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England: Oxford & the Cotswolds

If you’re looking for a self-guided biking tour of England’s charming Cotswolds region, this unique VBT tour is the best (and only!) game in town. From the moment you meet your English VBT local host, you’ll experience the confidence of 24/7 support with plenty of room to design your own pace of discovery. With our deep British roots, we’ve already done the research for you—finding top hotels and scenic cycling routes that showcase the charm of England’s quaint villages. VBT’s detailed route notes guide you towards the splendor of Blenheim Palace and show you how to tread in the footsteps of the Bard in Stratford-Upon-Avon—all while discovering top restaurants, adorable shops, and authentic local pubs along the way. Your well-maintained, fitted VBT bike—with puncture-resistance tires—ensures your adventure is comfortable, fun, and worry-free. 

Tour Highlights

  • Cycle the rural country lanes of the Cotswolds into cottage-lined villages that have not changed for centuries.
  • Indulge in traditional and modern English fare—full English breakfasts, afternoon teas, pub lunches, and farm-to-fork dining.
  • Pedal past filming locations of numerous television series such as Downton Abbey, Endeavour, and Inspector Morse.

Positive Impact

The Cotswolds is the largest recognized Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England. These countryside areas are a family of protected natural parks and landscapes designated for conservation. The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty works toward upkeeping the Cotswold Way National Trail, creating wildflower-rich Grasslands, and leading tree planting and biodiversity enhancement projects.  VBT is delighted to support the effort to keep this area well-preserved on behalf of every guest on tour. Each donation goes toward ensuring that the Cotswolds’ stunning qualities will be enjoyed by visitors for centuries to come.

What to Expect

The England self-guided biking tour is rated easy to moderate. It offers a combination of easy terrain and moderate hills and is ideal for beginning and experienced cyclists. Rides are on designated bike routes that are quiet country roads with a small percentage of the total on dedicated bike paths. The traffic will be somewhat busier when entering and exiting larger towns. Routes on the England self-guided biking tour follow flat river valleys and then ascend to rolling hills. Please verify your bike selection for this tour as it is not always possible to change bikes once you arrive on tour. Travel with your friends and family—we can accommodate multiple guests on this self-guided vacation. Our 24/7 support system is available as needed.

  • Daily Mileage: 12-27 miles|
  • Biking: 2-4 hours|
Activity Easy/Moderate
Easy/Moderate
Bar Graph Beginner - Experienced
Cyclists
24/7 Support System 24/7 Support
System

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

Air Package

Tour Only

Roundtrip international airfare

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Detailed information for your independent travel to/from arrival and departure airports

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One night in Moreton-in-Marsh and Oxford in conveniently located hotels with daily breakfast

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4 nights in charming in-town hotels

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4 meals: 4 breakfasts

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Puncture-protected Tires

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2024

Electric-Assisted Bicycle (E-bike)

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Road Bicycle (Carbon frame)

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Step-Through (Mixte Hybrid) Comfort Bicycle

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Step-Over (Diamond) Comfort Bicycle

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Self-Guided Biking Packages Include:

Custom VBT bike with puncture-protected tires

Welcome orientation and bike fitting

Luggage transportation

Ride with GPS and daily route notes

VBT Road Book with destination information

24/7 emergency support from local host

Helmet, bike bag, and tool kit

Your choice of VBT branded gear for your adventure

Itinerary

Fri, Jul 26 to Fri, Aug 2, 2024

Show Itinerary:

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

Arrive at London Heathrow and travel to Moreton-in-Marsh.

Upon arrival at the London Airport, make your own travel arrangements to Moreton-in-Marsh. For details, refer to your VBT Vacation Preparation Handbook.

Meet your VBT Local host at 11:00 a.m. and any other VBT guests arriving on the same day for your Welcome Orientation in your hotel lobby. Please be dressed and ready for cycling. Your Local host will be carrying a VBT sign.

Set out on your England self-guided biking tour into the bucolic landscape of the Cotswolds! Take your time and enjoy these vistas, the essence of rural England. Stop to explore a National Trust House, the Chastleton House, with over 400 years of history. Continue your England self-guided biking tour on more lovely roads to Daylesford, where an organic farm shop and café might tempt you into another break.

You will settle in here for two nights. There are ample dining options for an evening on your own, either in town or at your hotel. If you plan to dine at the hotel’s fine-dining establishment, making reservations upon your arrival is highly recommended.

Today's Ride Choices

Moreton-in-Marsh Loop — 18.9 miles

What to Expect:

Ride out of Moreton-in-Marsh with a possible stop at the Red Line in Little Compton (at 7 mi) and continue with a suggested stop at the Chastleton Trust House (at 8 mi). Continue to Daylesford, suggested later lunch stop at Daylesford Farm Shop (at 12.5 mi). Loop back to Moreton-in-Marsh. Descend gently into the center of the town of Moreton-in-Marsh.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Today is a Stay Put Day brimming with possibilities. The route on your England self-guided biking tour leads you to some of the most charming roads and bike paths in the North Cotswolds. Begin with a scenic spin to the historic wool market town of Chipping Campden, home to the quirky “Cotswold Olimpicks,” an annual celebration of sport and mirth that features competitions such as tug of war, shin-kicking, and piano smashing. The hamlet is also celebrated for its Market Hall, built in 1627, its honey-hued limestone buildings, and its long tradition of arts and crafts. You’ll ride through Broad Campden, known for its topiaries filled with thatched cottages.

Then, continue to the village of Hidcote Bartrim and the landscaped Hidcote Gardens. Its series of outdoor “rooms” were designed by American horticulturalist Major Lawrence Johnston in the early 20th century and its pathways are lined with topiary, stone walls, and hornbeam. En route back to the hotel, it is worth stopping at the delightful Ebrington Arms, voted English Pub of the Year in 2018.

Today's Ride Choices

Moreton-in-Marsh to Hidcote Gardens Loop — 18.6 miles

What to Expect:

We suggest an early start in order to enjoy all day has to offer. Departing Moreton-in-Marsh, you will immediately cycle into a countryside of rolling pastures, copses, and charming villages. After ascending to Hidcote Gardens make your return trip through Ebrington, continuing your England self-guided biking tour to Aston Magna where you rejoin the morning route and make a final descent from Batsford to Moreton-in-Marsh.

Included Meals: Breakfast

You will depart Moreton-in-Marsh riding to Lower Slaughter with an old mill and river, and into the beguiling village of Bourton-on-the-Water. Known as the “Venice of the Cotswolds,” this pretty town spreads over a wide, flat vale and is graced by the River Windrush and its five quaint stone bridges, the oldest one dating back to 1654.

From there, you will ride an uphill route from Bourton-on-the-Water before coasting down into the Windrush Valley, known locally as “happy valley.” Your England self-guided biking tour traverses the grounds of Sherborne Estate, England’s only remaining 17th-century deer course and grandstand (where live deer were used as “incentives” for dog races) and leads to Burford. This former wool town boasts a medieval bridge and old stone houses with Tudor and Georgian facades. After settling in to your hotel, you’ll find options for dinner in town or at your inn. If you plan to dine at the hotel’s fine-dining establishment, reservations are highly recommended upon arrival.

Today's Ride Choices

Moreton-in-Marsh to Burford — 24 miles

What to Expect:

You depart Moreton-in-Marsh along High Street and are soon cycling little-trafficked country roads past pastureland and into one pretty village after another. A gradual descent leads into Bourton-on-the-Water, a good stopping point for a late lunch or snack. Your afternoon ride has one significant hill followed by an easy descent into Burford.

Included Meals: Breakfast

You will depart Burford on slightly rolling terrain to Bibury. This utterly charming village is best known for its Arlington Row, a cluster of slate-roofed stone cottages and gardens that have become a national symbol of England. This picturesque little district is so enchanting that Henry Ford had the audacious idea to ship the village in its entirety to the United States! From Bibury, your England self-guided biking tour will take you through other villages and hamlets, seemingly untouched by modern development.

Dinner options are available at the hotel or in town.

Today's Ride Choices

Burford to Bibury Loop — 26.8 miles

What to Expect:

Ride quiet rolling and bucolic rural terrain. Ride back along the Windrush Valley to Northleach, and head down Bibury (at 15.8 miles). Suggested lunch stop in Bibury at The Trout Farm and then return back to Burford.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Today is your last day cycling! Enjoy today’s route from Burford to Bampton. Your guide will be at your hotel at 8:30 am to meet you, collect your luggage, and confirm your last day’s itinerary. Your cycle route to Bampton is relatively flat while meandering through Cotswold villages. Your Local host will assist you with collecting your equipment, meeting you in the Market Square, and shuttling you direct to your Oxford hotel.

Aside from London, Oxford is undoubtedly England’s most recognizable city, famous the world over for its prestigious university, the oldest in the English-speaking world. Wander the network of cobbled lanes lined with noble buildings, some over 800 years old. Ascend St. Martin’s Tower, also called “CarfaxTower,” for sweeping views of the city’s rooftops and soaring spires. Visit some of the college buildings, such as Christ Church College where you’ll find the Tudor dining hall which provided inspiration for the Great Hall at Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films. A tour of Oxford’s castle will open the door to stories dating back 1,000 years. For a taste of more recent history, browse the stalls of the historic Covered Market, open since 1774.

Today's Ride Choices

Burford to Bampton — 12.6 miles

What to Expect:

Riding out of Burford, you start with a short ascent, but then have a generally rolling ride, mainly descending through pastures and small villages on narrow lanes, as the route flattens out for about the last five miles to Bampton, where you ride past Saint Mary’s church, the filming location for “the church scenes” in Downton Abbey.

Included Meals: Breakfast

After an included breakfast this morning, allow yourself a minimum of five hours prior to your flight departure to get to London Heathrow Airport; for details, refer to your England self-guided biking tour VBT Vacation Preparation Handbook. This timeframe includes approximately two hours of travel and around three hours of recommended pre-flight check-in time.

Included Meals: Breakfast

England: Oxford & the Cotswolds

Download PDF Itinerary:

Air Package (PDF) Tour Only (PDF)

Sun, Jul 28 to Thu, Aug 1, 2024

Show Itinerary:

We suggest arriving in England at least one day prior to the tour start date since your tour begins at 11:00 a.m. You will need to make your own travel arrangements to Moreton-in-Marsh. For details, refer to your VBT Vacation Preparation Handbook.

Meet your VBT Local host at 11:00 a.m., along with any other VBT guests arriving on the same day, for your Welcome Orientation in the lobby of the Redesdale Arms Hotel (High Street, +44 1608 650 308). Please be dressed and ready for cycling. Your Local host will be carrying a VBT sign.

Set out on your England self-guided biking tour into the bucolic landscape of the Cotswolds! Take your time and enjoy these vistas, the essence of rural England. Stop to explore a National Trust House, the Chastleton House, with over 400 years of history to see. Continue your England self-guided biking tour on more lovely roads to Daylesford, where an organic farm shop and café might tempt you into another break.

You will settle in the town of Moreton-in-Marsh in the North Cotswolds for two nights. There are ample dinner options for an evening on your own, either in town or at your hotel. If you plan to dine at the hotel’s fine-dining establishment, making reservations upon your arrival is highly recommended.

Today's Ride Choices

Moreton-in-Marsh Loop — 18.9 miles

What to Expect:

Ride out of Moreton-in-Marsh with a possible stop at the Red Line in Little Compton (at 7 miles) and continue with a suggested stop at the Chastleton Trust House (at 8 miles). Continue to Daylesford, for perhaps a later lunch stop at Daylesford Farm Shop (at 12.5 miles). You loop back and then descend gently into the center of the town of Moreton-in-Marsh.

Today is a Stay Put Day brimming with possibilities. The route on your England self-guided biking tour leads you to some of the most charming roads and bike paths in the North Cotswolds. Begin with a scenic spin to the historic wool market town of Chipping Campden, home to the quirky “Cotswold Olimpicks,” an annual celebration of sport and mirth that features competitions such as tug of war, shin-kicking, and piano smashing. The hamlet is also celebrated for its Market Hall, built in 1627, its honey-hued limestone buildings, and its long tradition of arts and crafts. You’ll ride through Broad Campden, known for its topiaries filled with thatched cottages.

Then, continue to the village of Hidcote Bartrim and the landscaped Hidcote Gardens. Its series of outdoor “rooms” were designed by American horticulturalist Major Lawrence Johnston in the early 20th century and its pathways are lined with topiary, stone walls, and hornbeam. En route back to the hotel, it is worth stopping at the delightful Ebrington Arms, voted English Pub of the Year in 2018.

Today's Ride Choices

Moreton-in-Marsh to Hidcote Gardens Loop — 18.6 miles

What to Expect:

We suggest an early start in order to enjoy all day has to offer. Departing Moreton-in-Marsh, you will immediately cycle into a countryside of rolling pastures, copses, and charming villages. After ascending to Hidcote Gardens make your return trip through Ebrington, continuing your England self-guided biking tour to Aston Magna where you rejoin the morning route and make a final descent from Batsford to Moreton-in-Marsh.

Included Meals: Breakfast

You will depart Moreton-in-Marsh riding to Lower Slaughter with an old mill and river, and into the beguiling village of Bourton-on-the-Water. Known as the “Venice of the Cotswolds,” this pretty town spreads over a wide, flat vale and is graced by the River Windrush and its five quaint stone bridges, the oldest one dating back to 1654.

From there, you will ride an uphill route from Bourton-on-the-Water before coasting down into the Windrush Valley, known locally as “happy valley.” Your England self-guided biking tour traverses the grounds of Sherborne Estate, England’s only remaining 17th-century deer course and grandstand (where live deer were used as “incentives” for dog races) and leads to Burford. This former wool town boasts a medieval bridge and old stone houses with Tudor and Georgian facades. After settling in to your hotel, you’ll find options for dinner in town or at your inn. If you plan to dine at the hotel’s fine-dining establishment, reservations are highly recommended upon arrival.

Today's Ride Choices

Moreton-in-Marsh to Burford — 24 miles

What to Expect:

You depart Moreton-in-Marsh along High Street and are soon cycling little-trafficked country roads past pastureland and into one pretty village after another. A gradual descent leads into Bourton-on-the-Water, a good stopping point for a late lunch or snack. Your afternoon ride has one significant hill followed by an easy descent into Burford.

Included Meals: Breakfast

You will depart Burford on slightly rolling terrain to Bibury. This utterly charming village is best known for its Arlington Row, a cluster of slate-roofed stone cottages and gardens that have become a national symbol of England. This picturesque little district is so enchanting that Henry Ford had the audacious idea to ship the village in its entirety to the United States! From Bibury, your England self-guided biking tour will take you through other villages and hamlets, seemingly untouched by modern development.

Dinner options are available at the hotel or in town.

Today's Ride Choices

Burford to Bibury Loop — 26.8 miles

What to Expect:

Ride quiet rolling and bucolic rural terrain. Ride back along the Windrush Valley to Northleach, and head down Bibury (at 15.8 miles). Suggested lunch stop in Bibury at The Trout Farm and then return back to Burford.

Included Meals: Breakfast

The final ride of your tour descends from Buford as you approach the Thames Valley with your end destination being in the south of the Cotswolds in Bampton. With many scenes of Downton Abbey being filmed here. Shuttle provided to the voco Oxford Spires Hotel.

Aside from London, Oxford is undoubtedly England’s most recognizable city, famous the world over for its prestigious university, the oldest in the English-speaking world. Wander the network of cobbled lanes lined with noble buildings, some over 800 years old. Ascend St. Martin’s Tower, also called “CarfaxTower,” for sweeping views of the city’s rooftops and soaring spires. Visit some of the college buildings, such as Christ Church College where you’ll find the Tudor dining hall which provided inspiration for the Great Hall at Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films. A tour of Oxford’s castle will open the door to stories dating back 1,000 years. For a taste of more recent history, browse the stalls of the historic Covered Market, open since 1774.

Refer to your England self-guided biking tour VBT Vacation Preparation Handbook for departure details. Depending upon your destination, it may not be possible to depart for the U.S. on the last day of the tour. Please check airline schedules carefully. If you plan to schedule return flights immediately following the tour’s conclusion, please call your airline directly for specific check-in requirements.

Today's Ride Choices

Burford to Bampton — 12.6 miles

What to Expect:

Riding out of Burford, you start with a short ascent, but then have a generally rolling ride, mainly descending through pastures and small villages on narrow lanes, as the route flattens out for about the last five miles to Bampton, where you ride past Saint Mary’s church, the filming location for “the church scenes” in Downton Abbey.

Included Meals: Breakfast

England: Oxford & the Cotswolds

Download PDF Itinerary:

Air Package (PDF) Tour Only (PDF)

Accommodations (Please Note: Days are based on the Air Package Itinerary. Accommodations may vary depending on departure date. )

Reviews
3 out of 4 (75%)
3.7 out of 5 stars.
Read More Reviews

Self-Guided tour with my friend, it was amazing, Ride-with-GPS was perfect, did not get lost anywhere. Ride Inn to Inn, picturesque villages, stone houses, just like Downtown Abbey. Felt very safe every day, Pubs and food were delicious. We had no problem with our bikes, it was a perfect trip! Note there was no leaders on this Self-Guided tour but the VBT local host that set up our bikes and make sure our luggage was delivered at every Inn was great, very helpful and friendly.

Silvy, Vermont

Loved this trip!

We have been on many VBT group tours. We chose this May 2022 independent tour because of concerns for Covid exposure. We wore masks in crowds, are in non crowded restaurants, did take away for lunches and did not get Covid As for the tour VBT tour guide was awesome getting us off in Oxford. They also met us our first night on the tour and got us off for day 2. The ride was bucolic with many rolling and not so rolling hills. The suggested sites to see were perfect. The roads are VERY narrow with two way light traffic. Watch those curves as there will be oncoming traffic. We got 2 flats. Be sure to ask for 2 co2 carriages The hand air pump takes FOREVER. Book the Roman bath tour and Pump Room high tea in advance. We left Tetsbury at 8 am and we’re able to make a 12:30 time to see the Roman baths. Our only complaint was difficulty replacing the inner tubes and retrieving our bike pedals at the end of the tour. We got 3/4 pedals with one needing to be mailed to us.

pedirn, Boston Massachusetts

Independent Cotswold bike tour Oxford to Bath

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