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How has coach travel changed over the years?

Over the centuries, UK holidaymakers have always enjoyed exploring new places both in the UK and across Europe from the comfort of a coach. We take a look at how coach holidays have changed since they first began back in the early 1900’s.

Horse-drawn stagecoaches had been used in Great Britain as early as the 1500’s but with the invention and success of the railway, stagecoach operators began purchasing motor coaches in the early 1900’s. According to research, it is believed the very first coach tours began in 1903. William Webster commenced trading as a haulage and removals contractor and passenger carrier and offered coach transport to holiday-makers keen to have daytrips and weekends away to North Wales and Manchester.

The first tours to Continental Europe were not offered until around 1938. Smiths claimed to be the first company to operate coach tours to Europe after World War 2 and took a coach of excited holiday-makers to Switzerland in May 1946. The package tour revolutionised coach travel and it became increasingly popular to travel on coaches of varying luxury to destinations abroad.

Way back in the early days, coach seats would have been little more than an uncomfortable wooden bench offering little support and safety. Fast forward several decades and coach seat comfort has improved significantly. It is no longer necessary to avoid the seats over the wheel arch or the engine. Modern coaches such as those in Rover’s fleet, along with comfortable padded seats offering calf support, have adjustable headrests and have a longer coach body which increases on-board space. Our executive coaches have reclining seats with arm rests for extra comfort.

Air conditioning has certainly changed since the early days when coach tours began. The presence of dirt, dust, insects and pollen would have made air quality inside passenger compartments of buses prior to air conditioning being installed very poor. In 1930, C & C Kelvinator fitted a customized Cadillac car with a 0.37 kW Kelvinator refrigeration unit powered by a 1.1 kW gasoline engine however it was a few years before air conditioning in coaches was installed. Nowadays, for the comfort of their passengers, many coach operators, including ourselves have vehicles fitted with independently controllable fresh air supply and full air-conditioning units which renew and improve air quality on-board and make for a pleasant journey in the heat.

Toilets on coaches provide extra comfort, especially for those travelling long distances. In the early days of coach travel, passengers would have to inform the driver they needed the toilet and he would pull over at his earliest convenience which would more than likely be a roadside pub or restaurant. Long gone are the days of ‘comfort stops’. With clean washroom and toilet facilities on all of our holiday tour coaches, Rover passengers needn’t worry about having too much to drink on-board!

Whilst travelling to their destination, coach passengers these days can use radio, CD and DVD players to stay entertained and to help pass the time. Historically entertainment on longer journeys will have been more of a communal affair. Passengers will have participated in singalongs or recitals and there may have been the odd game of tiddlywinks too!

At Rover European we aim to provide fantastic holiday opportunities as well as long-lasting memories and offer a number of exciting coach holidays to some of the top destinations throughout the UK and Europe. Our stylish fleet of vehicles are designed to the highest specifications, with the latest environmental emissions controls. They are maintained in our own workshops by our own highly experienced engineering staff. We also have the benefit of a full back up service 24hrs a day, 365 days a year both in the UK and across Europe.

To find out more about Rover European or to discuss any of our coach holidays in more detail, please call 01453 832121, alternatively email [email protected]

Office cake sale at Rover's offices in Nailsworth

Always keen to support both national and local charities, Gloucestershire based Coach Operator Rover European have enlisted the support of family and friends to bake a selection of homemade treats to sell at their offices on Tuesday 20th March with all proceeds going to Sport Relief.

Local coach operator Rover European are pleased to be supporting Sport Relief this year and are doing their bit in contributing to the nation’s Billion Step Challenge by encouraging staff across its site in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire, to donate an amount of money for every step they take to the office to buy cakes!

Carole Hand, Director at Rover European and the brains behind the fun idea explains “Here at Rover European we are passionate about fundraising for charities and supporting the local community. Last year we raised just over £4000 for local children’s charity Allsorts, who do a fantastic job supporting families in and around Gloucestershire who have children with complex needs and disabilities.” She adds “We’re very excited to be holding our very first cake sale and with the support of keen members of staff, our friends and family, we’re baking cakes for our Sport Relief cake sale, which is being held on Tuesday 20th March. Through over 2000 projects, Sport Relief helps vulnerable people, across the UK and around the world, to live happier, healthier and safer lives and relies on charitable donations from the general public and businesses like ours.”

Established in 1947, family run Rover European provide memorable coach holidays to top destinations across the UK and Europe. With interesting itineraries, exciting destinations and comfortable door to door travel, the company prides itself on offering great value for money holidays for people of all ages. In addition to their renowned UK and continental holiday tours, the company also boasts a jam-packed programme of exciting Day Trip’s catering to various interests. Besides excursions to cathedral cities and market towns, for those looking for something a little bit different, Rover European are running a trip to see the must-see musical comedy ‘Shrek’ at Bristol’s Hippodrome theatre in August. Plus, a trip to the ‘Festival of Light’ at Longleat in December, a winter spectacular, is not to be missed by families with small children.

For further details of the company’s efforts for Sport Relief this year or to request Rover’s 2018 Holiday Brochure, please call 01453 832121, alternatively email [email protected]