Travel expert Julie Peasgood is the second speaker to be announced for this year’s Seminar Theatre at the Group Leisure & Travel Show, joining travel guru Simon Calder.

As well as being a regular contributor to GLT Magazine, an accomplished travel writer, TV presenter and cruise expert, Julie’s career spans 45 years of television and theatre including Emmerdale, Brookside, Hollyoaks, This Morning, The Alan Titchmarsh Show, The Royal Shakespeare Company and the new upcoming Russell T Davies series Years and Years.

Here are just some of Julie’s top trip ideas for groups as featured in Group Leisure & Travel Magazine:

1. Kew Gardens

Julie describes Kew Gardens in Richmond as being among the world’s finest. Crowned the Royal Botanic Gardens in 1759, there is plenty for visitors to feast their eyes on: the glasshouses, including the newly restored Temperate House and the Waterlily pavilion; the multi-sensory Hive experience revealing the secret world of the honeybee and the views from the Great Pagoda, which Julie promises is worth the climb!

“The Treetop Walkway is quite surreal too, and even just sitting on a bench and drinking it all in feels good for the soul.”

Julie’s top tips: “Allow a whole day if possible and take sandwiches or a picnic – there are plenty of places to enjoy dining alfresco, especially when the weather gets better.”

Kew Gardens ( Photo credit RBG Kew).

2. Highgate Cemetery

Those heading to London and looking for something different to do should consider a visit to Highgate Cemetery, says Julie.

“I had no idea I would find the experience so awe-inspiring. With over 170,000 people in 53,000 graves, the cemetery is split into two halves, West and East. They each have a very different character, but are equally serene, beautiful, fascinating – and not in the slightest bit morbid.”

The West Cemetery, Julie explains, is the perfect embodiment of a Victorian cemetery in all its crumbling glory; massive tombs and mausoleums were as much for the living as the deceased, proving an ideal way for the Victorians to establish their credentials.

3. British Airways i360

If you’re heading to Brighton and you’ve not yet had the pleasure of experiencing the Brighton i360, Julie highly recommends you try it with your group. As you glide gently up to its optimum height of 450 feet, this huge glass pod provides panoramic views of the South Downs, Brighton’s monuments and miles of sprawling coastline and slate coloured sea.

“Flights depart every half hour and last 20 minutes, and you can toast taking to the skies with bubbles, beer or G&T, or come down to earth in the popular, land-based West Beach Bar and Kitchen, serving brunch, lunch, supper or afternoon tea.”

4. Sir John Sloane & the V&A Museum

“If you’re planning on making a day of it in London, I can recommend two favourite museums of mine that are both a delight to visit: the extraordinary Sir John Soane in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, and the stunning V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green,” says Julie.

Recently refurbished, the V&A showcases one of the world’s best collections of children’s toys, games, puppets, costumes and doll’s houses, from the Victorian era to the present day.

Sir John Soane’s Museum also presents insights to the past. This former home of the Bank of England architect encompasses a trio of London townhouses, and contains over 6,000 works of art and antiquities, furniture, architectural artefacts and curiosities from all around the world.

Julie’s top tips: “Book in advance if you can (especially for groups larger than ten) and afternoons are quietest. Be prepared for a gloriously nostalgic trip down memory lane.”

Giffords Circus (photo credit: Gem Hall)

5. Giffords Circus

For groups looking for entertainment, Julie highly recommends Giffords Circus, a transformational travelling circus which visits village greens throughout the South West, every May to September. It brought back many fond memories for her.

“When my mum, Pearl, was 17 she ran away to join the circus… Every night mum juggled batons and balls and was sawn in half.

“It’s over 50 years now since I first listened to her adventures… I know she would have adored Giffords, as everyone around me clearly does.”

Group bookings are also available and a great way to round off the evening show is to dine under canvas in Circus Sauce, the renowned 80-seat travelling restaurant that follows Giffords to each ground.

Register now for free entry to this year’s show and hear more tips from Julie Peasgood, who’ll be sharing her cruise experience and recommendations. The third speaker will be announced in due course.

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