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Road Cycling – The Five Countries Tour

  • 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

What’s included in this cycling holiday?

  • 12 days professional guiding with 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
  • and a boat load of fun!

Read more about this cycling trip below and download the dossier for more information.

Blue Graded Road Cycling Holidays 4-6

Our Blue grade trips are for people who regularly enjoy cycling and may have joined a multi-day cycle tour holiday before. On these trips you can expect rolling and sometimes hilly terrain. You are comfortable climbing and descending steep roads as long as there are plenty of stops for photos! On these trips, harder days in the saddle are usually followed by easier ones both in terms of distance and the amount of climbing. On most days these trips offer lots of opportunity for exploring the surrounding area and enjoying relaxed lunches.

Distances typically range from 30-50 miles each day with typically rolling terrain. On some days you can expect some testing climbs and exciting descents.

Before joining this trip, the questions you should be asking yourself are:

Are you happy being on your bike for around six hours each day for up to 6 days in a row?
Do you regularly ride a road bike most weeks or have you done a multi day tour recently?
Are you comfortable climbing and descending steep roads?

Accommodation

This trip features some of the best hotel and guest house accommodation and food in the British Isles. As outlined above, each day lunch is either a wilderness picnic or taken at a local cafe/restaurant.

Single Room Supplement

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.

Due to the limited range of accommodations in the regions we visit, we can accommodate a maximum of 2 single rooms on this trip. The single supplement charge for this trip is £400 but please note that this is subject to availability.

Single rooms should be requested at the time of booking but all single room requests are subject to availability.

You will be met by your guide at 1100 on Day 1 of the trip at the York Train Station. We will finish in Edinburgh Waverley train station around 1200 on Day 12. Full details on how to get to York and from Edinburgh, please see our travel page.

Customer Kudos

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.

5 star 5

4 star 1

3 star 0

2 star 0

1 star 0

by Maryanne Mackinnon 03/06/2017

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
We booked very early based on a promotional mailing that implied we'd be getting a lower price (2016 rate). Our trip was not part of the sale. Then, a few weeks later there was a promo offering a Hagloff's jacket for early booking. We were not able to get that deal, even though we didn't really get a benefit from the "pay 2016 price" promotion. I felt that was not the best response to enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty (especially as we were repeat clients).
Trip Comments
I think the fact that things went so smoothly on the inaugural 5 Countries Trip was testament to superb advance planning. I really appreciate the amount of time and effort it must have taken to plan routes, transfers, and accommodations. I also appreciated the on the ground adjustments based on our group's pace and the conditions.
Accommodation and Food
All the places were unique and comfortable. I felt so spoiled arriving to bags in the room and being handed a room key. The final place, while beautifully situated, lacked a little in amenities compared to the other places (no yogurt or fruit at breakfast, very spotty wifi). The lack of wifi would not normally be an issue, but since it was our final spot, wifi would be useful for checking ongoing travel arrangements).
Your Guide
Both Paul and Duncan were amazingly helpful and accommodating!!
Really appreciated the slideshow and smug mug photos!
The Bottom Line
If doing any kind of active travel in the UK, I'd always choose Wilderness Scotland/Ireland! And recommend them to my friends.

by Pat Parseghian 02/06/2017

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
I appreciated your thoroughness in following up to ensure you had all the information you needed from me. I also appreciated your responsiveness to my questions, especially with the details about our lodging for each night of the trip. I can understand that you might not want to share lodging and route details in advance, and that routes are liable to change; however, I would have felt better prepared if that information had been available - even as late as a few days before the trip.
Trip Comments
I'm used to bike tours that involve lots of self-service. I felt pampered - even guilty - to have Duncan and Paul fetching and delivering our luggage every day, cheerfully collecting any shopping we did en route, and especially hosting our al fresco tea parties. All of that was above and beyond my expectations. I was grateful for the occasional re-routing to give us a better experience, given weather and/or road conditions. I was thrilled to see so much beautiful countryside, in all five countries, and impressed with the patience of local motorists and friendliness of people we met along the way. I was particularly happy with how well our group meshed; cycling with everyone - including Paul and Duncan - felt more like being with a group of old friends than with a bunch of random folks following the same route. I went home with some great memories of the fun (and the challenges!) we shared.
Accommodation and Food
I loved the uniqueness of the places where we stayed - small inns and B&Bs make me feel like I'm part of the community, especially in small towns (but, that was true even in Dublin). I appreciated the careful attention to food sensitivities. I learned that I could have been more clear that I can cope fine with my lactose intolerance so long as there are other choices for me. I didn't expect you to provide lactose-free milk or yogurt (which I normally don't consume), and felt sorry about that. In the future, I'll be more explicit - but you also might consider following up with food-sensitive clients to get a clear understanding of their needs.
Your Guide
Duncan and Paul were outstanding. They were always cheerful, encouraging, patient, helpful, and attentive to our safety. As someone who leads cyclists on day rides, I have a kindred appreciation for the challenges of looking after a group with diverse skill levels and attitudes. Bravo to both of them! Because I came to the ride without the fitness I planned or needed, I had my own personal battle over the first few days as I struggled in the rain and trailed far behind the group. I was at a particularly low point when Duncan took a selfie of the two of us, and I doubt he realized how much he raised my spirits with that (till now). I'd travel with you guys anywhere.
The Bottom Line
I hope I have many more cycling adventures ahead of me, and while I normally seek to explore countries I haven't yet visited, I had such a great time on this trip that you just might see me again. Despite the rain and steep hills. I'm missing you already.

by Pamela Chislett 02/06/2017

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
There were some communication hiccups at the beginning with staff being out of office and office being closed for training. For some reason a response email went to my junk box. I could have used a bit more assistance in planning how to get to York and accommodations there. I was quite taken aback with how expensive the trains were from heathrow to York and the return journey from Edinburgh to Heathrow. My ignorance I guess. Also the booking restrictions on the train travel with little flexibility for changed travel plans was a bit shocking. This is not Wilderness Scotland's problem but maybe a little more information about the travel conditions to get to York and back from Edinburgh would have relieved my stress re: the travel to and from the trip points. During the ride, everything was great. The itinerary accurately reflected what to expect. I would have perhaps liked to know the names of the places we were staying at every night as part of the detailed itinerary. Not that I would have necessarily followed up on that but in detailing the trip afterwards, would help in me organizing my sharing memories of the trip.
Trip Comments
It is all a bit of a blur right now. Duncan's lunches on the last two days were outstanding in both setting, offerings and environment. Especially the last one where it seemed we had the castle grounds to ourselves. Although the many uphills were memorable because of personal achievement, the downhills were lots of fun. I think the ride along the coastline of the Antrim area was spectacular.
Accommodation and Food
Was very pleasantly surprised to have bathtubs in just about all of the accommodations. And the one shower only one was a great shower- so all good. Great variety of food and accommodation throughout the trip- like this aspect. The food service at the Bayview Hotel was the weakest. Would have been nice to always have wifi in our rooms instead of having to go to the reception area- but not a big deal.
Your Guide
Duncan's stories and attitude throughout the trip were great. Always had us smiling or laughing. Paul's stories were entertaining as well and his knowledge of the history and background of the places we visited were great. Both Paul and Duncan had wonderful enthusiasm which made each day special.
The Bottom Line
This was a great experience over all. I think it as extra special as we were the inaugural group for the Five Countries tour and it went so well. The weather was challenging at the start but it got better and better. Paul and Duncan must have made the right homage to make this happen. The rides were sometimes challenging but with the help of the guides the routes were doable and left me with a sense of achievement.

by Joanne MacKinnon 29/05/2017

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
It was not clear the early bird discounts and free jacket offer. The fine print was not I clear on the initial offer to sign on for trips that had run in order to GE the jacket offer, so a bit disappointed on he lack of flexibility.


TEAM WILDERNESS RESPONSE:

Thank so much so much for your feedback. Like most companies we do run promotions throughout the year. Unfortunately you booked your trip out with the promotion so we weren’t able to apply it to your booking in this case. I am sorry about that but it seems like you had a great time on the trip anyway.
Trip Comments
Amazing guides, service and feeling pampered.
Accommodation and Food
The last place had spotty wifi and a limited menu. But overall amazing diversity and experiences with meals and accommodation. It worked well bill splitting having people go to the till. This worked much better than the North American model of haggling and counting at the table.
Your Guide
Guides are wonderful. I thought that Duncan was shortchanged on the bike time with the group. I respect that Paul may be a more senior guide but preferred the Outer Hebrides model of alternating guides. The guides worked well together providing a balance on personalities.

TEAM WILDERNESS RESPONSE

On most bike tours our guides generally spilt the riding 50/50. As this was a new tour with some fairly complex routes, Paul and Duncan decided to guide those rides based upon personal knowledge and experience.
The Bottom Line
I'd like to do another trip as well, so look forward to new options.

by Philippe Zirnheld 29/05/2017

4Pre-Trip Service

4Trip Comments

3Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

4The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
nice quiet roads
Accommodation and Food
accomodations were sometimes borderline to the price we have paid for the trip
Your Guide
The Bottom Line
start and return place should be the same town

by Fiona Leatt-Hayter 29/05/2017

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
All pre-trip correspondence was prompt, relevant and efficient.
Trip Comments
This was my second trip with Wilderness Scotland and my first cycling trip. It was amazing. It was exciting to be in the first group to complete the 5 Countries tour. It was so well organised in every respect. The accommodation was great, the guides superb and the cycling route brilliant.
Accommodation and Food
The accommodation was varied, but always interesting, welcoming and of a very good standard. Having our bags delivered to and fro. Our room at the start and end the of each day was an added bonus and greatly appreciated.
Your Guide
Duncan and Paul were exceptional guides. They were always thoroughly prepared, thought of every possible contingency and worked tirelessly and endlessly. The knowledge and professionalism of Paul together with the good humour and willingness to accommodate our every wish by Duncan made this trip such an enjoyable experience. Sincere thanks to both of them.
The Bottom Line
For anyone who enjoys cycling, go on this trip. Wilderness Scotland is an excellent company who delivers fabulous tours. I can't recommend them highly enough.

Prices and Departures

53 people viewed this trip in the last week

2018 Trip Dates

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
14th May - 25th May 2018
£2,695
6 place(s) left
18th Jun - 29th Jun 2018
£2,695
8 place(s) left
10th Sep - 21st Sep 2018
£2,695
Trip Full

Trip Details

New for 2017! Cycle through the 5 countries of Great Britain and Ireland – all in one highlight-packed bike tour.

Over 12 days ride 750 km, experience the different cultures and the best of what’s on offer in these islands.

Hosts of Tour de France and Giro d’Italia in recent years, Britain and Ireland’s profile as a great cycling destination has gone global. Starting in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, tackle many scenic roads from Tour de France 2014. Our route heads south through Yorkshire and onto Lancashire. Cross the border into Wales and ride through Snowdonia National Park. Hitting the historic coast at Caernarfon Castle. A short hop by boat leads to the Isle of Anglesey. From there across the Irish Sea to Dublin for a day of rest and relaxation in one of Europe’s greatest capitals.

Our route heads west explore the roads of Donegal before crossing the border into Northern Ireland. Follow the spectacular Antrim Coast, some say the best stretch of coastline in Ireland. Pass the remarkable Giant’s Causeway and ride along the challenging Torr Road – featured in Game of Thrones. From Northern Ireland it’s a boat journey to our final country – Scotland. Here we ride through the country’s undiscovered gem – Dumfries & Galloway. Rolling roads, farms, green hills and gentle coastlines 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. We roll into the 17th century Drumlanrig Castle – a majestic end to our memorable five countries bike tour.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1 – York and the Yorkshire Dales 

You will meet your guides for the trip at York Train Station. From York it is an hour drive to our start point on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. Kicking off in essential English style with a pub lunch, your guides will brief you for the day ahead. Our opening ride follows a lovely route around the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The quiet roads continue on to Leyburn in the valley of Wensleydale – world famous for its cheese. Our destination for the evening is near the village of Reeth in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Tonight we stay in a local inn and enjoy a welcome dinner. (L, D)

Distance: 24mi/38km, Elevation 585m

Day 2 – Yorkshire and the Tour de France 

In 2014, Yorkshire was the proud host of the Grand Depart for the Tour de France. The world’s most popular cycle event descended upon the region to discover what a great place this is for road riding. Today’s route follows much of Stage 1 of the 2014 tour. Following in the footsteps of the pros, 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 fascinating limestone village of Malham, you will have ridden one of best day rides in the UK. (B, L)

Distance: 51mi/82km, Elevation 1319m

Day 3 – Yorkshire Dales to Forest of Bowland 

A relaxing start today after yesterday’s big ride. For those keen, we can take a short walk (2km) to the impressive limestone scenery of Malham Cove. Setting off on our ride south  we cross into Lancashire and the Forest of Bowland. The woodland and wide open spaces serve as a reminder of the ancient wilderness that once stretched across this part of England. It also happens to be the geographic centre of Great Britain which seems a fitting place to ride through on our 5 countries tour. We ride through to the village of Waddington where we take a late lunch. From here you can rest as we transfer south to Oswestry near the English/Welsh border. (B, L)

Distance: 28mi/45km, Elevation 425m

Day 4 – Across the English/Welsh Border

From Oswestry our bike tour heads west across the border and into Wales. The central and northern parts of Wales are 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 climb of 300m/900ft with a steady gradient but the impressive views provide motivation. The descent over 8km/5miles is a blast and leads us to lunch at the beautiful Bala Lake in Snowdonia National Park.. The second half of the day journeys through wild Welsh scenery on roads ideal for bike riding. Climbing higher into Snowdonia National Park our destination for the evening awaits at the end of a long descent into Ffestiniog. (B, L)

Distance: 50mi/81km, Elevation 1202m

Day 5 – Through Snowdonia to Anglesey Island

Our second day in Wales is full of variety beginning in the mountains of Snowdonia National Park. In the morning we will pass through many mountain villages. Beddgelert, considered as Snowdonia’s loveliest village and steeped in Welsh mythology and legend. Continuing west our lunchtime stop is in Caernarfon. Home to one of the most impressive castles you will find anywhere and recognised as a World Heritage Site. The castle overlooks the Menai Straits and after lunch and an opportunity to explore the town, we will take a boat onto the Isle of Anglesey. From here it’s a short distance to Holyhead where our journey across the Irish Sea begins. It’s just over 2 hours to Dublin where we’ll be ashore in time for dinner in the city. (B, L)

Distance: 34mi/54km, Elevation 707m

Day 6 – Rest Day and Optional Ride in Dublin

After 5 days of riding, we are are halfway through our 5 countries tour. The cosmopolitan capital of Dublin provides a great choice for a day of rest. Wander the historic streets and sample the city’s cafes and bars to recharge for the second half of the tour. Dublin is a fantastic city to hang out and explore. If your legs are feeling strong, there’s the option of a ride out of the city. Ride along the coast and into the Wicklow mountains for the best views of the city. This evening enjoy a relaxed dinner in Dublin and perhaps a few pints of Guinness at the world famous Temple Bar. (B)

Distance: 36mi/58km, Elevation 755m

Day 7 – Dublin to County Donegal 

In the morning we travel by road out west to the wild open spaces of North Donegal. Geographically cut-off from much off the Republic because of the border with Northern Ireland. Donegal has retained it’s own cultural identity and unique accent. We’ll arrive in time for lunch near Glenveagh National Park before riding north to the coast. The route takes us along an elevated road overlooking Lough Swilly – a huge glacial fjord between the Inishowen and Fanad peninsula. From here it’s a short distance to our accommodation either in Rathmullan or Inishowen. (B, L)

Distance: 29mi/48km, Elevation 574m

Day 8 – Inishowen Peninsula and Northern Ireland

On the Inishowen Peninsula we follow an epic route featuring sporting climbs and exciting descents with the wild Donegal Coast providing the spectacular backdrop. Upon reaching the east coast of the peninsula, a private charter boat will take us across the border into Nothern Ireland where we continue our coastal route from Portrush to Portballintrae via the iconic Dunluce Castle. In the evening you might choose to ride 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)

Distance: 46mi/74km, Elevation 1402m

Day 9 – The Antrim Coast & Across to Scotland

Today’s ride takes us through two countries and across one sea 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 the country. Some also consider it to be the “toughest cycling road in Ireland”! Without doubt the riding is as dramatic as it is challenging following the Torr Scenic route through wild landscapes and deserted villages. After, the crossing from Ireland to Scotland takes 2 hours and on arrival the second half of our ride begins. We’ll be setting off late afternoon for part two of our ride but we should make quick progress on the flat roads and the (usually) prevailing wind at our backs. Our route through the rural farmland of Dumfries takes us to our overnight stop in Wigtown – known as “Scotland’s National Book Town”. (B, L)

Distance: 46mi/74km, Elevation 978m

Day 10 – The Galloway Hills

Largely undiscovered, Dumfries and Galloway is a cycling revelation. With over 700km/450miles of marked routes on quiet roads through beautiful scenery. Our route takes in some of the region’s best roads as we head through Galloway Forest Park. With no major climbs today we should make quick progress reaching New Galloway just in time for lunch. Heading south follow the shores of Loch Ken. Enjoy a late afternoon stop for coffee and cake at one of the best Farm Shops in Scotland. Just the boost we need for the final 15km to our historic hotel in Mabie Forest near New Abbey. (B, L)

Distance: 61mi/98km, Elevation 928m

Day 11 – New Abbey to Drumlanrig Castle

You’ve made it! Our final day of riding through the UK and Ireland. Journey from New Abbey to a magnificent finish at the 17th century Drumlanrig Castle. The Speddoch climb provides the last major climb of the trip. The descent from the pass is superb with great views across the glens and hills to the north. A short distance further on we pass Keir Mill. Here the pedal bicycle was invented back in 1839 by Kirkpatrick Macmillian. Our final kilometre is one of the best you’ll find anywhere. A perfect boulevard leading right to the Castle Entrance. Enjoy celebratory drinks and cake at the Castle before returning to New Abbey for our final dinner together. (B, L, D)

Distance: 35mi/57km, Elevation 663m

Day 12 – Transfer to Edinburgh 

After a relaxing breakfast, we depart New Abbey. We will plan our arrival into Edinburgh no later than 1200. There is an option to be dropped at Lockerbie for the West Coast railway line en route (for trains south inc London). (B)

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Prices and Departures

53 people viewed this trip in the last week

2018 Trip Dates

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
14th May - 25th May 2018
£2,695
6 place(s) left
18th Jun - 29th Jun 2018
£2,695
8 place(s) left
10th Sep - 21st Sep 2018
£2,695
Trip Full

Price from: £2,695

Next trip: 14th May

Duration: 11 night(s)

View prices & departures

Location: Multi-Location

Comfort: Classic

Difficulty: 6

6 review(s)

Trip Photos

Yorkshire Dales, EnglandYorkshire Dales, EnglandYorkshire Dales, EnglandYorkshire Dales, EnglandMalham Cove, YorkshireSnowdonia, WalesSnowdonia, WalesSnowdonia, WalesSnowdonia, WalesCaernarfon Castle, WalesSnowdonia, WalesBoat ride on Menai StraitTemple Bar, DublinDunluce castle, IrelandDunluce Castle, IrelandDonegal coastDonegalRathmullan House, DonegalRathmullan House, DonegalRIB ride, PortrushGiant’s CausewayGiant’s CausewayGiant’s CausewayCounty Antrim coast roadCounty AntrimBallintoy Harbour, AntrimCounty AntrimDumfries, ScotlandDumfries, ScotlandDumfries, ScotlandDumfries, ScotlandDrumlanrig Castle
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Trip reviews

Customer Kudos
If doing any kind of active travel in the UK, I'd always choose Wilderness Scotland/Ireland! And recommend them to my friends.

Maryanne Mackinnon
03/06/2017

5

I hope I have many more cycling adventures ahead of me, and while I normally seek to explore countries I haven't yet visited, I had such a great time on this trip that you just might see me again. Despite the rain and steep hills. I'm missing you already.

Pat Parseghian
02/06/2017

5

Rated 4.8 out of 5 based on 6 review(s) of Road Cycling – The Five Countries Tour

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