Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Loughborough, England – the world’s oldest package holiday destination

People have been leaving their home town to have an explore somewhere else for centuries, but the first time it was done in an organised manner was 1841, when Thomas Cook arranged the first package holiday. Yep, that’s the same Thomas Cook that the major holiday firm is named after.
Ironically, given the hard-drinking reputation of today’s packaged trips, the tourists were all temperance campaigners, going from Leicester in the English Midlands to nearby Loughborough for a rally against the perils of alcohol.
The 11 mile journey can still be done in the same way today, by steam train on the Great Central Railway.
Once in Loughborough, you’ll find an archetypal market town, the main claim to fame of which is the world’s largest bell foundry. The John Taylor Bellfoundry Museum has a small museum on site, and can arrange tours.
Loughborough’s other claim to fame is that it’s home to the largest indoor cricket centre in the world – it’s where the England and Wales Cricket Board trains cricketers in its National Cricket Academy.
And, on a less important note, it’s also the home town of the creator of Bizarre Places. And he can well understand why no-one organises package holidays there now.

Getting to Loughborough

Nearest international airport: Nottingham East Midlands airport is a short bus ride away, and a train connection is in the planning process.

Using public transport: Loughborough is well connected to London, Sheffield, Leicester and Nottingham by direct trains.

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