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Golden Compass Tours
A space to share information which inspires educational travel.
A space to share information which inspires educational travel.


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Australia and New Zealand may have been forerunners in battling gender inequality, with New Zealand being the first (currently independent) country to grant women the vote in 1893 and the Australian Commonwealth following closely behind in 1904, but the struggle has certainly not always been an easy one. 

Social historian and Golden Compass program leader, Dr Jone Gaillard has written about women’s rights for our Downton blog and set this relevant issue to the backdrop of this much loved series,

For an enjoyable weekend read, please follow the link below.
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Win a bottle of Pommery Brut Royal champagne! 

To celebrate the conclusion of our first European tour of 2014 we are giving one lucky person the chance to win a bottle of one of the champagnes tasted on the tour. Of course, being an educational travel provider, you will need to test your knowledge of champagne with our short quiz first.

Good Luck!

To see some snapshots of the program visit our photo album.
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Meet the team at Golden Compass and learn about our 2015 cultural tours. CEO Mark Goodwin will be hosting free morning tea travel forums in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane this August. 

Click below for further details about the forum in your city and register to attend.
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Tripadvisor have just announced the Top 25 Landmarks of the World, as chosen by their millions of followers.

Congratulations to Spain as being the location of three of these landmarks (equalled only by Italy and the USA). These are; the Great Cathedral and Mosque of Cordoba, the Alhambra and Barcelona’s incredible Basilica of the Sagrada Familia. 

These unique landmarks are also listed in UNESCO’s 20 most beautiful buildings in Europe, in addition to El Escorial Palace & Monastery just outside Madrid and Pena National Palace in Sintra, Portugal.

All five landmarks are included in September’s Iberian Discovery tour lead by archaeologist and anthropologist Dianne Harlow. Read more about the program here:

You can read about Tripadvisor’s Top 25 Landmarks of the World here:

Happy travel planning!
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Congratulations is surely due to Ireland after securing a string of prestigious awards and high praise for its historical and natural attractions in the last few months.

Powerscourt Gardens in Co. Wicklow has just been voted No. 3 in the World's Top 10 Gardens by National Geographic. 

“The gardens and grand Palladian villa at Powerscourt, south of Dublin, were designed in the 18th century and punctuate 19 hectares (47 acres) of formal walled gardens and shaded ponds. The grounds, waterfalls, parks, garden pavilions, and fine tree-lined arbors were suggested by the Italian Renaissance and the great estates and gardens of France and Germany. Cascading terraces and formal landscapes are planned with carefully designed walks that are framed by the gentle beauty of the Wicklow Mountains.” 

This follows Titanic Belfast, the world’s largest Titanic exhibition, receiving an Outstanding Achievement Award from TEA (Themed Entertainment Association) in April. 

Rounding off a very successful 3 months for Ireland’s attractions, National Geographic named the recently opened Wild Atlantic Way its travel editors' “picks for the Best Spring Trips of 2014.”
We have places available on our Discover Ireland small-group tour departing this August, which takes in all these attractions and many more. Details can be found on the link below.

Discover Ireland is led by Louise Shave, who wrote a wonderful article on the program, which you can read here:
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This weekend marks The Queen's Official Birthday in Australia and Monday is a public holiday in every state except WA (where it would clash with Western Australia Day). Our offices in Australia will, therefore, be closed on Monday 09 June. New Zealand, of course, already celebrated The Queen’s Official Birthday last week and Britain will be celebrating the event with the ceremony of Trooping The Colour, also known as the Queen’s Birthday Parade, on Saturday 14th June (although there is no public holiday).
Strangely, this celebration in June has nothing to do with the Queen’s real birthday, which is on the 21st April, but is the date adopted by each Commonwealth country in the hope that this would coincide with fine weather in the Northern Hemisphere. In Australia, the day has been celebrated since 1788, when Governor Arthur Philip declared a holiday to mark the King’s birthday. Until 1936, it was held on the actual birthday of the monarch but after the death of George V, it was decided to keep the date as the second Monday in June.
Her Majesty herself is actually spending part of this weekend in France commemorating the 70th D-Day anniversary in Normandy, a site visited by participants on our recent Vraie France program.
We wish all Australians celebrating this day a very happy holiday and will be back at our desks on Tuesday.
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Archaeologist and anthropologist Dianne Harlow is leading our Iberian and Moroccan Discovery programs this September. However Dianne has taken some time out from planning the programs to write our latest Downton Era instalment, “Highclere Castle and the Egyptian Connection”, which tells the story of the greatest archaeological discovery in history, the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922.

The article includes a link through to our YouTube page which contains several short films on the discovery and its impact on 1920s culture, which we hope enjoy.

Have a great weekend and happy travel planning.
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On this day in 1498 Christopher Columbus sailed from the Spanish port of Sanlúcar, Andalusia, #Spain , on his 3rd voyage to the new world. The voyage is significant as it was the first time Columbus actually reached a continental land mass. His fleet explored the mouth of the Orinoco River, which Columbus correctly concluded could only come from a continent, not an island.

Several years later our Program Leader Dianne Harlow (BA Anthropology, History and Politics. MA(Hons) in Anthropology) discovered the beauty of the lands of the Iberian Peninsula that Columbus had left behind. To whet your appetite for all things Iberian, Dianne’s fascinating article, “Tapas, Flamenco, and Fado”, which has been written in preparation for the tour she will be leading to #Iberia this September, can be read via the link below.
Have a wonderful weekend and happy travel planning!
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We are pleased to be able to confirm the performances included in A Summer of British Festivals, our 14 night program exploring the great summer music and theatre events of England.
We still have two places available on this small-group tour led by our very own doctor of Opera Libretto, Jone Gaillard. Full details are available on the link below.

BBC Proms at Royal Albert Hall
Bach, St John’s Passion (26 July)
Mozart, Ravel & Dove (28 July)
Wagner, Elgar and Mathias (06 August)

Glyndebourne Opera
Mozart’s Don Giovanni (29 July)
Mozart’s La Finta Giandiniera (31 July)

RSC at Stratford
Henry IV Part 1 (01 August)
Two Gentlemen of Verona (02 August)

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
Julius Caesar (04 August)
King Lear (06 August)
A Summer of British Festivals
A Summer of British Festivals
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As our usually mild autumn gives way to winter, our minds (and stomachs !) often turn to comfort foods to help keep us warm over the cooler months.
It is this thought of rich, calorie laden dining that may also remind us of the sumptuous feasts presented in Lord Grantham’s stunning main dining room at Downton, so often the scene of Crawley family confessions and confrontations, usually peppered with the charming lines that Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess delivers so well !
Just what did the Edwardians, both “upstairs and downstairs”, dine on? Perdita Morgan has written a short, insightful piece on food in the Edwardian Era, inspired by the scenes in Downton Abbey.
You will also find links to our YouTube channel where you can watch documentaries on Edwardian dining, as well as a light-hearted clip from the cast of Downton and an entertaining film of dining etiquette in the Edwardian Era featuring the current lady of Downton, Countess Carnarvon.
We hope you enjoy your Downton education ! Have a great weekend and happy travel planning.
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