Cycle Coast & Castles Newcastle to Edinburgh
Single / Double
Any Start Date February to November
A ten centre self-guided bike tour from Newcastle in England to Edinburgh in Scotland. 10 nights bed and breakfast in en-suite (wherever possible) guesthouse accommodation, and 9 days cycling with hire of a 21 speed all-terrain bike. Also includes: luggage transfers, route guide book and maps. PLEASE NOTE: The only meal included in the tour price is breakfast.
On this bike ride you will soon see why they call it the Coast and Castles route. The Northumberland coast is the best way to discover the history of the border wars between England and Scotland. Starting in Newcastle half the route is along the beautiful Northumberland coastline of northern England. Set at a nice easy pace, you will have plenty of time to view the many castles as you go. After Berwick the route follows the River Tweed inland through the borders of Scotland, passing many abbeys and more castles. A short hilly section takes you over a particularly bonnie section of the route with fantastic views over the magnificent city of Edinburgh, the final destination of the tour.
START: Newcastle is on the north-east coast of England.
FINISH: Edinburgh is on the east coast of central Scotland.
ARRIVAL DAY: Your 1st night’s accommodation is in the vibrant city of Newcastle. There are many places to eat in the city centre from fish and chip shops to luxury restaurants. Overnight: Newcastle, Tyne and Wear, England.
DAY ONE: Cycle from Newcastle to Newbiggin-by-the-sea. Distance approx. 26 miles (39 km). After breakfast your bike will be delivered to the guesthouse and help will be given with adjustments. The start of the ride is traffic-free along the river Tyne quayside, passing a mixture of old and modern architecture. At Tynemouth there are the ruins of a priory and castle (the first of many) before the route heads north along the Northumberland coast. There are plenty of opportunities to buy refreshments or lunch from seaside towns such as Whitley Bay. This very enjoyable ride takes you right along the seafront to your next overnight stop, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. From fish and chip shops to traditional pubs there are plenty of choices for you to enjoy an evening meal out. Overnight: Newbiggin, Northumberland, England.
DAY TWO: Cycle from Newbiggin-by-the-Sea to Alnmouth. Distance approx 27 miles (41 km). From here the route becomes much more scenic as you leave urban Tyneside behind. This beautiful stretch of the Northumbrian coastline takes you through a nature reserve at Druridge Bay and picturesque towns like Amble and Warkworth. Heading inland you leave the coast along quiet country roads through lush green farmland with an option to visit Alnwick. The castle and gardens here are well worth a visit before heading back to the coast and your next overnight stop at Alnmouth. This pretty little fishing port has a choice of pubs for your evening meal. Overnight: Alnmouth, Northumberland, England.
DAY THREE: Cycle from Alnmouth to Bamburgh. Distance approx. 25 miles (37 km). Today the route follows the coast on quiet minor roads passing quaint fishing villages such as Craster (famous for is kippers). The ruins of Dunstanburgh castle can only be reached on foot. This 14th Century castle is perched right on the cliff tops. Heading inland again you loop back to the aptly named seaside village of Seahouses, cycling right along the coast to Bamburgh. Known as the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Northumbria, this is the most impressive castle of them all. The village of Bamburgh was the birthplace of Grace Darling famed for her daring rescue of 5 people from a shipwreck. There are pubs and a restaurant here to obtain an evening meal. Overnight: Bamburgh, Northumberland, England.
DAY FOUR: Cycle from Bamburgh to Berwick. Distance approx 23 miles (34 km). Continuing north along a minor coastal road you will catch sight of Holy Island, historically known as Lindisfarne. This unique island is cut-off from the mainland twice a day by the incoming North Sea. An optional extra ride over a causeway (subject to the tide times of the day) is well worth it, to visit the castle and priory. The final section of today’s ride is a mixture of country lanes and gravel tracks to the border town of Berwick-upon-Tweed. This historical walled town has a busy shopping centre and a large selection of places to obtain an evening meal. Overnight: Berwick, Northumberland, England.
DAY FIVE: Cycle from Berwick to Kelso. Distance approx 30 miles (48 km). Leaving Berwick you are now officially in Scotland, riding along quiet country lanes dotted with farm cottages and grander houses once owned by the lowland lairds of Scotland. Following the River Tweed (famous for its salmon fishing) you pass the 12th century ruins of Norham Castle. Continuing on along the beautiful Tweed valley you reach Coldstream, well worth a look around and perhaps have lunch. From here the route takes you through open farmland to your destination for today the attractive market town of Kelso. There are many places to eat in the pretty cobblestone town centre. Overnight: Kelso, Scotland.
DAY SIX: Cycle from Kelso to Melrose. Distance approx 17 miles (28 km). This is a short ride today which allows you plenty of time to view the many abbeys, towers and fortified buildings that indicate this region’s tempestuous history. Just out of Kelso is the impressive Floors Castle, followed by quiet country roads through open and wooded farmland taking you to the next sight of historical interest, Dryburgh Abbey. Just before your destination today is Abbotsford House, the home of Sir Walter Scott who wrote of the warring English and Scots turning these borderlands into bloody battlefields. At Melrose you can obtain an evening meal from the pubs and hotels in the town. Overnight: Melrose, Scotland.
DAY SEVEN: Cycle from Melrose to Innerleithen. Distance approx 24 miles (38 km). This is the bonniest section of the ride combining cycle tracks and minor roads along the river towards the upper Tweed valley. The scenery here is very different from the rest of the tour as it becomes increasingly wooded and hilly, making this a great bike ride. A good place to stop for refreshments would be around Traquair House where you can enjoy the stunning views of the rolling hills. With only a mile to your next overnight stop you cross the river for the last time before reaching the picturesque town of Innerleithen. You can choose to eat in the hotel or the pubs in the town. Overnight: Innerleithen, Scotland.
DAY EIGHT: Cycle from Innerleithem to Gorebridge. Distance approx 26 miles (41 km). Leaving the Tweed valley the scenery changes again as you rise gently into the Moorfoot hills. This moorland road is quite remote in places as it climbs to the highest point on the tour. The most challenging section of the route, it is also (on the right day) a never forgotten bike ride. Your efforts are rewarded by the spectacular views over this area of outstanding natural beauty. As you descend there are great views of Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth beyond. Your next accommodation is a working farm and guesthouse set in the lovely countryside. Arrangements will be made by the guesthouse to transport you to a local pub for an evening meal. Overnight: Gorebridge, Scotland.
DAY NINE: Cycle from Gorebridge to Edinburgh. Distance approx. 18 miles (27 km). Quiet country roads lead out of green farmland to the outskirts of Edinburgh. The ride into Edinburgh uses traffic free cycle lanes (which are well signposted) giving you time to take in the sights as you go. Cycling through the suburbs of the city there are many opportunities for refreshments before you reach the city centre. With many historical buildings all around you, there is none more impressive than Edinburgh Castle. Your accommodation is right in the centre of the city close to all the sights and a huge variety of places to enjoy an evening meal. Overnight: Edinburgh, Scotland.
DEPARTURE DAY: Departure from Edinburgh. The tour finishes after breakfast.
RAIL TRAVEL from LONDON to NEWCASTLE (NOT included in tour price): There is an hourly train service from London (King's Cross) to Newcastle. The nearest international airport is Newcastle.
RAIL TRAVEL from EDINBURGH to LONDON (NOT included in tour price): The nearest airport is Edinburgh. There is an hourly train service from Edinburgh to London.
ARRIVING and DEPARTING by EUROLINES or NATIONAL EXPRESS COACH: This is by far the cheapest option for long-distance travel in England, Scotland, and Wales. There are very convenient buses from each major airport. National Express carries over 16 million passengers to 1000 different places in the UK every year, and thousands more from destinations across Europe and Ireland. You can purchase an e-Ticket where you print your travel ticket online in a matter of minutes OR you can obtain an m-Ticket and have your travel ticket sent to your mobile phone - no paper ticket required. You then present this to the driver on arrival.
ARRIVING BY CAR: Please ask for details.
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GRADE C (cycling): Between 18 - 35 miles (27-56 kms) a day. The route is principally a flat ride, but there is a steady climb of about 250 feet on the penultimate day. We recommend that clients bring their own cycles, clothing and equipment. We can arrange for the hire of this, if required. The cost would be about £50. You will start cycling about 10am and finish at approx. 4pm. These grades are for guidance only and will depend on weather conditions and your fitness.