Walking and hiking form a key part of the new trips after an increase in demand for active holidays
Intrepid Travel has expanded its range of trips in the UK and Ireland, which it says are designed to support local communities and uncover the hidden spots away from the usual tourist trail.
Walking and hiking form a key part of the trips after Intrepid saw an increase in appetite for active holidays over recent months.
New experiences include trekking through Ireland’s Wicklow Mountains, hiking through forests and paddocks with reindeer in the Cairngorms and exploring Hadrian’s Wall with a local guide.
Families are also catered for with an active walking holiday through the Scottish Highlands. Zina Bencheikh, managing director EMEA at Intrepid Travel, said: “The response to our initial range of UK holidays back in June was very positive – clients told us they loved seeing their own country from a new perspective. I’m excited to be able to bring our UK customers even more ways to enjoy the Intrepid experience they love, but closer to home.
“These trips are all about supporting local communities, getting active and sampling the different food and drinks of the region.”
Intrepid said that as continues to reimagine its business for the post Covid-19 future, closer to home trips have been a global priority. In the UK, these trips also support the company’s wider mission of reducing global emissions and setting up Intrepid for a low-carbon future.
Globally, the operator will have more than 100 domestic holidays available in 2021 for its Australian, North American and UK customer base. As with all Intrepid trips, the range will be 100 per cent carbon offset and designed to have a low carbon footprint.
Each tour will operate under Intrepid’s new Safe Travels health protocols, developed in partnership with the WTTC. All travellers will complete a health screening at the start of the trip and be required to wear masks in certain settings, in line with local laws and regulations.
Groups are accompanied by a local leader who has received specific Covid-19 training, which covers hygiene, sanitation, physical distancing and PPE, as well as supplier monitoring. Intrepid recently introduced a new Flexible Booking policy, which permits changes to travel plans 21 days before a scheduled departure, allowing for new travel dates or an entirely different trip with no change fees.
Highlights include Scotland’s Orkney Islands (five days, from £1,015pp; Ring of Kerry & Dingle Peninsula (five days from £1,380pp); Kilkenny and Surrounds (five days, from £1,190); Walking in the Cairngorms (five days, from £830pp); Scotland Family Holiday (minimum age 10, six days, from £1,320).
Sue Glen, a personal travel agent at Co-operative Travel, shares her tips for a trio of small market towns: Builth Wells, Llandrindod Wells and Rhayader
Nestled between the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons to the south and the Cambrian Mountains to the north, lies the Heart of Wales. A trio of small market towns – Builth Wells, Llandrindod Wells and Rhayader – sit just 15 miles apart, yet each offers its own individual charm.
With a wealth of outdoor activities, stunning scenery, cosy eateries and an abundance of places to rest weary heads, it might be a small area on the map, but it has a big heart. There are outdoor activities and sports available in this beautiful area to suit everyone. Enjoy the slower pace of life with a spot of fishing on the River Wye or experience the wilds of the Radnor Hills on a riding holiday with guided breaks for beginners through to trail riding breaks for more experienced riders.
Adrenaline lovers can get their fix on the many mountain bike trails or try a range of Outdoor Activities from kayaking to gorge scrambling.
Rhayader & The Elan Valley
Arriving in Rhayader, the signposts welcome you with ‘Rhayader: Gateway to the Elan Valley Lakes’. An expansive, dramatic landscape featuring a series of dams and reservoirs, first built in the late 1800s, the Elan Valley is a haven for wildlife and offers amazing views, walking or mountain biking trails.
The Visitor Centre situated on the road from Rhayader is a hub for information. Look out for Ranger tours, crafts and kids’ activities and annual dam open days. Right in the heart of the Elan Valley sits the delightful Penbont House tearooms, open daily with a large conservatory, it’s the perfect place to enjoy refreshing break, while soaking up the stunning views. With five en-suite bedrooms, it is also a wonderful base from which to explore the area during the day and experience the breathtaking starry night skies.
The Elan Valley scenery will impress at any time of year, but the colours of the autumn woodland tumbling down into the reservoir reflections is a special treat.
Heading southwest from Rhayader, the Victorian theme continues as you arrive in Llandrindod Wells with its characteristic Victorian spa town architecture. The landscaped lake is ideal for a family day out, with picnic areas, woodland walks, large outdoor play areas and even paddle boats. The Lakeside Café is the perfect haven on days when the weather is more suited to ducks! For golfers, whether beginners or well-practised, the stunning 18-hole course overlooks the town and offers dramatic panoramic views. The clubhouse is an absolute must, offering beautiful views and delicious home-cooked meals. For an evening meal the boutique-style Drovers is just a mile from the town centre and serves authentic Thai dishes in a cosy, welcoming atmosphere with just a hint of quirkiness.
Builth wells is just seven miles from Llandrindod but quite different in character. Less of the grand Victorian features and much more of the rural market town, it exudes warmth and charm. The river Wye meanders through the town, so park your car in The Groe car park and take a stroll, seeking out lunch or an afternoon treat in one of the delightful eateries after.
Along the High Street is the fabulously colourful and welcoming Georgie Porgie’s Coffee Stop and Beautifully Bonkers clothes shop. Family owned and full of character, it offers a lovely menu of locally sourced, home-cooked food.
Enjoy a freshly brewed Black Mountain Roast coffee and pick up some beautiful hand-picked clothes, accessories, gifts and shoes. At the bottom of the High Street you’ll find The Market, a treasure trove of homewares, gifts and a wide range of gourmet foods and deli items that champion Welsh producers. Look out for the Wickedly Welsh Coffee & Biscuit Chocolate bar.
Just next door is the Cwtch Café with indoor and outdoor seating in the covered courtyard. The Cwtch Club Sandwich is a must and, if you can find space afterwards, there is a wonderfully tempting selection of cakes and sweet treats to choose from.
See more about Sue here.