Houston & the International Quilt Festival

Houston International Textile Show 2020
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Houston, USA
Flights from London Heathrow and Manchester - or make your own way there and join us!
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PLANNING FORWARD - If you are looking ahead to travel to experience this amazing show, the dates for 2021 have been confirmed as such:

  • October 28-31, 2021
  • Preview Night October 27   
  • Classes & Events begin October 25

Our tour for 2021 will depart on Wednesday 27 October and return to the UK on Thuesday 4th November

Interested in travelling to International Quilt Festival 2021


This is an inspiring and hugely popular tour to Houston, Texas  to experience one the world's largest annual quilt shows.

With its mix of international appeal and Southern charm, Houston is a vibrant, multi-cultural city boasting 20 museums and cultural institutions and a world class culinary scene, not to mention the largest annual quilt show in America.

This seven night tour combines three inspiring days at the International Quilt Festival with visits to Space Station Houston, the beautiful beaches of Galveston Island on the Gulf of Mexico, historic Old Town Spring, the tropical oasis that is Moody Gardens Pyramid Rain Forest and plenty of free time to explore all that America's fourth largest city has to offer.

You will be based at the iconic, mid-century Whitehall Hotel in the heart of downtown Houston. 




Founded in 1974, Houston's International Quilt Festival is the largest annual quilt show in America, attracting tens of thousands of visitors to the George R Brown Convention Centre each year.

As well as displays of more than 1,500 quilts and unique works of textile art by makers from all corners of the globe, the Festival also boasts an inspiring workshop and lecture programme, as well as 1,000 booths selling quilts, fabrics and textile supplies. Three days here will provide long term inspiration for quilting and textile enthusiasts of all kinds, and offers a unique opportunity to forge creative friendships with the international quilting community.

The Special Exhibits section is an annual highlight. This year's line-up is still a closely guarded secret, but previous treats included a showcase of quilts that have graced the covers of the iconic US Patchwork & Quilting Magazine and Kaffe Fassett's display of Heritage Quilts in America.

You can read about the 2019's quilting highlights on our news page

Please note, workshops and excursions offered at the Festival are not included in our tour programme. You can book directly through the organisers here 


Houston Space Shuttle with ECT Houston Quilt Festival Tour

Space Centre Houston, the official visitor centre of the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Centre, is the only place in the world where you can enter a replica space shuttle resting on top of the original shuttle carrier aircraft, NASA 905. This extraordinary re-creation gives a real insight into the workings of the shuttle, allowing visitors to walk through seven dynamic areas within the aircraft, including the flight deck, mid-deck and payload bay. And as if that wasn't excitement enough, a visit here also includes the chance to experience the sights and sounds of a real launch in the multi-screen Blast-Off theatre, an opportunity to take an interactive, virtual journey across the solar system and into the future of space exploration and a 90 minute tram tour behind the scenes of NASA and Mission Control. 

Downtown Houston - ECT Houston Quilt Festival Tour

Houston's downtown Museum District is the city's cultural heart, with venues exploring subjects ranging from natural science to the African-American experience. Particular highlights include the Menil Collection and the Museum of Fine Arts. 

Housed in buildings designed by architect Renzo Piano (and widely regarded as masterpieces of modern architecture), the Menil collection contains 15,000 works dating from the Paleolithic era to the present day, including an impressive collection of 20th Century surrealist art, a permanent installation of work by Cy Twombly and a chapel dedicated to the paintings of Mark Rothko.

With over 65,000 objects ranging from Antiquity to contemporary times, the Museum of Fine Arts is a place to return to time and again. However, must-see collections for a one-off visit include The Glassel Collection of African Gold, the 19th century paintings of the American wilderness, the displays of contemporary decorative arts and the textile and costume galleries, home to some exquisite examples of English and French haute couture. Architecture aficionados should also make a point of visiting the Museum's Cullinan Hall and Brown Pavilion, both of which were designed by that master of modernism, Mies van der Rohe.

Houston is an international city and its culinary scene reflects its ethnic diversity - at the last count there were 10,000 restaurants offering cuisine from more than 70 different countries and regions of the US. And it isn't just the variety that's impressive; many people also consider Houston to be America's food capital so, whether your taste is for waffles and chicken wings, Creole gumbo and jambalaya or European fusion, this is the perfect place to indulge your appetite!

Houston has plenty to tempt shoppers too, from the Art Deco splendour of the Rover Oaks Shopping Centre to the independent craft artists at the Houston Centre for Contemporary Craft. We make a special visit to Joann Fabric and Craft Store which boasts the city's best selection of fabrics, yarns, beads, scrapbooking, and paper crafting goods.

Houston, Texas for the International Quilt Festival

Established 75 years ago, JOANN is America's leading fabric and craft retailer. A one-stop-shop for all your crafting needs, the brand's goal is 'to help every customer customer find their creative Happy Place'.

Fat Quaters

Galveston Island Houston ECT Travel Quilters' Guild Tour

Galveston Island, lying fifty miles south of Houston on the Gulf of Mexico, is a relaxed retreat with mile upon mile of beaches and a wealth of stately historic homes belonging to generations of the most powerful families in Texas.  Although many of the island’s buildings were destroyed in the Great Storm of 1900 many, such as the 1859 Ashton Villa, 1892 Bishop's Palace and 1885 Moody Mansion did survive and offer a fascinating glimpse into turn of the century family life among Galveston's elite.

Other highlights include The Grand 1894 Opera House, ranked among the US's finest historical theaters, and the Rain Forest Pyramid at Moody Gardens. This fascinating tropical provides a rare, up-close and interactive experience with endangered plants and animals, ranging from Giant Amazon River Otters to Saki Monkeys and Chinese Alligators in an extraordinarily realistic replica of a real rain forest.

Moody Gardens Houston, Texas, ECT Quilters' Guild Tour 2018

Houston Old Town - Shopping on ECT Travel's Houston Tour

Historic Old Town Spring, just thirty minutes from Houston, shot to fame in the 1930s when the infamous criminals Bonnie and Clyde robbed the town bank. (The bullet holes are still there  today.) Today Old Town Spring is a charming little town filled with art galleries, antique stores and independent Victorian-style shops, including GRS Creations. Known as ‘the hidden quilt shop in Old Town Spring’, it has eleven rooms stocked with more than 18,000 bolts of fabric. Our visit to Old Town Spring includes time at this treasure trove, so make some room in your suitcase. 

Houston's Whitehall Hotel

First opened in 1963, the Whitehall Hotel is a mid-century landmark conveniently located in the heart of downtown Houston. As well as contemporary rooms with all the comforts you would expect of a leading hotel, the Whitehall also boasts an in-house art gallery, a bar selling cocktails made with their own-label bourbon and three restaurants

ECT Travel Houston Tour Itinerary

Day One,  Tuesday 27th

1500h: London flights arrive at Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport

1520h: Manchester flights arrive at Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport

Meet with your Tour Manager and coach transfer to the Whitehall Hotel

Welcome get together and evening at leisure

Day Two, Wednesday 28th

Breakfast at the hotel

AM: Half day city tour with a local guide and coach

Return transfer by free shuttle to the Preview evening at International Quilt Festival 

Day Three, Thursday 29th 

Breakfast at the hotel

Full day at the International Quilt Festival. A return shuttle transfer is provided by the Festival organisers

Day Four, Friday 30th

Breakfast at the hotel

Full day at the International Quilt Festival. A return shuttle transfer is provided by the Festival organisers

Day Five, Saturday 31st 

Breakfast at the hotel

Full day excursion to the International Quilt Festival. A return shuttle transfer is provided by the Festival organisers

Day Six, Sunday 1st 

Breakfast at the hotel

Full day excursion by coach with our Tour Manager to Space Centre Houston, including a one hour visit to the Joann Fabric Store. 

Day Seven, Monday 2nd

Breakfast at the hotel

Full day excursion by coach to Galveston Island and Moody Gardens Pyramid Rain Forest with our Tour Manager

Day Eight, Tuesday 3rd

Breakfast at the hotel and check out

AM: Half day excursion by coach with our Tour Manager to Old Town Spring and the hidden fabric shop, GRS Creations & Fabrics

Transfer to Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport for the return flights to the UK

1605h: London flights depart

1840: Manchester flights depart

Day Nine, Wednesday 4th

0700h: London flights arrive at Heathrow

0930h: Manchester flights arrive 

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 www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate.

Our ATOL number is ATOL 6545. ATOL Protection extends primarily to customers who book and pay in the United Kingdom.

If you prefer to make your own travel arrangements then you can also join the tour in Houston.

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Additional information:

  • This tour requires a minimum of 10 passengers - please refer to point 7 in our booking conditions. There is a maximum of 20 passengers.

  • Mobility: this tour is generally suitable for most, if you are concerned or have specific issues please let us know ahead of booking

  • Please ensure you have a valid passport (at least six months from the date of travel) and visa 

  • Travel insurance is required 


From London Heathrow with British Airways    British Airways log0

Outbound: Departs Terminal 5 0930h, arrives George Bush International Airport Houston Terminal E 1500h, BA0195 (Flight time 10hrs 30 mins)

Inbound: Departs Terminal D 1605h, arrives London Heathrow Terminal 5 0700, BA1094 (Flight time 8 hrs 55 mins)

Economy Class

1x 23kg checked bag; 1x hand/laptop bag (up to 40x30x15cm); 1x additional cabin bag (56x45x25cm)

Our Tour Manager will fly with you from Heathrow

From Manchester with Singapore Airlines   Singapore Airlines

Outbound: Departs Terminal 2 1005h, arrives George Bush International Airport Houston Terminal E 1520h, SQ52 (Flight time 10hrs 15 mins)

Inbound: Departs Terminal D 1840h, arrives Manchester Airport Terminal 2 0930h, SQ51 (Flight time 8hrs 50 mins)

Economy Class

2x23kg checked luggage; 1x cabin bag (up to 7kg, size should not exceed 115cm)


Request a Call Back / Email

Tour Includes

  • Return Economy flights with British Airways or Singapore Airlines
  • ECT Tour Manager
  • All transfers while in Houston
  • Seven nights at the Whitehall Hotel
  • Breakfast voucher valued at $20 per person per day
  • Welcome get together
  • International Quilt Festival Show Pass, including 3 day entrance and preview night
  • City coach tour of Houston with local guide
  • Full day entrance to Space Centre Houston
  • Visit to Joann Fabric Store
  • Full day coach excursion to Galveston Island, Moody Gardens Pyramid Rain Forest
  • Half day visit to Old Town Springs & GRS Creations & Fabric Store
  • Travel disruption insurance
Optional Extras
  • Any workshops/lectures booked at the International Quilt Festival
  • Gratuities for your tour guide, coach driver, local guides and coach driver

Houston International Quilt Festival 2021