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    Bike Tour

    The Five Countries Tour

    1 review(s)

    Next Trip: 21st - 2nd Jun 2023 Duration: 13 Days / 12 Nights

    From €5,210 View Prices & Dates

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    Trip created by Darragh Devaney
    View Darragh's Profile

    Region: Multi-Location
    Trip Type: Biking
    Accommodation: Classic
    Max Group Size: 8
    Confirmed: When 4 Travellers Book
    Deposit From €1,302.50 €1,302.50

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    Carbon Footprint: 315kg ? What does this mean?
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    All you need to know about your trip, this essential document is a must for all adventures.

    Download Itinerary

    Cycle through the five countries of Great Britain and Ireland – all in one highlight-packed bike tour. Over 13 days ride 700 km/435 miles +, experience the different cultures and the best of what’s on offer across the islands of the UK and Ireland.

    This unique itinerary provides the amazing opportunity to cycle through the five countries of England, Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland – all in a single highlight-packed adventure.

    We start in England’s Yorkshire Dales National Park, where our route heads south into Lancashire. Then we cross the border into Wales and ride through Snowdonia National Park before hitting the historic coast. A short hop leads to the Isle of Anglesey and from there across the Irish Sea to Ireland and Dublin for a day of rest in one of Europe’s greatest capitals. We then head west within Ireland, exploring the roads of County Donegal before crossing the border back into the UK in Northern Ireland. Here we follow the spectacular Antrim Coast (some say the best stretch of coastline in Ireland) past the remarkable Giant’s Causeway.

    From Northern Ireland, it’s a ferry journey to our final country – Scotland. Here we ride through Dumfries & Galloway on rolling roads. Farms and green hills provide the background to the end of our journey. Our final day passes through Keir Mill where the pedal bicycle was invented back in 1839 before rolling into the 17th-century Drumlanrig Castle – a majestic end to our memorable tour of all five countries of the British Isles.

    Need a bike? See our bike rental page for details.

    Trip Highlights

    • Ride through the fantastic 5 countries of the UK & Ireland.
    • Experience the culture of 5 different nations journeying through the best of scenery from wild mountains, to scenic coast, castles and charming villages.
    • Explore the roads made famous by the Tour de France, Tour of Britain & Tour of Ireland.

    Day by Day Itinerary

    Day 1 – York and the Yorkshire Dales

    You will meet your guides for the trip at York Train Station at 11:00am and transfer to our start point on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. Over lunch in a local pub, your guides will brief you on the day ahead. Our opening ride follows a lovely route around the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to the village of Leyburn. We then ride through Wensleydale before crossing into the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Our destination for the evening is in the Swaledale Valley, where we stay in a local inn and enjoy a welcome dinner. (L, D)

    Ride details: 37 km/23 miles | 585 m/1,920 ft elevation gain

    Day 2 – Yorkshire and the Tour de France

    In 2014, Yorkshire was the proud host of the Grand Depart for the Tour de France. Today’s route follows much of Stage 1 of the 2014 tour and provides the opportunity to test yourself on the amusing Anglo-French climbs of the Côte de Buttertubs (532m) and Côte de Cray (416m). We’ll ride through some of England’s most iconic and picturesque scenery, typical of the Yorkshire Dales. Today is one of the most challenging of the trip but the rewards are ample. By the time we reach the village of Malham, you will have ridden one of the best day rides in the UK. (B, L, D)

    Ride details: 82 km/51 miles | 1,319 m/4,326 ft elevation gain

     

    Day 3 – Yorkshire Dales to the Forest of Bowland

    A relaxing start today after yesterday’s big ride. Leaving behind the Yorkshire Dales National Park, we cross into Lancashire and the Forest of Bowland. This is the geographic centre of Great Britain, which seems a fitting place to ride through on our five countries tour. We ride through to the village of Waddington, where we take a late lunch. Then we transfer south to Oswestry near the English/Welsh border. (B, L, D)

    Ride details: 35 km/22 miles | 425 m/1,394 ft elevation gain

    Day 4 – Across the English/Welsh border

    From Oswestry, our bike tour heads west into Wales. Central and North Wales are fairly mountainous which makes for great and, at times, challenging cycling. Immediately you will notice a different culture to England. Welsh is often the first language and the national identity is strong. Passing through the rolling valleys of the east, the Milltir Cerrig mountain pass presents a challenge to entering Snowdonia National Park. However, the climb of 300 m/900 ft is at a steady gradient and the increasingly impressive views provide motivation. The descent of over 8 km/5 miles is a blast and leads us to lunch at the beautiful Bala Lake. The second half of the day journeys through increasingly wild Welsh scenery on roads ideal for bike riding. Climbing higher into Snowdonia National Park our destination for the evening awaits at the end of another amazing descent into Ffestiniog. (B, L, D)

    Ride details: 76 km/47 miles | 1,160 m/ 3,808 ft elevation gain

    Day 5 – Snowdonia, Anglesey and Dublin

    Our second day in Wales begins in the mountains of Snowdonia. In the morning, we will pass through many mountain villages steeped in Welsh mythology and legend. Continuing west, our ride destination is in Caernarfon – home to one of the most impressive castles you will find anywhere and a World Heritage Site which overlooks the Menai Straits. After a late lunch and time to explore the town, we will transfer to the Isle of Anglesey and the port of Holyhead, where our journey across the Irish Sea begins. It’s just over 2 hours by ferry to Dublin, where we’ll head to our accommodation and settle in for the evening. (B, L, D)

    Ride details: 51 km/32 miles | 707 m/2,318 ft elevation gain

    Day 6 – Rest day in Dublin

    After 5 days of riding, we are about halfway through our 5 countries tour. The cosmopolitan capital of Dublin provides a great choice for a break from riding. Wander the historic streets, sample the city’s cafes and bars or perhaps check-in for a massage to recharge for the second half of the tour. Dublin is a fantastic city to hang out in and explore. Tonight we enjoy a relaxed dinner in Dublin and perhaps a few pints of Guinness in the world-famous Temple Bar district. (B)

    Day 7 – Dublin to County Donegal

    In the morning, we transfer out west to the wild open spaces of North Donegal. Geographically and politically cut off from much of the Republic of Ireland due to the border with Northern Ireland, Donegal has retained its cultural identity and unique accent. We’ll arrive in time for lunch near Glenveagh National Park before riding north to the coast. Our accommodation for the night gives spectacular views over Sheephaven Bay.
    (B, L, D)

    Ride details: 36 km/22 miles | 540 m/1,770 ft elevation gain

    Day 8 – Fanad Head and Lough Swilly

    Continuing north, our route today takes us through a landscape dotted with castles and along the rocky coastal terrain in this little-travelled region of Donegal at the world’s edge. Our most northerly point is the Fanad Head Lighthouse, situated on the wild coast of the Fanad Peninsula in North Donegal. From here, we ride south towards one of the most picturesque climbs of the trip and continue on overlooking the azure shores of Lough Swilly, a vast glacial fjord between two peninsulas. (B, L, D)

    Ride details: 67.5 km/42 miles | 972 m/3,189 ft elevation gain

    Day 9 – Inishowen Peninsula and Northern Ireland

    Riding across the Inishowen Peninsula, we follow an epic route featuring exhilarating climbs and exciting descents. Upon reaching the east coast, a private charter boat will take us across the border into Northern Ireland where we arrive into Portballintrae and make our way to our hotel for the night. This evening there is the option of riding the cycle-way from the hotel down to the Giant’s Causeway, where this fascinating geological formation and World Heritage Site can be seen free from the day-time crowds. (B, L, D)

    Ride details: 63 km/39 miles | 934 m/3,063 ft elevation gain

    Day 10 – The Antrim Coast then Sail to Scotland

    Today’s ride takes us to our final country, starting in Northern Ireland and ending in Scotland. The first part of the route follows the Antrim Coast which many consider to be the finest stretch of coastline in Northern Ireland. Some also consider it to be the “toughest cycling road in Ireland”! The riding is as dramatic as it is challenging following the Torr Scenic route through wild landscapes and deserted villages. Then it’s a short transfer by road to the ferry port of Larne. The crossing from Larne to Scotland takes 2 hours. Once in Scotland we make our way to our overnight stop in Newton Stewart. (B, L, D)

    Ride details: 48 km/30 miles | 768 m/2,520 ft elevation gain

    Day 11 – The Galloway Hills

    Dumfries and Galloway is a cycling revelation with quiet roads through beautiful scenery. Our route takes in some of the region’s best roads as we head through Galloway Forest Park in the shadow of the hills known as the “Range of the Awful Hand”. From here we head south following the shores of Loch Ken and then through rolling farmland. With no major climbs this afternoon, we should make quick progress, reaching Castle Douglas by mid afternoon, allowing some time to explore the 18th century market town on foot. (B, L, D)

    Ride details: 56 km/35 miles | 1,155 m/1,860 ft elevation gain

    Day 12 – Castle Douglas to Drumlanrig Castle

    Our final day of riding takes us from Castle Douglas to a magnificent finish at the 17th century Drumlanrig Castle. The Speddoch climb provides the last major climb of the trip, winding through woodland on the lower slopes to wild moorland. The descent from the pass is superb with great views across the glens and hills to the north. A short distance on we pass Keir Mill where the pedal bicycle was invented back in 1839. From here, it’s a short distance to the Drumlanrig Estate where quiet roads wind through scenic parkland. Our final km is one of the best you’ll find anywhere – a perfect boulevard leading right to the castle entrance. No doubt you’ll be feeling the effects of the past 11 days riding but we’ll have smiles all round! We’ll enjoy some celebratory drinks and cake at the castle before returning to Castle Douglas for our final night dinner together. (B, L, D)

    Ride details: 51 km/32 miles | 525 m/1,710 ft elevation gain

    Day 13 – Transfer to Edinburgh then depart

    After a relaxing breakfast, we’ll depart Castle Douglas around 9:30am for the two-hour drive to Edinburgh. We will plan our arrival into Edinburgh Park no later than 12:00pm with the option to be dropped at Lockerbie for the West Coast railway line en route (for trains south inc London). On your journey home, you’ll have time to reflect on what will surely be one of the most memorable biking trips you’ve ever done. (B)

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    Biking
    The Five Countries Tour

    To download a PDF copy of our Trip Itinerary, containing full details about this holiday, please complete the form below:

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    Trip Dates & Prices

    Trip Dates for 2023AvailabilityStatusPriceBook
    21st May - 2nd Jun 2023Trip FullFULLY BOOKED€5,210
    25th Jun - 7th Jul 20238 places leftUNCONFIRMED€5,210Book Now
    13th Aug - 25th Aug 20236 places leftUNCONFIRMED€5,210Book Now

    Trip Details

    Accommodation Read More

    This trip features some of the best hotel and guest house accommodation and food in the British Isles. As outlined above, each day lunch is either a wilderness picnic or taken at a local cafe/restaurant.

    Single Room Supplement

    We do not charge single-person supplements to solo travellers. However, you will be expected to share a room with another person of the same sex.

    Due to the limited range of accommodations in the regions we visit, we can accommodate a maximum of 2 single rooms on this trip. There is a single supplement charge for this trip which is subject to availability.

    Single rooms should be requested at the time of booking but all single room requests are subject to availability.

    Meals Read More

    All meals are included in the price of this trip with the exception of lunch and dinner on the rest day. Breakfast is provided each morning, as well as lunch and snacks throughout the trip. Local pubs and restaurants offer a wide choice of local dishes.

    On this trip, we generally eat dinner as a group however if you would like to make alternative arrangements you are free to do so. Your guide will have an evening off during this trip where they do not eat with the group. They will recommend options for dinner that evening and will help you make any necessary reservations.

    Inclusions Read More

    What’s included in this cycling holiday?

    • 13 days professional guiding with lead guide, plus assistant guide/support driver
    • 12 nights accommodation in 3* and 4* hotels/inns/guest houses on a B&B basis
    • Most meals as stated in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
    • Vehicle transport throughout including ride support and luggage transfers
    • Ferry and private boat transport as required
    • Entrance and admission fees as stated in the itinerary
    • Ride snacks, home-baking and drinks and some Wilderness extras
    • and a boat load of fun!

    Read more about this cycling trip below and download the dossier for more information.

    Trip Grading Read More

    Blue Graded 4-6

    Our blue graded trips are aimed at people who regularly enjoy road cycling and may have completed a multi-day cycle tour before. These trips include the occasional day with steeper climbs, but with plenty of opportunities to stop and admire the view and take photos.

    Harder days are usually followed by much easier ones both in terms of how much distance we cover that day and the number of steep ascents. Most days these trips allow plenty of time for exploring the surrounding area and enjoying relaxed lunches.

    Distance typically ranges from 30-50 miles each with rolling terrain. On some days you can expect some more challenging climbs and steeper descents. But remember, our support minivan will always be available to offer you a ride if you need it.

    Travel – Arrival and Departure Read More

    You will be met by your guide at 11.00 on Day 1 of the trip at the York Train Station in England. The meeting place will be at the bottom of the stairs, under the gold clock (on the ATM side).

    We will finish at Edinburgh Park Train Station in Scotland by 12.00 on Day 13. For full details on how to get to York and from Edinburgh, please see our travel page.

    Photo Gallery

    Make This Trip Private

    Fancy this trip just for your group? Get together with family and friends spend quality time exploring wild places. A private trip allows you to benefit from all the features of the group departure, including hand-picked accommodation and expert local guides but with the advantage of the flexibility to tailor the days to your group. Make the trip more or less challenging depending on your experience or choose to add in some optional extras like castle or distillery visits depending on your interests. The price of a private trip will depend on the number of travellers in your group. Let us know your prefered departure date and we'll take care of the rest.

    Speak to an Expert

    Darragh Devaney

    One of our team members, Darragh is Wilderness Ireland’s Operations Manager. As the team’s resident bike expert, Darragh has helped research, design and even guide nearly all of Wilderness Ireland’s bike trips. When not in the office, Darragh can usually be found exploring a little-known corner of Ireland on two wheels or camping in the countryside with his family.

    Ask Darragh a Question

    Difficulty Grades Explained

    Blue Grades 4-6

    The road cycling trips that we offer are graded to take into account a combination of the general level of fitness required and the number of miles cover as well as the daily ascent and estimated saddle time.

    Our blue graded trips are aimed at people who regularly enjoy road cycling and may have completed a multi-day cycle tour before. These trips include the occasional day with steeper climbs, but with plenty of opportunity to stop and to admire the view and take photos.

    Harder days are usually followed by much easier ones both in terms of how much distance we cover that day and the number of steep ascents. Most days these trips allow plenty of time for exploring the surrounding area and to enjoy relaxed lunches.

    Distance typically range from 30-50 miles each with rolling terrain. On some days you can expect some more challenging climbs and steeper descents. But remember, our support minivan will always be available to offer you a ride if you need it!

    Before joining this trip, the questions you should be asking yourself are:

    Are you happy being on your bike for around six hours each day for several days in a row?

    Do you regularly ride your bike most weeks or have you done a multi day tour recently?

    Are you comfortable climbing and descending steep roads?

    Trip Reviews

    Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 1 review(s) of Bike Tour – The Five Countries Tour

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    Every client receives a feedback survey when they return from their guided, self guided or tailor made holiday with us. Once completed the review is published on our website just as soon as our database updates. The little touches and details are important to us and where issues are raised we make positive changes to our trips to improve your experience.

    That’s why we read each of our client’s reviews and although we don’t respond to all of them, if it’s glowing feedback then we get the satisfaction of helping to make your holidays truly memorable.

    CE

    Charlie Evenson

    Reviewed on 07/07/2019

    Age: 60 - 70
    Country: USA
    Trip Date: 17/06/2019
    Trips Taken: 3

    The Bottom Line

    The Bottom Line

    This was a really fun trip! The route was interesting, scenic, challenging enough and the choice of roads (appropriate for biking) was excellent. We loved the winding country lanes, stone walls and hedgerows, grand vistas, awesome descents and even the super-steep climbs. With so much to see along the way each day, we'd like to have been able to slow time down to better soak it all in. Our guides, Ben and Simon, were true professionals. They made our lives carefree so we could just ENJOY!

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