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About Us

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About Us

 

Inspired by the Grand Tours of the 18th Century, the traditional trip undertaken by young aristocrats who travelled through France and Italy in search of art, culture and the roots of Western civilisation, we founded Grand Cultural Tours to bring the very best of the world’s culture to the 21st Century traveller.

Of course, no longer does one have to be an aristocrat to gain entry to some of the world’s cultural treasures; France's Palace of Versailles or St Petersburgs’ Hermitage museum are no longer off limits to 'the people’.

That’s why all our travel experiences include special activities that would be difficult, if not impossible, for the individual traveller to organise by themselves. From a private viewing of Michelangelo’s Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome to an exclusive early-morning opening of the Hermitage museum with private guided tour by its curator, we aim to open the door to a whole new world of fascinating travel experiences for our customers.

A key principle of any Grand Tour was to broaden the mind and expand life experiences, all whilst making new acquaintances and friendships along the way. It's a principle we hold close to our hearts when designing any of our group tours.

To achieve excellence in tour design, we combine our expert destination knowledge; trusted relationships with a vast array of the world's cultural institutions, including leading museums and art galleries; thorough research into the times and places that have shaped the way we live today and strong supplier relationships with hotels, restaurants, transfer and flight companies. Harmonizing across all these elements, we create journeys of a lifetime for the best value for money.

During each tour, our experienced Tour Managers are meticulous in their attention to detail to ensure you feel welcome and taken care of.

And let’s not forget, every tour needs its knowledgeable companion; the expert guide (or Cicerone as he was known in the 18th Century) for imparting those ‘lesser-known’ facts and details that transform a piece of art from a beautiful object into an inspirational story that enriches the soul (please check out our Expert page for details of our modern-day Ciceroni). All the while, we promise to never lose sight of the needs of our customers.

So please join us, as we go discover the world!

Kelly Frisby

Kelly Frisby, Managing Director, kelly.frisby@grandculturaltours.com

I founded Grand Cultural Tours as I’m passionate about creating journeys of a lifetime for those of us who have a desire to experience the world’s art, architecture and history through travel.

Previously, I had spent many years helping businesses reward their most successful staff, designing ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ travel experiences in some of the world’s most spectacular destinations.

This experience gave me the opportunity to travel the world, gain extensive destination knowledge, meet the locals and build strong relationships with a vast array of suppliers, including leading cultural institutions, hotels, restaurants and transfer companies.

I now make full use of this experience, managing a team of experts dedicated to unlocking the door to new ways of experiencing the world's cultural treasures.

Never losing sight of the company's day-to-day management, my main responsibility is to ensure Grand Cultural Tours always puts the customer at the centre of everything we do.

Back in the UK for nearly a decade now, having lived and worked in Italy for many years (where I learnt the language, got to know the people and, of course, loved the food and wine!), I take a special interest in our Italy tours; overflowing with beautiful art and architecture, full of stunning and varied landscape and blessed with fine weather, the allure of il bel paese is, I feel, ever present...

 

Sylwia Szymanska, Customer Relationship Manager, sylwia.szymanska@grandculturaltours.com

I’ve always had a passion for travel ever since I can remember.

I first obtained a Travel and Tourism degree before qualifying as a professional Tour Manager. After leading tours throughout Europe, I moved in to hotel and event management where I gained many years’ experience in customer service and relationship management.

My main responsibility is to ensure Grand Cultural Tours customers receive excellent customer service; from initial booking until post tour customer feedback. I’m also responsible for our Central and Eastern European travel experiences.

I hold a Royal Yachting Association skipper licence which meant I was able to fulfil my dream of travelling to Canada and sailing around British Columbia - I love the outdoors and am always looking for new places to discover.

A keen photographer, I'm really looking forward to the launch of our Film & Photography themed travel experiences!!!