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Frequently Asked Questions

Information concerning the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

About Contours

Contours Holidays has been organising outdoor holidays since 1996 and strives to be the best value self-guided holiday company in the UK and Ireland.

We offer a broad variety of customisable holidays, with competitive pricing, hand-picked service providers and excellent customer service.

Not a cyclist? Find out more about our Walking Holidays and Trail Running Holidays.

What is a self-guided cycling holiday?

From the door of each night’s accommodation, you’ll follow our maps and guidebooks on a ride through the countryside of the United Kingdom — with complete freedom to cycle at your own pace, stop for breaks when you like, choose your own meals and linger as long as you want at the sites that interest you most.

That’s because a self-guided holiday is built around you. There’s no need to choose from a limited selection of dates and you won’t join a group of strangers. Gather your cycling companions from amongst friends and family or decide to head out alone, pick a trail, select the itinerary that best suits your pace and let us know your dates. We’ll arrange everything for you and provide all the details so you can act as your own guide.

Read on for all the specifics.

What does Contours provide?

  • Nightly accommodation
  • Breakfast
  • Daily luggage transfers
  • Personalised holiday pack
  • 24-hour emergency support
  • Exclusive members area

We offer expertly-planned cycling holidays and complete peace of mind. In this section you’ll learn about everything that goes into your self-guided excursion through the British countryside.

Nightly Accommodation

We book three star and above or equivalent accommodation at family-run bed and breakfasts, friendly guesthouses, country inns and small hotels, with secure bicycle storage wherever available. Each has been carefully chosen for their quality, the warmth of their welcome and their closeness to the trail.

We aim to book en-suite rooms each night, but please be aware that this is not always possible, especially in the most remote areas. Please also note that our cycling tours do not include a night's stay at the end of your holiday as standard, however this can be added for a fee during the booking process if required.

Breakfast

A continental or cooked breakfast is included at your accommodation each morning as standard.

Inform Contours of any dietary requirements within your group and we’ll notify each accommodation in advance. We recommend telephoning your accommodation prior to your arrival to discuss your specific requirements. In some cases it may be worth carrying your favourite substitute items with you.

Daily Luggage Transfers

A light daypack, containing your tool kit, drinks and other trailside essentials, is all you’ll need to carry during the day. Your larger luggage will be transported for you between each overnight stop.

We transfer one bag per cyclist, up to a maximum of 20kg (44lbs). Extra allowance may be available at supplemental cost.

Personalised Holiday Pack

Your pack contains all the information required to guide you along your chosen trail.

  • Maps, GPX files, guidebooks or route notes to guide you each day
  • A day-to-day itinerary
  • Details of each night’s accommodation and how to get there from the route
  • Luggage tags

Your Holiday Pack will be posted to you four weeks prior to your holiday’s start date, after receipt of full payment. An electronic version of your Holiday Pack, minus the maps and guidebooks, will be emailed to the Lead Cyclist. We provide one Pack per party, with additional copies available to purchase on request.

Not at home to receive your Pack? We’re happy to deliver it to your holiday’s starting accommodation or an alternative address.

All Holiday Packs are produced in strict rotation. We are unable to generate any Packs earlier than the specified four weeks before your holiday begins.

24-hour emergency support

Our office is manned from 09:00 to 17:30 British local time, Monday to Saturday (excluding bank holidays).

If assistance is required outside these times, details of an out-of-hours emergency telephone service are included in your Holiday Pack. You can also find this number in our Members Area.

Exclusive Members Area

Here you’ll find travel information, downloadable GPS files where available, an interactive feedback form and much more. If you’ve booked your holiday, access the Members Area now. You’ll need the email address and password as set up by your Lead Traveller.

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What is not included?

  • Transport to and from your holiday
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance
  • Transport should you decide to skip a stage
  • Bicycle, equipment and clothing

Every trail we offer brims with great sights and local cafes and restaurants. One of our top targets is to make sure you can visit your favourites at your own pace — not hustled along by a tour guide or a lunchtime reservation. To maximise flexibility on your self-guided ride, here are the things we leave to you.

If you’re wondering what to bring, here’s our kit list. Please note that you must bring or hire your own bicycle for the duration of your holiday.

Transport to and from your holiday

How you get to the start and from the end of the trail is up to you, but we’re more than happy to offer advice. Details of public transport links are provided in your Holiday Pack.

If you plan to travel by car, let us know and we’ll look into your car parking options. If the accommodation where you are booked to stay has car parking available for the duration of your holiday, we can arrange this with them for you. Any charge will be payable to your accommodation directly. Where this is not possible, we will provide information on local long stay car parking options in your Holiday Pack.

Looking to get stuck in with planning? Traveline is an extremely useful website that allows you to plan your journey using local transport. Trainline has a searchable timetable for the UK’s rail network and is a great help when seeking out the best value fares.

If travelling by train, note that services have a limited number of bicycle spaces available. Make sure to book your bicycle spot in advance.

Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks

With our suggestions for where to purchase packed lunches and evening meals included in your Holiday Pack, you’ll enjoy the freedom to choose where to eat on your ride. Breakfast is pre-booked and included in the price of your holiday.

Transport should you decide to skip a stage

If you decide not to complete a day’s ride, you will need to make use of public transportation or a taxi to reach your accommodation for the night.

Travel insurance

We strongly recommend that you take out holiday insurance in order to cover you against cancellation, personal accident, illness and loss/theft of personal possessions or money. Contours Cycling Holidays unfortunately cannot be held responsible for any of the above.

Bicycle, equipment and clothing

If you’re unsure of what to bring with you, take a look at our kit list of recommended equipment for your cycling holiday. A compass, tool kit and a well-serviced bicycle are essential.

Your bicycle will need to be suitable for your chosen holiday. Check the holiday description for the type of bike we recommend for the trail.

Be sure to service and test your bicycle before your holiday begins to make sure it is ready for a long-distance ride. Contours Holidays do not provide bicycle hire, but we are more than happy to recommend the best hire companies for your holiday.

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How do I choose my holiday?

  • Locations
  • How many days of riding?
  • On road or off?
  • Customisable itineraries
  • Who would you like to cycle with?

We proudly offer a great range of UK routes and itinerary options, with holidays for road cyclists and mountain bikers alike. Not entirely sure which is best for you? We’ve listed the major points for consideration below.

If you need help reaching a decision, our friendly and knowledgeable team will be more than happy to advise you. Get in touch though our Contact page.

Locations

You can search for trails in your favourite areas by taking a look at our Holiday Location Map or using the search tool below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On road or off?

Our on-road routes explore the countryside along low-traffic roads, country lanes and dedicated cyclepaths. A few holidays include stretches along unsurfaced bridleways, but these will always be hard packed and suitable for road bikes. The difficulty of these holidays is usually defined by the ascents and distances involved, which are outlined in our route descriptions.

Our off-road routes avoid tarmac wherever possible, escaping civilisation along byways and bridleways. From grit pathways to singletrack, you’ll encounter a wide range of terrain as outlined in your holiday’s route description. Your bicycle will need appropriate tyres and suspension to match, and we highly recommend you practice riding off-road beforehand even if you’re a fit and experienced road cyclist.

How many days of riding?

Our range of holiday options allows our customers to cycle for as long as they wish. Our shortest breaks start from three nights and two days of riding, while our longer tours can last for several weeks. You can even connect some of our routes together to create even longer holidays as desired.

Check out the tour itineraries listed under your chosen trail to find your ideal holiday length. Bear in mind that the quoted mileages do not include the distance to your accommodation from the trail, which could add up to two miles each day.

Customisable itineraries

If our pre-made itineraries aren’t quite right for you, simply contact us with your ideas and requirements and we will be happy to discuss your options with you.

All of our holidays can be adjusted to incorporate extra days for resting or sight-seeing. If you would like assistance in deciding where to spend an extra night, please get in touch. You can find our top picks on the “Extra Nights” tab on each tour page.

All extra nights must be booked at the time of booking your holiday. They cannot be added at a later date.

Who would you like to cycle with?

We can usually cater for groups of up to 12–14 people, including families and friends of all ages, depending on the trail and subject to availability.

If you wish to book for a group of seven or more people, please contact us to discuss your options.

If you’re planning to holiday as a group, make sure you take everyone’s experience levels into account when choosing your tour.

Solo cyclists are also very welcome on our holidays. All of our road cycling holidays are suitable for solo cyclists. Remote off-road trails such as the Trans Cambrian Way do pose additional challenges; get in touch if you have any concerns about riding these routes alone and we will be happy to advise.

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How are holidays graded?

  • Easy
  • Moderate
  • Demanding
  • Strenuous

Many factors contribute to the difficulty of the trail, including the daily mileage, terrain and the typical weather conditions of the area. Our grading scheme, along with the route profiles offered on each holiday page, offers a general indication of a tour’s difficulty to help you decide which holiday best tallies with your experience and fitness level.

Remember that all cyclists, regardless of the holiday grade you choose, should know how to use a compass and read a UK Ordnance Survey or Harvey Map.

If you are unsure of which grade to choose, or have any questions concerning distances or terrain covered on your preferred trail, please contact us and we will be happy to help.

Easy

Road Cycling: Up to 30 miles (48km) cycling per day.

Road cycling tours graded as ‘easy’ may involve some short ascents and descents, but allow the cyclist to cover the daily distance at a leisurely, undemanding pace, to give plenty of time to take in the surroundings and stop where required. Easy tours are ideal for novice cyclists or those embarking on their first multi-day cycling holiday.

Mountain Biking: Up to 10 miles (16km) biking per day, with few technical features.

MTB tours graded as ‘easy’ may involve some short off-road ascents and descents, but these should be on relatively smooth, non-technical surfaces, with few obstacles. Easy tours are ideal for novice mountain bikers or those embarking on their first multi-day cycling holiday.

Moderate

Road Cycling: Generally between 30 - 50 miles (48 - 80km) cycling per day.

Road cycling tours graded as ‘moderate’ involve longer daily distances and/or steeper ascents and descents on the route. The distances will still be perfectly fine for any cyclist confident in their fitness to complete while riding at a steady pace.

Mountain Biking: Generally between 10 - 15 miles (16 - 24km) biking per day, with some technical features such as rocks and roots encountered.

MTB tours graded as ‘moderate’ involve slightly longer daily distances and/or steeper ascents and descents on the route, featuring a few more technical features, such as rocks and roots. These distances will be fine for any mountain biker with fairly good fitness used to regular riding off-road.

Demanding

Road Cycling: Generally between 50 - 75 miles (80 - 120km) cycling per day.

Road cycling tours graded as ‘demanding’ are typically more challenging, with longer daily mileages ensuring several hours in the saddle at a reasonable pace and likely to encounter some steeper and longer climbs and descents along the route. If you are an enthusiastic cyclist with a good level of fitness and are looking to test your abilities, then these are the itineraries for you.

Mountain Biking: Generally between 15 - 25 miles (24 - 40km) biking per day, with technical features, steep climbs and descents.

MTB tours graded as ‘demanding’ are more challenging, with bigger daily mileages and trickier terrain, that will take in several steep climbs and gnarly descents. If you are a confident and fit mountain biker used to riding technical features, including rocks, roots and drop-offs, and are looking to get the most out of a multi-day biking holiday, then these are the itineraries for you.

Strenuous

Road Cycling: Generally over 75 miles (120km) cycling per day.

Tours graded as ‘strenuous’ are designed for serious cyclists with a high level of fitness and stamina to be confident of tackling the long daily mileages, with significant climbs and testing descents. For these itineraries, you will need previous experience of multi-day cycling trips, covering long distances over consecutive days at a good pace.

Mountain Biking: Generally over 25 miles (40km) biking per day, with technical features, steep climbs and descents.

MTB tours graded as ‘strenuous’ are designed for experienced bikers with a high level of fitness and confidence in their ability. Riders will encounter a range of technical features each day, including technical climbs and steep descents with rocks, roots and drop-offs, in potentially remote locations. These itineraries are for those wanting to test themselves on longer and more demanding routes.

 


Please note that some tours may sit between two difficulty grades, displaying as "Easy/Moderate", for example. This can be for a number of reasons, such as if there is a wider range of distances between the days of the itinerary, or if the distances are ‘Easy’ but the hills and terrain involved are a bit tricky and more ‘moderate’ etc. If you require assistance with choosing the right tour for you, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to advise you.

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Holiday availability

All of our cycling holidays are available from March to October, but many are available during the winter months too. Details of the season for each holiday can be found on its trail page. If you wish to book out of season, get in touch with our friendly team. An extra cost may be involved.

Please be aware that, if your ideal holiday dates coincide with a public holiday or a local event, availability of accommodation becomes limited very quickly. During these times it is advisable to book as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

Our team at Contours Cycling Holidays are always on hand to advise you on availability throughout the year.

How much will my holiday cost?

Solo and single supplements

Special tour supplement

Group discount

Loyalty discount

Refer A Friend discount

New offers and discounts

Tour prices are provided on each route page. The prices, which are per person, are based upon two people booking and sharing a twin or double room.

Please note: if you book your holiday online and quote a discount, voucher or special offer code, these will be manually deducted from the cost of your holiday after you have submitted your booking. Your holiday acknowledgement email and invoice will reflect this accordingly.

Solo and single supplements

Customers riding alone are subject to a solo supplement. This covers the extra costs of a single room or single occupancy of a two-person room, as well as those expenses usually shared across multiple people: luggage transfers and a set of maps and a guidebook. The cost of the solo supplement is shown next to the itinerary of your chosen tour.

If you are booking as part of a group but require a room of your own, the single supplement will apply for the same reasons. The single supplement cost can be found next to the itinerary of your chosen tour.

These are two separate supplements and you will never incur both at once.

Special tour supplement

If you wish to add extra nights into your holiday, the cost of these is shown below the tour price. Any other special customisation can be requested prior to booking and priced as required.

For assembling bespoke special tours, we apply a £25 charge per cyclist to a minimum cost of £50.

Group discount

Discounts are available for groups of three or more people booking a tour together. We calculate our prices on the assumption that there will be two people sharing the fixed costs, so we’re able to offer reduced rates when these costs are shared across a larger group. The size of your group discount will depend on the number of people in your group, as follows:

  • 3-4 cyclists = 5%
  • 5-8 cyclists = 7.5%
  • 9 or more cyclists = 10%

Please note that the group discount and loyalty discount cannot be used together or in conjunction with any other promotion.

Loyalty discount

As a thank you to our many returning customers, we offer the following loyalty discounts:

  • Bronze — Save 2.5% on your third to fourth holidays
  • Silver — Save 5% on your fifth to ninth holidays
  • Gold — Save 7.5% on your tenth holiday and any subsequent trips thereafter

Whether your holiday was a walking, cycling or trail running holiday, a short break or a full-length tour, it counts toward your total number of Contours holidays.

When booking your next Contours holiday, simply tell us that you qualify for a loyalty discount and list the holidays you’ve taken with us before.

Please note that the loyalty discount and group discount cannot be used together or in conjunction with any other promotion.

Refer A Friend Discount

If your friends are new to Contours and they book a holiday with us following your recommendation, we offer rewards for you both. Your friend will receive an introductory £25 off their booking, and you’ll get a voucher for £25 off whichever holiday you book next.

To activate this Refer a Friend Discount, your friend simply needs to let us know at time of booking that they’re eligible for the offer and provide your name and address. Exclusions apply.

New offers and discounts

We frequently run short-term promotions so that our customers can enjoy even better value for money. Visit our frequently updated Special Offers page for the latest details.

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How do I book my holiday?

  • Online
  • Over the phone
  • Deposits
  • Payment
  • Paying as part of a group
  • Protection

Once you have chosen your holiday and wrangled your cycling group, you can send your booking to us in a number of ways. Don't worry if your group members would like to pay separately — we make partial payment easy. Read on for all the details.

Online

Go to your chosen holiday trail on the website, find your ideal tour and click Book Now beside your chosen itinerary. Follow the steps on the secure online booking form. Don't forget to add any comments or specific requirements you may have, and to include any discounts or voucher codes you wish to apply.

Over the phone

Call us to discuss your requirements and we will process the booking with you over the telephone.

From within the UK:    01629 821 900
From outside the UK:   +44 1629 821 900

Our booking team is available during office hours: Monday to Saturday, 09:00 to 17:30 local time, excluding bank holidays.

Deposits

All bookings require a non-refundable deposit of £100 per person per holiday (or per tour section if booking consecutive tours).

If you book your holiday within six weeks of commencement, you will need to pay for your holiday in full at the time of booking.

Payment

You may pay for your holiday by debit card or credit card. We accept MasterCard, Visa or Amex. You may also pay by cheque or Sterling bank draft (made payable to “Contours Holidays”) or by bank transfer. Please contact us for details. All payments must be made in pounds sterling.

Paying as part of a group

If you are cycling as part of a large group, you may wish to pay your portion of the balance separately. This can be done easily by visiting the Members Area of our website. Simply enter the email address and password set up by your Lead Traveller. Within the Members Area, enter the amount you would like to pay, followed by your card details as prompted by our website.

All bookings are subject to our Booking Conditions.

Protection

In accordance with The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992, all persons booking with Contours Walking Holidays Ltd. are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all monies paid to us, including repatriation if required, arising from cancellation or curtailment of your travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Contours Walking Holidays Ltd.


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Once a holiday is booked

  • Holiday Acknowledgement
  • Contact during the process
  • Making changes to a booking
  • Joining a party
  • Cancelling a booking

The process once your booking has been submitted is straightforward. Read on for details of our Holiday Acknowledgements and the contact you should expect to have with us between the date of booking and the first day of your ride. Need to make an alteration, add a new cyclist or cancel a booking? All you need to know can be found below as well.

Holiday Acknowledgement

When we have received your booking and deposit and checked accommodation availability, we will send you a Holiday Acknowledgement email. This acts as recognition that we have received your booking and that our team have begun processing your cycling holiday.

You can expect to receive your Holiday Acknowledgement within two working days of making your booking.

Your Holiday Acknowledgement contains a summary of your chosen itinerary, an invoice, your unique Booking ID and our Booking Conditions.

It is important that you read through this information carefully and check that everything is exactly as you are expecting. In the unlikely event that there is an error with your itinerary, please contact us immediately, quoting your Booking ID.

Contact during the process

Once you’ve received your Holiday Acknowledgement, we generally will not need to contact you again until we send out your Holiday Pack four weeks before the start of your holiday.

In a small number of cases, however, difficulties may arise in securing accommodation for your holiday. Should this be the case, we will contact you as soon as possible to discuss your options.

Making changes to a booking

We will do everything we can to help if you wish to make changes to your booking prior to the due date for final payment, but please be aware that we charge an administrative fee of £50 per person in your group for any alterations.

If you choose to add another person to your party after making your initial booking, this will be considered a change to the booking and will incur an administration charge. Please be aware that we cannot always guarantee that there will be availability for additional people in the accommodations we have booked for you.

If you wish to add a person to your booking, please contact us to discuss your requirements and we will do our utmost to help.

If you wish to make changes after the final payment has been made, please see our Booking Conditions for details of charges.

Joining a party

We often receive requests from people who wish to surprise another cycling party by joining them on their holiday. While we encourage customers to share their experience with their friends and family, we also have to respect the privacy of each of our customers. Please do not be offended when we refuse to disclose the details of another customer’s holiday. We are required by the Data Protection Act 2018 to follow strict security procedures.

With the permission of all parties involved, we would be more than happy to assist two parties who wish to join each other on one of our holidays.

Cancelling a booking

If you have to cancel your holiday, please inform us in writing via email or by post as soon as possible. The date from which we receive your written cancellation is the date from which cancellation fees will be calculated. Cancellation terms will apply.

Please see our Booking Conditions for more information.

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