A Nottingham venture which specialises in walking and cultural tours is striding into its third year in business, bringing visitors from as far afield as China and the USA to sample the countryside, cities and heritage of the East Midlands.
Brackenbury’s Britain, set up by Richard Brackenbury in 2014, offers expert-guided, self-guided and bespoke tours to stunning locations in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire. His clients are increasingly corporate groups looking for an active but interesting team-building activity and tourists.
Brackenbury said: “I’m really pleased to be celebrating two years in business and I’m delighted to report that bookings are increasingly busy as more people look to walking for socialising and as a form of sightseeing”.
Walking is now the most popular recreational activity in Britain. More than 9.1 million adults in England, or 22 percent of the population, walk recreationally every four weeks, more than twice the number who swim, according to the Ramblers’ Association. It is also the joint most-popular activity on day visits (along with eating out).
Highlights of Brackenbury’s Britain’s first two years in business include showing a party of Chinese engineers from the University of Nottingham across the region – which led to a return visit on a trade mission to Shanghai for Brackenbury, who wants to welcome more visitors from the Far East – and a group of Americans from Florida keen to explore Nottingham Castle, Lincoln Cathedral, Bakewell and Chatsworth.
Brackenbury added: “I think the East Midlands appealed to both China and the U.S, particularly for those who have already ‘done’ the main sites of the UK.
“The offering here is a good distillation of the best that England has to be proud of, within a relatively small geographical area. And at the same time it is something different for those who’ve been before”.
Brackenbury, a lawyer by profession, is also an accredited walks leader for the largest provider of walking holidays in the UK, and is chairman of the Nottinghamshire Historic Churches Trust.
He supports a number of East Midlands charities and recently led a “Culture Crawl” around Nottingham which raised £10,000 for Nottingham cancer charity Maggie’s.
He said: “The business came about as a way of pulling all these areas of interest together. I’m proud to be from the East Midlands and really enjoy showing off the best it has to offer and seeing people’s reactions. I have a real enthusiasm for history and culture and it’s great to be able to pass that on to my guests.
“I’ve heard the phrase ‘walking is the new golf’ a few times this year and I like this idea. Walking is so accessible and I’m confident that the next two years will bring a significant increase in the number of guests visiting our region who are looking for a bespoke guided tour experience”.