3670
England
A Cycling Journey: English Villages Along the River Avon
Pedal along quiet rivers and canals on rail trails through the scenic English countryside, learning about the history of quaint villages and notable cities famous for art and science.
Program No. 3670RJ
Length
12 days
Starts at
3,699
Flights start at
1,150
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12 days
11 nights
20 meals
10 B 0 L 10 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive, Transfer Thatcham, Orientation, Bike Fitting, Dinner
Thatcham
D
Regency Park Hotel

Activity note: There will be no biking today which provides an opportunity to relax and rejuvenate after your flight. The transfer from the airport to the hotel is approximately 45 miles; about 1.5 hours.

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: After lunch, bicycles will be fitted to everyone and we will test our abilities to safely start, stop, and control our bicycles. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. A support vehicle will accompany the group while biking each day until after lunch to transport luggage from hotel to hotel, and also serve to transfer participants in emergency situations. Periods in the daily schedule designated as "Free time" and "At leisure" offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: In the 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. Dinner at each hotel will fit this description.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
3
Kennet & Avon Canal, Newbury, Hungerford
Hungerford
B,D
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’ll join our Group Leader in the hotel conference room for a presentation on safety, rules of the road, and the IBT Corner System, the way in which we will navigate on the road throughout the course of this program. 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: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
4
Crofton Pumping Station, Devizes Wharf, Caen Hill
Beanacre
B,D
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: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Corsham, Lacock, Fox-Talbot Museum of Photography
Beanacre
B,D
Beechfield House

Activity note: Biking Distance: 12 miles. Walking up to one mile; periods of standing totaling up to two hours; uneven terrain, stairs and cobblestones.

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. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
6
Medieval Wool Trade Lecture, Bradford-on-Avon Guided Walk
Bath
B,D
Hilton Bath City

Activity note: Biking Distance: 33 miles. Walking up to one mile; periods of standing totaling up to two hours; uneven terrain, stairs and cobblestones.

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: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Bath Guided Walk, Free Time
Bath
B,D
Hilton Bath City

Activity note: Biking Distance: no biking. Walking up to one mile; periods of standing totaling up to two hours; uneven terrain, stairs and cobblestones.

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. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
8
Bath Harbour, SS Great Britain, Clifton Suspension Bridge
Almondsbury
B,D
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: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
9
Edward Jenner Lecture, Wildfowl & Wetland Trust, Gloucester
Gloucester
B,D
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: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
10
Gloucester Cathedral, Dumbleton, Beckford Silk
Dumbleton
B,D
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: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
11
Stratford-upon-Avon, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Free Time
Stratford-upon-Avon
B,D
Best Western Grosvenor Hotel

Activity note: Biking Distance: no biking; Motorcoach Time: 1 hour (25 miles). Walking up to one mile; periods of standing totaling up to two hours; uneven terrain, stairs and cobblestones.

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: Hotel dining room. Share some of your favorite experiences from the program with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
12
Program Concludes
Departure
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out time is 12:00 PM Noon. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers. Transfer from the hotel to the airport is about 90 miles; about two hours.

Breakfast: 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. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!