Walking Grades

Walking Grades and finding the right holiday for you

The world really is more beautiful on foot and we have a holiday to suit everyone who loves fresh air, wonderful locations and good company. There’s simply no better way to explore and unwind!

To ensure you relish every moment, we’ve graded our holidays to help you find the level of walking you wish to undertake - from stretching your legs on a relaxing sightseeing tour, to stretching yourself on a challenging high altitude trek. Whatever suits you, we’ve a fabulous selection of holidays to match your individual walking ability and spirit of adventure!


Walking Grades Explained

Choosing the right walking grade to suit your ability and comfort level is key to your enjoyment. Whether or not you are an experienced walker. our wide range of gentle to adventurous walking grades ensures there is something for everyone. Please avoid selecting a holiday beyond your physical capabilites, or even well under your normal capacity - unless you’d be happy with a slower pace. Our grades indicate the pace and terrain you should expect on each chosen holiday, and the personal fitness required. Using these help you, and your travelling companions, be sure the holiday is right for you and that it will be a success.

Leisurely
These indicate our easier walking grades, where holidays are at a gentler pace, with only an average fitness required. You’ll enjoy days out on gentle slopes, distinct coastal and valley tracks paths.

 Terrain easy

  • Daily walks of between 5 and 8 miles.
  • Inclines of generally under 1000ft (300m).
  • Slower paced sightseeing involved.
  • 3 hours walking a day with a maximum of five hours walking on any one day.

These holidays suit people who wish to enjoy the hills and mountains but without too much strenuous activity and at a slower pace.  We recommend walking boots with good ankle support, moulded soles and waterproof, breathable uppers for these holidays.

Any sort of recreational walking will have you in fine shape for a grade E holiday, for example weekend strolls of a couple of hours or more across your local common, though not necessarily on the flat.

  Sightseeing (E/SS)

A walking holiday at grade E with a sightseeing focus.

We recommend walking boots with good ankle support, moulded soles and waterproof, breathable uppers for the walking element of these holidays.

If you are happy walking around your local town for a few hours then you will certainly be fit enough for one of our sightseeing holidays.

Moderate
Choose a moderate walking grade for slightly more strenuous walking on easier to moderate slopes, tracks and paths, which may be rough underfoot at times. These grades may have a sightseeing element on some holidays .

  Terrain moderate

  • Daily walks from 6-10 miles.
  • Inclines of generally between 800ft and 2000ft (250 to 600m).
  • Average daily walking is less than 5 hours.

You will enjoy some reasonably energetic days walking on hills rather than mountains, but not too strenuous (although some paths may be rough). You will get some free days to explore alone if you wish. We recommend lightweight walking boots with good ankle support, moulded soles and waterproof, breathable uppers for these holidays.

In the past year you have probably enjoyed walks lasting several hours in open countryside at least half a dozen times.

 Terrain moderate
  • Sometimes reaching 2500ft (750m) at certain mountain centres.
  • Daily walking time will rarely exceed six hours.

Expect energetic days among hills and easy mountain walking.  We advise that walking boots with good ankle support, moulded soles and waterproof, breathable uppers are essential for these holidays.

You’re the sort of walker who enjoys a full day out in the Yorkshire Dales, the South Downs, along the Cornish or Pembrokeshire Coast Paths, or other similar undulating walks.

Energetic
If you enjoy mountain, moorland or hill walking and are an experienced walker, why not pick up the pace on holidays in this category. You’ll be climbing higher peaks and walking more challenging tracks, to be rewarded with wider reaching panoramas on a really exhilarating walking programme.

   Terrain moderate to hard

  • Daily walks of between 8 and 12 miles.
  • Inclines of generally between 1500ft and 3000ft (500 to 1000m).
  • Average daily walking is around 6 hours.


Challenging
Our highest walking level includes high peaks and multiple inclines for a strenuous and exciting walking holiday! You’ll have experience in walking on harder terrain with occasional scrambling.

  • Daily walks of between 10 and 15 miles.
  • Inclines of generally between 2500 and 4000ft (800 to 1300m).
 Terrain moderate to hard

Daily walking times of between six and seven hours.

There will be some opportunities for rest days. We advise that walking boots with good ankle support, moulded soles and waterproof, breathable uppers are essential for these holidays and mandatory for safety and insurance reasons.

You enjoy walking up British mountains like Scafell or Snowdon and really like the challenge of reaching a peak.

  Terrain hard

The itinerary includes strenuous days, offering excitement and challenge, with up to seven hours walking and occasional scrambling, with some opportunities for rest days.  We advise that walking boots with good ankle support, moulded soles and waterproof, breathable uppers are essential for these holidays and mandatory for safety and insurance reasons. Fixed wires (Via Ferrata) may be encountered on some routes.

If you are happy climbing Ben Nevis and crossing Striding Edge, then you’re fine for a grade C+ holiday. Walking plays an important part in your life and you are up for a challenge.

  Terrain hard to severe

Hard walking and scrambling, up to an average of eight hours daily. Please note from holiday descriptions, the altitudes that are likely to be reached. We advise that walking boots with good ankle support, moulded soles and waterproof, breathable uppers are essential for these holidays, as is previous experience of hard mountain walking. Fixed wires and routes through snow are likely to be encountered. A good head for heights is also necessary.

Days Off
Please note that the tour leader will normally schedule in one rest day per week which will give you a free day too! You always have the option of taking a day off if you want to explore independently (with the exception of hutting holidays when the free day is determined by the leader).

2x Walks, 2x Leaders, 2x Grades


We now offer two walks each day at several of our centres. Here you’ll have the choice of an easier or harder walk each day. Sometimes the walks on offer will be similar - one done at a slower pace than the other. On other days the walks will be quite distinct. Maybe you would like to have a go at a harder grade on one day, or take some time out occasionally with an easier walk. This flexibility appeals to many of our clients and we would love to hear your own feedback.

For safety reasons the minimum number on any walk will be four, plus leader and a maximum of 18 for higher grade holidays or 24 for lower grade itineraries. If your choice of a specific grade is important to you, please advise us on your requirements.

Cruise Walking & Sightseeing Grades

Whilst we use the same grading system for our cruises as in our Worldwide and Countrywide brochures, certain differences should be noted. As our time in port is determined by Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, our walks and sightseeing schedules are adapted to fit in with these timings. Our walks may sometimes, but not always, be shorter than what you would normally expect for grade E and D walks. The grading system for our Cruise & Walk tours therefore places a greater emphasis on terrain and steepness of ascent and descent rather than on time and distance, though these factors are still relevant. Further details of all walks can be found in our holiday information sheets.



Countryside walks will normally be up to 3 hours and include little cumulative ascent or descent, generally under 200m. The walks will typically be on flat or gently undulating terrain along easy paths or tracks. Some time will be spent sightseeing in villages, towns or cities.



The walking programme will be made up of both full day and half day walks. Ascents and descents may be steeper (eg UK coastal paths or the Canary of Cape Verde Islands). Tracks and paths may be steeper and rougher, with cumulative ascents and descents up to 600m.



Similar to grade D above, but with more time devoted to active sightseeing.

Mixed Grades

Please note that on holidays with mixed grades (for instance D+/C) the walks may span the full range of the combined grade, although generally speaking, the easier walks will be in the earlier part of the holiday to allow you to build up to the harder walks later on. On holidays with a sightseeing element, the emphasis will be on the first grade icon shown (E/SS or SS/E).

Over 75?

Then we strongly recommend you have a medical examination before booking, to ascertain your personal fitness. For insurance and safety reasons we may ask you to sign a declaration stating that you are fit to undertake your chosen holiday.

Explore the World Gently

If you fancy exploring the world gently on foot, taking the time to pause and savour the view, the cuisine, the culture and history as part of a small friendly group, then take it easy with Adagio - holidays with character. 

To find out more visit www.adagio.co.uk - email info@adagio.co.uk or call 01707 386700