Beware! Full payment needed before itinerary supplied!

3.6 / 5
62% of users recommend this
  • Beauty of scenery

  • Value For Money

Guest's review of Contours Walking Holidays


“Beware! Full payment needed before itinerary supplied!”

Written on: 01/10/2017

We paid over £2.5k for a family holiday this year on Contours' 'Hadrian's Wall with a dog' holiday. What we got, with many duplicate nights and taxis ferrying us to and fro to accommodation off the trail (or back where we started that day's walk), was wholly different to what I was led to believe I was paying for.

The standard of most of the accommodation - one notable exceptional which was lovely - could best be described as 'cheap and cheerful' (fine by us!) - but it does mean a significant amount of that £2.5k must have gone on 'organisation' so I would have expected to be significantly better.

We agreed the itinerary with Contours in advance which included one rest day where we would stay in the same accommodation for two nights. At no point was there any suggestion that there might be a significant problem with bringing a dog (and given the name of the tour (ie 'with a dog') we assumed the company would have experience and expertise in this regard . The confirmation letter said they would be in contact if there was a problem. Only after paying the full balance was paid were we able to see where we were staying which did not correlate to where we were walking to and from on the itinerary! On three occasions (one expected) we were ferried bank to a place we'd stayed the previous night. Our rest day lodge was very inconveniently located - despite specifically negotiating a rest day that would be best placed for the famous sites of Vindolanda and the Roman Army museum. It took 40 minutes to walk to the nearest AD122 bus stop (taxis were an option but there aren't that many - we did use one). Very frustrating when we could see other charming and well placed accommodation nearer the route AND having paid handsomely for someone to organise in the back of 'expertise'.

Contours rely on the small print and that they find it difficult to find dog friendly accommodation. To this I say (1) why run a tour called 'Hadrian's wall with a dog' if you struggle to fulfil the most basic requirements and (2) why not call us - as you promised - and check at a time where we would have options (ie to decide not to proceed with the holiday or decide not to take the dog!) rather than taking our money and giving us a disappointing holiday that was much anticipated.

I have been sent £100 in compensation. In my view this is woefully inadequate given the scale of the way we were misled about the holiday. I'm not seeking anything further but do want to forewarn others if they too would have an issue with multiple duplication of nights on trail walking and a reliance on taxis at the beginning and end of walks.

Hadrians Wall itself is sublime! Especially middle 3/4 days :)

  • August 2018

    Date of trip

  • Gentle

    Severity of walking

  • Guided

    Type of trip

  • Beauty of scenery

  • Value For Money

Keithmillar's Comment

Written on: 04/10/2017

I agree and commiserate with you. I had the same experience with Contours. They take your money in full and supply you with a final itinerary that is vastly different to the one you originally contracted with them to provide without discussing with you any options, which they state they will do if there are to be any changes. Then, they provide this "new" itinerary only 4 weeks prior to commencement which means if you cancel you will lose 75% of your money paid to them. Almost like blackmail. Leaves you like feeling you have to accept and just put up with it because short of complaining to the Independent Advertising Standards Authority, there is little that you can do to change the immediate situation. Not a great way to start your holiday. I no longer trust them.

However, I have found a much more reputable company offering much the same holidays as Contours.

Absolute Escapes is their name. I have already booked my next holiday with them and how different they are compared to Contours. Excellent customer service and great communications even though I live in New Zealand. Check them out.

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Contourswalkingholidays's Comment

Written on: 25/10/2017

We clearly explain on our website how our holidays work, and that to secure dog friendly accommodations it may be necessary to transfer you from the trail to your accommodation and back to the trail again the following morning to resume your walk.
Once again we regret that you were disappointed with our service. We have offered our sincerest apologies a number of times to you already via email and also in reply to reviews you have posted.

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Keithmillar's Comment

Written on: 29/11/2017

Yes, you clearly explain how your holidays work. But you don't adhere to your own conditions. You state that you will contact the client as soon as possible to discuss options when you have to make a significant change to a booked holiday with the option of cancelling with a full refund. You DO NOT do this. Instead you proceed regardless of these significant changes and only inform the client when it is too late to cancel. It's like paying someone to paint your house white and he says if he can't get the shade you require, he will discuss your options before starting. He wants payment first. After paying him he then paints your house black because he couldn't get white paint. Of course, he won't refund your money as the work has been done and you should be satisfied. Why aren't you? It's painted isn't it?

This is like how Contours Walking Holidays treated me and it seems that I am not the only hard done by client.

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