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7 Days Cotswolds Gardens Leisure Cycling Holiday in England, UK

Oxford, Oxfordshire, South East England, England, UK

Delightful Cycling Holiday in UK

The Carter Company invites you to join this cycling holiday from Oxford to Cotswolds, UK. As the Cotswolds are home to numerous stunning English gardens, they have created this tour to include many of the most renowned. To these, they have added the gardens they love and know others find inspirational. Collectively, they show a wide range of styles and The Carter Company is sure you will leave horticulturally touched!

Key information

  • Trip Type: Self-guided
  • Lodging: Point to point
  • Terrain: Mostly flat with the odd slope
  • Difficulty Level: Easy (Cyclist doesn't need to have certain level of fitness, mostly flat terrain though occasionally they will ride in unpaved or hills, 10-30 miles per day)
  • Total Distance : 71 miles / 113 kilometers
  • Bike type: Hybrid bike
  • E-bike: Available for rent

Highlights

  • 5-day self-guided cycling
  • Starting and ending in Oxford
  • Route directions and maps of the area
  • Visits to numerous stunning English gardens
  • Travel protection and adventure handbook
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • 6 nights' accommodation
  • Breakfast each day

Styles


5 days with instruction
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Accommodation

Classic

On the classic trip, you will be accommodated at two small hotels, a classic inn, and a tea room. 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.

Luxury

On the luxury trip, you will be accommodated at a historic five-star Oxford hotel, two four-star hotels, and a luxury boutique hotel. The Carter Company uses AA / RAC-awarded four and five-star (the occasional three star) hotels chosen for their quality, character, and location.

Macdonald Randolph Hotel

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 luxury accommodation is the perfect place to relax and unwind after a day's sightseeing, shopping or business in the city. With stylish, elegant decor, en-suite facilities and comfortable beds, the refurbished rooms are second to none for comfort and indulgence. The luxury room features are complemented with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen televisions, and beautiful furnishings. Superior rooms provide extra space and comfort, whilst four-poster bedrooms are ideal for special occasions.

The Feathers

The Feathers is an independent Oxfordshire hotel that is bursting with Cotswolds charm and Oxfordshire heritage - not forgetting unique rooms and delicious food. There are just 21 rooms at The Feathers (16 bedrooms and 5 suites). All rooms are comfortable, clean and fresh, and the suites are some of the largest and best appointed in the Oxford and Cotswold area.

The Manor House Hotel

The Manor House Hotel is located in the historic market town of Moreton-in-Marsh. Relax, eat, and sleep in the ultimate luxury and homely comforts of a place that’s truly unique. They have installed some comfortable beds to make up 35 beautifully designed bedrooms, and a 2 AA Rosette restaurant and bar to tantalize your taste buds with views overlooking stunning gardens.

Cotswold House Hotel & Spa

This award-winning luxury hotel and spa in the heart of Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, which has recently benefited from a substantial refurbishment, will appeal to discerning travelers visiting the Cotswolds, looking for tranquility, sublime comfort, exceptional food and a stunning spa. At Cotswold House Hotel & Spa, you can choose from a selection of bedroom categories, each delivering their own individual guest amenities and comfort. All rooms include en-suite bathrooms with bath or shower, air conditioning, satellite TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, tea and fresh coffee-making facilities, and evening turn-down service.

Program

The Carter Company has designed the tour with very short cycling distances so that you will have plenty of time to enjoy the gardens and landscapes, not to mention the wonderful Cotswolds villages where you are staying. With very few slopes and a thoroughly leisurely itinerary, there's plenty of time for dreaming.

Itinerary

Day 1 (Oxford)

Arrive in Oxford on Saturday and check into your hotel, located in the heart of the city. Enjoy the treasures of this beautiful city today and stroll through The Carter Company's hand-picked selection of the three most-stunning college gardens of the university. Surrounded by magnificent buildings and sheltered within historic walls, these gardens are often intimate and set in fine courtyards and quadrangles with mixed and herbaceous borders, immaculate lawns, and wonderful old trees. There is, of course, the occasional curiosity too.

Day 2 (Oxford to Woodstock)

Your host will meet you this morning with your bikes and run through your itinerary before you head for the university's Botanic Garden. Founded in the 1620s as a physic garden, it is one of the oldest scientific gardens in the world with one of the most diverse collections of plants totaling 8,000 different plant species. As well as the walled garden, there are glasshouses and grounds leading down to the River Cherwell. Leave Oxford along the pretty Oxford Canal to reach Woodstock with your overnight stay for the next two nights in the center of this unspoiled Cotswolds village.

  • Distance: 12 miles (19 kilometers)

Day 3 (Woodstock to Rousham and back, optional)

Not far from Woodstock and along leafy lanes and bike tracks, you will discover the tranquil gardens of Rousham House. Dearly loved by all who pass through them and yet little visited, this is an Arcadian architectural landscape that was redesigned by William Kent in the 18th century. From the stone arched stable block where you enter the gardens to the rills, rose garden, dovecote and magical river vistas, the drama never ceases. This is a place of dreams!

  • Distance: 15 miles (24 kilometers)

Day 4 (Woodstock to Moreton-in-Marsh)

In complete contrast, today is your chance to enjoy grandiose Blenheim Palace and its 2,000 acres of Capability Brown landscape. Built in the 18th century, the palace was the birthplace of Winston Churchill, and the 12th Duke of Marlborough lives here today.

The lakes, water terraces as well as great arches and vistas provide the formality but then round a corner you can find the tiny bridges of the secret garden and the colorful rose garden. Later in the afternoon, you can pedal through Cotswolds lanes to reach the village of Charlbury and take a short train hop to the market town of Moreton-in-Marsh for your overnight stay.

  • Distance: 12 miles (19 kilometers)

Day 5 (Moreton-in-Marsh to Chipping Campden)

Mingle with the locals in Moreton's High Street before pedaling off through typical Cotswold villages to find the Arts and Crafts gardens of Hidcote Manor Garden. These are probably the most influential of all English 20th-century gardens and were created in the early 1900s by the American Lawrence Johnston. Now owned by the National Trust, the garden has a series of simply inspirational rooms, each with their own character.

Pause for lunch because across the road, literally, is the equally stunning, privately owned garden of Kiftsgate Court. This too is an Arts and Crafts garden brimming with creativity and charm. Dream on as you freewheel into Chipping Campden often referred to as the gem of the Cotswolds.

  • Distance: 13 miles (21 kilometers)

Day 6 (Chipping Campden to Oxford)

Your penultimate day gives you a wonderful ride down the Cotswolds scarp with a visit to Snowshill Manor. This is a delightful Arts and Crafts garden, owned by the National Trust with a wide range of ornaments painted in Wade blue, a soft powdery color named after Charles Wade who lived in the Tudor house and created its garden. Wend your way through the village of Broadway and take a short train hop back to Oxford for the final night of your tour.

  • Distance: 19 miles (30 kilometers)

Day 7 (Depart Oxford)

Depart at leisure.

Bike

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.

Electric bike hire

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.

Guidance

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.

Adventure handbook

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!

Fitness

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.

Included excursions

  • A trip to Snowshill Manor Garden
  • A visit to Hidcote Manor Garden
  • A visit to Kiftsgate Court
  • Discovering Rousham House gardens
  • Enjoying Blenheim Palace gardens
  • Stroll through the three most stunning college gardens of the University of Oxford

Location

This holiday will take you to Oxford, Woodstock, Rousham, Moreton-in-Marsh, and Chipping Campden.

Oxford

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.

Cotswolds

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.

Food

You will be served breakfast each day. In the UK, all breakfasts are cooked. The Carter Company leaves you free to make your own choices for lunch and dinner.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • 5-day self-guided bike tour
  • Route directions and maps of the area
  • Services of friendly local hosts
  • Travel protection
  • Emergency call-out service
  • Adventure handbook
  • Entry to the stunning gardens
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Train hop cost to Moreton-in-Marsh
  • 6 nights' accommodation
  • Breakfast each day

What's not included

  • Airfares
  • Travel to and from the trip start and finish points
  • Entrances to attractions
  • Lunches and dinners, alcoholic beverages, and minibars
  • Meals pre and post the trip
  • Boat fares

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 30% of the total price.
  • The deposit is fully refundable if the booking is cancelled up to 60 days before the arrival date.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.
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