Firkin Birkin rally

30th May – 6th June

This convivial tour takes in La Sarthe, Le Loir & La Loire before motoring on into Cognac country for a special rally and hill climb.

We will take three nights at the famous Hotel de France at La Chartre-sur-le-Loir. Once in Charente we are based at a fabulous Logis in the heart of the Grande Champagne region famed for grapes used for the Cognac distillation process.

Tour itinerary

Monday 30th May

The tour starts at the Barley Mow pub on Tilford Green. Famed for being Mike Hawthorn’s favourite watering hole as it was just a short drive from his garage in Farnham. Dinner will be included at the pub, recently taken over by Martin Overington. From Tilford it is just a 35 minute drive to Portsmouth docks, where we are to check in by 22.00 hrs. We will be shown to our dedicated loading line. Once on board, you can find your cabin accommodation before heading up to the piano bar for a night cap.

Tuesday 31st May

Driving distance 220 miles

Driving time 4 hours

The ferry is due to arrive at 07.00 hrs. Upon leaving the port we head South via enjoyable d roads to the village of Putanges for a coffee stop. Continuing on the back roads down to the Hotel de France, we arrive in time for lunch leaving the afternoon to relax and enjoy as you wish.

This evening we convene for welcome drinks before dinner in the hotel’s restaurant.

Wednesday 1st May

Driving distance 130 miles

Driving time 4 hours

After a traditional French continental breakfast at the hotel we head out of the Loir and into the Loire, tackling some classic French D roads, en route to a coffee stop by the river side.

We then head to the Loire river and board our boat. Refreshments will be ready on arrival and we will have a light lunch aboard.

At the end of the afternoon we will board the hotels historic Citroen H Van to take us to the local wine producer. This visit of the cave never fails to entertain, and the proprietor will offer some of his finest and oldest wines during the tasting.

Following the tasting we will take you back to the hotel’s restaurant where dinner will be served. 

Thursday 2nd June

Driving distance 80 miles

Driving time 3 hours

Today we take a relaxed breakfast at the hotel. There is time to fettle the cars before we drive the route to the Le Mans 24 hours circuit. This is the very route used by the team cars driving to and from the circuit between 1953 and 1963, including the 1959 winning cars.

We have choice today – For those that have been to the museum before can take to the go kart

track to compete in the Firkin Birkin cup! For those wishing for a more sedate morning can spectate

or enjoy the fascinating Le Mans museum.

We will round our Le Mans visit off with a foray onto the Le Mans circuit and a photo opportunity of all the cars together under the Dunlop bridge. We then drive into Le Mans to our privileged parking in front of the ‘Mairie’ in the old town where we have lunch.

Having returned to the hotel, we don our finery and board our carriage to be driven to the private Chateau du Lude. Upon arrival the ‘Vouvray’ awaits. We will be given a privileged tour of the chateau before taking our seats in the magnificent reception room, for a very special dinner hosted by the Count and Countess of the chateau. At the end of the evening we will be whisked back to the hotel.

Friday 3rd June

Driving distance 200 miles

Driving time 5 hours

After breakfast at the hotel, we have a very pretty drive down past Tours and through the Vienne valley, with a suggested coffee and lunch stop in one of the regions prettiest villages. It is then an easy onward journey into the Charente to your accommodation. Having arrived there is time to relax by the pool which overlooks the vines, before dinner cooked by the resident chef at the Logis.

Saturday 4th June

This morning the scenic rally departs on some of the finest roads surrounding Cognac. The route will stop at a Cognac vineyard for a visit and tasting before heading to a Michelin starred restaurant for lunch. This evening there is a BBQ party taken by the pool accompanied by a local jazz band.

Sunday 5th June

Today we tackle the hill climb used by the participants on the International Cognac rally in the 60’s. Following the hill climb we have a picnic amongst the vines. The afternoon is free to relax by the pool at your accommodation.

Monday 6th June

Driving distance 285 miles

Driving time 6 hours

We travel back to the port of Caen for the 11pm overnight ferry back to Portsmouth. Dinner is included at the port on before boarding. Your accommodation on board is included.

Tour prices

What is included?

  • Return overnight sailing’s with Brittany Ferries with cabin accommodation.
  • Dinner included on the outward ferry
  • Three nights at the Hotel de France
  • Three nights at the Logis du Paradis
  • Dinner on seven of the evenings
  • Lunch on six of the days
  • All visits and transfers described in the itinerary
  • Cognac Rally & hill climb


  • £1899 per person based on two in a car sharing a room

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  • Want to tell you we returned ok and to thank you for an excellent trip, it exceeded my expectations and thought your organisation, eating establishments, events , hospitality, hotels etc. were excellent, a great crowd of people all which made the trip so enjoyable , you have a great formulae so congratulations. You can sign me up for next year I will drag Di to the next one and stay on the week afterwards.Eddy Spires
  • Just a short note to personally thank you for your excellent organisation of the Spa Classic tour last weekend. I will certainly recommend your services to friends and hopefully join you on another tour in the future. Well done and thank you again.S Toyne, Spa Classic 2012
  • returned safely- Great event-Great Locations-Fantastic meals- Will tell all my Friends- Well done and best regards to you and NickJ Chatley, Pau 2011
  • It probably seems a long time ago for you now, but thank you so much for a brilliant event. Everything we could have hoped for and great fun. Will keep an eye on your events in future!V Moores, Monaco Historic 2012
  • Just a quick note to say a big thank you for all your help and organisation for our Italy trip. We have had some really positive feedback since everyone got back and I think they all had a really amazing time. You even managed to arrange an earthquake for the last night I believe!C Bate, Emblem Sports Cars, Bespoke Factory our in Italy
  • Thomas, A note to say thanks for a very enjoyable trip to Monaco. Great roads, good hotels, food, wine and company. See you on the next adventure! Best wishesStephen, Monaco Historic 2016
  • Just to say what a super time we had on the Angouleme tour and follow on trip.L Horsfall, Angouleme 2011
  • Seems like we have been away for months, now back to reality! Just a quick note of thanks from Aly & myself for an amazing time, a brilliant event, the best of the weather and really good company.J Harris, Algarve Historic 2011
  • I would also like to express my thanks to you for organising a great event which we all thoroughly enjoyed. Great event, location, food and good company too.D Burdett, Spa Classic 2012
  • Hannah and I had a great time with you all at Classic Le Mans. La Beuneche was just the most perfect retreat from the (wonderful) aural barrage of the track, and with your know how, contacts and great company it made a great and memorable trip.J Gibson, Le Mans Classic 2012