William Shakespeare is widely considered to be the greatest dramatist of all time. His 37 plays feature inspired plots, remarkable poetry, brilliant insights into human character and a very creative use of the English language. 2016 marked the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death.

In celebration of his legacy, we decided to create our Shakespeare's Way cycling holiday, so you can pedal the route that the poet perhaps took on his journeys between the Globe Theatre in London, where most of his plays were first performed to public acclaim and his home in Stratford-upon-Avon, where his wife Anne Hathaway and his children lived. Discover along the way the places and people featuring in Shakespeare's life and works. Leave the heart of London following the River Thames and travel through the beautiful countryside of the Chilterns and the Cotswolds passing some of England 's finest attractions - London, Hampton Court, Windsor, Oxford, Blenheim Palace and Stratford-upon-Avon. This was Shakespeare's way.



Holiday details

Price

Classic

from £1,880 per person

Luxury

from £2,635 per person

Based on two people sharing a room

What’s included?

A tour of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London and entry to the 5 Shakespeare houses in Stratford on Avon.  See what’s included as standard

Duration

7 nights

Start & Finish

Classic tour starts Sundays, luxury tour starts Saturdays and finishes Stratford on Avon.

Hotels

Classic

Two historic riverside inns, a village pub, and three centrally located hotels

Luxury

Two 5 star, one 4 star and one 3 star hotel (our classic choice), a restaurant with rooms and a boutique hotel

Holiday type

Self-guided

This tour is priced without a guide and you are free to explore on your own.  If you would like a guide for part or all of your trip, we are happy to provide a knowledgeable, local guide

Activity level

Not so gentle cycling. More info...

Electric bikes

Available

Mileage

5 days of cycling 29 - 43 miles (46 - 69 km) per day and one day of optional cycling

Terrain

A few hills

Traffic-free

20%; very low traffic on the rest

Options

  • Additional nights in London and Stratford on Avon
  • Shakespeare Theatre tickets for Stratford on Avon and London


Itinerary day-by-day


Classic

  1. 1. Day one

    London

    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. 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. 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. 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. 5. Day five

    Oxford

    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. 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. 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. 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.

    Optional miles

Luxury

  1. 1. Day one

    London

    Arrive in London and check into your hotel located adjacent to the Thames and opposite the London Eye. We hope you will get to know Shakespeare a little better during the tour we have arranged for you at his Globe Theatre, just across the river. 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. 2. Day two

    London to Runnymede

    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 your riverside hotel.

    35 miles (56 km)

  3. 3. Day three

    Runnymede 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 restaurant with rooms 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!

    27 miles (43 km)

  4. 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. 5. Day five

    Oxford

    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. 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. 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 it's 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. 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.

    Optional miles