‘Jeremy Seal’s fascination with Turkey brought an unexpected additional delight and humour to the journey. His extrovert character and his Turkish ensured a ready flow of enriching encounters with locals. With all that he was still sensitive to the needs of the group and made each of us feel special. Another holiday led by Jeremy is high on my to do list.’ – Gill Hinton
‘My wife Joyce and I had the great pleasure of travelling with Jeremy in Cappadoccia and then in a gulet along the Lycian coast. Jeremy’s infectious enthusiasm for Turkey and the multiple layers of peoples and civilisations that we were exploring was a constant tonic and made the trip a special experience. He shared his knowledge freely and happily. Nothing was too much trouble to ensure that the party had a memorable experience. And Jeremy answered all my idiotic questions fully and expertly without a sign of impatience. And, if he didn’t know the answer, he made sure he did by the next day. A true professional!’ – Neil McRae
From 2013, as opportunities in travel journalism began to wither, I began to think about other outlets for expressing my enthusiasm for Turkey. So I began guiding for companies like Westminster Classic Tours, and soon discovered how much this rather more hands-on and sociable relationship with an audience appealed. Unlike travel journalism, with its insistence on the new and the newsy over the tried and the tested, guiding allowed me to take guests to places, people, restaurants, swimming spots and much else besides that I, and often they, had encountered before – secure in the knowledge that we would enjoy ourselves. Guiding has given me a platform for what I love doing, which is to bang on about a country which has come to mean a great deal to me while making like-minded friends.
What with coups, crises and the subsequent collapse in tourist numbers to Turkey, however, Westminster Classic Tours and my other employees were all but gone by 2016. I might have given up too but for a hard core of splendid Turkophiles who soon made it clear that they would not be put off, whatever the papers might be saying. So I teamed up with my Turkish friend and guide Yunus Özdemir and launched a tour programme; in 2017, the nadir for Turkish tourism, we managed to run two tours, both on gulet schooners, which proved a great success. 2018, when Turkey is predicted to see a significant up-turn in visitor numbers, will see us run at least four tours, starting this January with our midwinter trip to Istanbul and Cappadocia.
The heart of what we do remains our classic gulet tours, archaeology holidays, though that po-faced description fails to evoke the diverse and joyous experiences on offer: visits to southwest Turkey’s superb and picturesque classical sites, certainly, but also pristine swimming spots and idyllic overnight anchorages, wonderful food and drink and exceptional service, informed talks on the region’s culture, history and politics, and like-minded company.
We are also very enthusiastic about developing interest in a more energetic gulet-based variant, Walking and Ruins, where the days revolve around daily walks to remote ruins, but of no more than three hours in length, allowing plenty of time back on the gulet for swimming, sunning and relaxation.
We are also launching a programme of land tours which, in keeping with your feedback, we’ve kept short (four days) and have also ensured they dovetail with a gulet tour so you can relax afterwards. We’ve minimised the travelling and the hotel changes by focussing on exceptional areas; Bafa Lake, a tour designed to appeal to walkers going on to join Walking and Ruins in the Gulf of Gököva, and Ephesus and the Meander Valley, which immediately precedes the Shores of Lycia gulet trip.
In many regards these holidays resemble those offered by Westminster Classic Tours, but with some significant enhancements: there is always a second guide, the hugely experienced and delightful Yunus Özdemir, to provide expert Turkish insights as well as a further degree of support. To ensure maximum comfort, there are never more than 10 guests onboard, though the land tours may go slightly bigger. The cost now includes the crew tips which you were formerly ‘invited’ to find yourselves. And as most homeward flights leave in the evening, we no longer cast you adrift on the final day but arrange activities and outings to fit as far as possible with departure times.
These holidays are full-board; all meals and onboard drinks, including alcohol, are included as are land visits, entry fees, crew tips and airport transfers. Alcoholic drinks are not included on the land tours. International flights and visas are not included. These holidays are fully bonded by Heritage Group Travel, your contact point for the paperwork.
For individual itineraries, please click on the 2018 tours below:
25 – 29 September: Ephesus and the Meander Valley FULL
29 September – 6 October: Shores of Lycia ONE CABIN/TWO PLACES AVAILABLE: FULL
Do please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries or expressions of interest. Or call me to chat things through on 07757 703604/01225 329269.