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Disappointed with Golden Tours- Windsor, Bath and Stonehenge

San Francisco...
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Disappointed with Golden Tours- Windsor, Bath and Stonehenge

Visiting from California and was in London for a family vacation for four for week in July 2014. We booked a tour with Golden Tours for Stonehenge, Windsor and Bath (Pump Rooms). We were not aware that the tour bus would be making a secondary stop to pick up more passengers and the tour bus could not accommodate all of the passengers! It took them forever to resolve their issue of overbooking thus cutting our tour time at our destinations. Poor people that got turn away and poor us!

Our tour guide on the bus does not guide you anywhere except to the entrance of the itinerary. At Windsor Castle, there is security and we only had time to visit the apartments -- walk in and out. We didn't have time to admire much of the apartments and we didn't even have the opportunity to go visit St. Georges Chapel. We were only given 45 minutes. What a disappointment! Our visit to Bath only allowed time to visit the pump room (again self-led) and a quick bite of ice cream. At Stonehenge (self-led), the shuttle with trailer was very slow so take the regular bus instead.

This was a VERY RUSHED tour and I do not recommend it unless you just want to take a 11+ hour bus ride and say you went to these places and not see much -- except Stonehenge.

To top it off, we were not dropped back to the Golden Tours office close to Victoria Station. Due to driver hours, they had to drop us off at a Metro station and we had to find our way back to our hotel. If you're a tourist and don't have Metro tickets, be prepared to pay another approximately 20 pounds (4 one-way tickets) back to Victoria station. What a pain!

Totally inconsiderate!! It was their fault for overbooking and cutting our tour time short then making it worse by dropping us off some where. This is the worse tour I've ever been on. I wish we did. This was the lowest point of our whole vacation.

Wales, United...
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for Bargain Travel, Cruises, Swansea, Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, Neath, Port Talbot
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11. Re: Disappointed with Golden Tours- Windsor, Bath and Stonehenge

The Op was in London for a week, so they should have either got a weekly Travelcard or Oystercards unless they were going to walk or take a taxi everywhere. I doubt the former would have been possible, and if the party could afford to take taxis for every journey I doubt they would be complaining about an additional £20!

That said, it does sound like more of a shambles than usual, so the company aren't off the hook completely, despite the fact that such a tour will inevitably be rushed and not have much time at any of the locations..

Southampton, UK
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12. Re: Disappointed with Golden Tours- Windsor, Bath and Stonehenge

You should have complained to the bus driver about the tour and not being taken back to your starting point. It was their fault and they should have compensated you and others for the inconvenience and expense.

I learned the hard way that if something goes wrong while on holiday, don't wait until you have arrived home before complaining but take action as soon as the problem becomes apparent. A bus full of angry passengers has a lot of power.

London
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13. Re: Disappointed with Golden Tours- Windsor, Bath and Stonehenge

You would not need a travel card for that day if you were able to walk to and from tour start,

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But they were here for a week. Whether they were able to walk to and from the tour start (which should have been checked), they should have had some other kind of ticket whether paper 7 day or Oyster travelcards or even just Oyster PAYG though neither of the latter would have been eligible for the 2for1's. I hope they weren't buying single tube tickets for the rest of the trip.

And Golden tours do seem to have a poor reputation. The other providers also cram in a lot by seem to be a bit better organised.

warrensburg,MO
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14. Re: Disappointed with Golden Tours- Windsor, Bath and Stonehenge

I'm afraid it's people like the OP and others of their type that keep the Windsor - Bath - Stonehenge tour the top seller with day trip tour companies. As long as people book these in their thousands then it's great business. Premium's Tour number 1 is Windsor Castle, followed by Stonehenge and Bath and fills a double decker every time, 60 people. Why turn this work away and just do Stonehenge and Bath with more time in each place? Customers want all three in a day.

And I'm pretty sure coach tours offer a morning pick up and a central London drop on their return. They do NOT drop you back where you started. None of the big coach tours do. Please read their literature before boarding as you have no grounds for complaining about that here.

London
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15. Re: Disappointed with Golden Tours- Windsor, Bath and Stonehenge

>>> A bus full of angry passengers has a lot of power. <<<

So does a law which (rightfully) limits the driver's hours.

London
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16. Re: Disappointed with Golden Tours- Windsor, Bath and Stonehenge

I can't see how overbooking etc is the fault of the driver (other than that he's working for a rubbish tour company, but that's a different matter). Golden, like the other companies is pretty clear they don't do drop offs, so no grounds for complaint there:

<<Exclusions:

Gratuities

Food and beverages unless stated differently

Hotel Returns>>

UK
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17. Re: Disappointed with Golden Tours- Windsor, Bath and Stonehenge

Despite the advice here not to take it,it's a very popular and highly rated tour by customers.

Quite a few of the customer reviews do say you only get an hour or so in each place and to choose a different tour if you want longer, so aside the mix up with overbooking which is obviously the companies fault, seems this is a case of mismatched (and highly unrealistic) expectations.

The detailed tour info does state that return hotel trip is not included, in my experience that's pretty much the case with most coach tours of this type because the extra time to do that would wipe out what little time you do have at the sites.

And as said its no biggie, you should either have a travel card, oyster, or if neither be prepared to pay for one off trips.

Ps why don't you leave a review on their website Venturer?

Edited: 23 July 2014, 09:40
Bristol, England
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18. Re: Disappointed with Golden Tours- Windsor, Bath and Stonehenge

To pick up on another complaint in the OP's post, that the Golden Tours guide did not give them a guided tour of Windsor Castle etc. It's one thing to expect a bus tour guide to give you a guided walking tour of a town, but they are not normally going to be allowed to give you a tour of somewhere like Windsor Castle etc. If you want a guided tour at this sort of major venue, you will have to be guided by the venue's own guides and that will add to the overall cost.

Watford
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19. Re: Disappointed with Golden Tours- Windsor, Bath and Stonehenge

In fact only Blue Badge guides are allowed to guide in Windsor Castle and it simply would not be practical to guide in the Baths or (arguably) at Stonehenge hence the "wands".

New York City, New...
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20. Re: Disappointed with Golden Tours- Windsor, Bath and Stonehenge

I think the "average tourist" is clueless about logistics and the time it takes to get from place to place. And does not take a few hours to study a guidebook before traveling. If only the OP had asked before booking such a tour, and not after...

-- Steve