Walking and Cycling Holidays- The New Way to See Britain?

Walking and Cycling Holidays- The New Way to See Britain?

July 26, 2013
4 min read

With the holiday season in full swing, millions of Brits are planning where they will go and what they will do. Research from our Cycling and Walking Holidays report revealed that 19% of adults have been on a walking holiday and 7% of adults on a cycling holiday. Walking and cycling holidays are becoming more popular with 9 out of 10 people interested in going on one in the UK. 

Walking or cycling is a great way to explore hidden UK gems and experience the British countryside. As many as 62% of those interested in a walking holiday would do so for a chance to spend time outdoors. The second most popular motivation is improving physical fitness at 44%, reiterating the shift in values towards a healthier lifestyle since the pandemic.

As a great way to exercise and get outdoors, cycling continues to increase in popularity; with 15% of Brits cycling at least once a week, if not 2-3 times. The increased interest in cycling, and the continued appeal of walking, paints a positive picture for walking and cycling holidays.

Socialising on Foot

The benefits of walking and cycling holidays extend beyond the physical. 1 in 5 Brits said they are interested in going as part of an organised group holiday, indicating the strong social aspect of such holidays. Furthermore, 61% of those interested agree that walking or cycling holidays are more fun in a group of like-minded people, further highlighting the opportunity to meet new people while exploring the sites Britain has to offer. 

Browse Holiday Reports

Capturing the Moment: Gen Z’s Love for Walking and Photography

Adventure holidays —cycling, walking and hiking— remain popular amongst Gen Zs, with 22% of 16-24s showing interest in these types of holidays compared to just 7% of over-65s. Interestingly, over a third of Generation Z are also keen to participate in photography touring holidays. This can be attributed to the impact social media platforms are having on modern photography and video culture, as well as the growing resurgence of physical photos. Brands should take advantage of this opportunity and pair Generation Z’s desire for walking and photography by developing on-the-move photography tours to create various forms of content in new and exciting locations across Britain. 

Gen Z’s rising interest in photography bodes well for the walking holidays market. Source: Getty Images.

Taking a Spin Towards Sustainability

Consumers see walking and cycling holidays as a healthy alternative to traditional holidays, as well as a sustainable way to travel. 17% of people said they are interested in a walking and cycling holiday to have a green/low carbon holiday, and under half consider active holidays as a way to improve their mental wellbeing. City marketing organisations have responded to the increasing desire for sustainability and wellness within city breaks. Numerous destinations have turned to focus on promoting immersive cultural experiences, and local food and walking tours. These initiatives encourage positive health and well-being while incorporating the local community and heritage – an increasingly important pillar of sustainable tourism. 

Growing Demand for Domestic Travel

Mintel’s findings suggest that the pandemic-driven trend of domestic holidays will continue in the future, supported by the number of Brits holidaying in the UK rose from 54% in 2020 to 56% in 2022. With the rise of staycations, it is likely that walking and cycling holidays will become even more popular, as people take advantage of the great outdoors and explore their local area. Over half of Brits who have holidayed in the UK claim that a wide range of activities, such as walking and cycling, was the second most important factor when choosing a destination in the UK. With this in mind, businesses should consider ways to capitalise on this trend by offering package deals that appeal to different types of travellers and include accommodation, meals, and guided tours that showcase the best of Britain. 

Looking Ahead

Mintel’s leading experts have conducted independent market and consumer research to identify the latest trends and growth opportunities happening across the cycling and holiday market. Explore our Holidays and Travel Market Research, or fill out the form below to sign up to Spotlight, Mintel’s free newsletter for exclusive insights.

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Harry Segal
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