School tours

Bespoke, Special Interest, Subject-Orientated Tours

About school tours

Our Student tours are all “Bespoken”. They are request-created exclusively for a school, and are not marketed publically. As such, the itineraries and fare details are private to the teachers and parents of the school for whom the tour has been created.

We have received many glowing references from teachers, and satisfied parents.

The tours are created for 30 students and 3 escorting teachers.
All include breakfast, some include all dinners. No lunches are included. All other costs are fare inclusive, fourteen to sixteen day tours.

Almost all of our school tours visit the northern East Coast of the USA.

We have longstanding loyalty based business relationships (some dating back to 1992), with the hotels, theatres, museums and other suppliers listed in the schedules below. The tours are based on selections from these lists. The number selected for each tour is defined by budget and available time limitation.

East Coast USA Tours


Washington DC
Guide Escorted Day
Museums: Smithsonian, National News, Crime, Building
Galleries: National Art; Hirshhorn; Tussaud’s; Philips

Gettysburg PA
Battlefield Museum and Battlefield Experience

Hershey PA
Chocolate Laboratory Experience

Intercourse PA
Amish Introduction

Jackson NJ
Day at Six Flags – including the world’s highest “drop”

New York City
Guide Escorted Day
Museums: Art, Moving Image, Cooper Hewitt EGD
Museums: Fashion Institute, Hall of Science
Interest: One World $ Empire State Buildings; Staten Island Ferry
Columbia University & NYU Tours. Fashion Institute Museum
NBC TV Studio; Madison Square Gardens; Intrepid Space

New Haven CT
Yale University Tour

Boston MA
MIT and Boston Science Museums
Harvard University Tour


Boston Science: Nanotechs
Cooper Hewitt: Modern Design
Gettysburg: Actual 19th C Battle Simulation with wooden rifles
Hershey: Chocolate Laboratory Experience
MIT: Robotics
Moving Image: Video Game Programming; Political Campaign Ads
National Crime: DNA Analysis; Blood Splatter; To be a Pathologist
National News: “You Can’t Say That”
NY Hall of Science: Powerful Polymers
Shakespeare Theatre: Full Day Drama
Shubert Theatre: Full Day Drama
Tussaud’s: Hands-on Making of the Models

At night


Baseball: The Potomac Nationals at Pfitzner Stadium, Arlington
Ice Hockey: The Washington Capitals at The Verizon Centre
Basketball: The Washington Nationals at the Verizon Centre
Kennedy Centre: Sheer Madness
Theatre: Washington hosts seven central city theatres

New York

Baseball: The New York Knicks at Madison Square Gardens
Ice Hockey: The New York Rangers at Madison Square Gardens
Basketball: The New York Mets at Queens Park Stadium
Blue Man: At The Astor Palace Theatre
Stomp: At The Orpheum Theatre (lower 2nd Ave)
Fuerza Bruta: At the Daryl Roth Theatre (15th St east)
Theatre: New York hosts dozens of On and Off Broadway theatres


New York – The Salisbury

Our hotel’s location is brilliant – exactly where it should be. Upper Mid-Town, on 57th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues. Two short blocks to Central Park. Ten short blocks to Times Square. One long block to the “In” retail area of 5th Avenue.

The Salisbury Hotel has only 196 rooms and suites, making it an ideal accommodator for our school groups. The reception and the “bellhop” staff are extremely helpful and courteous. The only negative is that WiFi is not free. However, free WiFi is available in the reception area.

Washington DC – The Harrington

Again, our hotel’s location is brilliant – exactly where it should be. Five blocks from the White House, a block from the National Mall (not a shopping centre!), a block from the FBI Headquarters and also Ford’s Theatre.

The hotel is within walking distance of almost every one of the locations which the groups will be visiting. No time or cost lost on transport. Also, handy for change of clothing between day activities and night activities.  Free WiFi.

It is an elderly, family-owned hotel. Run by an elderly English Lady. In fact, it is the oldest continuously running hotel in the USA.

It looks doubtful from the exterior. The plumbing and air-conditioning are vintage. But is it spacious, very comfortable, very clean and everything works.  The in-house restaurant “Harriet’s” – food is economic and very palatable.

Edinburgh Festival Tours

We are also called on to operate tours Drama Tours, to include the annual Edinburgh Festival. These tours spend a few days in London before moving on to Edinburgh for five days and six nights of theatre – and more theatre.

We have operated over 50 Bespoken School Tours

Our norm is two school during the Easter break holidays, and one school during the August school break which some Private Schools schedule. However, this count is impacted by the economic conditions, and some years are different. Some years only one school operates but then the next year several schools book tours – to the USA or other destinations.


Wow! What an absolutely amazing trip! The itinerary you set up, flowed so well from one day to the next. Sandra and I are both suffering from jet-lag, which we have never experienced before, but are still amazed at all we managed to see and do in our short time in America. Our Science girls were stars and took everything in their stride. The girls enjoyed each and every one of theatre shows. They were all different in some way and each appealed to the teenager heart! Well chosen!

We enjoyed all the interactive workshops. Sandra’s best was definitely the polymer workshop at the NY hall of Science. She managed to give the girls a twenty minute lesson on polymers while our host learnt the chemical names of all the substances she was using. The museums in America are magnificent! Our favourite was looking into the past at the Newseum! Each museum had something of interest for each of the girls despite the really busy crowds in New York. In future we would try to avoid the week after Easter, as all the children were on holiday and this just added to the chaos in NYC!

Thank you again for setting this trip up with such attention to detail! It has truly been a wonderful experience! And just long enough as we were all really happy to be coming home last Thursday!

Jennifer ForrestHead of Science, St Anne’s School - USA Tour 2015

Finally, some time to breathe!! Sorry for the late email! Thank you very much for such a wonderful tour. It keeps getting better and better. The hotels, shows and workshops were 1st class.

The boys thoroughly enjoyed this experience and have made many wonderful memories.

You are a master at what you do – keep up the magnificent work!! We will definitely try to go again in 2 years, using your expertise.

Dean MoodleyHead of EGD, Kearsney College Durban – USA Tour April 2015

Thanks so much for organising our 2013 Drama and Art tour to Edinburgh and London.

All-in-all, we had a fantastic time and the tour ran very smoothly. The hotel in Edinburgh was absolutely wonderful and we couldn’t have asked for a better locality for a hotel in London! The boys benefited enormously from the tour and the events that were on offer. We look forward to organising future tours in conjunction with you.

Russell UntiedtHOD Drama, St John’s College - Edinburgh Festival Tour 2013

I want to express my sincere thanks and gratitude for your organisation of our tour. It was better than the last trip in my opinion.

With regards to the ice hockey – I feel that the guy made up for the booboo as the suites were spectacular and the gifts were thoroughly enjoyed by the boys. A bad situation was made great! None of the boys will remember the wait but they will all remember the 1 and a half periods that they watched.

I will send you some recommendations once I have managed to get over my jet lag and have digested it all.

Dean MoodleyHOD EGD Studies, Kearsney College - USA Tour 2013

I would like to thank you very much for an exceptional tour. This was the fifth tour I did with you and it was definitely one of the best. Thank you, good luck for the rest of the year and I hope we will soon work together again.

Bauke SnymanHOD Drama, Diocesan Girls School - USA Tour 2012

Just to say thank you again for putting together such an awesome visit to the USA again. Sarah so enjoyed it and is ready to take on NYC.

Doug CoupleditchParent, Diocesan Girls’ School - USA Tour April 2012

Thank you very much for all you hard work. I know that the boys and staff who are going with will have a great time. It is a privilege working with a professional such as yourself.

Myles DelportKearsney College, USA Tour 2013

On behalf of the Crawford group, we must thank you for a most amazing tour – the transport arrangements, the hotel, the booking of tickets, the taxi plans, everything was just perfect! We were truly right in the middle of the action of the festival and were able to walk a lot and get to know the city and the weather was actually good, after all our misgivings! Once again, you proved why so many of us are still using your services after fifteen years – there is nobody who understands we theatre types like you and every tour is an absolute pleasure because of your fantastic arrangements and planning.

Jan BaylissHead of Drama, Crawford College Jnb – Edinburgh Festival 2012

We found the Shakespeare theatre, the show and the workshops all outstanding!!!!!!  Thanks for a fantastic tour per usual, the boys and aging teachers had a hectically full BUT GREAT time! I thought of you at the Udvar-Hazy Museum and wondered how you had managed to organise the space shuttle’s arrival to co-inside with our visit … are a genius….. it was one of the highlights of the trip ! Bridget was extremely impressed especially with the notes with all the details to assist us.

Cali FieldsHead of Drama, St Stithian’s Boys’ College – USA April 2012

We arrived in NY today and are on the walkabout around Manhattan. In the Apple Istore so thought I would drop you a line. What a fantastic tour you have organized for us – we have been amazed and enthralled by everything we have seen. Your organization has been outstanding and all has run smoothly.

Leigh Kleynhans Head of Science, Roedean Girls – USA Tour April 2012

Thanks very much for all the work put into these fantastic tours! Marcel , our eldest did the Design tour in 2010 , and absolutely loved it. All the very best for the year ahead.

Ed BovijnParent (brothers), St Andrew’s College - USA April 2010 & 2012

Our son, Murray, arrived home on Saturday literally high on life after the most wonderful two weeks in the US. Congratulations for putting together such a full, diverse, interesting and inspirational tour – he loved every single minute of every single day, and was literally bursting with stories and anecdotes about everything from the galleries they visited and the food they ate to the rollercoaster rides they went on and the ‘chicks’ they met! He took over 950 photos, and I know for sure that he will benefit hugely from the experience in both his personal and school life.

Annie SteinhobelParent - St John’s College - USA Tour August 2011

Thank you so much for an absolutely wonderful trip to USA!!  Michael thoroughly enjoyed it – it was really something!!

Liz MaltonParent, Kearsney College - USA Tour April 2011

This was the best tour we have ever done! The organisation was brilliant and the hotels superb. We were close to all the theatres and could walk easily from venue to venue.  We especially liked using the trains and the coaches as we could view the country side en route to the city. The theatre was international and the best theatre I have ever seen in my entire career.  This applies to both London and Edinburgh. Once again Designer Tours was exceptional.

Janet BaylisHead of Drama, Crawford College - Edinburgh Festival Aug 2010

I’m so sorry that this is so late, but I just wanted to say thank you so very much for putting together the tour to the States. We had the most fabulous time. (I’m only just recovering from my jetlag) All the sites, museums, galleries, shows were absolutely perfect and amazing!!! Your instructions for helping us around town and just everything was so professional and wonderfully put together. I can’t thank you enough for such an amazing experience.

Francis DicksDramatic Arts Dept, St Stithian’s Boys - USA Tour Sept 2010.

Thanks for putting the USA tour together and for making it such a memorable experience for Dani.  She had a ball and though she was pretty exhausted for part of the time, she tried to take in all she could.  A lot of which she probably wont remember now, but the memories will be triggered in conversations or maybe when she gets to visit the USA again one day.

Doug CuppleditchParent, Diocesan Girls’ School - USA Tour April 2010.

Just a short note, to yet again say thank you very much for an unbelievable tour. I wish we could have done it every year. I have attached a photo of us at the Hudson River – somewhere in the mist behind us is the Statue of Liberty.

Bauke SnymanDramatic Arts Dept, Diocesan Girls’ School - USA April 2008

Thank you for an incredible tour. You were fantastic in the organisation. Instructions, directions etc were precise and easy to follow. The shows were exciting in range and were really entertaining. The boys loved all the performances: Pillowman and Blue Man were a hit. All the hotels were great. I liked the fact that we were occupied from morning to night. Every minute of the day was well spent. Thank you for well chosen attractions and the guides were informative and really great people. Coached arrived timeously and we had no problems with any of the reservations. You were fantastic, a real star.
Regards, Ulaetha.

Ulaetha SinghHead of Dramatic Arts, Kearsney College - USA Tour April 2007.

Well, the “famous” tour is now over, and Samantha had a WONDERFUL time! We would like to commend you on your organisation of the tour and the quality of accommodation, transport, day-tours and especially the shows. She has come back with knowledge, enthusiasm and many fantastic memories. This was definitely the tour of a lifetime and I will recommend Designer Tours to anyone wanting to go overseas.

Mr Louis and Mrs Niki CopemanParents, Diocesan Girls - USA Tours

April 2008 – Once again you organised a FANTASTIC trip and Samantha had the time of her life so we would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts! She says the hotels, the tours, the shows – everything was BRILLIANT!! I haven’t seen any photos yet as we had to take her straight back to school and they have been swamped with work already, but she assures me that she took 2GB of photos and has lots of wonderful memories. Thank you for the excellent organisation (as well as your patience with my endless e-mails!) and hopefully we will be in contact again when Daniella goes to DSG in 2011!

John and Sharon HelliwellParents, Diocesan Girls - USA Tour April 2006

Have come back to earth and am getting life back on track after a great tour. I have had so many parents send thank you messages for the tour. It was really a great success, and the kids are all so positive about it, hence the thanks from the parents.

Dawn HaynesDramatic Arts Dept, Thomas More College. USA Tour Aug 2006

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