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The ACE Experience


ACE Cultural Tours is the UK’s longest established cultural travel tour operator with more than 55 years’ experience.  Every year we offer over 200 stimulating programmes to destinations throughout the world as well as in the UK, from one-day study courses to extended tours.



Our tours cover a wide variety of themes: art, architecture, archaeology, history, music, regional culture and natural history. Many itineraries include privileged access, exclusive visits and private concerts to give you a unique experience. With over 1,000 tours in our ever-expanding portfolio, we are able to offer a wide range of topics that are characterised by their originality and diversity. Participants need no prior knowledge, just an interest in the subject concerned. Explore our tours by subject.



Our experienced Tour Directors are chosen not only for their specialist knowledge but equally for their ability to communicate their passion to others with clarity and enthusiasm. They are involved in the planning and creation of our tours, from conception to delivery. Meet our Tour Directors



Our tours offer itineraries that illuminate and illustrate the themes of the tour and allow for comprehensive exploration of the sites and areas we visit. Our Tour Directors deliver regular talks and lectures either in a formal setting, on site or on the coach to make good use of travelling time. Where appropriate local guides will supplement the knowledge of our experts and share their own experiences with the group.



Our travellers, whilst often independent in spirit, enjoy the relaxed ambience we like to create on our tours. Dinners, for example, are a wonderful opportunity to get to know new friends and discuss the day’s visits and experiences in a convivial atmosphere. Some travellers may have a great interest but little pre-existing knowledge of the subject of the tour, whilst others may already have a deep understanding of the subject but a thirst for more detail. On shorter tours all days will typically have a full itinerary; on longer tours we often include some free time to allow individual exploration or relaxation.



There is usually a comprehensive series of visits to look forward to every day on our tours, which range from fairly strenuous and challenging destinations such as China, Cambodia and Burma, to those with a more relaxed feel, particularly on our cruises. However, regardless of the type of tour, it is important that our clients meet minimum fitness criteria to ensure the enjoyment of the rest of the group is not compromised. On most days there will be a considerable amount of walking, perhaps visiting galleries, archaeological sites on rocky terrain, or simply exploring the cobbled streets of hill top towns and villages. Walks on natural history tours are typically 3-5 miles in length, often in hilly or mountainous regions.  



Our tours are very comprehensive and you frequently compliment us on their value for money and the fact that there are very few personal expenses apart from the occasional meal and drinks. Our brochure descriptions give a clear indication of what is included and many of you are delighted that the headache of gratuities is dealt with on your behalf!



Wherever possible, we select conveniently located hotels with character whilst also considering their facilities, cleanliness and comfort levels. We try to strike a balance between these factors and cost. The opportunity to sample different cuisine is also viewed as part of the cultural experience, so when travelling overseas we like to give you the chance to try traditional dishes. When travelling off the beaten track it is sometimes necessary to use simpler accommodation. Indeed, this can be an integral element of the tour, such as a mud hut in Gujarat.



Group sizes range from 15 on some natural history tours to a maximum of 25 for land-based tours. However, numbers on cruises may be greater to make use of the capacity of the boat and in these circumstances support is provided by a tour manager, additional guide or members of the crew.  On day courses we can often accommodate bigger groups.



ACE Cultural Tours is owned by the ACE Foundation (the Association for Cultural Exchange), an educational charity founded in 1958. Each year, the trustees of the ACE Foundation make substantial donations to charitable and educational projects in the regions we visit, both in the United Kingdom and abroad. We are proud to be the preferred travel provider for people who are committed to supporting educational projects in the countries they visit and giving something back to the local communities. ACE Cultural Tours is also pleased to support the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) in its commitment to responsible tourism.



We are very grateful to the vast majority of you who take the time to complete our customer satisfaction questionnaires. This is invaluable to us. All feedback is read and your ratings analysed to either reassure us that we are continuing to deliver a first class product or help identify areas that could be improved for the future. Thank you very much!