Trip Type : Small Group Tour
Greenary over Aven River-England-982276_P

A Cycling Journey: English Villages Along the River Avon

Road Scholar Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.6 . Excellent
90%
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
12 days
From: $ 3,699 $ 308 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Encounter sites associated with famous Britons from history, from the home of Edward Jenner, the discoverer of the smallpox vaccine, to the birthplace of William Shakespeare.
  • Follow the River Avon through tiny country villages like Thatcham, Hungerford and Beanacre, filled with quaint homes and centuries of fascinating history.
  • Explore important cities in the heart of England, including Bristol, elegant Bath and the port city of Gloucester.

Short Description

The counties of Berkshire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Gloucestershire and Warwickshire are renowned for their scenic beauty, but this area is also a place of living history, enriched by distinguished human achievements in science, technology, architecture and the arts. Pursue these themes by bicycle as you follow the River Avon through tiny country villages, filled with quaint homes and centuries of fascinating history. Cycle from one important city to the next in the heart of England, including Bristol, elegant Bath and the port city of Gloucester. Along the way, encounter sites associated with famous Britons from history, from the home of Edward Jenner, the discoverer of the smallpox vaccine, to the birthplace of William Shakespeare.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
Spend most of the time outdoors. Common trip themes and activities include cycling, hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting.
Itinerary Focus Active
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport Internal airfare and ground transport
Start City Thatcham
End City London

Trip Includes

  • 10 nights of accommodations
  • 4 expert-led lectures
  • 16 expert-led field trips
  • An experienced Group Leader
  • Customary gratuities throughout the program
  • The Road Scholar Travel Protection Plan, 24-hour-a-day emergency assistance coverage
  • Taxes

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Itinerary

Day 1: In Transit to Program

In Flight

Day 2: Arrive, Transfer Thatcham, Orientation, Bike Fitting, Dinner

Meals: Dinner

Accommodation: Regency Park Hotel

Activity note: Motorcoach Time: 1.5 hours; Biking distance: There will be no biking today which provides an opportunity to relax and rejuvenate after your international flight. Please note that daily biking distances are approximate and may vary due to unforeseen circumstances.

Morning: We proceed to Thatcham by motorcoach and check into our hotel.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like at the Regency Park Hotel Club Bar.

Afternoon: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date Daily Schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. We have set aside some free time in the schedule for your personal independent exploration. The Group Leader will often be available during scheduled free time for informal excursions, activities, or meals that have been excluded from the program cost. You are welcome to join if you like, with any associated costs on your own. Upon arrival in Thatcham, bicycles will be fitted to the participant and skill testing will take place. Please be aware that indicated motorcoach times as well as biking distances are approximate and that program activities and schedules could change due to local circumstances such as weather, traffic conditions, etc. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: In the Regency Park Hotel dining room, choose your three-course meal from the hotel's table d'hôte menu. Tap water included; other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. The evening is free to continue becoming acquainted with your fellow participants or take a stroll. Get a good night's sleep for the full day tomorrow.

Day 3: Kennet & Avon Canal, Newbury, Hungerford

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: The Bear Hotel

Activity note: Biking Distance: 13 miles

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room, choose from a buffet with meats, cheeses, eggs, yogurt, cereals, breads, juices, and hot beverages.

Morning: After a hearty breakfast, we will present a lecture on safety, rules of the road and the IBT Corner System. Start thinking about biking on the LEFT side of the road! We’re ready to bicycle and our destination is along the Kennet & Avon Canal to the market town of Newbury, where we'll stop for coffee and independent exploration. The canal, which was completed in 1810, links London and Bristol by connecting the Kennet and Avon Rivers.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy local fare at a pub in Newbury.

Afternoon: Continue bicycling to Hungerford where there will be ample time to explore this quaint town known for its antique shops.

Dinner: In The Bear Hotel dining room, choose your three-course meal from the hotel's table d'hôte menu. Tap water included; other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: Learn more about your fellow travelers at Group Introductions after dinner.

Day 4: Crofton Pumping Station, Devizes Wharf, Caen Hill, Beanacre

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Beechfield House

Activity note: Biking Distance: 33 miles

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: We leave the county of Berkshire via two-wheeler and enter the county of Wiltshire. Bicycling west, we avoid most of the hills that are characteristic of the chalk downland. Every so often we encounter the Kennet & Avon Canal and the Great Western Railway Line, competitors at one time for transporting goods between London and Bristol. On arrival at the Crofton Pumping Station, we enjoy coffee and tea before attending a lecture on the siting of the Beam Engines at the station to pump water to the summit of the Kennet & Avon Canal.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like at a local pub in Bottlesford.

Afternoon: As we pedal to Beanacre, we'll see several important and impressive engineering features of the canal: Devizes Wharf and the Caen Hill Flight of Locks. We continue westward along the canal's towpath until we turn north to Melksham and the village of Beanacre to our Victorian country house hotel.

Dinner: In the Beechfield House Hotel dining room, choose your three-course meal from the hotel's table d'hôte menu. Tap water included; other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 5: Corsham, Lacock, Fox-Talbot Museum of Photography, Beanacre

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Beechfield House

Activity note: Biking Distance: 12 miles

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Our route takes us through the picturesque village of Corsham, where the streets are lined with stately Georgian houses.

Lunch: We buy a picnic lunch in Corsham and eat at Lacock Abbey (weather permitting) before the tour. In case of inclement weather, enjoy lunch on your own at a local pub in Lacock.

Afternoon: There's plenty to see at the National Trust village of Lacock. A visit to the Abbey, exploration of the village as well as the Fox-Talbot Museum of Photography is on the agenda prior to returning to our hotel in Beanacre.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 6: Medieval Wool Trade Lecture, Bradford-on-Avon Guided Walk, Bath

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Hilton Bath City

Activity note: Biking Distance: 33 miles

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Following a lecture on the medieval wool trade in the west country, depart for Bradford-on-Avon. On arrival, join a local historian to learn about the past of this delightful old town during a guided walk.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy a pub lunch in Bradford-on-Avon.

Afternoon: Visit the magnificent Bradford-on-Avon Tithe Barn, a spectacular 14th-century stone barn with an amazing timber roof. Produce from grange farms of the powerful abbey was brought to the tithe barn to be stored before being sold or used by the nuns themselves. Continue pedaling along the Kennett & Avon Canal to Bath.

Dinner: In the Hilton Bath City Hotel dining room, choose your three-course meal from the hotel's table d'hôte menu. Tap water included; other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 7: Bath Guided Walk, Free Time

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Hilton Bath City

Activity note: Biking Distance: no biking

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: The magnificent city of Bath awaits us! Accompany yet another local historian on a walking field trip through Bath to discover some of the city's most impressive sites including the Royal Crescent and the Circus.

Lunch: On your own to sample the local fare in Bath. Try the tasty ploughman's lunch, an English cold meal which consists of cheese, pickles, and bread. Additional items such as an apple, boiled eggs, ham, and pickled onions may be added.

Afternoon: Free Time: Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most in Bath. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. You are free to tour the Roman Baths, visit museums and gardens or simply relax over tea at The Pump Room.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 8: Bath Harbour, SS Great Britain, Clifton Suspension Bridge, Almondsbury

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Aztec Hotel & Spa

Activity note: Biking Distance: 36 miles

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Pedal along the Bristol & Bath Railway Path, which provides traffic-free and level cycling right into the city center. Upon arrival at Bath Harbour, break for coffee and tea at the Museum of Bath at Work prior to attending a lecture on the SS Great Britain, the first iron transatlantic liner driven by propeller to cross to America. Designed by the great English engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, she is now back from a watery grave in the Falkland Islands to the dry dock in which she was built over 150 years ago.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like at the Dockyard Café Bar alongside the SS Great Britain.

Afternoon: Continue along the banks of the River Avon as we pass under the impressive Clifton Suspension Bridge, which was also designed by Brunel. Turn northward into the county of Gloucestershire and eventually reach our dwelling for the night.

Dinner: In the Aztec Hotel & Spa dining room, choose your three-course meal from the hotel's table d'hôte menu. Tap water included; other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 9: Edward Jenner Lecture, Wildfowl & Wetland Trust, Gloucester

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Hallmark Hotel

Activity note: Biking Distance: 36 miles

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: An early ride takes us along the eastern side of the River Severn, one of Britain's great rivers with a great tidal range creating the Severn Bore, especially on high spring tides, which reaches the city of Gloucester. Near Berkeley is the 12th-century castle referred to by Shakespeare in Richard II and where King Edward II was murdered. Berkeley is also the home of Edward Jenner, who in 1796, discovered the cause and the means of protection against smallpox. At the Jenner Museum, attend a lecture on Jenner's pioneering medical work. Enjoy an excursion to Wildfowl & Wetlands Center at Slimbridge, home to the largest collection of ducks, geese, and swans in the world.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like at the Water’s Edge Café at the Slimbridge Wetland Centre.

Afternoon: Follow the towpath of the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal into Gloucester, a 19th-century inland port which is in the midst of being restored and turned into a delightful collection of shops, pubs, museums and of course, a harbor for all sorts of visiting boats and ships.

Dinner: In the Hallmark Hotel dining room, choose your three-course meal from the hotel's table d'hôte menu. Tap water included; other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 10: Gloucester Cathedral, Dumbleton, Beckford Silk, Dumbleton

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Dumbleton Hall Hotel

Activity note: Biking Distance: 25 miles

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: En route to Dumbleton, we'll explore the Gloucester Cathedral before departing for Tewkesbury, site of one of the best-preserved abbeys in England.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy delicious soup and brown bread at the Lower Lode Inn in Forthampton.

Afternoon: Brace yourself for a short boat ride across the River Severn. En route to our next hotel, in the village of Dumbleton in the county of Worcestershire, we'll take an excursion to Beckford Silk where silk scarves and ties are printed. After check-in, feel free to enjoy the hotel's garden or hike through its expansive grounds and countryside.

Dinner: In the Dumbleton Hall Hotel dining room, choose your three-course meal from the hotel's table d'hôte menu. Tap water included; other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 11: Stratford-upon-Avon, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Free Time

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Best Western Grosvenor Hotel

Activity note: Biking Distance: no biking; Motorcoach Time: 1 hour

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Board an early coach to Stratford-upon-Avon. Deposit luggage at the hotel before embarking on a guided walk of "Stratford and the Life & Times of William Shakespeare," during which we'll visit many of the significant places associated with the Bard of Avon. A field trip through the Royal Shakespeare Theatre affords us a "front-of-house" look at this world-renowned theatre company.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Afternoon: Free Time: Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most in Stratford-upon-Avon. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: Recap your adventures and share your favorite memories with your fellow participants tonight at our farewell dinner in the Best Western Grosvenor Hotel dining room. Choose your three-course meal from the hotel's table d'hôte menu. Tap water included; other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 12: Program Concludes

Meals: Breakfast

Activity note: Motorcoach Time: 2 hours

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room. This concludes our program.

Morning: Morning transfer to London Heathrow Airport for departures. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future.

Availability

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Price From $ 3,699
Price Per Day: $ 308 per day
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Stride Featured in

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41 Road Scholar Travel Reviews & Ratings

90%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 34
Great 3
Average 1
Disappointing 1
Terrible 2
Value
4.6
Guide
4.7
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.5
Transportation
4.5
Meals
4.5

A Cycling Journey: English Villages Along the River Avon

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Company Reviews

Old Cuba is fantastic and should be seen before it's spoiled by capitalism.

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities4.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation5.0
Meals3.0
This was my wife's and my first trip with Road Scholar. At the time (April, 2012), it was not possible for Americans to directly visit Cuba. You had to do it with a cultural/educational group, often associated with a university. Or, you could fly to Canada, Mexico, or Europe first and then get a flight to Cuba from there (while risking a ~$10,000 fine from the US Government). We opted for the legal route with Road Scholar.

It was a fantastic trip! We had a small-ish group of about 20 people and a wonderful guide, José Luis (who, like most Cubans, had never been off the island).
The trip began in Miami where we had an orientation and spent the night. Then we flew to Havana and stayed in the Hotel Nacional for four nights. It doesn't get more historic -- or fun -- than the Nacional:
https://vimeo.com/41612444

While in Havana, we enjoyed great history/culture lectures from experts, toured various parts of Havana (including Hemmingway's home in the hills nearby), and, on our own, had the opportunity to have dinner at a paladar -- a restaurant inside someone's home.

The Cuban people are friendly but the infrastructure of their country is in shambles. It's been a long time since Russia's deep pockets left the island (1991), and you see poverty everywhere. But not the begging-in-the-street kind. Cuba provides universal health care, education (including room and board all the way through grad/med school!), food staples, and a very modest income (~$30/month) to everyone. Most people add to that income by working on the side.

After Havana, we traveled to Cienfuegos. From there we saw the infamous Bay Of Pigs, but also the wonderful Benny Moré Art School where we learned of the fantastic support for the arts by the Cuban government. Children are identified in grade school as having artistic talent and then funneled into magnet schools like Benny Moré to study art for their entire scholastic career!

Don't go to Cuba for the food. It's edible (and won't make you sick) but rather boring. You mainly get the "three amigos": fish, pork, or chicken, along with rice and/or black beans. But the aged rum is superb and so are the cigars!

Probably my favorite thing on the island, though, was the music -- whether on the street or in a more formal setting:
https://vimeo.com/43273083

Cuba is fantastic. Go enjoy it!
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Best trip I ever took!

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Loved the variety of different hotels, the expertise of the individual tour guides, the meals and especially the beautiful countryside. All 17 of us on the t rip got to know each other well, thanks to the kindness, the personality and the organizational skill of Mark, our tour director. Keep up the good work!
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Sunrise, Sunset, Learning Photography

5.0
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Value4.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation5.0
Meals4.0
Road Scholar offers many tours starting in Utah. The one I took focused of photography of the National Parks in Utah, with a professional photographer traveling with us. The schedule was set up such that we would get "the golden light" at each of the parks. Those not familiar with the term must know that the best light occurs at either sunrise or sunset, when the impact of the sun on objects is diffused by having to travel through the earth's atmosphere on a diagonal rather than vertically.

As such, you can now expect that sleep will be an issue as you will get to bed late and rise early. But the territory is beautiful at all times, and more so illuminated by the golden light.

In order to maximize your sleeping ability, the tour is only offered in the spring and the fall. Doing this in the winter would be pretty cold and require special equipment to traverse the snow. Doing it in the summer would basically mean no sleep as the daylight is so long.

A great learning experience in beautiful territory.
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Thank you Road Scholar

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Thank you Road Scholar Staff for planning a wonderful introduction to Cuba today. My previous knowledge was from people who felt they had to leave Cuba more than fifty years ago. I learned from qualified professors, tour guides and from talking to Cuban people from different parts of Cuba who work in different kinds of jobs. I could see how the Cuban people have come together to meet the challenges of the past and to prepare for a brighter future.
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Thank you Road Scholar!

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Road Scholar tours are the best bang for your buck

Fabulous!

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
This is a fabulous program for young and old. The instructors are great with kids and adults. The activities are very well organized and varied. My grandson is already making plans for next year.
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Details

Flights & Transport

Internal airfare and ground transport

Group Size:

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 24

Accomodations

Regency Park Hotel: 1 night  Thatcham

The Bear Hotel: 1 night  Hungerford

Beechfield House: 2 nights  Beanacre

Hilton Bath City: 2 nights  Bath

Aztec Hotel & Spa: 1 night  Almondsbury

 

Hallmark Hotel: 1 night  Gloucester

The Hallmark Hotel Gloucester is located on the fringe of Gloucester within easy reach of the Cotswolds.

Trip ID#:

CycTheRoa

Meals Included:

10 Breakfasts and 10 Dinners

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