2019 Farm tour of Ireland, Wales, England & Scotland – F.A.Q.

Have you ever dreamt of a relaxing trip around Britain’s iconic rural landscapes – off the beaten track as well as to famous locations? En route enjoying great food and interesting conversations with locals involved in agriculture, as well as other farmers on the tour? Visiting a great variety of ag-related and cultural highlights? From ancient history to the latest ag-tech and farm innovation? Then I have the ideal journey for you!

Contact me by email or ring me on (07) 4728 4922 if you’d like a copy of the brochure outlining the itinerary, pricing and other details.  Specialty farm tours have limited passenger numbers due to logistics & to ensure the enjoyment of all, so it’s best to reserve your seat early to avoid the disappointment of missing out.

Below there’s detailed answers to many of the questions I’ve been asked by people interested in coming on this unique farm (& photography) tour.

2019 UK & Ireland farm tour – a great mixture of farming & cultural highlights.  (All the photographs above were taken on my previous visits to the British Isles.)

Which parts of the British Isles is our farm tour visiting?

Ireland, Wales, England and Scotland.

The farm tour starts in Dublin and we fly home from London.

We spend a week enjoying Irish hospitality, then head to Wales via a ferry over the Irish Sea. After a fabulous day at the Royal Welsh Show we begin our tour of English highlights, before heading to Edinburgh.  Passengers heading home then travel south to London and the Scottish extension tour begins with a tour of the fascinating city of Edinburgh. We then head north to the Scottish Highlands to attend Highland Games at one of the most scenic locations followed by a trip north to a particularly interesting farm – in a part of the UK that is level with Norway. We then wind our way back down Scotland’s eastern side, then a railway journey from Edinburgh to London.

Some days will be spent enjoying cultural highlights in historic cities, but most of our time will be spent roaming around the less closely settled parts of Britain, through landscapes that have been farmed for many centuries.

The overnight locations we’ll be staying in – Ireland: Dublin, Limerick, Killarney, Kinsale, Kilkenny; Wales: Tenby, Cardiff; England: Bath, Oxford, Nantwich, Windermere, London; Scotland: Edinburgh, Pitlochry, Inverness, Dundee. There’s also some extra doglegs. For example, our  day trip north from Inverness.

Optional legs:

Each country in the British Isles – Ireland, Wales, England and Scotland – has its own character and there are unique highlights in each. But if you can’t squeeze in the whole tour, the last leg – through Scotland’s Highlands – is optional.  The Quadrant brochure has more details.  It would also be possible for passengers to meet the tour in Wales, omitting the week in Ireland.  Don’t hesitate to ask, if you have any queries.

What differentiates this tour from other tours of the UK & Ireland?

Unparalleled opportunities to meet locals involved in agriculture:  The genuinely unique aspect of this tour is the number of local residents we’ll meet as we travel.  These locals are farmers and others involved in agriculture that I feel fortunate to have got to know over the years because they are very knowledgeable and happy to voice forthright opinions but also love to share a great laugh.  IE they’re very interesting plus great company.  You’ll have the opportunity to have many interesting one-on-one conversations with locals who are involved in agriculture, over dinner, at our two visits to livestock marts, the Royal Welsh Show etc.

Note: no other UK & Ireland farm tour includes the opportunity to meet locals like this.

You’ll also get great travel photos:

I’ll be providing photography advice to anyone who has queries, en route. And it doesn’t matter what camera you’re using – I have fancy gear, but my favourite camera is my phone. It’s my job to help you come home with the best travel photographs you’ve ever captured – and I’ll also be taking photographs of everyone on the journey. Unless of course you are camera shy!

One of the unique aspects of the 2019 UK & Ireland farm tour – the number of events and special occasions included in the itinerary. British Isles shows are still focused on agriculture and very traditional.

What else will we be seeing and doing?

A hand-picked selection of a bit of everything, relating in some way to agriculture.  For example:

  • Farms (ranging from an Irish farmer who has diversified and value-adds to survive on a small holding up to huge English and Scottish estates growing grain as well as running sheep and cattle)
  • An interesting variety of farmers markets, on-farm shops & other food retail outlets (and of course we’ll be taste-testing local specialties, from local tatties to oatcakes, guinness and haggis. [Not compulsory. There will be steak and cake as well!])
  • 2 ‘marts’ (fully enclosed livestock auction centres) – full of characters and with auctioneers who are great to see in action
  • The Royal Welsh Show – one of the best agricultural shows in the world & undisputedly Britain’s best livestock show
  • A historic woollen mill (and meet a local who sends their wool to be woven into blankets)
  • A unique ag robotics project run by the UK’s leading agricultural education facility
  • Cultural highlights – including a sprinkling of the most spectacular palaces, castles and cathedrals (not too many – just enough!)
  • A surprisingly spectacular variety of arable and pastoral landscapes
  • Plus a few special surprises.

We’ll be tucking into great local food while conversing with a wide range of locals who are involved in agriculture.

Food is a highlight of this farm tour. Breakfasts are usually cooked feasts and we often have dinners together, with lunch options up to individual choice. We’ll have many opportunities to test ‘paddock to plate’ artisan produce. And the best thing is that most of us will be doing a lot of walking and have no trouble walking off our meals!

The Royal Welsh Show is held in an idyllic setting at Builth Wells.  We’ll be able to cheer on Australian shearers at the international-standard shearing competition. Meet an Australian who has lived on a Welsh farm for many years, whose Hereford cattle won first prize in 2017. Enjoy a fantastic array of Welsh food, straight from paddock to plate.  British Isles agricultural shows have a long history and tend to be well attended by a loyal public and remain focused on agriculture. ‘Fairground’ rides and gee-gaws are thankfully sparse.  There will be many highlights on this tour – and for some, our day at the Royal Welsh Show will be the pinnacle.

Ireland, Wales, England and Scotland have a rich, complicated and ancient pastoral history. Historic agriculture-related statues and icons can be found everywhere, including in the heart of the largest cities. The similarities and differences between agriculture in the British Isles and Australia provide much food for thought and pithy discussions.  There are a number of topics that are likely to evoke some interesting discussions amongst those who are interested in chewing the fat on thought-provoking issues. For example:

  • Bridging the world’s growing urban-rural divide via ‘open farm’ days and other means of educating the public – eg agricultural shows and farmers markets.  The UK sets the standard on this for the rest of the world to follow.
  • Animal welfare and environmental management rules and regulations – the UK has some of the toughest regulations in the world.
  • Livestock identification, rural theft and disease management – with nearly 70 million people in a relatively small area, there’s lots of headaches.
  • Managing urban encroachment (eg rising land values plus complaints from new neighbours re farm activities such as crop spraying plus the rising incidence of ‘dog worrying’ & ‘fly tipping’)
  • The pros and cons of farm subsidies – plus unintended consequences.
  • Trade issues and Brexit – Britain’s complicated and controversial exit from the European Union (EU).
  • Advancing ag technology; the latest innovations and what it means for farmers.
  • The difficulties associated with managing priceless heritage while improving farm efficiency and profitability (plus the benefits of tourism & a large resident population).
  • The pros and cons of farming in a country with such long-established traditions.

The 2019 UK & Ireland farm tour will see the cream of livestock from across the British Isles, at the Royal Welsh Show – renowned as the best agricultural show in the UK.

On the farm tour we’ll be seeing many unfamiliar livestock breeds – including more than 140 different breeds of sheep at the Royal Welsh Show

As we travel, I’ll be helping with any photography and social media-related queries anyone has. From getting the very best results from a mobile phone camera, to the use of professional quality camera equipment.  Do you have a smart phone?  Do you use your phone camera settings? They can make a huge difference to the quality of your photographs. This is a great opportunity for anyone who likes taking photographs to get some personal, one-on-one assistance; whether you want better photographs for personal or business use.  We’ll also be meeting a drone pilot or two.

How many people will be on the tour?

To ensure the enjoyment of all, numbers are capped.  Final numbers won’t be known until just before the tour leaves, but our group will be between fifteen and two dozen people. I’m expecting it will be a typically interesting mixture of solo travellers and couples from across Australia –  mostly rural residents, many (but not all) directly associated with an agricultural industry.  Some passengers will have travelled overseas before while for others, it will be their first global adventure.  Interesting conversations guaranteed, as well as much laughter.

Who will be on the tour?

Farm tours are popular with an interesting variety of people – all with some level of interest in food and fibre production or country people and rural life:

  • Farmers and retired farmers. And people who grew up on a farm or cattle station and went on to a city-based career not associated with agriculture, who relish the opportunity to travel with the kinds of people they grew up with.
  • Teachers and a wide range of people involved in agribusiness – researchers, agronomists, rural property and livestock agents, rural lenders.
  • Experienced travellers looking for a more meaningful travel experience, and foodies who’d love the opportunity to meet farmers and eat fresh locally grown produce.
  • Most tours include passengers from right across Australia – and sometimes from other countries.

Can residents of other countries come on this tour?

Passengers from other countries are always very welcome! It’s a fantastic way to kill two birds with one stone: meet Australian farmers and learn about Australian agriculture, at the same time as learning about the British Isles.  And the Australian farmers on the tour are very welcoming, and enjoy meeting farmers from other countries. The tour brochure lists prices including airfares from Australia, in Australian dollars.  Quadrant can provide the land-only price to residents of other countries.

Can I arrive in Britain before the tour, or stay on for a few days afterwards?

It is of course easier to keep it simple but it is not uncommon for passengers to want to arrive a few days earlier or fly home a few days after the tour concludes; either to visit friends or relatives, or to add on extra touring (including visits to nearby countries). Separate flights can be booked by Quadrant and don’t usually add anything to the tour cost. Quadrant can book add-on travel such as a few days in Paris. Flight times don’t have to be decided when deposits are paid, only closer to the tour departure.

It’s also entirely feasible to not travel on the whole tour, eg join it one week after it has commenced or leave a week early. Not as commonly done, however, as most people feel they’ll miss out, and staying for the whole tour does give the best value experience.   Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any queries.

We’ll be enjoying some fabulous walks around beautiful farms and historic villages, across Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England; during the height of summer in the British Isles.

How will we be travelling around?

By coach.  This has some distinct advantages:

  • The view: The value of sitting up high in a coach, when poking around rural Ireland and the UK, can’t be overestimated.  Most roads in rural Ireland and the UK are hemmed in by old hedgerows and/or ancient stone fences. And that’s what car drivers are faced with at eye level, when poking around country areas. Whereas we have a bird’s eye view, up and over into the paddocks – so we can examine grazing livestock and assess crops being harvested, while admiring distant vistas.
  • Relaxing travel from one point to another: Instead of having to watch traffic, worry about being in the right lane and look for signposts, then find a park that isn’t miles away – we’re able to sit back and concentrate on the view. And admire the coach driver’s skill – negotiating everything from multi-lane roundabouts full of traffic to single-lane farm roads hemmed in tightly by unforgiving ancient stone walls.  We hop off and leave the driver to scout for parking in small villages and large cities where parking is at a premium.  No time-wasting and no passenger-driver arguments re taking wrong turns!
  • Entertaining coach drivers: We’ll have a driver/tour guide in Ireland, and a separate coach driver and tour guide in the UK. The drivers are locals who are great sources of information and anecdotes, and add to the enjoyment of the tour.
  • The room: As we’re a small group on a 43 foot coach, we can all have a window view with a spare seat beside us, if we want to. And we can sit in a different seat each day, conversing with different people as we travel along – if we choose to.
  • Saving energy: While aiming to not overdo it, we will be squeezing a lot in. After a long day making the most of visiting an agricultural show, an interesting farm or historic estate, we pile onto the coach and can have a power nap if we want to.  Rather than having to tackle unfamiliar roads in search of our hotel and a park, in gathering darkness.

Who wouldn’t prefer to be relaxing in a historic Irish or UK pub, rather than fighting for a parking space?

I’m not sure that group travel will be my cup of tea?

No need to worry! Farmers worldwide share some common attributes. Most are independent in thought and action. Almost all farmers – by choice – live away from towns and cities and spend a lot of time working on their own; yet enjoy a good conversation and laugh with like-minded people during social get-togethers. The hallmarks of classic introverts.  So you’ll be travelling with people who just like you, are friendly but like some personal space as well.  Bus travel isn’t plane travel – we aren’t jammed in like sardines and we can change seats as often as we like. This makes it easy to move around and regulate the amount of time you spend gazing out the window, sleeping and conversing with others – and who you sit next to (if anyone).

There's plenty of opportunities for interesting walks - with others or on our own.

There’s plenty of opportunities for interesting walks – with others or on your own.

We’ll sometimes be walking in a group around a farm or with a tour guide, but on other occasions we can go our separate ways. Although quite often, rather than scatter like cats, passengers do choose to walk around with others during leisure time periods, and arrange to have lunch together.  Because they’re enjoying the conversation and laughter so much. The bottomline is: passengers have a lot of choice as to how they spend time, either exploring alone or with companions; and there’s no pressure or expectations.

A dry sense of humour is common amongst Australian farmers, as well as a keen eye for details.  Travelling with great companions is what I most enjoy about these tours – the interesting observations and the fabulous laughter.  Many make life-long friends.

Information on the pros and cons of generic/mass market tours, specialty group tours and independent travel.

The Ireland & UK farm tour is usually a mixture of couples and solo travellers. Here’s the 2013 group the morning after we met in Dublin. We hadn’t got to know one another yet, but already having fun.

I’m travelling on my own. Will I be the only one who isn’t travelling with a partner?

No. It’s usual for tours to have a mixture of couples and singles – passengers who don’t have a partner or whose spouse stayed home. I am on my own myself, and can guarantee you won’t feel like ‘two’s company, three’s a crowd’.

GST & are farm tours tax deductible?

Australia’s Goods & Services Tax (GST): only payable on services provided within Australia. So the prices given for overseas tours do not include GST.

Tax deductibility of overseas farm tours: When assessing whether tax deductions are allowable or not, the tax department considers whether the expenditure directly relates to the claimant’s production of income.

This farm tour is agriculture-focused and designed to be informative.  The ideas brought back can help people involved in relevant industries to reduce expenses or maintain or increase the production of income, so yes the tour should be claimable as a legitimate business-related expense for most people deriving income from agriculture. And, educators who cover agricultural topics at schools or universities.  However – it is essential to seek specific advice regarding eligibility from your accountant, as everyone has slightly differing circumstances.

One of my roles as tour escort is to write up a comprehensive travel diary and I’ll provide a copy to anyone intending to claim the farm tour as a tax deduction. But it’s a good idea for anyone intending to claim a tax deduction to also keep their own travel diary, as well as receipts for all expenditure being claimed.  If you have any queries, don’t hesitate to ask me.

Yes this tour will be tax deductible for most who earn a living via agriculture (check with your accountant). This doesn’t mean we don’t have some time to enjoy cultural highlights – such as a walk over the Thames River, past Big Ben and Westminster (Houses of Parliament), in London.

Tour guides:

This tour is fully escorted. As well as myself, there will be a very knowledgeable local tour guide plus a coach driver, or a local driver/guide.  You are well looked after, every step of the way!

I’ve been to Ireland and the United Kingdom before. Will this tour just be the same-old, same-old?

No. I’ve spent a lot of time digging up farms who don’t usually have visitors and farmers and others involved in agriculture, who haven’t met up with tour groups before. Yes we will be staying in several obvious places such as the capital cities (London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Dublin), but I have dug up some great agriculture-related features that solo travellers and generic tours don’t get to visit.  This isn’t a tour that independent travellers could undertake – it is a personal tour.  And because of the events & special occasions squeezed into the itinerary, there will not be another tour that is identical to this one.

The 2019 UK & Ireland farm tour will visit out-of-the-way places and see sights that other travellers don’t get to see.

I haven’t been overseas before – will this farm tour suit first-time travellers?

Yes!  I’ll be providing as much travel information and tips as you’d like, before departure*, and you can be completely confident that you’ll be looked after, from start to finish. For example I’m often asked what camera I recommend, packing tips (what type of clothes will we need & how to avoid taking too much) and the best footwear to take. Info is provided over the phone or by email, whichever suits you best.  I love being able to pass on tips that I wish I’d known from the outset.

And remember – there’s no such thing as a stupid question!  (Sometimes I have to look up the answers.)

*However I do recommend queries are asked as early as possible. During the 3 weeks prior to the tour departure I will be under the hammer to get work completed before we head off (as you may be also!), so time will be short.

My number one travel packing tip:

Pack most of what you need & list all the late additions, 2-3 weeks before departure. Why?

  1. Packing early feels like going on holidays early; it’s full of pleasant anticipation. Packing late feels like stressful work.
  2. You’re far more likely to take exactly what you need. There’s physiological reasons why we have trouble making choices when we feel under pressure.
  3. If you discover you have to purchase some new undies or your suitcase is falling apart, or you want to check the weather or ask someone else’s advice, you have plenty of time to do so.
  4. Packing early (ditto booking early) makes the trip seem real & increases enjoyment of the whole adventure. The benefits in looking forward to an overseas trip should never be underestimated!  I get a lot of unfinished jobs completed, once I have packed my suitcase.

I travel a lot but it took me years to enforce the habit of NEVER packing for an important trip just before leaving. Instead the last-minute jobs I undertake are ones that don’t require decisions. Wish I’d followed this rule years ago.


We’re unlikely to get muddy on the farms we’re visiting but of course some washing will need to be done en route. We have some two-night stays sprinkled throughout the trip and these are the best times to send clothes to a hotel laundry service, visit a laundromat or do some handwashing. Heated towel rails are ideal for drying the thick wool socks I like to wear!

What sort of hours will we be keeping?

Apart from one morning when we have to catch an early ferry – in deference to the night owls, we normally don’t leave at the crack of dawn.  But departing after our daily breakfast feast gives the early birds an opportunity for a walk around the village or town where we’re staying, before we head off for the day.  Summer days in the British Isles are long so there are often opportunities for daylight walks before nightfall, as well.  For me, early morning and evening walks are often a highlight of wherever I’m staying; a really good way to get the feel of a place.  Walking off cake, staying fit, making interesting discoveries and taking photographs during the best light of the day are the side benefits!  I eat like a horse when away but return home fitter than when I left.

Some days will be very busy, but these are offset by less busy days, including periods of leisure time.

On tour, no two days are the same.

Blenheim Palace has something of interest for everyone and for many, it will be one of the highlights of the 2019 Ireland & UK tour.

I would like a copy of the farm tour itinerary, cost & booking details:

* All the photographs included in this blog post were taken by me during previous visits to Ireland & the United Kingdom (and many of the photos were taken on mobile phones).

* All tour-related information is correct at the time of writing but details given are subject to some tweaking between now and the departure date, in order to give passengers the very best journey possible (or in the unlikely event of unforseen circumstances).


Fiona Lake on a previous UK farm tour; at Bath, in England. We spend two nights enjoying this historic city.

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