In Demand: 7 UK Tours Worth Booking EarlyAlthough the UK is going through some ...interesting times... at the moment we should remember that this island nation has a lot to offer. Those who have visited the UK in the past will know that the regional accents can change markedly over a short distance, that the weather can turn from beautiful to brutal in a matter of minutes and that this collection of nations is home to some of the most inspiring walking and cycling trails in the world. We thought it would be useful to provide a breakdown of popular UK walking and cycling tours that, due to their popularity, should be booked early to avoid disappointment.
The West Highland Way, ScotlandAt the heart of Macs Adventure is the West Highland Way. This was our first tour, and since our start in 2003, we have had thousands of customers experiencing the glory of this classic hike. Scotland's best long distance trail attracts walkers from far and wide. Why? In addition to the invigorating highland scenery, people love the warm hospitality and camaraderie that exists between walkers on the route. This is one of the things that makes walking the West Highland Way so popular year after year. We may be unable to guarantee the weather, but we are absolutely confident that you will have a great time, a laugh, and maybe a drink, with a few agreeable Scots along the way. The evolution of the trail is exhilarating. Starting in the leafy suburbs of Glasgow, emerging into rolling pastoral farmland, along the east shore of Loch Lomond, before ascending through Crianlarich and Tyndrum onto the Rannoch Moor. The dramatic and rugged scenery indicates you are entering the highlands which has given this stunning walk its name. [caption id="attachment_21123" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Buachaille Etive Mor on Rannoch Moor[/caption]
The Coast to Coast, EnglandAlfred Wainwright's legacy lives on in the form of the Coast to Coast, a walk that he first envisioned in the 1960s. Although Wainwright's route has been revised over the years the concept remains the same: A crossing of England from coast to coast, passing through three national parks (Lake District National Park, Yorkshire Dales National Park, North York Moors National Park). The Coast to Coast grants a beautiful snapshot of the north of England. Walking eastwards you navigate the peaks and troughs of the Lake District which soon give way to the immaculate farmland and dry-stone walls so typical of the Yorkshire Dales. As your trip nears completion, you arrive on the North York Moors where swathes of purple heather stretch far in all directions. Reaching the coast will see a feeling of achievement wash over you, and is likely a moment that will be remembered for a long time to come. For a merry account of friendship and discovery on the Coast to Coast, see this piece which was featured in the the Huffington Post. [caption id="attachment_21124" align="aligncenter" width="917"] The Coast to Coast Route Passes Through Three National Parks[/caption]
The Highlands and Isle of Skye: Rail & Hike, ScotlandThe inner Hebrides, an archipelago off the west coast of Scotland, comprise of 36 inhabited islands of which Skye is the largest. Connected to the mainland in 1995 when the road bridge was finally opened, Skye is by far the most visited of the inner Hebrides thanks mainly to the scenery and natural wonders. This is the island that is home to the Old Man of Storr, the Quiraing and the Cuillin - some of Scotland's finest geological wonders. Although Skye is considered by most to be the highlight there is much, much more to this tour. The Highlands and Isle of Skye Rail & Hike is one of those 'special' itineraries that surprises and delights in unexpected ways: Travelling between locations is actually one of the highlights! This rail & hike tour features some of the most scenic rail journeys in the world. The West Highland Line aboard the Jacobite steam train was made famous as the 'Hogwarts Express' in the popular Harry Potter films, while the remote North Highland Line is a section of track considered by many to be the most spectacular in all of the UK. The walking is nothing short of fantastic in this part of the world, and for those still unconvinced this tour also provides the chance to visit Loch Ness, home to Scotland's largest mythical beast. [caption id="attachment_21125" align="aligncenter" width="900"] The Jacobite Steam Train[/caption]
Cycling in the Heart of The Cotswolds, EnglandDesignated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1966, the Cotswolds are quintessential rural England. The idyllic image of England that people hold in their heads is based on the Cotswolds. Think hedgerows, country lanes, rolling hills, farmland and small villages made up of stone houses complete with beautiful gardens. Our Cycling in the Heart of the Cotswalds tour is a leisurely, week-long amble through the beautiful region. There is a range of options to choose from each day, from exploring Shakespeare's birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon, to relaxing in the tranquil water gardens at Sezincote. The Cotswolds are home to some terrific pubs too; from gastro pubs with high quality menus to traditional pubs where you can find real ales and independently brewed ciders. [caption id="attachment_21132" align="aligncenter" width="900"] The Cotswolds is Full of Beautiful Gardens[/caption]
The Lake District Trail, EnglandThere are few places in the UK as inspiring as The Lake District. The literary connections to the place are testament to this: from Beatrix Potter to Coleridge and Wordsworth. When you think of their work, you see the influence that The Lakes has had on our literary heritage. The Lake District Trail is an adventure through the heart of The Lake District that starts in Ambleside on the shore of Lake Windermere, and finishes in the market town of Keswick. The tour takes in gentle valleys, steep mountain passes, hidden tarns, and mirror-like lakes on a route that is, as our pathfinder put it, "beautifully quiet". The tour is graded as moderate to strenuous with a total distance of 77 km but this makes relaxing in the hand picked B&Bs, country inns, and guesthouses all the more enjoyable as it feels as though you have earned your rest and reward at the end of the day. The eating around the region is fantastic, with high quality, local cuisine readily available - and our choice of accommodations reflects this. [caption id="attachment_21127" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Looking Down on Keswick with Derwentwater Lake in the Distance.[/caption]
Pembrokeshire Coast Path, WalesThe UK's coastline is varied and - although it is mostly accessible - generally the word that best describes the continuous coastline is rugged. Coastal towns, headlands, peninsulas, bays, coves and beaches are incessantly battered by the waves rolling in from the Atlantic, North Sea and the English Channel. Some of the nicest stretches of the UK coast are to be found in Wales. Places such as Abersoch, Aberdfyi, and Anglesea have beautiful stretches of coast, but if you are looking for golden beaches, Pembrokeshire in the south-west of the country has the biggest variation in coastal landscapes. The Pembrokeshire Coast Path follows the jagged coastline for 299 km in total. We split the path into 3 sections, each of which pass by sleepy fishing villages, secluded beaches and hidden coves, as well as the crumbling remains of castles. Keep an eye out for the marine life that thrives along the Pembrokeshire coast including seals and a range of sea birds such as puffins. [caption id="attachment_21128" align="aligncenter" width="900"] A Snapshot of Wales' Pembrokeshire Coast[/caption]
Hadrian's Cycleway, EnglandHadrian's Wall is one of the most famous tourist attractions in the north of England. Constructed by the Romans between 122 and 128 AD, there are a few sections of the wall that are still standing. Hadrian's Cycleway offers relaxed cycling with magnificent views as you cycle westward and is the perfect way to discover Britain's Roman frontier, Hadrian's Wall and the stunning Northumberland countryside. The tour begins in Bowness-on-Solway, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the Solway Firth, before cutting through the heart of Hadrian’s Wall Country and finally reaching Tynemouth on the East Coast. Enjoy the freedom of biking on quiet roads and traffic free cycle paths as you explore these beautiful landscapes. [caption id="attachment_21133" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Sycamore Gap in the Northumberland National Park[/caption]
Year after year we have a few individuals who are dismayed when we are unable to secure the first-choice accommodations on their preferred dates. We therefore advise a bit of urgency, as to avoid disappointment.Wondering about the best times to travel? It really comes down to personal preference: Do you enjoy the visually stunning changing of the seasons and the reds, auburns and shades of orange that come with it? Or do you prefer to walk in warmer weather? We expect 2017 to be another busy year for UK tours so enquire now and let us help you in starting to plan your 2017 UK adventure.