A walker follows a walking path above views over hills.

A beginner's guide to UK walking holidays

What to expect and our top first-time trails

How do self-guided walking holidays work?

Maps and guidebooks

1 Pick the ideal itinerary for your chosen route and receive your custom Holiday Pack four weeks before your tour begins. You'll use these directions, along with the maps supplied, to lead the way along the trail.

A waymarker on a trail.

2 We'll carry your luggage for you — leave your bags at your accommodation and set out on waymarked footpaths through the UK countryside. Walk at your own pace, add detours as you please, and choose where to eat along the way.

Walking holiday accommodation

3 Arrive at hand-picked accommodation each night, where you'll find your luggage waiting for you. Explore this new town and pick a place for dinner. Enjoy breakfast at your B&B the following morning.

What do Contours provide?

  • We book your trip. We reserve all your overnight accommodation, breakfasts included, and arrange daily luggage transfers along with any lifts you might need between your accommodation and the traill.
  • We tailor your itinerary. If there are changes you'd like to make to your tour, like staying somewhere for an extra night or walking only a portion of a route, let us know and we'll be happy to discuss your options with you.
  • We provide all the instructions required to lead your way through the countryside. Our custom holiday packs include maps and guidebooks, plus a bespoke information pack detailing your overnight stays and how to reach them from the trail. Our beginner-friendly holidays are generally well waymarked, meaning you'll have signposts and trail markers to follow as well.
  • We look out for you throughout. Our friendly office is open 9.00-17.30 British local time from Monday-Saturday, and our dedicated emergency line operates 24/7 so you can always get in touch. But most of all we know and are in touch with your accommodations, so in the event of any problems while you're out on your walk, we can resolve them before you even have to worry.
  • We offer loyalty discounts. If you're hoping to get into the walking habit, or if you've already built a long wishlist of trails to walk, our loyalty scheme could come in handy, offering percentage discounts on all Contours adventures after you've completed two holidays with us.

In short, we arrange everything you need to enjoy hiking a point-to-point trail, leaving all the flexibility required to make the walk your own. If a stress-free adventure sounds right for you, browse our holidays via our search page or holiday location map, or get in touch to see what Contours can arrange for you:

Email us

Call us
+44 (0)1629 821 900 Mon-Sat 9am-5:30pm
Write to us
Contours Holidays
Unit 11, Via Gellia Mill
Via Gellia Road
Bonsall, Matlock
United Kingdom


Send us a message

If you have any queries or just want to tell us what you think, we would love to hear from you. Please mention which trail you are interested in so we can get back to you with the relevant information as quickly as possible.

If you are messaging regarding an existing booking, please send us an email, as we cannot change bookings based on Contact form messages.

Great walking holidays for beginners

Walking Holidays with Short Daily Mileages. An icon showing two pins on a map with a short stretch between them.

Short daily mileages

Explore a trail at a gentler pace on one of our itineraries with short daily mileages. These are ideal for really delving into a place, taking your time with meals and visiting tourist attractions along the way.

Circular Walking Holidays. A series of map pins with a circular route plotted between them.

Circular routes

Make return travel easy by covering it all on foot. Our circular walking holidays finish where they started, enjoying a local area to the full along the way.

Stile-Free Walking Holidays. An icon showing a stile with a cross through it.

Stile-free holidays

You won't encounter any long, pronounced climbs or obstacles on our stile-free holidays. They're a great option if you're of reduced mobility or would like to avoid challenging terrain on your walk.

Top ten trails for your first holidayA drawing of Lindisfarne on the Northumberland Coast Path, a great walking holiday for beginners.

Take a look at the trails we most recommend for your first-ever walking holiday. We've picked these routes based on ease of navigation, approachable terrain and accommodating daily mileages.

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Bringing your dog

It would feel a little mean, wouldn't it, leaving your dog behind while you set out on the walk of a lifetime. Fortunately, there's no need: we're dog-mad here at Contours and have been providing dog-friendly walking holidays for two decades. We offer one of the widest ranges of long-distance dog walkies in the country. Book one of these dog-friendly trails and your dog will sleep with you in your hotel room each night, and we'll even ferry their luggage just like yours.

You can head over to our dog-friendly page for the full list of applicable trails and a run-through of everything we provide for your dog.