Rural & Roman Britain
From £995 Apr to Oct
Accommodation Type: , ,
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Moderate Trip code - RRB13

The Rural & Roman Britain tour starts in Newcastle or Carlisle with a transfer to Whitehaven then follows one of Britain signature rides; the Coast to Coast. From the Georgian port of Whitehaven on the Irish Sea to the castle on the rock at Tynemouth facing the North Sea, this ride crosses some of the most dramatic landscapes in the land the silvery, shining levels and the high crags of the Lake District, the vast, eerily empty moorland on the Cumbrian Fells, and the Tyne Valley.

The towns you pass Keswick, Penrith, Alston, Allenheads, Stanhope and Consett are packed full of tea rooms, welcoming pubs and bags of northern charm but it’s the joy of riding through the wild and open countryside that will remain with you, and leave a lasting sense of achievement.

After a night in Newcastle your journey takes you into Roman Britain following the route of Hadrian’s Wall. This is one of the most important Roman monuments in Britain.

Stretching from The River Tyne to Solway Firth you follow the route on arrow straight military roads and cycle paths through wild and beautiful landscapes plunging back through history. Along the route stop at Roman forts, medieval fortified churches and castles and visit market towns such as Brampton, Haltwhistle, Corrbridge and Ovingham stopping of in a local tea room or for a pint in one of the friendly local pubs. Your journey ends in Solway Firth and a transfer and night in Newcastle or Carlisle.

  • Riding the dismantled railway line through lovely woodlands, from Keswick to Threlkeld
  • The birdlife on the high moors of County Durham
  • The descent from Hartside Pass to Alston
  • Riding a traffic-free path along the Tyne River through the heart of Newcastle
  • Watching salmon leap over the weir in Hexham
  • Birdoswald Fort, part of Hadrian’s Wall, beautifully set above the River Irthing gorge
  • Birdlife on the Solway Firth
  • Standing on Hadrian’s Wall near Haltwhistle, surveying the wild and empty lands to the north
   Dates Adult(PP)
From 1 April 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 - 8 Days £300
Bike hire – 8 Days £125
Additional nights - Price upon request

Solo Traveller Supplement: £723.00 per person


This tour runs every day between April and October upon request

Day 1: Arrive in Newcastle or Penrith

Arrive in Newcastle and check in to your accommodation. A member of the Bikecation team will meet you this evening or 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 give you a few tips.

Day 2: Whitehaven to Penrith – approx 55 miles

You’ll be transferred to Whitehaven. Your epic ride begins on the quay. Quickly, you’re climbing away from the coast. At the foot of the Lakeland Fells, the landscape changes dramatically and the route continues down to Loweswater. You then follow the River Cocker north to Low Lorton up and over the Whinlatter pass. Once on top, the route is then down to Braithwaite. From here you head east along a dismantled railway line, following the River Greta through a thickly-wooded gorge. The landscape changes as you leave the iconic hills, scree slops and crags of the Lake District National Park behind you. You pass beneath the precipitous fell, Blencathra, then out via Mungrisdale on quiet lanes through farmland to the historic village of Greystoke and Penrith.

Day 3 Penrith to Stanhope – approx 45 miles

East of Penrith, you cross the River Eden at Langwathby and start to climb into the north western Pennines. There are a few section of downhill, but the trend is uphill, all the way to Hartside Pass (590m). There is a glorious descent to follow to Alston. There is a museum and heritage centre in Nenthead, the first town on the route. There’s a wonderful long, gentle descent off Allendale Moor into Allenheads. The road does rise and fall all day to Stanhope.

Day 4 Stanhope to Newcastle– approx 34 miles

The final day starts with a bit of uphill to reach the start of the Waskerley Way - it’s pretty much downhill or flat the whole way to Tynemouth. The old railway line curves gently round Waskerley and Smiddy Shaw reservoirs, over the magnificent Hownsgil viaduct and down into Consett. Beyond Consett, you continue along the traffic-free path through the heavily wooded Derwent Valley all the way to the outskirts of Newcastle, and the mighty Tyne River. Turning east, the route follows the Tyne through the heart of Newcastle to your hotel for the evening.

Day 5: Newcastle to Corbridge approx 30 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 from the heart of Newcastle, underneath the ornate bridges which span the Tyne, continuing along to Corbridge . This is a thriving town steeped in history. It was prosperous through the Middle Ages and today, it’s full of boutique shops and charm.

Day 6: Corbridge to Gilsland: approx 31 miles

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. 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.

Day 7

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. Stop at the Lanercost Priory then on to Brampton then onto Warwick Bridge. A path along the banks of the River Eden leads you through the centre and out into Cumbrian countryside. Speeding through the villages of Kirkandrews-on-Eden and Burgh by Sands you arrive in the outskirts of Carlisle. Follow the Solway Firth west, past sand dunes and across salt marsh. The area is rich in birdlife. Your last section is 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 your Hadrian’s Wall journey and the end of your cycle ride. You will be met by your Bkecation rep who will collect your bikes and transfer you back to Newcastle for the evening.

Day 8: Departure

After breakfast, bid farewell for your departure home.

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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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