Oxford to Bath By Bike
- Cycle through quintessential Cotswold villages and countryside
- Explore the world-famous university city of Oxford
- Indulge in delicious hearty food and have a pint in cosy country pubs
- The honey-coloured 17th-century stone cottages in Bibury
- Bath's exquisite Georgian architecture and Roman history
ItineraryDay 1 Arrive in Oxford
Arrive in the university city of Oxford, home to one of the world’s most prestigious universities with the oldest colleges dating back to 1300. The university buildings are scattered throughout the city, generally honey-coloured and very elegant. Allow time to do a university walking tour, and explore the city's narrow cobbled streets and tranquil courtyards before finishing in one of the many British pubs. Oxford is easily reached from London and is well-connected to other major cities in the UK by train.
A family-run hotel located in central Oxford, just a 10-minute walk to the city centre. This Victorian mansion with its characterful and elegant period features individually decorated rooms named after Oxford Colleges. The hotel’s restaurant, Restaurant 66A, serves up traditional British food using fresh and local produce, some of which come directly from the owner’s farm in the English countryside. They also have a bar, cosy lounge and a Mediterranean-style courtyard garden.
A true Oxford experience. Stay at Keble College, the University of Oxford, for a unique stay and where a cooked breakfast is served in their magnificent neo-Gothic dining hall. Keble College was founded in 1870 and is one of Oxfords architectural landmarks located in the heart of the City. You'll get to venture behind the famous college walls and stay as a guest. Although rooms are a little more basic, they are comfortable and come with your usual B&B facilities; nice linen, towels, toileteries, free Wi-Fi and tea & coffee making facilities. A stay here is all about the experience, staying on the spectacular college grounds and dining in Oxford's longest hall. It's only available during the summer months, and we recommend booking early should you wish to secure a unique stay here.
Leave the city of Oxford by bike, cycling along one of the tranquil waterways and riding through the surrounding quaint villages, with some dating back to the Saxon times. For a hearty lunch, stop in one of the fantastic country inns along the way, before entering the Cotswolds. Your destination for today is one of England's prettiest medieval towns, Burford, which boasts sweeping views from the top of its high street.
Total ascent/descent: 313m/261m
A charming Cotswold country inn bursting with character, located at the heart of the bustling town of Burford. Dating from 1480, The Highway Inn has been a true Cotswold inn for over 500 years, retaining its old timber and stone building with original fireplaces and a medieval courtyard garden. Enjoy their local British cooked food, serving up great combinations of simple pub food such as pie of the day, fresh fish and chips and some excellent steaks, coupled with some more refined dishes. Their full English breakfast is also worth indulging in.
Wake up in the beautiful Cotswolds and cycle further into this area of oustanding natutral beauty (AONB), with its famous stone walled architecture and well-preserved villages. You'll arrive in the town of Northleach, a pretty market town and a perfect spot for lunch. Then head out towards Chedworth along calm country roads, where a 4th century Roman Villa awaits with its fine mosaics, bathing pools and temple ruins. It's one of the largest Roman remains in Britain. Your day will come to an end as you follow the river to reach your destination, the village of Bibury, coined as "the most beautiful village in England" with its famous Arlington Row houses.
Total ascent/descent: 386m/393m
Nestled along the picturesque banks of the River Coln, this historic Cotswold coaching inn provides an idyllic haven after a ride in the Cotswolds. The hotel's charming facade is enveloped by a lush canopy of leaves, giving it a cosy, woolly green jumper-like appearance. There are plenty of cosy armchairs to sink into in their bar, with a big open log. They also have a lovely terrace for outdoor dining during the summer months.
Ride deeper into the Cotswolds, enjoying picturesque villages as you head towards the Roman town of Cirencester. It'll be a contrast to the sleepy villages you've cycled through, with plenty of lunch options and multiple Roman sites, including an amphitheatre. Slip out of this bustling little market town through easy off-road bridleways, before entering peaceful and secluded countryside once again. Arrive in the market town of Tetbury, another classic Cotswold town located close to Highgrove House, the country residence of King Charles.
Total ascent/descent: 368m/356m
Nestled in the charming market town of Tetbury, The Close Hotel and Restaurant is a 16th-century townhouse in the Cotswolds. Its rich history dates back to 1535 when it was originally constructed for John Steede, a local Yeoman. Since its transformation into a hotel in 1974, its become one of the best hotels in the region. Expect a warm and inviting atmosphere with classic Cotswold country inn hospitality!
The Ormond is a boutique Cotswold coaching inn that has welcomed travellers since the 17th century. One of many historic buildings in the centre of town, it's close to the many antique shops and independent stores that make Tetbury such a gem. They serve a variety of ales, fine wines and delicious food.
Cycle along the lower side of the Cotswolds, exploring the towns and villages of Gloucestershire and Wiltshire. You'll never be far from the historic Roman Road, The Fosse Way, which forms the boundary between these two counties. Drop into Castle Combe, another picture-perfect Cotswold village that you may recognise since it's often used to promote the region. You'll then arrive in the pretty town of Corsham, renowned for its free roaming peacocks and independent shops and restaurants.
Total ascent/descent: 281m/309m
A venture by Marco Pierre White, one of Britain's celebrity chefs. Expect Victorian-style decor with antique beds and roll-top baths, complete with underfloor heating and Juliette balconies. This is a beautifully designed hotel located within a historic English country house with 14 acres of beautiful grounds, wooded areas, ponds and wild meadow gardens to stroll around in. Enjoy the stunning views across the Box Valley towards Bath.
First you'll cycle through the village of Lacock, a popular location for film crews, appearing in various TV productions such as Downton Abbey and Pride & Prejudice. Why not stop at the local inn for a pub lunch, or visit one of the many local stores for picnic supplies to eat on Broughton Common. Continue through peaceful countryside towards the stunning town of Bradford-upon-Avon, with its quirky shops and beautiful historic architecture. Located on the river and canal, it attracts many visitors and certainly worth an explore. Hop back on the bike and join the canal path, passing waterside pubs and stunning views of the countryside as you edge closer to Bath.
Total ascent/descent: 220m/284m
You are assured a very warm welcome at Oldfields House. The comfortable rooms offer relaxation after a day of riding. Situated less than 15 minutes’ walk from the city centre, the property boasts views overlooking the city and the surrounding countryside.
Your cycling holiday will come to an end after breakfast. See the Travel Info section for some useful details for your onward travel. Or why not add on an extra night or two to explore this fantastic city, with many places to enjoy lunch, dinner and drinks.
Other InformationIs it for me?
This route is graded easy to moderate, with rides ranging from 36km to 46km and total daily ascents ranging from 220m to 386m. Starting from Oxford and finishing in Bath, you'll cycle through some of the best scenery of southern England, passing through some of the finest Cotswolds villages along the way.
Slower Adventures | Where walking and cycling meet easy-going exploring, our Slower Adventures are the perfect combination. Most days are filled with picturesque journeys with some free time to dive into the destination and experience the people, local food and culture as you go.
Leisure Cycling | Leisure Cycling
Accessible by Rail
As a guide, we would suggest that the minimum age of traveler this tour would be suitable for is: 5 Years
This route is graded easy to moderate, with rides ranging from 36km to 42km and total daily ascents ranging from 240m to 495m. This tour is perfect for occasional riders seeking to discover a region from the saddle, and comfortable riding up to 40km/25 miles each day over a few consecutive days. These shorter daily mileages allow time to stop and take in the scenery, stop for coffees and a long lunch before arriving at your destination, and to take in the sights. You'll cycle on quiet country roads with very occasional stretches on busier roads as you approach towns, and easy canal paths as you approach Bath. The terrain is rolling, and you can enjoy being on tarmac roads, easy gravel paths and cycle paths.
You will experience a variety of accommodations on this tour, a mixture of 4 and 5-star boutique country inns and B&Bs with rooms that offer warm welcomes and traditional hospitality.
Single Rooms & Solo CyclistsIf you require single rooms we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. We also welcome solo riders, although you should, of course, take extra care in the outdoors when cycling alone.
MealsA hearty breakfast is included each morning, with each accommodation taking pride in using fresh produce sourced locally. Lunch and dinner are not included so you are free to choose from the available options we provide in your Information Pack and the Macs Adventure App.
Additional NightsIf you wish to add additional nights along the way or at the beginning and end of your itinerary please contact us. You may choose to add some rest days, or extra days where there is plenty of opportunity for sightseeing.
We provide GPX tracks that are accessible on the Macs Adventure App, so you can simply follow the route on your phone and have a problem-free day. Upon arrival, you'll also receive detailed information of the tour, maps and recommendations for points of interest & restaurants to visit, as well as key locations to visit. We have also included GPX tracks for self-guided walking tours in some of the towns, such as Bibury, Cirencester and Lacock.
- 6 nights accommodation in boutique country inns
- All breakfasts and 1 complimentary drink on arrival
- Luggage transfers
- Access to maps, GPX tracks and daily route information with the Macs Adventure app
- 24/7 Emergency telephone support from our UK office
- Self-guided walking tours in towns along the route (via the Macs Adventure app)
- Bike hire (standard touring bike)
- Travel to Oxford and travel from Bath
- Lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks
- Travel Insurance
- Personal Equipment
- E-bike hire (a supplement is payable)
- Upgrade to an E-bike
- Extra nights
There is no bad time but the best months for cycling are in spring, summer and autumn when the weather is fairer. Spring is great as the wildflowers will be in bloom and the local towns and villages will be quieter during the day. By October the Cotswolds are covered in lovely orange hues as the leaves start to fall in the Autumn. You can start this tour on any day of the week between the start of April and the end of October, subject to availability. The Cotswolds are very popular so it is best to book as far in advance as you are able to.
By nature, the South West of England is prone to varying types of weather throughout the year. Always be prepared for changeable conditions when cycling in England. Waterproofs are essential all year round. In the summer months, be prepared for hot weather also (ensure you have sunscreen and plenty of water) and in the shoulder seasons of March or October expect colder temperatures (it’s not a bad idea to pack cycling gloves and a buff).
Before you set off each day, it is also important that you pay attention to any weather warnings in place. We recommend visiting https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/ (the UK’s official source for weather warnings). Do not attempt to cycle if any serious weather warnings are in place, as weather conditions may affect surfaces.
From London Paddington station there are regular direct trains to Oxford, which take approximately 1 hour.
London Heathrow Airport - take the Heathrow Express train to London Paddington, taking just 15-20 minutes.London Gatwick Airport - take the national rail train to Farringdon (approx. 40 minutes). Then the Elizabeth Line on the London Underground to Paddington (which takes approx. 10 minutes).
London Stansted Airport - take the Stansted Express train to Liverpool Street station. Then the Elizabeth Line on the London Underground to Paddington (which takes approx. 10 minutes).
Bristol Airport is around an hour away from Bath on public transport and has good links to other airports in the UK and across Europe. Regular trains connect Bath Spa to Bristol Temple Meads. The A1 Airport Flyer bus departs from outside Bristol Temple Meads to the airport.
Fast and frequent train services also connect Bath to London Paddington (1h30).
London Heathrow Airport - from Paddington take the Heathrow Express train to London Heathrow Airport, taking just 15-20 minutes.
London Gatwick Airport - take the Elizabeth Line on the London Underground from Paddington to Farringdon (which takes approx. 10 minutes). Take the national rail train from Farringdon to Gatwick Airport (approx. 40 minutes).London Stansted Airport - take the Elizabeth Line on the London Underground from Paddington to Liverpool Street station (which takes approx. 10 minutes). Then the Stansted Express train from there to London Stansted.
Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation.
At Macs Adventure we work in partnership with many luggage transfer providers who set a limit on how many bags/suitcases they will transfer per person, and also the weight of the bag/suitcase. Ninety-nine per cent of the time they will only transfer one bag per person, but the allowed weight ranges from anything between 15 and 20kg per bag, depending on the tour you are taking. We do not have control over the limits that these providers set. Therefore, it is very important that you read the luggage information specific to your tour before departure. If you do not adhere to these limits there is a great possibility that you will be charged locally both for extra bags or if they are too heavy. This limitation can be a challenge, especially as airlines generally have limits that are higher. However, our luggage providers have reasons for these limits (usually due to the Health and Safety of their employees) which we must respect.
The distances and ascents/descents are approximations of the recommended routes.
Bike & E-Bike Hire
Hire of a standard bike is included in the tour price. E-Bikes are also available for hire, but a supplement is payable. We provide Gazelle Chamonix as the standard touring bikes, which come with Shimano 21 gears (offering easy pedalling gear for hills), a bottle cage, a D-Lock, phone holder, a pannier rack, 1 Ortlieb pannier bag, a basic tool kit and pump, and a cycle computer if needed (set in km). Tandem bikes, road bikes and gravel bikes are also available for hire for a supplemet. Helmets can be hired for free if needed, but we recommend that you bring your own helmet for your own comfort. Please do let us know if you also need a helmet with your bike hire.
For some battery-powered assistance on longer days, and to ease ascents, we recommend hiring an e-bike for a supplement. The rechargeable battery on your bike will be your reliable riding partner, getting you to the top of hills or to your final destination with more energy in the tank for an afternoon exploration. E-bikes are growing rapidly in popularity so please make sure to request one at the time of booking so we can secure availability for your trip and avoid disappointment.
It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.
6 Days 5 Nights0 ReviewsCycle the Thames Valley from London to Oxford, discovering iconic British sites along the way.Highlights
- Cycle the Thames Valley from London to Oxford
- Explore the Chiltern Hills and Henley on Thames
- Iconic Windsor Castle & Hampton Court Palace
7 Days 6 NightsCycle through some of the Cotswold’s most iconic countryside and pretty villages exploring en route.Highlights
- Pedal through quintessential English countryside
- Honey-coloured stone cottages and green hills
- Delicious food in cosy local pubs and restaurants
7 Days 6 NightsCycle the old Celtic Kingdom of Cornwall, defined by sparkling seas, rugged coastline and valleys.Highlights
- Pedal the Cornish Way and Camel Trail
- Beachside relaxation and cream teas
- Visit cosy harbourside pubs for a local ale