England & Scotland ~
The Lake District, Cotswolds & Scottish Highlands
August 6-17, 2017 • 12 Days • $4900-$5200
Over the years, no other WAI Adventure has taken more travelers abroad than our trips to England, the country Shakespeare referred to as “this scepter’d isle” (Richard II).
Now accepting Early Bird deposits on this potential 2017 tour! If 25 Early Birds are received for this departure, we’ll add it to the official 2017 Schedule. An Early Bird is a $50 deposit that holds your spot during the planning stages of a trip, when we don’t have a set itinerary or dates. Early Birds are always refundable!
Something about the bucolic panoramas, historic sites, traditional way of life, and familiar British names seems to strike a nerve in the heart of the American traveler. So much of who we are as a nation is tied to Great Britain — we share a similar system of law and government, a common language (sort of), parallel cultures; in short, an inextricably linked heritage.
We invite you to join us as we explore the countries that gave us Shakespeare and Robert Louis Stevenson, Henry VIII and Robert the Bruce, Peter Rabbit and Alice in Wonderland! Come walk with us over stone bridges and past thatch-roofed houses in the Cotswolds; through the green, rolling hills and stone-fenced pastures of Beatrix Potter’s beloved Lake District; over heather-clad hills and across Scottish seas to the historic, windswept Isle of Iona; and along the streets of charming Edinburgh, one of our favorite walking cities on the planet!
This is a draft itinerary. Revisions are currently being made, and an updated itinerary with dates and pricing will be available soon!
- All land travel as outlined
- Superior tourist-class (3 star) or better hotels
- Ferry roundtrip from Oban to Isle of Mull and Mull to Isle of Iona
- All breakfasts and a selection of dinners
- 7 walks as listed
- IVV walking credit fees (sanctions applied for)
- WAI guide service throughout (2 guides)
- Cultural & historic expertise of a local guide throughout
- All tipping for local guides and coach drivers
- Clotted cream tea – Chipping Campden, England
- Cruises on Lake Windermere – Lake District, England
- Glencoe Visitor Centre – Scotland
- Iona Abbey – Scotland
- Bannockburn Heritage Centre & Battlefield – Scotland
- 24-hour hop-on-hop-off bus pass – Edinburgh, Scotland
- More fun and interesting stops than we can list!
- Beatrix Potter’s house in Hill Top – Lake District, England (DAY 5)
“Trip exceeded our expectations…WAI is a unique tour company—good blend of walking & sightseeing…Another really great experience with WAI—Thank You!”
-George & Trish N; Sequim, WA
“I thought Tim & Jeannette were great guides. I loved our time in Glencoe when Tim sang. Loved the Tattoo.”
-Rebecca H; Portland, OR
“Good walks. Good balance of planned activity and free time. Nice people. Well organized.”
-Margie H; Bellingham, WA
“Lorna, the local guide did an excellent job and Tim & Jeannette kept us in the know and on schedule.”
-Al & Sharon M; Ellicott City, MD
“Loved all the walks—even the challenges!..I love walking the trails of England—nice to be led this time. Iona was special since I hadn’t been there before.”
-Shirley L; Renton, WA
“The walks, experience with other walkers. Interesting itineraries.”
-Penny V; Colorado Springs, CO
“Loved travelling with Tim & Jeannette!!”
-Linda P; Anchorage, AK
“Great leaders, well-planned, former friends, interesting places.”
-Dick & Margaret B; Lawrenceville, GA
“I really enjoyed the variety in the hotels and how they were located in small towns (The Winnock), beautiful locations (Ballachulish), or convenient to other things (Stratford & Edinburgh)…walking through the barley fields, heather, Scottish pines, Iona, highlands, Edinburgh; loved the small group idea—so much better than travelling with 50 people.”
-Susan H; Advance, NC
“It far exceeded my expectations, and to be able to share this trip with my family was the best thing ever!! Meeting new people; great tour guides & leadership.”
-Ginny B; Tipp City, OH
“The accommodations and food exceeded my expectations. The food was outstanding. I enjoyed the meals we ate together as a group…I enjoyed being paired with my roommate. We were compatible and had come great times together.”
-Lynne B; Lewiston, ID
“Great guides, nice walks, and little extras that make a tour fun. Like minded travelers! And intelligent, well-traveled people that can deal with most anything.”
-Patty Y; Lake Oswego, OR
“All walks were wonderful. So much to explore…I particularly enjoyed the Cotswolds and Islands of Mull and Iona.”
-Sharon M; Renton, WA
“I couldn’t get enough of the Cotswold. The grains and open fields were my favorite, not to mention lunch on a hill…Love the small group. I would have felt less at ease with the usual 50+…This was a surprising value in travel—I can’t imagine trying to organize a vacation like this on our own.”
-Ben B; Tipp City, OH
“This is a smaller tour group, well organized, good guides, variety of walks/places to visit. Fun, easy-going people…What a great trip this was! Love how low key, but good natured & informative the guides were. Lovely scenery.”
-Dana N; Issaquah, WA
“Fabulous tour of England and Scotland far exceeding expectations. Thank you, WAI!…Malcolm’s hikes were fabulous. His choices were excellent making the Cotswolds a highlight…WAI guides were excellent. Nothing like touring with an owner/heir.”
-Marion N; Woodinville, WA
“Tim & Jim were wonderful. We particularly appreciated Tim’s clear & concise explanations about times, etc. He’s gifted…Loved the itinerary/very organized & well planned.”
-Ted & Mary Jo G; Haddonfield, NJ
“Highlights included Isle of Iona—just breathtaking. Tour is extremely organized; tour locations topnotch; loved hearing music while riding on bus. Great tour—hope to be able to do this again. Would highly recommend WAI!!”
-Martha T; Clemmens, NC
Tour Pace: 1 2 3 4 5
Walk Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5
Tim & Jeannette Friesen. Tim serves as a high school music teacher in Molalla, Oregon, while Jeannette works part time in the WAI office helping travelers over the phone and generally keeping the rest of us organized. Tim and Jeannette currently lead summertime walking adventures, primarily in Europe, and are looking forward to the time they can leave their day jobs behind and hit the trail on a year-round basis.
This is a draft itinerary. Revisions are currently being made, and an updated itinerary with dates and pricing will be available soon!
DAY 1: Arrive St. Andrew-Cheshire, England (D)
We rendezvous in merry ole England today at a lovely hotel in a quiet rural area south of Manchester International Airport. The hotel is only 8 miles from the airport. Taxis are therefore the easiest way for you to arrive at the hotel. Early arrivals will find a number of walking trails to explore from the hotel, which is a golf and spa resort set on 270 acres of gardens and woodland. The Bollin Valley Way walk, for example, takes you by a 12th century Norman chapel and 18th century Prestbury Hall. Be sure to return in time for the Welcome Orientation this evening at 6 pm, followed by a “Get-Acquainted” dinner.
DAY 2: St. Andrew-Cheshire – Stratford Upon Avon (BD)
Badby English Countryside Walk – 5 km, rated 2B
We head south today toward the small, rural community of Badby. A lovely walk here through woods and across meadows takes us to a charming country chapel with connections to the George Washington family. After a stop at Fawsley Manor, venerable home of nobility in centuries past, we finish with a pint at the pub that serves as our finish point. Our home for the next two nights is nearby Stratford-Upon-Avon, home of the Bard, William Shakespeare.
DAY 3: Activities from Stratford Upon Avon (B)
Cotswolds Walk – 7 km, rated 2B
We spend the day in the Cotswolds, an area renowned for its honey-colored limestone buildings, thatch-roofed homes, and graceful stone bridges arching across lazy, wandering streams. Walking trails abound, and we are excited to present a new route led by our walking friends from Badby. Following our Cotswold walk, we visit delightful towns with names like Bourton-on-the-Water and Chipping Campden. The afternoon highlight is a proper cream tea in Chipping Campden, a uniquely southern English delight not available as we move north.
DAY 4: Stratford Upon Avon – Ambleside (BD)
Windermere Lakeside Stroll – 8 km, rated 1B
We leave Stratford today and continue our Adventure in the beautiful Lake Country of northern England. The quaint town of Ambleside, on the northern shore of Lake Windermere, is home for the next two nights. Lake Windermere is England’s largest lake, and a pleasant walk along its idyllic shores, punctuated by three lake cruises, provides this afternoon’s introduction to the Lake Country.
DAY 5: Activities in the Lake District (B)
Bowness & Beatrix Lake Country Walk – 10 km, rated 3B
A brief morning ferry ride takes us back across Lake Windermere to start today’s hike. Our route climbs from the lake along country lanes and through tiny communities to the village of Hill Top, home of beloved children’s author Beatrix Potter. From Hill Top, we return to Lake Windermere through more pastoral panoramas, winding past stone fences and among groups of complacent grazing sheep. We cross the lake again reluctantly, leaving with the sense that we’ve discovered a place where time stands still.
Optional activity: A short self-guided tour (well-informed docents are on hand) through Beatrix Potter’s home and garden may be available mid-walk.
DAY 6: Ambleside – Pitlochry, Scotland (BD)
Lake Grasmere Walk – 6 km, rated 1B
This morning’s walk circles neighboring Lake Grasmere, and offers a trademark serenity that has long drawn writers and poets like William Wordsworth. Wordsworth was England’s Poet Laureate during the later years of his life, but earlier earned a reputation as one of the “Lake Poets” while living with his sister Dorothy in Dove Cottage in Grasmere. Leaving the Lake District, we head north for Scotland and the highland town of Pitlochry.
DAY 7: Pitlochry – Ballachulish (BD)
Aviemore Highland Trail – 11 km, rated 3B
Today’s Scottish trek near Aviemore takes us across heather-clad hills and through deeply wooded dales with enchanting highland panoramas. This afternoon we visit Glencoe, a place of stark highland beauty with a tale of poignant clan treachery and tragedy. A film in the visitor center provides insight into the 17th century “Murder under Trust” that was perpetrated here between the McDonalds and the Campbells.
DAY 8: Ballachulish – Craignure (BD)
An excursion to the Hebrides Islands forms the centerpiece of today’s activities. We cross to the Isle of Mull by ferry, then motor through remote terrain in the shadow of the volcanic peak, Ben More. From the tiny hamlet of Fionnphort, a pedestrian ferry takes us to the historic, windswept Isle of Iona —6th century birthplace of Christianity in Scotland. Often attacked by marauding Vikings attracted by the riches of the abbey, the isle offers present-day explorers the singular sensation of wandering this beautiful, isolated corner of the Hebrides. We overnight on the island of Mull.
DAY 9: Craignure – Aberfoyle (BD)
Our route turns east towards Edinburgh this morning, crossing by ferry to Oban then stopping en route at Bannockburn Battlefield to retrace the 14th century heroics of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce in this dramatic chapter of Scottish history. We overnight in the Lock Lomond area, one of Scotland’s many highland lakes, in a lovely forested setting. Take a swim in the pool, book a spa treatment, or go for a hike on one of the local trails along the lake.
DAY 10: Aberfoyle – Edinburgh (B)
Historic Edinburgh Trail – 10 km, rated 2A
Positioned on a strategic rock, Edinburgh Castle has been used as a fortress since the 7th century, bearing the brunt of this city’s turbulent history. Our all-day walk in delightful Edinburgh features the Castle; the Palace of Holyroodhouse; and the Royal Mile, including the John Knox House, Deacon Brodie’s Pub, Greyfriar’s Bobby, and a host of other only-in-Edinburgh attractions (admissions not included)! After dinner on your own this evening, we rendezvous to attend the world-famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo, an outstanding outdoor cornucopia of performing arts presented on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle.
DAY 11: Activities in Edinburgh (BD)
Enjoy this “bonus day” to explore Edinburgh. You’ll be provided with a 24-hour hop-on-hop-off bus pass to return to highlights you didn’t have time for yesterday or explore new corners of fascinating Edinburgh. There is always an abundance of attractions available simply by strolling the Royal Mile. Later this evening, we compare notes, swap stories, and reminisce about the Adventure at our Farewell Dinner.
DAY 12: Depart from Edinburgh (B)
Our travels together in Great Britain end today with a drive to the airport outside Edinburgh. We return home with new walking friends, fond memories of our adventures, and a greater appreciation of the history, culture, and scenery of the England’s Lake District, Cotswolds, and the Scottish Highlands!
How do I lock in my place on this Adventure?
Call or mail in your Early Bird ($50) to save your spot! A maximum of 30 travelers will be accepted on this Adventure.
First Time Traveler Savings
In appreciation for joining us for your first Walking Adventure, we offer new travelers a $400 credit on international tours!
Group Travel Credit
Start a Group of 5 or more to receive a discount on this Adventure!
Check out more information on the Group Travel Program.
What about the walks?
We generally walk at a pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. In most cases, we are not “strolling.” We are walking at a relaxed but steady pace. Your experience will be significantly affected by your level of physical fitness. The success of the walks is therefore predicated upon walkers having this minimum level of fitness. If not walking regularly at home, we strongly recommend that you make a priority of “training” beforehand in order to both enjoy the trip and avoid medical issues due to overexertion. If you have questions about your ability to participate, please talk with our office at 1.800.779.0353.
We have adopted a walk difficulty rating system that is similar to one used by the American Volkssport Association (AVA), which contains a numeric indicator for trail incline and an alpha indicator for trail terrain. The explanation for this system is presented below.
1. Very small hills or very little stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: up to 200 feet.
2. Some moderate hills and stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 200-1000 feet.
3. Some significant hill or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 1000-2000 feet.
4. Lots of significant hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 2000-3500 feet.
5. Many steep hills. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: more than 3500 feet.
A. Almost entirely on pavement.
B. A significant part of the route is on well-groomed trails with very few obstacles.
C. A significant part of the route is on somewhat difficult terrain (rocky / rooted paths or soft sand).
D. A significant part of the route is on very difficult terrain.
E. The majority of the route is on very difficult terrain.
What happens next?
We are currently developing the itinerary for this Adventure. Once the itinerary is released, we will accept registration deposits ($500) to save space.
If you have Early Birded with a refundable $50 deposit, your spot on the tour will be held for 2 weeks after the itinerary is published while you make a decision on whether or not you’d like to register. If you decide not to join us for this tour, your Early Bird can be refunded or transferred to another tour.
For now, we invite you to enjoy perusing this itinerary—a travel experience dripping with the scenery and culture of Great Britain! Then call us to lock in your spot and get ready to explore the backroads and country lanes of England and Scotland in 2017!