Mark Hodson of 101 Holidays writes about how some of the sharpest minds in the travel industry are pivoting their businesses to offer exciting new trips within the UK.

As many people switch their holiday plans to the UK this summer, some of the sharpest minds in the travel industry are pivoting their businesses to offer exciting new trips within these shores. Some companies are radically expanding existing domestic programmes, but others are setting out to explore the UK for the first time. Mark Hodson, Editor of 101 Holidays, selects some of the most exciting new options.

Abercrombie & Kent has a range of upmarket trips across the UK and Ireland including its Best of British nine-night driving holiday from leafy Surrey through Cumbria’s lakes and mountains to the woodlands and glens of the Scottish Lowlands, staying in iconic places such as Beaverbrook and Gleneagles with a lavish lunch stop at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons.

European Waterways offers the most luxurious barge cruises on beautiful rivers and canals in France, plus destinations in Germany, Italy and the Low Countries. But this summer it has added glorious cruises in Scotland and Ireland. A week in the Highlands on board the Scottish Highlander between Muirtown and Banavie takes in lochs, castles, distilleries and historic battlefields. With a crew of four, it only sleeps eight passengers so there’s also an option to charter the whole vessel.

Inntravel offers independent self-guided walking holidays where your luggage is transported from one charming little hotel or inn to the next. It has vastly increased its UK trips this summer including six nights exploring the seascapes of North Norfolk and four nights discovering the castles of the Shropshire Marches.

Ramblers Walking Holidays knows the footpaths of Britain as well as anyone, but it too has added many more group trips this year. Choose from easy options such as the coast and castles of Northumberland to a challenging week of hikes in the High Peaks of Snowdonia.

Kirker Holidays has a very loyal clientele that love its bespoke upmarket European city breaks. This year, instead of Venice and Vienna, it’s sending many guests to Guernsey and Jersey where hotels include The Atlantic, renowned for its impeccable service and top notch cuisine. Kirker also has a wider range of music and cultural trips in the UK this year.

The Inspiring Travel Company has brought its five-star focus in the Med to the British Isles with highlights that include the Royal Scotsman overnight train and Cliveden House, one of England’s most glamorous country mansions.

Peter Sommer Travels is known for its upmarket gulet cruises in the Mediterranean with expert archaeological guides but this summer it is also putting on two small-group walking tours of Hadrian’s Wall in June and August.

The Healthy Holiday Company has relocated some of its upmarket spa and fitness retreats from Europe to Somerset, plus it has added a range of gorgeous UK spa hotels including Calcot Manor in the Cotswolds.

Wexas has some interesting self-drive road trips including nine days in Northern Ireland from £950, taking in Giant’s Causeway, the Glens of Antrim and maritime Belfast.

UK cruises are proving hugely popular this summer, offering a chance to visit multiple destinations without the need to unpack, or fly. Wexas has an eight-day cruise On the Trail of Bonnie Prince Charlie while Iglu Cruise is the place to find coastal cruises around the UK including budget deals sailing out of Southampton from as little as £293.

Fred./Holidays is offering luxury train tours of the UK with destinations including Cornwall and the Scilly Isles, the Yorkshire Dales and Moors and the Best of Scotland and Ireland in 11 days.

If you’re travelling solo, you’ll find new UK trips from specialists Friendship Travel - including a walking weekend in the New Forest - and Solos Holidays, including golfing breaks.

Finally, the India specialist TransIndus has put together two fascinating UK small group tours focused on grand houses with historic connections to the subcontinent and the British Raj with expert guest lecturers.

May 2021