England - where to go?

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by EmGee DK, 24 Mar 2008.

  1. EmGee DK

    EmGee DK New Member


    first of all please excuse my lousy grammar and spelling - caused mainly by bone-idleness in my school-years and the fact that I`m from Denmark.
    Bad humour may occur eventhough I know I shouldnt and I appologize in advance.

    I would like to plan a cycling tour in England, which at first seemed as an excellent idea and a pretty easy job, since I thought to know a lot about both cycling and Britain. But then I started planning and found out that because I knew that Aston Villa is originated in Birmingham and Tottenham is not an actual city of its own it didnt mean that I knew english geography - let alone the scenery and "cyclebility" of the areas.

    So surfing the web I found a lot of information suggesting this-and-that-shire leaving me in an utter state of confusion. Britain is an island and if youre lost on an island where I come from, you just have to stand up to know where to go (joke: Denmark is VERY small). However your island is somewhat bigger. So I hope someone here could help get my sence of direction back on track. Basicly Im looking for:

    - A trip between a week and 14 days
    - I would like to follow rivers and waterways, but dont know if its possible
    - Max. 50-60 Km pr day as traffic free as possible
    - Start and end near London since Ill be flying in. And No... I cant go to other airports. Please dont ask
    - Should I rent a bike or does it make any sense bringing my own? Dont even know if thats possible and costwise I fear the worst. Not to mention how much I would hate to be told that my bike made it safe to Tokyo whilst sitting in Gatwick
    - When would be the best time for me to go? I dont mind the rain but I really really hate wind, since its always against me.
    - Places of interest would be hmmm... pubs and old stuff.

    Any help would be appreciated...
  2. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    Fly into Stanstead and do a circular tour of East Anglia and back to Stanstead.

    Stanstead> Cambridge> Kings Lyn> Cromer> GT Yarmouth>Broads> cut back through Thetford Forest> bacl airport.

    ..just a thought...
  3. Tony

    Tony New Member

    Which "London" airport? Some are not that near.
    Bring your own bike. Renting is not easy. What sort of thing are you looking for? There is a Thames ride, if you head up to Oxford, and that can bring you out towards the Severn. Look up sustrans for some ideas. Failing that, something like Gatwick/Tunbridge Wells by Forest Way/Garden of England cycle route

    Ah. I see it is Gatwick. Look up Downs Link/Garden of England on
  4. OP
    EmGee DK

    EmGee DK New Member

    Thank you Bigtallfatbloke... However I can only fly to London from where Im living otherwise I have to via Copenhagen. But Stanstead - according to Google should be within reach by train, so Ill look a little closer at that area.

    Thanks for the links Tony... Ill have a look
  5. rich p

    rich p ridiculous old lush

    In my experience river rides in England are rarely flat as the roads tend not to follow the river that closely unlike the Rhine, Moselle, Neckar etc in Germany. There probably aren't too many dedicated paths and canal side riding can be very dull IMO. As Tony says, it does depend which airport you're heading to. There's nice cycle-able bits all over England and so many minor roads that if you pick a route from a map and zig zag to it on small roads you'll avoid most of the traffic.
  6. Cathryn

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    I'd bring my own bike too and then head down to the West Country (being a Wiltshire girl at heart). Places to go would be Salisbury, Stonehenge, Dorset (county), Bath, Bristol and then down to Lands End. You could get the train back to London.

    Weather...you NEVER ever know what to expect in England. June/July/Aug should be okay but last year they were horrific and it rained every day for two months. Bring good waterproofs and a stiff upper lip and you'll be fine!!!
  7. Odyssey

    Odyssey New Member

    I won't ask, but that's very limiting. London being the capital, it's a very well populated area. If you're looking for peaceful countryside and stunning scenery you're far more likely to find that in the north. Maybe a bus or train could help you out? Trains aren't cheap over here though.
  8. domtyler

    domtyler Über Member


    Start in Central London and ride for half an hour in any direction and you'll be in the countryside.
  9. rich p

    rich p ridiculous old lush

    Dom's right. As is the way of these things it doesn't take long to get away from habitation. I cycle round Sussex on a Saturday morning and we barely see a car. Dorset, Worcester, Kent for instance are very rural with virtually no large towns. I cycled t'up north often and there are a lot of connurbations up ther but I don't want to get into a "which is best" argument. The point is if you pick your routes you'll find good riding everywhere.
  10. Odyssey

    Odyssey New Member

    There's countryside around London but most of it's very bland and synthetic in its feel. Not to mention that there's major cities dotted left, right and center. If you were to start from the north, perhaps through Cumbria, Yorkshire and so on, just as an example, I think you'd get a very broad and worthwhile view. I've never done any touring as of yet but I do know a lot of the British countryside.
  11. OP
    EmGee DK

    EmGee DK New Member

    Rich P... Thank you. I did some hiking in Saarland (Moselle) and must say its the most stunningly beautiful countryside I have seen. Im going to Gatwick cause its by far the easiest and cheapest from where I live in Denmark. Aalborg-Gatwick and back for 110£. And I found out I can bring my bike eventhough I´m hesitate about doing so.

    Cathryn: Thank you for the advice. Would really like to see Stonehenge. I know what you mean about the lousy summer. I missed the summer last year cause I was out shopping as it passed.

    Odyssey: Im planning a hiking trip to Scotland later, but this year I want to see trees, water and rolling hills. The highest points in Denmark are the speed bumps.

    Does any one know if someone has made a google map of any of the tours you suggested or others for that matter? At maps.google.com you can make your own maps quite easy and share them with others. You only have to register. I made a sample using Bigfattallblokes East Anglia Tour here.

    My bike is a racing bike. Its a good bike but I havnt used it for tours where it had to carry any extra weight and Im a bit uncertain if its suitable for my trip. What would you recommend?

    Its just a hill - get over it!
  12. domtyler

    domtyler Über Member

    More rubbish.

    I live in East London and can be out in rural Essex within fifteen minutes, I can assure you it feels neither bland or synthetic. Further North you will find Hertfordshire and then heading West you get into the Chiltern Hills, one of the most scenic areas of the country. I am sure that the residents of Kent and Surrey and all the other home counties will be equally positive about their localities and scathing of your dismissal.

    That said, the Lake District in Cumbria, the Yorkshire Dales and the Scottish Highlands offer outstanding scenery for those willing to make the journey up there.
  13. Odyssey

    Odyssey New Member

    Which is my point. I'm not dismissing anything or anywhere. There's pretty scenery everywhere but there're certain parts of the country worth checking out if you're making the effort to visit. All depends on what you're looking for at the end of the day though. Anyway, I don't wish to hijack this thread. And since EmGee is planning a trip to Scotland, maybe the south is a good call for now. Bit of contrast never hurt anyone.
  14. rich p

    rich p ridiculous old lush

    I'm not being argumentative, Od but when you've done a bit more touring on a bike you'll find a lot more pleasure from the countryside than the obvious. Moors and mountains are great but can sometimes be a bit monotonous on a bike or even too strenuous. Find pleasure in small things so say O Wise One!

    It's a myth that bthere are large cities in the southern half of England apart from London and mabe Bristo and Southampton. Yorkshire for instance has a lot more large populated areas than any southern county (Leeds, Bradford,Sheffield etc). I'm not rubbishing the north of England but don't be too narrow-minded;)

    I realise having posted the above that I'd missed a whole page of posts! If it's cobblers or in anyway repetitive or confused then please just ignore me!
  15. Odyssey

    Odyssey New Member

    All good points.
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