Wales & Cornwall
Nature & Coastal Walking at its Best
September 16-28, 2018 • 13 Days • $4990
With New Traveler Discount: $4590**
Join us to experience the unending beauty and multi-layered historical and cultural mosaic of this delightful, rural corner of the British Isles!
**NEW Traveler Discount: New Travelers receive up to $200 off domestic trips and up to $400 off international tours.
Nature walks are the star of the show for this Adventure—shady forests and grazing sheep at pasture, stiles and kissing gates to navigate, plunging waterfalls and placid lily ponds, and above all, glorious sea cliff walks in both Wales and Cornwall.
Along the way, we learn about the deep Celtic heritage here and resistance to England’s thirst for conquest—first Saxon then Norman, then the medieval monarchies of the English throne. We will sample some of the local specialties, and will likely become embroiled in the long-standing debate between Devon and Cornwall about the proper way to spread a scone for cream tea—jam first or clotted cream?! If this kind of drama sounds like fun, we invite you to join us in Wales & Cornwall!
- All land travel by motorcoach as outlined
- Superior tourist-class or better hotel accommodations (3 or 4 star)
- 19 meals: 12 breakfasts and 7 dinners as denoted (BD)
- All listed walks
- Fees for walking credit (if IVV approved)
- Cultural and historical expertise of local and national guides throughout program
- WAI guide service throughout (2 guides)
- All tipping for national and local guides and coach drivers
- Pricing is based on double occupancy, a supplement is available for single travelers: $825
- Land’s End – Cornwall
- St. Michael’s Mount tour – Cornwall
- Lanhydrock House – Cornwall
- Traditional Cornish Cream Tea – Cornwall
- Plymouth Gin Distillery tour – Devon
- Dartmoor National Park – Devon
- Cardiff Water Bus cruise – Wales
- Big Pit National Coal Museum – Wales
- Pembrokeshire Coast National Park – Wales
- National Slate Museum – Wales
- Caernarfon Castle guided tour – Wales
- Welsh Highland Railway from Caernarfon to Porthmadog – Wales
- Pontcysyllte Aqueduct – Wales
- Plus more fun and educational stops than we can list!
“WAI is a premier outfit and meets my expectations of how I prefer to tour. I’ve enjoyed every tour we’ve taken.”
-Judi B; Goodyear, AZ
“I don’t have to think about details after I meet the tour leaders and the leaders themselves are always well prepared. I have met most of the WAI personnel and I find them all terrific!”
-Robert S; Portland, OR
“I have never been disappointed in any aspect of a Walking Adventures trip. The trips always exceed my expectations.”
-Thelma G; Richmond, IN
“It is a privilege to be a part of this quality experience. The opportunity of enjoying the authentic local culture and rich heritage expands perspectives and worldviews.”
-LaVae R; Cresswell, OR
Tour Pace: 1 2 3 4 5
Walk Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5
Dan Friesen has been guiding tours for over 20 years on all 7 continents. He has hiked the Great Wall of China, hobnobbed with penguins in Antarctica, felt the spray of Iguazu Falls in Brazil, yodeled from the heights of the Swiss Alps, and walked the ruins of majestic Machu Picchu. Dan will be accompanied by an assistant on this tour. He looks forward to hiking the cliffside trails and exploring the village culture of Wales & Cornwall with you!
Day 1-Sep 16: Arrive Wells, England (D)
Travelers arriving into England today and rendezvous at our hotel near Bristol Airport. We are based in the delightful cathedral city of Wells directly across from the west front of Wells Cathedral, a 12th century gothic architectural gem! Early arrivals will find a stroll through town, perhaps through the grounds of the Bishop’s Palace, to be a wonderfully British way to unwind from a long journey. Join us at the hotel this evening for our welcome orientation followed by dinner.
Day 2-Sep 17: Wells – Carbis Bay, Cornwall (BD)
Today’s route takes us south through Devon County and into Cornwall. Many Americans are aware of the popular British comedy-drama “Doc Martin,” set in the idyllic Cornish fishing village of Port Wenn. We visit this cute-as-a-button hamlet today, and discover that its real name is Port Isaac. A relaxing walking tour takes us by many of the haunts featured in the TV series including Bert Large’s Restaurant, Doc Martin’s house, the Pharmacy, and others. Even those unaware of the show will enjoy their first introduction to Cornwall’s fishing village ambience. We finish the day in a lovely old beachside resort on Carbis Bay, our base for the next two days.
Day 3-Sep 18: Activities from Carbis Bay (B)
Cape Cornwall Walk – 7 km, rated 3B
Land’s End Walk – 2 km, rated 2B
Today’s trail takes us along the South West Coast Path, a contiguous seaside route covering 630 miles of the Cornish coast. Our first walk threads its way along the north coast of Cornwall, providing alternating panoramas of breathtaking seascapes and tin and copper mining ghost towns that provided the backbone of Cornwall’s economy for many centuries. This is the setting for the popular BBC series “Poldark”, a 19th century historical drama shot here on site. Later this afternoon, a stop at Land’s End offers the opportunity for a second cliffside stroll to this westernmost point of mainland England. We finish the day with a relaxing evening back at Carbis Bay.
Day 4-Sep 19: Activities from Carbis Bay (B)
Lizard Peninsula Walk – 8 km, rated 3B
This morning’s excursion takes us across a causeway often covered by high tides to the island fortress aerie of St. Michael’s Mount. The shadowy story of what locals call “the Mount” begins perhaps with a monastery on the Mount in the centuries before the invasion of the Normans (1066 AD). Over the years the Mount’s purpose and ownership varied, though it was always centered on either religion or defense. Whether we walk the causeway or cross by boats depends upon the day’s tide schedule. The afternoon walk begins on the Lizard Peninsula from a village of the same name. This epic cliffside trail takes us to Lizard Point, southernmost point in Great Britain.
Day 5-Sep 20: Carbis Bay – Plymouth, Devon (BD)
Lanhydrock House is the first stop on this non-walking day. Though Downton Abbey was filmed in the north of England, those who have followed the PBS television series will find much that is familiar on a self-guided tour through the elegant house and expansive grounds of this National Trust site considered the grandest house in the county. Not far away, Polperro is a classic fishing village on the south coast of Cornwall that counts smuggling as its second traditional occupation of renown! It’s difficult to imagine a more picture-perfect Cornish setting than Polperro, and we celebrate our last official day in Cornwall with a traditional Cornish tea together. We spend the next two nights in the south Devon city of Plymouth.
Day 6-Sep 21: Activities in Plymouth (B)
Mount Edgcumbe Walk – 6 km, rated 2B (unsanctioned)
The significance of the Port of Plymouth in English and world maritime history is difficult to overstate. From our hotel this morning, we stroll along Hoe Park, paying homage at several memorials, including one to the indomitable Sir Francis Drake, one-time mayor of Plymouth and vice admiral of the British Royal Navy who was widely credited with the 1588 defeat of the supposedly invincible Spanish Armada. Other notable seafaring events and people linked to Plymouth include the Pilgrim’s departure aboard the Mayflower (1620) and Captain James Cook, arguably the supreme mariner in a country of outstanding seamen. A late-morning tour of the Plymouth Gin Distillery enlightens us to another element of British maritime history. The afternoon is free, or consider joining us for an optional walk across the county line on Mount Edgcumbe. Great coastal views and lovely forest trails combine to make this a delightful last walk in Cornwall! Travelers will pay individually for transportation, including a roundtrip pedestrian ferry crossing!
Day 7-Sep 22: Plymouth – Cardiff, Wales (BD)
Dartmoor Bronze Age Walk – 9 km, rated 2B
Leaving Plymouth, today’s main event takes us into one of England’s famous moors – Dartmoor to be precise. Our walk features several Bronze Age sites, including a well-preserved “cist”, a 4000-year-old gravesite built of large flat stones. The highlight of the walk could be Bellever Tor, a hill covered with dramatically differing granite rock formations offering sweeping views of the moor. From Dartmoor, we drive north through Devon County into Wales, where we spend the next two nights in the bustling capital city of Cardiff, one-time coal capital of the world, now a fascinatingly diverse city with a newly renovated waterfront along Cardiff Bay.
Day 8-Sep 23: Activities in Cardiff (B)
Cardiff Past & Present Walk – 9 km, rated 1A
A pleasant water bus cruise down the River Taff connects two contrasting faces of Cardiff featured on today’s walk—gardens, public buildings, and fascinating shopping arcades from the old center of Cardiff lead to a couple miles of walking along Cardiff Bay—the new face of the city—past attractions like the Doctor Who Experience, the Senedd (the new National Assembly of Wales), and the stunning Wales Millennium Centre for performing arts. The afternoon is free to relax in the environs of our hotel, or join us at the Big Pit National Coal Museum to gain an underground understanding of coal mining and its visceral connection with the Welsh psyche!
Day 9-Sep 24: Cardiff – Cardigan, Wales (BD)
Stackpole Head & Bosherston Ponds Walk – 11 km, rated 2B
The tiny hamlet of Bosherston, in Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, marks the start of a walk that combines the pastoral pleasures of tree-lined lily ponds with the panoramic drama of a cliffside walk to Stackpole Head, one of the most spectacular points along the Welsh coastline. Our home for the night is a venerable Pembrokeshire resort perched on a cliff overlooking the sea.
Day 10-Sep 25: Cardigan – Betws-y-Coed, Wales (BD)
Vale of Ffestiniog Walk – 8 km, rated 3C
Leaving Pembrokeshire, we continue into the green vistas of North Wales. Today’s walk follows a delightful nature trail through Snowdonia National Park along a lovely valley best known for its connection with slate mining and the Ffestiniog Railway. Grazing sheep, fields of fern and heather, cliffs of Mount Snowdon, and the passing of the train fill a cornucopia of visual treats on this memorable North Wales trail. The delightful stone-built village of Betws-y-Coed serves as our base for further adventures tomorrow in Snowdonia and North Wales.
Day 11-Sep 26: Activities from Betws-y-Coed (B)
Mining is a livelihood woven deeply into the fabric of Welsh culture. In North Wales, slate was the chief commodity and we learn more about its extraction and the life of miner families with a stop at the National Slate Museum, tucked into the slope of Mount Snowdon in Snowdonia National Park. English hegemony is another theme in Wales, especially in the north. In the 13th century, King Edward I built an “iron ring” of fearsome castles around North Wales. Our visit to Caernarfon Castle, where the first Prince of Wales was christened, is a testament to the tension between the English overlords and freedom-loving Welshmen. Our final activity of the day is a ride on one of Wales’ many nostalgic, narrow-gauge, little trains built first to serve the mines, then restored to share the heritage of Welsh trains with visitors.
Day 12-Sep 27: Betws-y-Coed – Manchester, England (BD)
Thomas Telford Canal Walk – 10 km, rated 1A
The canal system of Great Britain was developed as far back as the Roman occupation, but was greatly expanded and improved to accommodate the transport needs of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today the canals are mainly used for recreational purposes and offer untold miles of boating as well as great walking. Our last walk of the journey follows a course along a delightful section of the Llangollen Canal between Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Horseshoe Falls. Perhaps no other single individual impacted the course of modern England’s economic fortunes as much as the master builder Thomas Telford. His stunning aqueduct over the River Dee Valley has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the genesis of our walk. Finishing the walk, we continue to Manchester, for our final evening at a convenient airport hotel. Join us this evening for a farewell party followed by dinner at the hotel.
Day 13-Sep 28: Depart from Manchester (B)
Our hotel offers an airport shuttle service for your outgoing flights from Manchester Airport. We leave Wales & Cornwall with friendships made and renewed, and a greater sense of appreciation for the unique history and culture claimed by these delightfully rural corners of the British Isles!
How do I lock in my place on this Adventure?
Call or mail in your registration ($500) to save your spot! A maximum of 30 travelers will be accepted on this Adventure.
Already Early Birded?
If you are among the travelers who submitted a $50 Early Bird deposit, you have until May 30, 2017 to secure your spot with an additional $450 (total of $500) registration. After this date, your spot on this tour will be released, and your Early Bird deposit refunded or transferred to the tour of your choice.
First Time Traveler Savings
In appreciation for joining us for your first Walking Adventure, we offer new travelers a $400 credit on international tours!
For more details, check out Traveler Savings.
Group Travel Credit
If you are part of a Group, remember that your full deposit of $500 is still required to hold your spot on this Adventure. Your group leader is responsible for submitting your name in writing to us before you register, qualifying you for the Group Travel Credit, but a full deposit is needed to officially reserve your place. Your Group Travel Credit will be reflected on your final statement.
Check out more information on the Group Travel Program.
General Tour Conditions and Registration Forms
How is airfare arranged?
The official start point for this Adventure is our hotel in Wells near the Bristol Airport and the finish point is our hotel very near to Manchester Airport. We recommend that you contact Debbi Custer, the travel agent we work with, to help book your flight arrangements. In this age of airfare complications and airport uncertainty, using a travel agent is a good investment! More details about flight arrangements and travel agent contact information will be provided in the Adventure Advice flyer, mailed to you after you register for the Adventure. Please do not book your airfare prior to receiving the Adventure Advice flyer!
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. Nature walking, and in particular the cliff walks, dictate the trails on this adventure and offer a higher than normal level of difficulty. Your experience will be significantly affected by your level of physical fitness. Your enjoyment of the walks, and the success of walking as a group activity, is 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 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.
WAI believes strongly in the importance of travel insurance for financial and medical protection from any number of unforeseen circumstances that can arise before departure or during your Adventure. Many travel insurance providers are available for you to consider. Debbi Custer of World Travel Inc., a travel agent who provides air travel services to many WAI travelers, can provide travel insurance options for your WAI tour as well as your airfare (email firstname.lastname@example.org -OR- call 888-276-0925 / 503-231-9507). For those of you who purchase airfare through Debbi, purchasing your travel insurance from her as well may be the simplest option. As always, do some shopping to ensure you are getting the best value. Using the Insuremytrip.com website can be a good way to compare pricing.
Other options include:
- Travel Guard
- Travel Insured International
We suggest purchasing from a reputable, well-established insurance company (avoid buying insurance from an unknown company found only online). In addition, be aware that some travel insurance policies contain time-sensitive provisions—i.e. some benefits are available only if the policy is purchased within a certain number of days of the purchase of the travel package.
What happens next?
Upon registering for this Adventure, you will receive a welcome letter and initial invoice. The Adventure Advice flyer will be sent soon after, with important information about steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you receive the Adventure Advice flyer. The final payment for the program is due 90 days before departure, and you will receive a final billing about 2 weeks prior to that point, along with a factsheet of additional information about the Adventure to help you get prepared! Then, about 3 weeks before departure, you will receive a final packet with all the details of the program, including hotel names and contact information, a list of fellow travelers, and a more detailed daily schedule.
We believe Wales & Cornwall is a WAI classic—enriching the travel experience by offering a walker’s perspective on the history, culture, and natural wonders of our planet. We invite you to join us for this delectable exploration of Wales & Cornwall!