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 Staines on Thames
Your journey to Stratford begins with a traffic free ride out of London enjoying the River Thames. Speed through Richmond Park - this is where London's cyclists collect and pedal past the palace at Hampton Court where Henry VIII lived. His life is the basis of one of Shakespeare's last plays. The Thames river offers a tranquil ride with wildlife and cosy pubs a plenty. Stop for the river ferry crossing and arrive shortly afterwards at the riverside inn where you will stay the night.
33 miles (53 km)
3. Day three
Staines on Thames to Sonning
There's a short climb into Windsor Great Park where you can spot gifts given to the Queen and maybe some royal deer. Stop for a visit to the castle to discover its connection with Shakespeare's play The Merry Wives of Windsor and head across the river to Eton where princes William and Harry went to school. You might also be tempted to take a break in Bray, where innumerable famous chefs have their watering holes. Then leafy lanes take you through a rural scene of farms and studs enroute to picture perfect Sonning village, your overnight stop. The ancient inn where you will stay sits adjacent to the river and the village boasts an excellent dinner theatre at The Mill where Shakespeare might be on the menu too!
29 miles (46 km)
4. Day four
Sonning to Oxford
Leave the Thames behind you and head into the picturesque Chiltern hills with flint cottages, beech woods, red kites and expansive views. Your route takes you through the characterful Oxfordshire market towns of Wallingford and Abingdon and a string of pretty hamlets and villages with inviting inns. The last few miles take you along the river once again, known here as the Isis, into the heart of Oxford for the next 2 nights. Shakespeare was a regular visitor to the city at No: 3 Cornmarket when he was travelling between London and Stratford as his friends the Davenants and his godson lived here. You are in good company!
43 miles (68 km)
5. Day five
Oxford has so much to offer so here is a day to discover the beautiful honey coloured colleges of its university, the museums, Botanic Gardens, and famous inns where many an author has supped. Pedal past these along alleys, bridges and backwaters on our city tour and get under the skin of this fascinating city. If you prefer something more rural we can provide you with a circular ride into the Cotswold countryside.
Optional circular ride
6. Day six
Oxford to an Oxfordshire village
You leave Oxford on a traffic free route as you head towards the Cotswold village of Woodstock. Here is the world heritage site of Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Winston Churchill and now home to the 12th Duke of Marlborough. Back in the saddle, you can then explore classic Cotswolds country - twisting lanes leading through pretty villages; tiny bridges crossing gurgling rivers; ancient woodlands and wonderful views which were well known to Shakespeare and possibly feature in his play Richard II. Your welcoming inn tonight overlooks a village green.
33 miles (53 km)
7. Day seven
An Oxfordshire village to Stratford
Today's route leads you through a string of Cotswold stone hamlets and villages to the market town of Moreton-in-Marsh and the great gem that is Chipping Campden village. From there its a freewheel into Stratford on Avon. So 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.
32 miles (51 km)
8. Day eight
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.