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Should I do a guided walking tour or the RS Tour?

I am planning a trip to England next year - my first trip and will probably be going alone. I'm trying to decide between a guided walking tour of the Cotswold or the Rick Steves 7-day tour of London. Any suggestions or advice?

Many thanks!

Posted by
3580 posts

This is an apples vs oranges question. Are you more attracted to the Big City or to the countryside with visits to charming small towns? You would probably do more walking in the Cotswalds. In my opinion, you don't need a "tour" to see London. Get the London book by RS and travel, visiting what interests you. For the Cotswalds, if there is a sag-wagon to carry your luggage from town to town, the walking should be easy and fun. There is always a pub just a couple of miles away.

I've taken a couple of the RS city tours. Unless you are hopeless as an independent traveler, you can do some homework and do the cities easily on you own, cheaper and with more freedom.

If you have 2 weeks, do both.

Posted by
1286 posts

Exactly what I was thinking. If you can manage both, you'd get a good flavor of city and country.

Posted by
5669 posts

I would do both. You aren't comparing the same type of trip. The Rick Steves tour will be urban and packed with history and culture. You'll have time off because the ETBD tours are set up for flexibility, but you're in the city! The walking trip will be rural and look at the countryside, probably pubs and it will be slower paced in that I expect you'll fewer things in one day. I've done both kinds of tours and I enjoy them both although my walking was in Scotland and my urban in Berlin, but the concept is the same. The similarity should be that you'll meet interesting people as tour mates. Pam

Posted by
11450 posts

I totally vote for both,, I wouldn't want to spend all that money to fly to Europe and not spend at least 2 weeks anyways.. it takes a day or two just to get over jet lag for me .

As others have said,, doing both will give you a taste of country and city,, and I think both sound like alot of fun.

Posted by
809 posts

I personally would agree with many who have already responded - do both, or go to London! I completely agree that London is an easy city to visit [there is a bit of a language problem, but in general when people spoke slowly and clearly I could understand them] and I've been there several times with my daughter. BUT I'm an extravert, so if I were going alone I would join the RS tour just for the company. I've done one RS tour and really enjoyed the people, and I found the tour had a good mix of planned and free time. You could also add a few days after the trip to explore more on your own.

One other consideration - on the RS tour you will be surrounded by Americans. The guided walking tour might have a mix of nationalities, which can be fun and interesting. Last year DD and I did a volunteer week in Lincoln through BTCV, rebuilding an old stone wall, and we were the only Americans. It was great and we hope to do another in future.

Happy planning!

Posted by
332 posts

My advice pretty much echos Swan's, except that you can walk just as much in London as in the Cotwolds.

Assuming that time or financial constraints do not allow you to do both, I would tour London. London is my favorite city in the world. I would never have considered a walking tour of the Cotswolds for my first trip to England. Tack on a day trip to the Cotswolds, if you can.

You did not ask, but solo touring of London is easy. Take the Rick Steves tour only if you can devote little time to planning and you feel the need for tour companions and a full time guide.

I have a gripe about the tour being marketed as a seven day tour. The industry may consider it a 7 day tour, but realize that it offers only 6 nights accommodation and lasts less than six 24 hour periods.

Posted by
8700 posts

One more vote for seeing London on your own and then taking a guided walking tour of the Cotswolds.

Give London at least five full days. If you travel solo and want to have some company while you're in London, go on one or two London Walks.

Or spend more time in London and do a London Walks one-day tour to the Cotswolds.

Posted by
11450 posts

Chip I totally agree, I do not like it when any company lists their tours as 7 days,,but counts an arrival day at 5 pm meeting as day TWO,, and the day you leave tour ends after breakfast. Basically a FIVE day tour.

Posted by
7 posts

Thank you all for your wonderful responses. Unfortunately, finances won't allow both trips. I have heard from Alison Howell at Foot Trails and I am strongly leaning toward her Cotswold Guided Tour with a few days before and after in London.

Posted by
1286 posts

Yolanda - A good friend of mine highly recommends Footpath Holidays. You may want to check their website. They seem very reasonably priced.