Owing to this year’s travel restrictions, the UK has leapt into the lead of popular travel destinations. As the nation has started to explore its home turf, there’s been a realisation that holidays closer to home don’t have to mean compromise.
The UK has also seen a surge in people wanting to stay fit by exploring on foot or by bike so our self-guided walking and cycling tours offer just the thing for outdoor lovers. As well as discovering the country’s national parks, cultural highlights and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, our self-guided tours let you explore at your own pace and travel safely in your own personal bubble. Cycle among quintessential Cotswolds towns and villages, walk along the iconic Jurassic Coast or venture into the rugged Scottish Highlands to uncover the folklore of the Loch Ness Monster.
Brace yourself for some of the most inspiring experiences with our selection of UK destinations to explore in 2021.
1. The Cotswolds
Spanning six counties, the Cotswolds is the second largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the UK. The region is synonymous with rolling hills, pretty meadows, and sleepy villages of honey-coloured cottages. Both our Classic Cotswold Cycle and the Cotswolds self-guided walking tours steer you in the direction of all the region’s best bits. You’ll visit historical manor houses with National Trust gardens, and sites such as Sudeley Castle as well as having time to amble around the Cotswold towns and villages of Broadway, Chipping Campden, Bourton-on-the-Water, and Winchcombe.
2. The Jurassic Coast
If you love history, wildlife, and dramatic scenery, it doesn’t get much better than the Jurassic Coast. This beautiful region is England’s first Natural World Heritage Site and is up there with some of the greatest destinations in the world. Its geological landscape consists of rocks and fossils dating back to the Jurassic, Triassic and Cretaceous periods, more than 185 million years ago – pretty impressive! On the Jewels of the Jurassic Coast self-guided Walk, you’ll discover the history of Iron Age forts and castles and walk through ancient woodlands and along chalk cliffs where you’re presented with uninterrupted views of the coastline. Other highlights of the tour include Durdle Door, the nature reserve of Durlston Country Park, and an overnight stay in the luxury Haven Hotel and Spa on the Sandbanks Peninsula.
Wales is a small country that packs a punch with its mountains, river valleys, and rugged coast – a true walker’s paradise. On our Walk the Welsh Highland Railway tour, the self-guided routes take you on a fascinating journey through Snowdonia National Park. As well as exploring the untamed wilderness, you’ll scale Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales. This tour includes travelling on the Welsh Highland Railway, a ridge hike with views across Anglesey, and a trip to the village of Beddgelert and the medieval castle town of Caernarfon. The North East Wales Heritage Trail leads you among many of Wales’s historic sites to explore hill forts and castles, medieval towns, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal.
4. Northern England
Arguably the most famous UNESCO World Heritage Site in Britain, Hadrian’s Wall is an incredible 73 miles long that took six years to build. Walking the Best of Hadrian’s Wall tour takes you on a journey from west to east, where you can take in the sights of Roman forts and the much-photographed Sycamore Gap. This self-guided walk rewards you with views of the Northumberland Coast and the Lake District. On the final day, you’ll head towards Corbridge, visiting St Oswald’s Church and Aydon Castle en route. Our Walking the Northumberland Coast tour lets you see more of the county’s dramatic coastline as you hike from Cresswell to Berwick-upon-Tweed, discovering the turbulent history at the castles of Bamburgh, Alnwick, Warkworth and Dunstanburgh.
Possessing the wildest of landscapes, Scotland is a country of great magnitude when it comes to unadulterated beauty. From its remote Highlands to its multifaceted history, around every corner, there’s something to amaze you. The landscape surrounding Loch Ness lends itself perfectly to our cycling trip in the area, which lets you immerse yourself in the local nature, history and culture. During the tour, you’ll uncover the legends of Loch Ness and have the opportunity to spot a great mix of wildlife such as ospreys, golden eagles, red deer, dolphins and even puffins, if you’re lucky.
If you prefer to explore on foot, embark on the Loch Ness and Caledonian Canal Self-Guided Walk to venture into the remote scenery of the Loch where you’ll encounter thundering waterfalls and hushed forests where the only sounds you’ll hear are nature’s calls. The Scottish Highlands provide a dramatic backdrop to the Caledonian Canal and the lochs and rivers that teem with lush flora and fauna.
6. The Lake District
In 2017 the Lake District National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its landscapes have been the inspiration for artists and famous literary figures for centuries. Overlooked by imposing fells and mountains, its lakes and valleys make it one of the most visited national parks in the country. Our Literary Self-Guided Walking in the Lake District trip, lets you delve deeper into the area’s history as you explore the towns and villages of the South Lakes. You’ll visit the Beatrix Potter Gallery at Hawkshead, the village of Coniston, which inspired Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons, and Dove Cottage at Grasmere where Wordsworth once lived and penned many of his literary works.
To explore more of the UK and to choose your next destination for 2021, view our full range of Self Guided Walking Holidays in the UK, Europe and further afield.