Political Tours http://www.politicaltours.com Intelligent Travel for Enquiring Minds Tue, 24 Nov 2015 08:40:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Tours for 2016http://www.politicaltours.com/news-articles/travel-tours-for-2016/ http://www.politicaltours.com/news-articles/travel-tours-for-2016/#comments Wed, 04 Nov 2015 07:20:51 +0000 http://www.politicaltours.com/?p=5030 Our new brochure is out and we have a fascinating year ahead. There new tours to Cuba, Russia and Ukraine added to this year’s list of small group tours. We have nine scheduled departures as well as dozens of smaller bespoke tours ahead of us.

In Cuba and Iran we examine growing ties with the United States. In the UK the government is dabbling with a possible exit from the European Union. And in Asia, North Korea continues to rattle its sabre; possibly more bark than bite.

Tour Highlights

Some of my highlights from the last year include one of Ayatollah Khomeini’s closest advisors feeding our group spoonfuls of jelly at a magnificent lunch in Tehran, tea in a Palladian mansion in the heart of the West Bank, and hushed conversations with security officials about Russia’s latest moves in Ukraine.

If you are interested in the US elections you will want to follow us on the campaign trail in Ohio and DC in November, one of our most popular tours yet.

All of the tours have our exceptional mix of real life, expert analysis, and access to key decision makers earning us, we are proud to say, rave reviews in the press.

It’s gritty, challenging, and thought provoking, but also highly enjoyable.

The tours and dates are listed below or on the main tour page. Call 0843 289 2349 or email us on info@politicaltours.com to find out more, or ask us for our new brochure.

Tours for 2016

Modern Iran 16 – 24 April
North Korea, Pyongyang 23 April -3 May
Putin’s Russia 7 – 15 May
UK & the EU 22 – 25 June
Ukraine 2 – 10 July
North Korea, the Northeast 10 – 20 September
Israel & Palestine 18 – 27 September
US Elections 2 – 9 November
Cuba 28 November – 5 December

Please email info@politicaltours.com if you want to book a place on any of the trips and tours. Or just call us on +44 843 289 2349.


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Why the UK could break up soonhttp://www.politicaltours.com/tour-news/why-the-uk-could-break-up-soon/ http://www.politicaltours.com/tour-news/why-the-uk-could-break-up-soon/#comments Mon, 11 May 2015 21:58:02 +0000 http://www.politicaltours.com/?p=4858 Cameron success is a surprise win but uncertainty dogs the UK’s future

Political Tours met with Professor Robert Hazell the one of the UK’s leading constitutional experts on the morning after the vote for a broader look at the impact of the Conservatives’ electoral success.

Professor Hazell’s message was a sobering one; while Cameron has secured a majority government for another Parliament his victory will do little to remove the uncertainty and challenges facing Britain’s immediate future.

If anything the increased number of Conservative MPs in parliament is likely to create vociferous demands for an EU exit and provide an angry English counterweight to Scots demands for more powers.

Professor Hazell has advised consecutive British governments on constitutional reform and has led the Constitutional unit at University College of London for the last 20 years.

Cameron’s first obstacle is to win concessions from the EU and then defeat the drive by British Eurosceptics to withdraw from the 28 member union. The prime minister’s prospect of winning the EU referendum is far from certain. Europe’s leading nations, Hazell says, will have little to offer the Conservatives when it comes to returning powers to London. Ukraine, the future of the Euro and relations with Russia dominate their agenda. They are in little mood to let Britain’s constant wrangling and euroscepticism distract them from more important priorities.

Back home eurosceptics will want to influence both the wording of the referendum and have it held as soon as possible. Civil servants will advise the government that preparation for the referendum needs to be made well in advance so the issue is likely to dominate the new parliament from the outset.

Cameron has fewer tools to reign in wayward backbenchers as he had at the start of the last parliament. Previous prime ministers such as John Major could threaten to hold an election in which Conservative MPs would worry about losing their seats. That is no longer an option since the introduction of fixed term Parliaments by the coalition government in 2011. Tory MP’s will also be less worried about towing the line to keep a coalition government of Liberal Democrats and Conservatives together. Hazell quotes another political expert’s estimate that there could be as many as 100 eurosceptics in the party. It will take just seven MPs for the government to lose a vote in the Commons.

The second and arguably far greater challenge is Scotland’s demand for greater powers and how English MPs and the UK government will handle them.

The success of the SNP has built up momentum for even further powers to be transferred to the Scottish parliament beyond that which was promised in the run up to the Scottish referendum. Hazell warns that without a carefully examined and agreed constitutional settlement, these powers in themselves could make the Union untenable.

Pitted against this surge of nationalism across the border is an increasingly uneasy England. Cameron he argued has unleashed a Pandora’s box by promising English votes on English law, (EVEL) curbing the right of devolved nations in the UK to vote on English matters.  But he warns this is both technically difficult to achieve and politically divisive. A policy paper put together by the Lib Dems and the Conservatives in the wake of the referendum revealed deep divisions even within the Conservative party.

The secret of the UK constitution’s success for want of the better word is England should not flaunt it’s power or seek to compete with other nations as it is overwhelmingly dominant. The ability of English parties to command majorities in the House of Commons is representation enough. There are arguments for much greater devolution of power at regional and county levels.
Professor Hazell noted that Scotland is already scheduled to have significantly legislated and fiscal authorities transferred to it, even before promises made by  Gordon Brown and UK party leaders in the run-up to the Scottish referendum. While the Scottish electorate maybe unaware of that it suits the SNP to demand further powers and not underline how much they already have. Nevertheless there is a demand for a new political settlement that satisfies the Scots and keeps them within the union. And for that Cameron needs vision, the support of his own backbench MPs, and the agreement of the opposition.

Political Tours examines all of these issues at the end of May 2015 with a tour that examins the future of the UK.  The End of the Union? runs from May 30 – June 2.

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Tour Israel and Palestinehttp://www.politicaltours.com/tour-news/tour-israel-and-palestine/ http://www.politicaltours.com/tour-news/tour-israel-and-palestine/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 12:21:39 +0000 http://www.politicaltours.com/?p=4335 Since we launched Political Tours back in 2011 – inspired, as founder Nicholas Wood wrote here, by the desire to bridge the gap between external impressions and on-the-ground reality – clients and tour-watchers have come back to us with one question above all others: when are you going to cover Israel & Palestine?

Easy does it.

Israel & Palestine Conflict

The Israel-Palestine conflict needs no introduction – it is one of the world’s most enduring and intractable disputes. We didn’t want to rush in with snap judgments about rights and wrongs, and we wanted to avoid simply paying lip-service to the region’s own attempts at peacemaking and conflict resolution.

So we took our time, discussing ideas with our contacts on all sides, planning an approach that would bring maximum insight from the time available on the ground.

Now, we’re ready.

Uniquely Designed Tour

Our unique, personally designed Israel & Palestine tour runs twice next month, led by one of the region’s most accomplished and respected journalists, Nicolas Pelham of The Economist.

In the Political Tours tradition, it gets you to the heart of the matter. On the nine-night tour, you’ll hit the ground running, with unique access to communities and key figures. There are visits to Tel Aviv and Nablus, to Nazareth and Bethlehem, and the Jordan Valley. We spend the best part of three days crossing and recrossing Jerusalem to speak to all sides and see the city’s problems – and beauty – for ourselves. We speak to Palestinians and Israelis, farmers and settlers, Jews, Muslims, Christians and Druze.

Book Your Israel & Palestine Tour Place

Condé Nast Traveller magazine previewed our tour in glowing terms here.

No time to waste. For further details of our itinerary and the cost of the tour please contact our director Nicholas Wood at info@politicaltours.com.


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A Bespoke Travel Tour in the Accursed Mountainshttp://www.politicaltours.com/news-articles/a-bespoke-tour-in-the-accursed-mountains/ http://www.politicaltours.com/news-articles/a-bespoke-tour-in-the-accursed-mountains/#comments Wed, 21 May 2014 17:03:02 +0000 http://www.politicaltours.com/?p=4098 Land Rover’s magazine OneLife travelled with us to one of the most remote parts of Europe this spring; Theth in Northern Albania. The result can be seen in this beautiful film which features Elizabeth Gowing, a writer and an expert travel guide with Political Tours.

Theth is a remote village, cut off by snow during the winter, that maintains many of traditions and way of life that have died out elsewhere in the Balkans decades ago.

It is a region that has crept up repeatedly in travel writing, including by Edith Durham, Edward Lear and even Lord Byron. Fortunately it is now part of a national park, and the building development that has grown unfettered through out much the country has been kept abay.

Political Tours was able to create a tailor-made tour including the itinerary, provide guides, expertise and logistics for the magazine. It is something we are proud to say we can do in most places around the world.


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Political Tours in The Independent on Sundayhttp://www.politicaltours.com/news-articles/political-tours-in-the-independent-on-sunday/ http://www.politicaltours.com/news-articles/political-tours-in-the-independent-on-sunday/#comments Sun, 28 Jul 2013 21:12:09 +0000 http://www.politicaltours.com/?p=3235 Former Independent Foreign Editor Ray Whitaker writes that “a political tour is the perfect way to get to grips with a nation’s recent history”. He joined us on our recent tour of Kosovo. His article can be found here.


To book your place on our latest tour to Kosovo click here »


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Kathie M. on Egypt Tourhttp://www.politicaltours.com/tour-quotes/kathie-on-egypt-day-trip/ http://www.politicaltours.com/tour-quotes/kathie-on-egypt-day-trip/#comments Wed, 12 Dec 2012 16:19:17 +0000 http://www.politicaltours.com/?p=2868 It was a great day with Hassan. It made what would have been an otherwise insular trip something pretty special. Meeting a family in their home was a highlight.

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Ian S. on Turkey Tourhttp://www.politicaltours.com/tour-quotes/ian-on-turkey-tour/ http://www.politicaltours.com/tour-quotes/ian-on-turkey-tour/#comments Tue, 11 Dec 2012 17:06:46 +0000 http://www.politicaltours.com/?p=2853 The trip to Turkey was excellent and so also were all the logistics. I think the political tours concept is wonderful…

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Elizabeth B. on Bosnia & Serbia Tourhttp://www.politicaltours.com/tour-quotes/elizabeth-on-tour-of-bosnia-and-serbia/ http://www.politicaltours.com/tour-quotes/elizabeth-on-tour-of-bosnia-and-serbia/#comments Tue, 11 Dec 2012 16:58:45 +0000 http://www.politicaltours.com/?p=2848 In May I took my most worthwhile package tour ever, a trip to Bosnia and Serbia organised by Political Tours. It was a sobering, thought provoking and memorable eight days.

My fellow travelers constituted one of the most rewarding aspects of the trip; from a range of backgrounds, all were knowledgeable, interested and, pretty important, pleasant – not something you can say of all package tours!

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Timothy H. on North Korea Tourhttp://www.politicaltours.com/tour-quotes/timothy-on-north-korea-tour/ http://www.politicaltours.com/tour-quotes/timothy-on-north-korea-tour/#comments Tue, 11 Dec 2012 16:24:01 +0000 http://www.politicaltours.com/?p=2844 It goes without saying that I thoroughly enjoyed the Beijing-North Korea trip and many thanks for all your expert guidance and organisation. It will always be an unforgettable experience for me and one which has given me a different perspective on life.

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Give a Political Tour as a Presenthttp://www.politicaltours.com/news-articles/give-a-political-tour-as-a-present/ http://www.politicaltours.com/news-articles/give-a-political-tour-as-a-present/#comments Mon, 10 Dec 2012 17:04:55 +0000 http://www.politicaltours.com/?p=3937 Our trips have had a huge impact on our customers, and could make an ideal present for a friend or relative. You can make a deposit of £250.00 a reserve a place for them on a tour or holiday.

To book your place on one of our new 2014 tours click here »

These deposits are transferable so you can choose a tour for them and if they can not make it they can choose from any of our tours in 2013.

Download our Booking Form to reserve your place, or email: info@politicaltours.com.

Our tours for 2014 includes trips to North Korea, Russia, China, Bosnia and Kosovo.

Our tours for 2014 includes trips to North Korea, Russia, China, Bosnia and Kosovo. We can also create tailor-made tours for individuals or small groups of 2-5 people to almost anywhere in the world.

Here are some comments from some of our recent customers:

It goes without saying that I thoroughly enjoyed the Beijing-North Korea trip and many thanks for all your expert guidance and organisation. It will always be an unforgettable experience for me and one which has given me a different perspective on life.”

Tim H. on our tour to North Korea

The trip to Turkey was excellent and so also were all the logistics. I think the politica ltours concept is wonderful..

Ian S. on our tour to Turkey

“In May I took my most worthwhile package tour ever, a trip to Bosnia and Serbia organised by Political Tours. My fellow travelers constituted one of the most rewarding aspects of the trip; from a range of backgrounds, all were knowledgeable, interested and, pretty important, pleasant – not something you can say of all package trips!”

“It was a sobering, thought provoking and memorable eight days.

Elizabeth B on our tour of Bosnia and Serbia


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