Exploring on foot is a great way to have a more in-depth holiday with the opportunity to fully immerse oneself in the surrounds, experience things up close that might otherwise be missed and enjoy unique encounters along the way. Appreciating that we all have different tastes, the original small group, expertly led, walking holiday company Ramblers Walking Holidays (01707 331 133, www.ramblersholidays.co.uk) have combined the best of walking with a diverse selection of pursuits to ensure a special interest in the trails.
Ranging from hutting and wildlife spotting to cooking paella in the Spanish Alpujarras, travel with experienced leaders, some of whom are botanists and keen gardeners, an expert birder or someone who knows a thing or two about beer, on one of the following themed walks:
Embark on a Botanical Exploration - Gardens of Japan (Grade 1, Leisurely)
Exploring the connections between Japanese culture and the natural environment, embark on a contemplative journey through Japan’s most enchanting gardens as the famous cherry blossoms spectacularly come into bloom and dust the countryside with a pale pink hue. Taking in ‘The Three Great Gardens of Japan’ - the immaculately landscaped 'Kairakuen’ with its orchard of over 3,000 plum trees, the reputedly most beautiful feudal-lord gardens in Japan 'Kenrokuen' and watery ‘Korakuen’ with its landscaped riverbank and island garden – it also includes a fascinating Bonsai workshop to learn the art to creating these enchanting miniature trees. Interlaced with city highlights such as Tokyo’s impressive Imperial Palace and popular Buddhist temple Sensō-ji, other botanical delights include the restored Samurai residence of Nomura-ke with its 400 year old Bay Tree, the 17th century Shogun Nijo Castle and Kobori Enshu garden, magnificently soaring Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and the Kokedera Moss Temple. In addition, there are also visits to the historic city of Kurashiki and Hiroshima for a walk around the shrunken scenery garden of Shukkeien and Peace Memorial Park.
Ramblers Walking Holidays (01707 331133, www.ramblersholidays.co.uk) 11 day half board Gardens of Japan starts from £5199/person including return flights, transfers, accommodation all dinners in hotels and local restaurants, two lunches, services of an English speaking guide, local transport and entrance fees. Departures 25 March 2018.
Walk with an eye on the Birds - Birds & Wildlife of Sri Lanka (Grade 2, Leisurely)
Sri Lanka is well known as a naturalist's paradise with 430 species of birdlife, including 33 endemic to the island, and a spectacular number of mammals including leopard, sloth bear and Asian elephant. Combining bird and animal watching with gentle walks, Ramblers Walking Holidays ‘Birds & Wildlife of Sri Lanka’ provides the perfect opportunity to spy out colourful avians such as Layard’s parakeet and Sri Lanka hanging parrots in Kandy’s impressive Peradeniya botanic gardens, listen out for the Sri Lankan whistling thrush, white-eye and soaring raptors from the Nuwara Eliya tea plantations high in the hills and meander through the Sinharaja Forest Reserve, a lowland tropical rainforest and pristine habitat for endemics such as the blue magpie, frogmouth, red-faced malkoha, green-billed coucal and the newly discovered Serendib scops owl. Highlights also include visits to the National Parks of Udawalawe and magnificent rock outcrop of Yala to spot Asian elephants, leopards, sloth bears and deer and a whale-watching trip from Mirissa in search of huge Blue Whale, Short-finned Pilot Whale and large schools of acrobatic Spinner Dolphin.
Ramblers Walking Holidays (01707 331 133, www.ramblersholidays.co.uk) Birds & Wildlife of Sri Lanka starts from £2675 per person based on 17 days half board accommodation, return flights, transfers and local transport costs and a highly experience and knowledgeable professional Sri Lankan birding guide. Departures 26 February 2018, 27 October 2018.
Showcasing the best of Bavarian mountain scenery, its tranquil lakes and fairytale castles with the opportunity to learn more about the region’s beer, the Bavarian Beer Garden Holiday combines the choice of moderate or more challenging walking trails with well-deserved stops in idyllically tucked away traditional beer gardens and breweries. Taking in the lakes and waterfalls near Murnau and Bad Bayersoien, high mountain views from above Garmisch and Hörnle mountain and King Ludwig II’s elaborate palaces of Linderhof and Neuschwanstein Castle – the inspiration of Disneyland’s castle, the holiday’s beer drinking watering holes are equally enchanting. Ranging from the lakeside boltholes “Fischerhäusl” and “Alpenblick” beer garden - the essence of what a rural beer garden should be, to the Ettal monastery which has been serving beer brewed by monks for over 400 years, there are plenty of opportunities to ‘prost’ the trail with a well-deserved beer or two in a pristine setting.
Ramblers Walking Holidays (01707 331133, www.ramblersholidays.co.uk) one week Bavarian Beer Garden Holiday starts from £1145/person including return flights and airport transfers, half board accommodation, all local transport and the choice of grade 4 or 6 walking options with two leaders. Departures 21 June 2018, 6 & 29 August 2018.
Ramblers Walking Holidays is a holiday brand from RWH Travel, the experts in guided walking adventures. Celebrating its 70th Anniversary of holiday operating this year, other brands within the group include Adagio Holidays – leisurely walking and cultural holidays at a gentle pace and Cruise and Walk – Walking Holidays in association with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.
For its walking holidays the company is the proud holder of Which? Recommended Provider status – ie companies which are highly rated by Which? Members and reach the exacting standards of Which? Researchers.
*Each of the Ramblers Walking Holidays has been graded to help clients choose their preferred pace, with categories ranging from Grade 1-3/Leisurely (usually two hours walking); to Grade 4-6/Moderate (a combination of full and half day walks); and Grade 7-9/Challenging (full day walks where stamina is key).
On some holidays, there is the chance to experience more than one walking grade with two leaders. Perfect for couples who prefer to walk at a different pace or have different walking abilities.
To help clients choose the type of walking holiday that will appeal to their interest, Ramblers Walking Holidays also uses symbols that depict the main interest, style or theme of the walks. Categories include: Pioneer; Continuous Walks; Flora & Walking Holidays; Bird Watching & Walking; Lifestyle, Culture & Natural History; Hutting; Rail & Walk; Sightseeing.
The company’s mission is to generate funds for walking charities by the provision of outstanding outdoor activity holidays worldwide.
With its not-for-profit philosophy, the company contributes monies to the Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust which supports walking related and environmental projects in the UK. The company also funds Heart & Sole - an initiative managed by company staff, with the aim of reaching into the heart of the communities visited both in the UK and overseas.
RWH Travel also runs The Walking Partnership - an initiative which champions walking at the 'grass roots' level by providing funding and support to walking groups and clubs throughout the UK.
Ramblers Walking Holidays is the Walking Holiday Partner of the Ramblers, Britain’s walking charity which has been pioneering and championing walking and ‘rights of way’ for over 70 years across England, Scotland and Wales.
Customers travelling on all holidays operated by RWH Travel are fully protected via the company’s membership of ABTA & ATOL. RWH Travel is also a member of AITO.