Great Britain has long been a favorite destination with Americans. Over the years, no other WAI Adventure has taken more travelers abroad than our trips to what Shakespeare referred to as "this scepter’d isle" (Richard II). Something about the bucolic panoramas, historic sites, traditional way of life, and familiar 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, parallel cultures; in short, an inextricably linked heritage.
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August l 12 Days l Approx: $4700-$5000
Status: Still in the planning stages.
We are putting together a final itinerary with set dates and pricing. In the meantime, you can check out the Daily Itinerary tab to see our planning itinerary.
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Note: Below is our planning itinerary. We are putting together a final itinerary with set dates and pricing.
Medieval Chester Walk - 10 km, rated 1
We rendezvous in merry ole England today at the Manchester Airport. A WAI representative will meet you and arrange for transportation to the nearby Roman town of Chester, our destination for this evening. After checking into the hotel there, you have the opportunity to unwind after the long transatlantic flight on an easy walk that highlights the medieval and Roman heritage of this picturesque Cheshire town. We’ll gather again this evening to preview the Adventure that lies ahead at tonight’s "Get Acquainted" dinner!
Badby English Countryside Walk - 10 km, rated 2
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. A Shakespearean play at one of the local theaters provides a tempting optional evening activity for either of our next two evenings.
Cotswolds Walk - distance and rating to be announced
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 not offered on previous walking adventures. Following our Cotswold walk, we visit delightful towns with names like Stow-on-the-Wold and Chipping Campden. The afternoon highlight is a proper clotted cream tea in Chipping Campden, a uniquely southern English delight that is not available as we move north.
Windermere Lakeside Stroll - 8 km, rated 1+ (unsanctioned)
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 our home for the next two nights. Lake Windermere is England’s largest lake. A pleasant walk along its idyllic shores, punctuated by three lake cruises, provides this afternoon’s introduction to the Lake Country.
Bowness & Beatrix Lake Country Walk - 11 km, rated 3
A brief morning ferry ride takes us back across Lake Windermere to start today’s trail. The 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 contented-looking 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 is available mid-walk. Estimated price: $15
Ambleside Amble - 11 km, rated 3+/4 - OR - Lake Grasmere Walk - 5 km, rated 1 (unsanctioned)
Our second morning in the Lake Country offers two walk possibilities. The challenge walk is a difficult ascent from Ambleside into the surrounding hills for a rugged and invigorating exposure to the Lake Country, and some fantastic views. Those looking for a less rigorous walk will enjoy an excellent 5 kilometer walk through the village of Grasmere and around the lovely lake by the same name. Scotland is our final objective today; our hotel is a highland hideaway picturesquely perched above lovely Loch Rannoch.
Aviemore Highland Trail - 11 km, rated 3
Today’s Scottish trek near Aviemore takes us through woods and across heather-clad hills 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.
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 a beautiful, isolated corner of the Hebrides.
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 arrive in Edinburgh for a 3-night stay and the culmination of our Adventure in one of our favorite cities!
Historic Edinburgh Trail - 10 km, rated 2
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.
This is a "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. Our visit occurs during the Arts Festival, so there’s always an abundance of attractions available simply by strolling the Royal Mile. Later this evening, we’ll compare notes, swap stories, and reminisce about the Adventure at our Farewell Dinner.
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 English Cotswolds, Lake District, and Scottish Highlands!
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