24th July, 2015

Cycling holidays offer a rare opportunity for genuine cultural immersion. There's something about the pace of cycling, which allows you to see more than you would than if you were walking, and the routes you take on a bike, such as quaint backroads, quiet country lanes, little-used bridleways and tranquil cycle paths, that allow you to circumvent the tourist masses, engage with the details, and experience for yourself the local culture. Great Britain is famously densely packed with interesting things to see and do and an incredibly rich history to discover, which makes it an ideal destination for those wanting an active holiday with some culture thrown into the mix. We've sought out similar regions and routes in Europe to continue this tradition of culturally immersive cycling holidays. We hope those of you who've tried our walking holidays and bike tours abroad agree!

We'd thought it would be helpful to share what we consider to be our best cultural cycling holidays, as we often get asked this question.

1. Oxford and Thames Royal Palaces

This trip offers the chance to follow the Thames, often described as England's liquid history, and visit the historic capital of London, magnificent royal residences (past and present) at Hampton Court and Windsor Castle, as well as Henley, the home of the world-famous regatta, and of course Oxford, the city of dreaming spire, which is positively beaming with culture.

2. The medieval heart of Spain

Customers always return from this tour telling us how pleasantly surprised they were to discover a different side to Spain, away from the overly populated tourist areas. The tour is around the very centre of Spain, north of Madrid. From the World Heritage city of Segovia, which boasts a Roman aqueduct, and numerous medieval villages, hill top towns and castles, discover the little-known treasures that make Spain such a historic and fascinating place.

3. Lake Constance

This is an unusual cycling holiday in that you visit a total of three countries in a single week, as you pedal the circumference of Lake Constance. There's a huge amount of history and cultural traditions to discover along the way: regal churches and castles, pre-historic stilt houses that rank amongst UNESCO's World Heritage Sites, world-famous arts and opera festivals, and even a museum dedicated to Zeppelin airships!

4. Shakespeare country and the Cotswolds

Discover Shakespeare's birthplace and residences in Stratford-upon-Avon, attend a performance at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and visit world-famous gardens, Capability Brown follies, medieval market towns, National Trust museums and the birthplace of Winston Churchill, Blenheim Palace. And we haven't even mentioned Oxford yet!

5. A Highland fling

This gentle cycling tour (yes, gentle, in Scotland - it is possible!) offers up the chance to take in a considerable amount of culture and history en route: traditional Scottish whisky distilleries, Culloden battlefield, Cawdor and Brodie castles, world-pioneering eco villages, plus a whole lot of haggis (if you're into it!)

We hope that gives you a taste of our top cultural cycling trips. If there's a specific destination you're looking at, or you have a particular interest, let us know and we will be able to advise you on the perfect trip for you!