Historical Northern England Tour

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Historical Northern England Tour
From £1150 Apr to Oct
Accommodation Type: , ,
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Easy Trip code - HNE13

Cycle in the footsteps of British ancestors on this Historical Northern England Tour. A mix Britain’s past with Hadrian’s Wall, castles, roman forts and quaint villages with unspoiled landscapes, vast beaches, rivers, deep valleys and not to forget the warm welcomes. This 9 day tour covers the best of British northern history.

Originally some 70 miles in length, and six metres high, Hadrian’s Wall is the most important Roman monument in Britain. It stretches from the Solway Firth to the mouth of the River Tyne, across the wild and often eerily beautiful landscapes of this Border country.

The final section of the route follows the River Tyne, one of the great environmental success stories of recent years, and takes you into the cultural heart of the north, Newcastle.

From here, cycle the Northumberland Coast to the end of the route in Edinburgh. This part of the ride is as much defined by water as it is by land: the River Tyne, the North Sea, the mighty Tweed, Leithen Water, Dewar Burn and the Firth of Forth form an almost continuous, fluid companion for nearly 200 miles.

The landscapes are memorable too, though sand dunes, vast beaches, ancient woodlands, castles crowning fists of rock, deep valleys and heather moorland together make for an extraordinary array of scenery.

There are plenty of reasons to get off the bike Holy Island, Bamburgh Castle, a pint at the Ship Inn at Low-Newton-by-the-Sea, the town walls of Berwick and Melrose Abbey, to name a few but the road somehow lures you on here, on and up until you reach the heights of the Moorfoot Hills and the staggeringly lovely view down to your journey’s end.

  • Standing on Hadrian’s Wall near Haltwhistle, surveying the wild and empty lands to the north
  • Birdoswald Fort, part of Hadrian’s Wall, beautifully set above the River Irthing gorge
  • Riding a traffic-free path along the Tyne River through the heart of Newcastle
  • Warkworth Castle
  • Bamburgh Castle
  • A walk around the ramparts of Berwick-upon-Tweed
  • Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh
   Dates Adult(PP)
From 31 March 2018 to 27 October 2018
based on 2 passengers sharing a twin/double room


This tour is based on a mixture of 3* B&B, guest houses and small hotels. The prices are based on 2 people sharing a double or twin room. Applicable supplements to this tour are as follows on a per person basis:
Single supplement - 9 Days £350.00 per person
Bike hire – 9 Days £140.00 per person
Additional nights - Price upon request

Solo Traveller Supplement: £813.00 per person


Tours run every day from April to October upon request.

What's included

  • 24 hour emergency back up support
  • 8 nights in small & intimate hotels or B&B's
  • Bed & Breakfast
  • Meet & Greet by a Bikecation rep
  • Transfer from Newcastle to the start of the trip in Bowness
  • Trip planner with route notes and maps

What's not included

  • Bike hire
  • Drinks
  • Holiday Insurance
  • Lunches & evening meals

Day 1: Arrive in Newcastle

Arrive in Newcastle. A member of the Bikecation team will meet you after breakfast tomorrow, to hand over your route notes and maps (plus your bike if you’re hiring one) answer those last minute questions, and hand over a few tips. Newcastle upon Tyne is the thriving, cultural capital of the North-East. There are many excellent restaurants. If you arrive in good time, there’s nearly always something on – either at the Baltic Centre, the contemporary visual arts venue, Sage Gateshead, an excellent music venue, or one of the other galleries or museums along the ‘Golden Mile of Culture’. Newcastle is also well known for its nightlife. The City has recently become something of a cycling crossroads – as various cycle routes like the Sea to Sea and Hadrian’s Cycleway converge on the traffic-free cycle path that winds along the banks of the River Tyne.

Day 2: Bowness-on-Solway to Gilsland: appox 37 miles

Transfer from your hotel in Newcastle to Bowness-on-Solway, a sleepy village on the Solway Firth facing the hills of southern Scotland. This was once the most northern outpost of the Roman Empire: it’s the end of Hadrian’s Wall, and the start of your ride. The first few miles follow the Solway Firth east, past sand dunes and across salt marsh. The area is rich in birdlife. Speeding through the villages of Burgh by Sands and Kirkandrews-on-Eden, you arrive in the outskirts of Carlisle . A path along the banks of the River Eden leads you through the centre and out into Cumbrian countryside. Warwick Bridge to Brampton then onward to Lanercost Priory. Between Banks and Birdoswald Fort, the route closely follows the line of Hadrian’s Wall. There are the remains of turrets, neatly aligned sandstone blocks that comprise stretches of the wall and a fort.

Day 3: Gilsland to Corbridge: approx 31 miles

The route today crosses the highest section of Hadrian’s Cycleway: there are grand views north, over open farmland dotted with copses and isolated farmhouses, across moorland as far as the dense, black mass of Wark Forest. There are several excellent sites you can visit today to learn more about the Wall, and appreciate the remarkable civil engineering project it was: Vindolanda and Housesteads are the most impressive. In Hexham, pause on the bridge over the River Tyne to see salmon and sea trout leaping over the weir, in late summer and autumn. Corbridge was prosperous through the Middle Ages and today, it’s full of boutique shops and charm.

Day 4: Corbridge to Newcastle: approx 24 miles

The mighty River Tyne is your companion for much of today. Thirty years ago, the river was heavily polluted by the industry further downstream. It’s now an internationally acclaimed fishing river. On lanes, and then on a lovely, long traffic-free path, you glide through the heart of Newcastle.

Day 5: Newcastle to Warkworth: approx 47 miles

The ride starts on the traffic-free cycle path that passes underneath the ornate bridges which span the Tyne, and follows the River east along the north bank, to the sea. You pass some remains of Hadrian’s Wall and a couple of miles further and you’re on the quays in North Shields, with great views across the Tyne. When the river runs out to the sea, you’ve reached Tynemouth, a pretty village with several architectural gems. Passing below the 11th century priory and castle, you turn north at Tynemouth and follow the seafront, past a great expanse of sand and breaking surf. There’s a lovely section along the old seafront round Whitley Sands, and then a gravel track towards St Mary’s Lighthouse, with North Sea rollers breaking on the rocks. Then back on a cyclepath, hugging the coast again, to Blyth. Head off along the 12-mile beach round Druridge Bay. You should hear the weeping cries of oystercatchers and curlew. Slip through the fishing port of Amble, and you’re on the home stretch to Warkworth. This charming village, dominated by a medieval castle, is encircled by the Coquet, a famous salmon river.

Day 6: Warkworth to Berwick-upon-Tweed – approx 53 miles

Alnmouth is the first village on today’s route. It’s a great spot for a beach walk. The next section to Craster hugs the coast. There is a sense of timelessness in the unfrequented lanes, the remote seaward farms and the empty beaches. Enjoy the view along the coast north, to Dunstanburgh Castle. Past the castle at Bamburgh, the route heads inland and back to the sea again, near the causeway over to Holy Island. Past Goswick Sands and round the docks in Tweedmouth to reach the bridges over the mighty River Tweed, and the day’s final destination – the handsome, historic, fortified town of Berwick.

Day 7: Berwick-upon-Tweed to Melrose – approx 45 miles

You turn inland, following the Tweed upstream. The route crosses back and forth over the River, in and out of Scotland, through Norham, Coldstream and Kelso. On the final few miles to the effortlessly picturesque town of Melrose, you skirt beneath the Eildon Hills, three enigmatic mounds that rise steeply above the Tweed and are thought to be King Arthur’s resting place.

Day 8: Melrose to Edinburgh: approx 45 miles

You continue west along the banks of the River Tweed from Melrose and on to Innerliethen. You turn north and head for the Moorfoot Hills. The climb is gradual, beside Leithen Water at first. Soon enough, you’re alone among the tops of the hills with glorious views down to the Firth of Forth and Edinburgh. A fine descent brings you down to Dalkeith. The route brings you through the outskirts of Auld Reekie, to the foot of Arthur’s Seat.

Day 9: Departure

After breakfast, bid farewell and depart from Edinburgh.

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Frequently asked questions

1. How fit do I need to be for these holidays?

Our Bikecations are designed to attract people of all ages and levels of fitness. All the holidays can be enjoyed by anyone who is reasonably fit. Some holidays involve greater distances or frequency of cycling and some will cover hillier terrain than others. Our tour gradings and itinerary descriptions should help guide you towards the most suitable holiday options for you. If you are not sure, give us a call.

2. How many miles a day can I expect to cycle?

This depends on the Bikecation you choose. These have been graded so you know what to expect.

For a bikecation leisure cycling holiday a gentle pace is about 7-8 miles per hour, so, if you cycle for four hours, you can expect to cover 25-30 miles comfortably. This leaves plenty of time for sightseeing, picnics, visiting castles or churches, stopping for morning coffee or whatever you want to do. You have all day to get to your next stopover, so you can relax and enjoy the countryside. We can also include rest days when you can enjoy other activities if you require.

For our road cycling and bespoke tours for groups we will advise you what is best for the particular trip you wish to ride on. Usually we try to cover 60-100 miles at an average speed of 13.5 to 14.5 mph but this can be slower or faster depending on the group.

3. What do I wear for leisure cycling ?

It is important to be comfortable when cycling so we suggest wearing thin layers of clothing. Padded cycling shorts, a zipped top, windproof light jacket and trainers are standard fare. Fast drying and hardwearing synthetic fabrics are ideal as a base layer as these allow your skin to breathe and wick the moisture away from your skin to the next layer, avoiding the chill which cotton T-shirts can cause. In mid-summer you may just need shorts and a t-shirt. Safety helmets are strongly recommended on all Bikecation holidays and are a legal requirement in some countries so please bring your own helmet. We will send out a What to wear document to you well in advance of your Bikecation.

4. Are cycling holidays suitable for children?

Cycling can make an ideal family holiday, provided the right distances are chosen for the younger members of the party. We would suggest that you call us to discuss the most suitable tours for your children. In most places we are able to offer children’s bikes and child seats, if you have toddlers or babies.

5. How much luggage can I bring?

Your luggage is transported for you every day so bring what you need to make your holiday relaxing and comfortable. Please try and limit it to one item of luggage per person and that it is clearly labelled. On some tours there is a weight limit per item.

6. What happens to my luggage?

We want you to enjoy your Bikecation to the full so, for your comfort, we arrange the transportation of your luggage from one hotel to the next. The only thing we ask is that you leave your suitcases in reception on setting out each morning, and the hoteliers will ensure that it is waiting for you at your next hotel. We will provide luggage labels for you. All you need carry with you are drinks, a camera, waterproofs and sun cream.

7. Is my money safe if anything happens to Bikecation?

Your money is safe when you book your Bikecation. To protect your payments fully, all monies paid by you to us for your holiday are held in a separate Client’s Trust Account and are not released to Bikecation until your holiday has taken place. This practice fully satisfies the requirements of EC and UK law. Please call us if you would like to discuss this further.

Bikecation is also fully licensed by ATOL ( no. T7462) that is issued by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). for full details how how your payments are protected, please read our Your Financial Security page.

8. Do I need to bring my own bike? What type of bike should I bring?

We arrange for hire bikes to be provided for your holiday or tour. However, if you would prefer to bring your own bike then by all means bring it with you, but it must be in good working order. We recommend either a hybrid or a mountain bike fitted with road tyres for our leisure cycling holidays.

For our road cycling trips we can advise on what is best for your situation but we regularly transport bikes to the start destination.

If you do bring your own bike, you should insure it separately. Most household insurance policies can be extended to cover your bike whilst on holiday.

9. What happens if I have a problem with the bike or any other problem en route ?

If you are provided with a bike it will be well-maintained and serviced before being rented out so there should be no problems however, there are emergency numbers provided in the Route Notes for more complex problems.
If you have brought your own bike and you are unable to fix it, we will find you a replacement for the rest of your holiday.

Our road cycling trips will also have back up support with a mechanic unless requested otherwise with a possible spare bike for any major problems.

10. What should I do about holiday insurance?

If you choose a holiday abroad, you should have adequate insurance to cover you for medical expenses and for cancellation or curtailment of your holiday. For holidays in the UK we recommend everyone should have holiday travel insurance. Not all insurance policies cover cycling daily so we recommend Campbell Irvine. For full information, please read our ‘Trip Preparation’ page

11. Where will I leave my car for the duration of the leisure cycling holiday?

In most cases you can leave your car for the duration of your holiday in the car park of the hotel used for the first night’s accommodation. Where parking is not available at the first hotel, you will be advised of the alternative arrangements made for you.

12. I’m on my own – Which holidays are best for me ?

Nearly all our holidays are open to single travellers, but our Group guided holidays may be of most interest. Group holidays give you the opportunity to meet others of like mind and to enjoy cycling together. The group ‘vibe’ continues into the evening if you decide to eat together. A guide will help you appreciate the history and culture of the area you’re visiting.

13. What type of accommodation can I expect?

There is a variety of accommodation ranging from Castles and Chateaux to small boutique hotels and good quality B&Bs, thereby offering a range of different priced holidays. If you have any questions regarding which accommodation is used in the trip you are interested in riding please contact the office.

14. What are the routes like?

The descriptions of our Leisure Bikecations indicate the main types of routes we use on each holiday, such as provincial roads, country lanes, dedicated cycle ways, some tracks and Casa Verdes (disused railway tracks). While we try to use quiet routes wherever possible, you should be comfortable riding occasionally in traffic. Traffic volumes can vary even on minor roads, especially in more popular tourist areas; we sometimes have to use short sections of busier roads to cross rivers or connect scenic routes, and traffic will inevitably be heavier in and near towns.

Some routes include occasional sections on unsurfaced tracks, but these don’t require any specific technical riding skills. If you are unsure of your level, or would like to know more about the cycling on specific holidays, then please do not hesitate to contact our knowledgeable reservations team.

15. Do I need to bring money for food?

All the holidays include a hearty breakfast each day. Some also include lunch and an evening meal. Where they are not included, you are free to choose where and when to eat. Some hotels will provide you with a packed lunch on request, but most people like the freedom of stopping at the place of their choice to experience the local cuisine. Some routes have been designed to incorporate gastronomic delights and will include an evening meal. Details are given with each individual tour.

16. Is it possible to extend one of the holidays from a few days to a full week?

We have the resources to design a tour to suit your requirements, incorporating rest days if desired, taking in places that are of interest to you. Give us a call and we will try to accommodate your wishes. The only constraint may be the availability of the accommodation.

17. Can you arrange flights for the overseas tours?

Flights are not included in the tour price, however we can book flights for you. Holding an ATOL licence means that if you book a tour and flight together with us you will have the added piece of mind of the financial protection offered by ATOL. If you prefer to book your own, we recommend that you wait until your tour booking is confirmed before you book any flights and booking separately means you will not be covered by ATOL. For full information on our flight services please contact us on

18. When are the tours available?

Departure dates are shown for all tours. Please be aware that the holidays are very dependent on the availability of the selected accommodation. These have been chosen carefully, looking for a high standard to ensure you are comfortable at all times. During busy periods this is not always available, so we advise that you should book as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

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