FAQ


Discover the answers to our frequently asked questions and learn more about Around & About Bath's perspective on the world around us.

 
Why Around and About Bath?
We exist to provide you with the kind of insights and experiences that we also seek when we travel, and take pride in the recognition we receive as a very different kind of tour company.

Originally founded by Jules Mittra - a passionate traveller himself, after he decided to leave teaching History and Politics to create a company that would allow visitors to see the England he knows and loves, but most travelers miss - our team has grown into a diverse, and multicultural family who enjoy professional and informal interests in travel, philosophy, anthropology, politics, the arts, economics, management, literature and learning... (our team meetings have often been described as being likened to the discussions held in the forums of Ancient Greece).

We’ve realised that we often travel due to the pull of the ‘big stuff’; the ‘must-see’s, the iconic locations and the culture popularised by the mainstream. Yet, on reflection, the most powerful experiences and memories we’ve made are as a result of those things we couldn’t have anticipated: the intimate insights, the connections, the discoveries and stories, the relationships, the company we’ve kept, and those quiet moments of reflection and awe whilst surrounded by nature, history, our loved ones – and little else.

Our approach to touring is much like a passionate chef’s approach to preparing a menu. It’s not simply a case of throwing the ingredients together or repeating the same recipe time after time, or overfilling the plate with mountains of food. We aim to provide you with a profound and powerful experience of our region, sharing the best and breadth of our local culture, cuisine, history, insights, stories alongside the must-sees and hidden delights. We want you to encounter the ‘England’ that excites you most about visiting our region and delights us most in their sharing.

Our tours are more than simply sight-seeing and routines, we take you on a journey; literally, emotionally and figuratively through our landscapes and past, sharing comical capers and tragic tales, fascinating people and places with connections that stretch through time, all in a relaxed, personal and engaging manner led by a passionate, intellectual and entertaining local whose focus is on adapting the experience to best fit you.
Are you an ethical company?
Yes. Our belief is that we can only be proud of what we do as a business if we’re doing the best by others, ourselves and the environment we inhabit and have an impact on. Our intention is to be the best we can be in all of these areas within the limitations we find ourselves in.

This philosophy stretches across everything we do.

We recognise that our team is our greatest privilege and enjoy sharing with them authentic equity in our decision making. We support and encourage them to develop and succeed and empower them to become the people they dream of being. Our team has been highly instrumental in the development of our business, enjoyed ownership of some of the biggest decisions that we’ve ever made and contributed greatly to our success - we’re incredibly proud of that. Rather than the ‘Customer is always right’ approach, we operate on a reciprocal basis, where our team will always work to serve the needs of others, but also expect to be treated with respect, dignity, support and encouragement.

We try our best to work only with other companies and services that reflect our ethos and values, and do our best to make this fundamental in our decision-making processes. For example, we bank with Starling Bank, a bank that has progressive social, workplace, banking, investment and environmental policies. We also do our best to ensure all of our business suppliers empower their teams, are environmentally conscious and contribute to their local communities.

In terms of our approach to our customers, we eschew the old business approach of trying to maximise sales and growth at all costs in favor of a commitment to trying to provide the best information and service we can. If that means that we are not the right fit, or cannot provide the outcome a customer may need, we’d rather help that guest with the route to achieve their goal rather than ‘make a sale’ which we know is not right for them or us.
What is a ‘Curated Experience’?
The term ‘Curated Experience’ is the name we give to our unique approach to touring in the England we know and love. Every ‘Curated Experience’ shares common characteristics; they are designed to be fully inclusive of cost, organisation and management, so that your focus can be on relaxing and enjoying your time in the area.

Each one is a carefully constructed journey through time, places, stories and experiences to provide a deep but engaging and varied experience of our bit of England. It includes incredible food and drink, the best we can find in the area, amazing stories that both challenge and illuminate our understanding of the world. They include collection and return from your accommodation, travel in a luxury vehicle, refreshments, both guided time and moments of private time and space – all at a relaxed pace with a highly capable, engaging guide alongside similar travels.

We also don’t share the itineraries – partly to protect the local communities and places we visit from the dangers of mass-tourism through being too visible through marketing and the online world, but also because we want the day to be a true adventure and for you to have those ‘wow’ moments in a way that is only possible if you don’t fully know what’s coming.
Do your guides enjoy what they do?
Our guides love what they do. We are all people orientated with a thirst for knowledge, understanding and connection. All of our guides are highly intelligent with a broad and deep life experience and enthusiasm for sharing and learning. We recognise that the value we provide is not measured in the amount of money spent, the number of places ticked off, nor how bombastic or scripted we can be in sharing our knowledge with you – instead it’s in the emotions – it’s about connection, partnership, shared learning and exchange. All of our guides intrinsically know this and find huge meaning, and joy, in sharing, serving and connecting authentically with those they come into contact with. This is what makes the ‘Around and About’ guides.
What actions are you taking to reverse the climate crisis?
We are passionate about becoming a true ‘win-win-win’ company. This means that we believe a business is only truly successful when you ‘win’, our staff ‘win’, our local communities ‘win’ and the local, national and global environment ‘wins’. If this happens, our business wins.

We are therefore committed to minimising our environmental impact in any and every way we can. We were the first members of ‘Forest Carbon’ in 2017, the first and only government endorsed commercial vehicle carbon-credit subscription scheme that offsets vehicle emissions by planting woodland in the UK to off-set these emissions. We seek to be a fully electric fleet as soon as is feasible and will acquire our first electric vehicle in 2020. In the meantime, we use only the latest, cleanest diesel vehicles (Euro 6c regulations) and are investigating alternative diesel in order to reduce our footprint further. In early 2020 we enquired into a new fuel, HVO, which will reduce diesel emissions by 95%. It’s currently prohibitively expensive, but we will adopt this fuel as soon as the price comes into what we consider a reasonable premium. In the meantime, we’ve just joined Shell Oil’s new business fuel card operation, as they have just committed to making all business fuel card purchases 100% carbon-offset.

We use local suppliers as much as we can and enthusiastically support local business. We are and are seeking to remove non-reusable plastics completely within the next 18 months.
How do you manage guests or groups with different abilities?
Every experience is designed for up to eight guests. This intimate group size allows us to be able to subtly adjust the itinerary around your specific interests and abilities. We identify and accommodate your particular needs such as dietary requirements, physical ability and levels of energy - long trips can sometimes be tiring, don’t worry, we understand that! These adjustments are made so carefully and sensitively that you often don't realise they’ve been made.

We are also proudly and proactively inclusive – we recognise everyone’s right to be their true, authentic selves and believe that helping us connect with each other, and ourselves, is one of the greatest things our company has the ability to facilitate. We champion difference, recognising that we are all unique and fascinating human beings and believe that greater understanding, and societal progress, comes from direct human contact and listening to others’ perspectives.
How safe will I be travelling to Great Britain?
The UK, like Europe in general, is one of the safest places to visit in the world. Crime is generally low, with annual serious, violent crime rates such as murder across the country well below those of a major US city. Gun ownership is heavily regulated and monitored in the UK meaning the likelihood of being the victim of gun violence is similar to the chances of not being able to easily locate a cup of tea.

The UK is at very low risk of terrorism, with the UK security services doing a very good job of intercepting and disrupting the large proportion of the terror conspiracies. Those that do that do succeed therefore tend to be rare and very limited in scope and impact.

Our team is carefully chosen to provide the incredible service we are proud of. They are intelligent, emotionally aware and broadly experienced individuals who are reliable, responsible, capable and caring. Their primary responsibility is your safety and well-being and act with that in mind at all times.

Our driver-guides are fully qualified private-hire license holders assessed and certified by the local authority and are DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checked and certificated (at an extended level). This means that they have no criminal record and are authorised to work with children and vulnerable people.
How can you make our birthday, wedding or special celebration an extraordinary experience?
It all depends on you; who you are, what your ideas and hopes are and what would make that an extraordinary experience for you. We’d then use the information we glean from you about these things, to create something that would make that magic happen. Ultimately, it’s always about you and what would be the best possible outcome we can create for you!
How easy and accessible is healthcare in the UK?
The UK’s national health service (the NHS) is free at the point of delivery, open to all, and accessible for all international visitors. However, the NHS reserves the right to charge non-residents the cost of services delivered, so travel insurance is highly recommended. That said, the costs of medical services and medication in the UK is a fraction of those charged in the US and is highly regulated.
I don't like crowds; will I be stuck in long queues all day?
No. We pre-book entrances, such as at Stonehenge to ensure we minimise waiting times, and we always provide a personal, guided service whenever we can (and are permitted to do so). We pre-book lunches in most cases, so that food is ready to serve the moment we arrive, and we purposely focus on the unseen in order to share that authentic, quintessential England, away from the crowds, coaches and commercialised tourist sites.
Do you run inner-circle tours of Stonehenge?
We do run private 'inner-circle' Stonehenge tours, but suggest them only if you are set on seeing Stonehenge at sunrise or dusk. They only last 30 minutes, cost twice the price & since 2014, the new visitor centre & path into Stonehenge offer a superior experience, allowing you to get up close to the stones, take great photos without others in shot, enjoy all of the attraction's facilities all at your own pace.