Cotswolds Bike Tour
Quintessential England, the one the picture books and history annals speak of is the Cotswolds. Thatched cottages, tiny bridges over bubbling brooks, stately willows on lawns of magnificent manors, haunted glens and medieval pubs where kings and queens passed the night, these all make up the fascinating fabric of this tiny corner of England. Our journey not only takes us from Oxford, the seat of fine education at the edge of the Cotswolds but over to ancient Bath, known by the Romans as Aquae Sulis for its thermal waters, crossing 4 different counties and including the areas known as the Cotswolds
Along the way there are many a Victorian Spire, church green, Roman mosaic, Crusader Cross, ancient fertility circle and lovely lopsided Tudor homes to cycle by, as well as countless local pubs, coaching inns and tea houses where the pass of time seems to have missed them. We encounter picture perfect villages, a chance to visit Shakespeare´s Stratford and of course, one of England´s favourite past times, visiting a traditional beer brewery.
Taste the refreshing pale ales of the area and see how artisans of the area have kept alive a craft like thatching a roof. And when not on the bike, try the local specialities of the region, the fresh produce and seafood and the array of baking cakes and tarts to tempt any palate. Staying in some historically steeped villages and hotels which have hosted travellers for centuries, this is definitely a trip for those who enjoy relaxing travel on two wheels, and watching millieniums of history slip by at each turn of the wheel.
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- Oxford's bustling charm and its impressive College buildings
- Stay in historic 16th century coaching inns in quiet villages
- Stately Bath, an UNESCO heritage city with its Roman baths, lovely Cathedral and literary references
- Famous Cotswold Medieval town of Chipping Campden
- Cotswold Cream Teas and Ale Brewing experiences
- Megalithic stone burial mounds and Sarsen Block Paths
We meet in the venerable city of Oxford, home to one of the world´s most famous universities where the influential of our western civilization have passed through its hallways. The Library, Study Halls and College, all make up this attractive place with their soaring windows and Georgian architecture. A delight to wander around, we will introduce the tour over our welcome drink and then take a guided walking tour of this most esteemed city and its hidden alleyways.
We transfer out of the busier Oxford to start our adventure in the prettiest village of Woodstock, of Blenheim Palace fame. We ride into the Cotswolds, its stone fences and grazing sheep our companions for the afternoon until we end in the small town of Campden Norton, a honey coloured stone market town since the 13th century. We spend the night in a beautiful coaching inn, sampling the traditional fare in the elegant restaurant.
Today´s cycle brings us past some of the famous villages of this area, Stow on the Wold, Lower Slaughter and Bourton on the Water and lets you enjoy what is most recognizable about this area. These are the postcard places with their tiny thatched cottages mixed with Manor homes of the 16th century, Norman featured churches and some lovely Victorian bay windows. Take your time exploring these little villages and their quirky pubs, shops and quaint greens
An optional rest day for those who want to visit the town of Stratford upon Avon, which is only a short distance away and Shakespeare country or even take some of the walking trails out of Chipping Campden and discover the Cotswolds by foot. Keen cyclists can do a circular ride that takes in the historic town of Winchcombe and see its gargoyle infested church. It is also where you may wish to visit Sudeley castle gardens, home of some of the wives of King VIII including Katherine Parr and Ann Boleyn.
We move on today with more miles to head north travelling through the byways of the area to pass through the former prosperous wool town of North Leach. A tranquil place it is very near to the famous Roman settlements of Chedworth which support some amazing mosaic remains. From here we continue to the town of Burford, known as one of the most attractive towns in the Cotswolds with its hodgepodge high street and where we make our exit to explore mysterious Wiltshire.
From its higgledly piggedly lanes, we leave Burford and head south heading away from the tiny plots and gardens of the Cotswolds into the rolling plains of Wiltshire. A wide open expanse areas with a few dips into shady wooded areas, we come upon the White Chalk Horses some dating from Neolithic times, fertility stones and burial tombs. An area of outstanding beauty, the quaint hamlets and green pastures are truly delightful and Marlborough itself is steeped in history and mystery, with supposedly Merlin the magician buried in the oldest part of town, Castle Mound.
Leaving pretty Marlborough, our first port of call are the magnificent stone fertility circles and monuments in Avebury, that rival Stonehenge its neighbour to the south. Massive sarsen stones and long barrows (massive hill burial tombs) are spread over this area, as if scattered by the Gods. Now a place for the modern day Druid to worship, they surely are worth a stop and photo shot. Continue on for a visit to one of England´s well known ale makers for a tour of the brewery and a few spots of taste testing (not too much, and luckily they do take away!) before riding beside a lovely canal which brings us through some oh so pretty villages to arrive in the most magnificent city of the Romans, Bath. After we watch the sunset in pretty Sydney Gardens, we make our way back to the hotel for our Farewell Dinner taking in hearty local dishes.
We start the day with a guided walking tour of this important and celebrated city. Find out why the Romans loved this area so much and why it continues to call to the visitor still today. Ramble over to the 18th century Pulteney Bridge and try and fit in your camera viewfinder the Royal Crescent, open design of Georgian homes. Bath´s Abbey offers a breathtaking expanse of stained glass that is a delight when the morning light shines through and the elegant gardens and parks that offset one of England´s best examples of Georgian towns are tranquil shady spots to sit. Unfortunately, this is where we must say goodbye and our tour ends here for early afternoon transfers to the train or bus station.
- Carefully chosen hotels and a country inns for 7 nights
- Accomodation includes stays in 15th and 16th century coaching inns, a Traditional Victorian Lodge and an elegant 3 star city hotel
- All bedrooms are private en-suite
- All 7 breakfasts including the traditional Full English
- 3 dinners of 3 courses
- Extras Included
- Guided private walking city tours of Oxford and Bath
- Guided tour of a traditional Brewery including ale tasting
- Hire of 24 speed Trek hybrid bike with front handlebar bag / map carrier (NB Hire of Orbea Road bike with Shimano Ultegra-105 Groupset, triple 30 speed, carbon alu frame at an extra 85 pounds)
- Complimentary Cycling Country water bottle
- Tour guide book of your route and all sightseeing stops
- Route notes and maps
- Experienced guides
- Daily snacks and refreshments (energy bars, fruit etc and drinks)
- Fully supported with SAG wagon
- Activity Level
- Group Size
Oxford, Chipping Norton, Cotswolds, Marlborough, Wiltshire, Bath
From arrival point at Oxford train/coach stations or city centre point on tour start date, departure point at Bath train / coach station or city centre point on tour end date.
Easy Going to Moderate - there will be a support van all the way enabling cyclists to cycle as little or as much as they want (Daily min of 25km to max of 65km). The average day is around 55km.
Quiet country roads or purpose made cycling paths. Rolling countryside with some steeper climbs (van transfer if required). The route is hilly so be prepared!
2 leaders with full van support to pick up souvenirs, provide refreshments, act as guides, offer tips and insights throughout the day, provide directional signs where required, transfer luggage and provide on-road assistance. 1 leader cycles with the group
8 to 16
“Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave of care The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course, Chief nourisher in life's feast.” William Shakespeare, Macbeth
Slow down, put the brakes on and put your feet up at the end of the day here. What better way to do it than experience English hospitality in historic places, pubs and parlours. Close the day with a cup of tea or a nip of brandy to ease into the land of Nod, just don´t get started on the ghost tales!
Dates & Prices
|Dates For 2014||Price|
|Custom Dates in June and July if booking with a group of 8 or more.|
|Single Supplement||GBP 395|
*Price includes all local taxes. Single supplements apply (see individual trip details).
Please note we transact in British Pounds for this tour.
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