A tribute to Shearings

The whole team at Silver Travel Advisor were saddened and shocked to hear of the demise of one of Britain’s best loved escorted tours and river cruise specialists, after 117 years of trading.

We asked four of our writers to share their favourite memories of a national treasure.

Dave Harcombe Dave Harcombe

I was dismayed and shocked when I heard about the demise of a true British icon. Shearings have over the years brought value for money holidays to many and they will be sadly missed.

Lake Como I can see why Shearings coach holidays were so popular. All you had to do was keep your side of the bargain. Turn up at the allotted time and let the coach take the strain. Sit back, relax and enjoy the countryside here and abroad. Everything else is taken care for you. No stress, no headache. And Shearings were easily the best.

After my dad died we booked a last minute trip to the Italian Lakes. Lake Como was amazing and gave us a taste for the dolce vita. The trip was a success partly due to the husband and wife coach team and the wonderful companionship of our fellow travellers.

We always came away from a Shearings trip contented, with a smile and a deep respect for our coach drivers. The choice of driver has a major impact on the enjoyment of a coach trip. All our drivers have been charming and their approach spot on. Not too intrusive but always professional, knowledgeable and as you would expect all had superb driving skills.

Keukenhof Garden Over the years we have been on many Shearings trips. The Scottish trip was a wonderful introduction to Dumfries and Galloway. Our stand-out trip was the Keukenhof tulip festival with visits to Ghent, Bruges and Antwerp all expertly organised and delivered in style.

The UK will miss this market leader in coach holidays. I feel for the staff because they don’t deserve this. Shearings have given so much pleasure over the years bringing holidays to many especially Silver Travellers who maybe thought their holiday days were probably over – but were able still to travel in luxury and stay in nice hotels too.

I will miss seeing the iconic coaches on the road.

Read Bruges and the Dutch Bulbfields with Shearings by Dave Harcombe 

Kay Wiseman Kay Wiseman

As all about us changes, no more so than in the travel industry, I savour the special travel moments I have been lucky enough to have stored away as precious memories.

MPS Rotterdam One such memory was the delightful river boat holiday with Shearing Holidays, a few days floating down the Rhine, on MPS Rotterdam. Peace and tranquillity as the countryside from Cologne to Brussels slipped by.

The contrasts along this great watery highway are superb, 18th century palaces and charming fishing villages. Huge commercial barges ploughing along with great purpose; the UNESCO site of Kinderdijk windmills. This scene transported me into an Old Master’s painting. 

In Antwerp we went to the famous Rooden Hoed restaurant, close to the great cathedral and who could forget the chocolaterie in Brussels. Finally, the heavens opened and it poured down but the weather did not detract from the beauty of Ghent and its elegant warm brick buildings reflected in the canals.

Kinderdijk windmills But for me memories most cherished are those of the people who made this trip so very special. The guides, who shared their love and enthusiasm for travel; the drivers, who found a way to keep us happy despite the weather. But above all were the exceptional Balinese staff on MPS Rotterdam. Their friendliness and courtesy made our evenings so very magical, not only with their wonderful food carvings but also the sense of fun in their traditional dances.

Who can ever forget having danced with a forest spirit on the Rhine!

Read Rhine Cruise with Shearings Holidays by Kay Wiseman

Glynis Sullivan Glynis Sullivan

Rothesay Harbour The shock waves around the travel world are still reverberating at the loss of the giant of coach travel, Shearings Holidays.

Where do I begin? The dreams, love, expectations and memories of many Silver Travellers have been lost with the demise of Shearings. Our fondest memories are of a fabulous new year on the Island of Bute where we were joined by 150 Glaswegians who were up for a cracking time – “Oh, what a night”. The organisation and beauty of sailing with Shearings, yes, cruising up the river Danube from Passau to Budapest was so special and so much fun.

Shearings successfully diversified over the past 177 years to meet the changing desires of travellers taking passengers all over the UK and into Europe on short or longhaul holidays.

St Ives, Cornwall The old saying “you never know what is around the next corner” is very true and especially now. But you didn’t know what was around the next corner on your coach trip, it was always a pleasant surprise and a joy to visit some beautiful places in the UK with like-minded people.

Shearings employed knowledgeable people from dealing with your booking, organising the trip, driving and hotels. All you had to do was to get your case packed, get to the pickup point and then sit back in your seat knowing that you can relax and watch the world go by in the comfort of your coach.

A giant of the coach industry has gone but our dreams go on. Thank you Shearings for giving us memories that will last forever.

Read Shearings Coach Tour to WWI Sites in Belgium and France by Glynis Sullivan

Read Shearings coach trip to Bournemouth by Glynis Sullivan

Read Shearings Holidays coach breaks by Glynis Sullivan

Carole Tidball Carole Tidball

A first cruise is as memorable as a first kiss. We entrusted our first cruise to the experts at Shearings, visiting 11 cities in 8 different countries along the mighty Danube. It’s such a wonderful way to travel and what a joy to only unpack once after settling into your floating hotel.

The Danube, Budapest The MS Serenade II made a superb base, and fine dining every evening along with excellent service from Adrian, our delightful Romanian waiter, enhanced our experience.

Shore excursions were well organized. Our experienced cruise manager Gill fully briefed us on each area we sailed through and armed us with maps and information sheets for every city visited.

Sailing days were packed with activities from quizzes and cookery demos to creating animals from towels. We also lazed on the sun deck swapping travel tales with fellow guests and jumping up to photograph passing scenery such as the towering rock carving of King Decebalus in the Iron Gate Gorge between Serbia and Romania.

King Decebalus in the Iron Gate Gorge With Shearings we instinctively knew we were in safe hands every step of the way. Their well-oiled logistics machinery that safely transported 100+ guests to and from various parts of the UK by plane, train and coach kicked into action when the cruise paused due to low river levels. Border controls and officious officials were handled with tact and diplomacy.

Shearings – your professionalism and commitment to bringing memorable holiday experiences to millions of UK customers will be sorely missed.

Read The spectacular Danube to the Black Sea with Shearings by Carole Tidball

Shearings – gone but never forgotten. Thanks for the memories.

Shearings brand will live on

reported by our News Editor, Roger Bray

Shearings is to make a comeback. Its assets have been acquired by Leger Holidays, which also specialises in the silver travel market and who will relaunch Shearings as a standalone brand in its escorted tours portfolio.

Leger Holiday’s chief executive Ian Henry said: “We have gone into this deal knowing that the two brands already have many synergies – similar product, customer demographic, experience values, impressive repeat business and customer loyalty and, as such, we already have the business model in place to seamlessly relaunch Shearings. Leger Holidays has nearly 40 years’ experience in escorted tours. We are particularly keen to develop Shearings’ popular UK tours portfolio and increase our UK tours market share. Post Covid-19 we are predicting an increase in staycations and will be very quickly launching around thirty new UK tours for 2021 and beyond.”

News of the acquisition appeared on the Shearings website promising: “You’ll find the friendly customer service, excellent range of itineraries, comfortable travel and hand-picked accommodation that you’re familiar with when travelling with Shearings, but now with some exciting changes and refreshing updates.”

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