Great Britain has long been a haven for walkers, thanks to the
abundance of footpaths and trails, some of them in use for
centuries, that crisscross England, Scotland, Wales and Northern
Ireland. For years both local and international operators have
offered walking vacations for travelers.
Now the destination is increasingly attractive to bicyclists. A
number of new long-distance cycling routes have been opened, and
work on a 2,500-mile signed National Cycle Network, planned for
completion by the year 2000, is ahead of schedule.
Bicycling in Great Britain is mostly along country roads and
lanes, though there are also a number of off-road trails that
bikers share with walkers and horseback riders. Among popular
long-distance bike routes are the Scottish National Cycle Route, a
402-mile trip from Inverness to Carlisle, and a 140-mile route that
stretches from England's Lake District to Newcastle upon Tyne. Many
shorter and circular routes are available as well.
As for Britain's suitability for walking vacations, Tricia
Dowhan of Country Walkers, a tour operator based in Waterbury, Vt.,
said, "It really lends itself well to walking because there are
footpaths everywhere. It's a very intimate way to experience a
At VBT Worldwide Active Vacations in Bristol, Vt. (formerly
Vermont Bicycle Touring and Hiking Holidays), marketing director
Brooks Elder said that the firm's strongest growth in 1997 was in
its bicycle and walking tours to Europe.
Most escorted biking and walking trips include van backup and
give travelers a choice of longer and shorter routes.
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The British Tourist Authority this year issued a new map-folder
called "Britain for Cyclists" that provides information on nearly
70 bicycling routes, equipment hire and Britain-based firms that
offer escorted bicycling tours.
Additional route maps and information are also available from
the National Cycle Network Information Dept., Sustrans, 35 King
St., Bristol BS1 4DZ;
(011) 44-117 929-0888 (24 hours a day);
The BTA also publishes a pamphlet titled "Britain for Walkers,"
that provides details on various walks in Great Britain.
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Essential Scotland, by Barnaby Rogerson with section "Peace and
Quiet" by Paul Sterry; Passport Books, a division of NTC Publishing
Group, Chicago; 1997.
Easy-to-use and carry, "Essential Scotland" tells readers all
they need to know for the perfect trip. The 128-page color guide
lists all the popular sights, with star ratings plus out of the way
places for the best viewing of wildlife and the countryside. Other
sections include dining, shopping, accommodations and night-life.
Also helpful are tips on budget, weather, the best time to travel
and even a chapter on "How to Be a Local" (do not wear a kilt while
walking through town), plus detailed maps of each area.
Frommer's 97 England, by Darwin Porter, Danforth Prince, Suzy
Gershman; Macmillan Travel, a Simon & Schuster Macmillan
Company, New York; 1997.
This "Complete Guide to London and the Countryside" is a
610-page, up-to-date reference book featuring a wealth of practical
information. The guide covers the best places to stay for every
budget, as well as the top attractions, including palaces, medieval
villages and castles; shopping; dining; pubs and other suggestions.
Detailed maps are provided for every region.