Join this romantic and relaxed cycling holiday with The Carter Company! This journey is between Oxford and Bath, two of England's finest cities. It will lead you through many of the Cotswold's best-loved villages and valleys. All this is topped off by a really wonderful selection of rather unique hotels and inns that you'll be staying in along the way!
On the classic trip, you will be accommodated at hand-picked hotels and inns with a bed and breakfast in Bath. The Carter Company has carefully chosen four-star (the very occasional three-star) small hotels and inns and a few private homes picked for their quality, character, and location.
On the luxury trip, you will be accommodated at historic three, four, and five-star hotels, two boutique hotels, and a lovely old inn. The Carter Company uses AA / RAC-awarded four and five-star (the occasional three star) hotels, manor houses, old inns, and boutique hotels chosen for their quality, character, and location.
The Macdonald Randolph Hotel is the leading five-star hotel in Oxford and offers luxurious accommodation, delicious food, and a sensuous spa haven in the heart of this world-famous university city.
The Feathers is an independent Oxfordshire hotel that is bursting with Cotswolds charm and Oxfordshire heritage - not forgetting unique rooms and delicious food.
Escape the fast pace of everyday life with a visit to The Lamb Inn. Located along a peaceful side street in the historic market town of Burford, seize the opportunity to sink into a relaxing ambiance of pure bliss.
Indulge in the tranquil seclusion of The Swan in Bibury. Located on the enchanting banks of the River Coln, this former Cotswolds coaching inn is the ultimate haven for a peaceful escape, an intimate wedding or a quiet business meeting.
The Kings Head Hotel is an elegant boutique hotel with 46 stylish bedrooms and six one-bedroom apartments, a unique subterranean spa, and relaxed British dining.
Whatley Manor is a grown-up getaway in the heart of the Cotswolds, set in 12 acres of gardens with 26 distinctly different areas. Come on in and discover a whole new relaxed and very enjoyable experience.
The Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa is a five-star haven of elegance and tranquillity just minutes from the historic center of Bath.
The ride embraces a rich history from Cirencester and Bath's Roman heritage to Oxford's historic university - which dates back to 1167; from the 13th-century village of Lacock to the grandiose Blenheim Palace and two rural canals - which are extraordinary feats of Victorian engineering. There's also lovely Tetbury and delightful Bradford on Avon to explore.
Arrive in Oxford and check into your hotel, located adjacent to the heart of the city. Enjoy the treasures of this beautiful city today and stroll through the lovely colleges of the university with their magnificent architecture and gardens. Take in the museums, galleries, and libraries galore, and perhaps a concert or play. Discover the little tea rooms and fine restaurants, the unique shops and back streets, and the river backwaters dotted with punters and rowing eights.
Before you leave today, your host will meet you at your hotel with your bicycle and run through your itinerary. Your cycling journey begins as it will end along a canal. The Oxford Canal, which lies very close to your hotel, offers a delightful and rural waterside ride out of Oxford, past houseboats and locks, and through pretty villages.
Not far from the navigation sits the Cotswold stone village of Woodstock and grandiose Blenheim Palace set in 2,000 acres of Capability Brown landscape. Built in the 18th century, it was the birthplace of Winston Churchill, and the 12th Duke of Marlborough now lives there. Your hotel sits in the heart of the lovely village.
Ride into the Cotswolds and explore the old woolen town of Witney. Discover the beautiful valley of the River Windrush. Nestled here is a string of romantic villages such as Minster Lovell, bearing ancient honey-colored stone buildings and thatched village pubs. Burford too, where you will stay, has changed a little over the centuries and its bustling high street is one of the most picturesque in the Cotswolds.
This is another wonderful ride through timeless countryside into the Coln Valley. Explore the town of Northleach with its interesting history and mechanical music museum and Chedworth village with its Roman villa. Enjoy the great views, ancient woodlands, and the pretty folds and villages of the tiny River Coln. Your overnight stay is in Bibury, described by William Morris as the most beautiful village in England.
Amble along the Coln Valley this morning before heading to Cirencester through the quiet villages of the Ampney Brook. Once a key town of Roman Britain, Cirencester today is the capital of the Cotswolds with an antique and street market you can enjoy. Your hotel for the night is in the heart of the town.
Still in the idyllic Cotswolds landscape of quiet lanes, pretty farms, and peaceful villages, you have the opportunity today to visit a remarkable manor house of arts and crafts fame. Stop awhile too in Tetbury to explore this lovely old wool market town and if trees are your thing, then make a short detour to Westonbirt Arboretum. But, don't delay too long as a warm welcome awaits at your 16th-century coaching inn tonight.
This ride offers fabulous views, a chance to test the Fosse Way as the Romans did, without cars and easy pedaling through unspoiled hamlets hiding cozy inns. But the most remarkable find of the day will probably be Lacock, where you will stay the night. Dating back to the 13th century, this charming rural village with a medieval abbey remains untouched by modern development.
There's a scenery change today as you pedal along one of the prettiest canals through steeply wooded valleys, overdramatic aqueducts, and past locks and weirs. En route, explore Bradford on Avon and stay an extra night here if you wish to relax in this fine town and enjoy a rather special Italian garden. Your waterside ride leads you into the heart of Bath and to your overnight stay for the next two nights. What a fitting finale to an extraordinary journey through history from the dreaming spires of Oxford to the legendary architecture of Bath.
Here, you're spoiled for choice. Character and charm are around almost every corner of this city. You could visit the Roman Baths with their natural hot waters and bathe in the thermal waters of the spa. Take in the abbey, admire the buildings and stroll across Pulteney Bridge. Discover a fine collection of museums, unique shops, cobbled courtyards, and historic tea rooms.
Take time to explore all that Bath has to offer and depart at leisure. Those wishing to add a further day's cycling can enjoy the 13-mile ride to Bristol along a disused railway line with an additional night in Bristol or Bath.
The Carter Company offers comfortable hybrid bikes on all their cycling holidays, adjusted for you. Road bikes are available for some trips. Each bicycle comes with a pannier, pump, lock, toolkit, spare inner tube, map holder, and helmet (unless otherwise stated). The Carter Company also recommends that you wear a helmet when cycling.
Bicycle hire is included on all the cycling trips unless otherwise stated and you are responsible for the bicycle during this period. If the bicycle is lost or damaged during its hire, The Carter Company is entitled to charge you for its repair or replacement. They recommend that you use their bicycles rather than bring your own, but if you wish to bring your own, the price of your trip will be reduced by a nominal amount.
The Carter Company offers high-quality pedal assist electric bikes for you to hire if you wish to cycle with less effort on the trip. They are easy to use and lightweight.
You will get advice, help, and guidance with all your holiday details before you arrive and during your holiday. The Carter Company wants you to go home feeling you have been thoroughly looked after. Friendly local hosts are there to welcome and brief you, share their local knowledge and look after you, unless otherwise stated.
It is packed full with information, history, and photos of the area your tour covers, as well as The Carter Company's insider tips on how to discover the local secrets and hidden gems most tourists never see!
All the trips are designed to be enjoyed by anyone who is reasonably fit. Most are leisurely journeys with plenty of time for relaxation and sightseeing and some include days when you don't need to be active at all. The more demanding trips where The Carter Company suggests some regular cycling as a prerequisite are listed. If you haven't cycled for a while, it is better to get in shape before rather than during the tour. If you are in doubt about your physical ability, let The Carter Company know so that they can advise you on your trip selection.
Note: The route is 25% very low traffic on the rest. Britain wouldn't be green without a little rain, but The Carter Company does advise packing a waterproof jacket into your backpack or pannier. If it rains whilst you're on the road, The Carter Company suggests finding the nearest cafe and ordering a cup of tea or two until it stops.
This cycling holiday will take you to explore Oxford, Woodstock, Burford, Bibury, Cirencester, a Wiltshire village, Lacock, and Bath.
This famous ancient city sits in the heart of England brimming over with history, culture, and stunning surrounding countryside. Oxford is known as the city of dreaming spires, a term coined by poet Matthew Arnold in reference to the inspirational architecture of Oxford University's buildings. It is the gateway to the Cotswolds but it also embraces the River Thames or Isis as it's known locally.
Threading their way through the city, the backwaters and their wildlife add a rural beauty to this corner of England. They also offer quiet cycling and walking paths through the heart of Oxford which The Carter Company utilizes for the routes. You will be in good company on a bike - every Oxford resident and student has one. It's a cycle-friendly city and they love it!
Please make sure you spend enough time in Oxford to discover its many famous features as well as its quirks. It boasts historic pubs linked with famous writers, gardens to die for, museums and theatres of all types, ancient college quads, and back lanes to explore. Slow down on a punt, dine in a college, sleep in an old prison cell.
The Cotswolds is a very pretty area in the heart of England, which is known for its honey-colored idyllic villages and its lovely valleys, wolds, and hills rising to 900 feet above sea level. The Cotswolds run for 100 miles from southwest to northeast and are rightfully designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. More mellow and more chocolate box than Devon, there are brilliant village inns and some outstanding hotels. Whether cycling or walking in the Cotswolds, a holiday here is always peaceful.
Not surprisingly, this is one of the most popular holiday areas. The cycling is almost all on minor roads and there are some hills. The Carter Company has spent a lot of time finding routes that minimize the slopes and maximize your time in the many idyllic villages and historic towns. The walking is outstanding, with huge wide views from the hills and sheltered tracks in valleys, along streams, and through villages.
You will be served breakfast each day. In the UK, all breakfasts are cooked. If you choose to take the luxury trip, you will also get dinner at Whatley Manor. The Carter Company leaves you free to make your own choices for lunch.