Classic & Luxury itinerary day-by-day
1. Day one
Arrive in London and check into your hotel located in the heart of the capital. We hope you will get to know Shakespeare a little better during the tour we have arranged for you at his Globe Theatre, not far away. There may be a play of his to enjoy there too. Your cycling equipment will be delivered to your hotel where your host will also meet you to run through your itinerary and to familiarize you with the route.
2. Day two
London to Hampton Court
Start the day by boarding a river boat at Westminster with your bicycle and heading upstream to Kew where your cycling begins. You can explore the famous gardens and Kew Palace and then follow the river to Richmond with its chic shops and linger in the waterside cafes. Pedal along the waterfront to Hampton Court where you will spend the night close to the palace. Those wanting a longer ride can cycle traffic free out of London to Richmond.
11 miles (17 km) or 23 miles (37 km)
3. Day three
Hampton Court to Windsor
Explore Hampton Court Palace first today. Here is 500 years of royal history from Henry VIII - whose life formed the basis for one of Shakespeare's last plays to Queen Victoria. Discover the state apartments, Tudor kitchens, renaissance paintings and the maze. Then ride to Windsor along the Thames, passing houseboats and famous islands, willow lined meadows with pretty lock cottages and ancient steeples and waterside inns. Enjoy the tranquility and rural scene before making tracks to Windsor Castle where your hotel is located. There is a circular ride from here into Windsor Great Park if you want more cycling.
13 miles (21 km) or 33 miles (53km)
4. Day four
Windsor to Marlow
Enjoy Windsor and its castle this morning and discover the connection with Shakespeare's play The Merry Wives of Windsor. Take a peek at Eton across the river where princes William and Harry went to school. After lunch, board the river boat to Marlow and enjoy this beautiful stretch of the Thames. If you wish to cycle, there is a pretty route that leads away from the river through old villages and hamlets. Your hotel in Marlow sits close by the weir of this attractive town.
Optional 19 miles (30km)
5. Day five
Marlow to Henley
Take time to discover all the history of Marlow before cycling or cruising to Henley. The boat trip allows you to avoid the slopes of the Chiltern Hills whilst the bike ride enables you to enjoy fantastic views and wonderful scenery - its your choice! Once in Henley, famed for its rowing regatta, you will quickly discover its elegant atmosphere. Stroll along the waterfront, enjoy tea on one of a number of river islands or visit The River and Rowing Museum. Your hotel nestles in the heart of the town.
Optional 10 miles (18km)
6. Day six
henley to Streatley
Today's ride follows the river through some of its most magical settings. Pedal across weirs, spot the llamas, smell ancient beech woods and discover the prettiest village on the Thames. Your overnight inn sits in the heart of a tranquil village setting.
19 miles (30km)
7. Day seven
Streatley to Oxford
Crisscross the Thames today and take in pretty riverside villages, forgotten rural scenes and the dreamy waters of the Upper Thames. The shorter ride includes a boat hop from Abingdon with its ancient abbey. With Oxford and its dreaming spires beckoning, you pedal along the Thames to find your hotel in the heart of the city. Shakespeare was a regular visitor to Oxford at No: 3 Cornmarket when he was travelling between London and Stratford. You are in good company!
20 miles (32km) or 26 miles (42km)
8. Day eight
Oxford to Charlbury
A delightful rural waterside ride leads you out of the city along the Oxford Canal, past houseboats and locks. Not far from the canal, sits the Cotswold stone village of Woodstock and the grandiose Blenheim Palace set in 2000 acres of Capability Brown landscape. Built in the 18th Century, it was the birthplace of Winston Churchill and the 12th Duke of Marlborough lives here today. Enjoy the stop and then pedal along twisting lanes through pretty villages and over tiny bridges crossing gurgling streams to reach the village of Charlbury and your overnight inn.
22 miles (35 km)
9. Day nine
Charlbury to Moreton in Marsh
Now in the heart of the Cotswolds you will enjoy ancient woodlands, hidden tracks nestling in the valleys and wonderful views which were well known to Shakespeare and possibly feature in his play Richard II. Cosy pubs with wonderful food and farm shops to die for are dotted along the route and there’s time to linger in the old stone and thatched villages. Moreton-in-Marsh where the high street once formed part of the Roman Fosse Way is your overnight stop.
20 miles (32 km)
10. Day ten
Moreton in Marsh to Stratford on Avon
Pedal gently on through peaceful country lanes to enjoy Chipping Campden village one of the great gems of the Cotswolds. Then freewheel along the old railway track into Stratford on Avon. Here is your journey's end - the birthplace of William Shakespeare and the town which he travelled to from London to be with his wife Anne Hathaway and their children. You can visit all the houses associated with the bard's family if you wish to pedal on. Your overnight stay is in the heart of the town with all its half timbered buildings and a stone's throw from the Shakespeare Theatre where we hope you will enjoy a performance tonight.
20 miles (32 km)
11. Day eleven
Enjoy Stratford and depart
Explore more of Shakespeare's Stratford life today and pedal to all the 5 houses owned by the family of this great playwright. His mother's farm lies a few miles ride along the Stratford Canal and is a fitting finale to your travels following Shakespeare's Way. Depart Stratford at your leisure.