19th - 23rd September 2018
Led by Sue Constable
4 nights
Booking is now closed
The venue for our Autumn Safari is the city of Bilbao situated on the north coast of Spain. The original settlement was on a small area of flat land beside the Nervion River and from the beginning it was a port and a trading town where fine Castilian wool was sold and exported.
In the 17th century iron mining became important. Mines and residential areas existed side by side leading to pollution, overcrowding and health problems. As ships became larger the port moved downriver and now the docks are around the mouth of the river. Factories and warehouses lined the river banks with access by water on one side and by rail on the other. In the 19th century the iron ore reserves outside the city in Triano were mined producing ore low in phosphorus, much of which was exported to Britain for use in the Bessemer process.
The city grew through time and there was a major expansion around 1900, with a ‘new town’ being built.
Although the port remains important, industry in the city has declined and many of the sites have disappeared or are threatened with demolition. There has been a move to rejuvenate the city in recent years and efforts are being made to adapt and re-use some of the factories and industrial sites. The flagship building in this rejuvenation is the Guggenheim Museum built on the site of former wharves.
Our Safari will explore the remains of the industry from milling to iron mining. We will also look at the transport including a narrow gauge railway (Feve), a transporter bridge and a funicular. Architecture will not be forgotten with some interesting groups of workers housing, a walk round the new town and a visit to the Guggenheim Museum.
Our visit to Bilbao will be a day longer than normal beginning on the Wednesday evening and finishing at lunch time on the Sunday.

Note: This walking tour will be a rather more energetic Safari than usual. The walks are likely to be longer and there are some steep hills to climb.

Wednesday 19th September
Assemble at our hotel in the early evening for the group dinner (included).
Note: Dinner in Spain is usually served much later than we are used to. It is unlikely that we will be able to sit down to dinner before 20:00
At the end of dinner Sue will give a short introduction to the weekend.

Thursday 20th September
Town walk
In the morning we will be looking at the 19th century city: Schools, stations, the market, civic buildings, workers housing and industry.
Lunch (own expense) in the vicinity of Plaza Circular.
After lunch we continue our walk through the town passing by the City Hall and ending with a trip on the Artxanda Funicular.
There will be time for a look at the view and a break before returning to the city.
Evening at leisure.

Friday 21st September
Barakaldo, Sestao, Portugalete and Getxo
We begin with a ride on the Metro from the city to Bagatza in Barakaldo. Here we will see Workers housing, steel works, ship building, docks and the transporter bridge.
Lunch in Sestao (own expense)
After lunch we continue along the river looking at docks and wharves finishing at Portugalete where we will have our afternoon break by the transporter bridge.
We will then go across on the bridge and finish with a short walk looking at the other side of the river.
Back to city by Metro from Areeta.
Evening at leisure.

Saturday 22nd September
Along the River
We begin by taking the train to Zorrotza, followed by a walk down to the river looking at a mill on the way. Along the river we can view industrial sites, mainly on the other bank.
Then climb the hill to Basurtu where we will have a much needed coffee break (own expense)
After that continue our walk to Sagrado Corazon seeing municipal buildings, the Feve, a hospital and the football stadium.
Lunch (own expense) and an optional visit to the Maritime Museum
Continue along river looking at the shipyard site, quays, Deusto university and bridges.
We finish our walk with a visit to the Guggenheim museum (included)
Evening at leisure.

Sunday 23rd September
New Town Walk
This morning we visit the First and Second Ensanche, looking at the late 19th and 20th century expansion of the city. We will see a mixture of civic and commercial buildings as well as housing.
Coffee by City Hall (own expense)
And we finish our walk at the Zubi Zuri footbridge in time for lunch (included)
Note: The itinerary may be subject to minor amendments. Also the order of events may be changed around.

Sue Constable will be well known to anyone who came to the Ruhr or Moravia with the AIA or has joined one of her previous City Safaris or Explorer Weekends. She was born in Buckinghamshire but moved to Hastings at an early age. She read History and Archaeology at Liverpool and also has a qualification in museum studies. She may have started out as an archaeologist but soon changed to being a social and industrial historian. She has worked in museums for most of her life, apart from a spell teaching and a break when her daughter was small. Much of her work in museums has been with industrial collections, ribbon weaving, nail-making and shoemaking. With her husband, Mike, she has explored much of the British and European waterways network. As a social historian she is also interested in how people live and how they organise their living spaces and environment.

We will be staying at the Mercure Bilbao Jardines de Albia, Done Bikendi Kalea, 6, 48001 Bilbao
This modern four star hotel is about 600m (8 minutes walking) from the main railway station, close to the city's main tourist attractions, restaurants, bars and the shopping area and is home to the renowned Zuria restaurant.
All Rooms are en-suite but not air-conditioned and free WiFi is available.

The tour starts at the hotel on the Wednesday evening and ends after lunch on the Sunday afternoon.
We leave you to make your own travel arrangements to and from Bilbao to suit your own convenience and use of alternative departure points.
Detailed joining instructions will be supplied about two weeks before the start of the tour.

All participants must carry a valid passport for travel in the European Union.

The cost of the tour is £555 per person sharing, single supplement £180. The single supplement is entirely accounted for by the additional costs charged by the hotel for single occupancy. With a high proportion of singles expected on these tours it is not possible to avoid this. The cost includes:
  • 4 nights bed & breakfast accommodation
  • Dinner on Wednesday, Lunch on Sunday
  • All entrance fees
  • Expert guiding and services of an experienced tour manager throughout
  • Research for the visit
  • Professionally produced, comprehensive tour notes
Excluded are:
  • Lunches (except Sunday)
  • Dinners (except Wednesday)
  • Drinks
  • Expenses at the hotel other than bed & breakfast
All costs are in Pounds Sterling (GBP) although the costs are mostly in Euros EUR and are based on present accommodation, transport costs, exchange rates and taxes. Any change in these may necessitate a price change.

Please note that cancellation charges will apply from 25th July 2018, and, although these will be modified to the extent that costs are not actually incurred, you are strongly advised to insure against the need to cancel and to cover medical treatment and repatriation charges in the event of illness etc.
Participants who do not have travel insurance must nevertheless accept full responsibility for these eventualities. To get state-provided healthcare in Europe you will need a current EHIC which you can obtain free online at or by phone: 0300 3301350. If you already have an EHIC you should check the date as they expire after 5 years.

Bookings will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to space availability. Booking is subject to a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 20 people . Book as soon as possible and by 25th July 2018 to ensure a place but please feel free to enquire after that date if a place is still available. We will contact you as soon as possible to confirm the booking and to issue an invoice for the balance of the price.

Invoices for the balance of the price will be issued about 8 weeks before the tour starts. A non-refundable deposit of £55 per person is required on booking. Bookings can be made definite only when the booking details and deposit are received and accepted in writing/email by Heritage of Industry Ltd. The company's standard terms and conditions apply. The balance of the price is to be paid to Heritage of Industry Ltd on presentation of the invoice. All monies paid to Heritage of Industry Ltd will be held, in accordance with government regulations**, in a customer protection account until the tour is complete so that your money is safe no matter what happens.

Payment should be made via your bank’s online banking facilities, the necessary details are shown on the confirmation of booking. Please send an email note when you have made payment. Non-UK residents please note the changed BIC and IBAN, the UK clearing code and account number are unchanged. If you are unable to use electronic banking please send a sterling cheque drawn on a UK bank made payable to Heritage of Industry Ltd. There is no extra charge for using cheques at present.

We are sorry that we are unable to accept payment by credit/debit card or PayPal.

Booking is now closed

Enquiries about this tour should be directed to:
Bill Barksfield
Managing Director
Heritage of Industry Ltd,
The Gables,
20 Main Road,
East Hagbourne,
Tel: +44 1235 352275 (9am - 5.30pm GMT)

** The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 (SI 1992 No. 3288)