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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

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.


This trip features some of the best hotel and guest house accommodation and food in the British Isles. 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.

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. Evening meals are included on the first and final evenings, and on this itinerary and we have the flexibility to take evening meals in local restaurants or pubs. Based upon our knowledge and experience, we will visit the best places to eat along the route.

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.


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 £475 is charged if a single room is available.

You will be met by your guide at 11:00am on Day 1 at the York Train Station. The meeting place will be under the gold clock (on the ATM side). We will finish in Edinburgh Waverley train station for 12:00 noon on Day 12. Advice on travel to York and from Edinburgh is available on our website under Recommended Travel.

Trip Details

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.

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 Snowdonia National Park before hitting the historic coast. A short hop by boat 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 with in 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 boat journey to our final country – Scotland. Here we ride through Dumfries & Galloway on 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 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 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 at on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. Over 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 to the village of Leyburn. We then ride through Wensleydale before crossing into the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Our destination for the evening is near the village of Reeth where we stay in a local inn and enjoy a welcome dinner. (L,D)

Distance: 38km/ 21 miles, Elevation 585m/ 1920 ft

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 best day rides in the UK. (B,L)

Distance: 82km/ 51 miles, Elevation 1319m/ 4326 ft

Day 3 – Yorkshire Dales to the Forest of Bowland

A relaxing start today after yesterday’s big ride. Leaving the Yorkshire Dales National Park behind we cross into Lancashire and the Forest of Bowland. This 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. Then we transfer south to Oswestry near the English/Welsh border. (B,L)

Distance: 45km/ 28 miles, Elevation 425m/ 1394 ft

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 barrier to entering Snowdonia National Park. However, the climb of 300m/900ft is at a steady gradient and the increasingly impressive views provide motivation. The descent over 8km/5mi 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 Snowdonia National Park our destination for the evening awaits at the end of another amazing descent into Ffestiniog. (B,L)

Distance: 81km/ 50 miles, Elevation 1202m/ 3942 ft

Day 5 – Snowdonia, Anglesey and Dublin

Our second day in Wales begins in the mountains of Snowdonia. In the morning we will pass through many mountain villages steeped in Welsh mythology and legend. Continuing west and 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 cross by boat to reach 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 by fast boat to Dublin where we’ll be ashore in time for dinner in the city. (B,L)

Distance: 54km/ 34 miles, Elevation 707m/ 2318 ft

Day 6 – Rest day or option 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 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 and explore. If your legs are feeling strong, there’s the option of a ride out of the city, along the coast and into the Wicklow mountains where the best views of the city can be taken. Tonight we enjoy a relaxed dinner in Dublin and perhaps a few pints of Guinness at the world famous Temple Bar. (B)

Distance: 58km/ 36 miles, Elevation 755m/ 2476 ft

Day 7 – Dublin to County Donegal

In the morning we travel by road out west to the wild open spaces of North Donegal. Geographically and politically 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. From here it’s a short distance to our accommodation either in Rathmullan or Inishowen.(B,L)

Distance: 48km/ 29 miles, Elevation 574m/ 1882 ft

Day 8 – Inishowen Peninsula and Northern Ireland

Riding across the Inishowen Peninsula we follow an epic route featuring sporting climbs and exciting descents. Upon reaching the east coast 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 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)

Distance: 74km/ 46 miles, Elevation 1402m/ 4598 ft

Day 9 – The Antrim Coast then cross to Scotland

Today’s ride takes 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 and shortly after arrival the second half of our ride begins. We should make quick progress on the flat roads. Our route through the rural farmland of Dumfries takes us to our overnight stop in Wigtown. (B,L)

Distance: 74km/ 46 miles, Elevation 978m/ 3207 ft

Day 10 – The Galloway Hills

Dumfries and Galloway is a cycling revelation with quiet roads through beautiful scenery. Our 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”. With no major climbs we should make quick progress, reaching Castle Douglas for lunch. From here we head south following the shores of Loch Ken and then through rolling farmland. A late afternoon stop for coffee and cake at one of the best Farm Shops in Scotland provides the boost we need for the final 15km to our historic hotel in Mabie Forest near New Abbey. (B,L)

Distance: 98km/ 61 miles, Elevation 928m/ 3043 ft

Day 11 – New Abbey to Drumlanrig Castle

Our final day of riding takes us from New Abbey to a magnificent finish at the 17th century Drumlanrig Castle. The Speddoch climb provides the last major climb of the trip, winding through woodland on the lower slopes to wild moorland. The descent from the pass is superb with great views across the glens and hills to the north. A short distance on we pass Keir Mill where the pedal bicycle was invented back in 1839. From here, it’s a short distance to the Drumlanrig Estate where quiet roads wind through scenic parkland. 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 well have smiles all round! We’ll enjoy some celebratory drinks and cake at the castle before returning to New Abbey for our final night dinner together. (B,L,D)

Distance: 57km/ 35 miles, Elevation 663m/ 2174 ft

Day 12 – Transfer to Edinburgh then depart

After a relaxing breakfast, we’ll depart New Abbey around 09:30am for the two hour drive to Edinburgh. We will plan our arrival into Edinburgh no later than 12:00 noon 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)

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Prices and Dates

45 people viewed this trip in the last week

2019 Trip Dates

Trip Date
Trip Status
17th Jun - 28th Jun 2019
4 place(s) left
9th Sep - 20th Sep 2019
8 place(s) left
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Trip Reviews

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.

Rated 4.87 out of 5 based on 15 review(s) of Road Cycling – The Five Countries Tour

5 star 13

4 star 2

3 star 0

2 star 0

1 star 0

by Karen Dean 08/10/2018

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

This has quickly risen to the top of my short list of trips I must do again (along with the Outer Hebrides!). Beautiful scenery, great undulating rides, wonderful accommodations. Highly recommend!

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by Guy Dean 07/10/2018

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Read Full Review

by Donna Mosford 05/10/2018

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

The trip was physically and at times emotionally challenging (the boat crossing on a slightly wild-weather day) but well worth the journey. I loved (almost) every minute of it!

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by Kerry Davey 03/10/2018

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

We are very proud of our achievements on the 5 Countries cycle.

I would say however, that the trip grading should have been looked at more carefully (by me that is), as some of the ascents and descents are, in my opinion, more than a '6'.

In future, I wouldn't consider a grading over 5, unless I'm doing more cycling.

30 miles per day would probably be my maximum, rather than some 50-60 mile days.

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Price from: £3,095

Next trip: 17th June

Duration: 11 night(s)

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Region: Multi-Location

Comfort: Classic

Difficulty: 6

15 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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