ProCyclingUK 2024 Logo Alternate

Cycling around the Cotswolds

white castle photography

Cycling in the North Cotswolds is an excellent way to experience the beautiful English countryside, rolling hills, and picturesque villages that make this region so special. With a range of cycling routes and quiet country lanes, the North Cotswolds offers something for cyclists of all abilities.

One of the most popular routes in the area is the Cotswold Line Cycle Route, which follows the railway line from Oxford to Worcester. This route is perfect for those looking for a leisurely ride, as it takes in some of the most beautiful countryside in the region. The route passes through the charming market town of Chipping Norton, the quaint village of Kingham, and the picturesque town of Moreton-in-Marsh, which has a number of great pubs and cafes for a well-earned break.

For those seeking a more challenging ride, the North Cotswolds has plenty of hills to test your cycling skills. The Broadway Tower Loop is a challenging 50-mile route that takes you through some of the most stunning scenery in the region. The route starts and finishes in the charming village of Broadway, taking in the famous Broadway Tower and offering spectacular views over the surrounding countryside.

Another great route is the Bourton Loop, a 45-mile ride that takes you through some of the most picturesque villages in the North Cotswolds, including Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on-the-Wold, and Lower Slaughter. The route is relatively flat, making it a good option for those looking for a more leisurely ride. This being the Cotswolds, there is always an opportunity to make it contain more hills as well.

brown concrete building near river during daytime
Bourton on the Water

There are also a number of shorter routes that are perfect for families or those who prefer a more relaxed pace. The Moreton-in-Marsh to Chipping Campden route is a 10-mile ride that takes you through some of the most charming villages in the area. The route is relatively flat, making it suitable for cyclists of all abilities.

Cotswolds Bike Hire

If you don’t have your own bike, there are several places in the North Cotswolds where you can hire one. Cotswold Electric Bike Tours offers guided e-bike tours of the region, as well as bike hire for those who prefer to explore on their own. Cotswolds Bike Hire is another great option, offering a range of high-quality road and touring bikes for hire, as well as guided tours of the region.

Where to Stay

When it comes to accommodation, the North Cotswolds has a range of options to suit all tastes and budgets. The area is home to a number of charming guesthouses and bed and breakfasts, as well as luxury hotels and self-catering cottages. The town of Chipping Campden is particularly popular with cyclists, as it is home to a number of excellent pubs and restaurants, as well as a range of accommodation options.

Overall, cycling in the North Cotswolds is a fantastic way to experience the stunning English countryside and charming villages of this beautiful region. Whether you’re looking for a challenging ride or a more relaxed pace, the North Cotswolds has something to offer cyclists of all abilities. With excellent routes, great bike hire options, and plenty of accommodation choices, it’s no wonder that this area is such a popular destination for cyclists.

Best Cycling Routes in the Cotswolds

The North Cotswolds offers a plethora of cycling routes, each with its unique charm and challenge. The Chipping Campden to Stow on the Wold route is a popular choice, offering a 30-mile round trip through picturesque villages and rolling countryside. The route begins in Chipping Campden, a quintessential Cotswold town, and takes you through Broadway, Snowshill, and the Slaughters before reaching Stow on the Wold.

Another favourite is the Moreton in Marsh to Chipping Norton route. This 20-mile route takes you through the charming villages of Evenlode and Adlestrop, offering stunning views of the Cotswold hills. The route is relatively flat, making it suitable for beginners or those looking for a leisurely ride.

The Cotswold Diamond route is a challenging 60-mile ride that takes you through some of the most beautiful landscapes in the North Cotswolds. Starting and ending in Moreton in Marsh, this route takes you through Stow on the Wold, Bourton on the Water, and Chipping Norton, among other scenic locations.

For those looking for a shorter ride, the Chipping Campden Loop is a 10-mile route that offers stunning views of the Cotswold hills. This route is relatively flat and takes you through the beautiful countryside surrounding Chipping Campden.

For more information on cycling routes in the North Cotswolds, visit our rides page.

Difficulty Level of Cycling in the North Cotswolds

The difficulty level of cycling in the North Cotswolds can vary greatly depending on the route you choose. The region’s terrain is a mix of flat, rolling, and hilly landscapes, offering routes suitable for all levels of cyclists.

Routes such as the Moreton in Marsh to Chipping Norton are relatively flat and are perfect for beginners or those looking for a leisurely ride. On the other hand, routes like the Cotswold Diamond are more challenging, with several steep climbs and descents.

The weather can also affect the difficulty level of your ride. The Cotswolds are known for their unpredictable weather, with sudden rain showers and strong winds being common occurrences. Therefore, it’s essential to check the weather forecast before setting off on your ride.

Despite these challenges, cycling in the North Cotswolds is a rewarding experience. The region’s stunning landscapes, picturesque villages, and friendly locals make every ride a memorable one.

Best Bike for Cycling in the Cotswolds

The type of bike you choose for your ride in the North Cotswolds will depend on the routes you plan to take. For flat and rolling routes, a road bike is the best choice. These bikes are lightweight and designed for speed, making them perfect for long rides on paved roads.

For hilly routes or those with rough terrain, a mountain bike or a hybrid bike would be more suitable. Mountain bikes are designed for off-road cycling and can handle steep climbs and descents. Hybrid bikes, on the other hand, combine the best features of road and mountain bikes, making them a versatile choice for varied terrains.

When choosing a bike, comfort should be a top priority. Look for a bike with a comfortable saddle, a suitable frame size, and adjustable handlebars. Also, consider the bike’s weight, as a lighter bike will be easier to handle, especially on hilly routes.

For more tips on choosing the right bike, visit our tips and reviews page.

Cycling Clubs and Groups in the Cotswolds

Cycling in the North Cotswolds is a popular activity, and there are several cycling clubs and groups in the region that cater to cyclists of all levels. Joining a cycling club or group is a great way to meet like-minded people, improve your cycling skills, and explore new routes.

The North Cotswold Cycling Club is one of the oldest cycling clubs in the region, offering regular rides for its members. The club caters to cyclists of all levels and organises several events throughout the year.

The Cotswold Cycling Club is another popular choice, known for its friendly and welcoming atmosphere. The club offers a variety of rides, from leisurely rides for beginners to challenging rides for experienced cyclists.

For women cyclists, the Breeze network offers women-only rides in the North Cotswolds. These rides are led by trained Breeze champions and are designed to be fun and sociable.

There are also several informal cycling groups in the region that organise regular rides. These groups can be found on social media platforms such as Facebook and Meetup.

Best Time of Year to Cycle in the North Cotswolds

The North Cotswolds can be enjoyed all year round, but the best time to cycle in the region is during the spring and summer months. During this time, the weather is typically mild and dry, making it ideal for cycling. The countryside is also at its most beautiful, with blooming flowers and lush green landscapes.

Autumn is another good time to cycle in the North Cotswolds. The weather is still relatively mild, and the changing colours of the leaves make for a picturesque ride.

Winter cycling in the North Cotswolds can be a bit challenging due to the colder temperatures and shorter daylight hours. However, the region’s beauty during the winter months is undeniable, with frost-covered landscapes and clear, crisp days. It’s essential to dress appropriately for the weather and check the forecast before setting off on your ride.

Regardless of the time of year, always remember to respect the countryside and follow the Countryside Code.

Cycling Events and Races in the North Cotswolds

The North Cotswolds is home to several cycling events and races throughout the year, catering to cyclists of all levels. These events offer a great opportunity to challenge yourself, meet fellow cyclists, and explore the beautiful Cotswold countryside.

The Cotswold Spring Classic is a popular event held every Easter Monday. The event offers three routes of varying difficulty, making it suitable for all levels of cyclists. The routes take you through some of the most beautiful parts of the Cotswolds, with well-stocked feed stations along the way.

The Cotswold Autumn Classic is another popular event, held in October. Like the Spring Classic, this event offers three routes and is a great way to end the cycling season.

For those looking for a challenge, the Cotswold Cyclo Sportive is a tough event that takes you through some of the most challenging climbs in the Cotswolds. The event offers several distance options, ranging from 40 miles to 100 miles.

In addition to these events, there are several local races organised by cycling clubs in the region. These races offer a more competitive atmosphere and are a great way to test your cycling skills.

What to Pack for a Cycling Trip in the North Cotswolds

Packing for a cycling trip in the North Cotswolds requires careful planning. The unpredictable weather in the region means you need to be prepared for all eventualities.

Firstly, you should pack appropriate clothing. This includes a waterproof jacket and trousers, warm layers for colder days, and lighter clothing for warmer days. Don’t forget your cycling shoes, helmet, and gloves.

A basic repair kit is essential. This should include a spare inner tube, tyre levers, a pump, and a multi-tool. It’s also a good idea to bring a first aid kit for minor injuries.

You should also pack plenty of food and water for your ride. The Cotswolds has plenty of pubs and cafes where you can stop for a meal, but it’s always a good idea to have snacks and water on hand.

Don’t forget to bring a map or a GPS device to help you navigate the routes. Lastly, bring a mobile phone for emergencies and a camera to capture the beautiful Cotswold scenery.

Remember, it’s essential to pack light and only bring what you need. Overpacking can make your ride more challenging and less enjoyable.