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New holidays

We’re excited about our new holidays for this coming season, and we hope you will be too, as they explore some very alluring corners of the British Isles, Italy and Spain.

And, in case you missed the holidays that we introduced in 2020, we've included these below.
  • For a relaxing and varied walking break, our holiday along one of the most scenic stretches of the Fife Coastal Path ticks all the right boxes. Easy walking? Check – there are even options to shorten some routes by taking the bus. Inviting places to stay? Check – you’ll receive a warm welcome at the hand-picked accommodation. Plenty of interest along the walking routes? Check – there pretty fishing villages, ruined castles, and a rich history, with links to Macbeth, Macduff and Duncan I, to delve into. Opportunities for nature spotting? Check – keep your eyes peeled for bottle-nose dolphins, grey seals and puffins. A good foodie scene? Check – there’s locally grown and produced food and drink in abundance, including fresh seafood, an award-winning Lowland single malt, and delicious cheeses…
  • The beauty of Snowdonia may not come as much of a surprise – it is, after all, not only a national park, but also a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its fascinating slate landscapes – but what may surprise you are the walking opportunities – specifically how varied and accessible they are. Because, although Snowdonia is synonymous with Mount Snowdon, the highest point in Wales, the area is not all about mountains, and nor is it only suitable for keen walkers. Our walking holiday here is just as much about castles, coast and chocolate-box-pretty villages, and, thanks to the Welsh Highland Railway and the Snowdon Mountain Railway, which help to shorten some of the routes, you can enjoy the varied scenery without too much exertion on your part.
  • Closer to North Africa than the Italian mainland, north-west Sicily possesses a tangible exoticism, with squat, whitewashed houses that bask in the brilliant sunshine; palm trees and other warmth-loving flora; glistening salt pans; and cuisine featuring couscous, locally caught fish, sultanas and other dried fruit. Our walking holiday promises an appealing mix of rugged nature, rich history and cultural interest, with stays in medieval Erice, the remote-feeling Egadi Islands, and the spectacular Zingaro Nature Reserve.
  • The Camino Espiritual variant of the Portuguese Way may be one of numerous pilgrims’ paths leading to the graceful and spiritual city of Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain, but there are three elements which set it apart from the others. First, it’s one of the quieter routes. You’ll still see other pilgrims and enjoy the same camaraderie which makes walking to Santiago de Compostela such a joy, but you’ll have a far more authentic experience. Second, it leads via the beautiful city of Pontevedra, along the fissured coastline of the Rías Baixas, and through Albariño vineyards, revealing several different aspects of Galicia. Third, and most significantly, it features a unique river boat journey, making it the only water-based pilgrim route in the world.
  • Wordsworth, JMW Turner, Beatrix Potter, Arthur Ransome of Swallows and Amazons fame...the list of writers and artists who have found inspiration in the Lake District's awe-inspiring scenery includes many illustrious figures. Our new walking holiday in the Lake District combines great walking with opportunities for cultural visits, taking in Windermere, England’s longest lake; Hawkshead, with its gallery devoted to Beatrix Potter's works; Coniston Water, where Donald Campbell broke the water speed record four times; up to three of the 214 fells detailed in Alfred Wainwright’s seven-volume pictorial guide to the Lake District; and Dove Cottage, Wordsworth's home in Grasmere.
  • The promise of walks along panoramic headlands and cliffs overlooking sandy bays is probably enough to entice you to Jersey. But there's more to the island than that. Indeed, this pocket-sized nation seems to offer a little bit of everything: its proximity to France brings a fascinating fusion of cultures and the sunniest climate in the British Isles; its fresh, local produce is justly famed; and its history is rich and far-reaching, with the legacy of the World War II years being particularly powerful. The scenery is also pleasingly varied – there's a picturesque interior to discover in addition to the alluring coastline – making for diverse and rewarding walking.
  • The Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal is regularly voted the prettiest in the UK, and it's easy to understand why. It's almost entirely rural, with wonderful views of the rugged Brecon Beacons. It is home to a wealth of wildlife, including moorhens, herons and dragonflies; if you're lucky, you may even spot a kingfisher or otter. It is full of colour, be it daffodils in spring, wildflowers in summer, autumn leaves as winter approaches, and brightly painted narrow boats whatever the season. It even has history, in the form of lime kilns and other reminders of its fascinating industrial heritage. Exploring the towpath is, therefore, a real joy but, for added variety, our walking holiday also leads into the surrounding hills, with the option to ascend Pen-y-Fan, the highest peak not only in the Brecon Beacons but in southern Britain as a whole.
 

Holidays that were introduced in 2020

We launched numerous walking holidays and three touring holidays by rail in 2020, and to our mind they deserve a little more time in the spotlight...
  • Think of Wind in the Willows and images of water meadows and lush, tree-lined riverbanks spring to mind. You can explore such bucolic scenery – as well as some quintessentially English villages – on our gentle walking holiday along the Thames Path south of Oxford – it was near here that Kenneth Grahame spent some of his formative years and gained inspiration for his classic book. Throughout the route, vibrant towns – Abingdon, Wallingford and Henley-on-Thames – contrast with tranquil riverbank for a thoroughly enjoyable holiday.
  • Be they of Bamburgh Castle rising out of the dunes, Dunstanburgh’s crumbling fortifications overlooking the sea, broad sweeps of near-deserted sand, or The Alnwick Garden’s floral displays, there’s no shortage of enchanting views on our walking holiday in Northumberland. If ever proof were needed, this holiday demonstrates that walks on the flat can be every bit as rewarding as those up high. Not only are the routes scenic, but they are varied, too, taking you both inland and along the coast, with plenty of time to explore the castles that you pass, as well as the chance to visit the bird colonies on the Farne Islands or atmospheric Lindisfarne (Holy Island).
  • Sir Walter Scott so loved the history, folklore and scenery of the Tweed Valley in the Scottish Borders that he set up home in the region. Certainly, there are many facets to its charm: bucolic, sheep-grazed landscapes; fortified tower houses which hint at a far more turbulent past, when skirmishes between England and Scotland were frequent; birdlife that includes dippers, kingfishers and even ospreys; and historic places of interest ranging from the Roman site of Trimontium, via Melrose Abbey, to Traquair House, one-time refuge of Mary Queen of Scots, all of which you can discover on our easy-going walking holiday.
  • The name of our new walking holiday in East Anglia, Seascapes of North Norfolk, speaks for itself. The unique coastline – a combination of shingle beaches, dunes and marshes – is undoubtedly the overarching theme. But to say that it is the holiday’s sole focus would be wrong: the area is teeming with birdlife, and is peppered with beautiful medieval churches and vast landed estates. There’s also a growing food scene, and all this is topped off with top-notch accommodation of character.
  • ‘The best of both worlds’ is how we’d describe Gargnano, a small waterfront town on Lake Garda’s western shore. D.H. Lawrence went much further and described it as being ‘as beautiful as paradise’. What drew us to Gargnano is its tranquillity – a wonderful contrast to the bustle of other lakeside towns and villages – combined with proximity to everything you associate with Lake Garda: elegant villas, manicured gardens, olive groves, citrus orchards, and ferries plying from harbour to harbour. If the serenity comes as a surprise, so too does the gentle walking – not what you might expect given the topography – but we have found some easy-going yet scenic routes that can be combined with cultural visits to make for a rewarding and memorable holiday.
  • It could be argued that, by combining gentle bike rides through Portugal’s greenest and perhaps most picturesque corner with exploration of some of the country’s oldest towns, our new cycling holiday in the Minho region doesn’t need to tick any more boxes, but why stop there? Easy access? Tick – your first hotel is just over an hour’s taxi ride from Porto Airport. Traffic-free routes? Tick – you cycle mainly on the ecovía, a walking and cycling trail along the banks of the rivers Vez and Lima, a haven for a variety of birds. Good accommodation? Tick – you stay in a boutique riverside hotel, a charmingly renovated farmhouse set in large grounds with a pool, and a converted manor house. Wine? Tick – the Minho is famed for its vinho verde. A good ending? Tick – your last day takes you along the coast, with plenty of time to pause on the pristine beaches.
  • If you were to ask why you should choose the Peneda-Gerês Mountains in northern Portugal for your walking holiday, we wouldn’t respond with one reason, but three. First, this area has been designated Portugal’s only national park, and deservedly so. Think jagged mountains, serene tarns, ancient oak forests and high plateaus strewn with granite boulders, all of which make for spectacular walking. Second, there’s a palpable sense of history and spirituality, as evidenced by the numerous chapels and sanctuaries, not to mention the ancient pilgrims’ trails and even a Roman road that you walk along. Third, there’s real variety in the accommodation, from a traditional village house to a restful spa hotel, via a palatial pousada housed in a 12th-century monastery.
  • We’ve called our newest walking holiday in central Europe Slovenia’s Enchanted Valley, which we think is a rather apt title. The valley in question is Logarska Dolina, at the foot of the 2,000-metre-high peaks of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, and it’s one which will bewitch you with its quiet splendour as you enjoy gentle walks amid the velvet-green meadows and coniferous woodland surrounding the restful Hotel Plesnik.
  • Although its colours are instantly beguiling – creamy stone, a rich red soil, silver-green olive groves and an expansive blue sky – much of the charm of Salento in southernmost Puglia lies hidden from view. This could be down to centuries of history – the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and Spanish all left their mark; it might be due to the genuine warmth of the people; or it could be the fact that this bucolic region, with its rural simplicity and slow pace of life, so richly repays the patient traveller. Whichever it is, this journey on foot, from the tip of Italy’s stiletto ‘heel’ to its easternmost point, reveals Salento’s secluded soul.
  • Archetypal Norwegian scenery of islands and fjords. Gentle yet panoramic walking routes. Art Nouveau architecture that makes it arguably the most picturesque town in Norway. An emerging foodie scene. A high-quality waterfront hotel. Five very good reasons to choose a walking holiday based in Ålesund, on the northern fringes of Norway’s fjords. You probably don’t need any more but, for good measure, you can also throw in the chance to take a cruise down famous Geirangerfjord, to visit the bird island of Runde, and to explore the town by kayak, not something you can do in most urban centres...
  • If you’ve never been to Slovenia before, surprise is likely to be predominant reaction to the places you discover on our journey by rail across Slovenia from the Alps to the Adriatic. Surprise at the beauty of the Triglav National Park, the great lakes of Bled and Bohinj, and the lush valleys watered by implausibly clear rivers. Surprise at the wines produced in Slovenia’s ‘secret Tuscany’. Surprise at the vivacious capital, Ljubljana, with its series of iconic bridges and buzzing restaurant scene. Surprise at the tiny sliver of coastline, where pretty Piran takes centre stage. And, above all, surprise that Slovenia still remains largely under the tourist radar.
  • The Romans’ rich architectural legacy is the overarching theme of our new journey by rail across southern France, which has more than enough Roman monuments – all superbly preserved – to rival Italy. Let yourself be transported back to the time of centurions and Caesars, gladiators and chariot races as you discover sections of the Via Domitia, the Roman road which once stretched right across southern France; two remarkably intact amphitheatres; Nîmes’ gleaming temple, the Maison Carrée; and the aqueduct spanning the River Gardon which is testimony to the Romans’ engineering prowess.
  • The name of our journey by rail along the Bay of Biscay, Flavours of Bilbao, San Sebastián & Bordeaux, speaks for itself. Bilbao has morphed from industrial centre to gastronomic hub, while San Sebastián, close to the border with France, boasts a staggering number of Michelin stars – and pintxo (tapas) bars – for its size. Last but by no means least, Bordeaux is, of course, synonymous with world-famous wines. But it’s not all about food. Bilbao is home to the Guggenheim Museum, whose exterior is as arresting as the artworks inside, and the world’s oldest transporter bridge. San Sebastián’s other draws include its Belle Epoque architecture and sandy beach, while Bordeaux is a place for museum visits and leisurely strolls along its elegant 18th-century boulevards.
 

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