!

Essential guide cover

My focus of late has been studying for my Transport Management Certificate of Professional Competence  (CPC) for which I have exams for in the middle of June.

The course has been really interesting but I’ve found it very time consuming and quite taxing.

I have to undertake this as I need a qualified transport manager to operate passenger carrying vehicles under my PSV Operator’s licence. To apply for the licence I had to enlist a consultant (Colin who helped me with my application) to undertake the role…

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Go Cotswolds progress

Essential Guide AdIt’s been an incredibly busy last couple of weeks that have absolutely flown by.

My target of a June start date is still on; a fact that I felt confident enough in to place an advert in the latest Stratford-upon-Avon Essential Guide which was published today (see scan to the right). If you see a copy of it around Stratford – do pick it up!

Essential guide cover

My focus of late has been studying for my Transport Management Certificate of Professional Competence  (CPC) for which I have exams for in the middle of June.

The course has been really interesting but I’ve found it very time consuming and quite taxing.

I have to undertake this as I need a qualified transport manager to operate passenger carrying vehicles under my PSV Operator’s licence. To apply for the licence I had to enlist a consultant (Colin who helped me with my application) to undertake the role but I need to have the qualifications myself as a long term solution.

This is one of the reasons I’ve not blogged recently as I’ve been trying to spend as much time on that as possible.

The “O Licence” application should be approved by mid May which paves the way to acquiring a vehicle and starting the trial runs.

The other thing I’ve been spending most time on recently is the exact route of the tours and the associated “chat” that will go with it.

This has involved reading a lot about the local area and noting down all the facts that – I think – will be of particular interest to visitors to the area.

There’s actually loads of really interesting statistics, social facts and folklore that I’ve found out about and can’t wait to share!

Anyway, that’s all for now. I hope to blog more over the coming weeks as I have loads to talk about!