Tripadvisor 5* Rated

November 30, 2023

Destination: United Kingdom


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Guided vs Self-Guided. Which Type of Tour is Right for you?

When it comes to adventure or active travel, there are two main types of holiday: guided and self-guided. 

At Active England we offer both (and we think they’re both pretty good too!) but what are their benefits and which one is right for you? Our guide looks at each in turn.

Guided walking and cycling holidays

Guided walking, cycling and swimming holidays offer a chance to uncover hidden gems and local customs with the help of a knowledgeable guide. 

You can sit back, relax and let someone else make the decisions for you while you meet new, like-minded people and enjoy a shared experience.

Find hidden spots and share local knowledge

With the help of our knowledgeable guides, you can explore off-the-beaten-path destinations in England and uncover things or places that you might not necessarily have found on your own. 

We’ve handpicked our guides due to their in-depth understanding of the local area making them the perfect travel companions for international travellers. They delight in sharing their knowledge with you, pointing out interesting facts and historical landmarks.

Trust us, we’ve spent some time with all of our guides and their breadth and depth of knowledge really is something to behold. From geology and history to English literature and food culture – these guys have it all!

By joining one of our guided tours, you can immerse yourself in local English culture and gain a deeper appreciation of the destination you are visiting.

Switch off and let someone make the decisions for you

With one of our guided adventure holidays in England, you don’t have to worry about planning that day’s route, researching the best places to visit during your stay, or finding your accommodation in an unfamiliar place.

Our experienced guides take care of all that for you, leaving you free to relax and enjoy the experience. You can sit back, take in the best the English landscape has to offer, and let your guide lead the way.

Meet like-minded people

Meeting like-minded people is one of the great benefits of a guided adventure holiday. By joining a group tour, you share your experience with others who have similar interests and passions. 

This can be particularly valuable for solo travellers, who may feel more comfortable travelling with a group. It’s also a chance to make new friends from around the world and learn about different cultures and perspectives. 

Our guided tours attract a diverse range of people, but they all share a love of adventure and a desire to explore the English countryside. Whether you’re a seasoned walker, cyclist, or a beginner in either, you’ll find plenty of like-minded people on our tours.

Enjoy a shared experience

The camaraderie that develops between group members is a key part of the experience, and many people find that they make lifelong friends on our tours. 

Guides are used to adapting and making changes

Active England guides are skilled at adapting to changes and ensuring that everyone in the group has a good time. They can make adjustments to the itinerary based on weather conditions, group preferences, and unexpected events.

Self-guided walking and cycling holidays

On the other hand, self-guided walking and cycling holidays are ideal for independent travellers or groups who prefer to travel at their own pace. 

You can choose when and where to stop and for how long, but still enjoy well-planned routes with plenty of points of interest. A support vehicle is always on standby should you require it, and luggage transfers are taken care of so that you can focus on enjoying your adventure.

Well-planned routes with points of interest

Our experienced team has carefully planned each self-guided route to ensure that you get the most out of your adventure. We choose routes that are safe, scenic and offer a variety of terrains, distances, and difficulty levels. 

Along the way, you’ll discover many points of interest, such as historic English landmarks, picturesque villages, and beautiful natural scenery.

Suits independent travellers or groups

For free-spirited travellers, self-guided is probably the better option of the two. The same goes for those with plenty of travel experience under their belt, or perhaps those who enjoy the challenge of navigating or riding somewhere new. Of course, we don’t make it that hard – all of our self-guided walking and cycling tours include access to digital maps so you can always find your way no matter how off the beaten track you go!

Travel at your own pace

Sometimes it’s nice to walk or ride at your own pace without fear of being left behind or leaving others behind. Our self-guided walking and cycling tours leave you free to go as fast or as slow as you like. 

Our itineraries have enough flex to allow for quieter days when relaxation is your priority, but enough scope to enable the occasional off-itinerary excursion.

Choose when/where to stop and how long for

When walking or cycling on a self-guided trip, it’s easy to stop to take in a flock of local sheep, a quintessential English cricket match or even a cafe that’s made your tummy rumble! If the sun’s out and an early afternoon snooze is on the cards – be our guest, there’s no one else to worry about but you and your select group of travel companions.

Support vehicle on standby

Whilst we’d love to say that all our trips go off without a hitch, there’s the odd unforeseeable circumstance that keeps us on our toes from time to time. 

Unlike holidays which we’ve planned yourself, we’re always standing by to help you should you encounter a problem on one of our self-guided holidays. A broken walking pole, crunching gears or an untimely puncture, we’re never far away.

Luggage transfers catered for

Carrying a pack when walking or cycling is a chore, that’s why all of our self-guided walking and cycling holidays in England include luggage transfers when on tour.

When you’re ready to depart one hotel we’ll ferry your belongings safely to that evening’s accommodation leaving you free to enjoy that day’s activities.

What is the cost difference between guided and self-guided tours?

Our guided tours are usually around double the price of a similar self-guided tour. That price increase is substantial, but the value our guides bring to trips can often be much, much more.

Differences between guided and self-guided holidays

Hopefully, this guide has gone some way to explain the difference between the two types of holiday we offer. We’ve created this simple graphic to explain the two – share it with those people you are planning a trip.

We are experts in active travel and together with our exemplary guides have decades of experience running the best tours in the English countryside and beyond. Our walking and cycling holidays in England include Cotswold walking tours and Cotswold cycling tours.

Alongside our self-guided and guided trips, we also offer bespoke private tours of England – a holiday of a lifetime curated just for you!

Experienced by


Marketing Manager

Signature Tours

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