When you're planning a weekend trip for a large group of people to visit Bethel and London, some challenges are unavoidable, but if you can identify the avoidable ones and find ways to avoid them, then that is often the key to a successful and enjoyable trip. One of the simplest things you can do to contribute to the success of your trip is choose the date of your trip carefully. There are various factors to consider in choosing the date.
First of all, you don't want to clash with any theocratic events in your local area, so make sure you know the dates of your circuit assemblies, regional convention and circuit visits and rule those out.
Next, you want to make sure there are no theocratic events at Bethel that could affect your visit. This year there will be a World Headquarters visit on the weekend of 13 and 14 April as well as a whole month of special activities in May for the Branch Dedication. During these events, not only is there unlikely to be capacity at Bethel for any additional tours, but they also include special broadcast events to be viewed with your home congregation.
Think carefully about whether you want to travel during school holidays, or whether to avoid them. There are pros and cons to both. Travelling during school holidays may make it easier for families with children to join your trip. However, hotel availability may be more limited, hotel prices may be higher and central London will be busier. On the other hand, travelling outside of school holidays may be cheaper and quieter, and families with children may be able to take approved time off school if they inform the schools of the educational nature of the trip.
London also plays host to many large events, and these can often have a big impact not only on the price and availability of hotels, but also on your ability to even get in and around London with a large coach. Events that involve major road closures can pose serious challenges, not only to accessing the locations you want to visit, but also on the traffic levels of all the surrounding roads which can easily eat up your time sat in traffic jams.
Dates to Avoid
Some dates that you may wish to avoid in 2024 include (but are not limited to):
- 13 & 14 April World Headquarters Visit
- 21 April London Marathon
- All of May Special Branch Dedication programme of events
- 29 June Pride in London
- 28 July Challenge London
- 14-17 August Prudential Ride London
- 22 September World Car Free Day
- 9 November Lord Mayors Show