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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 Recommended Travel.

Prices and Departures

221 people viewed this trip in the last week

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
15th May - 26th May 2017
£2,695
2 place(s) left
19th Jun - 30th Jun 2017
£2,695
Trip Full
11th Sep - 22nd Sep 2017
£2,695
Places available

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 796 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 through the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The quiet roads continue on to East Witton in the valley of Wensleydale – world famous for its cheese. Our destination for the evening is 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: 53km, Elevation 853m

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: 87km, Elevation 1358m

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: 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: 75km, Elevation 1383m

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 we will cross by boat to reach the Isle of Anglesey. Follow rural roads through the island before hitting the coast and crossing onto Holy Island via the Four Mile Bridge. 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: 97km, Elevation 1173

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: 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 at 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. Our accommodation for the night is the fantastic Rathmullan House. A historical country home with some modern upgrades such as a wood-fired pizza oven and tap-room of local brews. Custom built for cycling!  (B, L)

Distance: 46km, Elevation 422m

Day 8 – Inishowen Peninsula and Northern Ireland

From Rathmullan House it’s a short hop on a boat across Lough Swilly. Heading ashore 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 we 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: 62km, Elevation 609m

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: 95km, Elevation 1088m

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: 94km, Elevation 906m

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: 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

221 people viewed this trip in the last week

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
15th May - 26th May 2017
£2,695
2 place(s) left
19th Jun - 30th Jun 2017
£2,695
Trip Full
11th Sep - 22nd Sep 2017
£2,695
Places available

Price from: £2,695

Next trip: 15th May

Duration: 11 night(s)

View prices & departures

Location: Multi-Location

Comfort: Classic

Difficulty: 6

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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