Trip advisor Certificate of Excellence 2016

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We were so pleased to be awarded a Certificate of Excellence for the second year running.  So many thanks to all our customers who have taken the time to post a review online.

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Top 5 Cycling Cafes

Its been a while since I posted my top cycling cafes.  And since then cycling cafes have become very fashionable!  My choice of  cycling cafes is based on a fabulous cycle ride, with a cafe or tearoom as the midpoint. So whilst you will get a great welcome as a cyclist…cycling is not the be all and end all of these cafe’s existence – in fact they  are catering for anything from book lovers to carpet lovers!

Here they are

The Green Cafe in Ludlow

A perfect position by the river, and under the castle in Ludlow.  Definitely the best scones ever – with lemon & buttermilk – and my favourite greengage jam, when in season.  This cafe is so good its won a Michelin Bib Gourmand award – so its worth trying their lunches too.  And how do you work up an appetite?  Well try our Ludlow Country Estates Tour.  And for entertainment whilst you eat – just watch the river – I’ve seen kingfishers & dippers here – and if you arrive during the salmon season – you can see them leaping up the fish ladder.

The Bog Centre Cafe

The complete opposite in location terms – in the middle of nowhere in the Stiperstones (although originally was part of thriving mining community).  But the cakes are wonderful ..as is the welcome from the community volunteers who run this outpost.  Get there by cycling up from Bishops Castle on our Shropshire Castles tour...or by foot on Wild Edric’s Way (part of the Shropshire Way).  Get off your bike & explore – there are some fabulous wild flower meadows and mine open days.

Aardvark Books Cafe

Great coffee, local homemade cakes, a huge bookshop and idyllic location.   There are cows looking at you from the barn next to where you leave your bikes.  Brampton Bryan is definitely worth exploring from the outstanding yew hedge to the rare commonwealth church – made from the hammer beam roof of the castle next door.  You can cycle there by hiring a bike from Wheely Wonderful Cycling or on any of our Shropshire Cycling holidays.

 

The Workhouse Cafe

Another uninviting name (doesn’t sound relaxing does it)…especially as you have to enter Presteigne’s Industrial estate to get to it….but what a surprise.   A fabulous eco friendly architect designed workshop. great cafe & meeting place and rather unique  selection of antique & Persian carpets (and lots of other artworks & gifts).  Find it all on any of our Welsh cycling holidays and take your time over this find on our Welsh Border Cycle Tour.

 

Bird on the Rock Tearoom

And a big welcome back to this tearoom, which has gone through a rocky couple of years.  Its back up to its old fabulous standard of great old fashioned Teas.  Keep up the good work. Its a welcome stop on our Quietest Cycle tour under the sun.  And great to combine it with a trip to visit Hopton Castle.

Where are your favourites?  And what is your favourite cycling food?

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Offa’s Dyke Cycle tour

Offa’s Dyke is a massive 1200 year old earthwork boundary, which runs on or close to the modern border between England and Wales. This extraordinary ancient monument is a unique reminder of the so called Dark Ages and the beginnings of modern Britain. The Dyke consists of a rampart, which can be up to 8 metres high, and a deep ditch, usually on the western side of the rampart.

Despite all the fighting between the English & Welsh, about 80 miles of the earthworks still survive & the best preserved parts are in this central area of the English/Welsh border. Offa’s Dyke is now a National Long Distance way marked walking trail, running sea to sea from Prestatyn in the North to Chepstow in the South.

And now….. we have just designed a new cycling holiday, which follows the route of the Offa’s Dyke from Chepstow to Prestatyn… this 8 day cycle tour is a great way to complete the 177 mile route.  You can’t cycle on the Dyke (it’s an ancient monument after all), but you go through all the communities along the Dyke – with outstanding places to visit;…Castles at Chepstow, Powis and Chirk. The town of books at Hay on Wye, border market towns like Knighton and Bishop’s Castle and the world heritage site of  on Poncysyllte Aqueduct

Call us for more details on 01568 770755 or Book Now

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Herefordshire Gardens Cycling holiday

More details for this new cycle tour…..You can see these Gardens on the tour…many have tearooms so they make a perfect accompaniment to a cycle ride

The itinerary and details for the holiday can be found on this Herefordshire Gardens pdf.  Book now

Here are just a few of the Gardens you can visit

 

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New Cycle Holiday- Herefordshire Gardens cycle tour

10 Gardens, 7 days cycling…Herefordshire is home to many beautiful gardens.  Our new cycle tour introduces you to the best, and you stay at some great B&Bs, also home to keen gardeners.

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Cycling on the left – the American cycle tourist in England

We cycle on the left….is this the only difference between cycling in America and England?

For a tiny island, there is a lot packed in – history, countryside, literature & geology.  Cycle round a bend in a country lane and the vista  and the story can change dramatically.  Each county has a different feel – from the honey coloured limestone cottages of the Cotswolds to the half timbered black & white villages of Herefordshire & stone cottages of Shropshire.

pembridge - New Inn

The New Inn on the Black & White Villages cycle tour – its only 600 years old

History & Literature everywhere…

From Shakespeare, to great battles.  Romans to Wordsworth.  Great Castles and stately homes – the access to these historic places is easy.  Two great English organisations; The National Trust and English Heritage look after many of these places and make it very easy for visitors.  Everywhere else local communities look after their villages and churches & are keen to share – especially in remote areas, where tiny communities have to fundraise to keep their Norman churches in full working order.  Look out for local history, village churches are a great source of local history and local stories.  And join in local fairs & events.

Mortimer's Cross Battle sign on Cycling holiday

Mortimer’s Cross Battle sign on Cycling holiday

Cycle Trails

The national charity Sustrans (short for sustainable transport) has revolutionised the introduction of way marked cycle routes throughout the UK. There are thousands of miles of cycle routes chosen as quiet, lightly trafficked lanes or off road tracks.  Actual off road trails aren’t very long (max 30 miles – & more commonly about 5 miles), and make up only  a small proportion of the total network.  Iconic trails to look out for are the Sea to Sea route – following roughly the route of Hadrian’s wall in the north East of England and the fantastic Lon Las Cymru, which travels through the whole of Wales – ticking off loads  of  Welsh icons from spectacular castles, welsh speaking towns, fantastic scenery and even  the welsh mining industry!  Look at the Sustrans website for inspiration.

Wye Valley near Rhayader - cycling holiday with Wheely Wonderful Cycling

Mid Wales Cycling Challenge – 4 day cycling holiday

Country Lanes

Country lanes are one of those unsung heroes of the English landscape.  One track lanes linking historic communities, their present day structure can be founded on anything from a Bronze age trading route, roman marching route between forts, a drovers lane for moving cattle to English markets from the Welsh uplands, or just farming tracks skirting field edges.  Apart from the roman roads,they don’t go in a straight line.  There will be traffic on these routes – but a skilled  cycle holiday company will send you on the ones with the least traffic..mostly tractors & sheep.    You know when they have got it right when the tarmac in the middle has been taken over by grass. The lanes are edged with hedgerows, with fantastic wildflowers, trees & birds.  If you count the different trees in a 100 yard stretch, you can tell how old the hedge is… one species for each 100 years – its not uncommon to come across hedges that are five or six hundred years old …

Cycling signpost above Lingen

Making sure that the route descriptions are clear

Green & pleasant land – the weather

William Blake was right when he talked about this Green & Pleasant land.  Our weather is changeable – which is why we spend so much time talking about it.  The best months are May to September – lots of sunshine & warmth, but rarely over 75 fahrenheit.  And there is the rain … this is what makes our gardens so great.  Weather systems come over in 4 hour bands from the Atlantic – which is why one English weather lore sayings “Rain before seven, fine before eleven (am).  Showers last for about 20 minutes, so you should never be put off  – just pop into a tearoom or pub for a drink.

Family Farmhouse Shropshire

Family Farmhouse cycling holiday in Shropshire

The food

Another revolution.  Pubs , Tearooms & great restaurants and locally produced food are all booming in the UK.  Which is of course great news for hungry cyclists.  In our area, the heroes are Herefordshire beef, Welsh Lamb, hundreds of new cheese varieties, cider & perry from ancient orchards and traditional beer from hop farms in the Teme Valley.  Not to mention English strawberries and asparagus.

Sign up for our Wheely Wonderful Cycling Newsletter

Cyclists welcome at our great restaurants

Ain’t no mountain high enough

None of our hills are high! Our highest mountain is Ben Nevis in Scotland 4400ft, Snowdon in Wales 3550ft & Scafell in England 3208ft.  None have roads to cycle over… so you will never be faced with a huge climb.  However, mountain roads  are frequent & offer spectacular views – try the Portway on the Long Mynd – at 1600ft – there is an easy way up – via the Bridges pub or a killer route for cyclists on the Burway.  For cycling enthusiasts who want to tick off extreme gradients there is a list of  challenging British hills.  For the rest of us – enjoy the views in the knowledge that hills are short & if you do come across an exceptionally steep gradient – it will be short lived

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Accommodation

Yes, we do have travel lodges or motels…but most of these aren’t on cycle routes- instead look for guesthouses, farms & country houses where you stay in English family homes which have two or three letting rooms.  Or friendly country hotels & inns.  You can be guaranteed a place to stay with lots of history and a local expert to tell you what to see & do locally.

Juliet Williams, Lowe Farm B&B, Herefordshire

Juliet Williams, Lowe Farm B&B, Herefordshire

Cycling Challenges – a whole country in one week or a day ride with other enthusiasts

Can be packed into shorter holidays – it is possible to cycle through the whole country in 5 to 10 days – whether its Lands End to John O’groats through England & Scotland or the Lon Las Cymru through Wales.  The Uk cycling team’s success in the Olympics and Tour de France has lead to a rapid growth in the number of people cycling and taking part in sportives – and there are plenty of these events to join in , all through the year.

Radnor ring Cycle Challenge

Radnor ring Cycle Challenge

And lastly there are no Bears on our Tours, the most ferocious wildlife you will find in the UK is the Scottish midge… another good reason to come to Shropshire and the Welsh Borders for a great cycle tour.

Oh – one last thing – the brakes are the wrong way round too….

#cycling holidays #vacations #UK

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Lon Las Cymru – Photo blog

Photos and Trip Advisor comments supplied by the Jean L (many thanks)

Lon Las Cymru review

Lon Las Cymru review

#Lonlascymru #visitwales #cycling

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