Printer Friendly Version 3 January 2015

Choosing a Walking Holiday in the UK


Taking a walking holiday sounds great fun; fresh air, healthy, learning about our country and pretty cheap. However choosing the wrong type of holiday in the hills and valleys of Britain can easily turn in to a miserable experience.  The trip has to be right for you and those who are walking with you.

It is well worth doing plenty of research beforehand, or if you really are unsure where to start simply contact people like ourselves who are pretty good at letting you know what type of break you will enjoy the most. All you need to do is fill in a form which you will find here and we can start looking at alternatives for you. The most important thing is to tell us what you have done before, what experience you have and therefore what level of walking you are comfortable with.

Consider the following key things when looking at a walking break

  • Do you want to walk a fixed ‘trail’ or long distance path such as the Coast to Coast or Cleveland Way. A long distance path (examples here) has the advantage of being well trodden, easier to follow and certainly leaves a real sense of achievement on completion. There is a goal. However it does not make the walk any easier, the miles are just as long and the way marking not always great (particularly in comparison to our European colleagues).  However by their very nature they do tend to pass through wonderful country as they have been designed by walkers for walkers. One thing, do not rigidly stick to the route, the best views/sights are often just round the corner.
  • You may well want a Tailor Made walking break  which is most suitable for those who do not know the area that they want to visit. Long Distance trails have a tendency to go from A to B but most of the itineraries we like to devise end up completing a large circle. The advantage of these holidays is that we can use our knowledge of the area to direct you to the most interesting and often quieter parts of the countryside. The tailor made break really can be bespoken to fit your needs; distance per day, break days, flat or hilly – all can fit to what you want. The one thing you can be sure of is that it will be interesting and a challenge!
  • Do you want a guided or self guided walk. We only sell self guided walks but do provide map and concise route directions but you may want to join a larger group both for the company and the security of being with an expert. The Ramblers and Headwater both are excellent in this regard.
  • One thing we strongly advise anyone on a self guided walking break is to be able to understand and read a map. An ability to use a compass is preferable, particularly if you go up high, but reading a map is most important. Following a guide book is not ideal and we do not recommend using them in isolation on a walk as they give no sense of perspective of the area you are walking through. Maps are the best companion.
  • Some walkers want to carry as little as possible on the walk – do you want someone else to move your bags to each place you are staying in and therefore you can carry a light day sack?
  • Consider taking the odd day off rather than marching from one place to another, if you are out for a week or more it certainly helps.
  • Who you are walking with is important, make sure they are of reasonably similar standard or else the party will inevitably fall out even if the quicker members do slow down.
  • It will rain at some stage – but it will not rain all the time. If you take that view with you on holiday then the weather will not be an issue. Walking in British weather (particularly outside winter) is not a problem if you accept that it will almost certainly be changeable – in fact differing weather conditions and therefore differing light are part of what makes walking in this country so good.
  • Where do you want to stay? Pub or B & B is usually the main choice people are confronted with, the B & B option being usually cheaper but many people we find enjoy staying in a pub. As a colleague once uttered  ‘pubs fit with walking all day’ Youth hostels do offer a cheaper alternative but very few will take the self catering option of a cottage or apartment. In addition bear in mind that single rooms are inevitably more expensive and often not available; many accommodation providers insist on a minimum 2 night stay over a weekend so it is good to plan the walk that either excludes a weekend or, if you do, try and include 2 nights.
The final tip is really to give us a call or drop us an e mail with your initial thoughts; we are experts, experienced walkers and genuinely will plan the best break for you.
Do all this and you will have a fantastic English holiday.

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