Cultural tours for the discerning traveller

ACE Cultural Tours

ACE Cultural Tours (including ACE Cultural Cruises) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the ACE Foundation.

Founded in 1958, ACE is by far the oldest and most experienced provider of study tours and cultural travel in the United Kingdom, runnning tours, cruises and courses in the British Isles, Europe and across the globe.

In 2014 we celebrate our 57th season offering residential courses and study tours at home and abroad. All our tours combine three essential elements: exciting destinations, interesting subjects and stimulating leaders.

Each of our tours is led by an experienced course director: from one of the BBC's most distinguished music commentators to the only European art historian granted permission to guide in the Hermitage; from a geo-physicist with the British Antarctic Survey to the head of Special Collections at the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Although experts lead our tours, participants need no previous qualifications or experience to enjoy an ACE course; all that is required is a curiosity in the subject concerned. Most groups have between 15 and 25 participants.

ACE is committed to Responsible Tourism and each year our trustees make substantial donations to the regions that we visit, both in the UK and abroad.

To learn more about our charitable donations, click here.

Financial Protection

We hold an Air Travel Organiser's Licence issued by the Civil Aviation Authority (ATOL number 10204).

All the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to:

As a member of the Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT), ACE Cultural Tours Ltd has provided a bond to meet the requirements of the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992.

In the event of insolvency, protection is provided for non-flight packages commencing in and returning to the UK and other non-flight packages excluding pre arranged travel to and from your destination. Please note that packages booked outside the UK are only protected when purchased directly with ACE Cultural Tours Ltd.

In the above circumstances, if you have not yet travelled you may claim a refund, or if you have already travelled, you may claim repatriation to the starting point of your non-flight package.

The ACE Foundation

The ACE Foundation is an educational trust founded, as the Association for Cultural Exchange, in 1958 by Philip Barnes, a graduate of the University of Cambridge, in order to promote cultural and international understanding through education. We are based just outside Cambridge, England.

The charity has been a pioneer of adult and continuing education. For many years we concentrated more on residential summer courses than study tours, although the latter were an essential part of our activities from the very beginning. Oxford was the main centre of these summer schools for nearly 20 years.

Our first course was held at Exeter College, Oxford, in 1958 and we were honoured by an address by former Prime Minister Clement Attlee on the British constitution. For fifteen years we offered courses on British archaeology, followed by a period working on a "dig", for American and other international students. This work made a valuable contribution to archaeology in Britain at a time when it was much underfunded. The ACE Foundation continues to be a keen supporter of archaeological research, and has promoted the UK excellence in aerial archaeology to a worldwide audience. For many years ACE also provided courses for teachers and other professionals, with an emphasis on learning through international exchange.

ACE has made a major contribution to adult education by making study tours available to the general public. Courses covering the areas of natural history, music and theatre, have been added to our traditional base of art, architecture and archaeology.

The ACE Foundation continues to support educational projects at home and abroad and has recently launched an initiative which will see the development of participatory music and arts courses and, we hope, the establishment of a study centre for music and the arts. For more information please see the ACE Foundation website.