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COAST AND CASTLES SOUTH


Route Summary

Tour the coastline of Northumberland and the Scottish Borders before sweeping inland to Melrose and Innerleithen on the south section of the Coast and Castles cycling holiday. Your journey begins on the promenade at Tyneside, and ends in historic Edinburgh, on the edge of the Forth Estuary.

Castle ruins loom on the headlands, part of a landscape once shaped by conflict, but this is not the full measure of the ride. Busy towns and villages offer looks into all the history that has accumulated since, shored up in museums and local architecture, and there are independent teashops aplenty to use as rest stops.

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It's a varied route, enjoying seaside vistas and that inland venture through the Moorfoot Hills. The ascent into Edinburgh is the perfect finale: the natural landscape refuses to be left behind as the Coast and Castles Route curves through Holyrood Park, circling the base of Arthur's Seat. This is the highest point in Edinburgh, a volcanic hill situated right in the centre, and offers views over the stone-built townhouses of Old and New Towns, themselves a World Heritage Site, and rivals Edinburgh Castle as the most impressive part of the city skyline.


TOURING HIGHLIGHTS

The route begins in Newcastle, a bustling city with lots to see and do. Explore famous bridges, various excellent museums, the Tynemouth Priory and Castle, and plenty more, including a Roman Fort and the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art.

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© Alan Stanton © James West © El Ronzo

Castles are, of course, a reoccurring sight along the way. Warkworth Castle stands tall within its courtyard, while Dunstanburgh cuts a brooding figure over Embleton Bay. Bamburgh Castle rises from the rocky plinth beneath it, beautifully preserved. Norham Castle took an almighty battering from the Scots, but its sturdy remaining walls are free to visit and bear the evidence of historic turmoil. Edinburgh Castle is arguably the most impressive of them all, presiding over the city's cobbled streets.

If it's the area that entices you more than the castles, you can learn about the local lifeboats at the Grace Darling Museum in Bamburgh, or sample some truly excellent ice cream at Caldwells in Innerleithen. There are multiple religious remains along this route, from Lindisfarne Priory to Melrose Abbey, and Edinburgh is home to even more attractions than Newcastle, from the Scottish Parliament building to the clear waters of the Union Canal - with plenty of museums, art galleries, shops and World Heritage Site streets between them.

ELEVATION VARIED

Coast and Castles South is a low-level route on the whole, keeping to flat terrain until its first mild climb between Warkworth and Alnmouth. From here it undulates gently with a handful of slightly harder, short ascents before Melrose.

The highest point is reached in the Moorfoot Hills via a steady ascent with a slightly steeper descent, and returns to flat terrain until one last brief climb and descent in Edinburgh.

Route profile

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THE TERRAIN

  • Cycle lanes
  • Quiet roads
  • Traffic-free cyclepaths

© Sam Saunders

Coast and Castles keeps to good surfaces throughout. Long stretches of traffic-free cyclepath feature up the coast, with quiet roads between. There are a few sections of compacted grit, but any road bicycle should do brilliantly for this route regardless.

Route NEWS

12/06/2017 Update
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Route Details

Length: 201 miles / 322 km
Start & end: Tynemouth / Edinburgh
Season: 19th March to 15th October

Itineraries


TOUR CODE ITINERARY NO LUGGAGE
TRANSFER
WITH LUGGAGE
TRANSFER
GRADE more info more info  
C-CCS1 4 nights, 3 days £300 £435 Epic More Info Book Now
C-CCS2 6 nights, 5 days £450 £615 Hard More Info Book Now
C-CCS3 7 nights, 6 days £525 £705 Moderate More Info Book Now
C-CCS4 11 nights, 10 days £825 £1035 Easy More Info Book Now
C-CCS5 13 nights, 12 days £975 £1205 Beginner More Info Book Now

The above itineraries show our preferred overnight stops. If accommodation is unavailable at any of these locations, we may alter the itinerary slightly.

Please note that if you choose not to book luggage transfers for your holiday, you must make sure that you are able to carry all of your luggage with you for the duration of the holiday, whether this be via the use of panniers or any other method you wish. Ensure that you test the weight of your luggage while riding well in advance, so that you are comfortable transporting your own luggage during your holiday. We particularly recommend booking mountain biking holidays with lugagge transfers included.


Pricing Information

Our prices are based upon two people sharing a room. If you are riding on your own, or are part of a group, but require a room of your own, one of the following charges applies:

  • Solo rider supplement: £45 per person / per night
  • Single supplement: £20 per person / per night

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

  • Extra night (Standard) : £50 per person / per night
  • Extra night (Edinburgh) : £75 per person / per night
  • Extra night (Holy Island) : £65 per person / per night
  • Extra night (St Boswells) : £60 per person / per night

What's Included

  • Accommodation in en-suite rooms with private bathrooms (where available) in selected hotels, inns and guesthouses along the trail.
  • Breakfast each day.
  • A comprehensive information pack containing maps and/or guide books, a full itinerary, instructions on how to find your accommodation each night, information about facilities and places of interest along the trail and a kit list.
  • Detailed travel instructions on how to get to the start of your holiday and back from the end of it.
  • Emergency assistance.

Travel Information

Detailed travel information is sent to you in your holiday pack, but we have provided a summary below.


By Air
The most convenient major city and international airports are Newcastle, Manchester, and Edinburgh.

By Rail
There is a train station at the start of the route in Newcastle and at the end of the route in Edinburgh.

From London - There is a regular direct train from London Kings Cross to Newcastle.

Please note that most train lines will allow for bikes to be taken on board. We advise that you check on https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/ as you may need to book a space for your bike or there may be a limit as to how many bikes the train can store.

By Car
For advice on driving to the start of the trail, please visit www.theaa.com which has a very useful route planner.

Please note that most buses in the UK are unable to store bikes on board so we would recommend avoiding this form of transport.

Return to Start
The easiest way to return to the start of the route is to take a direct train from Edinburgh Waverley to Newcastle.

Extra Night / Rest Day

This cycling route crosses the border between England and Scotland, offering a vast contrast in landscapes and locations along the way. Adding in extra nights to your holiday would give you plenty of time to explore these unique areas and really get the most out of your time on the trail.

Tynemouth is a great choice for an extra night, and would make a wonderful location in which to prepare for the start of your epic journey. Not only is there a great range of bars, restaurants and cafes to enjoy, but there is also a local physiotherapist and acupuncturist if you have some aches and strains in need of attention. For those looking for some gentle warm up exercise, there are plenty of options, from taking a dip in the local swimming pool, going for a gentle jog along the beautiful sandy beach, testing your skills at the golf course or simply enjoying a leisurely walk around the local area for a spot of sightseeing, making sure to visit the historical Tynemouth Priory and Collingwood Monument.

You could choose to spend an extra night in Bamburgh, particularly if you are interested in a spot of water sports. Voted one of the North East's top surf spots, both surfers and kite surfers are regularly seen riding the waves, while families and those looking for gentler seaside pursuits can enjoy a paddle in the sea, a walk along the beach or try rock pooling in the Stag Rocks. Bamburgh is also home to the iconic Bamburgh castle and boasts dramatic views out to the Farne Islands and Holy Island, making this an amazing destination for budding photographers and historians.

The capital city of Edinburgh at the start of the trail is a fantastic choice for an extra night's stay, offering a vast amount to see and do. Walk between the stone townhouses in the World Heritage Site of Old Town and New Town; visit Edinburgh Castle, perched atop the remains of an extinct volcano; or take in the incredible city skyline from Arthur's Seat in Holyrood Park, not to mention the countless museums, galleries, theatres and other landmarks that Edinburgh offers. There is certainly something here to satisfy everyone's tastes, including modern and traditional shops, markets, bars and restaurants galore, as well as plenty of health centres and spas for those in need of a little TLC after the end of an amazing journey.


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GRADE 1: Beginner

Daily distance: approx. 10 – 20 miles / 16 – 32 km
These itineraries are perfect for beginner cyclists, families or explorers eager to sight-see along the route. Expect plenty of time to relax along the way thanks to short-mileage days, with barely a hill in sight!

GRADE 2: Easy

Daily distance: approx. 15 – 25 miles / 24 – 40 km
With longer-mileage days, these itineraries will suit occasional riders who want a bit more of a challenge. As they still steer clear of steeper or more frequent climbs, they're perfect for quick riding, so you can still make plenty of time for lunch or a spot of exploration.

GRADE 3: Moderate

Daily distance: approx. 20 – 40 miles / 32 – 64 km
Longer daily distances team with a few challenging sections on these itineraries, ideal for regular cyclists confident in their fitness. Exploration stops may require an extra rest day - but there should still be time for a relaxing lunch!

GRADE 4: Hard

Daily distance: approx. 25 – 50 miles / 40 – 80 km
If you're looking to test your abilities as a keen cyclist, these are the itineraries for you. The daily mileages aren't just high, they may also include tough or frequent climbs. Get ready to pedal hard and push yourself!

GRADE 5: Epic

Daily distance: approx. 50 miles + / 80 km +
For these itineraries, you're going to need previous experience cycling long distances over consecutive days. Each is designed to test your strength and your stamina, with high mileage days and tough, frequent climbs.

*** Occasionally our itineraries can straddle between two levels of difficulty, such as 'Easy-Moderate' or 'Hard-Epic' etc. This can be for a number of reasons, such as if there is a wide range of distances between the days of the itinerary, or if the distances are ‘Easy’ but the hills and terrain involved are a bit tricky and more ‘moderate’ etc. If you require more information about any of our itineraries, please do not hesitate to contact us, and we will be more than happy to offer advice and guidance.

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