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
1,050
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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: 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
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 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
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: 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
B,D
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
B,D
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
Bath
B,D
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
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: 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
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: 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
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: 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
Stratford-upon-Avon
B,D
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
Departure
B

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