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The Grand Tour of The Cotswolds - Cycling - Classic

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  • Historic university city of Oxford
  • Quintessential English villages such as Chipping Campden and Bibury
  • Stratford upon Avon – birthplace of William Shakespeare
  • The Roman City of Bath
  • Highgrove – Prince Charles’ Estate and organic farm
  • Salisbury Cathedral
  • Stonehenge – world famous prehistoric monument
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From the historic university city of Oxford see Chipping Campden, Bibury, and Tetbury as you ride through the Cotswold valleys. Stay overnight in Stratford on Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare and if you wish enjoy one of his plays at the theatre. Absorb the Roman influence in Cirencester, the film backdrop of Lacock and the engineering feat of the Kennet and Avon Canal. Take in the outstanding cathedral in Salisbury, the soaring downs of middle England, the Thames with its pretty waterside villages and the undersung Chiltern Hills with their beech woods. This trip is our longest and embraces everything that is England - prepare to be amazed!

Whilst the full Grand Tour encompasses almost 2 weeks – giving you the authentic slow travel opportunity to really soak up the best of England travelling under your own steam, we can tailormake the trip and cut down the days by replacing some days cycling with car transfers – tell us what you would like - with The Carter Company anything is possible!

Day One - Oxford
Arrive in Oxford and check into your hotel located in the heart of the city. Enjoy the treasures of this beautiful city and stroll through the lovely colleges of the University with their magnificent architecture and gardens. Take in the museums, galleries and libraries galore, and perhaps a concert or play. Discover the little tea rooms and fine restaurants, the unique shops and back streets and the river backwaters dotted with punters and rowing eights.

Day Two - Oxford to an Oxfordshire Village
Your host will meet you this morning with your bikes and run through your itinerary before your cycling journey begins. You leave Oxford on a traffic free route as you head towards the Cotswold village of Woodstock. Here is the world heritage site of Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Winston Churchill and now home to the 12th Duke of Marlborough. Back in the saddle, you can then explore classic Cotswolds country - twisting lanes leading through pretty villages; tiny bridges crossing gurgling rivers; ancient woodlands and wonderful views. Your welcoming inn tonight overlooks a village green.33 miles (53 km)

Day Three - An Oxfordshire Village to Stratford On Avon
Today's route leads you through a string of Cotswold stone hamlets and villages and to the market town of Moreton-in-Marsh where the Roman Fosse Way now defines the high street. There are plenty of cosy pubs for a lunch stop and the renowned gardens of Hidcote and Kiftsgate for inspiration. From here its a freewheel down the scarp slope of the Cotswolds and along an old railway track into Stratford on Avon. This famous old market town, needs little introduction as the birthplace of William Shakespeare and you can visit all the bard's houses in Stratford if you wish to pedal on. Your overnight stay is in the heart of the town with all its half timbered buildings.32 miles (51 km)

Day Four - Stratford On Avon To Chipping Campden
Enjoy the level ride this morning to the chocolate box village of Broadway perhaps allowing a detour to the medieval and cosy Fleece Inn. This afternoon is truly wonderful even though you encounter the main hill of the tour as you ride through sheep clad hills to the delightful village of Snowshill. Here you can visit the manor house and the stunning fields of lavender whilst looking forward to a refreshment stop near the Broadway Tower with breathtaking views over 12 counties on a clear day. The gem of the Cotswolds, the 14th Century honey coloured stone buildings of Chipping Campden is where you will stay the night.30 miles (48 km)

Day Five - Chipping Campden To Burford
You will experience the classic Wolds and valleys of the Cotswolds area today taking in a string of notable towns and villages. Visit Stow on the Wold, known for its antique shops now and as a woollen town formerly before discovering the idyllic hamlets of the Slaughters and joining the Windrush valley at Bourton on Water. This valley leads you through unspoilt villages to Burford, one of England's prettiest small medieval towns with beautiful Cotswold architecture and a high street to savour. Stay overnight here and explore the Windrush water meadows if you wish.32 miles (51 km)

Day Six - Burford To Ewen
Pedal through a timeless landscape today that is utterly charming. Rejoin the Windrush river and pause for a coffee in Northleach. Then explore the tiny Coln river; it bears a Roman villa at Chedworth and a series of tiny crossings before arriving in Bibury, famous for its weavers cottages. The Cotswold capital of Cirencester features next - important since Roman times and still a delight today. Your overnight stay is in the peaceful hamlet of Ewen a few miles further on where the inn dates back to the 16th Century.36 miles (58 km)

Day Seven - Ewen To Lacock
Still in the idyllic Cotswold landscape of quiet lanes, pretty farms and peaceful villages, there are some interesting places to stop by today. At Highgrove you can take a thirst quencher or coffee at Prince Charles's farm whilst in Tetbury there's plenty to explore in this lovely old wool market town. If trees are your thing you can make a short detour to the world renowned and spectacular National Arboretum at Westonbirt. There is also a wonderful pottery and close by a stunning private garden where we may be able to arrange a visit. The most remarkable find of the day maybe Lacock where you will spend the next two nights. Dating back to the 13th Century, this charming rural village with a medieval abbey remains untouched by modern development. 38 miles (61 km)

Day Eight - Lacock to Bath and Back
This is a great ride to the world heritage site of Bath known for its Georgian architecture and its Roman connections. Discover the Roman baths, a fine collection of museums, cobbled courtyards, historic tea rooms and the abbey. Leave Bath along a magnificent canal and take in yet another characterful town at Bradford on Avon. Here there is a short climb as you head back to Lacock. Truly a day to remember! 33 miles (53km)

Day Nine - Lacock to a Wiltshire Village
Today's cycling leads you away from the Cotswolds and takes in the dramatic flight of canal locks at Caen Hill. Wide vistas and a rural landscape follow before giving way to the cosy hamlets and villages of the picturesque Avon valley. This peaceful scene leads you to within ear shot of Stonehenge where you will stay for the next two nights.38 miles (61 km)

Day Ten - A Wiltshire Village to Salisbury And Back
This morning your personal guide will collect you from your accommodation and give you a tour of the world heritage sight at Stonehenge. A prehistoric monument without parallel, its site and surroundings pose a number of questions. Returning to the present day and to your hotel, you have a delightful ride south to the historic city of Salisbury with its fine cathedral and setting. Track the Avon as it threads its way through the town and discover ancient buildings before returning to your hotel for a second night. This truly is a day full of drama! 20 miles (32 km)

Day Eleven - A Wiltshire Village to Hungerford
Challenge yourself today with a ride up onto Salisbury Plain where there are grand landscapes and far reaching views - a unique scene for this one day's cycling. Hungerford where you will stay the night is an interesting market town that sits within the cosy Kennet valley which provides your route beyond the plain. Dotted with charming villages, the valley is criss crossed by the picturesque Kennet and Avon Canal. 28 miles (45 km)

Day Twelve - Hungerford to a Chilterns Village
Following the pretty canal as it flows towards the Thames River, weirs, locks, waterside cottages and meadows abound. This rural scene briefly gives way to the urban as the waterway flows through the heart of Reading and meets the bolder Thames just beyond. Here you have a ride beside the river before heading up into the beautiful Chiltern Hills. Characterised by beech woods, soaring slopes and red kites this is an idyllic area. Your overnight stay is in an old inn nestling in a typical Chiltern village.34 miles (54 km)

Day Thirteen - A Chilterns Village to Oxford
The final day's ride into Oxford is a classic as you freewheel down through the Chilterns with soaring views. Traversing the Thames a number of times, there's time to enjoy several of its riverside towns - characterful Wallingford and ancient Abingdon, before pedalling past locks and boat houses to complete the ring to Oxford and your final night's stay in the heart of the city. What a grand tour of England! 29 miles (46 km)

Day Fourteen - Depart Oxford
Make the most of your last day in Oxford before departing at your leisure.
Additional Information
13 Nights ensuite classic or luxury accommodation with full English Breakfast
The services of our friendly local host to welcome and brief you, share their local knowledge and look after you.
Luggage transfers between hotels
Hybrid bike and additional accessories including helmet, pannier, saddle cover, water bottle, lock, puncture repair kit and spare inner tube
Emergency 24 hour phone number and support
Adventure Handbook - packed full of 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!
GPS and written Route Directions and OS maps with your route marked
Entrance to Stonehenge and a Private Guide

NOT INCLUDED: airfares, travel to and from the trip start and finish points unless specified, entrances to attractions unless specified, boat fares unless specified, lunches and dinners unless specified, alcoholic beverages, mini bars and meals pre and post the trip.