Moderate, Challenging
Difficulty level
Cycling
Activity (Bike)
5 Night, 6 Day
Duration

England: Costwolds Bike

5 nights; 5 days of cycling on quiet country lanes and bike paths from Bath to Oxford, through the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.


WHY THIS TRIP?

  • This route, from Bath to Blenheim Palace, traverses England’s largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
  • Cycle back in time to an era when stone houses with thatched roofs lined narrow lanes, travelled by livestock drovers and horses pulling wagons.
  • Peaceful, wonderfully preserved villages.
  • Idyllic valleys and pastures.
  • Visit castles, abbeys, and UNESCO historical sites.

 

ROUTE EXPECTATIONS:

This is primarily a moderate route, suitable for most ability levels, but some days may be a little more challenging. You can expect some long distances, and/or some big climbs/descents


Cycling on flat and hilly terrain, following quiet country lanes, back roads, and a canal towpath.


Daily Distance:

  • DAY 1: Introductions
  • DAY 2: ~42 mi
  • DAY 3: ~35 mi
  • DAY 4: ~33 mi
  • DAY 5: ~28 mi
  • DAY 6: ~16 mi

Elevation Profile:

(Click image to enlarge)

 

Not sure about difficulties, and support level? Check out our What to Expect page!

 

Start: Bath, 16:00, day one. Frequent trains from London Paddington Station, approx. 90 min. Connections from Heathrow approx. 25 min. For rates and schedules visit www.nationalrail.co.uk. Optional pick up available at London Heathrow.

Finish: Oxford, 18:00, day 6. Trains to London (75 minutes), Heathrow, and elsewhere in the UK can be found at www.nationalrail.co.uk.

Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary.

1

Introductions

Meet in Bath. Bath gained fame in the middle ages as an important commercial centre during the height of England’s wool trade, when the local sheep were known as “Cotswold Lions” due to their light golden hues and long shaggy coats. In the 18th century, Bath once again became fashionable as a healing spa town. We suggest you plan extra time to visit the sites, including, of course, the UNESCO Roman temple and bath complex. D (Meal inclusions shown for guided trips only. Self-guided trips include breakfasts only).

Brindley’s Boutique B&B, or, Henrietta House Hotel, Bath

2

Bath to Tetbury 42 mi.

From Bath, follow the restored Kennet & Avon Canal towpath to Bradford on Avon, passing two beautifully restored limestone aqueducts. This well-loved path begins as a traffic-free, waterside ride along the canal. Leaving the railway, ride to the most beautifully preserved village in the Cotswolds at Lacock. After lunch there, ride through the heart of the southern Cotswolds on very quiet country lanes to Tetbury, a quaint little biscuit-coloured town, rumoured to be the model for Prince Charles’ Poundbury vision. BD

The Ormond at Tetbury, Tetbury

3

Tetbury Loop 35 mi.

Loop ride from Tetbury, including the cycle path between Nailsworth and Stroud. If time allows, stop for a treat or two at the famous Hobbs House Bakery in Nailsworth, featured on the Fabulous Baker Brothers’ cooking show. On the way back from Stroud, you can try the Eastington to Sapperton canal towpath, whose claim to fame was the two-mile canal tunnel used for shipping wool and coal to the coast, now abandoned, but pretty at each end. BL

Same lodging

4

Tetbury to Winchcombe 33mi.

Ride from Tetbury to Winchcombe (meaning “valley with a bend”), through Cirencester and Bibury, up the Coln valley, and through the heart of the Cotswolds Area of Natural Beauty. A lovely ride with a few hills, ending with an opportunity to visit Sudeley Castle, where Henry VIII’s last wife, Katherine Parr, is buried. BLD

The Lion Inn, or, Wesley House, Winchcombe

5

Winchcombe to Moreton-In-Marsh or Kingham 28mi.

Another fabulous day traversing the Cotswolds AONB. Begin past Sudeley Castle and Hailes Abbey, along the base of the Cotswolds Escarpment, then climb to Broadway Tower for a view over the surrounding hills. Descend to Chipping Campden for lunch, then ride through Stow-on-the-Wold to Kingham. Optional stop at the Batsford Arboretum, outside Moreton-in-Marsh, to admire its spectacular collection of trees. Note that this trip could be extended by a day with a side trip to the nearby Tudor town of Stratford-upon-Avon, where the Royal Shakespeare Company (www.rsc.org.uk) holds frequent plays (advance booking necessary). BD

Kingham Plough, or, The Manor House Hotel, Moreton-In-Marsh

6

16 mi.

A last blissful ride through Churchill and the hamlet of Lidstone to see the castle and grounds at Blenheim Palace – home of the Duke of Marlborough, Winston Churchill’s birthplace, and now a UNESCO world heritage site. It has 2000 acres of landscaped parkland, including a hedge maze, butterfly garden, and hours of walks waiting to be savoured. Finish the day with a transfer to Oxford in time for dinner or your train to London. BL

All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.


WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE COST OF YOUR TRIP?

Not sure about difficulties, and support level? Check out our What to Expect page!

Guided: C 3995 (per person, double occupancy)

Includes 6 days, 5 nights, 5 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners, luggage handling, guide and vehicle support, maps and route instructions, taxes

Does not include bike rentals & single supplement charges (pricing can be found in next booking step), airfare to/from tour, and guide(s) gratuities.


Self-Guided: C 3495 (per person, double occupancy)

Includes 6 days, 5 nights, 5 breakfasts, inn to inn luggage transfers, maps and route instructions, emergency support, taxes

Does not include bike rentals & single supplement charges (pricing can be found in next booking step), airfare to/from tour, all lunches, all dinners, and driver gratuities.

All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.


2022 Guided dates:

  • May 8-13
  • Jun 12-17
  • Sep 4-9

2023 Guided dates:

  • May 7-12
  • Jun 11-16
  • Sep 3-8

Self-Guided available any dates, except for those listed above. New dates are also welcomed for guided or private departures.

Interested in custom or private departures?


Please see above for accurate pricing and inclusions, unless we have proposed a customized trip for you and those details are provided in your custom proposal.

1. Choose an advertised date to join a small group, or see our Join a Group page to see where groups are already forming.

2. Pick your own dates. We will confirm quickly, and are happy to talk with you as you make your choice. If you would like a private guided date, price remains the same as advertised if you have at least six. If you prefer self-guided, we usually only require two participants to initiate a new date at the advertised price, and can sometimes reduce prices for you if you have four or more.

 
PLEASE NOTE: Trip Cancellation Insurance is highly recommended. Please ask us for a no-obligation quote from our insurance providers: Century Insurance, or CSA Travel Protection.

More Reading:


Cycle back in time to an era when stone houses with thatched rooves lined narrow lanes, travelled by livestock drovers and horses pulling wagons. The houses still dot some of the ancient routes, and sheep and cattle are still frequently spotted, but the horses of yore are traded for bicycle transport. You will follow trading paths used by our ancestors, along and near the famed escarpment of the Cotswold Way. This route, from Bath to Blenheim Palace, traverses England’s largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Journey through peaceful villages and idyllic landscapes, visiting castles and historical sites before relaxing at inns of unusual charm.