Classic & Luxury itinerary day-by-day
1. Day one
Arrive in Oxford on Saturday and check into your hotel located in the heart of the city. Enjoy the treasures of this beautiful city today and stroll through our hand picked selection of the 3 most stunning college gardens of the University. Surrounded by magnificent buildings and sheltered within historic walls, these gardens are often intimate and set in fine courtyards and quadrangles with mixed and herbaceous borders, immaculate lawns and wonderful old trees. There is of course the occasional curiosity too.
2. Day two
Oxford to Woodstock
Your host will meet you this morning with your bikes and run through your itinerary before you head for the University Botanic Garden. Founded in the 1620s as a physic garden, it is one of the oldest scientific gardens in the world with one of the most diverse collections of plants totaling 8,000 different plant species. As well as the walled garden, there are glasshouses and grounds leading down to the Cherwell River. Leave Oxford along the pretty Oxford Canal to reach Woodstock with your overnight stay for the next 2 nights in the centre of this unspoilt Cotswolds village.
12 miles (19 km)
3. Day three
Woodstock to Rousham and back
Not far from Woodstock and along leafy lanes and bike tracks, you will discover the tranquil gardens of Rousham House. Dearly loved by all who pass through them and yet little visited, this is an arcadian architectural landscape that was redesigned by William Kent in the 18th Century. From the stone arched stable block where you enter the gardens, to the rills, rose garden, dovecote and magical river vistas, drama never ceases. This is a place of dreams!
Optional 15 miles (24 km)
4. Day four
Woodstock to Moreton in Marsh
In complete contrast, today is your chance to enjoy grandiose Blenheim Palace and its 2000 acres of Capability Brown landscape. Built in the 18th Century, the palace was the birthplace of Winston Churchill and the 12th Duke of Marlborough lives here today. The lakes, water terraces and great arches and vistas provide the formality but then round a corner you can find the tiny bridges of the secret garden and the colourful rose garden. Later in the afternoon you can pedal through Cotswold lanes to reach the village of Charlbury and take a short train hop to the market town of Moreton in Marsh for your overnight stay.
12 miles (19 km)
5. Day five
Moreton in Marsh to Chipping Campden
Mingle with the locals in Moreton's High street before pedaling off through typical Cotswold villages to find the Arts and Crafts gardens of Hidcote Manor. These are probably the most influential of all English 20th Century gardens and were created in the early 1900s by American Lawrence Johnston. Now owned by the National Trust, the garden has a series of simply inspirational 'rooms' each with their own character. Pause for lunch because across the road, literally, is the equally stunning, privately owned garden of Kiftsgate Court. This too is an Arts and Crafts garden brimming with creativity and charm. Dream on as you freewheel into Chipping Campden, often referred to as the gem of the Cotswolds.
13 miles (21 km)
6. Day six
Chipping Campden to Oxford
Your penultimate day leaves you time to have a leisurely look around Chipping Campden. Close by is the last garden of the tour offering something quite different again. Mill Dene garden is less then 50 years old and surrounds an ancient Cotswold watermill and stream. It is highly individual with mirrors, trompe l’oeil, an innovative fruit garden and herb potager with a few other surprises too. Wend your way back to Moreton in Marsh for a short train hop back to Oxford for the final night of your tour.
During the month of July, when Mill Dene is closed, the tour can include Snowshill Manor garden instead. This is a delightful Arts and Crafts garden, owned by the National Trust with a wide range of ornaments painted in 'Wade blue', a soft powdery colour named after Charles Wade who lived in the Tudor house and created its garden. Your cycling takes in the scarp slope of the Cotswolds (downhill!), the village of Broadway and a train hop back to Oxford. Total cycling distance 19 miles (30 km).
7 miles (11 km)
7. Day seven
Depart at leisure.
Dream on as you freewheel into Chipping Campden