Cotswolds, or something else

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  • Hi there. I have a couple of friends visiting on Easter weekend and we're thinking of going on a leisure stroll around some part of the country. They don't know the English countryside (not that I know much anyway), so we're thinking of 3 / 4 days around country lanes, passing by pretty villages and stopping for beer at every possible opportunity. If we could sleep on inns it'd be ideal, a nice meal + beers in the evening, then crawl upstairs for some sleep.

    We also don't want to spend hours and £££ taking trains to somewhere far from London. I looked at tickets to Wales, for instance, and it'd cost around £150 just to get there and back. When you add up by 3 people it's a lot of money. So my current plan is:

    • train to Oxford
    • ride to Broadway Tower
    • ride South through Cotswolds pretty villages, ending up at Lacock
    • go further South to visit Stonehenge
    • ride back to Oxford through North Wessex Downs
    • train to London

    It adds up to 330km, which is perfect for 3 1/2 days at a very relaxed pace, leaving plenty of space for breakfast, lunch, beers, and still arriving at daylight. Does anyone know the area well enough to recommend best routes and unmissable spots?

    My concerns are:

    • is it full of cunts racing on the small roads?
    • will I be able to find cheap accommodation and food? Or will I be in an eternal gastro pub trap?

    I only visited the Cotswolds once by car and it's absolutely lovely to look at but a bit difficult to relate to as everything felt so posh. I'm trusting there must be other ways of experiencing the place, but if my suspicions are right I could easily consider other areas (suggestions welcome).

  • The Cotswolds are a very popular tourist destination, so it'll be quite busy over Easter but the roads and drivers are no worse than anywhere else. There's plenty of lanes so if you're prepared to do a fair bit of navigation, then you can get off the beaten track quite easily.

    Personally, and I'm biased, I'd think the second part of your trip will be more reflective of rural England, with lots of lanes, pretty villages and good pubs. Places like Marlborough, Hungerford, and the area between them and Stonehenge has great scenery and loads of interesting lanes and pubs. Accommodation might be a problem, but if you've got a planned itinerary then you could easily book places in advance.

  • Thanks for this, will have a think and test other routes. It's true that we'll get the Cotswolds on a busy period, perhaps not the greatest experience for three guys on a tight budget.

  • LOL, just perusing the touring bits to get ideas. liking the smooth 1st question regarding the small roads. tickled moi. I would like to do the same over the Easter but may avoid due to the business during that time.

  • I live in the Cotswolds, about 3 miles from Broadway Tower. The road conditions are awful, trees are down due to storm and it fucking rains every day. Stay away from really touristy areas like the Slaughters and Bibury as too many tourists

    Upside is its beautiful here. pretty much everywhere is picture postcard.

    No cunts racing, a lot of old folk on nice steel audax etc.

    Personally I think the drivers are much better down here as there are a lot of horses and tractors so people are used to slow pace.

    Also the posh people down here are old money and really really friendly and generous.

    If you get any mechanicals or need help then feel free to PM me, I am right near Stow on the Wold.

  • Broadway Tower is nice, makes for a good picture

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  • Oh thanks, good to read a bit from someone local. Thanks for the offer too, very kind!

    The 'postcard picture' is the appealing bit for me, as I'll be with friends don't know English countryside much. I reckon a 50/50 mix, part Cotswolds part North Wessex could work really nicely. I'll be booking tickets this weekend, a lot hinges on that.

    Thanks anyway!

  • Top tip - if you take a train out of Marylebone to Oxford, they are a lot more chilled about bikes than GWR out of Paddington.

  • Good to know. Marylebone is great, just roll in straight from the front door and get to the train quickly.

  • Picking up a 2y old thread.

    Heading to the Cotswolds at the end of May bank holiday, train from London to Morton-in-Marsh and return from Bath 3 days later.

    Finding accommodation seems to be the hardest bit here. We wanted to camp, but the lack of campsites and the fact that the few ones are "fully booked" is ending up constraining us.

    Any ideas? Wild camping spots? Warmshowers?

  • Nibley House in North Nibley take campers, if you email them. I can pm you some wild spots we used when walking the Cotswold way.

  • Yes, please

  • Lots of campable woodland just to the west of Cirencester.

  • Warm showers at dj towers

    Hit me up

  • can't find any "dj towers" on Warmshowers

  • Final route defined. Any tip?

  • You have missed Newent and Upleadon

    Re-route and stay at mine

  • I wanted to come by, but that would have meant too many kms for the gf liking. She hasn't been cycling much other than commuting.

    Thanks for the invite anyway!

    Happy for you to come out and meet us for a beer in Painswick Sunday night!

  • Speaking of Cotswolds, how does this look for getting from Oxford to Malvern tomorrow? Not an area I know at all, purely mapped out on Google. Any better idea than the A46 into Tewkesbury or just put up with it for 3/4 miles?

  • Haven't we already had this conversation?­

  • Yeah I did take a look, but going either way is adding on maybe 10 miles to get to Stow-on-the-Wold compared to a more direct route through the middle, and I'm saving my legs for Hay Bluff. :)

  • Grew up near Malvern, it’s gorgeous and you’ll get some great views coming from Cotswolds way. One thing, recommend sweeping through croome rather than via Tewkesbury way. Quieter roads and just as pretty. Nice pubs by the river in Upton on Severn if you need refreshments before heading to Malvern for the final few miles. Did a sort of similar ride last year to see my folks then onto a mates in Abergavenny. Recommend riding through symonds yat if you can.

  • Nice one, cheers! Just done some re-routing whilst my porridge goes down.

  • ...This has been a most excellent jaunt so far. Already made it as far as Pershore for a leisurely lunch and I can see the Malvern hills. :)

  • Great to hear it! Gorgeous round there.

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Cotswolds, or something else

Posted by Avatar for ough @ough