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Cycle through the 5 countries of Great Britain and Ireland – all in one highlight-packed bike tour.
Over 13 days pedal about 800 km (about 500 miles), experience the different cultures and the best of what’s on offer in these islands.
This unique itinerary provides the amazing opportunity to cycle through the 5 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 by boat 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. Then from Northern Ireland, it’s a boat journey to our final country – Scotland. Here we ride through Dumfries & Galloway on rolling roads. Farms, green hills and gentle coastlines 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 5 countries of the British Isles.
Need a bike? See our bike rental page for details.
You will meet your guides for the trip at York Train Station at 11:00am and transfer to our start point at on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. Over a pub lunch, your guides will brief you for 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 near the village of Reeth where we stay in a local inn and enjoy a welcome dinner. (L, D)
Distance: 38km / 21 miles Elevation: 585m / 1920 ft
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 best day rides in the UK. (B, L,D)
Distance: 82km/ 51 miles Elevation: 1319m/ 4326 ft
A relaxing start today after yesterday’s big ride. Leaving the Yorkshire Dales National Park behind we cross into Lancashire and the Forest of Bowland. This happens to be the geographic centre of Great Britain, which seems a fitting place to ride through on our 5 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)
Distance: 45km/ 28 miles Elevation: 425m/ 1394 ft
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 barrier to entering Snowdonia National Park. However, the climb of 300m/900ft is at a steady gradient and the increasingly impressive views provide motivation. The descent over 8km/5mi 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)
Distance: 81km/ 50 miles Elevation: 1202m/ 3942 ft
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 and 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 cross by boat to reach the Isle of Anglesey. From here it’s a short distance to Holyhead where our journey across the Irish Sea begins. It’s just over 2 hours by fast boat to Dublin where we’ll be ashore in time for dinner in the city. (B, L,D)
Distance: 54km/ 34 miles Elevation: 707m/ 2318 ft
After 5 days of riding, we are 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 and explore. If your legs are feeling strong, there’s the option of a ride out of the city, along the coast and into the Wicklow mountains where the best views of the city can be taken. Tonight we enjoy a relaxed dinner in Dublin and perhaps a few pints of Guinness at the world famous Temple Bar. (B)
Distance: 58km/ 36 miles Elevation: 755m/ 2476 ft
In the morning we travel by road out west to the wild open spaces of North Donegal. Geographically and politically cut-off from much of the Republic because of the border with Northern Ireland, Donegal has retained its own cultural identity and unique accent. We’ll arrive in time for lunch near Glenveagh National Park before riding north to the coast. The route takes us along an elevated road overlooking Lough Swilly. From here it’s a short distance to our accommodation either in Rathmullan or Inishowen. (B, L,D)
Distance: 48km/ 29 miles Elevation: 574m/ 1882 ft
Continuing north, we’ll bike along an elevated road that overlooks the azure shores of Lough Swilly, a huge glacial fjord between two peninsulas.
Distance: 87km/ 54 miles Elevation: 1152m/ 3780 ft
Riding across the Inishowen Peninsula we follow an epic route featuring sporting climbs and exciting descents. Upon reaching the east coast a private charter boat will take us across the border into Northern Ireland where we continue our coastal route from Portrush to Portballintrae via the iconic Dunluce Castle. In the 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 daytime crowds. (B, L,D)
Distance: 74km/ 46 miles Elevation: 1402m/ 4598 ft
Today’s ride takes 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 and shortly after arrival the second half of our ride begins. We should make quick progress on the flat roads. Our route through the rural farmland of Dumfries takes us to our overnight stop in Wigtown. (B, L, D)
Distance: 74km/ 46 miles Elevation: 978m/ 3207 ft
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”. With no major climbs, we should make quick progress, reaching Castle Douglas for lunch. From here we head south following the shores of Loch Ken and then through rolling farmland. A late afternoon stop for coffee and cake at one of the best Farm Shops in Scotland provides the boost we need for the final 15km to our historic hotel in Mabie Forest near New Abbey. (B, L,D)
Distance: 98km / 61 miles Elevation: 928m / 3043 ft
Our final day of riding takes us from New Abbey 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 well have smiles all round! We’ll enjoy some celebratory drinks and cake at the castle before returning to New Abbey for our final night dinner together. (B, L, D)
Distance: 57km/ 35 miles Elevation: 663m/ 2174 ft
After a relaxing breakfast, we’ll depart New Abbey around 09:30am for the two hour drive to Edinburgh. We will plan our arrival into Edinburgh no later than 12:00 noon 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)
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. The single supplement charge for this trip is u00f3400 but please note that this is subject to availability.
Single rooms should be requested at the time of booking but all single room requests are subject to availability.
You will be met by your guide at 11 am on Day 1 of the trip at the York Train Station in England. We will finish in Edinburgh Waverley Train Station in Scotland around 12 pm on Day 12. Full details on how to get to York and from Edinburgh, please see our travel page.
|Trip Dates for 2020||Availability||Status||Price||Book|
|14th May - 14th May 2020||1 place(s) left||CONFIRMED||€3,520||Book Now|
Sometimes it's nice to get family and friends together and travel privately for some quality time. This means you benefit from all the features of the group departure, including hand-picked accommodation and expert local guides and we'll take care of it all. Then you can make your choice of departures dates and we'll get back to you to finalise the details.
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.
- Darragh DevaneyAsk Darragh a Question
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?
Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 1 review(s) of Bike Tour – The Five Countries Tour
Every client receives a feedback survey when they return from their guided, self guided or tailor made vacation 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 vacations truly memorable.
Reviewed on 07/07/2019
Age: 60 - 70
Trip Date: 17/06/2019
Trips Taken: 3
Accommodation & Food
The Bottom Line
Beautiful green rolling landscapes, stone-wall-lined lanes and fields dotted with sheep and cattle, fun and interesting travel mates, great food and drink plus unbelievably nice weather made our 5-Countries bike trip very memorable and satisfying. Carefree active holidays don't get any better than this!
Pub lunches every day were great, but a lunch in the field once or twice would have been OK too, especially on the longer days. There was an interesting mix of accommodations. We especially enjoyed the ones that were set out in the countryside. We were always well fed and never had a bad meal. Sampling the local foods, beers and gins was great.
We've done quite a bit of supported outdoor travel over the years and Ben and Simon are second to none when it comes to Guides! They made our lives easy, they adapted smoothly to every challenge, they were a wealth of knowledge and they're both just really fun guys to be around.
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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