My husband and I booked an Anderson tour to Stonehenge/Avebury/Glastonbury for Easter Sunday, 2012. We booked through an external booking site which acted as an agent for Anderson Tours, and advertised that this particular tour went to all of the above, plus Chalice Well, and also included a cream tea at the Red Lion pub. We actually paid a little more for this tour than we had found on other sites, since it included both of these extras, and we thought it would be a nice way to spend an Easter Sunday abroad.
The tour started out well. The driver showed up slightly late, but we were delighted that there were only two other people on the tour, and thought this was preferable than a bus full of people. We then had to pick up the guide, who took her time coming downstairs, said “hi!” when she got on the bus, then settled back in her seat - ready for a snooze! No introductions – in fact, until last week we still didn’t know what her name was.
And the tour went downhill from there.
The driver was new (apparently it was his first day), and he had no idea how to use a GPS as we got lost several times, once even ending up in a tiny country lane with hedges scratching the bus on both sides. Both the driver and the guide were visibly distressed at this point, arguing with each other about which way they should/shouldn’t go, so we knew it wasn’t their usual route and we were clearly lost. Since we ended up in the middle of nowhere several times, we had less time at each stop than we otherwise would have.
The guide barely spoke to us, occasionally reading from some internet print outs, and her commentary was limited only to what she was reading, most of it being basic information we could have Googled ourselves, and most of it coming AFTER each stop - so we knew very little of the places we were about to visit, until after we’d visited them.
It was when we were getting back on the bus after our Glastonbury stop that the guide told us we would be going to Avebury next. I asked about Chalice Well and she said they no longer go there. We were disappointed as we had been looking forward to seeing it. We had about 2 hours in Glastonbury, so had we known Anderson had scrapped this part of the tour - despite us paying for it - we would have had plenty of time to walk or get the bus to Chalice Well. Instead we missed out entirely.
When we got to Avebury we were informed that we had 45 minutes to be back on the bus. I mentioned the cream tea we had booked and paid for, but was told they no longer do that either!
We were left feeling very disappointed and angry that we had paid for something which was not delivered.
I have since received an email from Anderson Tours, letting us know that they haven’t included Chalice Well in their tour for about 6 months, and saying that the company we booked through should have told us that - so it would appear that they have washed their hands of the matter. They also claimed that they have never included the cream tea in this tour. I have attached photos to my review showing a screenshot of the webpage, clearly showing the words “cream tea (included)” so I’m not sure what to believe.
The manager also told me that they “rarely get complaints” about their guides. Clearly he hasn’t read the reviews on this site!
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