As we all begin to count down the days until the end of 2017 the team at HF Holidays are getting prepared for a sell out Christmas across our 18 Country Houses. It really has been a phenomenal year.
Jim Forward CEO said:
"We’ve had a bumper year of growth on our walking and activity holidays – UK Guided Walking & Family guest volumes have been the highest since the turn of the century, and European Guided Walking has also had a big year.
For four months over the summer we topped 93% occupancy. In fact over August Bank Holiday we only had two non-ensuite rooms available across the whole estate. 17 of our houses had more guest weeks than last year and, even with two houses less (Lulworth Lodge and Moorlands) we still sold more guest weeks than in 2015-2016"
With this in mind The Groups team are now reviewing the availability we have left to offer for 2018 as next year is stacking up to be even busier.
If you’re still looking for ideas to add to your programme of UK breaks, opportunities are getting tight especially in Spring, so we’ve included some suggestions below, please do get in touch if you want to know more or to check availability.
As this will be the last enews in 2017 may we take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas!
Aga, Sheena, Stefania, Xhesi & myself look forward to helping you make more wonderful memories for your Group members in 2018.
Spotlight on Trails
If you’re looking for something a little different for your next walking holiday our “Best of” range of Trail Holidays offer groups a great walking experience
Annie Coutts Trail Product Manager explains why these 3 selected trails are perfect for small groups of 10+
- The Best of the Isle of Man (7 nights)
- The Best of the Fife Coast (6 nights)
- The Best of Hadrians Wall (6 nights)
- They are linear walks which are difficult to do yourselves as they involve the need of additional transport – we’ll take care of that for you with drop off and pick ups each day.
- They give you a real flavour of the areas you are walking in with time to enjoy history along the way, exploring famous historical sites such as the famous Vindolanda along the Roman Wall or seaside and fishing villages on the coast paths with equally as much history to offer
- Graded 2 or 3 which means they are generally on good paths and great for a mix of walking ability to manage so more suitable for a mixed group.
- The group get to stay at one of our partner hotels for the whole holiday which has been selected for its friendly and warm atmosphere and great location.
- All meals included from dinner on arrival to breakfast on the day of departure. You will never go hungry and all you really need to pay for is a drink at the end of the day relaxing back at the hotel.
- Hadrian’s Wall holiday has a Roman themed evening on the last night and a talk from a Roman Soldier.
- Each of these 3 trails are easy to get to for a group.
Best of Hadrian’s Wall. On the train line for Haltwhistle and the hotel provides free taxi transfers if needed from Haltwhistle. Newcastle Airport is the nearest airport. There is a car park if you bring your own car.
Best of the Isle of Man. Take the ferry or fly into Douglas from numerous airports and the hotel is centrally situated in Douglas. Note, there is no car park.
Best of the Fife Coast Path. Fly into Edinburgh and catch the train to Markinch or drive as there is a big car park.
- A knowledgeable leader with you for the whole holiday to guide you along the way and help you learn about the local area.
- Save 5% off brochure prices when you bring a group of 10+
- Or organiser travels free when 15+ book
So why not branch out from your regular guided walking holiday in 2018 and challenge yourself and your friends to achieve one of these iconic trail routes.
HF Holidays have been awarded Which? Recommended Provider
HF Holidays beat off stiff competition from household named travel agents and tour operators to be chosen as a Which? Recommended Provider for Holiday Companies in 2017.
The UK’s leading walking and outdoor holiday specialist, HF Holidays was commended for its outstanding customer service record and awarded five stars across the board. An incredible 87% of respondents who had used HF Holidays said they would book with them again. One customer commented: “What attracts me most is the standard of accommodation, the level of organisation, the walks offered and that I will be travelling with like-minded people.”
Every year over 60,000 guests choose to travel with HF Holidays to destinations all over the world, which makes them Britain’s largest walking and outdoor leisure holiday specialists. Besides owning and operating 18 country houses in the most beautiful nature spots, the co-operative society has obtained Gluten-Free Accreditation for all of them from Coeliac-UK, making it the only British holiday provider to do so.
Jim Forward, Chief Executive at HF Holidays, said: “We are absolutely thrilled with the Which? Holiday Companies survey results. To secure the highest customer score of 93% is testament to the hard work, passion and enthusiasm of our team.
“We are totally committed to delivering an unrivalled walking holiday experience and helping people enjoy the great outdoors. We will build on this achievement with fresh enthusiasm and ideas ensuring HF Holidays continues to delight customers.”
Pathways Fell Care Day
We’re delighted to say that HF Holidays Pathways Fund, recently helped fund one of Friends of the Lake District Fell Care Day. To further support and help protect the landscape two of our House Managers took the day off from their typical day at HF, rolled up their sleeves and got involved! John & Mariano both said it was a really good day, with gorgeous conditions and a very enthusiastic crowd of volunteers. Fell Care Days are mass participation volunteering events focused on practical conservation, community engagement and education in the Lake District. Hundreds of local people and visitors, of all ages and from various walks of life, participate and interact with the Lake District’s unique upland landscapes.
Fantastic example of a donation from our Pathways Fund, and how we’ve involved our team locally with a Pathways Fund project.
Here are a few stats about the day:
- 91 volunteers, task leaders and Friends of the Lake District staff
- 2 bridges rebuilt, 1 bridge repaired, 2 large fallen branches removed, entrance gate wire-fenced at How’s Wood
- 75 sqm woodland coppiced at How’s Wood
- 100 sqm of rhododendron bashed and burned at Stanley Ghyll
- 12 km of upland footpath repaired and maintained
- 20 sqm of scrub removed at Boot Corn Mill
- 80sqm of scrub removed at Boot Old Railway & Incline historic site
- 30m of Hedge laid at Field Head Farm
- 80m of path cleared and 30m resurfaced along the Girder Bridge river path
- 450 trees planted and 200 maintained at Christcliff
- 9km of upland path surveyed and 1 bag of rubbish cleared.
- 438 hours = 62.5 days of work completed
- 200 pieces of cake eaten!
if you join Friends of the Lake District before Christmas you will receive a FREE pack of Lake District notecards. Simply quote 'HF' in your application.
You can help us continue this work by donating to the Pathways Fund either at one of our Country Houses in the UK, or by sending it to: HF Holidays Pathways Fund, Catalyst House, Centennial Park, Elstree, Hertfordshire, WD6 3SY.
We always love to receive feedback on your group holiday experiences. Even better when you’ve put in in print to a wider audience! Thank you John Spurr from Aughton & Ormskirk U3A for telling all your U3A members about your wet, but wonderful group break to Coniston! A HF Holidays walking mug is on its way to you!
If you want to feature your groups story into our monthly e-shots, send your story to the Groups team - you could win a HF Holidays exclusive walking mug!
Want to book a groups holiday for March? We have a fantastic offer of 50% off Guided Walking in the Shropshire Hills.
Discover the best walks in the UK, get outside and enjoy a full day's walking and leave all the planning and navigation to us; it’s what we’re best at. Our group Spring Guided Walking breaks have savings of up to 30%.
*Available for groups of 10+ subject to availability. New bookings only. Based on 2 people sharing a standard room. Full board from dinner on arrival until breakfast on departure.
Call the Groups team on 0345 470 7557 or email us to book.