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3
moderate

Traveller Rating

 

Activities
  • self guided cycle
Accommodation
  • 7 nights in guesthouses, B&Bs or hotels
Meals
  • 7 Breakfasts

REDUCED

£1370 GBP

8 Days£1270GBP

Overview

Trip Code: WHC

Hadrian's Cycleway Trip highlights


  • Experience the scenic variety of northern England
  • Ride through the green pastoral scenes of the Eden Valley
  • Cycling across England from coast to coast on generally quiet roads
  • Cycle the Solway Coast: an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • Conveniently have your bicycles delivered at the start & picked up again at the end
  • The ruins of Hadrian’s Wall, Roman archaeological sites & museums
  • Begin your ride at the official start of Hadrian's Cycleway at Glannaventa Roman Bath House

Prepare for great coastal and country scenery as you cross England by bicycle following close to the line of the Roman frontier during the reign of Emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD). Hadrian's Wall was built to defend and control his northern border from the wild northern tribes of Britain including the Picts. This cycle route traces the Roman involvement in the region from the remains of the baths at Ravenglass on the Cumbrian coast to Tynemouth on the North Sea. On the way, the route passes along the Solway Firth where the ride crosses the end of Hadrian's Wall at Bowness on Solway, before turning easterly into the Eden Valley, where the route gets a lot hillier, until the River Tyne. From Carlisle you will be able to visit Roman forts and museums, quaint villages and attractive market towns, all set in a linear World Heritage Site.

The Hadrian’s Cycleway, 170 miles / 274 km, is an easier but longer alternative to the traditional C2C (Coast To Coast Cycle route) and follows national cycle Sustrans Route 72. It crosses England following a generally well-signed and waymarked series of minor roads and former railway lines. There are sections on gravel, but most of the route is on tarmac. The hills are more rolling and slightly less demanding than the main C2C route, but the scenery is dramatic and beautiful.

The ride cannot follow the Wall directly all the time, but follows the general line, meeting it and crossing it at interesting points where you can visit features of this UNESCO World Heritage monument. You should have plenty of time to visit impressive fort museums such as at Birdoswald and Housesteads. The cycling also takes in historic towns such as Carlisle, Hexham and Haltwhistle. During the medieval period some of these towns benefited from dressed stone pulled from the wall.

Your bicycles will conveniently be delivered at your first hotel and picked up at the end of your tour.

Countries:

England

Starting Point:

Whitehaven

Finishing Point:

Tynemouth


Make your own way to Whitehaven, an attractive quiet coastal town with a redeveloped harbour. This used to be a Roman port and became one of the busiest in England with trade links to America from the 1600s, coal and iron production, as well as dubious links with the slave trade. Whitehaven is also the only place in England to be invaded by the young USA in 1778, and parts of the town were set on fire. All this is explained in the modern quayside museum. You can have a relaxing stroll along the seaside from the museum to visit old mining sites with memorials to what was once a busy industrial area. Mining seams went long distances out into the Irish Sea. Accommodation: 2 nights are spent in our guesthouse which is situated just a few minutes’ walk from Whitehaven town centre and the waterfront. This fine example of a late Victorian townhouse has been transformed into an elegant bed and breakfast offering all modern amenities whilst retaining its original features.

Meals:  Nil

The official start of Hadrian’s Cycleway is at the Glannaventa Roman Bath House, about 500m from the village of Ravenglass. Together with your bikes, this morning you will be picked up for a transfer along the coast to Ravenglass to start your journey. If you wish to start later, you can either take your bikes on the train to Ravenglass (not included) or do a return cycle from/to Whitehaven. Ravenglass is an interesting little coastal village and you may wish to lock the bikes (and allow approx 2 hours return) to take the heritage Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway for a steam train excursion into the Lake District. The cycle route passes Ravenglass station and crosses the estuary on the railway bridge. From here you will travel on mainly quiet roads and off-road paths through the villages of Holmrook, Drigg and Seascale, then past Sellafield Nuclear Plant before turning away from the coast towards the small town of Egremont. Further on you join the Sea to Sea (C2C) Route 71 which takes you back into Whitehaven.

Meals:  B

Heading north passing through Workington, an ancient market town which in its post industrial and mining malaise, has become the main centre for shopping in West Cumbria. Now you are on to another old Roman town: Maryport which has an interesting aquarium and just to the north is the Senhouse Roman Museum dramatically sited on cliffs overlooking the Solway Firth, set next to a Roman fort. Climb the observation tower for a fabulous view of the site. Continue along to Silloth a classic, unpsoilt English seaside town on the Solway coast. It has an extensive town green in its centre, and its long promenade provides a lovely walk taking in the the majestic Solway Firth and views across the water to Scotland. Accommodation: Your accommodation is at a hotel that has recently refurbished its rooms. The hotel is located on the town green looking towards the sea.

Meals:  B

Rolling out from Silloth your attention turns to the East as you turn and head around the splendid Solway Firth, which is all that separates you from Scotland. On the Cumbrian side, much of the coastline is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; the muds and sands, make this a major coastal bird area. The minor roads head around the marshes before winding west then back east via the village of Bowness on Solway. This is at the western end of the Hadrian's Wall and is marked by a pavilion on the small coastal cliff. The Wall originally was made of mud in this area and not much survives however the village is situated on the site of the Roman fort called Maia, which was the second largest on Hadrian's Wall. You then cycle through Port Carlisle, which sounds big but is only a tiny place, built in 1819 to service a canal link to take goods to Carlisle Basin. The canal was closed in 1853 and Port Carlisle silted up. Then you briefly meet the River Eden before pedaling into Carlisle: A border city that has changed nationality a few times through its turbulent history. If you have time it is worth visiting the castle and museum, otherwise take a walk through the Cathedral. Accommodation: Our guesthouse tonight is centrally located and is a Victorian Town House. However this is a busy city so we could use any number of guesthouses.

Meals:  B

After Carlisle, ascend out of the Eden Valley and head into the Pennines, named by the Romans after the Apennines Hills in Italy. Mostly you will be riding gentle hills although there are a couple of steep ones. On the way you could have a break in Bampton, but after about 15 miles you can visit The Priory, church and café at Lanercost, a useful stop before the route climbs up for the first views of Hadrian’s Wall. You then cycle alongside the wall for the next three miles or so, with views over the Irthing Valley to the south. Cycling past Banks with various remains of wall turrets and signalling stations, you arrive at the large site of the Roman fort at Birdoswald with its tea shop. The route then descends to cross the River Irthing near Gilsand and on through Greenhead with the option to visit the ruins of Thirlwell Castle on the way. From here a new traffic-free path runs beside the railway line, after which comes the steepest hill on the whole route up to Greenhead Bank with its Roman Army Museum (you can buy a combined ticket here which also allows you entry into Vindolanda tomorrow). You then descend into bustling Haltwhistle, the town is claimed to be the most central to the British isles! Accommodation: Your guesthouse tonight as 5 comfortable rooms and has proved popular with our clients.

Meals:  B

Today is a shorter ride, not only because it is hilly but so that you can take in the museum sites along the way. Seven miles after Haltwhistle, there is a steep ascent from Bardon Mill back towards Hadrian’s Wall and you will be able to take a short diversion to the pub and the Northumberland National Park visitor centre at Once/Twice Brewed. Otherwise it is onto the museum remains at Vindolanda the most impressive site along Hadrian’s Wall. This remote outpost of the Roman Empire has been extensively excavated and a large number of relics are housed in the newly renovated museum. The road is roughly surfaced past Vindolanda, and after 1/2 a mile of climbing, you reach the highest point of Hadrian’s Cycleway. Now you have 6 exhilarating miles of descending on a largely straight road taking you to the banks of the River Tyne. The route will now follow the river closely all the way to the North Sea, but first you arrive at the busy market town called Hexham. Probably the most picturesque town on the trip, it has abbey ruins with a Saxon crypt which dominate the town centre. Accommodation: Your Inn accommodation tonight offers 7 tastfully decorated rooms. It is only minutes from the historic centre.

Meals:  B

Leaving Hexham having crossed the River Tyne, it’s not far to Corbridge, a smaller, attractive town, uniform in its stone buildings and slate roofs. Continuing on, from Prudhoe to Tynemouth, the route is almost entirely traffic-free, following the north bank of the River Tyne. The cycle route glides serenely into town, sometimes green, sometimes built-up, but always interesting. First comes 7 miles of quiet lanes from Corbridge to Ovingham. Then the route briefly crosses the Tyne on a rickety road bridge, to join the Wylam Waggonway – a tramroad dating from the 1740s. The way gets busier with retail parks and industrial estates but you soon arrive at Newcastle’s riverside, with seven bridges in the space of a mile. The newest, the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, is reserved for cyclists and walkers. Staying on the north bank you now climb above the river onto a railway path. There are dramatic views back down to the river and the site of the old Swan Hunter shipyard, and you ride around the rather built up riverside district passing the last Roman fort museum at Segendunm cross the river on the ferry and cycle the last mile to Arbeia South Shields Roman Fort, the offical end of the Hadrian's Cycleway. From here you retrace your cycle back to the ferry where upon crossing turn right and make your way into Tynemouth to drop off your bikes and check into your hotel. You can celebrate your achievement in local style with fish, chips and a pint! Accommodation: Tynemouth 61 Guesthouse is one of the attractive guesthouses that is used in the centre of Tynemouth.

Meals:  B

Depart from Tynemouth, convenient metro train to Newcastle Central Station to join national rail network.

Meals:  B


Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


Inclusions

  • 7 Breakfasts
  • 7 nights accommodation on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities where available
  • One piece of luggage per person transferred from Inn to Inn, not exceeding 17kg
  • Information pack including route notes & maps (1 pack per room booked)
  • Transfer from Whitehaven to Ravenglass together with your bikes on Day 2
  • Emergency hotline
  • Hybrid Bike Hire for 6 days: incl. delivery & pick-up from your accommodation. E-Bikes on request (supplement applies)
  • 1 x 20 ltr pannier, lock, repair kit with a pump
  • GPX Files

  • Dinners, lunches & beverages
  • Entrance fees
  • Helmet hire & pannier hire are available from the bike shop
  • Transport to arrive at the first B&B and return home
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
  • Public transport on Day 2 (if not joining the bikes to Ravenglass)
  • Entrance fees to museums
  • A supplement will apply if you are travelling solo or book a single room
  • Guide - this is a self guided cycling holiday
  • Electric bike hire, ask for details
  • Excess Luggage

Accommodation


Suitability

moderate

3

Moderate. Some longish days (up to 35 miles/56 km) and a few steep climbs and descents. Generally however undulating. Mixed weather can be expected at anytime.


Departure dates

Daily from 17 Mar to 22 Oct

Priceper person from

£1270GBP

Options & Supplements*
  • E-Bike SupplementGBP£190
  • Single SupplementGBP£340
  • Solo Traveller SupplementGBP£720
*Prices listed are per person

Frequently Asked Questions

The route weaves around the Wall crossing it, but tries to avoid the busy roads. There is not a road by the wall in its famous central section and you are unable to cycle on the walking path.

Yes, depending on your time and energy you can visit the museums dedicated to the roman times. Some museums along Hadrian's Cycleway are directly on route such as Birdoswald and Vindolanda, others such as Housesteads are a few miles off route. We advice you to buy a combined ticket at Greenhead Bank's Roman Army Museum that would also allow entry into Vindolanda.

The bicycles that are included on this trip are generally hybrid bikes, they are not designed for off-road routes. You also have the option to upgrade to an electric bike hire, depending upon availability and at a premium.

Yes, you can choose an e-bike on this trip, there is a supplement for this as detailed in the "Options & Supplements' section on this page.

Yes, 1 x 20 litre pannier is included in the trip price

Of course you can bring your own bike. Please contact our team for exact details on the price reduction.

Under British Law it is not compulsory to wear a cycling helmet, but for safety and insurance purposes you should do. We recommend bringing your own helmet on your UK cycling holiday.

It is a good idea to have your own tool as the hire bikes often come with limited tools. You might want to bring lights as well, as you can always have low cloud or low visibility, or maybe you want to cycle somewhere in the evening.

The hire bikes should be all ready to go. During the course of your holiday you may need to replace an innertube after a puncture, perhaps fix an innertube, do minor brake adjustments and be able to adjust seat pillar and handle bars, if necessary with Alan keys etc. There are a couple of bike shops along Hadrian's Cycleway, but the bike hire shop in Whitehaven will not necessarily be able to drop everything and come out to you.

Yes, some of the hills, such as the one going up to Greenbank, are quite stiff. The route that you cycle along Hadrian's Wall is fairly undulating.


Hadrian's Cycleway Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Personal Experience

We've been walking and cycling the planet for over four decades and are passionate about delivering exceptional service. Combined, we’ve travelled to virtually every corner of Europe, and are eager to share the many benefits of travelling on foot or by bike.

Great Value & Quality

Our well priced trips offer great value for money. Included in your package are comprehensive route notes, maps & guide books along with bag transfers and locally run accommodation. We take the stress out of organising your holiday.

Self-Guided Specialists

We have been operating active self guided holidays since 1973. We handle all the necessary logistics so that you can relax and explore your destination at your own pace. Many of our tours depart daily, giving you even greater flexibility.

Hadrian's Cycleway Videos

Hadrian's Wall Path