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 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.
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
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 Blenheim Buttery or similar
After a visit to Blenheim Palace head to the village of Bladon where Sir Winston Churchill is buried. 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 Angel Inn or similar
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
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
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
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
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 Hill House or similar
Depart after breakfast
During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking. If you'd like to keep your bikes with you for any extra nights we can arrange this for you for just £ per adult per day and £ per child per day.
NEARBY: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.
NEARBY:Based in the centre of Woodstock, the 17th Century building houses 6 ensuite rooms and the breakfast room overlooks the market square.
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 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 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 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.
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 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.
Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus an overall rating and comments about their holiday.
Any feedback collected is posted to our website, so that people can make an informed decision based on past experiences before heading off on holiday. We don’t edit the reviews, the only thing we do is proofread them and alter any typos, where necessary, to ensure they are easy to read for everyone. All reviews will be published (except in certain extreme circumstances), and a member of the Headwater team will respond to any constructive criticisms/comments under the reviews, at their discretion. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.
We thoroughly enjoyed our holiday cycling through stunning countryside and picturesque Cotteswald stone villages. All the routes were well planned to make the most of the countryside away from traffic. The only exception being the canal path from Oxford which was narrow and very overgrown. I would choose the alternative route. In the very hot weather we appreciated the electric bikes which made the undulating countryside very enjoyable. The accommodation was all very clean and welcoming. I am glad that I booked all restaurants meals in advance.
The holiday was really well organised despite multiple changes, delays and disruptions due to Covid. When at last we were able to leave we enjoyed a week cycling on peaceful byeways and roads through the Cotswolds travelling through areas pleasantly off the beaten track. It was a treat for our luggage to be moved each day to arrive reliably at our next accomodation. Andrew, the local agent was available if help was needed. When on one occasion our hotel was double booked he sorted out a change of accomodation at short notice and provided a souvenir book of the Cotswolds by way of apology.
Thank you Mr Paynter for your holiday summary, we are really pleased to hear you enjoyed your cycle ride with us and that you felt very well supported by our locally appointed agent.
We look forward to welcoming you on many more holidays with us.
Headwater Customer Service Team
Holiday organisation was excellent. A problem on the first day with the e-Bike was rectified quickly with delivery of a replacement bike. A few of the off road cycle routes were quite overgrown and narrow, probably due to the wetness of this summer! We were pleasantly surprised at the number of traffic-free country lanes and the courtesy of the car drivers we did meet. There was very little cycling on main roads. All accommodation was spotless and luckily we did book all evening meals in advance as everywhere was full. Now if only the British weather had held out.......!!
Thank you for your holiday summary, it is wonderful to learn you had a great time cycling in the Cotswolds. We are sorry to hear of the issue with the E-Bike provided, great news that our reliable, locally appointed agent fixed this for you so promptly with a replacement. Thank you for choosing Headwater and we look forward to arranging many more holidays for you.
Headwater Customer Service Team
Unlike other companies the office team were excellent. Questions were answered within timescale. If someone did not know they admitted it and checked: that's great as it drives us mad when people pretend to know. Accommodation generally good and better than that provided by other companies that we have used. Enjoyed the cycling in lovely countryside.
Thank you Dr Adams for your kind words about our team! It is lovely to learn you enjoyed your cycling holiday with us and we look forward to welcoming you on many more.
Customer Service Team
Beautiful countryside to ride through. Lovely accommodation and great food.
You can be confident that our pricing includes all the standard requirements of your holiday and many additional extras. Always ensure that you are comparing like for like when booking your holiday.
This 8 night self-guided cycling holiday includes:
Hotel-to-hotel accommodation in a mix of , , and hotels
Management by your local Headwater-appointed agent
GPS route directions and maps
Headwater navigation app
High quality bikes
Luggage transfers between hotels
How to book:
We do not currently have departure dates and prices available on-line. The season may have ended for this tour, or we are still in the process of adding these details to our website. Please contact us for further details.
Please contact us for child prices.
Self-guided cycling Managed locally by Headwater appointed agent.
It is possible to hire electric bikes for this holiday at a supplement of £188 per person. As these are available on a first come first served basis, we recommend early booking to avoid disappointment.
This holiday does not include any flights or rail.