About Our Walking Holidays
So How Does a Self Guided Walking Holiday Work ?
|Self Guided Walking Holidays|
|Tailor Made Itineraries|
|Following the Route|
|Frequently Asked Questions|
We specialise in self guided walking holidays and short breaks. The concept is simple, even when your requirements are not - We organise everything for you, leaving you free to walk the trail without worrying about the arrangements.
As walkers ourselves, we revel in discovering the trail for ourselves, finding our way and experiencing the area’s we pass through at our pace and under our own steam. Self guided holidays give you the freedom to do this, to walk at your speed, to stop for breaks when you want and to explore the villages, towns and sites of historical interest along the trail at your leisure and under your control.
For those that want a guide we can arrange them but with the support from us you don’t need one to find the way or to unearth the highlights and for those with free spirit, the satisfaction of planning, walking and finding your way independently should not be understated!
You won’t find a holiday booking code with Encounter Walking as there are no rigid options that you have to fit to. People walk at different speeds, some like the challenge of pushing long distances, others want extra time for breaks and photos. Some of you will want to explore off the trail, take rest days or visit attractions on route, others want nothing more than following their nose and walking the miles day in day out. By working with you to find your ideal daily distances, accommodation and routes we will get as close as we can to your perfect break – so there are no holiday references on our website, no std itinerary and no set accommodation that you have to accept. You tell us or seek advice from us so that together we build up a picture of you want before you book and then the most satisfying part of our job is trying to match it as closely as we can with our draft itinerary.
As we are based in the area we operate in our knowledge of the paths, the options and things to see and the places to avoid is second to none and this is reflected in crafted itineraries that don’t operate to a rigid standard but instead are flexible enough to balance your wishes with the logistical options on the routes.
Distance walking Holidays involve walking from one place to another. Most of our walks see you moving on to a new overnight location every night at the end of that days walk. This allows you to experience new locations and sights and places to eat every night and gives a sense of an ongoing journey as you work your way along the trail. This is the true trail walking approach, a return to the days long gone when the only way to cross the country was on foot through the day arriving at a new place of rest every night.
However for those that do not want to move on daily we do offer One or Two Centre Walking Holidays where we design and arrange your walking from the same location. The advantage of this is that with no bags to repack and move every day these holidays can work out cheaper than the linear walking holidays and you can get to really explore a specific area you are interested in. View One Centre Walking Holiday Examples
You walk and we carry. Just leave your bags every morning after breakfast and while you are out on the trail they will overtake you and be waiting in your next accommodation when you arrive – all part of the service. However if you want to carry your own bags (though do think carefully about this one !) that’s fine - doing this will save you some money and your quote will show you both options.
We research and provide the best guidebook literature and maps available for each walk. This is supplemented by a detailed, day by day, individual accommodation and trail itinerary for your specific booking. You have all the information you need to find your accommodation, work out where to eat during the day, how to get a taxi if you tire towards the end of the day as well as be clear about the mileage, grade of walking and likely times to complete each section. As ever with our tailor made service however if you wish to provide your own maps and guidebooks or already have them we will deduct their cost from your holiday – no problem. CLICK HERE to read more about the Guidebook and Map packages you receive with every walk.
As walkers we know how important it is to have a welcoming, clean and friendly place to rest waiting for you at the end of a day’s walk. We take the surprises out of walking holidays. Encounter Walking is the only company operating these trips who will go through the accommodation options with you and provide you with full details and websites to scrutinize before you book. Our competitors only let you have this after you have paid up by which time it’s too late if you don’t like the look of what you have signed up for !
Our wide range of customers want everything from B&B, Inn’s, hostels and small hotels through to the best available luxury Spa’s and hotels possible. We cater for it all where it exists and this is why we work with you at the quotation stage so hard to find out what you want from your walk to try to match it with what is available. So if your key point is to keep the costs down as far as possible we will work on this with you using the basic but good value B&B’s, if you want a bit of a splurge for the last night we will build that in. If you want to stay wherever possible in pubs and inns, let us know and if you want a mix of all this then we will do whatever we can to provide it - but always you will be aware of the options and be able to view them before committing to any booking.
Our priority is to find you the right accommodation but also in the right location and as walkers we know that means as close to the path and to good places to eat and drink as possible. Very occasionally in very remote places this just may not be possible but again everything is arranged for minimum disruption for you so you would be collected from the trail and dropped back after breakfast and as ever this will have all been discussed and agreed with you before we accept any booking. Ultimately whatever the cost we won’t use accommodation that is not walker friendly, efficient, clean and good value for money whether it’s a simple B&B or a luxury 5 star hotel .
Whilst your holiday may be tailor made with you this does not mean it has to be expensive. As the largest operator in the region many of our walkers are on the same routes using the same accommodation and we are able to receive the best prices from accommodation, transfer and other service providers.
Most importantly to us we don’t want to exclude anyone from walking so will work with you to find the best experience you can get for what you can afford. If the cost is too high we will look to see where, by using different accommodation or changing the itinerary it can reduced.
For what we provide our prices are completely competitive which is why most of our work is repeat bookings from customers who come back to us year after year to walk new trails. We have the flexibility and local knowledge to get you the best value for money balanced by the best experience of the route. Test us out, ask for a quotation and look for a like for like comparison and we are confident that our package will provide the best value for money and more importantly the best experience on the trail for what you have paid.
You can contact us by phone or email at any point to discuss anything about a holiday, itinerary or your route – it’s never an inconvenience for us and you will get a specific answer to your question from your walking advisor – however do feel free to check below in the frequently asked questions section if you prefer where you might find the answer to more general questions straight away.
I don’t know which walk will be best for me ?
Have a look at our Find Your Walk Section – this summarises all the walks we do, the highlights, the severity / ease of the walking, the location and other pointers. You can scan through the options and then click through to read the full details.
If you prefer just talk to us or email us and tell us about your level of experience ....or lack of it. We know the trails we operate holidays on and between us will be able to work out options to consider based not only on what will suit your walking but also which routes may be of most interest for the area, scenery, accommodation, activities or attractions that are of most importance to you.
The long route description sections on our website are more thorough than anything you will find anywhere else on the web so have a good read through the routes you find are interesting. There are thousands of images as well giving you a good taste of what you will see and we don’t stop at the walk itself - we also give information and images about the overnight stops en route. After all this, if you still have questions just let us know and we will do our best to help
I want to walk slower/faster than the suggested itineraries can you help ?
We create your itinerary with you - a mix of our advice and your wishes leading to the right balance of distance and grade of walking. If you look at our route descriptions you will find most routes have std, fast and relaxed walkers options either increasing or reducing the number of days on the trail depending on your fitness and experience. For those who want more time daily mileages can be reduced, or if you want, tougher sections can be missed out. For those experienced and fit distance walkers who want to increase the daily mileage again we can accommodate you. Our staff do a lot of re-walking of the trails during the quiet Winter Months and this is on more challenging schedules and very full daily distances so get in touch and we can give you an honest appraisal of your plans based on our own experiences of pushing the distances.
Talk to or email your walking advisor about the best options for you and don’t forget to allow time for exploring, taking pictures, the odd swim if you are on the coast and some restful breaks as you won’t want to rush through this scenery. In all events we can shorten or lengthen daily stages to suit you the only limitation being the availability of suitable accommodation at appropriate points but even then we are well used to working out alternative transfer options to accommodate you if you are not walking on one of the more common walking itineraries.
Can I try some other activities during my walk ?
Most definitely and we are the specialists in this. You can book in a rest day activity, anything from a gentle canoeing trip in Cornwall through the wildlife creeks of the Fowey Estuary, through to an adrenaline water sports day, coasteering, kite surfing and more in Newquay. Most routes have options for some cycling, surfing, riding or even just that time honoured rest day activity of doing nothing else but wandering round the town and making the most of the cafes, shops and bars that exist. Then depending on where you are walking you may want to visit an inland attraction, the Eden Project, Lundy Island, St Michaels Mount, or the Tate Gallery at St Ives......let us know if you want a rest day and we can recommend things to do.
Do I have to walk the full length of the walk or section
No ! You can walk whatever you want, you can mix sections from connecting trails like walking part of the South West Coast Path and then crossing Cornwall on the Saints Way. Ask us for our recommendations or as most customers do, work with us to tweak your plans to include the best you can get in the time allowed. We can operate anything from 2 days to 8 weeks and the short breaks can be based on any section that takes your fancy. Whatever the logistics of getting you to and from the trail we will work out a solution for you – in the occasional situation where we don’t think your plans are justified given the time you have – we will tell you – and come up with some other suggestions.
How can I get further information about the walk
Check out the Route Description pages for the walk you are interested in by selecting it from our UK Walking Holidays Map. Our site contains more detail and information on the routes than any others. If this does not answer your questions then just Contact Us by phone or email– whatever questions you have let us know and we will provide you with the answers be it about the grade of walk, the accommodation or suggestions on what are good rest days and side trips. If you want to read up about the walk before you arrive you will be able to work through the guidebooks and route descriptions in advance as we send these out well ahead of your walk.
Do you provide us with general information about the area we are walking
Yes not only will you receive specific day by day itinerary information covering your walking and accommodation, you will also receive general notes about walking in the West Country. These cover things like weather, transport, accessing money, emergencies all the things you may need to know if you have not visited the area previously.
When can I start my walking holiday?
Anytime to suit you – we fit round your schedule so just let us know the dates you want to walk and we will create the best options to fit in with you. If you are going to be walking during Bank Holiday Weekends or the height of Summer in popular coastal areas, we advise you book as early as you can to get the best choices of accommodation as options do become limited for popular dates.
When do I need to book my holiday
As early as possible, we don’t say this for our benefit but the big issue is availability of accommodation and choice. We start taking bookings the in November for the next year’s holiday season and the main booking season is from January to March. If you are able to get in a booking in November, you will have more choice of accommodation than if you leave it late. In very popular holiday areas such as along the Cornwall Coast, bank and school holidays do tend to book up very early so if you intend walking at a popular time of year in a popular holiday area you should try to get things reserved as early as you can. However we still take plenty of last minute bookings up to a few days before walking and as the largest walking holiday company in the South West we are best placed at the last minute to find the best remaining choices and routes available. Probably the best advice is that if you have had a draft itinerary and want to book, then do so as soon as you can to maximise your options and give yourself the best chance of getting exactly what you want.
What is the best time of year to walk
There is no set month that with certainty will be better than another, particularly when it comes to the UK’s rather unpredictable weather.... but a few general points are worth considering. Generally you can walk at any time of year on most routes with the main walking season running from mid March to the end of October.
Spring Walking - March, April, May - Fantastic for flowers on the trails with weather steadily improving so that by May you should be enjoying good sunshine and ideal walking weather. May is probably our busiest month of the year. Be prepared in March and April for spells of inclement weather but again the trails are quiet and outside of Easter the accommodation options are excellent.
Summer Walking – June, July, August - Prime months weather wise this is our summer – June is possibly the best option for walkers of the period, no school holidays or bank holidays but statistically some of the best weather of the year. From the last week of July through to the end of August you are sharing the West Country with those on their school holidays. Don’ t be put off however if you can only walk in the school holidays, the majority of visitors never venture more than a mile away from the harbours and coastal towns so once you are on the trail you will still get your peace and solitude broken by only occasional fellow walkers on the trails. Overnight locations will be busier and accommodation is much harder to find if you leave it late but all the facilities are open and you have long daylight hours to make the most of those evenings. It can be very hot during some periods but for those on the coast it’s generally from this time onwards that swimming, canoeing, surfing and other water sports are at their best along the coast path. Just try and book early.
Autumn Walking – September and October - If we had to pick a best month for walking we would usually plump for September. The school holidays are over so the options for accommodation are generally good and the numbers of visitors decline rapidly. Generally however the weather is still very good, the last few years have seen late “Indian summers” stretching into late September. Trails are quiet as are the overnight stops and the reception in the holiday areas tends to be very good with relieved proprietors having got through the busy months of the summer. Into October and the weather whilst less reliable is still not that cold, availability of accommodation is by now excellent and crisp, clear walking days are often the norm though you need to be prepared for inclement spells. Distances at this time of year need some thought with shorter daylight hours but all in all with the right preparation October can be an excellent choice for walking particularly on shorter breaks.
Winter Walking Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb - Anyone walking outside the season will enjoy the trails to themselves have a great choice of accommodation and experience a more relaxed and laid back reception from their accommodation than in the height of Summer. Trips will also be cheaper with some great accommodation offers from the smarter hotels during the winter months which often slash their prices to encourage occupancy. For the same money in November you can stay in 4* hotels instead of B&B’s.
You need to balance against this that the weather is much less reliable and you need to be an experienced walker to deal with it. The daylight hours mean walking days should be on the shorter side but as ever we can advise. The key in the winter months is to be realistic and flexible - have other plans in case there is a spell of poor weather, consider one or two centre walks staying in places where there are other options and perhaps a warming wood burner to relax round at night. If a storm blows in remember the walking might be curtailed but need not stop, witnessing mighty waves and the power of the sea with the beach to yourself can be as exhilarating as walking the coast path on a hot summers day. Anyone planning Winter walking should talk to us for advice and suggestions but don’t rule it out - fortune favours the brave as they say !
What if I want to walk Bank Holiday Weekend
We have lots of walkers out over Bank Holiday weeks and through the high summer season so you can walk whenever you want. However the busy weekend’s book up very quickly with the accommodation providers so if you are planning a walk on a peak weekend including anything in the School holidays just get in touch as early as you can. The earlier you contact us the better the choices of accommodation will be. If it’s a late booking for a busy weekend don’t despair however but be prepared that you will have a limited choice of accommodation and in some situations we will have to say that a particular route or overnight is just not going to be possible as all the accommodation has gone. We’ll come up with an alternative however and it may be the same route but just staying in another location or at a different type of accommodation. Either way let us know as quickly as you can but we can usually arrange a break or holiday with only a couple of days notice if you get in touch at the last minute - during the high season however you will need to be flexible about your options.
How do I get to and from the trail
Leave it up to us to help with this. If you are driving we will discuss options for long stay parking at one end of the trail and public transport or transfer options to get you back at the end of your walk. For those arriving on public transport we can help point you in the right direction for all your timetable and booking information as well as provide transfer services from the train stations and airports on to the trail. When we set up our sections one of the considerations we include is the ease of access to public transport so many of the options (such as the Lizard Trail from Penzance to Falmouth) involve starting and ending points with good public transport connections. However whatever you want to walk we will advise and book transfers if required, to get you back to your car or public transport. Its part of the service so just let us know what is needed. For information on transport to and from the region CLICK HERE for our transport links.
Can I leave my car at one end of the walk
Yes, depending on the location this might be with your first nights’ accommodation or in long stay car parking facility – in any event we will be able to advise on the options before you book.
Can you help with public transport information for reaching our walk
Yes – for those using public transport, and this is something we are keen to encourage - we will provide any help and advice you need about how to get to and from the trail including timetable and route information. Where public transport does not exist or is impractical we will also advise on and include a price for transfers from the trail to the nearest or most practical station or airport. Our responsibility does not stop at the end of the footpath and helping with working out how to get to and from the walk is part of our service to you.
Can I be transferred from local airports / train stations
Yes of course. We can have you collected from regional airports, train and bus stations and taken on to your first nights’ accommodation OR provide you with the public transport options for doing this. If we think a transfer will be a cheaper and more sensible option however we will let you know ! Where we are collecting you from public transport we just need you to let us know an approximate arrival time which you can confirm once you have managed to book tickets. We can then book your transfers in ensuring you get straight to your holiday losing as little time as possible en route.
Can I choose my own accommodation
Yes you can – this is an integral part of our service and what sets us aside from other walking companies. Once we know what you want to do, we will provide a draft itinerary with accommodation options to look at. Where they exist you can upgrade to luxury hotels or downgrade to the most basic best value B&B – it’s up to you and with Encounter Walking you will not only know before walking but you will have been involved in selecting your accommodation before we even accept your booking. CLICK HERE for more on Accommodation
Can I choose a higher standard class hotel for my last night only ?
Yes you can specify upgrades on any night as long as they exist, so you can end up at a suite in a 5 star spa complex or just book a larger room with better facilities within accommodation we have already offered you. We will advise on whatever is available and let you see the full details of the options and the difference in price. Many of our accommodation options we use very regularly because we are very confident of their quality and value, however we don’t limit you to our choices or recommendations and we can book any specific accommodation you are interested in as long as there is availability and the accommodation is happy to take a booking for the number of nights you require.
How do I know what my accommodation will be like
We are the only walking holiday company on the South West Coast Path that will give you the information and options on your accommodation before you book. Your quotation will have links so you can view the websites of the accommodation offered giving you full access to information on the facilities available. If you have further questions you can ask us or feel free to contact the accommodation directly. We want you to be sure before you book that we have helped you make the right choice and will provide all the information we can to ensure we have done this.
Can I request ensuite / private bathroom facilities
Yes you can and we will book your wishes wherever possible and if we can’t because it does not exist, we will advise you before you book anything and give you any other options that will suit. In 90 percent of our walking holidays these days if you want to specify ensuite facilities all the way this is possible. We very rarely use shared facilities, only in situations where due to the remoteness or lack of accommodation there is no choice OR where we have been asked to keep the costs as low as we possibly can. In any event before you book you will know what the accommodation and bathroom facilities are and if they are not suitable be able to talk to us about what we can do to come up with a solution.
How does this work ?
In essence it’s seamless. You leave your luggage with the accommodation as you start the days walk and whilst you are on the trail it is delivered on ahead of you so it’s waiting for you when you arrive at your next accommodation. You are left to walk the route free from the weight and effort of carrying your own luggage.
How many bags can I bring?
Our quotations are based on one bag per person so two bags per couple. Some of the accommodation in Cornwall is in old fisherman’s cottages and smaller places – that’s part of its charm but room sizes are not always as big as a modern purpose built hotel so we would encourage you to try and keep to one bag per person for your benefit as much as ours. However if you have more bags just let us know and we can transfer these as well for a small surcharge. We place a weight limit of 20kg per bag with good reasons. We don’t expect our staff and the staff running the B&B’s and the hotels to lift unsafe loads day in day out through the season and we don’t think it would be responsible for us to let this happen. In addition many of the old fishing villages have accommodation in old sections of the town that are difficult to reach and the bags in some cases have to be carried a long way on foot (indeed even by Donkey in Clovelly !).So if you do have a lot to bring split it into two smaller bags.
Security of my luggage
A variety of means are used to transfer bags depending on where you are walking. This may be Encounter Walking Staff, it may be your accommodation hosts or one of several commercial companies that we instruct to move bags for us. All will take every care to make sure your luggage arrives securely and in perfect condition. Things can happen on the way to us however and once again this is where having travel insurance in place is vital. We will of course take responsibility for any problems with luggage due to our negligence whilst it’s in our care. However your basic travel insurance policy will cover you for loss, theft or damage of your bags or items from it and gives you peace of mind. This will not only be the bags we are moving but also your day packs when walking. We don’t advise taking very valuable items with you on the walk (if you do check your insurance will cover them). Remember that your bags will need to carried some distance in some locations by those moving them and in parts of Cornwall will even go up many flights of steps from the harbour areas just to reach your accommodation. To be safe we don’t suggest you bring fragile or valuable items or very expensive state of the art suitcases. If you do intend doing this then please just let us know in advance.
I am happy to travel light and carry my own bags – is there any saving in this?
Yes – if you don’t require a luggage transfer you don’t need to have one. Your quote will show a price with bags transferred and a price without. Unlike most walking companies we work your price out on an actual costs basis so we pass the savings for not having to organise your luggage directly onto you. For those looking for a budget option and fit enough to carry their own bags it’s an option to consider.
Is breakfast included
Yes all our holidays include a full English Breakfast though you will also be able to ask for vegetarian or special diet options if required
What about eating during the day & packed lunches
Many of the walking days have great midday rest locations with pubs, cafes and restaurants en route and your trail itinerary will give you information about what is available. Many of our accommodation outlets can also provide packed lunches if you prefer or for remote areas of walking where there is no suitable lunchtime stop. Again you itinerary will give you the information in advance so you can order packed lunches if available, decide where to stop for lunch or be directed to where you will be able to buy provisions before departing on the days walk. We leave the choice up to you but make sure you have all the information available to make the right decision for you.
Where do I get food in the evenings
Much of our walking includes overnight stops in locations where there are plenty of pubs, restaurants and other eating options close by. In remote sections if these are not available your itinerary will advise on whether evening meals can be obtained at your accommodation or what other arrangements there are to eat. Whatever the location your itinerary will have advice for every night about eating options so you will never be caught out.
I am a Vegetarian or have a special diet, can you cope with this
Yes let us know when you book and special diets can be catered for at our accommodation in most cases. In the evenings these days’ vegetarian options are always available in restaurants, inns and pubs even in darkest Cornwall.
What if the weather is so bad I can’t walk
Its rare but this can and does happen with UK walking from time to time but it is something you need to keep in perspective. During the walking season the vast majority of days present no problems for walkers equipped with waterproofs and warm clothing. Occasional days of showers, drizzle mist and rain are part of UK walking and by picking the time you walk during the year you can reduce the amount of this you may see but you should never assume you will be certain of escaping it. Expectations are the key here in our mind, don’t expect to never get wet ....but that said lots of our walkers are lucky during the summer and come for 2 weeks and never see rain and others find that walking in too much sunshine is actually harder work. Either way the occasional rainy day should not ruin your holiday unless you let it, the trails will be much quieter, the scenery on misty rainy days is often very different and with walker friendly accommodation and welcoming pubs on the route you will be able to recover with a sense of satisfaction for getting out there on the days that many of Cornwall’s other holiday makers all head to crush into the same indoor attraction en masse.
Freak weather events are a different matter, the UK weather will occasionally suffer violent storms with strong winds or rain of such an intensity that walking is either just not realistic or may even be bordering on foolhardy. These sorts of situations never tend to last for much more than a 24 hour period so you won’t lose your whole holiday to a storm. If the weather is too unpleasant to walk your daily itinerary will help by giving all the information about your next location. It may be possible to get a lift with your bags or there will be useful taxi numbers if you decide to forget the walking and explore instead. There are very often local attractions or places to explore you can reach without having to get caught in the storm and often your hosts in the accommodation will be full of ideas of possibilities. In stormy conditions for those routes by the sea, do what we do in an impressive storm and head down to the seafront. Watching the power of the waves and the storm at sea (from a safe distance) is an excellent diversion from the walking. The best advice is to remain flexible and keep an open mind if you are unlucky enough to have a short spell of very poor weather. If you get wind of it (so to speak) in advance you can always contact the office and we will help try and arrange and advise on options to occupy you on the day and get you to your next accommodation.
What happens if I have to cancel my holiday - Travel Insurance
Sometimes events happen which mean you are unable to travel. For your own protection it is a requirment of booking that you have travel insurance which will cover you against unforeseen circumstances that prevent you taking up your holiday. Generally emergency cancellations will be a last minute thing and refunds from accommodation are highly unlikely, particularly from smaller B&B’s who will not be able to refill rooms at short notice. In our experience, whenever this happens, those who have travel insurance benefit from receiving a full refund without the stress and losses that can occur when things go wrong at the last minute. For UK residents for instance, Travel Insurance can be bought for as little as £7 per week covering cancellation and much more. Similar policies usually bookable online are available for overseas customers from their own countries - but ask if you are not sure. Many of us now have annual travel insurance policies which automatically cover us at no extra expense but if you don’t and you are not sure where to find a suitable policy contact us and we will advise.
What emergency support is there while I am walking
During your walk you will be able to contact the Encounter Walking Office during normal opening hours to discuss anything you may have concerns about such as the next day’s section or perhaps because you have to change your departure arrangements. For genuine emergencies in the evenings and at weekends there is an on call system that allows a member of staff on duty to pick up any requests for immediate help. From time to time there may be a situation where you have to cut short your holiday through some unforeseen circumstances whether it be a health matter or perhaps the need to head home for some emergency . Whatever the event we are available to help and will do everything we can to ensure that you get as much support as possible with anything that arises out of the ordinary during your holiday.
Are the paths easy to follow ?
Generally yes. Routes on National Trails such as the South West Coast Path are well walked and well signposted....on coastal walks you have the added advantage of just keeping the sea on your right or left hand side to keep yourself heading on the right path ! We always provide the best maps and route description material available and supplement this with notes in the itinerary if there are any confusing or tricky areas. One or two of our inland routes crossing moorland such as The Smugglers Way and Two Moors Way do involve areas with indistinct paths or open moorland with no path where the ability to follow a compass bearing is essential. Often those walkers choosing these routes do so because they like this challenge. In any event this is made clear to anyone considering these routes in our publicity and we won’t let you book onto any walk where route finding may be a problem without checking you have the experience to navigate successfully. For the vast majority of our routes however finding your way is not a challenge and you will be able to spend your time looking at the views rather than the maps.
How do I know how to find my way and get to my accommodation ?
For all our trails we provide the best available maps and national trail guidebooks though you can choose to bring your own and save on this cost if you prefer. For any trails where we consider the information is not good enough we supplement printed materials with our own route directions and information sheets. In addition every holiday has a daily trail and itinerary sheet which covers all the basic information about the day’s route, activities, transfers and accommodation as well as useful sections on where you will be able to eat en route and in the evening. This document has detailed walking directions from your walking trail to your accommodation to ensure you find your way there straight away and as we strive to ensure our accommodation is as close as possible to the trails this is normally only a very short distance. In addition however you also have the phone number and a contact name at your accommodation so if you do need to phone ahead for any reason you can do this as you arrive in your overnight stop.
How will I get my maps itinerary and guidebooks
We usually send them to you in advance once you have made your booking so that you have the guides to read through well in advance. We send guidebooks to any address in the UK or abroad using airmail. For those arriving by plane you may prefer to have the books sent to the first nights’ accommodation to save you carrying them in which case we are happy to arrange this option. If you book very late we will send your maps and guides this way so that there is no danger of them not reaching you. Your itinerary, accommodation and route information is all forwarded to you by email as PDF files ready to print off, allowing you to print off spare copies for other walkers or for anyone at home who needs to know where you will be.
How do I get a price / quote or itinerary
CLICK HERE to send us an enquiry form. This gives us all the information we need to start work on coming up with an idea for you. You will get a quick response and then a named walking advisor who will deal with your enquiry, make adjustments if the itinerary does not match your requirements and once it does you will receive an emailed quotation with links to accommodation and trail information summarising the itinerary suggested and the price.
Can I ask for an Itinerary but not commit to booking
That’s an easy one- We are happy to produce a full itinerary for anyone, with as much input as you want to give and whether you like it or not you are not committed to anything. Indeed if it’s just not right for you and you don’t want to see another option then we will still make a point of reminding you that this is no problem and that you are welcome to come back again any time in the future.
How do I know what my walking holidays includes?
Your quotation will cover this detailing the accommodation, transfers, maps and guidebooks as well as setting out the itinerary and dates for you to check. If you are still not sure about anything just give us a call !
How do I book a walking holiday
This is not only easy but you are involved in the planning and creation of your itinerary CLICK HERE to view our six easy steps to booking a tailor made trip with Encounter Walking.
How do I pay for my holiday
After booking you will receive a confirmation deposit invoice to check through and pay. This is normally for £150 per person or 25% of the holiday costs with the balance being requested around 8 weeks before your holiday. We accept all major credit and debit cards, bank transfers, cheques, international money transfers and payments. There is no surcharge for those paying by credit cards or any other method.
Why do you show guide prices only on the website? We work with you to create tailor made itineraries, to provide the right level of accommodation and service and this may be based on luxury hotels or on the other hand on the cheapest possible hostels or B&B’s. No two itineraries are the same and the same applies for the prices. We provide some guideline prices for the straightforward basic B&B based walking holidays to give you an idea. Depending on the route, the accommodation you ask for and factors like the time of year and how you intend to get to the trail, the price may increase. However part of the process of creating an itinerary is to get the right holiday at the right price for you so wherever possible if you wish to reduce the price we will look at options to achieve this.
We pride ourselves on being as open as possible with our holidays which is why we are the only company that provides you with the information on your accommodation before you book with us. The same is true of our prices. We are clear about any website prices being guidelines and that we want to provide you with a definitive confirmed itinerary and quote so you can see exactly what is included and be assured that the price offered is then guaranteed and not going to be increased at a later date with sudden surcharges.
I need my holiday to be as cheap as possible? We won’t get upset by this sort of request. Just let us know when you send in a quote request and we will look at making sure your draft itinerary and accommodation is geared towards keeping the price as low as possible. Be assured we have a bottom level of what we think is acceptable in accommodation, that it is clean, close to the trail, walker friendly and we won’t use establishments that fall below these basic standards whatever the price. However if price is the overriding consideration we will ensure you get the most competitive options and quote possible without compromising on the walking experience.
Can I walk with my dog? We are always happy to have enquiries from dog owners however in some of the holiday areas on the coast path accommodation for those with dogs can be very hard to locate so it really depends where you want to walk. It’s not impossible however so just get in touch. See our Dog Friendly Holidays page for more information.
Are the trips suitable for children? In general yes. There are one or two routes where we would not advise you have children walking unless they are of an age and fitness to cope with the more difficult moorland trails – these aside everything else is available ! We organise walking and multi activity family holidays for many during each walking season. They key things to work out with us are suitable trails, realistic mileages, what other attractions and options there may be en route and of course finally what accommodation options there are and the sleeping arrangements within it.
Happily with our tailor made walking holidays none of this is a problem to research and provide. So if you need a room that can accommodate the children as well, need to book in lots of beach stops or perhaps a surfing day or need to keep the mileage down to only a few miles a day then we can advise and prepare something to suit in most cases. Be assured as well that if we feel your plans are too optimistic for the ages of the children or the walking experience you have advised us they have, then we will let you know and make it clear that we think you should be reducing the daily mileages OR consider easier options – We want your holiday to work and won’t let you book something we think is not going to suit. Over the years we have provided trips for families with toddler’s right through to teenagers both of which have very different needs and ideas about what is going to make a good family holiday. So with a degree of flexibility and our ideas and input a family walking holiday is entirely possible – just contact us and let us know your thoughts.
Are the Walks Cheaper For Groups? Most definitely yes ! We work on a cost basis and in a group your luggage costs, maps , guidebooks and transfers are all shared so overall there are large savings passed on for groups. We deal with many groups and work hard to accommodate your needs as well as passing on the savings. If you all want to be together we will try to ensure this, if some members of the group are only able to do part of the holiday we will accommodate this for you. The phrase “The more the merrier” springs to mind and without doubt if you request a quote from us for a group booking you will see a large difference in the price of the holiday. For more details and examples of the savings see our Group Discounts Page
Can I walk on my own, what is the single supplement? Of course. We take bookings from individuals, couples and groups. When you walk on your own the accommodation will often apply a single occupancy supplement where they need to place you in a room normally used for two people. However we will search for single rooms wherever possible for our single walkers to keep your costs down and we don’t just charge an arbitrary single occupancy supplement for every night – sometimes you won’t pay any more than the individual price for those walking in couples. Costs of luggage carrying and transfers to and from the trail will be more expensive if you are on your own as there is no-one to split them with but but as ever we will look at all the options and if we can find a more cost effective way of doing what you plan we will offer it to you.