Join one of our grand loop tours of the southeast counties of England, Kent and Sussex, known as “The Garden of England”. Experience white horses in hillsides, stunning chalk cliffs overlooking the English Channel, grand cathedrals, royal castles, historic battle sites, and unsurpassed scenic cycling along quiet country lanes. This off-the-beaten-track tour offers a fantastic variety of landscapes, flora, sites, history, village life, and architecture. This will be our 6th year showing off the best of England!
Click here to sign up!
8 days, 8 nights:
England 1: Tour begins in the city of Royal Tunbridge Wells the afternoon of June 25 and finishing up on the afternoon of July 3 (days may be shifted a day or so depending on availability of Leed’s Castle).
England 2: Tour begins in the city of Royal Tunbridge Wells the afternoon of July 4 and finishing up on the afternoon of July 12 (days may be shifted a day or so depending on availability of Leed’s Castle).
Cost per person based on double occupancy will be $1760, single occupancy $2135 (under-age-30 discount $50, previous-customer discount $25)
E-bike extra TBD (~$200)
Level of Difficulty – Moderate to Difficult. Although the mileage is very reasonable, every day has a number of substantial hills, and days 5 and 7 are extremely hilly. Cycling enthusiasts will love the challenge of this terrain, but active, fit travelers will also love the tour using an electric-assist bike to enable full enjoyment of your vacation. All participants must be able to handle a bike comfortably and confidently, including the heavier E-bike if you use one, as we occasionally ride through gravel scattered along roads from farm vehicles, and ride downhill on bumpy roads. If you do not have the time to train sufficiently, as defined here (https://countrylanescycletours.com/preparation and safety), you will be asked to use an E-bike.
For a great overview of the entire tour, here’s a link to a longer 9 minute video one of our 2018 participants created!
Day 0 (afternoon before cycle tour). We meet at our hotel in Royal Tunbridge Wells, site of the historic “Pantiles” pedestrian section of restaurants and shops, and check out our bikes.
Day 1, 26 miles. After a traditional full English Breakfast, we ride to Leeds Castle, called the “loveliest castle in Europe,” where we stay in a B&B on the grounds.
Day 2, 26 miles. Riding along the Pilgrim’s Path to Canterbury (where the famous Canterbury Tales were composed, beginning with “Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote”, click here for short audio of the entire Prologue), where we’ll see the glorious cathedral and enjoy the large downtown pedestrian zone of museums, the “crooked bookstore”, and restaurants.
Day 3, rest day or optional ride. Enjoy another day and night in this great city and historic B&B. A short bike ride will be offered in the morning, or just enjoy the museums, shops, historic sites, parks, and cultural events in Canterbury.
Day 4, 41 miles. We follow official bike routes through magnificent countryside to the Medieval City of Rye, one of the Cinque Ports designated to guard King Henry’s kingdom against invasion.
Day 5, 33 miles. We ride to the site of the Battle of Hastings, where William the Conqueror defeated King Harold in 1066, and then to the English channel and on to the grand Victorian Seaside town of Eastbourne. Take in a concert at the Bandstand, a play at the theatre, or jazz at a local club.
Day 6. Enjoy a day of leisure; swimming, shopping, hiking to the the Seven Sisters Park, which was called “the most relaxing place in the world” by CNN travel. Afterwards, shop and explore Eastbourne.
Day 7, 22 miles. We cycle along the White Cliffs of Beachy Head, then continue the day into the pastoral Cuckmere valley, with the quaint village of Alfriston, and up onto the magnificent vistas of the South Downs. After cycling with the hikers, equestrians, and sheep sharing the trail, we go on to the Tudor village of Lewes for the night.
Day 8, 28 miles. Our last day takes us through more great cycling countryside. We’ll then hop on the Bluebell Railway, an authentic 19th century steam-driven train, to cover the middle portion of the route, and finish our ride on the glorious Forest Way trail back to our starting point in Royal Tunbridge Wells.
- High quality hybrid or Electric bike (extra fee) for comfortable riding on crushed-gravel cycle paths as well as roads.
- Bicycle helmet, pannier bag, U-lock, water bottle
- Lodging in beautiful B&B’s or small hotels, including one night at Leeds castle.
- Luggage transport & emergency pickup.
- Full-time, on-road guide (Andy Brown).
- Detailed electronic routes and cue sheets with descriptions.
- Tour information booklet.
- Advice with travel arrangements.
- Full English breakfast every day.
- Picnic lunch on day 4.
- Admission to Leeds Castle, Canterbury Cathedral, Hastings Battlefield & Museum, Rye Bell Tower, and Bluebell Railway steam train ticket.
What’s Not Included:
- Transportation to and from the start of the tour.
- Lodging before and after the tour.
- Lunches, Dinners, or Drinks.
- Additional arrangements necessary if you bring your own bike.
Location and Route of Tour
Kent and East Sussex are the Southeastern-most counties of England, which is one of the four semi-autonomous countries in the United Kingdom (the others are Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland). They are the among the most temperate and wealthiest sections of the country, and are the closest to the European Continent. Much of the southern coast consist of a chalky bedrock which forms the famous “White Cliffs of Dover” and the beautiful Beachy Head and 7 Sisters Cliffs that we will see on our tour.
We see our route below (courtesy Tim Leinbach at MapExcite.com). Once a booking is made, a detailed tour information booklet describes the route and tour in detail. You can click on any spot on the map below to bring up a photo and description of that day’s ride, and if you hold down the right mouse button, you can manipulate the route in 3-D (including the elevation profile)!