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How to prepare for a walking holiday

Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes

Our guided and self-guided walking holidays are designed to be enjoyed by pretty much everyone, regardless of age and fitness level. However, not all walks are created equal in terms of their strength, stamina, and balance requirements. To ensure you get maximum enjoyment out of your walking holiday, here are the best ways to prepare for everything from easy day rambles, long-distance hikes, strenuous mountain ascents, and everything in between  

How fit do you need to be for a walking holiday?

For those new to walking holidays, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Only you can ascertain your fitness levels, capabilities, and what counts as a good workout. However, there are a few simple activities that can be built into your daily life - even if you only have a short amount of preparation time prior to your walking holiday. These include taking brisk 30-minute walks, running up stairs (but walking down), and hitting the gym a few times a week to increase your cardiovascular capacity. And while it sounds obvious, the best way to train for a long walk is often to take a long walk.

Fun ways to boost fitness

Preparing for a walking holiday doesn't require you to walk 10-plus miles every single day - anything you do to keep your body flexible is a bonus. Ramp up your steps and engage in activities that increase your heart rate. Jogging, running, cycling, swimming, and dancing are all excellent options. Once you’ve built up leg and core strength, walking with a backpack will give you a useful measure of how it feels when a weight is added to your frame. Try not to overdo it and factor in plenty of rest days.

Men going for a walk

Preparing for more challenging walking

Our challenge holidays require far more stamina but reward with spectacular scenery and maximum bragging rights, especially when it comes to ticking off some of the UK’s highest mountains and wildest landscapes. For example, our Scafell Pike Challenge means covering a distance of nine miles with an ascent of 3,150ft (960m) while our Ben Nevis Challenge is a 10-mile walk with an ascent of 4,500ft (1,380m). On these holidays, everything from upping your cardio-based fitness regime to getting your body used to slow-releasing energy snacks should be considered.

Upping the ante for more extreme challenges

For more demanding mountain holidays, preparation is everything. You’ll arguably experience a variety of terrains as well as arduous ascents and descents that may only be manageable if you put in the correct training beforehand. Our Wainwright Bagging Eastern Fells Challenge requires peak performance levels to tackle greater distances and trails that aren’t well-trodden. You’ll need to preserve your energy and keep up the pace continuously over the course of a week. 

Lady walking up a mountain

Don’t be daunted

The great news, however, is that walking holidays can be done by anyone who is generally fit and healthy. Even our most challenging walks can be conquered with a little preparation and training. Do whatever works for you and don’t beat yourself up about not training when you don’t feel like it. Some days, it’ll be challenging enough just to climb the stairs. On other days, you may feel like pushing yourself a little harder to reap the benefits.

Our walking grades

To show the difficulty (and ease) of our walking holidays, each is graded on a scale of 1 to 6, with 1 being the gentlest and 6 the most challenging. You’ll find a correlating walking grade on each of our individual holiday descriptions. Read more here.

Inspired to book a country house break in 2024? Browse all of our country houses here, and see some of our favourite 7-night breaks below

7 Night Shropshire Hills Guided Walking

Book now or call 020 3974 8865

7 Night Southern Yorkshire Dales Guided Walking

Book now or call 020 3974 8865

7 Night Isle of Wight Guided Walking

Book now or call 020 3974 8865

7 Night Peak District Guided Walking

Book now or call 020 3974 8865

Published 4th January 2024