Scotland & North of England Cycling Tour

At a Glance

Hit the trails with this fully guided cycling tour of Scotland and Northern England.

Beginning in the Lake District, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and England’s largest National Park, explore the vibrant market town of Keswick, pedal beside the mirror-like surface of Buttermere and experience first-hand the sunning landscape that inspired beloved English poet, William Wordsworth. Discover Northumberland, visiting historic castles, majestic coastlines and the world-famous Hadrian’s Wall. Finally, visit the beautiful Scottish borders, cycling the famous ‘4 Abbeys’ route before ending the week with a spectacular sightseeing tour of Edinburgh.

Feasting on fantastic local cuisine, resting up each night in some of our favourite local pubs and with an experienced local guide leading you every step of the way, Active England promises a week of cycling you’ll never forget.

Your Itinerary

Arriving into Penrith railway station at 1pm, our handpicked local guide will be on hand to meet you and fit you up with your bike. From here, we take a stunning introductory ride into the Lake District, cycling via the imposing peaks of Blencathra and Skiddaw toward Derwentwater. Often described as ‘Queen of the Lakes’ for the way it’s cradled by the surrounding fells, it’s here that we’ll find our first hotel, in the thriving market town of Keswick.

We set out today toward the Western Lakes, with our itinerary taking us first into the tranquil woodland of the Buttermere valley. Famous for its glorious setting among the northern fells, we pedal past Crummock Water and of course Buttermere itself, before winding through the rugged beauty of Honister Pass. With the afternoon drawing to a close, we return to Keswick for a pint of local ale and a well-deserved rest.

Transferring out of the Lake District, we travel north to yet another World Heritage Site, the awe-inspiring Hadrian’s Wall. Hitting the trails, we bike along the 2,000-year-old wall to Vindolanda, a vast Roman garrison and one of England’s most significant archaeological sites, before continuing to what was the most famous tree in England, the recently felled Sycamore Gap. We end our day at The Collingwood Arms, a Grade II Listed, luxury Georgian hotel with glorious views over the River Tweed.

Today we cycle to some of Northumberland’s most magnificent castles, biking first to Lindisfarne. The ancient site of England’s first Christian settlements, its location on a tidal estuary showcases Northumberland’s unparalleled coastline in all its glory. From here, we ride to Bamburgh, a site steeped in Viking history. One of the most important Anglo-Saxon strongholds in Northumbria, and a must-see landmark for fans of the cult series, The Last Kingdom, this particular castle is widely regarded as one of the most spectacular in the area.

Transferring to the wild landscape of Scotland, today we’ll bike the famous ‘4 Abbeys’ route. Setting out from Coldstream, a picturesque town on the banks of the River Tweed, this popular circuit links the four main abbeys in the Scottish Borders. It’s a ride that takes us down quiet country roads and over a few steep but rewarding hills, before arriving in the picturesque border town of Melrose. We settle here for the night, checking in to the welcoming Burts Hotel.

For the last full day of our tour, we cycle into Scotland’s magnificent capital city of Edinburgh. Setting out on foot, we’ll soak up the unique atmosphere of this lively city, exploring iconic local landmarks such as Edinburgh Castle, Arthur’s Seat and the Royal Mile, before celebrating the end of our adventure with a final evening together.

After a relaxed breakfast the following day, our guide will lead you to Edinburgh Waverley railway station, where we’ll say our farewells and provide any help you might need with your onward travel arrangements.

Gallery

Handpicked Accommodation

Keswick - Lake District

Keswick - Lake District

Borrowdale Gates Hotel
Originally a magnificent private residence, the Borrowdale Gates Hotel maintains the lovely, homely atmosphere of a genuine country house. Set in its own 3 acres of wooded grounds at the head of Derwentwater facing south into the Jaws of Borrowdale, it’s no surprise that Alfred Wainwright described it as the “loveliest square mile in Lakeland”.

Northumberland

Northumberland

The Collingwood Arms
A Grade II listed, luxury Georgian hotel set in glorious surroundings with views overlooking the River Tweed has been welcoming visitors for 200 years. Guests are greeted in front of an open log fire, while the library offers a homely and restful retreat. The hotel bar upholds the Borders reputation for great hospitality, warm oak, antique leather and a relaxed atmosphere for friends, old and new.

Melrose - Scottish Borders

Melrose - Scottish Borders

Burts Hotel
Experience the warmth of hospitality in true Scottish style at Burts Hotel, Melrose. The 18th century hotel is situated in the heart of Melrose’s picturesque market square. The listed building has been sympathetically restored and extended to retain its original charm, yet provide all the refinements of a modern first-class hotel: good food, fine wines and local ales.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh

Malmaison
A boutique hotel in Leith, perfectly placed on the area's bustling waterfront. Relax in the elegant cocktail bar or on the waterfront terrace. Enjoy a divine dinner at Chez Mal Brasserie.

What our guides say...

This trip has some stunning scenery with an abundance of history – and a well-earned pint or two!

Will
  • All accommodation as indicated on the itinerary
  • All breakfasts
  • Two dinners
  • Entry into all the point of interest, including Melrose Abbey, Dryburgh Abbey, Lindisfarne Priory, Hadrian’s Wall and Vindolanda
  • GPS routes, provided via RideWithGPS (app available for Apple or Android)
  • All baggage transportation
  • Guides
  • All transfers and transport whilst on the trip

We have handpicked the best family run, independent and country hotels, pubs and guest houses. Cosy and with informal dining, these country hotels are friendly and relaxed, with great menus with locally sourced food and ales. Our handpicked accommodation is 3* with the option to upgrade to 4* for an additional cost.

This tour is rated moderate, meaning it’s appropriate for guests who enjoy a good ride and can handle an incline or two. We cover varied terrain, enjoying some rolling hills and a few steeper climbs which are slightly more demanding. Your holiday, however, will be tailored by your guide to suit your individual preferences. Daily distances range from 20-40 miles. Rewarding views are guaranteed!

  • Bikes (road / hybrid / e-bike (with supplement)
  • Helmets
  • Phone mounts
  • Bike accessories
  • Guests are free to bring their own pedals / saddles, which we will fit to the bikes

Pick-up location: Penrith railway station. Our holidays are designed to be completely stress-free, with the start of our tours sitting within easy reach of London, Bristol or the Midlands. This tour begins from Penrith, a direct 4-hour train journey out of London.
End-of-tour location: Edinburgh Waverley railway station, a direct 4.5-hour train journey from London Kings Cross. Alternatively, there are air options from Edinburgh to various other destinations in the UK, as well as direct air routes to North America.

Where is the Lake District?
The Lake District is in the North West of England, with rugged mountains (fells), dramatic lakes (meres) and deep valleys formed by Ice Age glaciers. It contains England’s highest mountain, and deepest lake, and is both a National Park and a World Heritage Site, in recognition of its natural wild beauty and cultural significance, having inspired generations of poets, writers and artists.

Where is Northumberland?
Northumberland is a county in North East England, and lies on the England-Scotland border. It is home to one of the most picturesque and untouched stretches of coastline in the United Kingdom along with rolling hills and gentle mountains.

What is the best way to get to the North?
The best way to travel up North is by train, approximately a 4 hour direct journey from London Paddington to The Lake District (Penrith) and Northumberland (Newcastle Train Station).

All of our self-guided trips begin from the Lake District. We can also arrange pre and post accommodation at a range of different locations so you can arrive relaxed, refreshed and ready to start your tour. You can also fly into Manchester and transfer to the start of the tour from there.

Alternatively we can arrange a private transfer for you from London – the drive is approximately 5 hours.

How hilly is the North?
The North of England is hillier than many of the other regions of England. However the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales have a variety of routes which makes the regions great walking country and suitable for those who are moderately fit and active. There are many hills, fells and moors but the incredible views from the top more than make up from the ascents! However, you will be able to miss out some of the steeper inclines – or add in some hillier walks for those looking to stretch their legs. There are routes for everyone and we can tailor your tour to your specific preferences.

 

Make this trip private

Our private tours offer complete freedom to customize your trip. Base your tour on one of our scheduled departures, or tailor a bespoke experience to match your every expectation. We love combining our knowledge of England with our expertise in planning and delivering the best adventure trips.

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Carbon Footprint

What’s the Number?
Nearly everything has a carbon footprint. Together with ecollective, we’ve measured the carbon impact of not only every tour we operate but our entire business. We’ve taken into account greenhouse gas emissions across the business including office, travel, website, vehicles, accommodation, activities, food, suppliers…

What does the number mean?
We’re going to improve this by measuring and reducing our footprint each year. That means working with our suppliers to make changes that have a more positive impact on us and the planet. What does this look like in reality?

  • Redesign trips to reduce our carbon impact
  • Working closely with all our suppliers across England to join us on our decarbonisation journey
  • Switching up our vehicle fleet to electric
  • Investing in projects that permanently remove carbon from the atmosphere for any emissions that remain.

We’ve got a long way to go but we’re on our way to net-zero
We’re committed to reducing our impact on the planet and working towards a sustainable future. We’ve taken ownership of our carbon footprint and are on a mission to reduce our emissions year on year.

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