Lancashire Times
A Voice of the North
Phil Hopkins
Arts & Travel Editor
8:00 AM 16th February 2021

Wilderness England – New Tour Operator Launches This Month

A new tour operator offering adventure holidays in England’s National Parks and wildest areas launches this month.

Wilderness England, a sister company to the award-winning Wilderness Scotland and Wilderness Ireland, will tempt guests to the great outdoors with a programme of guided or self-guided small group trips, self-drive itineraries or private holidays explored on foot or by bike.

Launching with 17 new adventures in some of the country’s remotest and most iconic corners, the programme will feature the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, Peak District, Cotswolds and Northumberland, even sneaking into Wales for its veritable smorgasbord of outdoor and cultural experiences.
Accommodation is hand-picked: small hotels and inns with first rate customer service and fantastic local food.

In 2001, sister company Wilderness Scotland hosted its first group tour, a hiking trip in Scotland’s Northwest Highlands, and now, 20 years later, the team is delighted to be looking south of the border.

Commenting, Paul Easto, Managing Director, Wilderness England, said: “Over the last two years Wilderness Scotland has been gradually introducing itineraries that crossed into England and their popularity gave us the confidence to launch a full range of holidays under the Wilderness England brand.

“The growing trend towards the Staycation, combined with our continued uncertainty of overseas travel, saw a 26% increase year-on-year in our bookings for private UK travel.

"While Wilderness England will offer some fully guided small group departures, the lion’s share of this programme is aimed at people who want to travel independently on active self-guided holidays, or partially-guided trips in the Self-Drive Collection, reflecting this major shift in consumer demand. It is still very early days but since the website launched, our Self-Guided Cycling holidays have attracted the highest level of interest from web users which shows the appeal of this style of travel.”

The increased desire for flexibility is a key feature of the new range. There are holidays for individuals and for bubbles, and options for short breaks and longer trips, too.

"For those looking for a lengthier adventure or to explore a number of wild regions, there are multi-location itineraries. Among them is a 12-day Coast to Coast walking itinerary from the Irish Sea to the North Sea, through three National Parks. Equally, those who love covering a lot of ground can choose from an exciting combination of holidays.

Sample Trip from Wilderness England
Tour of Yorkshire Self-Guided+ Cycling: This new short break holiday takes cyclists through the beautiful scenery of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, an area so renowned for its two-wheeled fun that it has hosted the Tour de France’s Grand Depart and the World Cycling Championships.

Self-Guided+ cycling holidays combine the best of both worlds: the flexibility of start times, routes and lunch stops and the ability to travel at their own pace within their own social bubble, all with the reassurance of a Wilderness England guide acting as a soigneur.

Throughout the adventure, they will be on hand to drive the support vehicle, transfer luggage, provide snacks and drinks throughout the day, shuttle riders where required, offer navigational advice, first aid and take care of cleaning and servicing bikes at the end of the day.

Cyclists set off from Pateley Bridge (where England’s oldest sweet shop might be a tempting source of energy) heading to Masham and, the next day, to Hawes – via Yorkshire’s highest road.

The third day rolls through Wensleydale and Swaledale, past the iconic Castle Bolton and over Birkdale Common, a challenging climb where the peaks of the Lake District can be seen from the summit.

The last two days run through Sedbergh, Dentdale and Grassington, before a thrilling descent back into Pateley Bridge.

Price: from £845pp based on 4 sharing, including 4 nights’ B&B accommodation, a Wilderness England soigneur and transfers.