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Walking holiday in UK

I am looking for recommendations for a one week walking trip in England,. Would like to hire company to carry luggage from B and B to B and B.

Posted by
213 posts

We spent a week hiking in The Cotswolds about 10 years ago and used a RS recommended company (Cotswolds Walks- https://www.cotswoldwalks.com/) and we enjoyed the trip and they did a good job with delivering what they promised. A few years have passed since we used them, so I suggest you do some of your own research. More recently, we used a company we would not recommend for a week long walking tour in Northern Ireland. In my opinion, the markup some of these companies charge seemed exorbitant for the service they deliver. While we enjoyed that trip, we did all of our planning and bookings on our most recent trip to the Cotswolds. Throwing in a few extra taxi fares for luggage transfers was painless and having the control to pick our own hotels and such was important to us as our aforementioned trip in Northern Ireland included two stops with shared bathrooms. Still, if you don’t want to bother with doing your own research and don’t mind spending double what hotels (and your own taxi arrangements) would cost if you did this on your own, I suppose the added cost could be worth it. If you do retain a company to assist you, make sure you remain in control with the hotels they offer you and do not feel obligated to accept the itinerary they put together for you unless it is exactly what you want. Make them work hard for you.

Posted by
743 posts

West Highland Way is about a week.
( Wainwright's) Coast to Coast and the Pennine Way are longer but you could pick a section.
All have bag transfer companies.

Posted by
4871 posts

A company with good reviews for the kind of holiday you are looking for is Inntravel

Posted by
741 posts

There are lots of unofficial, as in not National Trails marked with the acorn symbol, trails in England. For instance, I have a personal fondness for the Dales Way which starts near my home at Ilkley and finishes on the shores of Lake Windermere in the Lake District. It generally follows rivers but takes in some spectacular scenery on the way.

If you wanted a National Trail then Hadrian’s Wall is doable in a week and there’s also the Cleveland Way which is just about completeable in a week dependent on how far you wanted to walk on a daily basis. In the Lake District the Cumbria Way runs from Ulverston - birthplace of Stan Laurel - to Carlisle via the Lakes. Most major trails, whether nationally recognised or not, will have a luggage transfer system available.

If you wanted something less northern and the ones above are in northern England, then there’s a company I’ve used call Encounter Walking Holidays who specialise in the south west, ie., southern Wales (Pembrokeshire Coastal Path) and Devon and Cornwall (ie., South West Coastal Path - all or sections of its 600 mile plus length - The Two Moors Way, The Coleridge Way, The Dartmoor Way etc.,) who do what you are after, see their website for full details of the routes they support. They were excellent when we used them for The Two Moors Way - transferred luggage daily and booked all accommodation en route.

Great Britain may not be enormous and England even less so , but you really are spoilt for choice if you want to travel on foot here. A web search of ‘walking trails/routes in the U.K.’ will give you more options than you could ever want. It’s a matter of filtering the ones that are where you want, cater to any specific interests you may have, and can be achieved in the time you have available.

Hope you find something to your liking!

Ian

Posted by
72 posts

We have used Mickledore Travel for five of our seven UK walking trips, and had booked with them for Hadrian's Wall in 2020.

Posted by
6679 posts

Jay- a (probably dumb) question on the trip you self-organized: for the extra taxis you paid, do you mean that you paid a taxi driver to take your luggage with him/her to the next stop — or did you all accompany the taxi, drop off your luggage at the next hotel, then taxi back to your day's starting point ?

This is so smart. While the taxis on first glance would feel expensive, they would of course all tighter cost much less, as you mentioned, than the entire tour cost you would have paid to the organizer, Genius !

Posted by
5563 posts

I had some of the best vacations I ever had walking in Scotland. Sadly, the company I used is no longer in business. But what I liked about it was that we were in a central location and were driven to our walks every day. It was a small group. I was the only American. The others were: 2 Dutch men, 2 German men from the eastern part of Germany, and 2 English women. I am still in touch with one of the women from England and one of the Dutch men! We were based north and west of Inverness and our walks ranged from the west with Torridon up to Ullapool, south to the Cairngorms and one day walking Culbin Sands on the Moray Firth. We were back home every night between 5 and 6 PM. Enough time to clean up and come downstairs and have a pint before dinner and a whisky after dinner.

I wanted to suggest that you don't have to do a Point A to B type of trip. I have not used Wilderness Scotland, but they seem to get good ratings and their tours look good and it looks like they have some in England.

Posted by
741 posts

Pamela makes a fine point. When speaking of walking tours in England the assumption is that walking a trail from A to B to C and so on is what is required. However, as Pamela observes it is perfectly possible to have a walking holiday based in one location - the Lake District, the Dales, Snowdonia, even the Cotswolds spring to mind - and do different walks every day, either straight out of the door or within a short distance from your accommodation.

Also from what I read in my inbox KE Adventure Holidays has partnered with Mickledore in some sort of capacity due to these COVID struck times and KE have some new holidays on their site for those ‘staycationing’ (not that we currently have a hell of a lot of option frankly). However if they are successful one would suppose they might be kept on in more relaxed times when visitors to the U.K. can take advantage of them. HF Holidays do these single base holidays too I note for those not feeling confident enough to plan their own trip (I’ve never used HF myself although I’ve seen good reviews of their holidays on this very forum. I have however, turned planning and accommodation booking etc over to other independent companies when not sure of the locale away from my own regular stomping grounds).

EDIT: The partnership between Mickledore Travel and KE Adventure Travel is because they have both, in recent years, been bought by the French group Voyageurs Du Monde. This company, for those heading for Egypt, also owns the famous ‘Sudan’ steamship which operates on the Nile between Luxor and Aswan and which was made famous by featuring in Agatha Christie’s ‘Death on the Nile’, both as the basis for the book and subsequent movie/tv adaptations.

Posted by
213 posts

To piggyback Pamela’s post and address Kim’s -oh, and thanks for calling my idea ‘genius’ :), question to me:

“ Jay- a (probably dumb) question on the trip you self-organized: for the extra taxis you paid, do you mean that you paid a taxi driver to take your luggage with him/her to the next stop — or did you all accompany the taxi, drop off your luggage at the next hotel, then taxi back to your day's starting point ?”

Rather than change B&Bs every night, we chose three nights at two separate B&Bs. We liked the idea of not having to pack and re-pack every night. When it was time to head to the new B&B, we called a taxi so we could drop off our luggage and then he drove us to the start point of that day’s hike. My point was that you do not need to retain a company to organize your hotel and luggage transfers on an Walking Holiday. Pamela’s example of a tour operator being retained just to take you to each days start of your hike is a great idea. For us, hiring a taxi to do that on an as needed basis worked out just fine. In fact, we used the same taxi driver for a lot of our rides as he gave us his business card and happened to be nearby most of the time we were in need of a taxi. It really wasn’t about wanting to avoid the added costs a full service walking tour operator charges, mostly, we preferred to take ownership of where we wanted to stay and hike.

Posted by
5657 posts

We used Contours Walking Holidays for self-guided walking tours with luggage transport service and overnight B&B accomodations. Countours organized the walking tour with maps, guidebooks and instructions, booked the overnight B&B accomodations and arranged for the luggage transport service. We did the Coast to Coast (2 weeks point to point), the West Highland Way (one week point to point) and a Lake District short loop walk (less than a week). You could do half of a Coast to Coast section in a week and then return the following year to finish the other half.

Coast to coast: https://www.contours.co.uk/coast-to-coast-walk
West Highland Way: https://www.contours.co.uk/west-highland-way-trail
(South) Lake District Loop: https://www.contours.co.uk/south-lakes-short-break

Posted by
2710 posts

Try Macs Adventures. We are using them for a hike in 2022.
https://www.macsadventure.com/us/walking-tours/uk-walking-tours/
https://www.macsadventure.com/us/walking-tours/uk-walking-tours/england/

"Find your perfect self-guided walking tour in England, Scotland, Wales, or the Channel Islands to discover why thousands of people trust Macs Adventure to organize their walking tour in the UK each year.
Your walking tour includes handpicked accommodations, daily door-to-door baggage transfers, detailed information packs and carefully planned itineraries."

Posted by
1277 posts

Have a look at Footpath Holidays. I've had two fantastic experiences with them.

Posted by
5563 posts

One thing I will say about a company is that once you are at your holiday you no longer have to make any decisions. That was a point that one of the Dutch travelers made. He said he loved coming on these walking tours as he could trust the guides to get it right and that part of his vacation was a respite from decision-making. I think that Ad made a very fine point about this. That does require trust in either your partner who is making the decisions or in the tour company. We were lucky that we traveled for several years with the same walking guide. One of the first vacations I had was with my sister to Scotland and England. She was 21 and I was 23. It was a joint trip, but somehow I ended up making all the decisions. Now I love a trip where I am along for the ride.

Posted by
5657 posts

Pamela's comment "Now I love a trip where I am along for the ride...." brings to mind a woman from Colorado that we met on the Coast to Coast walk. She was a fast and strong walker who summited a large number of Colorado 14K peaks but had vertially no map reading and route finding skills. We learned about her navigation shortcommings in Glaisdale our second to last night when her B&B hostess tracked us down by calling Glaisdale B&Bs until she found us. (Coast to coast walkers tend to bond with others over the course of the two weeks of walking.) She wanted to bring the Colorado woman over the next morning so that she would have someone to walk with her. We learned that the Colorado walker basically tagged along with other coast to coast walkers up to the previous night. At Clay Top Banks, she had to split off from the group at the because they were going to a different B&B off trail from the Coast to Coast route. After she sepearted, she was lost for several hours eventually getting a postal van driver(?) to take her to her overnight B&B.

Posted by
741 posts

Edgar - It’s more common than you might think. A couple of years ago my wife and I were forging up the Pennine Way - the ying to the Coast to Coast’s yang - and near where the trails intersect we met a guy who was British but who had lived the vast majority of his life in Australia and to all intents and purposes was an Aussie. Being originally from southern England he had no previous experience or familiarity with the northern uplands and seemed unsure of where he was heading - essentially he was looking for cheap overnight accommodation and that would dictate where he went. He stuck with us over Great Shunner Fell through the mist and when he could see Swaledale below he took off and left us (pretty rapid for a guy a little older than myself I have to say).

We caught up with him in the tea rooms at Thwaite and there over another conversation about accommodation he announced he would probably follow the C2C to the east coast. What staggered me was he had no guide book, no compass (which he cheerfully admitted he had no idea how to use) and no navigational aids on his mobile phone* (if indeed he had one - there was no evidence of one). He did however, have a map. It was an extremely rough map of all of Yorkshire torn from a standard freebie tourist guide. It did not show the route of the C2C and worse, to ‘save space’ he’d ripped the right hand section off which would have shown the east coast.

He probably got away with it. After all there are plenty of people who would give him advice and accompany him out of the goodness of their hearts and to aid a fellow traveller - actually, I’d accept nothing less. But they shouldn’t have to shoulder responsibility for somebody who had become reliant on them. We saw him engaged in more deep conversation beyond the tea rooms and, frankly, headed north at a fair rate of knots lest he changed his mind and decided to accompany us all the way to Scotland! My point is he probably got away with it, but it’s not big or clever to independently wander the wide open spaces of the north, or any other rural locations in the U.K. without having at least a guide book, a firm objective and a map and compass, with a rudimentary idea of how the things work. Because if you don’t get away with it, then the people who will come looking for you are volunteers, leaving their day jobs to rescue you and they will turn out in all weathers, 24/7. I’m sure these brilliant, skilled folk are glad to do it especially as genuine accidents do happen but where irresponsible and incompetent behaviour is concerned, well, I’m going to suppose they might not be too thrilled!

Don’t get me started on my chums experience of climbing Helvellyn in winter with crampons, ice axes and ropes who came across a guy in shorts and running shoes…..

*A useful and free app to load onto your mobile/cell phone in the U.K. is OS Locate which gives you a compass, height above sea level and the OS six figure grid reference, so if you don’t know where you are (although you should, it’s easy enough to work out if you are carrying the map too either in paper or digital form) at least those looking for you will be able to work out where you are!

Posted by
5657 posts

IIanandjulie of Yorkshire's insight is good for self-guided walkers to keep in mind. A number of walking routes in the England are not necessarily signed or consistently signed.

The Coast to Coast as an example is not an official walking route and signage and trail markings inconsistent. The walking route on many occasions cross cattle and sheep pastures where the walking tracks are extinguised. On our first day of walking from St. Bees to Ennerdale Bridge, we reached the summit of Dent Hill by late afternoon, a few miles to go before reaching our Ennerdale Bridge accomodations. The walking track crossed with a stile over the animal fence at the top of the hill to a steep sheep pasture decending to a creek below and no obvious track. We spent sometime looking for a trail to no avail and met another group of wakers similarly puzzled. As a group we finially decided that the correct route was making our way down the steep grass slope to the creek below, zig-zagging trying to stay upright.

BTW, UK walking freedom to roam often means crossing farmers field with livestock (including bulls), and using a variety of gates including fence stiles, kissing gates and other contraptions designed to allow walkers to cross without letting the animals out.

Posted by
741 posts

Hey Edgar - I’m guessing you went wrong somewhere near Nannycatch Gate/Beck. We walked the C2C in 1985 and we went wrong there too necessitating the same steep descent down to the stream!

Our worst moment as unofficial guides was some years ago in Austria. Julie and myself had walked up the Schaffberg behind St. Wolfgang with the idea we’d catch the train back down. A landslip meant trains stopped running, but no problem, we had all day so we could walk back down. While finishing lunch in the summit hotel we met an English lady from our neck of the woods who was wondering how she’d get back down. Rashly we said we planned on walking back and she said “Oh, would you mind if I walked back down with you?” to which we said “no bother, of course”. She said she would go to the ticket office and cancel her ticket and would we pick her up there? No problem.

A few minutes later we entered the ticket office to be greeted by our new friend who announced “Here are the people who will guide us off the mountain!” My faced grinned but my stomach did several somersaults as about twenty five people of different nationalities, poorly shod and ill equipped who had journeyed up on the train looked at us expectantly. Long story short, an Austrian lady managed to organise a train to the ‘halfway station’ and, not without difficulty and with a few alarms and excursions and the help of a young Aussie couple we got everybody down to the station and on to the train.

On the journey down I was sat next to the father of a Korean family who occasionally squeezed my shorts-clad thigh and exclaimed “Hercules!”. We refused all offers of lifts back to our hotel and as we alighted from the train, uncomfortably aware that none of our travel insurance covered this escapade and much less was either of us a qualified Austrian Mountain Guide, I turned to Julie and said “Run. Run very fast.” And we disappeared like smoke. Never did get my money back for the top half train fares!

Posted by
5563 posts

Okay, just saying that I would NEVER try to do a walk on my own where I was ill-prepared!! I have a compass even when I don't need it. I like paper maps as well as GPS. :). What I like about walking groups is that I don't need to figure out how the luggage will get from here to there. I don't need to decide if X is better than Y. I have someone in whom I have great confidence will make decisions that will create activities, events and pastimes that I will enjoy. I really think that it is a matter of trust. If you have a guide, or a parent or a spouse or a sibling or a friend who has the planning gene and with whom you share common goals you can let go and let them have at it. I found that with my friend Carol in Scotland and with my youngest sister. With others, I need to take charge and be the planner. But it is a joy to relinquish that role upon trusted occasions.

Posted by
741 posts

Pamela - you’re quite right, of course. I always say about my walking chums that they get me into scrapes, but more importantly, they get me out! I think I was just trying to make the point that imposing on other people’s goodwill is unfair, if you are supposedly independent. It’s OK if everything goes well, but in the event that it doesn’t you could be stoking up a whole lot of undeserved trouble for those that you impose on. On the Austrian incident mentioned above one older guy’s legs turned to jelly on what was a steep and rough descent and we virtually carried him onto the train - he just wasn’t used to walking on that sort of terrain (even though he was from Yorkshire!), another guy complained of breathing difficulties, again probably just not used to walking down a mountain and the Korean lady had a smart business style suit on and three inch platform soled shoes! Fortunately we got away with it, but if we hadn’t I’m sure we’d have been asked some very searching questions, even though we felt that in the circumstances that we couldn’t refuse to help.

And although I’ve always been something of a completist in recent years as I’ve got older I have come to appreciate the value of a luggage transfer and have no compunction in joining group trips where I can leave the heavy lifting on decision making to an authorised guide, especially in foreign parts.