PTG Tours Rail and Culture Holidays
Welcome to our website. I hope you like our tour programme for the year ahead which includes many of the old favourites, such as our well known Vintage Port holiday, plus some exciting destinations including Sri Lanka, Slovakia, Brazil and Croatia.
We are also now one of a select few rail holiday companies that are members of ABTA. ABTA have extremely strict financial criteria for membership and it shows just what a strong and stable company we are. Over the last few years of “recession” we have bucked the trend and continue to grow and sell out most of our tours. Last year all our rail and culture tours operated as planned.
I still find it incredible that we have now been operating for over 14 years. This success is down to three things; operating unique tours which appeal to a wide range of interests, the friendships that develop in our small tour groups, and most of all the loyalty of our customers who return again and again.
I very much hope to get to meet as many of you as I can in the year ahead.
Paul Spracklen, Owner
These are our classic tours which are generally for group sizes of 20-36 people. We stay at good hotels (almost always 4 star) and the itineraries are designed for easy going days with plenty of off-train activities, culture, history, gardens etc. Where possible the trains we travel on are of a certain vintage and one or two steam hauled trips are often included. These tend to be our regular tours which will run each year. Destinations include Portugal, Bulgaria, Slovenia, France, Slovakia and Italy.
These tours are for people with a real sense of adventure, away from the normal tourist areas. The tours are very much unique to PTG. Again these are generally for group sizes of 20-36 people. We stay at conveniently located hotels of a good standard – but you should bear in mind that some of our destinations have never seen a 4-star hotel. Itineraries are designed to have plenty of rail interest but also off train activities showing the local culture and unique wildlife. These tours tend to be one-offs so “miss them at your peril”. Destinations in 2014 are Sri Lanka, Cuba, Alaska, Thailand and Cambodia.
“In Style” Tours
These are our “top of the range” trips with content similar to our Culture tours. Except expect some of the best hotels available and first class rail travel.
On these tours we use a special private charter trains for our exclusive use with plenty of room to spread out. Aimed more at the rail enthusiast, but if you read the itineraries, you will find that we do include plenty of off train activities. Again we tend to stay at good hotels – mainly of a 4-star standard – where we can. These tours are normally unique one-offs and are a real chance to travel on unusual lines (often the first passenger train to do so). Group sizes tend to be larger (60-100 people). Destinations in 2014 include Croatia, Greece, Sweden, Hungary, Sardinia, Corsica, Brazil, Romania and Bulgaria.
Comfort and Friendship
At PTG Tours we pride ourselves on the enjoyment that you get from our tours. Many of our customers have become good friends and return time and time again. PTG Tours Limited was established in 1998 and has built up a good strong reputation for quality and reliability.
Plenty for Everyone
Our holidays are for anyone looking for something a bit different. They have a railway theme but include visits to historic cities, gardens, vineyards, port lodges, river cruises and much more. We use vintage locomotives (sometimes steam) and carriages, where available, therefore adding to the atmosphere. By using trains we allow you to see the most beautiful areas from the comfort of your seat in the most relaxing and safest form of transport. Many of the areas we visit are only visible from the railway line.
No Fly Option
Many of our European tours have the option of travelling overland by rail from St Pancras. A price for this option, if available, will be included in each tours price list shown in this brochure. We can also arrange bespoke overland travel to connect with your chosen tour. For example for Douro Valley tours you could travel in daylight with nights in Bordeaux, San Sebastian and Vigo. Please contact us for further details.
Freedom and Security
On all our tours you have the services of our guides to help you as much or as little as you feel you need. Our tour managers should have extensive knowledge of the areas we visit and are able to help with any language barriers in the more remote regions. All tours are fully escorted by at least one PTG Tour Manager; sometimes from London, sometimes from the point of arrival. PTG Tours Limited is an established company with hundreds of very satisfied customers. Unlike some other tour operators we prepay all our suppliers (hotels, trains, coaches etc) before you leave the UK. Therefore in the very unlikely event of something happening to the company while you were away your holiday would not be affected in anyway. In accordance with “The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations1992″ all passengers booking with PTG Tours Limited are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all monies paid to us, including repatriation if required, arising from cancellation or curtailment of your travel arrangements due to the insolvency of PTG Tours Limited. PTG Tours are ATOL bonded (10060) and members of ABTA (Y2193) so are one of the most financially secure companies that you can travel with.
All the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate
Save Even More
Although we are happy to include travel from the UK to the destination company as part of your holiday booking you may be able to save more money by making your own flight arrangements over the internet. A good site to try is KAYAK Flights
Who We Are
Paul and Lisa Spracklen are the Directors and help run the Company from the UK. You will speak to Paul as he continues to run the main office and take an interest in every single tour and every single customer. There are not many holiday companies where you get direct access to the company’s owner!
Marisa Pratt is our Office Manager and is likely to be the first person you talk to when calling our office.
Pat Tonge often helps out in the office and covers during Marisa’s absence.
Marion Matthews (based in the UK) has been with us since we started in 1998 and acts as Tour Manager on some of our tours including Slovakia and Slovenia. Marion also helps out with administration and telephone cover.
David Gourlay (based in Lisbon, Portugal) If you travel on any of our Portugal tours then the chances are that David will be looking after you. David has been in Portugal for 16 years, speaks Portuguese, and has a good knowledge of the country. David is also our Tour Manager for France and Sri Lanka.
Philip Wormald has been travelling European and worldwide railways since 1982 so has acquired a good knowledge of many countries railways. Philip has planned many enthusiasts tours including all Baltic States, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia and now to Bosnia and Greece, and also across the Atlantic to Alaska.
Paul Griffin has a similar travel history to Phil and will help out Phil on some of our enthusiast trips. Paul has also developed, and will lead, our tours to Burma.
Angelina Pons is Catalan, after living some years in England and Italy she is now based in Spain and is our tour manager in France, Italy and Spanish speaking countries.
Stephen Martin (based in the UK) Acts as Tour Manager on Switzerland, UK, South and North America, and New Zealand tours, and works to create new long haul tours to add to the PTG portfolio.
Geoff Cooke sets up and leads tours in Ireland and on the Isle of Man.
Stephen Walker originally ran his own travel agency (Stephen Walker Travel) but having now retired has joined PTG to lead tours to some of the European destinations that he has a great knowledge of. He leads our Midnight Sun (Scandinavia trip), Sardinia/Corsica and is developing some “last chance to travel trips” to European rail lines under threat of closure.
Ray Schofield has a base in both the UK and South East Asia. He has travelled many parts of the world in connection with his interest in railways, travel and the steam locomotives. He is currently acting as Tour Manager for Cuba, Thailand/Cambodia and also Java. He has photographed, written of, and talked on, overseas railways and steam locomotives.
Chris Phillimore has a passion for railways and especially for the unique lines in Romania. Chris designs and runs our tours to Romania to create some very unique railway experiences in this unspoilt country.