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About Us

Who we are

Welcome to Shearings! We are the UK's number one coach holiday tour operator. We work hard to bring you the holiday you deserve, whether you choose to enjoy the beautiful coasts, countryside and towns of the UK, or venture further afield to sample the cultural delights of Europe or even further afield.

What we do

Based in Wigan, we offer coach, air, rail, cruise and hotels breaks to more than 170 destinations in the UK, Europe and worldwide, from hundreds of departure points. As Europe's largest coach tour holiday operator, we offer a huge variety of choice, making your holiday as personal to you as possible. We also own 52 hotels in the UK, assuring you of the authentic Shearings experience from start to finish – friendly and helpful service, great entertainment, comfortable accommodation and value for money.

Complete Peace of Mind

In these uncertain times, it's more important than ever to travel with a company you know and trust. Book with Shearings and you can rest assured that your holiday will be protected by our membership of ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents), and also by our licence with ATOL (Air Travel Organisers' Licensing) if you're travelling by air.

We also belong to several other trade organisations, including the FTO (Federation of Tour Operators), CPT (Confederation of Passenger Transport UK), PSA (Passenger Shipping Association) and ACE (Association of Cruise Experts). We're a founder member of BEST (Better Escorted Touring), a body comprising the country's leading escorted tour operators.

Bonded Coach Holidays

Shearings Holidays is a member of the Bonded Coach Holiday Group of the Confederation Of Passenger Transport UK Ltd. This is a government approved consumer protection scheme. This ensures that in relation to the coach package holidays described on this website that the clients' monies are protected by a Bond in the unlikely event of the Member’s Insolvency. Clients are recommended to inspect the current membership certificate at our registered office or alternatively go to or telephone 0207 240 3131 to confirm current membership.

Get In Touch

If you would like more information, please click here for our contact details.

How we started

Shearings is one of the UK’s leading independent holiday companies, perhaps best known for our coach-based tours. Our roots can be traced back to the early 20th century (1903) when Smiths Happiways was established in Wigan. In 1921 Shearings was establish in Oldham, and, following acquisition by Pleasurama, the two companies merged to form Smiths Shearings in 1987.

Year Event
1903 Smiths Happiways is established in Wigan by William Webster
1921 Shearings is founded in Oldham by William Shearing
1973 National Holidays is formed to co-ordinate the coaching activities of the state-owned National Bus Company
1982 Smith Happiways acquired by Associated Leisure Limited
1984 Shearings is acquired by Associated Leisure Limited
1984 Associated Leisure Limited is acquired by Pleasurama
1986 National Holidays is acquired by Pleasurama
1987 Shearings and Smiths Happiways are amalgamated and become Smiths Shearings
1989 Pleasurama is acquired by Mecca
1989 National Holidays is amalgamated with Smiths Shearings and the company is called Shearings
1990 Mecca is taken over by The Rank Organisation, one of the world’s leading leisure and entertainment companies
1996 Shearings becomes independent from The Rank Group
2005 Wallace Arnold and Shearings merge to form Shearings Group


With over 100 years' experience, we know what makes a great holiday. But don't just take our word for it... Thanks to votes of our loyal customers, we won four British Travel Awards in 2011, including Specialist Best Escorted Tours Operator, UK/Domestic Holiday Company of the Year, Best Tour Operator to Central & Northern Europe and Best Independent Tour Operator to the Italian Peninsula & Malta.

What's more, the coach industry voted Shearings for European Coach Holiday Programme of the Year in the 2011 Coach Tourism Awards, while the travel trade voted us Best Coach Operator in the 2012 Globe Travel Awards (for the fourth consecutive year), Rail, Road & Sea Operator of the Year in the 2011 TTG Awards and Star Coach Operator in the Travel Bulletin Star Awards – proof that we really are the best in the business.

Why travel by coach?

Travel on one of our famous blue (or gold!) coaches to your chosen destination and you won't be disappointed. Coach travel is one of the greenest ways for you to go on holiday, with six times lower carbon emissions than flying and four times less emissions than driving.

It's also a great way to sit back and take in the surrounding scenery, meaning you can being to relax the moment you leave your joining point. Relax with like-minded passengers on board one of our luxury coaches, as our friendly, experienced drivers keep you entertained and informed about the local areas.

Excursions, travel and half-board accommodation are included in the majority of our holidays, making the whole package excellent value for money.

How our interchanges work

On our coach holidays, we offer free coach pick-ups from over 650 convenient joining points nationwide.

If your holiday is travelling via an interchange, at your joining point you will join a "feeder" coach. These coaches travel to a small number of joining points near to you (usually no more than six) before heading to one of our interchanges or a motorway service station. Here you'll find a place to sit, relax and enjoy light refreshments before joining your holiday coach.

This type of network is often referred to as a "hub and spoke" system, with the interchanges or service stations acting as "hubs" and the joining points feeding into them the "spokes".

Why we use them

With many operators, and indeed on some Shearings holidays, you can join your holiday coach at your joining point rather than travelling via an interchange. This is often referred to as "line of route" travel.

Line of route works particularly well for smaller local operators who pick up at fewer joining points. At Shearings, we use line of route networks for holidays whose availability is restricted to a smaller pick-up area. For example, we offer Weekend Breaks from a selected number of South East departure points using such line of route network, calling at a maximum of nine pick-ups.

However, if we are to continue to offer you our huge range of holidays, departure dates and pick up points, it would be impractical to operate entirely on a line of route basis. We’d have to severely reduce the number of joining points offered, and each joining point would only be available from a limited number of departure dates – meaning much less choice for you.

What's more, due to the wide number of joining points we offer, it's entirely possible that one of our holidays coaches may be carrying customers travelling from a total 20 different pick-ups. Using our interchange network, each customer will travel to the interchange on a feeder coach. These coaches tend to call at up to six joining points – often fewer – before heading to the interchange.

On a line of route system, the holiday coach would have to drive to all 20 different pick-up points before you even begin to head towards your hotel. If you join at the first of the 20 points, it would take considerably longer to get to your hotel than it would if you'd travelled on a feeder coach to an interchange.

In summary, both systems have their advantages and disadvantages, but in order to continue to offer you the widest possible choice of holidays, it's essential to operate our hub and spoke network for the majority of our holiday programme.


Our complete luggage handling service is included free of charge. We'll load your cases onto your feeder coach, and you won't see them again until we bring them up to your hotel room for you – everything's taken care of.

Joining directly at the interchange without a joining point

Choose the Direct Connect service and you can board your holiday coach direct at Stretton, Normanton, Corley Services, London Gateway (British holidays) or Stop24 (European holidays). If you choose to drive to your interchange you can take advantage of great value, secure car parking from just £4 per day.

Shearings Holidays

Shearings offers a huge variety of coach based holiday breaks throughout the UK and Europe, catering to a myriad of needs. We are possibly best known as a specialist coach holiday tour operator to the over 50s, however we also offer some incredibly popular river cruises as well as flights to your favourite destinations. Tour, fly, cruise, explore... the choice is yours!

We are specialists in our market. We aim to provide the Shearings experience to every one of our customers: friendly service, comfortable accommodation and great value for money.

Bay Hotels

You will find our Bay Hotels in many of Britain's best resorts, and often in the best position in town. With entertainment most evenings and a sociable atmosphere, our carefully selected venues represent all that is best about Bay Hotels – warmth, hospitality, comfort and all round great value. Bay Hotels offers two and three night weekend breaks and four night midweek breaks in the UK. At Bay Hotels we are committed to making sure you have the best stay possible and a key ingredient is our staff that are friendly, down to earth and committed to providing a great service.

Coast & Country Hotels

Our Coast and Country hotels are situated in the heart of Britain's favourite areas of historical interest and natural beauty. Each landmark hotel has a comfortable bar and lounge offering the perfect place to relax and unwind. You can meet friends or enjoy a quiet drink with quality entertainment in the bar on some evenings. Our restaurants pride themselves on offering good food and a choice of wines – just what you need after a long day's exploring. If you prefer a workout to unwind then some of our hotels also offer a range of leisure facilities.

Grand Tourer

Every Grand Tourer holiday offers a unique experience, carefully planned by our team of holiday experts - with extra little touches making your time away that bit more special.

With European Grand Tourer holidays, you'll find everything from 5-day short breaks delighting in France's chic sophistication to longer escorted tours experiencing the picturesque Baltics, the romantic sights of Italy or the awe-inspiring Midnight Sun. We’ve also included knowledgeable tour managers on even more holidays - ensuring you really get to know everywhere you visit and have the highest levels of service throughout your journey.

Closer to home are our brand new UK Grand Tourer holidays, staying in our exclusive Coast & Country hotels, which have been specially chosen for their stunning locations, unique character, charm and heritage. Relax and enjoy the comfort of your inviting hotel and see the very best of Britain with specially-designed excursion packages.

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Our Brochures

The 2015 and 2016 brochures are out NOW! Check out the brochures online. Or, if you prefer, simply enter your details and we’ll pop some in the post.

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