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England: Bath & the Cotswolds

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Cycle hedge-lined country lanes and an ancient Roman route into handsome sandstone villages, exploring Blenheim Palace, Hidcote Gardens, and Bath along the way.

  • Duration: 10 Days|
  • Group Size: 20
Activity Easy/Moderate
Easy / Moderate
E-Bikes Available
E-Bikes Available
Airplane
Air Package Available
People
Guided Group Tour

Starting From

Bike Vacation + Air Package

$5,495

Bike Vacation Only

$4,495

(per person, double occupancy)

England: Bath & the Cotswolds

The richly textured canvas of the Cotswolds unfolds before you during this rewarding reel through the classic English countryside. Cycle hedge-lined lanes into handsome sandstone villages celebrated for their timeless charm, from Bourton-on-Water to Chipping Campden. Pedal the gentle and bucolic vistas of the Windrush Valley and the ancient Roman route of Fosse Way. Visits to the splendid Hidcote Gardens, exploration of the Georgian jewel of Bath, and a privileged ride through the grounds of Blenheim Palace round out a truly memorable experience in this unforgettable pocket of England.

What to Expect

This tour offers a combination of easy terrain mixed with moderate hills, mainly on quiet country roads. Our VBT van support is always available for those who need assistance with the hills. Ideal for enthusiastic beginners to experienced cyclists.

  • Duration: 10 Days|
  • Group Size: 20
Activity Easy/Moderate Easy / Moderate
Cycling
Bar Graph Beginner - Experienced
Cyclists
Bus Vehicle
Support

Tour Highlights

  • Stroll the footpaths of Hidcote Gardens, one of England’s most influential Arts and Crafts gardens
  • Explore the fine medieval stone buildings of the village of Burford
  • Ride into 17th-century market towns, where wool, yarn, and farm produce were traded and sold for centuries
  • Arrive by bike into the city of Bath, a rich repository of grand Georgian and Regency architecture
  • Pedal among the 2,000 magnificently landscaped acres surrounding Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Winston Churchill
  • Cycle quiet country lanes past and follow the ancient Roman Fosse Way and the Kennet and Avon Canal

Climate Information

Temperatures

Average High /
Low Temperature (°F):

May72º/49º

Jun79º/56º

Jul79º/59º

Aug81º/61º

Sep75º/55º

Oct63º/47º

Average
Precipitation:

May2.8 in

Jun2.5 in

Jul1.5 in

Aug2.6 in

Sep2.2 in

Oct2.7 in

What's Included

Bike Vacation + Air Package

Bike Vacation Only

Roundtrip international airfare Check
Transfer to and from international airport Check
1 night in Oxford and 1 night in Bristol in 4-star hotels Check
6 nights in boutique hotels Check Check
10 meals – 6 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners Check Check

Tour Bikes

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Road Bicycle (Carbon frame)

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Step-Through Hybrid/Comfort Bicycle

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Step-Over Hybrid/Comfort Bicycle

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Electric-Assisted Bicycle (E-bike)

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Biking Packages Include:

Custom VBT Bike and Helmet

Two Local, Bilingual Trip Leaders

Vehicle Support

Luggage Transfers

Ride with GPS and Daily Route Notes

Welcome Reception

Facilitated Cultural Experiences

Your Choice of VBT Branded Gear for Your Adventure

Itinerary

Fri, May 15 to Sun, May 24 - 2020

Show Itinerary:

Depart home for England. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

Upon arrival at London Heathrow Airport, England claim your luggage and clear customs. If your luggage is lost, fill out a PIR form before leaving the customs area—VBT representatives are not allowed in the customs area. Make certain your VBT luggage tags are affixed to your bag so your VBT representative can identify you as you enter the arrival hall. Your VBT representative will be in the arrivals area one hour after the flight has landed. If you exit customs earlier, please remain in the arrivals area. Your VBT representative will be holding a VBT sign and will help arrange a taxi for your transfer (approximately 1 hour, 15 minutes) to your centrally located hotel in Oxford.

If you are going to be delayed for more than 15 minutes at the Lost & Found desk due to delayed or lost luggage, please let our transfer company know by calling Airport Pickups London +44 20 8688 7744 (at a fee). You may also contact our One Call travel assistance to advise of your delay, and they will contact our transfer service on your behalf.

The rest of the day is free to explore this heralded university town and dine on your own, using the VBT City Information as your guide.

Please note: Your hotel room may not be available until 2:00 p.m. If you arrive early in the day, you may store your luggage with the reception desk.

Please note: VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you fly in before the scheduled program dates, transportation from the airport will be at your own expense.

Hotel: Mercure Oxford Eastgate Hotel

There’ll be time to relax or explore Oxford after breakfast this morning. After checking out, you can store your luggage at the hotel’s reception desk as you will not leave Oxford until after lunch. Plan to eat lunch or a snack on your own before meeting your VBT representative, as the next scheduled meal is dinner. Meet your VBT representative in the hotel lobby at 1:00 p.m. Please ensure you are dressed ready to start cycling. You may change into your biking gear in the hotel’s public restrooms.

Take a short van shuttle to Aston Pottery, the start of your cycling adventure. After a safety and bike-fitting session, enjoy a pleasant pedal through the countryside to Bampton. This charming village will seem familiar to Downton Abbey fans: it doubled as the fictional Yorkshire village of Downton in the beloved PBS series. Continue cycling through small hamlets and past tree-lined fields into Burford, your home for the next two nights.

Tonight, enjoy a welcome dinner in the hotel’s restaurant.

Hotel: The Lamb Inn
Meals: Breakfast (included for Air Package guests only), Dinner

Today’s Ride Choice:
Cumulative Distance Range: 14 miles

Afternoon
Aston Pottery to Burford: 14 miles

What to Expect: Cycle along mainly flat quiet country lanes, with a gradual incline into Burford.

Cycle the breathtaking Windrush Valley today, crossing the river and traversing the rolling hills of the Cotswolds. Ride through the sylvan Wychwood Forest to the village of Leafield and the charming market town of Charlbury. The centerpiece of the day is your visit to Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill and a UNESCO World Heritage site. We have arranged special permission for you to enter the beautifully manicured grounds through the back gate and cycle through the 2,000-acre estate, laid out by one of England’s—and history’s—great landscape designers, Capability Brown. All pathways lead to the resplendent palace, where you have free time for lunch and an included visit of the state rooms and the Churchill exhibition. You may also enjoy a leisurely stroll around the grounds. After a rewarding visit, ride or shuttle back to Burford. Those who join the shuttle will stop at the wonderful Swan at Swinbrook pub.

Dinner is on your own tonight. Burford has several options for a fine meal.

Hotel: The Lamb Inn
Meals: Breakfast

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 10 – 37 miles

Morning
Burford to Charlbury:10 miles
or
Burford to Blenheim Palace:18 miles

Afternoon
Blenheim Palace to Burford: 19 miles

What to Expect: Today’s route is more undulating than yesterday’s but again follows quiet country lanes. As you cycle the picturesque Windrush Valley, enjoy views of dry-stone walls, pastures, and agricultural fields along the roadside. Pass the great woodlands of Wychwood Forest before coasting into the small market town of Charlbury. Then continue to the back gate of Blenheim Palace and enjoy the unique privilege of riding through the park, passing the Column of Victory and crossing the beautiful Vanbrugh’s Grand Bridge. The afternoon route departs Blenheim through the back gate and traces lovely country lanes to the thatched cottage village of Minster Lovell. Continue along the Windrush Valley back into Burford.

More of the stunning Windrush Valley unfolds before you today, a picture-perfect canvas of the Cotswolds. By day’s end, you will understand why our Trip Leaders call this peaceful region “happy valley.” The Windrush was named for the way its namesake river winds through the rushes, or the tall grasses along the waterway’s banks. Enjoy a reel through the historic Sherborne Estate, part of England’s only remaining 17th-century deer course, created for sport by one John “Crump” Dutton. Your route continues to one of the the Cotswolds’ treasures: Bourton-on-the-Water. This quaint village is sometimes called the “Venice of the Cotswolds” for the graceful arched stone bridges that cross the River Windrush in town. There’ll be time to explore its many charms and have lunch on your own. Later, cycle to “The Slaughters”—Upper Slaughter and Lower Slaughter. The handsome sandstone manor houses and churches recall a stately era of lords and ladies. It is pure pleasure to take a slow pedal through these quintessential English villages. After time here, you may shuttle to your next hotel in Moreton-on-Marsh, or enjoy a longer riding day through more beautiful countryside. This evening, share your discoveries with fellow travelers over dinner at the hotel.

Hotel: The Manor House Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 13 – 24 miles

Burford to Lower Slaughter: 13 miles
or
Burford to Moreton-in-Marsh: 24 miles

What to Expect: The route begins along the Windrush Valley, passing through the small hamlets of Little Barrington and Windrush. The day’s main hill climb leads up to Clapton-on-the-Hill. Then it’s a lovely downhill coast to Bourton-on-the-Water. Park your bikes and enjoy a stroll around this pretty town with its many bridges and shops. Continue along more rolling countryside into the scenic village of Lower Slaughter. The day’s longer option leads to the hamlets of Lower Swell and Upper Swell through pastures dotted with sheep.

After breakfast, set out into the magnificent hedge- and tree-lined country lanes of the North Cotswolds. Gentle hills surround you as you make your way to the small market town of Chipping Campden, home to the Cotswold Olympics and honey-hued limestone buildings. Browse its Market Hall and central High Street before continuing your reel to the American-inspired Hidcote Gardens, one of England’s most influential Arts and Crafts gardens. Its colorful and intricately designed outdoor “rooms” are full of surprises. After, you may ride or shuttle up to Broadway Tower, where lunch in a small café awaits. Lady Coventry of Worcester had this Gothic folly built at 1,204 feet above sea level strictly for her pleasure. Your lunchtime views take in 16 counties and stretch all the way to Wales on a clear day. Inspired by this beguiling canvas, you continue your ride through the lavender fields at Snowshill and to the village of Guiting Power. This tiny and very tidy village perched on the slopes above the Windrush Valley is owned by a charitable trust. Mostly, though, it is celebrated for its cream tea, renowned as the best in the Cotswolds. After sampling some, you may ride or shuttle back to the hotel.

This evening is free for you to explore Moreton-in-Marsh and try one of its restaurants.

Hotel: The Manor House Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today’s Ride Choice:
Cumulative Distance Range: 12 – 41 miles

Morning
Moreton-in-Marsh to Hidcote Gardens: 12 miles
Hidcote Gardens to Broadway Tower: 7 miles

Afternoon
Broadway Tower to Guiting Power: 9 miles
Guiting Power to Moreton-in-Marsh:13 miles

What to Expect: The first section of today’s ride is slightly undulating along lovely tree- and hedge-lined country lanes, passing through pretty hamlets. Stop in Chipping Campden to explore ancient High Street and the Market Hall. You pass over the railway line on the outskirts of Chipping Campden, then cycle uphill towards Hidcote Gardens. Park your bike by the entrance and enjoy a visit. You can shuttle or cycle to Broadway Tower for lunch; the ride is 5.5 miles with a long steady uphill climb. After lunch, the route leads through beautiful countryside down a long, steady hill to beautiful Guiting Power. From here, either shuttle or ride through undulating country lanes back to the hotel.

Shuttle this morning for about an hour and ten minutes through the stunning English countryside to the small village of Sopworth. From here, you cycle along the Fosse Way, a 2,000-year-old Roman route linking Exeter and Lincoln. Remarkable for ancient engineering, the road never veers more than six miles from a straight line for its full distance of 182 miles. You, however, will ride just a fraction of this historic pathway, eventually leaving it to follow a road into the heart of Bath, the elegant Georgian jewel of England. You approach the city via the 200-year old Kennet and Avon Canal, lined with beautifully painted narrow boats.

Rendezvous with your Trip Leaders at the Holburne Museum. You leave your bike here and walk the last half mile to the hotel. The rest of the day is free to enjoy lunch and the many sights of this beautiful city, including the unmissable Roman Baths, the Royal Crescent, the King’s Circus, Jane Austen’s House, and Bath Abbey. Bath also boasts many boutique shops and opportunities to join locals for English afternoon tea. Try one of the many local restaurants for dinner tonight.

Hotel: The Francis Hotel
Meals: Breakfast

Today’s Ride Choice:
Cumulative Distance Range: 19 miles

Morning
Sopworth to Bath: 19 miles

What to Expect: Today’s route is relatively flat, with just three short uphill sections and a long downhill to join the canal. Our route along the Fosse Way is very straight. Cycle along quiet lanes through beautiful countryside, a bit less sedate in feel to the northern Cotswolds but nonetheless beautiful. Upon reaching the canal, you follow a car-free towpath of compact gravel. Pass through one of the canal tunnels before arriving at the Holburne Museum. In keeping with local etiquette, please walk your bike through Sydney Gardens to the museum.

Shuttle 40 minutes to the small village of Sherston, an ancient Roman settlement. The morning’s ride again follows the Fosse Way, passing charming hamlets such as Yatton Keynell, which is surrounded by tranquil conservation area, and Biddestone, situated within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. As you ride, the Cotswold Hills and Mendip Hills mark your progress and lead you to the old wool town of Bradford-on-Avon in the Avon Valley. At the river, follow again the Kennet and Avon Canal through the valley and rejoin the section from yesterday to the Holburne Museum in Bath.

Those who prefer a shorter ride today can begin riding in Neston instead, following the same route into Bath.

This afternoon there’ll be free time to continue your exploration of Bath or just to relax and reflect on your week. This evening, recount your memorable journey over a festive farewell dinner.

Hotel: The Francis Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choice:
Cumulative Distance Range: 17 – 30 miles

Morning
Neston to Bath: 17 miles
or
Sherston to Bath: 30 miles

What to Expect: This undulating route has two hills (one if you start at Neston) and traverses pretty southern Cotswolds countryside on quiet lanes. The final 9 miles follow the car-free towpath of compact gravel on the Kennet and Avon Canal. Sections of the towpath are single file. Enjoy the tranquility of this scenic region on your final cycling day. Again, please follow local etiquette and walk your bike through Sydney Gardens to the museum.

After breakfast, check out of the hotel, say goodbye to your Trip Leaders, and transfer approximately 50 minutes to Bristol. Please note that hotel check-in time is 3:00 p.m. You may leave your bags with reception while you explore.

Bristol is steeped in English and world history. John Cabot set sail from here in 1497 and discovered the Canadian province of Newfoundland. Despite its inland harbor location, Bristol was one of the world’s greatest ports in the 17th and 18th centuries.

When trade declined, the burgeoning city became noted for its engineering prowess. It was soon synonymous with its famous engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, a titan of the Industrial Revolution. The city is a living history of his accomplishments. He designed the magnificent Temple Meads Railway Station and the steamship, SS Great Britain, the first iron hulled screw-propelled steamship to cross the Atlantic. His Clifton Suspension Bridge is a symbol of the city.

Bristol today is modern, vibrant, and attractive, home to richly varied architecture. Fine old churches, elegant Georgian terraces and crescents (especially in the Clifton suburb), and imposing Victorian public buildings all grace its cityscape. Strap on your walking shoes and stroll Gloucester Road, said to be Europe’s longest stretch of independent shops. Sample a buffet of international cuisine at the St. Nicholas Market. And perhaps grab a pint at a pub along the city’s shop-lined Floating Harbor. One of the best ways to take it all in is via the Open Top sightseeing bus.

Hotel: Hotel du Vin, Bristol
Meals: Breakfast

Early this morning*, transfer to London Heathrow Airport for your departing flight. Please ensure you are ready in the hotel reception area at the designated transfer time**.

*Please note: For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk to verify the times that breakfast is served.

**Please note: VBT recommends that you check your transfer time in your “Transfer Reminder.” VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.

Meals: Breakfast

Sun, May 17 to Sat, May 23 - 2020

Show Itinerary:

Meet your fellow travelers and VBT Trip Leaders at 1:00 p.m. in the lobby of the Oxford Hotel (73 High Street, Oxford OX1 4BE, Tel +44 1865 248 332). You will have a chance to change into your biking gear in the hotel’s public restrooms. Please note: Plan to eat lunch or a snack on your own beforehand, as the next scheduled meal is dinner.

If your arrival is delayed, please contact our hotel in Oxford to advise staff and they will pass your message along to your VBT Trip Leaders. In the event of delays, also please see page 3 of “For Travel-Related Emergencies.” VBT highly recommends flying to England at least one day before the tour begins. This allows you to rest and recover from jet lag before you begin sightseeing and biking.

Tonight, enjoy a welcome dinner in the hotel’s restaurant.

Hotel: The Lamb Inn
Meals: Breakfast (included for Air Package guests only), Dinner

Today’s Ride Choice:
Cumulative Distance Range: 14 miles

Afternoon
Aston Pottery to Burford: 14 miles

What to Expect: Cycle along mainly flat quiet country lanes, with a gradual incline into Burford.

Cycle the breathtaking Windrush Valley today, crossing the river and traversing the rolling hills of the Cotswolds. Ride through the sylvan Wychwood Forest to the village of Leafield and the charming market town of Charlbury. The centerpiece of the day is your visit to Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill and a UNESCO World Heritage site. We have arranged special permission for you to enter the beautifully manicured grounds through the back gate and cycle through the 2,000-acre estate, laid out by one of England’s—and history’s—great landscape designers, Capability Brown. All pathways lead to the resplendent palace, where you have free time for lunch and an included visit of the state rooms and the Churchill exhibition. You may also enjoy a leisurely stroll around the grounds. After a rewarding visit, ride or shuttle back to Burford. Those who join the shuttle will stop at the wonderful Swan at Swinbrook pub.

Dinner is on your own tonight. Burford has several options for a fine meal.

Hotel: The Lamb Inn
Meals: Breakfast

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 10 – 37 miles

Morning
Burford to Charlbury:10 miles
or
Burford to Blenheim Palace:18 miles

Afternoon
Blenheim Palace to Burford: 19 miles

What to Expect: Today’s route is more undulating than yesterday’s but again follows quiet country lanes. As you cycle the picturesque Windrush Valley, enjoy views of dry-stone walls, pastures, and agricultural fields along the roadside. Pass the great woodlands of Wychwood Forest before coasting into the small market town of Charlbury. Then continue to the back gate of Blenheim Palace and enjoy the unique privilege of riding through the park, passing the Column of Victory and crossing the beautiful Vanbrugh’s Grand Bridge. The afternoon route departs Blenheim through the back gate and traces lovely country lanes to the thatched cottage village of Minster Lovell. Continue along the Windrush Valley back into Burford.

More of the stunning Windrush Valley unfolds before you today, a picture-perfect canvas of the Cotswolds. By day’s end, you will understand why our Trip Leaders call this peaceful region “happy valley.” The Windrush was named for the way its namesake river winds through the rushes, or the tall grasses along the waterway’s banks. Enjoy a reel through the historic Sherborne Estate, part of England’s only remaining 17th-century deer course, created for sport by one John “Crump” Dutton. Your route continues to one of the the Cotswolds’ treasures: Bourton-on-the-Water. This quaint village is sometimes called the “Venice of the Cotswolds” for the graceful arched stone bridges that cross the River Windrush in town. There’ll be time to explore its many charms and have lunch on your own. Later, cycle to “The Slaughters”—Upper Slaughter and Lower Slaughter. The handsome sandstone manor houses and churches recall a stately era of lords and ladies. It is pure pleasure to take a slow pedal through these quintessential English villages. After time here, you may shuttle to your next hotel in Moreton-on-Marsh, or enjoy a longer riding day through more beautiful countryside. This evening, share your discoveries with fellow travelers over dinner at the hotel.

Hotel: The Manor House Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 13 – 24 miles

Burford to Lower Slaughter: 13 miles
or
Burford to Moreton-in-Marsh: 24 miles

What to Expect: The route begins along the Windrush Valley, passing through the small hamlets of Little Barrington and Windrush. The day’s main hill climb leads up to Clapton-on-the-Hill. Then it’s a lovely downhill coast to Bourton-on-the-Water. Park your bikes and enjoy a stroll around this pretty town with its many bridges and shops. Continue along more rolling countryside into the scenic village of Lower Slaughter. The day’s longer option leads to the hamlets of Lower Swell and Upper Swell through pastures dotted with sheep.

After breakfast, set out into the magnificent hedge- and tree-lined country lanes of the North Cotswolds. Gentle hills surround you as you make your way to the small market town of Chipping Campden, home to the Cotswold Olympics and honey-hued limestone buildings. Browse its Market Hall and central High Street before continuing your reel to the American-inspired Hidcote Gardens, one of England’s most influential Arts and Crafts gardens. Its colorful and intricately designed outdoor “rooms” are full of surprises. After, you may ride or shuttle up to Broadway Tower, where lunch in a small café awaits. Lady Coventry of Worcester had this Gothic folly built at 1,204 feet above sea level strictly for her pleasure. Your lunchtime views take in 16 counties and stretch all the way to Wales on a clear day. Inspired by this beguiling canvas, you continue your ride through the lavender fields at Snowshill and to the village of Guiting Power. This tiny and very tidy village perched on the slopes above the Windrush Valley is owned by a charitable trust. Mostly, though, it is celebrated for its cream tea, renowned as the best in the Cotswolds. After sampling some, you may ride or shuttle back to the hotel.

This evening is free for you to explore Moreton-in-Marsh and try one of its restaurants.

Hotel: The Manor House Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today’s Ride Choice:
Cumulative Distance Range: 12 – 41 miles

Morning
Moreton-in-Marsh to Hidcote Gardens: 12 miles
Hidcote Gardens to Broadway Tower: 7 miles

Afternoon
Broadway Tower to Guiting Power: 9 miles
Guiting Power to Moreton-in-Marsh:13 miles

What to Expect: The first section of today’s ride is slightly undulating along lovely tree- and hedge-lined country lanes, passing through pretty hamlets. Stop in Chipping Campden to explore ancient High Street and the Market Hall. You pass over the railway line on the outskirts of Chipping Campden, then cycle uphill towards Hidcote Gardens. Park your bike by the entrance and enjoy a visit. You can shuttle or cycle to Broadway Tower for lunch; the ride is 5.5 miles with a long steady uphill climb. After lunch, the route leads through beautiful countryside down a long, steady hill to beautiful Guiting Power. From here, either shuttle or ride through undulating country lanes back to the hotel.

Shuttle this morning for about an hour and ten minutes through the stunning English countryside to the small village of Sopworth. From here, you cycle along the Fosse Way, a 2,000-year-old Roman route linking Exeter and Lincoln. Remarkable for ancient engineering, the road never veers more than six miles from a straight line for its full distance of 182 miles. You, however, will ride just a fraction of this historic pathway, eventually leaving it to follow a road into the heart of Bath, the elegant Georgian jewel of England. You approach the city via the 200-year old Kennet and Avon Canal, lined with beautifully painted narrow boats.

Rendezvous with your Trip Leaders at the Holburne Museum. You leave your bike here and walk the last half mile to the hotel. The rest of the day is free to enjoy lunch and the many sights of this beautiful city, including the unmissable Roman Baths, the Royal Crescent, the King’s Circus, Jane Austen’s House, and Bath Abbey. Bath also boasts many boutique shops and opportunities to join locals for English afternoon tea. Try one of the many local restaurants for dinner tonight.

Hotel: The Francis Hotel
Meals: Breakfast

Today’s Ride Choice:
Cumulative Distance Range: 19 miles

Morning
Sopworth to Bath: 19 miles

What to Expect: Today’s route is relatively flat, with just three short uphill sections and a long downhill to join the canal. Our route along the Fosse Way is very straight. Cycle along quiet lanes through beautiful countryside, a bit less sedate in feel to the northern Cotswolds but nonetheless beautiful. Upon reaching the canal, you follow a car-free towpath of compact gravel. Pass through one of the canal tunnels before arriving at the Holburne Museum. In keeping with local etiquette, please walk your bike through Sydney Gardens to the museum.

Shuttle 40 minutes to the small village of Sherston, an ancient Roman settlement. The morning’s ride again follows the Fosse Way, passing charming hamlets such as Yatton Keynell, which is surrounded by tranquil conservation area, and Biddestone, situated within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. As you ride, the Cotswold Hills and Mendip Hills mark your progress and lead you to the old wool town of Bradford-on-Avon in the Avon Valley. At the river, follow again the Kennet and Avon Canal through the valley and rejoin the section from yesterday to the Holburne Museum in Bath.

Those who prefer a shorter ride today can begin riding in Neston instead, following the same route into Bath.

This afternoon there’ll be free time to continue your exploration of Bath or just to relax and reflect on your week. This evening, recount your memorable journey over a festive farewell dinner.

Hotel: The Francis Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choice:
Cumulative Distance Range: 17 – 30 miles

Morning
Neston to Bath: 17 miles
or
Sherston to Bath: 30 miles

What to Expect: This undulating route has two hills (one if you start at Neston) and traverses pretty southern Cotswolds countryside on quiet lanes. The final 9 miles follow the car-free towpath of compact gravel on the Kennet and Avon Canal. Sections of the towpath are single file. Enjoy the tranquility of this scenic region on your final cycling day. Again, please follow local etiquette and walk your bike through Sydney Gardens to the museum.

Your tour ends after breakfast today. The hotel will help arrange a taxi to the train station, where you can catch service to Paddington Station in London.

Hotel: Hotel du Vin, Bristol
Meals: Breakfast

Enjoy Your Vacation Longer With Low-Cost Trip Extensions

Airplane

Air Package Only

Pre-Trip Extension - Henley on Thames

2 Nights From $495 per person, double occupancy

  • 2 nights at the Hotel du Vin, Henley-on-Thames
  • Daily English breakfast
  • City Information
  • Airport transfers

Depart home for England. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

Upon arrival at London Heathrow Airport, England claim your luggage and clear customs. If your luggage is lost, fill out a PIR form before leaving the customs area—VBT representatives are not allowed in the customs area. Make certain your VBT luggage tags are affixed to your bag so your VBT representative can identify you as you enter the arrival hall. Your VBT representative will be in the arrivals area one hour after the flight has landed. If you exit customs earlier, please remain in the arrivals area. Your VBT representative will be holding a VBT sign and will help arrange a taxi for your transfer (approximately 1 hour) to your centrally located hotel in Henley-on-Thames.

If you are going to be delayed for more than 15 minutes at the Lost & Found desk due to delayed or lost luggage, please let our transfer company know by calling Airport Pickups London +44 20 8688 7744 (for a fee). You may also contact our One Call travel assistance to advise of your delay, and they will contact our transfer service on your behalf.

The rest of the day is free to explore the charms of Henley-on-Thames and dine on your own, using your VBT City Information as your guide.

Please note: Your hotel room may not be available until 3:00 p.m. If you arrive early, you may store your luggage with the reception desk.

VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you fly in before the scheduled program dates, transportation from the airport will be at your own expense.

Hotel: Hotel du Vin, Henley-on-Thames

Today, explore Henley-on-Thames, a 13th-century civil parish and one of the most beautiful towns in England. Spread along a scenic stretch of the River Thames, Henley lies within the embrace of a beautiful Chiltern landscape of wooded hills and green fields. Just a few strides from the riverbank is the very heart of Henley with its historic church, town hall, and market square. You have ample time during your stay to take it all in and to browse the many boutiques.

Known the world over for its famous annual Royal Regatta, Henley attracts some of the world´s finest rowers. Learn more about the town’s sporting heritage at the award-winning River and Rowing Museum, ceremoniously opened by Queen Elizabeth II herself in 1998. Stroll along the beautiful Thames path national trail as boats and swans drift along the calm waters. Many buildings will seem familiar to fans of the TV series Midsomer Murders. Your hotel can help you arrange a location tour of some iconic filming locations. Henley-on-Thames offers lovely pubs, numerous cafés, and great restaurants to keep you refreshed.

Hotel: Hotel du Vin, Henley-on-Thames
Meals: Breakfast

Check out of your hotel, meet your driver in the hotel reception area at 10:00 a.m., and shuttle to Oxford (about 45 minutes). After checking into your Oxford hotel, the remainder of the day is free.

Please note: Your hotel room may not be available until 2:00 p.m. If you arrive early in the day, you may store your luggage with the reception desk.

Oxford’s famed university is the oldest in the English-speaking world. The core of the campus is just a few blocks from your hotel, making exploration a breeze. Wander the network of cobbled lanes lined with noble buildings spanning some 800 years. Ascend St. Martin’s Tower, also called “Carfax Tower,” for sweeping views of the city’s rooftops and soaring spires. Browse the stalls of the historic Covered Market, open since 1774, and follow pedestrian-friendly streets to the iconic Bodleian Library, or “Bodley” to students and locals. One of the oldest libraries in Europe, it is the main research library of the University of Oxford (closed on Sundays).

Tonight, stop in for a pint at one of the many pubs and chic restaurants, all within walking distance of your centrally located hotel.

VBT Air Package guests will arrive throughout the day.

Hotel: Mercure Oxford Eastgate Hotel
Meals: Breakfast

Airplane

Air Package Only

Post-Trip Extension - Cheltenham

2 Nights From $595 per person, double occupancy

  • 2 nights at the Hotel du Vin, Cheltenham
  • Daily English breakfast
  • City Information
  • Airport transfers

After a relaxing breakfast, join the VBT transfer at 10:00 a.m. for the drive to Cheltenham (approximately 1 hour). Please note that hotel check-in time is 3:00 p.m. You may leave your bags with reception while you explore. VBT provides you with City Information that includes recommendations.

Situated at the Cotswolds’ edge, Cheltenham is beloved by locals and visitors as an inland spa resort. Its handsome Regency architecture, broad avenues, and fine parks lend the city an elegant air that belies its humble beginnings as a modest market town. King George III traveled here in 1788 to treat his infirmities, setting into motion a building boom of Regency houses and a rush of nobility eager to take the curative waters. Thus, “Cheltenham Spa” was born and today it remains one of the most fashionable health resorts in the country.

There are several sites where you can take the medicinal waters during your stay. The classical, colonnaded Pittville Pump Room, with its aqua-green dome rising above the lakes of Pittville Park, draws visitors who have a taste for history. It was the last of the spa buildings built in Cheltenham—and the largest. You can still drink from its original pump, which draws England’s only natural alkaline water from the springs below.

To take in the refined ambiance of Cheltenham, stroll the Promenade, lined with fine Regency terraces and the Neptune Fountain. In the posh Montpellier district, browse small boutiques and stop by one of many wine bars and restaurants. English composer Gustav Holst was born here; his childhood home is the Holst Birthplace Museum where you can see the piano on which he composed The Planets. The musician is immortalized atop a beautiful fountain in the Montpellier Gardens.

Tonight, stop in for a pint at one of the many pubs and chic restaurants, all within walking distance of your centrally located hotel.

Hotel: Hotel du Vin, Cheltenham
Meals: Breakfast

You may wish to venture a little further afield today. Perhaps enjoy a nostalgic train journey on the volunteer-operated Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway. The 28-mile round-trip operates steam and heritage diesel trains between Cheltenham Racecourse and Broadway through some of the most spectacular scenery in the Cotswolds. Just sit back and relax as you take in lovely views of sleepy hamlets and villages and enjoy outstanding vistas of the Malvern Hills and beyond.

Hotel: Hotel du Vin, Cheltenham
Meals: Breakfast

Early this morning*, transfer to London Heathrow Airport for your departing flight**. Please ensure you are ready in the hotel reception area at the designated transfer time.

*Please note: For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk to verify the times that breakfast is served.

**Please note: VBT recommends that you check your transfer time in your “Transfer Reminder.” VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.

Meals: Breakfast

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Dates & Prices

Bike Vacation + Air Package

10 days, includes round-trip international airfare, airport shuttle, and additional hotel nights with included breakfast.

Single Supplement: $895

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