Self-guided Cotswolds Cycling Tour

At a Glance

Join us on our 6 day self-guided Cotswolds cycle tour

Discover a corner of rural England seemingly untouched by time, as you ride over rolling green hills and down winding country lanes with our self-guided Cotswolds cycling tour.

Pedalling up to 40 miles a day, with shorter routes available on a daily basis guests will be independently biking through the stunning countryside. We’ll provide you with all the routes on your mobile phones via our RWGPS app, as well as details of all the place to see, eat and drink as you bike through the stunning countryside.

Whichever route you choose, there’s an abundance of history and heritage, welcoming pubs, and excellent local cuisine, all available to enjoy at your own pace, Active England promises an unforgettable Cotswold tour.

  • Explore the parklands and staterooms of the renowned World Heritage Site, Blenheim Palace
  • Marvel at the spectacular views from the highest point in the Cotswolds, Broadway Tower.
  • Enjoy cycling through picturesque Cotswolds villages, including Bourton-on-the-Water, Burford, Bampton and many more.
  • Discover the array of breathtaking ‘garden rooms’ at the world-famous Hidcote Gardens.

Your Itinerary

Arriving into Oxford railway station for 10am, our friendly local guides will be ready to meet you. After fitting you up with your bikes and providing you with a full pre-tour briefing, you’ll head out into the countryside. Passing picture-postcard villages and traditional country pubs, this introductory route provides the opportunity to visit Blenheim Palace, Winston Churchill’s birthplace and a World Heritage Site. From here, you’ll pedal into the heart of the Cotswolds for your first night in the picturesque market town of Moreton-in-Marsh.

35.7 miles – 1693ft elevation

Setting out from your hotel, your first stop today is the stunning Hidcote Gardens, internationally renowned for its collection of outdoor “rooms.” After taking some time to explore, you’ll pedal along the Cotswolds escarpment and down into the historic town of Stratford-upon-Avon via a disused railway line. The home of Shakespeare, be sure to visit the church in which he was buried and the house he was born before making your way back to Moreton-in-Marsh via The Ebrington Arms, recently voted the best pub in England!

42.2 miles – 1718ft elevation

This morning you’ll enjoy a stunning ride through the majestic countryside of the Cotswolds, stopping for coffee and to enjoy views over 16 counties in both England and Wales from Broadway Tower. From here, spend the afternoon biking through some of the most quintessential Cotswold villages, including the Slaughters and Kineton, before spending a final evening in Moreton-in-Marsh.

25.6 miles – 1505ft elevation

Today you’ll bike to Daylesford, for coffee in one of the most impressive farm shops you’ll ever see, before lunching in the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’, Bourton-on-the-Water. In the afternoon, you’ll return to the bikes and carry on to Burford, where you’ll find your next hotel. One of the Cotswolds’ most picturesque towns, you’ll soon see why this picturesque spot is so renowned for its bustling high street and vibrant atmosphere.

25.6 miles – 1505ft elevation

For your last full day of the tour, you’ll cycle from Burford to Bibury, a village so pretty that Henry Ford wanted to transfer it in its entirety back to the USA! Here you’ll stop for lunch at a trout farm, before biking on to Bampton. A real treat for Downton Abbey fans, this village is where all of the show’s outdoor filming takes place. With the day drawing to a close, you’ll return to Burford for your final evening.

35.6 miles – 1163ft elevation

After a relaxed breakfast, our friendly Active England guides will transfer you to a mainline railway station for your onward travel. Most of our guests travel out of Charlbury station. Wherever your journey takes you next, though, our guides will be on hand to provide all the help you need.

Gallery

Handpicked Accommodation

3* Option - Moreton-in-Marsh
Resedale Arms

3* Option - Moreton-in-Marsh

Resedale Arms
The award winning Redesdale Arms Hotel sits at the gateway to the Cotswolds, on the High Street of the historic town of Moreton-in-Marsh. Steeped in history and dating back to around 1650, constructed of mellow Cotswold stone with a heavily oak beamed interior.

4* Option - Moreton-in-Marsh
The Manor House Hotel, Burford

4* Option - Moreton-in-Marsh

The Manor House Hotel
The Manor House Hotel, Moreton in Marsh, is an enchanting 16th Century Cotswold retreat where you can both indulge and relax in a homely atmosphere.

3* Option - Burford
Prince of Burford

3* Option - Burford

Prince of Burford
The Prince Of Burford is a newly refurbished pub and hotel converted from an 18th-century coaching inn, located in beautiful Burford on the north-eastern edge of the Cotswolds.

4* Option - Burford
The Lamb Inn, Burford

4* Option - Burford

The Lamb Inn
Located along a peaceful side street in the historic market town of Burford, seize the opportunity to sink into a relaxing ambiance of pure bliss.

What our guides say...

Cycle the Cotswolds at your own pace. Ride as fast or as slow as you like, and stop whenever you feel like it!

Conor
  • All accommodation as indicated on the itinerary
  • All breakfasts
  • Mechanical support for major breakdowns
  • We expect all guests to be able to undertake basic maintenence, including changing a tyre
  • GPS routes, provided via RideWithGPS (app available for Apple or Android)
  • All baggage transportation
  • All gratuities for baggage, porters and hotel service

Handpicked hotels. Upgrade from 3* to 4* accommodation 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. Daily distances range from 25-40 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: Oxford railway station. Our cycling 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 Oxford, a direct 1-hour train journey out of London, although it can also be reached directly from London Heathrow via the Heathrow Express.

End-of-tour location: Guests are usually transferred to Charlbury railway station, which has direct links to Oxford and London Paddington. From Paddington, the Heathrow Express can be taken straight to London Heathrow airport. Buses or direct taxi transfer to London Heathrow are also possible from Oxford.

What is the best way to get out of London into the Countryside?
The best way out of London and into the Cotswolds is by train, out of Paddington, and directly into Oxford station, Moreton-in-Marsh or Bath. All of our cycling trips begin from these locations so you can arrive relaxed, refreshed and ready to start your tour. If you prefer to drive there is station parking available.

Can I do a cycling tour as a solo traveller?
All our trips are open for single travellers to join. You will have a great time on our cycling tours whether travelling on your own, as a couple, family or group, meeting like-minded people on our guided trips, or choosing your own adventure on our self-guided tours. “As a single female, I would not hesitate to go on another Active England trip as a solo traveller”. S.G.

Are the roads safe to cycle on in England and the Cotswolds?
Our cycling routes are carefully chosen to ensure we bike on the quietest country lanes, with the best views of the Cotswolds! Drivers in the Cotswolds are very polite and guests have always felt safe and secure when riding our routes, check out our Trip Advisor Reviews from guests who have cycled with us: “I was concerned about riding in traffic, but for the most part there were not that many cars. The people are very watchful and careful, they wait and allow cyclist to go ahead. The Cotswolds and very beautiful, rural and unspoiled. I loved the small towns and the beautiful countryside. I would absolutely do it again with Active England. Loved it all.” E.C.

How hilly are the Cotswolds?
The Cotswolds are a range of hills, with its name stemming from ‘Cote’ meaning sheep enclosure and ‘wold’ meaning hills. There are therefore lots of hills and incredible views from the top! However, you will able to miss out some of the steeper inclines – or add in some trickier climbs for those looking to stretch their legs. There are routes for everyone and with our routes we can tailor your tour to your preferences. We also have e-bikes available on request to make your holiday care-free!

Do you have E-Bikes available?
Absolutely! Our e-bikes allow our guests to go the distance without the slog, to enjoy the countryside at their own pace and to provide assistance that will get you up any hill. They are as good on rural country roads as on canal tow-paths and rail to trail tracks. Safe and easy to use, these e-bikes are perfect for all abilities.

What to pack for a cycling holiday?
We provide bikes, helmets, cycle bags and all the cycling essentials you will need. All you need to bring are clothes suitable for cycling in, and your enthusiasm! You can of course use your own saddle and pedals if you prefer. We will transfer your luggage to each hotel, so you don’t need to worry about carrying everything you want for evenings out of the saddle!

Which cycling holiday should I choose?
In the Cotswolds we offer a range of guided or self-guided tours to suit everyone!

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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