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    Road Cycling

    The Five Countries Tour

    28 reviews

    Next Trip: 19th - 31st May 2024 Duration: 13 Days / 12 Nights

    From £4,695 View Prices & Dates

    Travel Planning & Advice

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    Trip created by Craig Little
    View Craig's Profile

    Region: Multi-Location
    Trip Type: Road Cycling
    Accommodation: Classic
    Max Group Size: 12
    Confirmed: When 4 Travellers Book
    Deposit From: £1,173.75 £1,173.75


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    All you need to know about your trip, this essential document is a must for all adventures.

    Download Itinerary

    Cycle through the 5 countries of Great Britain and Ireland – all in one highlight-packed bike tour.

    Over 13 days ride 700 km/435 miles +, experience the different cultures and the best of what’s on offer in these islands.

    This unique itinerary provides the amazing opportunity to cycle through the 5 countries of England, Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland – all in a single highlight packed adventure.

    We start in England’s Yorkshire Dales National Park, where our route heads south into Lancashire. Then we cross the border into Wales and ride through Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park before hitting the historic coast. A short hop leads to the Isle of Anglesey and from there across the Irish Sea to Ireland and Dublin for a day of rest in one of Europe’s greatest capitals. We then head west within Ireland, exploring the roads of County Donegal before crossing the border back into the UK in Northern Ireland. Here we follow the spectacular Antrim Coast (some say the best stretch of coastline in Ireland) past the remarkable Giant’s Causeway. Then from Northern Ireland, it’s a ferry journey to our final country – Scotland. Here we ride through Dumfries & Galloway on rolling roads. Farms and green hills provide the background to the end of our journey. Our final day passes through Keir Mill where the pedal bicycle was invented back in 1839 before rolling into the 17th century Drumlanrig Castle – a majestic end to our memorable tour of all 5 countries of the British Isles.

    Need a bike? See our bike hire page for details.

    Trip Highlights

    • Ride through the fantastic 5 countries of Great Britain & Ireland.
    • Experience the culture of 5 different nations journeying through the best of scenery from wild mountains, to scenic coast, castles and charming villages.
    • Explore the roads made famous by the Tour de France, Tour of Britain & Tour of Ireland.

    Day by Day Itinerary

    Day 1 – York and the Yorkshire Dales

    You will meet your guides for the trip at York Train Station at 11:00am and transfer to our start point on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. Over lunch in a local pub, your guides will brief you on the day ahead. Our opening ride follows a lovely route around the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to the village of Leyburn. We then ride through Wensleydale before crossing into the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Our destination for the evening is in the Swaledale Valley, where we stay in a local inn and enjoy a welcome dinner. (L, D)

    Ride details: 37 km/23 miles | 585 m/1,920 ft elevation gain


    Day 2 – Yorkshire and the Tour de France

    In 2014, Yorkshire was the proud host of the Grand Depart for the Tour de France. Today’s route follows much of Stage 1 of the 2014 tour and provides the opportunity to test yourself on the amusing Anglo-French climbs of the Côte de Buttertubs (532m) and Côte de Cray (416m). We’ll ride through some of England’s most iconic and picturesque scenery, typical of the Yorkshire Dales. Today is one of the most challenging of the trip but the rewards are ample. By the time we reach the village of Malham, you will have ridden one of the best day rides in the UK. (B, L, D)

    Ride details: 82 km/51 miles | 1,319 m/4,326 ft elevation gain


    Day 3 – Yorkshire Dales to the Forest of Bowland

    A relaxing start today after yesterday’s big ride. Leaving behind the Yorkshire Dales National Park, we cross into Lancashire and the Forest of Bowland. This is the geographic centre of Great Britain, which seems a fitting place to ride through on our five countries tour. We ride through to the village of Waddington, where we take a late lunch. Then we transfer south to Oswestry near the English/Welsh border. (B, L, D)

    Ride details: 35 km/22 miles | 425 m/1,394 ft elevation gain

    Day 4 – Across the English/Welsh border

    From Oswestry, our bike tour heads west into Wales. Central and North Wales are fairly mountainous which makes for great and, at times, challenging cycling. Immediately you will notice a different culture to England. Welsh is often the first language and the national identity is strong. Passing through the rolling valleys of the east, the Milltir Cerrig mountain pass presents a challenge to entering Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park. However, the climb of 300 m/900 ft is at a steady gradient and the increasingly impressive views provide motivation. The descent of over 8 km/5 miles is a blast and leads us to lunch at the beautiful Bala Lake. The second half of the day journeys through increasingly wild Welsh scenery on roads ideal for bike riding. Climbing higher into Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park our destination for the evening awaits at the end of another amazing descent into Ffestiniog. (B, L, D)

    Ride details: 76 km/47 miles | 1,160 m/ 3,808 ft elevation gain

    Day 5 – Eryri (Snowdonia) and Dublin

    Our second day in Wales begins in the mountains of Eryri (Snowdonia). In the morning, we will pass through many mountain villages steeped in Welsh mythology and legend. Continuing west, our ride destination is in Caernarfon – home to one of the most impressive castles you will find anywhere and a World Heritage Site which overlooks the Menai Straits. After a late lunch and time to explore the town, we will transfer to the Isle of Anglesey and the port of Holyhead, where our journey across the Irish Sea begins. It’s just over 2 hours by ferry to Dublin, where we’ll head to our accommodation and settle in for the evening. (B, L, D)

    Ride details: 51 km/32 miles | 707 m/2,318 ft elevation gain

    Day 6 – Rest day in Dublin

    After 5 days of riding, we are about halfway through our 5 countries tour. The cosmopolitan capital of Dublin provides a great choice for a break from riding. Wander the historic streets, sample the city’s cafes and bars or perhaps check-in for a massage to recharge for the second half of the tour. Dublin is a fantastic city to hang out in and explore. Tonight enjoy a relaxed dinner in Dublin and perhaps a few pints of Guinness in the world-famous Temple Bar district. (B)


    Day 7 – Dublin to County Donegal

    In the morning, we transfer out west to the wild open spaces of North Donegal. Geographically and politically cut off from much of the Republic of Ireland due to the border with Northern Ireland, Donegal has retained its cultural identity and unique accent. We’ll arrive in time for lunch near Glenveagh National Park before riding north to the coast. Our accommodation for the night gives spectacular views over Sheephaven Bay.
    (B, L, D)

    Ride details: 36 km/22 miles | 540 m/1,770 ft elevation gain

    Day 8 - Fanad Head and Lough Swilly

    Continuing north, our route today takes us through a landscape dotted with castles and along the rocky coastal terrain in this little-travelled region of Donegal at the world’s edge. Our most northerly point is the Fanad Head Lighthouse, situated on the wild coast of the Fanad Peninsula in North Donegal. From here, we ride south towards one of the most picturesque climbs of the trip and continue on overlooking the azure shores of Lough Swilly, a vast glacial fjord between two peninsulas. (B, L, D)

    Ride details: 67.5 km/42 miles | 972 m/3,189 ft elevation gain

    Day 9 – Inishowen Peninsula and Northern Ireland

    Riding across the Inishowen Peninsula, we follow an epic route featuring exhilarating climbs and exciting descents. Upon reaching the east coast, a private charter boat will take us across the border into Northern Ireland where we arrive into Portballintrae and make our way to our hotel for the night. This evening there is the option of riding the cycle-way from the hotel down to the Giant’s Causeway, where this fascinating geological formation and World Heritage Site can be seen free from the day-time crowds. (B, L, D)

    Ride details: 63 km/39 miles | 934 m/3,063 ft elevation gain

    Day 10 – The Antrim Coast then cross to Scotland

    Today’s ride takes us to our final country, starting in Northern Ireland and ending in Scotland. The first part of the route follows the Antrim Coast which many consider to be the finest stretch of coastline in Northern Ireland. Some also consider it to be the “toughest cycling road in Ireland”! The riding is as dramatic as it is challenging following the Torr Scenic route through wild landscapes and deserted villages. Then it’s a short transfer by road to the ferry port of Larne. The crossing from Larne to Scotland takes 2 hours. Once in Scotland we make our way to our final hotel in Gatehouse of Fleet. (B, L, D)

    Ride details: 48 km/30 miles | 768 m/2,520 ft elevation gain

    Day 11 – The Galloway Coast

    Dumfries and Galloway is a cycling revelation with quiet roads through beautiful scenery. We leave Gatehouse of Fleet this morning and wind our way across to the thriving market town of Castle Douglas, known as Scotlands Food Town. This afternoon, we’ll pedal our way back via the beautiful Artist’s town of Kirkcudbright and along the quiet roads of the Solway Coast. With no major climbs this afternoon, we should make quick progress, arriving back at our hotel by mid-afternoon, allowing some downtime before dinner. (B, L, D)

    Ride details: 66 km/41 miles | 620 m/2,030 ft elevation gain

    Day 12 – Drumlanrig Castle

    Our final day of riding takes us to a magnificent finish at the 17th-century Drumlanrig Castle. The route takes in some of the region’s best roads as we head through Galloway Forest Park in the shadow of the hills known as the “Range of the Awful Hand”. From here, we head east through rolling farmland, passing Keir Mill, where the pedal bicycle was invented in 1839. A short distance on, we arrive at the Drumlanrig Estate, and our final km is one of the best you’ll find anywhere – a perfect boulevard leading right to the castle entrance. No doubt you’ll be feeling the effects of the past 11 days riding, but we’ll have smiles all around! We’ll enjoy some celebratory drinks and cake at the castle before returning to Gatehouse of Fleet for our final night dinner together. (B, L, D)

    Ride details: 78 km/49 miles | 1,070 m/3,510 ft elevation gain

    Day 13 – Transfer to Edinburgh then depart

    After a relaxing breakfast, we’ll depart for the drive to Edinburgh. We will plan our arrival into Edinburgh Gateway no later than 12:30pm with the option to be dropped at Lockerbie for the West Coast railway line en route (for trains south inc London). On your journey home, you’ll have time to reflect on what will surely be one of the most memorable biking trips you’ve ever done. (B)

    Road Cycling
    The Five Countries Tour

    To download a PDF copy of our Trip Itinerary, containing full details about this holiday, please complete the form below:

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    Trip Dates & Prices

    Trip Dates for 2024AvailabilityStatusPriceBook
    19th May - 31st May 202412 places leftUNCONFIRMED£4,695Book Now
    16th Jun - 28th Jun 202412 places leftUNCONFIRMED£4,695Book Now

    Trip Details

    Accommodation Read More

    This trip features some of the best hotel and guest house accommodation and food in the British Isles and Ireland. We use a variety of accommodations such as country inns, guesthouses and small hotels, all hand-picked by us. Accommodation is in a choice of double or twin rooms with ensuite facilities.

    Single Rooms

    We do not charge single person supplements to solo travellers. However, you will be expected to share a room with another person of the same sex. If you require a single room please request this at the time of booking and we will check availability for you. A single room supplement of £950 is charged if a single room is available.

    Meals Read More

    Breakfast is provided each morning at your accommodation. Lunch each day will be either a wilderness picnic or taken at a local cafe/restaurant. Drinks and snacks are provided throughout the day as you require. Most evening meals are included and on this itinerary and we have the flexibility to take evening meals either in the hotel or in local restaurants. Based upon our knowledge and experience, we will visit the best places to eat along the route. Included dinners are two courses as standard.

    Day 6 is a rest day and breakfast only is provided that day. Your guide will be on hand for lunch and dinner suggestions.

    On this trip, we generally eat dinner as a group however if you would like to make alternative arrangements, you are free to do so. Your guide will have an evening off during this trip where they do not eat with the group. They will recommend options for dinner that evening and will help you make any necessary reservations.

    Inclusions Read More
    • 12 days professional guiding with a lead guide, plus assistant guide/support driver.
    • 11 nights accommodation in 3* and 4* hotels/inns/guest houses on a B&B basis.
    • Most meals as stated in the itinerary. (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
    • Vehicle transport throughout including ride support and luggage transfers.
    • Ferry and private boat transport as required.
    • Entrance and admission fees as stated in the itinerary.
    • Ride snacks, home-baking and drinks and some Wilderness extras.
    Trip Grading Read More

    Blue Graded 4-6

    Blue graded trips are suitable for people with a good level of bike fitness, who regularly enjoy cycling and may have joined a multi-day cycle holiday before.

    Distances each day will be between 35 – 45 miles, cycling at around 12/13mph. Each day will be rolling and hilly terrain and there will be notable climbs most days. Some of these will be more testing and some riders may opt to push or ride in the support vehicle. Some climbs are also followed by exciting descents. We will be in the saddle for 5 – 7 hours each day plus the odd longer day. There is also time each day for breaks and lunches, plus some visits to sites of interest.

    Travel – Arrival and Departure Read More

    You will be met by your guide at 11:00am on Day 1 at York Railway Station. The meeting place will be at the bottom of the stairs, under the gold clock (on the ATM side).

    We will finish at Edinburgh Gateway Railway Station for 12:30pm on Day 13.

    Advice on travel to York and from Edinburgh is available on our website under Recommended Travel.

    Bike Hire / Bringing Your Own Bike Read More
    Bike Hire

    We have an excellent fleet of bikes available to hire u2013 including road bikes, hybrid bikes, mountain bikes and E-bikes.
    Find Out More

    Bring Your Own Bike

    You are also more than welcome to bring your own bike.

    If you choose to do so, please ensure it’s in excellent working condition and has been recently serviced u2013 either by you or by a reputable bike shop.

    In addition, please bring the following:

    • Multi-tool, including a chain tool
    • Mini pump and/or CO2 canisters
    • Two spare tubes and a puncture repair kit

    Because we will need to load your bike onto one of our trailers, please ensure that:

    • Your rear wheel is clear of any obstructions; including lights, mudguard or panniers
    • Your tyres are no wider than 45mm

    Due to the nature of our trips, we are unfortunately unable to carry bike boxes or bags with us, so please make prior arrangements if necessary.

    If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our friendly and knowledgable sales team are always delighted to answer any queries you may have.

    Photo Gallery

    Make This Trip Private

    Fancy this trip just for your group? Get together with family and friends spend quality time exploring wild places. A private trip allows you to benefit from all the features of the group departure, including hand-picked accommodation and expert local guides but with the advantage of the flexibility to tailor the days to your group. Make the trip more or less challenging depending on your experience or choose to add in some optional extras like castle or distillery visits depending on your interests. The price of a private trip will depend on the number of travellers in your group. Let us know your prefered departure date and we'll take care of the rest.

    Speak to an Expert

    Chris Page

    Our friendly office team hail from across the world but share a passion for the outdoor and wild spaces of Scotland. We are committed to providing you with the best customer service and are more than happy to chat through options and provide help and advice. Get in touch to find your perfect adventure.

    Ask Chris a Question

    Meet Your Guide

    Difficulty Grades Explained

    Blue Graded Road Cycling Holidays 4-6

    Blue graded trips are suitable for people with a good level of bike fitness, who regularly enjoy cycling and may have joined a multi-day cycle holiday before.

    Distances each day will be between 35 – 45 miles, cycling at around 12/13mph. Each day will be rolling and hilly terrain and there will be notable climbs most days. Some of these will be more testing and some riders may opt to push or ride in the support vehicle. Some climbs are also followed by exciting descents. We will be in the saddle for 5 – 7 hours each day plus the odd longer day. There is also time each day for breaks and lunches, plus some visits to sites of interest.

    Compare road cycling grades

    Trip Reviews

    Rated 4.93 out of 5 based on 28 reviews of Road Cycling – The Five Countries Tour


    Every client receives a feedback survey when they return from their guided, self guided or tailor made holiday with us. Once completed the review is published on our website just as soon as our database updates. The little touches and details are important to us and where issues are raised we make positive changes to our trips to improve your experience.

    That’s why we read each of our client’s reviews and although we don’t respond to all of them, if it’s glowing feedback then we get the satisfaction of helping to make your holidays truly memorable.


    Sofia Etchegoin

    Reviewed on 20/07/2023

    Age: 20 - 30
    Country: Spain
    Trip Date: 25/06/2023
    Trips Taken: 0

    The Bottom Line

    The Bottom Line

    This was a great trip all round! It is challenging in places, but you'll be rewarded with the stunning scenery. What a special way of seeing the UK and Ireland, I highly recommend it!


    Gerald Galewski

    Reviewed on 28/06/2023

    Age: 70 - 80
    Country: United States
    Trip Date: 21/05/2023
    Trips Taken: 0

    The Bottom Line

    The Bottom Line

    We are seriously looking at the Grand Tour offering for next year. What more can we say. The "Five Countries" was fabulous. Now we want to see more of Scotland.


    Grant craw

    Reviewed on 28/06/2023

    Age: 60 - 70
    Country: Australia
    Trip Date: 21/05/2023
    Trips Taken: 1

    The Bottom Line

    The Bottom Line

    5 countries the best way to tour the UK when time does not permit a longer trip. You see the best of UK Suggestion We moved the diner from 8.00pm to 7.30pm could be better at 7.00 pm as after a long day it made for a late night

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