What is the level of hiking? How should I choose
Our tours are enjoyed by people of all ages
and all levels of experience. You needn’t
be a “hiker” to participate fully
and enjoy your tour. You carry only a light
daypack containing spare clothing, personal
items and, often, a packed lunch. All
tours offer opportunities for sightseeing.
It’s always an option to take the day
off for personal relaxation, reading, sightseeing
Our pace is leisurely, for maximum enjoyment
of the exquisite scenery. Each of the six individual
tour itineraries describes its walks and hikes
in terms of distances and elevation changes.
Tours with Challenging options have daily choices of Easy-to-Moderate walks for the average walker, and more difficult hikes for those who seek the challenge of longer, rougher walks, often leading to the tops of mountains.
All the Scottish trips and the Lake District Inn-to-Inn trips are at a Moderate level, though in the Lake District there is always a rendezvous with our minibus at midday, allowing the option of a shortened walk. Hiking conditions in Scotland are often more rigorous than in England due to the unpredictable weather and the longer distances between roads.
The Cotswolds walks tend to be easiest.
We encourage all participants to be active before departing for Britain, and to bring
an ample supply of enthusiasm. If you have any questions about the suitability of a trip, please call.
What are trail conditions?
Trail conditions in the Cotswolds are gentlest -- mostly level underfoot and not steep. In the Lake District and Scotland, trails may cross areas of rough or rocky ground. There may be sheep, and occasionally cow, droppings. And conditions may be slippery underfoot after rain. In sections, the trails may be steep and there may be loose stones underfoot. If they cross boggy ground they are likely to be soft and wet. Long, wet grass may sometimes have to be negotiated, and this is more wetting to feet and ankles than falling rain. Be prepared for whateverlies in your way!
What weather can I expect?
All in all, hiking in this part of the world
is a most pleasurable activity. At the time
of year when our trips operate, weather conditions
are usually quite agreeable. Temperatures
are more moderate year-round in the British
Isles than in much of the U.S. It’s
rarely “hot” by
American standards. There are unlikely to
be major variations in weather between the
two areas of northern Britain included in
our tour program: the Lake District and Scottish
Highlands & Islands. The Cotswolds, lying
further south, tend to enjoy the most benign
climate, with warmer temperatures and less
Daytime temperatures in spring and fall tend
to range from 55 to 70F (feeling cooler at
higher elevations on some Lake District and
Scotland hikes, especially with wind). In summer,
add several degrees. The Cotswolds tends to
have the mildest weather. Wet weather is not
as common as many might expect. The average
week has one, or sometimes two, days with some
What are some of Nature’s
||little lambs, bluebells,
rhododendrons, spring flowers
||slightly bigger lambs, rhododendrons,
wildcherry, orchids, long evenings
||foxgloves, orchids, roses, heather, long
||heather, blackberries by trailside
And, one of our tour participants, Brenda
England's Lake District in May. There is
no other month quite like it. The days are
sunny with temperatures ranging from 55 -
65 F.....perfect for hiking in a t-shirt
or turtleneck and a jacket. You may encounter
some sporadic rains overnight, but they usually
clear up by mid-morning... then the sky is
a crystal clear blue with big, puffy white clouds.
May is lambing season. All the Cheviot, Swaledale,
and Herdwick lambs are running about in different
stages of 1-day to 3-weeks old, bleating for
their mommas. When they find them, they bump
under their belly to start the milk flowing
and then they nurse. As they nurse, their little
tails are wagging fiercely! Many of the lambs
are born two at a time, so they are nursing
simultaneously! Only in May!
The bluebells are in bloom everywhere with
their sweet fragrance carried softly on the
cool breeze. The yellow flowering gorse is
in full bloom as well with a fragrance that
reminds me of coconut. This thick bush will
stick you if you get too close, but it bathes
the mountainside with dashes of yellow against
spring-green grass. The delicate primrose is
also in bloom along the woodland trail. Hiking
amidst this beauty, you feel compelled to be
silent and let your eyes and nose feast on
the beauty around you.
Finally, the Lake District in May offers
climbing up steep rocky paths, through woodlands
full of waterfalls, over farm lands with
cows and sheep 5 feet away, and over Bethecar
Moor, where the bracken ground cover, now
in the brown stage, creates visions of Heathcliff
riding towards you.
When I shut my eyes, this is what I remember
about May in the Lake District.....the cool
breeze on my face as I hike uphill; the warm
sun that requires me to put on sunblock; the
sweet smell of gorse and bluebells; the bleating
lambs and ewes calling out to each other; the
changing scenery as the day progresses; the
call of the cuckoo bird and the little chaffinch
that eats from your hand; the view in every
direction that is breathtaking of mountains,
lakes, little farms, and villages; signs that
point me in the direction of Sticky Toffee
Pudding at the next Inn.
I have always loved England in May."
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Who travels with English Lakeland Ramblers?
notably, participants are friendly, supportive
and interesting. They come from all 50 states,
and occasionally from abroad. On the typical
tour, about a third are couples, a third friends
traveling with friends, and a third are single
travelers. The majority are over 45 years
of age, and many are over 65 or 70. Some have
been on walking or hiking tours in the past
-- for many, this is the first. Some, but certainly
not all, walk or hike or exercise regularly.
All appreciate the pleasures of experiencing
a place slowly by foot, one step at a time.
How many walkers will be on my trip?
The average group is 8 to 12 participants,
with some smaller and some larger. Group
size will not exceed 15 plus two guides.
So, group size is limited and early reservation
is recommended. As we do maintain waiting lists for trips, call anytime as space
may be (or become) available.
Will I be comfortable as a single traveler?
Solo travelers invariably find our tours a
congenial, convenient way to travel. Tours
are a mix of couples, traveling friends and
single travelers. We can assign you a roommate
or you may choose a single-bedded room and
pay the $425 supplement.
Can I contact tour references?
Don’t take our word for how wonderful
the trips are. We’ll be
delighted to provide you with references of
others who have rambled with us. They would
be delighted to share their experiences with
you. Just ask.
What’s Included in
All Lakeland Ramblers tours include:
- First-class accommodations
in charming country inns, lodges
All rooms with private bath
- All meals, featuring authentic regional
specialties and fresh produce
- Inspired itineraries
with scenic trails, and an
local culture and history
- Local guides
who are unexcelled in experience
and in their desire to ensure you a most
enjoyable and memorable experience
- Our minibus
fees to castles, museums, boat rides...
by experts over tea and biscuits
at your hotel
air, healthful exercise, a
congenial group, and
some pleasant (we hope) surprises...
What’s not Included?
Laundry, beverages not included with meals,
travel or entertainment not in the itinerary,
health, accident or baggage insurance.
What will accommodations be like?
We’ve chosen superior, well-run inns
and hotels offering a splendid combination
of location, comfort, service and food. All
rooms have private bath.
typically located in idyllic settings, where
you can enjoy early morning and evening walks
along meandering country lanes, or relax in
quiet, flower-filled gardens.
The 17th-Century Mortal
Man Hotel, nestled
in the exquisite and tranquil Troutbeck valley,
has over 300 years of experience making guests
feel welcome. The congenial hospitality of
management and staff complements this handsome
and magnificently-situated property and its
Surrounded by rich gardens Duisdale
Country House Hotel, on the Isle of Skye, enjoys a
commanding view over the Sound of Sleat. For
generations a family of MacKinnons had acted
as standard bearers to the Macdonalds of Sleat
and was enfeoffed at Duisdale. Here is served
some of the finest cuisine in the West of Scotland
consisting of fresh local fish and game, as
well as herbs and vegetables new from the garden.
Bank Hotel, situated amidst the grandeur
of Wester Ross, overlooks Gairloch Bay and
allows magnificent views across to Skye and
the Outer Isles. This family-run hotel, with
its high level of personal service, provides
superb Scottish cuisine using the
best of local produce.
Grange Hotel, built in the 1860’s
as a large-scale replica of the town’s
railway station, overlooks spacious, well-kept
grounds, wooded hills and the tidal sands of
On the Isle of Skye, Skeabost
with large and
lavish private grounds, stands at the edge
of Loch Snizort bounded by its salmon and
trout river. Its luxurious accommodations
were developed from a mid-19th-Century Victorian
hunting lodge built by MacDonalds.
What will meals be like?
Food is a highlight of every trip. You’ll
feel pampered from morning’s hearty breakfast
to a sumptuous dinner each night. Menus range
from sophisticated continental fare to traditional
local favorites like roast leg of lamb, Scottish
beef and salmon, and fresh vegetables. Meat,
fish and vegetarian choices are provided --
and we do whatever possible to accommodate
Which meals are included?
All meals -- breakasts, lunches and dinners
-- are included in the tour price. Breakfasts
and dinners are at your hotel. Lunches are
either packed and taken on the trail or are
What is the smoking policy?
Our policy is to book only hotels which have
no-smoking dining areas, and generally to
provide a smoke-free environment throughout
the tour for clients preferring this. There
is no smoking in our minibus, and many of
our hotels are entirely no-smoking. Smoke-free
bedrooms, lounges and bars are normally available
Who will be guiding my tour?
Alan Heppenstall, our Principal Guide since
1985, was born in Newcastle, England. Since
childhood, Alan has been a keen walker and
climber. He graduated from Oxford University
with an honors degree in modern languages
and joined the British Tourist Authority
for tours of duty in London, Rome and Toronto.
Since 1978, Alan has specialized in touring
and recreation in northern England and Scotland — his
favorite spots for these activities. As a
guide, Alan has been awarded the most highly
regarded Blue Badge license.
staff is unsurpassed in experience and
in the earnest desire to ensure that your tour
meets, and exceeds, your expectations. Besides
Alan, there’s Janet
Anne Strange in the Lake District, Donald
Mackenzie in the Scottish Highlands and Chris
the Outer Hebrides. In the Cotswolds, there’s
Christopher & Ann Knowles and Colin
Steiner, Director of English Lakeland Ramblers,
began hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains.
He has walked and trekked in Europe, North
Africa, South America and the Sinai. As a licensed
professional guide and founder of an outdoor
recreation company in 1982, Seth has led trips
throughout the American Northeast — and
delights in the hills and forests of New York
and New Jersey. An Anglophile since rambling
in England over thirty five years ago, he returns
eagerly each year for more.
Should I tip?
Gratuities to the tour guide (and assistant)
are not included in the tour price. Although
tipping is neither necessary nor ever solicited,
many of our participants have asked us to advise
them of what is customary. If you consider
the level of service exceptional, and we trust
this is the case, we suggest an amount in the
range of £1 to £3 ($2 to $5) per
day per person for the guide, and 50p to £1
($1 to $2) per person per day for the assistant.
If you travel in Britain outside of the trip
package, note that some restaurants and hotels
add a service charge of 10%-15% to the bill.
In this case you are not expected to tip. If
no service charge is included, and provided
you are satisfied with the service, a 10% tip
is customary. It is not necessary to tip in
pubs if buying a hot meal or drinks but if
the pub offers a full restaurant service (which
is increasingly the case) tipping is appropriate.
Taxi drivers are tipped around 10% of the fare.
Hotel porters should receive about £1
per piece of luggage.
Do I need medical or travel insurance?
We recommend that you protect yourself and
your baggage with a short-term travel insurance policy. Trip cancellation insurance
will cover your losses of non-refundable
air and land costs on a trip you cancel due
to personal or family illness or accident.
Review your existing health and homeowner
policies. Some health insurance plans cover
health expenses incurred while traveling, some
major medical plans cover emergency transportation,
and some homeowner policies cover theft of
How do I book a tour?
A $500 deposit will reserve space for you.
Balances are due 60 days prior to the tour.
You may reserve
When we confirm your reservation, you’ll
receive details of meeting time and place,
and information about transportation to the
hotel. Much more information including suggestions
for clothing, gear and footwear will follow.
We can assist you with transfers to and from
airports and our hotels. We’ll
also send you a recommended reading list so
your “travels” can begin before leaving home.
What if I Need to Cancel?
If notification of cancellation is received
more than 90 days prior to the start of the
trip, the deposit will be refunded less a
$100 per person cancellation fee. Cancellations
60 to 90 days prior to trip’s starting
date will result in the loss of 25% of the
trip price. Cancellations 30 to 59 days prior
to trip’s departure result in the refund
of 50% of the trip price. No refund is given
for cancellations received within 29 days
of the trip’s starting date.
How can I arrange my flights?
For flight reservations, many prefer to make
arrangements themselves on the internet, directly
with the airlines, with a travel agent or a
travel consolidator. We don’t offer airfare
discounts but would be happy to assist with
At the start, if your international flight
brings you into a London-area airport for a
transfer onward to Manchester or Glasgow, be
sure to allow at least two hours in your flight
schedule for any such transfers. This will
ensure sufficient time for you and your luggage.
Tours conclude with breakfast on the last
day. In the Lake District and Cotswolds,
possible to arrive at the airport for a return
flight departing late morning or early afternoon.
On Scotland tours,
a domestic flight from Inverness’ Dalcross
Airport allows for transfers to Glasgow, Heathrow
and Gatwick airports arriving by early afternoon;
then an international flight may be boarded
for home. Our minibus transfer service arrives
at Glasgow Airport by 4pm. Arrangements can
easily be made for overnight lodging at a Glasgow
Airport hotel for flight departures the following
What luggage may I check-in and carry on the
It is recommended that you arrive at the airport
at least 2 to 2 1/2 hours before departure
time. American Airlines, British Airways and
most others permit two pieces of check-in luggage,
neither to exceed 70 lbs, with both up to 62
inches in total dimension (i.e., length + width
+ height); Continental Airlines limits the
second piece to 55” total. (There is
a charge for additional check-in luggage.)
Carry-on pieces (limit of
one) may not have
total dimensions exceeding 45" (51” on
Continental; BA limits it to only 13 lbs);
American Airlines, British Airways and Continental
permit an additional personal piece (e.g.,
purse or laptop). If flying with another airline,
call them to inquire whether their policies
Do I need a passport? a
All U.S. citizens must have a passport to enter
Great Britain. Be sure yours is valid. A
visa is not required for stays of up to six
What can I do to be more comfortable
on the flight and
reduce jet lag?
lots of fluids (the airplane's cabin is extremely
- Avoid alcohol or limit
it during the flight.
an aid to circulation, loosen your clothing
and take off your shoes. Walk up and down
the aisle a few times (a bit of airplane
rambling), and exercise your leg muscles
- If you wear contact lenses,
consider removing them while in flight, so
that your eyes do not become irritated in
How do I go from the airport to the hotel
on the first day? And back to the airport after
the tour concludes?
All tour participants receive information about
public transportation by train and bus. We
also provide a transfer service by taxi or
minibus from airports to our hotel, and back
again to airports at the conclusion of tours.
The cost is $75-$125 per person each way for a standard
What clothing & gear
should I bring?
- HIKING BOOTS ARE
ESSENTIAL -- most critical for your comfort
socks (wool is an excellent all-weather material)
liners (thin, synthetic fabric; for comfort
and to reduce the likelihood of blistering)
rain jacket with hood or firm hat
- Rain pants
(water “resistance” is
sufficient; need not be expensive)
(small backpack to carry lunch, rain gear
and extra clothing)
- Walking sticks have become
increasingly popular. They aid with balance
on rough terrain and with support on steep
downhills. We have a few available in our
minibus, but you may prefer to bring your
A complete list, including optional/suggested
items is sent to all tour participants.
What dress attire is appropriate at meals
in our hotels?
Casual dinner attire is appropriate at all
of our hotels and inns, and you are asked
not to wear hiking boots inside.
What about local currency and making payments
Travelers cheques and major U.S. credit cards,
particularly Visa and MasterCard, are generally
accepted throughout Britain. In smaller towns
and in small restaurants, pubs and shops, cash
(British pounds) may be required.
It's useful to change a small amount of money
into sterling before you go (or, failing that,
at the airport on arrival in the U. K.). This
will enable you to make purchases, or pay for
services, before you have an opportunity to
exchange money at a bank or currency exchange
Many banks are now equipped with external
24-hour cash machines, which provide a convenient
means of obtaining cash, assuming you know
the relevant PIN. This method also allows you
to benefit from the most favorable exchange
To settle any personal tabs (for drinks, etc.)
at hotels and inns, credit cards are normally,
but not always, accepted.
The most favorable rate of exchange is obtained
by using your credit card for purchases.