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LIST: ARTS, MUSIC & CULTURE TOUR OPERATORS

These are UK-based tour operators and specialist travel agencies who offer arts, drama, music & culture tours.

See also History & Archaeology Tours
ACE Cultural Tours 01223 841055 ACE Study tours (50 years old in 2008) is an arm of the British charitable trust The Association for Cultural Exchange, an educational charity. They operate art, archæology, history, music, drama, literature, geology, ecology and wildlife study tours around the world.
Art History Abroad 01379 871800 AHA run art history courses in Italy for gap-year students and study holidays for schools, adults and families.
Brookland Travel 01305 259467 Art, literature and theatre tours.
Ciceroni Travel 01869 811167 Arts and art history tour company that has grown organically from a club to a small specialist operator offering fully inclusive, scheduled, escorted cultural tours for groups and individuals (typically aged 50 - 90) to destinations worldwide, including the UK. The name "Ciceroni" is Italian for a group of 18th century Grand Tour Guides.
Cox & Kings (NADFAS) 020 7873 5000 Cox & Kings operate around 60 fine arts & art history tours worldwide (especially the Middle East, India & Europe) for NADFAS - National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies. The tours are for NADFAS members but there are opportunities for others to join. There is a dedicated NADFAS tours brochure. Cox & Kings have been reminding us that they are the world's longest established travel company and that 2008 is their 250th anniversary.
Diplomatic Travel 01825 740262 DT have a programme called 'Southern Sounds' featuring tours in the 'Deep South' USA for lovers of jazz, rock, blues, and country & western.
Fine Art Travel 020 7437 8553 Art and heritage grand tours in Italy visiting artworks and architectural sites in public and private settings. Fine Art Travel is a brand of Italy specialists, Bellini Travel run by Lord Charles Fitzroy and his niece, Emily Fitzroy.
Habsburg Heritage 020 8761 0444 starSmall company founded by music aficienado, Robert Avery, specialising in escorted music tours in Europe, especially Austria's Eisenstadt Haydn Festival and Schubertiade". (What Robert doesn't know about taking music-lovers to the Schubertiade is simply not worth bothering about - ed)
Heritage Group Travel 10225 466620 Longstanding operator of arts and culture group tours for societies and affinity groups.
Heritage Touring 01794 342249 Heritage Touring have been operating art, culture and music tours in the UK and Europe for 20 years. Their annual programme features classical music concerts, opera, heritage events, and art tours to historic houses.
JMB Travel Consultants Ltd 01905 830099 Opera specialists offering escorted & individual tours to a wide range of opera productions & festivals worldwide.
Jon Baines Tours 020 7223 9485 Guided cultural tours specialist with a programme of small group tours to unusual and interesting destinations worldwide. They also have a programme of medical study tours.
John Whibley 01663 746578 John & Helen Whibley escort small groups to opera, early music, chamber and orchestral performances at all the well-known festivals but also lessor-know events such as Ambronay, Cuenca and Kilkenny.
Kirker Holidays 0870 112 3333 The high-quality short breaks specialist has a Cultural Tours programme (launched in 2006) featuring tours to around 25 destinations worldwide but mostly in Europe, for groups of around 15-22 people escorted by an expert lecturer. Subjects covered include Music (concerts, opera & special festivals); Gardens & Botany; Archaeology & Ancient History; Art, Architecture and Art History. Kirker's cultural tours division is being run by Barry Cheeseman who for years developed and ran Page & Moy's cultural holidays division and is well-known to many music & opera lovers.
Kudu Travel 01722 716167 Guided walking holidays based around music festivals, opera, art & architecture, (as well as birdwatching, wildlife and gourmet food & wine).
Liaisons Abroad 020 7376 4020 Ticketing only for international music & arts events, festivals & concerts.
Made to Measure 01243 533333 Made to Measure have a small programme of art and architecture tours, led by art historian Sally Lang.
Martin Randall Travel 020 8742 3355 starOne of the leading cultural tour operators with a programme of around around 220 small-group tours every year in the UK and Europe, Middle East, India and North America, focusing on art, music, architecture, archaeology and history. 
Operas Abroad 0151 493 0382 Music & opera short breaks brand operated by Eastern Europe specialists, Regent Holidays. So, visiting destinations like Prague, Berlin, Italy, Budapest, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Warsaw, Riga, Helsinki, Tallinn, Vienna.
Passionate About Opera 08450 545 069 Paul Graham is a homeworking travel agent who operates as a franchisee in the Explorer Travel group. His experience as a specialist on holidays to Italy led him into the world of classical music breaks and now he has become a successful opera tour specialist agent, arranging trips for opera fans to Italy, Austria and New York. Being a one-man show, you are pretty much guaranteed that personal touch!
Prospect Music & Arts Tours 020 7486 5705 Escorted & Individual Arts & Music tours. Also European cultural river cruises. Well known operator in this field with a wide selection tours. (Prospect have a long and distinguished history in music tours. I know of at least two founders of other top companies on this page who started their careers working at Prospect - Ed)
RSC Short Breaks 020 8758 4799 Theatre breaks to Royal Shakespeare Company productions in Stratford-upon-Avon operated for the RSC by Sunvil. There's a programme of excursions to nearby sites such as Anne Hathaway's house & Warwick Castle, and backstage tours at the RSC.
Saga 0800 096 0084 Saga have quite strong programme of special interest holidays including classic music & opera tours, art appreciation holidays, jazz tours, and culture tours. Saga operates holidays for the 50+ age group.
Special Tours 020 7730 2297/3138 Programme of sophisticated cultural tours overseas with the emphasis on art, architecture and history. Tours are led by expert guides.
St James Art Tours 020 7495 6487 Busy programme of small group expert-guided arts tours.
Tailored Travel 0845 230 9966 Group travel specialists offering tailored travel to schools and groups for history, culture, music and arts tours.
Travel Editions 020 7251 0045) Operates a programme of specific themed tours each year on a wide range of special interest subjects, to a range of destinations mostly in Europe. Many of them are art history and culture tours (eg Art & History of the Netherlands, La Scala & Verona Opera, Discovering Charles Rennie Mackintosh). Check this year's programme on their website.
Travel for the Arts 020 8799 8350 starTours and tailor made travel to international opera, music and arts events. TFTA was set up ages ago by Andrew Blair and has grown into one of the leading specialist music tour operators with a huge and varied programme worldwide.
Traveller, The 01285 880 931 Guided culture, history and archaeology tours with expert lecturers. The Traveller started out as the British Museum's specialist tours operator, going independent in 2003. For a while it teamed up with Palanquin tours, now it is a part of Steppes Travel.

Notes

  • Cape Insights is a special interest travel company that offers expert-led tours around South Africa, including archaeology, food & wine, garden, architecture, ceramivs & crafts, and history tours.
  • Guiding Architects Network is an international network of architects, architectural journalists and architectural historians who provided high-level professional group tours of their 40+ home cities in Europe & worldwide, customised to suit group interests.
  • Archtours is a small Finnish travel agency specialising in expert guided architectural tours in Finland, the Baltic Rim countries, Europe, China and Japan.
  • Art historian Drs. Kees Kaldenbach runs Private Art Tours, providing a wide range of art and architecture tours in Holland, visiting museums, art galleries and architecture sites.
  • The Spanish Thyme Traveller specialises in cultural themed tours in Valencia, SE Spain, combining history and nature with local food and wine.
  • Olton Ltd is a St Petersburg-based tour operator specialising in tours for art, music, opera and ballet lovers to St.Petersburg, Moscow and other parts of Russia.

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