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Hadrian's Cycleway is a great coast-to-coast ride with breath taking views that explores the living history of Hadrian's Wall. Europe's largest surviving Roman monument was built in AD 122 and our cycle route visits some of the highlights of this UNESCO site. We ride from the Irish Sea on quiet roads through beautiful hill country, attractive market towns, quaint villages and peaceful river valleys to the North Sea.
Explore Tour Leader
4 nights comfortable hotel
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Arrive in the seaside town of Whitley Bay. Check in is possible from 3pm and free car parking is available in the nearby Playhouse Car Park NE26 1LZ. For those arriving by train into Newcastle you can use the Tyne and Wear Metro system to reach Whitley Bay. If you arrive early we can recommend a walk along the golden sands to St. Mary's Lighthouse, that also features a nature reserve and wetland habitat ideal for rockpooling. We end our ride about 3 miles south from here on day 5.
The Tour Leader plans to meet you in reception at 6pm for the introductory briefing, followed by the option to enjoy a group meal (not included) to get acquainted with your fellow guests.
Premier Inn (or similar)
After breakfast we drive (2hrs) to Bowness on Solway. We unload and assign the bikes and there will be time to get comfortable and make any necessary adjustments. The included 24-gear hybrid bikes are ideally suited to the terrain. Maps and detailed route notes will be provided, which means we can cycle at our own pace, either individually or with other group members. Our local Leader will transfer the luggage, provide an emergency backup vehicle, and will meet us at various points during our cycling days to help ensure all runs smoothly and you enjoy your trip.
We start our ride in the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, following National Cycle Network Route 72 alongside the Solway Firth before heading inland to Carlisle. You may choose to visit the medieval castle that has watched over the Cathedral City of Carlisle for more than nine centuries. Our ride continues to Warwick Bridge followed by a short climb to Brampton where we spend the night. We recommend an optional evening walk around Talkin Tarn glacial lake and Country Park just outside Brampton. Please note that due to the small size of hotels our group may be accommodated in more than 1 hotel tonight.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 45 kilometres/28 mile (total 330 metres/1083 feet ascent and 265 metres/869 feet descent).
Howard Arms Hotel (or similar)
Back on the bikes this morning, we have a relatively shorter ride today that takes in some wonderful Roman heritage sites. Our first suggested stop is at Lanercost Priory (English Heritage, optional visit) where you can visit the impressive remains of this 12th century Augustinian priory. There is a steep climb out of Banks before arriving at our first site on Hadrian's Wall at Birdoswald Roman Fort (English Heritage, optional visit), also good for a coffee break. You can see the longest remaining stretch of the Wall here and explore the ruins of the Fort, a turret and milecastle. After a steep climb (up to 17%), we reach Greenhead Bank where you may choose to have lunch and have the chance to visit the excellent Roman Army Museum. It is possible to buy a combined ticket here that includes the entrance to Vindolanda tomorrow. The final stretch is an easy ride down to the hotel in the small town of Haltwhistle. Please note that due to the small size of hotels our group may be accommodated in more than 1 hotel tonight.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 22 kilometres/13.7 mile (total 305 metres/1001 feet ascent and 260 metres/853 feet descent).
Centre of Britain Hotel (or similar)
Our ride this morning follows the South Tyne Valley to Bardon Mill, before some steep climbs back up to Hadrian's Wall at the Roman archaeological site of Vindolanda. There is a cafe here to have a break and we recommend a visit to the site where you may even see some archaeologists and learn what has been uncovered recently. The cycle ride continues to the historic and picturesque village of Corbridge where we spend the night. Once a Roman garrison town, it is possible to visit the remains of Corbridge Roman Town (English Heritage, optional visit) located just outside of town. Please note that depending on hotel availability, tonight may be spent in either Corbridge or Hexham. Hexham has a beautiful Abbey and would mean a shorter ride (8 kilometer/5 mile less) today and more tomorrow.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 38 kilometres/23.6 mile (total 470 metres/1542 feet ascent and 550 metres/1805 feet descent).
The Beaumont Hotel (or similar)
Our final ride follows the River Tyne Valley along minor roads, disused railway lines and cycle paths into Newcastle passing Ovingham Bridge and Wylam (George Stephenson's birthplace). After passing through the centre of the city with the river on our right, we weave our way along the final 20 kilometer/12.4 mile to the North Sea through Wallsend and North Shields. Finally, we reach the small bay at Tynemouth and complete our journey from coast to coast with the ruins of Tynemouth Castle and Priory on the headland above. There is a great feeling of real achievement as we realise that we just crossed England by pedal power!
Our journey ends at Tynemouth Castle at around 4pm when we leave the bikes and say farewell. If not picking up your car you can take a short walk to Tynemouth metro station on the Tyne and Wear Metro system, from where it is a 30-minute journey into central Newcastle and the mainline rail station. The earliest your train can depart from Newcastle is 5pm.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 50 kilometres/31.1 mile (total 390 metres/1280 feet ascent and 400 metres/1312 feet descent).
Total distance : 155 kilometres
The UK has a temperate but very variable climate. In general the summers are warm with July and August being the warmest. The winters are cool and the lowest temperatures are recorded during January and February. Whatever the season it is advisable to be prepared for rain!
3 Pin Flat
We recommend visits to the following sites that are on our route. It is worth considering becoming a member of English Heritage. Estimated costs are provided below. Entrance tickets are available upon arrival and no pre-booking is necessary. Carlisle Castle - (English Heritage) - £11.20 Lanercost Priory - (English Heritage) - £5.90 Birdoswald Roman Fort - (English Heritage) - £9 Roman Army Museum - £7 Vindolanda Fort and Museum - £8 Corbridge Roman Town - (English Heritage) - £9
Light rainwear may be needed at any time of year, and a warm fleece/jacket is recommended for cooler evenings and nights. We recommend cycle gloves, padded cycle shorts, a windcheater and quick drying fabric tops.
If you are not bringing cycle shoes then try to bring stiff-soled shoes as these are better for cycling - transmitting your energy into the pedals more efficiently. This becomes more relevant and recommended the more demanding the grade and distances to cover. Comfortable footwear is useful when not on the bike.
We recommend you bring a daypack and one main piece of luggage (total allowance: 44lb/20kg) which will be transported between hotels while you cycle. Check the bike details section to see if a pannier or handlebar bag is provided on the bike.
On all Explore cycle holidays we strongly recommend you bring along and wear your cycle helmet. In case of an accident resulting in personal injury, certain insurance policies are invalidated in cases where a helmet was not being worn. Cycle glasses to protect against dust, pollen and the sun, padded cycle gloves and a water bottle or water delivery system (e.g. camelback or platypus) are also useful. You may choose to bring your own gel seat cover for added comfort. If a handle bar bag or pannier is not provided (check bike details) then you may like to bring a small rucksack to wear while cycling. Other items to consider bringing are a sunhat and sun cream, earplugs and insect repellent.
Transfers to and from our accommodation are not provided for this trip. If you are planning to arrive or depart by train, this information may be useful to you. Whilst we are unable to make a reservation for you, we have provided contact numbers to enable you to make a direct booking. Arriving from Cramlington railway station: Taxi's should be pre-booked and the journey to our accommodation should take about 25 minutes. Priory Taxis: 0191 258 7777 If you are arriving from overseas the closest airport is Newcastle International Airport, which is a 30-minute taxi ride from the joining hotel. Newcastle is a three hour train journey from London Kings Cross, or a one and a half hour train journey from Edinburgh. On departure of the tour, if you are continuing to the airport there is a frequent train service from Newcastle Central Station to Newcastle International Airport which takes approximately 30 minutes. Alternatively you can catch the train back to London Kings Cross or Edinburgh from Newcastle Central Station.
Can you drink the water?
It is generally possible to drink the local tap water, therefore to reduce the need for single-use plastic bottles we recommend you bring a refillable water bottle with you. Your leader will advise you on refill points each day.
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Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
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UK: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
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You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
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