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YOUTH BEAT

Van Tour Around Britain Focuses on the Oddities

May 02, 1999|LUCY IZON | Lucy Izon is a Toronto-based freelance writer. Internet http://www.izon.com

The weird, odd and strange will be major elements of Outback UK's backpacker tours of Britain this summer.

The Ostrich Inn, which is close to London's Heathrow Airport, "had a landlord in the late 18th century who dropped his sleeping guests through a trap door in their beds, into boiling ale below," says Outback's publicity material. "Sixty went to their deaths in this unique manner." And the city of Liverpool was "named after a type of seaweed." And it goes on.

Along with imparting some of the more offbeat facts about Britain, Outback UK incorporates a variety of outdoor activities as well as visits to many traditionally famous sites during its 14-day, 2,500-mile minibus ramble around Britain. The tour includes visiting Winchester Cathedral, Avebury Stone Circle, the Liverpool Museum, Hadrian's Wall and Edinburgh Castle, hiking in the Lake District and a ghost tour of York.

Tour groups are limited to 15 people. For $57 per day, the tour includes 13 nights' budget accommodations (from thatched cottages to hostels), transportation, the services of a driver/guide, activities, walking maps and daily breakfast, plus a lunch or dinner each day. If you don't want the full package you can buy transportation only for $29 per day, or travel and accommodations for $45 per day. It's also possible to join three- to 10-day segments of the tour.

Outback UK will depart from the Earls Court Youth Hostel at 38 Bolton Gardens in London on May 15, June 5 and 26, July 17 and 31, Aug. 14, Sept. 4 and 18 and Oct. 9. For detailed information or reservations, contact Outback UK, The Cottage, Church Green, Badby, Northants, NN11 3AS, England; telephone 011-44-1327-704-115, fax 011-44-1327 703-883.

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