2018 dates (start in London) – 13 May, 3 June, 8 July, 29 July, 26 August, 16 September
The tour starts at London St Pancras where we pick up all guests. We travel out to Canterbury by high speed train (in 45 minutes) and give guests a full safety briefing before heading out on the bikes along a disused railway line, brilliantly name the Crab and Winkle line, to the foody heaven of Whitstable for lunch. We visit Faversham, home of the oldest Brewery in England – Shepherd Neame, before returning to Canterbury for a tour around the Cathedral and St Augustine’s Abbey, dating from 597 AD.
We bike from Canterbury, up to the North Kent coast, visiting the Turner museum in Margate and then hug the coast past the wonderful seaside towns of Broadstairs and Ramsgate and along the off road coastal path onto the Cinque Ports of Deal and Sandwich, with their castles and trading history spanning back to the Norman Conquest of 1066. Mostly traffic free, the routes are flat and suit cyclists of all abilities. We return through gentle but beautiful countryside to Canterbury for the evening.
We bike through the beautiful Kent countryside and stop at the Battle of Britain Memorial, just outside Dover, for coffee. In Dover we visit the magnificent castle with its rich history dating from before Norman times, keeping England safe against Napoleon, Hitler and all who tried to invade through the ages. We also visit the iconic White Cliffs of Dover, the first land to be seen by travellers returning to our shores. A day for the history buffs, Dover is unsurpassed as destination and is a favourite iconic location for our guests.
We leave Canterbury and head for the iconic Leeds Castle, approaching 1000 years old, frequented by Henry the VIII and Catherine of Aragon and more recently the American heiress Lady Baillie. With its stunning architecture and famous lake which surrounds the castle it is an iconic visit not to be missed. The afternoon ride is gentle and into the Spa town of Tunbridge Wells, where many opt for an early finish or a day off the bike totally.
Right in the heart of the Garden of England, the route immerses guests in Kent’s magnificent gardens, be they in the quaint villages along the route or the magnificent Sissinghurst, with a number of different gardens, set out in “rooms” each with their own distinct flavour. From Sissinghurst we visit one of England’s premier vineyards where we challenge guests not to love both the award winning white and sparkling wines. We return in the afternoon to the our hotel in Tunbridge Wells.
Once again we bike through the beautiful Kent Countryside to the magnificent Hever Castle, home to Anne Boleyn and Anne of Cleves (wives two and three of Henry VIII) and more recently the Astor family, before making the short journey to Chartwell, home to Winston Churchill and the wonderful rose gardens, lovingly curated by his wife Clementine. The visit to Chartwell heralds the end of the tour when we will transfer guests back to London by train, a journey of 40 minutes.
Guests stay in the best 4* hotels in Kent, with unbeatable settings, wonderful accommodation and stunning food. Further options are available for those who want to stay in a country cottage location or in a selection of hand-picked bed and breakfasts or pubs.
Bike as much or as little as you like, a support vehicle is with the guided tours at all times. All activities are optional and you can choose to have a ½ day or full day off whenever you like!
Our guides and mechanics will fix all major equipment issues and get you back on the road as soon as possible.
With a fleet of hybrid and road bikes from Giant and e-bike options most of the biking is off road and safe from all traffic, perfect for those not used to biking on the road. Helmets as standard, just bring you shoes and pedals if you have them and away you go.