Travel Maestro’s February interview is with Susie Worthy, founder and owner of NoteWorthy Events, a travel service that provides highly customized, once-in-a-lifetime experiences for travelers throughout Britain.
Q. You have incredible contacts throughout Britain and are able to arrange the most bespoke events. What’s the most unique, custom-made, private-access event you have organized for a traveler?
A. I would say securing the best vantage point on Royal Wedding Day so that our guests saw the Duchess get out of her car (first view of the dress) and then when the couple were married they saw them exit the Abbey (first view as man and wife) was one of the most exciting. Another privileged access we have arranged for guests is a private visit to Highgrove Gardens, the private garden of HRH The Prince of Wales.
Q. NoteWorthy caters to many different interests but what sightseeing excursions or activities are generally the most popular for US travelers?
A. Our custom-designed programmes that include specially planned days with driver/guides are always well-liked because our travelers see the very best and waste no time at all. Favourites are the Tower of London (opened privately of course!) and Churchill’s Cabinet War Rooms where Sir Winston Churchill ran his War Cabinet during WWII; a curated experience. All ages – from 8 to 80 – enjoy both these venues.
Q. What special events can you arrange for guests during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee that travelers cannot get through pre-packaged tours or do-it-yourself planning?
A. We have secured private access to HMS Belfast which is moored on the River Thames between the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. The Queen and the Royal Family, in the Royal Barge, will lead a fleet of 1,000 vessels and our guests will have a great view of the whole Pageant from the decks of the Belfast. Guests will enjoy a Champagne Reception, Lunch and Traditional Afternoon Tea served throughout the day. It will be a spectacular experience! The date is Sunday June 3rd 2012.
Q. Have you ever met the Queen? Tell us about it.
A. Yes, a few years ago in the State Apartments at Windsor Castle. I had raised over $200,000 for the charities of St George’s Chapel and St George’s School located within the walls of the Castle, and this was my thank you! I felt very honoured and will never forget meeting her and other members of the Royal Family, including the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Andrew.
Q. Does NoteWorthy only arrange one-of-a-kind travel events, or will you also organize standard concierge services such as car and driver for airport transfers or restaurant reservations?
A. Yes absolutely. We offer all Destination Management Services from the moment our guests land at the airport until their departure and this includes airport transfers, restaurant and theatre reservations and any other bookings they require.
Q. Is it too late to make hotel arrangements for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London?
A. No it’s not too late, we have space at a number of our favourite hotels, including town-houses in great locations where guests receive personal service.
Q. Can you arrange other elite sporting event tickets such as tennis at Wimbledon or horse racing at Ascot?
A. Yes, absolutely. We have access to Debenture Seats on Centre Court at Wimbledon – the best available with great views of the tennis. And Royal Ascot Races is a definite favourite of ours – this is the THE society event of the year and should not be missed! It’s not just the beautiful horses that we see in the Paddock and on the Race Course, but the fashions worn by Ladies and Gentlemen in the Royal Enclosure. And yes, we can secure entry to the Royal Enclosure – where our guests will see The Queen who attends every day – she loves her horse-racing…!
Q. If you, personally, had an entire day to do anything you’d like in London, how would you spend your time?
A. High on my list would be the Saatchi Gallery of contemporary art on King’s Road, Chelsea – besides the fascinating exhibits, I also love the space it’s in. Wandering along the South Bank of the River Thames is very rewarding – people-watching is fun too! Taking a Riverboat on the Thames to Greenwich and beyond – there are no traffic jams on our waterway – such a joy on a fine day.
Q. What is your favorite weekend retreat in Britain? Why is it special?
A. My husband and I really enjoy a relaxing weekend at the luxurious Lucknam Park Hotel, near Bath. The Spa is absolutely wonderful and we both enjoy the swimming facilities. Gourmet food complements our most comfortable stay!
Q. The “Masterpiece Classics” series Downton Abbey has stirred quite alot of fascination about what it’s like to live in an English manor house and I understand Noteworthy has a true “insider’s” experience to visit the filming site, Highclere Castle. How “inside” do guests get?
A. We have created an exclusive tour for up to four guests to explore the castle, dine in the mansion and personally meet the Earl and Countess Carnarvon who call it home. They will have tea in the Countess’ morning room, enjoy a private tour of the State Rooms, and have lunch in the State Dining Room, complete with wines chosen by the Earl from his wine cellar. A tour of the surrounding property is followed by high tea back at the castle. This elite visit with aristocracy is quite expensive, but a rare glimpse into another world.
Q. There are so many beautiful gardens across Britain. Which are some of your favorites and when is the best time to visit them?
A. Highgrove, as I mentioned, is the private garden of HRH The Prince of Wales, and one of my absolute favourites. I have been there many times and it’s constantly changing with something new to see on each visit. We can arrange for our guests to visit between April and October, but the best months are May and June. I also enjoy Sissinghurst, the garden in Kent created by Vita Sackville West and her husband, now run by the National Trust. One of the greats! And here’s a treat in southern Cornwall – Caerhays Castle Garden – the best month is April where you will see Magnolias and Rhododendrons in profusions of colour.
Thank you, Susie, for sharing your insider’s knowledge and exciting tour options with us!
Susie’s network of contacts in Britain is truly beyond compare! To arrange a bespoke tour for your next visit to the UK with NoteWorthy, please contact Covington Travel.