tours/riding in the British Isles

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Anonymous's picture

We have a conference in Edinburgh in early July and want to ride for a week afterward. I'm thinking Wales, but we could do Ireland or Scotland as well. Any advice or experience with best places to ride or companies to work with? Thanks.

Anonymous's picture
Carol (not verified)

"ExperiencePlus has a tour of Ireland that has gotten high marks from participants. Don't know the dates they run the tour, but you can look it up on their website. ExperiencPlus."

Anonymous's picture
Steve (not verified)
Lots of good places

"If you can stomach the weather there are lots of good places to ride in the UK. It's more a question of deciding where you want to visit. I grew up in South Wales and I'd certainly suggest Mid Wales as a good area to ride (you can ride up from Cardiff through the grime of the valleys within a day and be up to Brecon and head North from there). Would be my pick but I'm biased.

It all depends what you want. If you want hills then Mid Wales is good and the Lake District / Peak District would be good (though potentially busier roads in summer). If you want more traditional English villages and rolling hills then heading from Heathrow out through the Chilterns, through Oxford and into the Cotswolds would be good also. We used to live in the Chilterns and any route that goes up through Amersham, Princes Risborough, Oxford and then over towards Cheltenham, not on the main roads, would be pleasant and very English.

Cornwall is always horrifically busy on the roads in the summer so I'd stay clear personally. Scotland is beautiful but the distances are big with little variation.

There is a range of books with rides by area, but I'm struggling to find them.

The UK is pretty easy so you don't need to go with a tour company, unless you want to.

There's plenty of books to check out.


Anonymous's picture
Cat (not verified)
the best cycling!

Hi Colleen,

I've done a lot of self-supported cycling in Britain, and stayed in hostels and pubs for several enjoyable and inexpensive holidays.

last summer i did a tour from the south to north of Wales, which was very beautiful and went through two mountain ranges. I also took in the Brecon Jazz Festival en route! The year before i did the C2C (Coast to Coast) route from Whitehaven to Newcastle. I would recommend this if you are going to be in Edinburgh anyway. There is also wonderful riding to be done along the coast between Newcastle and Berwick (within a couple of days' riding of Edinburgh), and along the lovely and un-touristy Scottish Borders. I had no trouble finding places to stay, and of course you can book lodging in advance and remove all elements of doubt.

England and Wales have a tremendous resource in their Sustainable Transportation organization Sustrans. You should find them easily on the web. They have guidebooks and maps for sale, and have marked a huge network of trails, many of them completely out of traffic. If you have any other questions feel free to contact me, but Sustrans is your one-stop resource.

I would also recommend you eat ONLY in pubs and Indian restaurants. Best food for your money, hands down.


Anonymous's picture
Anthony Poole (not verified)
I can vouch for all of the above!

As an Englishman in New York, I can vouch for all of what the previous contributors have written. The only thing I would add to Cat's note about eating is that fish and chip shops are also pretty good value too.

Seeing as you are in Edinburgh, I would head north, inland on a route that will take you into the highlands and up to Aviemore - a ski resort during the inter, but quiet during the summer. I would then continue on through Invenress and all the way up to John O'Goats, where you can look across the Pentland Firth to Orkney. During the summer, you will be able to get a ferry from John O'Groats across to Orkney. Depending on time and the amount of miles you want to do, you can head west along the north coast of Scotland to Wrath and come back down the west coast and pick up a train in somewhere like Oban.

The route from Edinburgh north will take you past some famous malt whisky distilleries, including the famous Glenmorangie. And you will see some varied terrain, with plenty of rollers. The climb to Aviemore is long and gentle.

In July, you will be close to the summer equinox and the sun won't set much before 11pm and will rise at around 3:45AM. And there is a chance you will get less rain on the east coast.

I can look up some routes for you and post back on here in a day or two.

Whatever you decide to do, consider writing it up for the Bulletin and send pictures too.

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