Follow the journey of the Pilgrims who set off on the famous Mayflower, from Plymouth to the New World. Travel back in time and explore the history of this incredible voyage, biking and walking as you explore.
The tour is designed with the active traveller in mind. There are biking and walking options the majority of days and a variety of routes to suit all ages and fitness levels. We also welcome guests who do not want to travel in an active way.
The tour is fully supported and guided or self-guided and the price is also inclusive of all accommodation on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis. Also included are all bikes and equipment and entry into all the points of interest. In fact the only time guests need to put their hands in their pockets is for lunch, normally informal in pubs and cafes and for dinner drinks.
The tour starts in London, in the afternoon, where we meet guests at Tower Hill tube station in Central London before heading across the river to Southwark and Rotherhithe, where the Mayflower set sail for Southampton.
We visit Southwark cathedral, where Shakespeare’s brother was buried and the John Harvard Chapel, dedicated to the visionary who went on to found Harvard University and also see the Golden Hinde from where Sir Francis Drake circumnavigated the globe in 1577-80.
We will have dinner at the Mayflower Pub in Rotherhithe and give guests a full briefing on the rest of the tour.
We travel out of London to Harwich, in the morning. At Harwich we have lunch and visit the Captain of the Mayflowers House and the Guildhall before moving on to Lincoln where we will spend the night at the White Hart Hotel. There is the opportunity for a late afternoon ride or walk when we arrive at Lincoln.
Mileage: Walking 4-6 miles, Biking, 10-20.
We strike out from the city down the off-road Water Rail Way, dropping in for coffee in the lovely village of Woodhall Spa, before heading towards Boston. The route is pan flat and will work equally well for both cyclists and walkers. In Boston the whole group will visit the Guildhall, where the Pilgrims Bradford & Brewster were held and tried following their unsuccessful attempt to flee from England. The Rev John Cotton preached sermons which led to 300 Bostonians emigrating in the 1630’s at St. Botolph’s Church, known as the Stump.
We also visit the memorial at Scotia Creek – the spot from where the Pilgrims attempted to flee. Later in the afternoon there is the option to bike the route back, or jump in the support vehicle back to Lincoln where we again stay at the White Hart Hotel.
Mileage: Walking, 4-8 miles. Biking, 20-40 miles.
We bike or walk out of Lincoln along the off-road path and onto Retford more where we jump in the bus and visit some of the iconic villages where the Pilgrim Fathers lived and worshipped. We visit Babworth Church, where Richard Clifton preached from the Geneva bible; Scrooby, where we sit in the original pews at St Wilfrid’s Church and visit Scrooby Manor the former home of William Brewster and the Scrooby Separatist Congregation; Austerfield, where William Bradford, the second Governor of the Colony was baptised; Bawtry and onto Gainsborough, where we visit Gainsborough Old Hall and All Saints Church.
We return to Lincoln in the mid afternoon and have the opportunity to visit the magnificent cathedral and castle that houses the 1215 Magna Carta, which influenced the Mayflower Compact, before once again staying at the White Hart Hotel.
Mileage: Walking, 3-7 miles. Biking, 20-30 miles.
A day spent mostly travelling down to the South West, with no cycling or walking. On the way we visit Worcester and Droitwich Spa where Pilgrim Edward Winslow lived and was baptised. We lunch in the beautiful town of Worcester, visit its Cathedral where Winslow studied and finish the day in Plymouth from where the Mayflower set sail in 1620. We stay at either the Holiday Inn, Jurys Inn or the Copthorne.
After a morning cycle up the Drake’s trail towards the beautiful Dartmoor or walk from the stunning village of Dittisham into Dartmouth itself, the tour visits Pilgrim Hill where the Mayflower was moored whilst the Speedwell was being repaired, as well as Dartmouth Castle which guards the beautiful estuary. Dartmouth is a stunning town where guests can either take a boat trip around the harbour, a ride on a steam train or just soak up the atmosphere in the town where the Duke of Edinburgh first met the Queen! We travel back to Plymouth for the evening.
Mileage: Walking, 3-8 miles. Biking, 20-40 miles
After the aborted first voyage, both the Speedwell and the Mayflower turned about for Plymouth and finally the Mayflower set sail with up to 30 crew and 102 passengers on board. We visit buildings, familiar to the Pilgrims which survive to this day including the Island House where Pilgrims are thought to have lodged, The Elizabethan House and Gardens, Black Friars (a gin distillery since 1793 but prior to that ‘The Refectory’ is believed to be the room where the Pilgrim Fathers spent their last night before setting sail for the New World), the Mayflower steps, the Jacka Bakery, Custom House and the Mayflower Museum (‘The Box’ will open in 2020 telling the Mayflower story).
A final night celebration dinner is held at the hotel giving guests a chance to unwind at the end of a memorable tour. Cycling is arranged on Dartmoor for those who would like a ½ day in the saddle and there is plenty of walking in and around Plymouth for those who would like to walk.
Mileage: Biking, 20-30 miles. Walking, 4-8 miles.
Guests are free to further explore Plymouth and surrounding area with many taking the trip over to Cornwall and the magnificent Mount Edgcumbe house and park. The tour finishes at lunchtime where guests are free to either stay on in the South West or transit back to London where we will aim to arrive by later afternoon. Many guests may also want to take a trip to Leiden in Holland which can be organised with prior notice.
Guests stay in hotels handpicked for their high quality and ideal locations, perfect for our tours, just see the White Hart Hotel in Lincoln.
Walk or bike as much or as little as you like as there are options to suit all ages and abilities. Every day guest will be able to shorten the route if required ensuring guests only need to walk and cycle the miles that suit them.
And if you need picking up that’s no problem, we are always on hand to help. A support vehicle is with the guided tours at all times.
If you choose to bike, we have a fleet of bikes from Giant and flat bar, drop bar, road, hybrid and e-bike options all bike types are catered for. Helmets as standard, just bring your shoes and pedals, if you have them, and away you go.