all_souls_college_oxford

Oxford to Bath Cycle Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Self-Guided Holidays, Private Group Adventures
Destinations:
United Kingdom, Cotswolds
Programmes:
Cycling
Trip Code:
C08OX
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate

You are reasonably fit, enjoy the outdoors and are looking for some exercise. Some previous experience is preferable for activity based trips.

9 Days Land only
Ages: 12+

Trip Overview

From the city of Oxford, home to the oldest university in England, cycle between the villages of the southern Cotswolds on your way to Bath, with its Roman baths and stunning Georgian architecture. Beautiful scenery, charming villages and some outstanding Estates will be seen along the way through England's 2nd largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

This 8 night cycling holiday starts in the city of Oxford before heading off along the Oxford Canal towards the Georgian town of Woodstock. You route takes you through some of the best of the Cotswold villages including Minster Lovell with its Cotswold stone and thatched cottages on the River Windrush, the medieval town of Burford and Bibury, 'The most beautiful village in England' according to William Morris. Stay in Castle Combe, used as the film set location for War Horse where you can admire the pretty high street which is lined with former weavers' cottages.

Discover some of England's Roman history with a visit to Chedworth Roman Villa with its spectacular mosaics, Cirencester, the second largest town in Britain during Roman times and head to the Roman baths in Bath.

Overnight accommodation is in a range of warm, welcoming and friendly B&Bs and Inns, many of which are in historic buildings.

At a Glance

  • 8 nights hotel to hotel accommodation in 3, 4 and 5 star hotels
  • Breakfasts daily
  • Management by your local Headwater-appointed agent
  • GPS Route directions and maps
  • RideWithGPS navigation app
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Local Bike hire

Trip Highlights

  • Cycle between the historic city of Oxford, 'City of Dreaming Spires' and Bath, a UNESCO World Heritage City
  • Discover beautiful Cotswold villages, including Castle Combe, the film set location for War Horse
  • Outstanding Estates: Blenheim Palace, Highgrove Royal Gardens, Rousham Gardens, Westonbirt Arboretum
  • Explore Roman history at Chedworth, Cirencester and Bath
  • Follow sections of the rivers Thames, Windrush and Coln

Is This Trip for You?

Cycling Conditions
Classification: Self-Guided
Average daily distance: 34km (21 miles). 
No. of days cycling: 7
Terrain and route: The cycling mainly follows quiet country roads and tarmac roads. The terrain is mainly flat.

Vehicle Support: This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to cycle independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodations, provide you with a map and route notes so that you can cycle at your own pace, while your bags are transported from one hotel to the next. Your bikes will be delivered to the start hotel, all set up relevant to your height and ready to go. Our local agent will be on call throughout the trip should you need.

It is important that you are happy reading maps and following route notes, we make these as accurate as possible and they are regularly checked. Where possible we stick to cycle tracks and quiet roads to make the journeys as pleasant as possible, however, on occasion we have to use busier routes into larger towns and cities.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There maybe others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The route notes contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the local agent is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Families
Self-guided cycling holidays are a perfect option for families as they offer the freedom for you to take your holiday at your own pace. You can stop as and when you want and need, at the cafes and restaurants that suit your family and the sites that interest you. We have suggested that 12yrs is the minimum age for this trip, but as it is self-guided and you will be leading your own family we will ultimately leave this decision up to you. The daily distances are all published in the trip notes along with a description of each day's cycling so you have a good idea of what to expect. However, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact one of our experts. The principle idea is that these holidays can be as flexible as you like, with logistical support but no group or leader to dictate the daily activities. Please consider the weather when choosing to book, temperatures can be high in the middle of summer.

Group

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There may be others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The route notes contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the local agent is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Adult min age:
12

Itinerary

C08OX map

Land Only

Start City:
Oxford
End City:
Bath

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrive in Oxford

    Arrive in Oxford. Visit some of the treasures of the city from the Bodleian Library to the Ashmolean.
    Staying overnight at Oxford Coach & Horses or similar

  • Day 2

    Oxford to Woodstock

    Follow the canal out of Oxford with pubs and tea shops available for a pit-stop. Leave the canal and visit Rousham Gardens, designed by William Kent in the 18th Century which remains much as he left it. Continue on to Woodstock and time permitting visit Blenheim Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
    Stay overnight at The Kings Arms or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 37 km / 23.5 miles
  • Day 3

    Woodstock to Burford

    Leave Woodstock through Blenheim Park with another opportunity to visit the Palace and Gardens. Follow country lanes through farmland and visit picturesque villages like Minster Lovell and Swinbrook on the way to Burford, known for its its three-arched medieval bridge.
    Stay overnight at The Highway Inn or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 40 km / 25 miles
  • Day 4

    Burford to Bibury

    Follow the River Windrush towards Sherborne with a chance to visit the National Trusts' Sherborne Park Estate before continuing to Northleach where you can find half-timbered buildings and merchants' houses dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. There are two short detours off the main route to visit Chedworth Roman Villa and North Cerney Gardens before turning towards Bibury and follow the River Coln into this beautiful village.
    Stay overnight at Cotteswold House B&B or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 50 km / 31.5 miles
  • Day 5

    Bibury to Cirencester

    The route goes to Cricklade via Fairford, known for its fine 'wool' church and once an important coaching town, and then turns toward Cirencester and follows a cycle route through the lakes, near the Thames Path. Cirencester, the 'capital of the Cotswolds' has many attractions including the Corinium Museum, dedicated to the city's Roman history and the Abbey grounds, site of St Mary's Abbey.
    Stay overnight at The Old Brewhouse or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 34 km / 21.5 miles
  • Day 6

    Cirencester to Tetbury

    Today the route is shorter allowing time for visiting one (or more) of three spectacular Estates. Rodmarton Manor (open Wednesdays and Saturdays) is a unique 20th Century Arts and Crafts Manor with an 8 acre Cotswold garden; Chavenage House (open Thursdays and Sundays) is an Elizabethan house of mellow grey Cotswold stone and was used in the Poldark series as 'Trenwith', the Poldark family home. After arriving in Tetbury it is also possible to go by taxi (pay locally) to Highgrove Royal Gardens, the private residence of HRH The Prince of Wales. (Early booking essential).
    Stay overnight at The Royal Oak or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 28 km / 17.5 miles
  • Day 7

    Tetbury to Castle Combe

    A short cycle ride takes you to Westonbirt Arboretum, the National Arboretum has one of the most beautiful and important plant collections in the world. Continue through the village of Sherston and on to the picturesque village of Castle Combe.
    Stay overnight at Castle Inn or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 32 km / 20 miles
  • Day 8

    Castle Combe to Bath

    Today there is a choice of a longer or shorter route - the shorter option is a direct route into Bath allowing more time exploring the city. The longer route is an exciting ride through the villages of Biddeston and Lacock. The route turns onto the cycle path by the canal at Semington and follows it all the way into Bath via Bradford-on-Avon.
    Stay overnight at Apple Tree Guesthouse or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 49 km / 31 miles
  • Day 9

    Leave Bath

    Depart Bath after breakfast.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

All ascents, descents and distances listed above have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders. Please note that different GPS measuring devices can give differing results dependent on the barometric pressures at the time. Measurements stated throughout these trips notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter.

Accommodation

Hotels

OXFORD COACH AND HORSES, OXFORD
3 Star
Just a 10-minute walk from Oxford City centre, the Oxford Coach & Horses is built on the site of an old coaching inn dating from the 18th Century, said to be the last in Oxford before the road to London. Rooms are modern and comfortable.

BLENHEIM BUTTERY. WOODSTOCK
4 Star
Based in the centre of Woodstock, the 17th Century building houses 6 ensuite rooms and the breakfast room overlooks the market square.

THE ANGEL INN, BURFORD
4 Star
The Angel at Burford has been run by The King family since 2011 and is loved by both visitors and locals for it’s blend of Cotswold charm, delicious food and drink and a warm, friendly welcome. The rooms are modern, comfortable and furnished in a relaxed and cosy Cotswold style.

COTTESWOLD HOUSE, BIBURY
3 Star
Cotteswold House offers well appointed bed & breakfast and self-catering accommodation. Furnished to a high standard of quality and comfort, you can be assured of a warm and friendly welcome. Set in Bibury, described as the most beautiful village in England, Cotteswold House is an ideal location for touring the Cotswolds.

THE OLD BREWHOUSE, CIRENCESTER
4 Star
The Old Brewhouse in Cirencester is a delightful 17th Century town house bed and breakfast full of charm and character, sympathetically restored and refurbished offering high quality bed and breakfast accommodation.

THE ROYAL OAK, TETBURY
4 Star
The Royal Oak Tetbury is a charming and friendly public house dating from the late 18th century and restored back to the community in 2013 following extensive restoration. Rooms are modern, comfortable and well equipped.

CASTLE INN, CASTLE COMBE
4 Star
The Castle Inn is a 12th century inn located in the heart of Castle Combe which has been lovingly restored to offer you a classic Cotswolds pub and B&B. It has had an extensive and considerate restoration to preserve, yet enhance, the charm of this beautiful historic building.

APPLE TREE GUESSTHOUSE, BATH
5 Star
Apple Tree Guesthouse is a Victorian property in the centre of Bath. All rooms are individually themed with an elegant blend of English and Asian artwork where East meets West, fresh cotton bedlinen and modern facilities.

 

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from £496.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

Enjoy the local cuisine in quintessentially British pubs, cafes and delicatessens - local delicacies include Cerney Ash or Stinking Bishop cheeses, Crackleberry Farm eggs, Cotswold Cream liqueur and the local ales - try the Yubby beer from the Yubberton Brewery Co. There's also the archetypal English Cream Teas that go down a treat with a nice hot cup of tea!

Weather & Seasonality

When to go

This trip is possible year round, however due to the English weather, it is recommended to go between April and October. The Cotswolds can get very busy in the main summer tourist season of mid-July through to the end of August.

Weather Information

The Cotswolds has a temperate maritime climate with warm, rather than hot, summers and cool to cold winters. The hottest month, on average, is July and the coldest is January with rain falling fairly evenly throughout the year. The weather is unpredictable as with the rest of the UK and it is possible to see elements of all four seasons in one day. It is advisable for visitors to check the weather forecast before they arrive in the Cotswolds to get a better idea of the sort of clothing they will need during their trip. Bringing hooded waterproof coats and hats will ensure visitors are prepared for any spells of wind and rain the region may experience.
Spring: The climate is milder in spring making it a good time to visit the Cotswolds. There can be some great sunny days mixed with cooler and wet weather. From March to May the average daytime temperatures are between 9°C and 17°C.
Summer: Most days in summer range from mild to warm with the possibility of some infrequent hotter days, the days are at their longest in the summer. There may be overcast and humid conditions in the summer. From June to August the average daytime temperatures are between 19°C and 22°C.
Autumn: The climate can vary from some pleasantly mild days particularly at the start of September to cooler and colder days in October and November. Autumn is a good time to visit the Cotswolds as it avoids the peak summer season whilst enjoying milder temperatures and longer hours of daylight particularly at the start of September. Visitors can see some wonderful autumn colours. From September to November the average daytime temperatures are between 9°C and 19°C.

Joining Instructions

This holiday does not include any flights or rail.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start:
Oxford
Location end:
Bath

What to Take

Essential Equipment

warm top and leggings for the early spring and autumn departures

- windproof and waterproof layer

- comfortable shoes and clothes for the time off the bike if you want to explore the towns

Self-Guided Hire Bikes

We use touring bikes provided by our local agent. All bikes are supplied with:

  • rear pannier
  • bike lock
  • 1 puncture repair kit

Bike sizes will have been given to the local operator in advance from the heights you have given us on booking. However, when you receive your bike there will be the opportunity to test and adjust.

Please note helmets are not provided and we recommend that you take your own on this trip.

E-Bikes

Electric bikes offer all the thrills and healthy exercise of a regular bike, but with one crucial difference - power! A tiny electric motor (capped at 25mph) assists your pedalling, allowing you to make molehills out of mountains. Cycle further, see more, have more fun. They are just perfect if you want to try a trip with companions of differing fitness level - or a trip at a slightly harder grade - and want to know there’s a bit of motor power available if you need it. You can upgrade to an E-bike on a number of our European trips.

Bike Repairs

As you are riding unaccompanied, it is wise to know at least how to repair an inner tube before setting off on your bike! The bikes are serviced before being rented out so there should be no problems but there are emergency numbers provided in the Route Notes for more complex problems.

Local Bike Details

A quality local hire bike is included in the overall price of our cycling holidays. At the time of booking we will take your height in order to reserve equipment. There may on occasions be insufficient bikes available in the correct size; we will endeavour to find suitable alternative equipment but this cannot be guaranteed. We will tell you before you book whether suitably sized bikes are available.

Conditions 

1. The equipment remains the property of the supplier and you may not sell, hire out or part possession with the equipment.
2. You must not misuse the equipment and must return it in the same condition as when received (ordinary wear and tear excepted). The supplier is entitled to charge for any damage caused to the equipment during the period of hire.
3. You must ensure that the equipment is adequately secured when not in use. In the event of the equipment being lost or stolen, you may be liable for the replacement value of the equipment
4. You must not use the equipment whilst under the influence of drink or drugs and should immediately notify the Supplier in the event of breakdown or loss.

Bringing Your Own Bike

If you prefer the familiarity of your own bike, you may, of course, bring it along. Please advise us at the time of booking and you will receive a discount on the price of the holiday, as specified above.  You will be responsible for any extra baggage charges, please speak to our Sales team for individual airline fees.

N.B This does not apply to trips within the UK, for which local bike hire is not included.

You will also be responsible for assembling and disassembling your bike as well as bringing along spare parts and any tools specific to it. It is also your responsibility to ensure your bike is roadworthy and suitable for the type of cycling to be undertaken. If in doubt, the model of local bike hire available should act as a guide and details of terrain, ascent and descent are available both in the itinerary and the ‘Is this trip for you’ sections. Our cycling team only carry the relevant spares for the hire fleet. Any clients bringing their own bike should ensure they have adequate cover for loss, damage or theft under their travel, home contents or a specialist insurance policy. If Exodus is confident that we have taken all reasonable care to ensure the safety of your bike, in the rare event of loss, damage or theft you will need to claim under your own insurance policy.

Extra Bike Bits

You may like to bring your own pedals and saddle (excluding the seat post) or gel saddle cover to fit to the hire bikes. We encourage this, if it is your preference. However, please note that you are responsible for your own equipment, and removing your saddle/pedals at the end of the trip. We cannot guarantee the return of any bike parts left behind.

Exodus Policy on Cycling Helmets

Wearing a helmet is mandatory for anyone taking part in any guided Exodus cycling holiday. Group members must bring their own helmets, as they are not available for hire, even if they are hiring a bike from Exodus.

For self-guided cycling holidays wearing a helmet is highly recommended. Customers who choose to ignore our advice do so entirely at their own risk and on the understanding that it may affect the validity of their travel insurance. It should also be noted that in some countries we travel to wearing a helmet is already a legal requirement.

Cycling of all kinds has its dangers and accidents can happen from time to time. Please ensure that you are properly prepared for the riding you are going to undertake.

Recommended Cycling Clothing

Padded cycling shorts (with loose 'over-shorts' where recommended), breathable clothing, and a lightweight waterproof/windproof top. Shoes with relatively stiff soles are better for biking, but are not essential unless you are cycling long distances. Most people want to carry certain items with them during the day while cycling, for this we recommend a large bum-bag or small close-fitting daysack.

GPS Route Navigation

Ride with GPS logo

We've teamed up with RideWithGPS to provide our carefully researched and checked itineraries in a convenient format, similar to a car satnav, with turn-by-turn instructions all along your route.

Before you travel we'll send you everything you need to download your route notes and the free RideWithGPS app. It's available for iPhone and Android and the routes can also be used on any regular GPS device such as the Garmin Edge bike computers or Forerunner fitness devices. 

 For more details and to watch the demonstration video, please visit our GPS Route Navigation page.

E-Bikes Available

Electric bikes offer all the thrills and healthy exercise of a regular bike, but with one crucial difference - power! A tiny electric motor (capped at 25mph) assists your pedalling, allowing you to make molehills out of mountains. Cycle further, see more, have more fun. They are just perfect if you want to try a trip with companions of differing fitness level - or a trip at a slightly harder grade - and want to know there’s a bit of motor power available if you need it.

ancient_gate_woodstock

Practical Information

Visa

United Kingdom

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

United Kingdom

No vaccinations are obligatory.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

As we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

United Kingdom's Timezone:
Europe/London BST (GMT +01:00)

Electricity

United Kingdom's Electricity:

220-240V. 50Hz. You will need a 3 pinned type G plug.

Money

ATM Availability

There are ATM's in most of the main towns along the route, but not all. Most businesses in the area will take payments in cash or by card.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

All breakfasts are included, so you will need spending money for any picnics, lunches, evening meals and drinks. There is a good choice of cafes, pubs and restaurants on the routes as well as in the overnight towns and villages. Prices range from approximately £5-10 for lunch and you could pay between £15-30 for dinner, depending on where you decide to eat.

bibury_south_cotswolds

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

 

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.