Coast & Castles bike tour Newcastle - Edinburgh
Single / Double
Any Start Date February to November
A nine centre self-guided bike tour from Newcastle in Northern England to Edinburgh in Scotland. 9 nights bed and breakfast in en-suite (wherever possible) guesthouse accommodation, and 8 days hire of a hybrid 21 speed all-terrain bike with delivery to the start and pick-up at the end. Also includes luggage transfers, route guide and maps. PLEASE NOTE: The only meal included in the tour price is breakfast.
On this 200 mile bike ride you will soon see why they call it the Coast and Castles Cycle Route. Exploring the Northumberland coast is the best way to learn more about the history of the border wars between England and Scotland.
Starting in the northeast of England at Newcastle the route takes you along the coast at an easy pace allowing you plenty of time to view all the castles as you go. At Berwick the route heads inland following the course of the River Tweed to finish in Scotland's capital city, Edinburgh.
START: Newcastle is on the north-east coast of England.
FINISH: Edinburgh is on the east coast of Scotland.
DAY ONE: Cycle from Newcastle to Newbiggin-by-the-sea. Distance approx. 26 miles (42 km). After breakfast your bike will be delivered to the hotel, and help will be given with adjustments. You can then begin your ride on a delightful traffic free section out of Newcastle that allows you to get used to the bike. Following the course of the River Tyne you will see a mixture of modern and old architecture. At Tynemouth (with its ruins of the Priory and Castle) the route heads north along the Northumberland coast. There are plenty of opportunities to buy refreshments or lunch from many seaside towns like Whitley Bay. In Newbiggin, a selection of hotels and pubs will provide your evening meal tonight. Overnight: Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Northumberland, England.
DAY TWO: Cycle from Newbiggin-by-the-Sea to Alnwick. Distance approx. 27 miles (43 km). From here the route becomes much more scenic as you leave urban Tyneside behind. This is one of the most beautiful stretches of the Northumbrian coastline, with nature reserves such as Druridge Bay. In some parts the trail follows along the beach to Amble followed by Warkworth with its impressive castle (a lovely place to stop for lunch). Then heading inland the route follows country roads through farmland to your next destination 'Alnwick' recently voted one of the most desirable places to live in the UK. A very popular tourist attraction is Alnwick Castle and Gardens, home to the Duke of Northumberland. It is open to the public and a must-see for Harry Potter fans. A selection of traditional pubs and restaurants will provide your evening meal tonight. Overnight: Alnwick, Northumberland, England.
DAY THREE: Cycle from Alnwick to Bamburgh. Distance approx. 25 miles (40 km). Today you cycle along the coast on quiet minor roads passing through quaint little fishing villages such as Craster, famous for its kippers (which you may have had for breakfast). Next are the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle. This 14th Century castle is perched right on a cliff edge. The route then takes you inland for a while before returning to the coast at the aptly named seaside village of Seahouses. Bamburgh is the most impressive castle of them all. It housed more people than any other castle in England (with the exception of Windsor castle). The small village of Bamburgh is the birthplace of Grace Darling famed for her daring rescue of 5 people from a shipwreck. A selection of hotels and pubs will provide you with an evening meal tonight. Overnight: Bamburgh, Northumberland, England.
DAY FOUR: Cycle from Bamburgh to Berwick-upon-Tweed. Distance approx. 23 miles (37 km). Heading inland again on quiet country roads broken up by farmsteads and villages, you will catch sight of Holy Island. Adding an extra 6 miles to your ride, this excursion is well worth the additional effort. Subject to the tide times, this unique island is cut-off from the mainland twice a day by the incoming North Sea. Once on the island historically known as Lindisfarne there is a castle and a priory to visit with plenty of places for refreshments or lunch. The last section of the route is a mixture of country lanes and gravel tracks along the coast to the Scottish border town of Berwick. This attractive walled town changed hands 13 times in the England Scotland Border wars. A selection of hotels and pubs will provide you with an evening meal tonight. Overnight: Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland, England.
DAY FIVE: Cycle from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Kelso. Distance approx. 30 miles (48 km). Leaving Berwick you are now officially in Scotland, riding along quiet country lanes dotted with farm cottages and grander houses of the lowland lairds. Criss-crossing the River Tweed famous for its salmon fishing you will pass the 12th century ruins of Norham Castle. Continuing on along the beautiful Tweed valley you reach Coldstream, a worthwhile visit and perhaps a stop for lunch. This is where the Coldstream Guards get their name. A 19th century guard house stands in the market square with a museum. From here the route takes you through open and wooded farmland for about 12 miles, to your destination for today, the attractive town of Kelso. A selection of hotels and pubs will provide you with an evening meal tonight. Overnight: Kelso, Scotland
DAY SIX: Cycle from Kelso to Innerleithen. Distance approx 31 miles (49 km). The first half of today’s ride passes countless abbeys and fortified buildings that indicate this region’s tempestuous history. Just out of Kelso is the impressive Floors Castle which is well worth a visit. The route then takes you along quiet country roads to the next sites of historical interest, Dryburgh Abbey and Abbotsford House at Melrose. This is the former home of Sir Walter Scott who wrote of the warring English and Scots, turning these borderlands into bloody battlefields. The final section is particularly nice along wooded lanes into the border hills and the stunning scenery around Innerleithen. A selection of hotels and pubs here will provide your evening meal tonight. Overnight: Innerleithen, Scotland.
DAY SEVEN: Cycle from Innerleithen to Gorebridge. Distance approx 20 miles (32 km). Today includes the only hill climb of the ride, but it is also the bonniest section of the tour. Leaving Innerleithen the route rises gently into the heather clad Moorfoot hills, which are quite different in character from the rest of the route. A minor road leads through the glen providing a true feeling of remoteness. On reaching the summit your efforts are rewarded by the spectacular views over Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth beyond. The descent also makes the climb worthwhile, freewheeling down to rich farmland and your next overnight stop. Visit the local pub for your evening meal tonight. Overnight: Gorebridge, Scotland.
DAY EIGHT: Cycle from Gorebridge to Edinburgh. Distance approx. 18 miles (29 km). Today is a short, flat and easy ride on mainly traffic-free cycle lanes alongside the busy city roads. The route is well signposted, giving you plenty of time to take in the sights of Edinburgh. As you zigzag through the suburbs of the city there are many historical buildings all around you, none more impressive than Edinburgh Castle. You have the choice of using the bikes to get around the city or dropping them off to explore on foot. With many opportunities for refreshments or lunch in Edinburgh, this vibrant city has plenty of attractions on offer for your final day and night of the tour. Overnight: Edinburgh, Scotland.
FINAL DAY: Depart Edinburgh. This tour finishes after breakfast.
RAIL TRAVEL from LONDON to NEWCASTLE (NOT included in tour price): There is an hourly train service from London (Kings Cross) to Newcastle. The nearest international airport is Newcastle.
RAIL TRAVEL from EDINBURGH to LONDON (NOT included in tour price): The nearest airport is Edinburgh. There is an hourly train service from Edinburgh to London.
ARRIVING and DEPARTING by EUROLINES or NATIONAL EXPRESS COACH: This is by far the cheapest option for long-distance travel in England, Scotland, and Wales. There are very convenient buses from each major airport. National Express carries over 16 million passengers to 1000 different places in the UK every year, and thousands more from destinations across Europe and Ireland. You can purchase an e-Ticket where you print your travel ticket online in a matter of minutes OR you can obtain an m-Ticket and have your travel ticket sent to your mobile phone - no paper ticket required. You then present this to the driver on arrival.
ARRIVING BY CAR: Please ask for details.
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GRADE C cycling: Between 18 - 35 miles (27-56 kms) a day. The route is principally a flat ride, but there is a steady climb of about 250 feet on the penultimate day. We recommend that clients bring their own cycles, clothing and equipment. We can arrange for the hire of this, if required. The cost would be about £50. You will start cycling about 10am and finish at approx. 4pm. These grades are for guidance only and will depend on weather conditions and your fitness.