Get in touch with your beads
Visit the Birth Place of Czech Beads
Olive Humm 2012/sept 2013/2014/2015 2017
Recently I went on a holiday with " Bananas4beading" to Czech Republic to look for beads. What a fantastic service, effortlessly I was driven to shops that I would never have found for myself. They knew exactly what I was looking for, and all the time we happily chatted. Keith, the man who looked after us, was relaxed and made everything so easy and fun. I'm going again next year.
Sylvia Fairhurst 2013/april
Hi folks, Just back from the tour. Loved it, can't speak highly enough of Keith, he was patient, willing to adjust the itinerary to suit our needs and he was good company. I will post a pic when I get them off my phone/camera. Four of us went on to Prague for a couple of days and WOW, WOW and WOOOOOOW again. I was like David Bailey gone mad, loved every minute. You beady ladies out there don't know what your missing, book up soon and enjoy the experience yourself. Best wishes to Keith and Simi and thank you.
Claire Madder 2012/sept 2013/april 2014/2018/2019
We had a wonderful time - really I would love to say it was awful just to keep this a secret for myself.
Cynthia Nixon 2013/May
Just finished a 3 day tour with Keith and Simi. If you are a beader it is the trip of a lifetime. We visited museums, bead factories, and many stores. We saw the step by step process for coloring of pearls for Preciosa and the production of Fire polished Czech beads. We stayed in a quaint Penzion and ate wonderful authentic Czech cuisine. Beer too!! A wonderful trip. Cynthia
Heidi Rogers 2013/March 6 times with us on tour 2014/2015/2016/2017/2018/2019
I had a brilliant holiday with Bananas4Beading.We had 2-3 bead buying opportunities each day. Our hosts were always on hand for interpreting but not intrusive. Brilliant to see Prague Castle at night, it looked really magical. I can't wait to come again with my friends.
Mala Sukhdeo 2011/april
A big thank you to you both for the time you put into making our visit such a pleasant one.
It was well organised, we eat at good places, were inspired by the sight-seeing and the beads of course were our real treat.
No only good value for money but thoroughly relaxing and enjoyable.
I have no hesitation in recommending you.
Ann Slough 2009/2011/april
To whoever is thinking of having a holiday with
I have now been twice on holiday to the Czech Republic with Keith and Simi, who run this outfit. Loved both times. They know all the best places to go for inspiring bead shops. They are patience itself when it comes to waiting around while we drooled over beads. They picked really nice places to stay in Prague and Jablonec and tailor-made the holiday to suit our group. I could now almost set up a bead shop myself so unfortunately can't justify another trip just yet, although it would be worth going just for the scenery - and it's so nice to have a really nice couple who can show you round all the special places in Prague.
Good luck! Ann Slough
Hilary Tims 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017/2018/2019 already booked up ha ha for 2020 but she doesnt need any more beads
...........If your hobby is beading then there is loads to see. Christmas decorations and making some yourselves, Beadwork over the years in the museum, Lampwork beads, factories, good food and friendly beaders for company. Keith and Simi looked after us very well. I have been twice and saw interesting different things both times. Tours are very flexible if you wanted to go back to a shop again once you saw what others have bought at the evening it can always be fitted in.
We were taken to place that I could never imagine finding ourself. Some of the places were opened just for us! All in all, it was a great holiday. We were really spoilt.Thanks again Keith and Simi...........I think that she might be slightly biased as hilary is my mummy.
Kathy Kenfeild 2013/april
Highly recommend this beading tour both Keith and Simi are lovely, helpful, patience and a joy to be with. If you enjoy beading + bead shopping and the history of beads then go on this tour you will have lots of fun and laughter, + find some fine and lovely beads on the way.
Thank you for a lovely beading holiday. Keith and Simi you are both lovely people + the Czech people we met on the way.
Going round the bead factory was a + for me + learning about the history and the making of beads and finding out that the technique has not change over the years was amazing.
The shopping for beads was great, I love what I brought home + my daughter and daughter-law both love what I brought back for them.
Would highly recommend this beading holiday to everyone that loves beading and bead shopping
The fact that Keith is there with you all the way, taking you to the far out bead factory, bead shops and translating is a must have + You will have fun and laugher on the way and find some very fine beads ever way you go.
Lots of love Kathy Kenfeild
Helen Brown 2013/June
Hi Keith & Simi,
Thanks for making our trip so pleasant. We would have been lost without you. The wedding really gave us a little glimpse into Czech life. I have managed to download the pictures you sent although I should erase the ones I am in! Diet time coming up!.
Anyway best wishes to you and your lovely family and maybe I will be back some time.
Maureen Don 2013/June
Hi Keith & Simi,
I'm now back in Norfolk and back to the usual routine of work, but with wonderful memories of our holiday. I can't thank you both enough for organising such a great experience for us all. Although I enjoyed seeing Prague the highlights for me were all in the Jablonec area. I had no idea how beautiful the countryside would be and as for the beads, well, it must be beaders heaven!!
Thank you again & best wishes to you both and your lovely boys.
Diane McDonald 2013/June
Hi Keith & Simi,
Thank you for giving us all such a memorable beading trip. I had a great time. Joyce passed on the web link of pics, they are great, but the ones of the back of my head are best of course!
It was lovely to meet you and your family, I am sure my sister and I will be back sometime in the not too distant future.
I will send photos of some finished beading soon.
Would it be ok to have your home address please.
Sent from Samsung Mobile
Joyce Johnston 2013/June
Thank you very much again for all your hospitality and kindness. You and Simi really did go to a lot of trouble to give us a tour perfectly suited to our interests, and we all spoke on the way home about how grateful we are. I’m sure you’ll get plenty of recommendations .All the best
Marion Annal 2013/2015 sept
I have just been to Prague with Keith and his wonderful family the tour is all I hoped for and more really enjoyable, lovely food and very friendly people and the shops with the beads were out of this world. I dont think I will have to buy any more beads at least not this year. If you are interested do not hesitate to contact Keith.
Harrie Lerman 2013/Aug
My tour with Bananas4Beading impressed me!
No matter what you hear or read you can never be prepared for a week in the more the capable hands of Keith and Simi. There is no such thing as ‘can’t do.’ They anticipate each persons’ needs and possible wishes. It goes without saying that you will be prepared for the beads and bead shops but the sheer volume of these is overwhelming. Forget your clothes, etc an empty suitcase is all that is required.
My favorite part of our tour were Keith and Simi. Their fun and kindness is not to be missed.
Those of you reading this don’t know me so why should you trust me? Don’t. Just book and see how right I am! You, too, will come away without the language to express the wonderful tour @Bananas4Beading.
Thanks Jenny X 2 for being such great company
Ann Hewson 2013/oct/2014
Dear Simi and Keith,
A little note to say a BIG thank you for making our visit to the Czech Republic such an exciting and enjoyable trip.
Although Heidi had briefed me as to the likely itinerary, I was no way prepared for the number of shops we visited and the volume of beads and interesting items, that they kept in stock. Alladin's Cave has nothing on these little gems. The patience and kindness of the ladies who served us was to be commended.
I'm already looking forward to my next trip in 2014.
Best regards to you both,
Conrad and Lizzie Beattie 2014/May
Great personalized tour. My wife loved it and I enjoyed the tour of the countryside and a good chat with Keith while passing the time
Ann and MartinTucker 2014 We had a wonderful time. It was far better than we had hoped. Keith was incredibly patient and having Hilary along as well just added to the fun
Eileen Ranson 2015/2016/2017/2018/2019booked up for 2020
What a great trip. I accompanied 2 friends who had been before and I can see why they want to come back each year! It was so well planned with a mix of visits and bead shopping, showing the range of beads and other products, their history and manufacture. Lovely scenery and food and, of course, a knowledgeable guide/chauffeur/translator/porter in Keith. Fabulous time had by all, meeting other beaders too, and staggering home with all our sparkly goodies.
Home safely after another great visit to Czech. Keith and Simi always plan our trip so well, combining the old favourites with the new. Lots of lovely beads, great scenery, good food but best of all much fun with friends from near and far. Thank you. X
Lesley Thomas 2015 sept 2016 June
HI Keith, just to say what a wonderful time we had.
From the moment we landed you made our trip a wonderful experience in everything we did. The hotel was very clean and the food was very good, the shops and warehouses we went to were just amazing. just like the beautiful beads we brought home.
we will definitely be coming back next year, and would recommend the trip to anyone who loves beading
see you soon
Lesley and friends
Barbara Lock Lee 2015 Oct
What a great tour you gave us .Every place we visited had something different to offer and I'd be happy to see them all again. Most likely I will ! I think I need a day in the antique place to open every one of those drawers ...
I seem to have slept in till 9 this morning so I suppose all that intense bead shopping has caught up with me !
It was nice to meet your lovely wife and be dropped at my new abode .
Sue Rout 2015 2016 Oct
Thank you for a fantastic tour. I enjoyed every minute of it. Your organisational skills are second to none and you were always on hand if we had any queries or needed any help. I have been to Jablonec several times to buy beads but would never have found some of the shops we visited. Seeing the beads being made was an enjoyable and interesting experience. We were made to feel very welcome not only in the shops but also in the hotel. This tour is a must for all beaders! I look forward to joining you in the future.
Fia Sandstrom 2015/2017/2018/2019
My expectations for this tour were really high and when I came home I did have only one feeling: when can I go back!? We spent 4 fun days with Keith, shopping at the most overwhelming shops, see amazing craftsmanship and some singing in the car. We will be back...
För alla svenska resenärer som funderar på att åka:
Jag rekommenderar alla att boka en tur med bananas4beading. Du kommer att få åka på din livs resa och se fantastiskt hantverk, vacker natur och shopping som du kan ruinera dig själv på. Men du kommer inte att ruinera dig för att priserna är galet bra. Keith tar väl hand om er under hela tiden, från det att ni kliver av planet till det att ni kliver på planet för hemresa. Det enda kravet är att någon i sällskapet pratar engelska. Gör gott om plats i bagaget... det kommer att behövas. :)
lLavinia Walters 2016/17Jan
A wonderful trip. I can not recommend it enough. Keith is a star. He made sure we got the very best out of our holiday. Sight seeing, bead shopping, managing the money and even taking care of my special diet. Nothing was too much trouble and now I am looking forward to another visit to the Czech Republic with Bananas4beading
Jane and Helen Gregory 2016 June
Thank you for a wonderful few days. We didn't expect to enjoy ourselves so much, being the non beaders in the group. However, your knowledge of the local bead suppliers and your commentary about the processes made the whole experience really interesting. Visiting suppliers that had ready made jewellery and the beading lesson were particularly good and we are really pleased with our purchases.
It was lots of fun being driven round the Czech countryside to places we would never have found on our own. Your knowledge of the people, language and food was invaluable. Your gentle humour and constant attentiveness to the group's needs made the trip relaxed and enjoyable while still packing a lot into the day.
We were inspired by the holiday and are already talking about learning some beading before our next trip with you!
Jane and Helen Gregory
Olivia Dell 2016/June
Thanks to you Keith,
I did so enjoy the holiday and your care and patience, good humour, expertise, flexibility and your brilliant driving too.
I loved the scenery, the bead museum and the fleamarket I am very pleased with my purchases.
I felt inspired, and consider this was one of my best holidays.
Many thanks to your family for sparing you and helping us achieve our desires,
I shall certainly recommend Bananas4Beading to my local contacts.
Ann Quigley 2013/2014/2015/1016/2017/2018/ 2019already booked up for 2020
Hi Keith and Simi
After a week at home I am still thinking a lot about the wonderful trip we had with you. Czech still excites me both as a place and as a mecca for beaders. Out visit, the fourth for Tina and me, was wonderful, as usual. The beading spots were, as usual, great and I enjoyed the new places you had found for us to visit. I am now awash with beads but hope to get around to most of them in due course!
The final couple of days seeing more of Czech were the icing on the cake - particularly the silver mine! That was such an exciting thing to do. I was pleased I was able to get up the two viewing platforms still as well…
Anyway, I could go on but I will just thank you both again and restate how safe and happy I feel on your trips. Good friends are with me but that is not all it takes for a wonderful trip. The organisation and welcome is second to none.
Ann Hewson 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018/2019 already booke up for 2020
Hi Simi and Keith,
Once again sending my thanks for a wonderful time in Czech. My fourth trip and enjoying it as much as the first time. Thank you Keith for your endless patience whilst we browsed and thank you Simi for all your efforts behind the scenes in still finding us new and exciting shops with amazingly different beads!
Also my thanks must go to the lovely ladies in the shops who spare no effort in looking after our numerous requests, and are happy to serve us refreshments and even share their chocolate! What more could you want.
Looking forward to next year already.
With best regards,
Pamela Gutteridge Feb 2017/2018
2017 Trip To The Czech Republic
Early one late February Monday morning, seven ladies of mostly indeterminate age boarded a BA flight to Prague for the adventure of a lifetime.
WOW!!! and what an adventure. Keith our redoubtable leader, with a huge Mercedes minibus, brilliant sense of humour, lovely eyes and the patience of a saint, took us to places we never dreamed existed ... bead paradise. Bananas4Beading is without doubt the best "holiday" I have ever had. Exhausting, fascinating, sad and utterly beautiful scenery, plus such a wide selection of beads that were almost overwhelming. Not to mention the great accommodation and food!
What to say, thank you Bananas4Beading, for an amazing time, we are booked in again for next year, and I can't wait.
If you get the opportunity ... GO, you will never regret it.
Margaret Feb 2017/2018
So many thanks for all your help in making it such a special week.
We did not have to think about anything the hotel was so friendly and food great, and am stil trying to get my head around everything we saw and places we visited.
I loved that part of Czech Rep it was beautifull and you even managed some snow for us.
Thanks for coping with our sense(s) of humour which made it even more fun( I believe you have a few days to recover before your next visitors arrive!)
Photos are great too.
I am now going to drool over all the goodies I brought back
See you next year ( yes sorry have booked with Pam already!!!!) and will give Anne Marie a big hug of thanks too.
Best wishes to your family
Jill Clarke feb 2017/2018 booked up for 2020
Hi Keith and Simi
Hi keith just to say a big thank you for fabulous trip nothing was to much trouble and we didn't have to think about any problems just to have fun and totally submerge ourselves in the bead heaven what joy lushness looking forward to next year jillyxx
Just to say thank you for yet again another fab week of fun retail therapy and culture.
Missing it already will be back again sometime soon need to collect my pocket money lol.
Cannot wait till next time
Ps was lovely to see new places.
Sent from my iPad 2018
Hi Keith and Family we're back home after a wonderful few days, full of great company,
lovely scenery, very good food, beadeducation, and buying BEADS, and so much laughter.
Thank you again for the 3rd visit, here's to the next time
Best wishes to all
Sent from my iPad
Patt Sheldon 2016/2018/2019
My husband and I went on a one-day bead tour with Keith in 2016, and I knew I had to return for the full experience with fellow bead lovers. Four of us became Keith’s group in April, 2018. I was not disappointed!
Keith picked us up at our respective apartments/hotels in Prague and drove us to the Jablonec area. He was interesting and entertaining the whole way there, and we all felt relaxed and excited about the next 4 days. He packed everyday, including our first, with stops at wonderful factories and shops. Once he got to know us, he also tailored our trip to suit our individual and group interests.
I can’t give a highlight because every stop had something for all of us and I loved it all, but taking a class from Eva in her home one evening was delightful. I doubt many tours can offer such an experience because 10 to 15 to 30+ people cannot fit into someone’s house! Most of us hadn’t done the type of beading she taught, and she was very patient and helpful during our 3 hours there. I came away with a beautiful bracelet and hope to replicate what I learned.
I now understand why so many book the following year with Keith before they finish their current tour. I’m already thinking about returning—I could have turned around and gone back the day I recovered from jet lag. But first, I’d better make some jewelry and sell some of those gorgeous beads!
Ilana Joselowitz May2018 now booked up for 2019 with group of great friends
This tour is a must for all beaders and bead lovers! I had visited Jablonec nad Nisou to shop for beads in the past and it became clear to me that I needed an “insider” to take me off the beaten track to areas that I would not have otherwise discovered. Bananas4Beading tours with Keith as a guide provided me with that and so much more!
Keith picked up our group of four at Prague airport, drove us to Jablonec and our adventure began the next morning. He had structured a well-organized yet flexible itinerary for our four-day tour which included visits to wonderful shops, factories and museums which are nestled in the fairy-tale scenery around Jablonec.
Keith is a gold mine of information and conveys his in-depth knowledge and passion for beads with endless enthusiasm. This tour is not just about bead shopping; it also provides the opportunity to see how beads are manufactured and to learn about the fascinating history of the legendary glass-making and bead industry in the area.
Each location that we visited boasted its own specialty from the latest 2-hole beads with special finishing treatments to traditional pressed beads and buttons as well as lamp-work and table beads. I often felt that I was literally touching history when I discovered that most of these magnificent beads are still produced using centuries-old equipment and traditional techniques.
Undoubtedly one of the highlights of our tour was a visit to a shop which sells antique beads, buttons and findings. This was a floor-to ceiling emporium of drawers and boxes overflowing with vintage beads and other treasures, many of which were still in their original wrappings. (We could not tear ourselves away and could only be placated by Keith promising to bring us back for a return visit on the last day of our tour!)
Bead addicts return year after year for another tour lead by Keith and it is easy to understand why. The lure of the chase and the feeling that there will always be more hidden treasures just waiting to be found made us want to sign up for the next trip as soon as this one ended. And now we know that while we are in Keith’s capable hands we will definitely find those treasures!