The Gilpin Wye Tour – How it all began

We are organising a Gilpin Wye Tour to mark the 250th anniversary of William Gilpin’s historic visit to the Wye Valley.

Observations on the River Wye - William Gilpin - Way2Go Adventures 2020

Observations on the River Wye – William Gilpin  Credit:

The original Wye Tour, a two-day boat trip from Ross-on-Wye to Chepstow, is regarded as being the excursion that started British tourism.

The tour’s popularity was enhanced by Gilpin, who wrote ‘Observations on the River Wye’. This is widely recognised as Britain’s first guide book. It became a bestseller following its publication in 1782.

The Wye Tour

The story of the Gilpin Wye Tour begins in the 18th century.  Reverend John Egerton, Rector of Ross, entertained his visiting friends by taking them on boat trips along the river.

These proved to be so popular that news of the beautiful Wye Valley soon spread.

Commercial boat owners saw the potential and started organising excursions and boat trips for members of the public. This inevitably led to demand for hotels and restaurants. And so the ‘package’ tour was born.

The picturesque Wye Valley attracted artists and writers, including Coleridge, Wordsworth and Turner, who enjoyed the sense of escapism, the tranquillity and the opportunities to be inspired and creative.

Many also followed the route on foot to allow time to fully appreciate the beauty of the scenery.


The Gilpin Wye Tour included many highlights such as Tintern Abbey, Symonds Yat, The Kymin and Piercefield, as well as several castles such as Goodrich Castle and Chepstow Castle. The traveller is immersed in a picturesque landscape and surrounded by wonderful wildlife as the route journeys along the River Wye; one of Britain’s prettiest rivers.

The Wye Valley is now a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). It is highly regarded for its significance in landscape quality and for ecological, historical and cultural importance.

About Gilpin 2020

The picturesque Wye Tour - Gilpin 2020 map

The Picturesque Wye Tour Brochure – Gilpin 2020

Gilpin’s ‘Observations on the River Wye’ brought an appreciation of landscape tourism for the first time. His influence on the tourism industry in the area will be celebrated throughout 2020 with events, excursions and exhibitions.

Here at Way2Go Adventures, we thank Gilpin for his significant contribution to tourism and we will be celebrating Gilpin 2020 by taking a trip down memory lane with you and offering Gilpin’s ‘Observations on the River Wye’ tours with a modern-day twist.

Gilpin Tour Options with Way2go Adventures

Why not join us in celebrating this significant event and check out our Gilpin Wye Tour options? We cannot wait to share this incredible area with you! Lots of options are available for all abilities.

To find out more about the route, click here to read The Picturesque Wye Tour brochure!

* Way2Go Adventures will also be offering guided walks as an addition or alternative to canoeing.

For full information about Gilpin 2020 itineraries and prices, please email or use the Book Now button below.