About Reality and Beyond

Lucy Abel Smith founded Reality and Beyond Ltd in 2000, but has been leading tours to Czechoslovakia and Romania since the 1980s. Lucy and Harriet have worked together for 15 years, from Slovenia to Slovakia into Romania, and are always able to find good food and comfortable beds. More recently Lucy was a pioneer into Albania, Macedonia and Kosovo - and she so loves Transylvania that she spends part of the year there.

We are able to design trips especially around the interests of you and your friends - for example to Western Hungary where Pécs was the 2010 City of Culture, or to East Bohemia to stay at the magnificent castle of Castolovice, or for the Velka Pardubicka steeplechase. We have designed a tour focussing on Chinoiserie around Dresden, with excursions to Meissen, Worlitz and Oranienbaum. Favourite cities include Trieste, Graz and Dubrovnik.

Lucy Abel Smith

Director and founder of Reality and Beyond Ltd, Lucy has spent the last thirty years planning tours and leading independent travellers all over the world for art organisations and museum groups. She worked for a leading specialist travel company, ending up as chairman, until she left to write the first authoritative guide to Prague after the Velvet Revolution published by John Murray. Since then she has been a consultant and guest lecturer for the Art Fund, the British Museum Society, the Friends of the Royal Academy and the Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as Smith College Alumni and Venetian Heritage, and as a consultant for Sotheby's she created a range of visits for connoisseurs to private palaces, houses and collections throughout Europe.
Lucy is also the founder of the biennial Fresh Air sculpture show in the grounds of her home in Gloucestershire and she most recently organized the first ever Transylvanian Book Festival in Transylvania. There is more information about the book festival on the website here

Please click here to read more about Lucy Abel Smith's background in art history and the beliefs of Reality and Beyond.

Bronwen Riley

Bronwen is a writer, lecturer and editor with a special interest in the Classical world and in Romania – both life-long passions encouraged by having read Classics at Oxford and Byzantine Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art. As head of content at English Heritage and series editor of the revered ‘Red Guides’, she has published more than 80 guide books. She presently works as a consultant and editor, developing and publishing books on historic houses. She is currently engaged researching her latest book ‘Journey to Jerusalem’ which follows a group of pilgrims on their way from the Western Provinces to the Holy Land in the late C4th. Bronwen is an experienced lecturer and guide and has travelled widely through Romania. She lives near to Hadrian’s Wall and is a trustee of the Lakeland Arts Trust.

Harriet Landseer

Harriet has lived in Prague on and off for the last 20 years, since moving there after graduating in art history from Yale.
She specialises in the heritage and art of the Czech Republic and Central Europe, and has been accompanying and leading tours for museums and heritage associations in the UK and USA for over 17 years, mostly with Specialtours Ltd. Clients include the Irish Georgian Society, Europa Nostra and the American Horticultural Society. She speaks fluent Czech, as well as German, Spanish & French. She also works as a consultant to the National Heritage Institute, and in 2009 completed the English version of their mammoth book, Castles, Country Houses and other Monuments. She is currently finishing a book on Slow Travel in the Czech countryside.