Our unique tours & experiences tend to take centre stage in most of our press features, we’ve enjoyed some fantastic coverage that we are immensely proud of (well-done team!). It is easy to forget that the business philosophy of Around & About Bath is key to delivering those tours and creating new & exciting experiences for our guests.
Around & About Bath is much more than a business; it is a culture and a lifestyle and we are honoured to be featured in an article that discusses this in such depth in one of the UK’s biggest national press outlets The Daily Express.
Here, Maisha Frost discusses how Around & About Bath came to be, and how we are changing the concept of travel.
The full text reads:
‘GUIDE Jules Mittra is taking the day tours business to new places with authentic West of England itineraries packed with hidden historical gems and secret stories far from the madding crowds.
Founder of start-up brand Around & About Bath, the former history teacher and local has curated small group trios exploring the city’s famed ancient hinterland and its artisan heritage, which are now producing glowing reviews online.
“This is more than sightseeing, we take guests on journeys and make it personal. Their testimonials are genuine, no fakery,” says Mittra, who likes to sprinkle magical mystery tour moments with surprise reveals in the custom tours offered.
Top draw, pictures, is Stonehenge And Secret Somerset, but nearly as popular are the Medieval Marvels And Movie Locations tour and travels to historic pubs and forgotten byways that reveal the regions rich industrial and political legacy.
The majority of customers are international, mainly North American, but with a growing band of Britons, who are increasingly aware of the wonders on their doorstep and are keen to go beyond the typical.
After a years trading, the firm has grown 300 per cent and expects a £250,000 second year turnover. Such rapid success has come in half the time Mittra expected, a welcome surprise for the first-time entrepreneur. “One of the reasons for the popularity is that we keep it to small groups of eight so it is friendly and sometimes those relationships continue,” he says. “I wanted to mine our local knowledge to combine the must-see with going off the beaten track so we could immerse curious travellers in the landscapes and culture.
“People are looking for something different and we’ve captured that. We’re the antidote to the standard tours so common in the well-worn, congested mass tourism spots.”
The all-inclusive trips cost from £65 (for a new city walk) to £175, where, he says, “everything is laid on for our guests, from pick up, to intriguing places to find, and for Stonehenge an east fast-track entry at moments when it is at its most uncrowded and atmospheric”.
Mittra, supported by his wife Heni, launched in 2016 after they returned from helping set up schools in Africa and travels around Latin America.
“I had always wanted to start a business and didn’t want to teach, then I saw how tourism was working locally and how we might do it differently. Stories, food, people and places add multisensory layers to the visitor’s experience,” he says.
The Mittras ploughed in their life savings, took out a £15,000 start-up loan and benefited from the business expertise available through various regional enterprise schemes.
The company is part of the Government0back Innovate 2 Succeed programme for SMEs. “One of our best decisions was investing in software so guests can book no matter where they are in the world,” says Mittra. “It is also good to see how our success is increasing trade for our other partner businesses in more isolated rural spots.”
Although still in its infancy, Mittra now oversees an all-seasons business with special winter tours taking in visits to cheese makers, craft distilleries and blacksmiths.
There is the potential to expand, he adds: “To cities such as Oxford, York and Southampton and create a wider hub around Bath. Our mantra has always been ‘People First’, putting ourselves in other’s shows. In 20 years this will be the norm.” – Maisha Frost