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Holidaying During COVID-19

Following announcements made by the government, we are taking bookings for holidays in England for the 24th of May onward. We tentatively expect tours to be back to normal from the 21st of June. Welsh, Irish and Scottish holiday start dates are not yet available from the respective governments; therefore, if you wish to book tours in these locations, please contact us.

If your existing holiday booking was due to start before 17th May, we will be in touch with you as soon as possible to rearrange this with you. Please be aware that our customer services team are very busy at the moment, and it may take a couple of days for them to respond to emails, but we will definitely be in contact soon.

We're offering a free postponement with all 2021 bookings, allowing you to delay your holiday if necessary without incurring costs. Click here for more information.

In 2020, we worked hard to provide safe holidays from August through to the end of October. We saw great success and picked up a tremendous amount of knowledge that we will deploy going forward. Below you will find more information on enjoying a Contours Holiday and what you can expect along the way.

While we are doing all we can to ensure all the involved parties are safe and informed, if you travel while the virus is still active in the general population, you are increasing your risk of infection. If you are considered to be vulnerable to coronavirus, we do not recommend travelling at this time.

When can I go on Holiday?

At this time, we are accepting bookings for holidays starting from the 24th of May 2021 onwards. If your existing holiday booking was due to start before 17th May, we will be in touch with you as soon as possible to rearrange this with you. Please be aware that our customer services team are very busy at the moment, and it may take a couple of days for them to respond to emails, but we will definitely be in contact soon.

To give you additional peace of mind, all 2021 bookings made between 7th October 2020 and 31st March 2021 will be allowed to delay the start date of your holiday free of charge up to four weeks prior to your holiday’s start date. Click here for more information.

What will my holiday be like?

For the general outline of our tours, please refer to our FAQ page, but bear in mind the following changes. These measures may taper off as time goes on, but will certainly apply to holidays booked to start before the 21st of June.

What are my responsibilities?

If you choose to walk, run or cycle on one of our tours, you must understand that you are taking a risk. You are increasing your contact with others, and this carries a responsibility to behave sensibly, taking appropriate measures to minimise the risk of transmission. You should carry hand sanitiser with you for use after touching gates, stiles and anything else that other members of the public might have touched, and use luggage with wipeable rather than fabric handles.

Most importantly, all customers must bear in mind the following responsibilities, which will be sent to you with your tour pack as well.

Thank you for being respectful and considerate of your hosts in this unusually difficult time.

What about my holiday pack?

The holiday pack provided is the only way you’ll come into physical contact with us here in the office, so naturally we’re taking extra precautions to keep you safe.

All holiday packs will be assembled by one of our expert tour pack team members, who will be thoroughly washing their hands before handling holiday pack materials. The government has advised that posted materials are not a transmission risk, but please let us know if you have concerns.

During the 2020 season, while we did our best to deliver holiday packs in a timely fashion, many were delayed due to the late announcement of the end of lockdown. We do not anticipate a repeat of this situation for 2021 and we aim to dispatch all holiday packs on our usual schedule.

What if I have coronavirus symptoms?

If you display any symptoms of coronavirus within two weeks of your holiday commencing, you must not travel. We take this very seriously indeed. Coronavirus poses a threat to life, and we cannot in good conscience permit you to take one of our tours if you have shown symptoms, which include the following from the NHS coronavirus advice page:

If you develop any of these symptoms prior to your tour, you must let us know immediately so that we can cancel your booking. You should take out a suitable holiday insurance policy for this scenario. 

If you develop any of these symptoms during your tour, you must inform us and end your tour immediately, travelling home as directly as possible. We realise this may be difficult and we are on hand to help you find the best options for travel in this worst-case scenario, but unfortunately we cannot accept responsibility for any costs incurred in such a situation.

Can I claim on my travel insurance?

We always highly recommend that you take out a comprehensive travel insurance policy that will cover any lost holiday costs in the event that you need to cancel or are unable to travel, whether you are a UK national or traveling in from abroad. We advise you check with your travel insurance provider to see if you will be covered for a cancellation due to Coronavirus.

Unfortunately, most travel insurers would not pay out if the policy was purchased prior to the general lockdown of 2020, but it is now possible to purchase insurance to cover a variety of circumstances. The specifics of your situation will heavily influence this; at time of writing, we are not aware of any policies which will cover you in the event of a government lockdown, but there are options that will pay out if you are unable to travel due to a positive COVID-19 test or a track-and-trace stay at home order.

What if the government plans change?

At present, the restrictions in place for much of the United Kingdom will prevent your tour from going ahead. However, these restrictions have been slated to relax from the 17th of May 2021. Guidelines and laws continue to change during these uncertain times, but the Contours Team are constantly checking the guidelines and making all the necessary changes to our service. For now, we are accepting bookings for the 24th of May onwards and tentatively expect holidays to return to normal from the 21st of June.

By booking at this time, you accept the risk that a local lockdown or COVID-19 symptoms could prevent you from travelling. While we will do our best to postpone or rearrange your tour with enough notice, we will not be able to refund tours that cannot go ahead at short notice as a result of a local lockdown in your area preventing travel, because of a Track and Trace isolation order, or because you display COVID-19 symptoms prior to your tour. This is simply the risk involved in booking at this time. Specialised COVID-19 Travel Insurance is available from a number of providers, which will include cover in these circumstances. We recommend purchasing this.

To give you additional peace of mind, all 2021 bookings made between 7th October 2020 and 31st March 2021 will be allowed to delay the start date of your holiday free of charge up to four weeks prior to your holiday’s start date. If you book in advance, and then feel closer to the time that you won't be able to make it to your tour, you can push that tour back free of charge. Click here for more information.

If the situation changes and it becomes impossible for your tour to go ahead, we will be in touch as soon as possible to discuss the next steps. Please keep an eye on the email account you used to get set up with us, including your junk inbox, and contact us immediately if you have any questions.

How do I get to my tour?

While we do not take responsibility for your travel to the beginning or back from the end of your holiday, you obviously need to be able to make that journey, and we are keen to help.

Public transport is a difficult option right now; it can be challenging to stick to social distancing, or impossible on packed trains and buses. Therefore we would recommend travelling by car if possible. As always, we are happy to help you arrange parking at either end of your tour.

You will still need to make one journey by public transport or taxi between the start and end points of your tour — either after leaving your car at the end of the route before you begin your adventure, or back to the start once you finish the holiday — and we will help you to find the best option for this journey. Circular tours avoid this problem, of course, so walkers can check out our list of circular walking holidays for some great options, while runners and cyclists can get in touch for suggestions.

Note that buses in remote areas of the country are often under capacity and therefore social distancing can still be adhered to, and the proper use of masks, regular hand washing and contactless payments will help you minimise the risk of transmission.

If you are travelling from overseas, you must be aware that the UK government has put in place a series of restrictions and allowances for tourism. More information on this can be found here. As of 19/1/2021, the key requirements are:

Countries without significant coronavirus infection rates have previously been placed on a "travel corridor" list; individuals travelling from these countries have been exempt from the above requirements. However, at time of writing, the travel corridor system has been suspended temporarily.

We understand if customers affected by this would prefer to postpone their tours until such quarantine measures are lifted, so please contact us to discuss your options. We also strongly recommend keeping an eye on the UK government guidelines, as they are subject to change.

Recent Testimonials

Below are some examples of feedback recieved by our customers who have enjoyed a Contours Holiday since the tourism industry reopened:

Schooling; Coast to Coast Walk - We have enjoyed an excellent holiday organised by Contours Walking Holidays. All the members of our party have been so impressed with how successfully you have managed to organise every aspect of the holiday. All the accommodation choices were uniformly excellent. Each one was well organised in accord with sensible Covid-19 infection prevention arrangements. Your instructions as to how to get to the accommodations were uniformly clear, and the arrangements with taxis, pick up arrangements and baggage transfers worked extremely well. All the members of our party would not only use your company for future holidays but would recommend you without hesitation. In these difficult times you have provided an excellent service to enable us to have an unforgettable holiday experience.

Madge; South Devon (South West Coast Path) - Despite the well known issues with Covid at the moment, the holiday was as always well organised and provided with the usual level of thought and care. I was very impressed with the attention to ensuring Covid measures were all in place.

Darwen; Isle of Anglesey Coast Path - Well organised.  We got what we hoped for. All our hosts were well organised (they spoke highly of Contours) and despite the virus we felt safe. Everyone conformed to the rules.

Lawrie; Northumberland Coat Path - We had a great time: somehow, the previous constrictions of the pandemic made the freedom of walking along a very beautiful coastline in the open air even more wonderful.

Sajic; Hadrian’s Wall Path - We walked the Hadrian's Wall in 5 days.  It was full on and fully satisfying. Brilliant, well organised and smooth from start to finish.

Roma; The Ridgeway - We have just finished our 54 mile walk and could not have been happier with all of our accommodation, ending with the really lovely Jude at Folly Farm. All accommodation was great and what stood out was just how welcoming and independent all of the places were.  We have sent details of Contours to a number of our friends and hope to book again with you in the future.

Salisbury; South Downs Way - We’re doing well! All the accommodation has been great with all our hosts being very friendly, helpful and kind. We’ve even managed to eat out, even when we didn’t expect to. The transfers have all been as expected. The taxi transfer this afternoon was very efficient and Chris the driver was brilliant and very cheerful and helpful. All in all it’s been really good so far and we’re all extremely pleased.

Griffiths; Offa's Dyke Path - All has gone extremely well thanks to your planning and attention to detail. The accommodations were outstanding and our final two nights in the Beaches hotel with the sea view made for a special end. All of the pick ups of ourselves and our luggage went smoothly with friendly taxi drivers. It can not have been easy this year with the Covid restrictions so we really appreciate all of the extra work which made our holiday possible.

Gunn; South West Coast Path - We would like to thank the Contours Team and their industry partners (Luggage Transfers, Taxi Firms & B&B/Hoteliers) for helping us complete another 91+ miles of the SWCP (South Devon & Torbay). Everything went like clockwork and we appreciated the attention to detail that made the trip so memorable. We especially liked the call from Ben before the holiday, offering advice (which we took) about the Noss Mayo circuit and during the holiday to discuss one of our taxi transfers. If everything goes to plan, in these uncertain terms we will be using Contours again to plan the last 115 miles of our SWCP odyssey.

Jones; Nidderdale Way - We have just returned from walking the Nidderdale Way and would like to say it was fabulous! Wonderful scenery, 4 great days walking in dry, and for 3 days hot, weather. It was more challenging that we had anticipated, but it didn’t detract from the walk at all. We have had a great holiday and look forward to more Contours adventures in the future. Many thanks to all the team, it is much appreciated.

Pratt; South West Coast Path - Very well organised in particularly difficult circumstances. The majority of accommodations were beautiful, transfers by taxi to and from the start/end of walks when necessary were well arranged. The baggage transfers were all seamlessly completed. Communication with Contours was always courteous, helpful and effective. Thanks team Contours stay safe.

Sweeny; Lady Anne's Way - I wanted to drop you a note of thanks for the great trip we had on the Lady Anne's Way in September. We were lucky with stunning weather which made the walk even better than expected. A very special thank you to the team for organising this trip. This year has presented many challenges and I can't imagine the extra hard work the team must have gone to to make this work for us, we really appreciated it. We have now completed 5 long distance walks with Contours, we recommend you to as many friends as possible and we look forward to many more fun walks with your help and assistance.

Matthews; Pennine Way Can I thank you all very much for the way Contours has dealt so professionally in these very challenging times. Your support and communication throughout has been first rate and is very much appreciated.

Above all else...

If you are vulnerable to coronavirus, we do not recommend travelling at this time.

If you travel while the virus is still active in the general population, there is a risk involved which you accept by travelling, and which your accommodation and transfer providers accept by taking your booking. While we will do absolutely everything we can to ensure all involved parties are safe and informed of the proper precautions, we cannot completely eliminate that risk.

If you have any concerns or worries, we are more than happy to discuss them and tell you more about how we intend to keep our tours safe, but we must emphasise: put your health first. To get in touch, find our details on our Contact page.