Discovering England (/Wales)

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
Michy
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Discovering England (/Wales)

Postby Michy » 10 Aug 2018, 12:14am

Hello dear cycling friends,

I'm new here, and I've looked around a bit. Haven't seen my question, but I hope this hasn't been answered a ton of times.

As a Belgian, I've seen quite a lot from Europe. Especially from my neighbouring countries, as all of them are withing a reach of 150 km/100 miles.
However though, when it comes to the UK, I've only been to London (and Brighton as a child once).
Since I'm considering doing a 10 day to two week cycling tour in October, I thought: why not take the Eurostar from Brussels to London and make a tour through England?
So I've been doing some googling, and it seems to me, if you want spectacular landscapes, the more north you go, the better. But as my budget is rather low, I don't want to travel to far north unless by bike.

So simple question, with maybe a more difficult answer: What regions in England (or Wales since its still within reasonable reach) would you advise going to and are most suitable or known as good 'cycling territory'?
I'm looking for nice and vivid cities to visit and beautiful landscapes inbetween. It should be a mix between cycling and holidays, so I'm willing to cycle about 60-70km (which is about 40 miles) per day.
My first idea was to go from London to Manchester or Liverpool but I doubt the Midlands are the most attractive region for cycling. I then discovered the Lake District is supposed to be really beautiful. Is it feasible to get there within two weeks? Should I stay in the South and head to Cornwall? Or go to Wales?

PS: I don't want to make a circle. When I reach my 'final destination', I plan to take the train back to London and then the Eurostar to Brussels.
PS2: Don't know if it's relevant, but I'm 26. As is my travel companion if he gets of work. We like nature and peace and quiet, but also to drink beers in a vibrant city.

Thanks in advance and happy cycling!

Mich

gbnz
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Re: Discovering England (/Wales)

Postby gbnz » 10 Aug 2018, 7:38am

Michy wrote: I then discovered the Lake District is supposed to be really beautiful. Is it feasible to get there within two weeks?


The Lake District is superb, two weeks giving sufficient time to reach the Lakes without an issue (Nb. presuming you're a regular/fit cyclist)

I've occasionally got off a plane/ferry immediately outside London (Heathrow, Dover, Newhaven) and cycled to the Lakes on the way home. Taking the eastern route is easier, being flatter and avoiding heavily populated/post industrial areas - I.e. head North via Cambridge, aiming for the Humber Bridge, provides the opportunity to drop into any number of worthwhile small towns on the way, prior to cycling up through the Vale of York/Howardian Hills, Yorkshire Dales and then the Lakes.

Likewise a western route via Oxford, Gloucester - Chester provides plenty of decent route options (Nb. Though personally I jumped on the train at Chester to avoid the post industrial north west, disembarking in the Lancaster area, prior to heading to the Lakes).

Though I have to admit I wouldn't chance such a journey in October. It could be perfectly ok, that said beyond 15-30 September the probability of encountering weeks of grey, rainy weather is fairly certain. 01 April - 30 June tends to be the best weatherwise!

mattsccm
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Re: Discovering England (/Wales)

Postby mattsccm » 10 Aug 2018, 10:56am

Just a small point. You mention drinking beer in vibrant cities. The nicer places in the country such as Wales or the Lakes tend not to have cities. Rural pubs are more the thing. Much better in my opinion.
Avoid A roads if possible. .

thirdcrank
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Re: Discovering England (/Wales)

Postby thirdcrank » 10 Aug 2018, 11:09am

Norfolk is brilliant for cycling but little in the way of hills - which may be good or bad depending on POV. If you want history, it's there by the ton. Avoid the few main roads which are inadequate for the weight of motor traffic, but there's such a network of minor roads you need never go near main roads. That leads to a general point that the hillier the land, the fewer the roads which go anywhere, so in places like the Scottish Highlands you can be forced to use main roads carrying an increasing traffic load.

Yorkshire is big as counties go so it includes a wide range of landscapes from pretty flat to hilly and from rural to heavily industrialised.

If you have queries about specific areas, you'll probably find plenty of forum members with local knowledge.

PS How about heading north from London via NCN1
https://www.sustrans.org.uk/ncn/map/route/route-1

Then crossing the country by the Way of the Roses.
http://wayoftheroses.info/route/

I'm not sure about your distances but you'll get a lot of the wish list in your post with reasonable transport connection back from the North West to London

PPS, if you did it the other way you'd hopefully benefit from the prevailing wind across the north.
Last edited by thirdcrank on 10 Aug 2018, 11:39am, edited 1 time in total.

brynpoeth
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Re: Discovering England (/Wales)

Postby brynpoeth » 10 Aug 2018, 11:37am

I would take the cruiseferry from Rotterdam to Hull and spend the whole time in Yorkshire, there is enough to see there, the Wolds are very good for cycling, Scarborough and Whitby and Harrogate, Spa Cycles, York is a great city and you must see the NRM
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Cunobelin
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Re: Discovering England (/Wales)

Postby Cunobelin » 10 Aug 2018, 11:57am

There is an orgdanisaationcalledsustrans which is oaf variable efficiency and quality

However they have designed some decent tourist routes, and some are listed here: Cycle-n-Sleep

The routes do give an idea of areas and what expect in the way of distances, elevations and routes.

Use them as a basis for planning and it can be helpful

[url=https://www.cycletourer.co.uk/cycletouring/uk.shtml]CycleTourer[/url also gives interesting information

whoof
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Re: Discovering England (/Wales)

Postby whoof » 10 Aug 2018, 12:38pm

Similar routes as above with maps and descriptions can be found on Cycletravel. The map feature is also very good for route planning and you can create gpx files.
http://cycle.travel/routes

If you head West of London these are some places that may be of interest.
I can't get the pictures to line up with the text and the file size is such that I can't load a picture for every description. If any are of interest you can Google the places listed below and see which ones match up.

Old Sarum, ancient abondoned town. The inhabitants moved to nearby Sailisbury which itself has a nice Cathedral and is fairly vibrant

Caen Hill Locks on the Kennet and Avon canal. The canal tow path can be ridden all the way from (nearly) London. However, it's not quick as it's narrow and pedestrians have priority.

Avebury, village surrounded by ancient stone monoliths, better than Stone Hedge and free.

Bath, Georgian (18th c) and Regency (early 19th) architechture.

Bristol, vibrant city large student population (the picture is the one of the small suspension bridge, which you can ride over).

Cheltenham, similar in some ways to Bath.

The Cotwolds, designated 'area of outstanding natural beauty', lots of little villages. The picture of the small bridge over the stream is Burton on the Water.

Glastonbury. Hippy town with Abbey and tor (it's the one with the tower on steep hill). The true resting place of King Arthur, along with 58 other places in the UK, France and probably Estonia.

Cheddar Gorge, iconic climb near Glastonbury.

Severn Bridge, suspension bridge that you can ride (make sure you get the correct one as there are two and the newer one you can't ride on) taking you from England into Wales. IMO Wales is a great place to ride with the Brecon Beacons area having some great and quiet (traffic)riding but lots of hills. Personally I find the cities of South Wales less inviting but I'm sure if you are looking for a vibrant Saturday night then Cardiff will fit the bill.
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brynpoeth
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Re: Discovering England (/Wales)

Postby brynpoeth » 10 Aug 2018, 12:49pm

mattsccm wrote:Just a small point. You mention drinking beer in vibrant cities. The nicer places in the country such as Wales or the Lakes tend not to have cities. Rural pubs are more the thing. Much better in my opinion.
Avoid A roads if possible. .

There are several cities in Wales, St Davids for example :wink:
Witherspoons could be what the OP is looking for, it has branches in many smaller towns
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brynpoeth
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Re: Discovering England (/Wales)

Postby brynpoeth » 10 Aug 2018, 12:52pm

Spend some time browsing these fora, there are threads about Wales, Yorkshire*, Porridge, Witherspoons &c &c
* unfortunately this has drifted to talking about beer :wink:
Last edited by brynpoeth on 10 Aug 2018, 12:58pm, edited 1 time in total.
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brynpoeth
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Re: Discovering England (/Wales)

Postby brynpoeth » 10 Aug 2018, 12:57pm

Norfolk is good for cycling, lots of suitable little roads, Norwich is a Great City with lots of history
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whoof
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Re: Discovering England (/Wales)

Postby whoof » 10 Aug 2018, 1:03pm

brynpoeth wrote:
mattsccm wrote:Just a small point. You mention drinking beer in vibrant cities. The nicer places in the country such as Wales or the Lakes tend not to have cities. Rural pubs are more the thing. Much better in my opinion.
Avoid A roads if possible. .

There are several cities in Wales, St Davids for example :wink:
Witherspoons could be what the OP is looking for, it has branches in many smaller towns


Better off search for Wetherspoons, which is a pub chain in the UK with relatively cheap beer and food and no music, you can stay in a few of them. (Tim) Witherspoon was a two time World heavyweight boxing champion, although an evening with him might be quite vibrant.

tatanab
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Re: Discovering England (/Wales)

Postby tatanab » 10 Aug 2018, 1:05pm

Head west through the Chilterns and Cotswolds to south Wales. Variety in scenery, lots of small towns and villages as well as cities (Oxford, Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, etc). An advantage of going this way is that you are pretty much following one of the main line train routes so it is easy to get back to London.

Vorpal
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Re: Discovering England (/Wales)

Postby Vorpal » 10 Aug 2018, 1:15pm

Lots of good recommendations here. I will add the Peak District. Also Wales has a couple of designated long distance cycle routes. If you were to start in London and cycle to Wales, you'd get both city & scenery.

Sometimes, I organise a tour around a theme. I enjoyed doing white horse / chalk figures some years ago

https://www.historic-uk.com/CultureUK/C ... l-Figures/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uffington_White_Horse
https://wiltshirewhitehorses.org.uk/map.html

Or something that includes A coast-to-coast ride? Hadrian's Wall? Lots of possibilities...
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Re: Discovering England (/Wales)

Postby Vorpal » 10 Aug 2018, 1:24pm

whoof wrote:Better off search for Wetherspoons, which is a pub chain in the UK with relatively cheap beer and food and no music, you can stay in a few of them. (Tim) Witherspoon was a two time World heavyweight boxing champion, although an evening with him might be quite vibrant.

I'm not a fan.

Michy wrote: We like nature and peace and quiet, but also to drink beers in a vibrant city.


If you want nice beer, get yourself a Good Beer Guide, or have a look at the 'what pub' on-line guide they do https://whatpub.com/
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

whoof
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Re: Discovering England (/Wales)

Postby whoof » 10 Aug 2018, 1:48pm

Vorpal wrote:
whoof wrote:Better off search for Wetherspoons, which is a pub chain in the UK with relatively cheap beer and food and no music, you can stay in a few of them. (Tim) Witherspoon was a two time World heavyweight boxing champion, although an evening with him might be quite vibrant.

I'm not a fan.


I know he was very limited. In his fight against Frank Bruno he was absolutely awful for 10 rounds but Bruno tired and he knocked him out in the 11th.