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Art Pursuits Abroad
1 West Street
MK18 1HL

+44 (0)1280 820521


Art Pursuits Abroad has been organising cultural holidays since 2003. We are proud of our independent status and are committed to providing you with a high quality experience with a personal touch. We like to call our holidays ‘Study Tours’, so as to highlight the learning aspect of what we do. At the same time, we hasten to add that our holidays are certainly not university field trips, as we enjoy travelling in comfort, staying at good hotels and dining in fine restaurants.

Our Study Tours combine the art of travelling with the pleasure of looking at and learning about art and history in beautiful places. We endeavour to give you an enjoyable experience in the congenial company of like-minded individuals and of an expert lecturer who will enthuse, even inspire, so that you return home enriched, stimulated, full of ideas and happy memories.

  • Expert lecturers and efficient tour managers

    Our Study Tours are led by a cohesive but ever-developing team of expert lecturers. Their specialist knowledge and academic credentials are second to none, but they are also excellent communicators and good company.  Most holidays are also accompanied by an experienced tour manager who takes care of day-to-day matters and ensures your wellbeing during every moment of the tour. Our aim is to achieve a judicious balance between activity and relaxation.

    For those of you who like to do preliminary reading, we normally send out reading suggestions before the tour. These are not compulsory — you decide how much or how little ‘studying’ you want to do. During the tour, sets of study notes act as aide-mémoires and are intended to enhance your understanding of historical contexts and works of art and architecture.

  • Imaginative programmes on a human scale

    Over the years we have built up a repertoire of over one hundred Study Tours. The wealth of academic knowledge at our disposal, combined with professional expertise, hands-on experience and personal input, enable us to create imaginative itineraries. These are constantly reviewed, updated and improved by thorough research and regular prospecting, resulting in a cultural holiday experience which will remain with you for a long time, well beyond the trip itself.

    The size of the group on one of our Study Tours is 17 on average, and never exceeds 22. This ensures that you are treated as an individual rather than as part of an anonymous crowd. It also allows us to dine in some smaller, more special restaurants and gain access to some venues which can only accommodate limited numbers of visitors.  Single travellers are welcome.  We normally offer you the use of a digital audio system; our lecturers talk to you via a small transmitter while you listen via receiver devices and comfortable headphones or earpieces. This facilitates hearing in busy places and allows you to roam or sit at some distance from the lecturer, without losing out on what is being said. It also minimises disturbance to others in places where loud talking is inappropriate.

  • Trains, boats & planes…

    We book scheduled flights (economy class) using reputable airlines. Alternatively, we arrange international travel by train on Eurostar (standard class). We choose the most sensible departure times available. Upgrades are available on request and we provide ‘No flights/Eurostar’ options at a reduced price which allow you to make your own arrangements for international travel. Local transport companies are chosen for the safety and comfort of their vehicles and vessels.
  • Bed & board

    The hotels where you will stay are normally small or medium-sized and often owner-managed establishments, mostly of four-star rating. We have personally inspected the vast majority.  Over the years, we have forged excellent relationships with many of them, which ensures a warm welcome. As quite a few of the hotels we use occupy historic buildings, rooms may vary in size, décor and view. Where we think single rooms are of a good standard and size, we offer them as a more economical alternative to double rooms for sole occupancy.

    All Art Pursuits Abroad Study Tours include a number of dinners and/or lunches. Group meals are arranged in good restaurants with menus typical of the region visited. They normally include wine, water and coffee/tea. This limits the amount of extra spending money you will need during a tour. Even so, while it is enjoyable to spend an evening in company, it sometimes is equally good after a day’s excursions to have time off and explore restaurants individually or in a small party. Our tour managers will be happy to make a suggestion, book a table or to accompany you, making sure that you won’t be marooned in your hotel room trying to survive on peanuts from the minibar.

  • No hidden extras

    The basic tour price is based on two people sharing. Single room supplements are kept to a minimum and simply reflect what the hotel charges us. The advertised price includes most things, from hotel and transport, services of the tour lecturer and manager, to group meals with drinks and gratuities for porters, waiters, drivers and guides. We do not levy surcharges on exchange rates or fuel price increases.
  • Individual service

    Our small and friendly team of ‘real’ people aims to give you a professional, well-informed, clear and courteous service from an initial enquiry to post-tour feedback. Our clients value our personal commitment, attention to detail and genuine enthusiasm, and most come back for more!
  • Fitness and stamina

    Art Pursuits Abroad Study Tours have a full programme of visits for almost every day of the holiday, and they all involve a significant amount of standing and walking, often across uneven ground, over cobbled streets, or up and down steps. We require you to have a level of fitness which does not spoil other participants’ enjoyment of the holiday. You should be able to walk and stand for at least 30 minutes without aid or without requiring a break. None of this should present a problem for anyone who manages everyday walking at a reasonable pace without difficulty. Slow walking reduces the time at the places everyone has come to see and can be frustrating for others. If you need special assistance at the airport or need a walking stick for everyday walking, our tours are not likely to be suitable for you.

    Each tour description includes a short paragraph on stamina to indicate the level of intensity. If you are in any doubt about the suitability of a tour for you, please ask. Please also look at our Booking Procedure, Terms and Conditions section at the bottom of any of our Study Tour pages.

  • Quality assurance and peace of mind

    Art Pursuits Abroad is a member of the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO), an umbrella organisation that represents 122 of Britain’s best independent tour operators. All AITO members are required to provide the highest level of customer satisfaction by concentrating on three main pillars: Choice, Quality and Service — as enshrined in the AITO Quality Charter.

    Every company admitted to AITO is financially assessed and bound by AITO’s own code of business practice which demands clear and accurate descriptions of holidays and the use of customer questionnaires for monitoring standards. For more information, you can visit the AITO website ( or call AITO on 020 8744 9280.

    All Study Tours which include air travel are protected by the ATOL scheme. We will give you an ATOL certificate when you make your first payment for your tour. Please check it to ensure that everything you  have booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. Our booking conditions give further information. Full information on the ATOL Certificate and the financial protection it offers are available at


Dr. Joachim Strupp, the founder of Art Pursuits Abroad, sadly passed away on April 3 2017. He was an extraordinary and gifted person with many wonderful qualities. He was an art historian with a specialisation in Italian and German art of the Renaissance and Baroque periods. A true academic, after ten years as a lecturer at the universities of St Andrews and Buckingham, he lectured independently for organisations such as the Victoria & Albert Museum, the John Hall Pre-University Course in Venice, Martin Randall Travel and for a number of Europe-based American academic programmes. In 2001, he cofounded Art Pursuits; the company was incorporated in 2003 and later changed its name to Art Pursuits Abroad in 2011. The business continues to follow the same qualities and standards that Joachim was passionate about: academic excellence, well designed programmes, comfortable and stylish hotels, meals in superior restaurants and a friendly, personal service. We will all miss him but his legacy remains.