A Glaudax cycle tour
8 days of cycling
13,000 metres of climbing
Are you ready to take on our flagship and most challenging tour of the 2023 season?
Tour price: £1,045
Single room supplement: £350
Payable by bank transfer or credit/debit card.
Set off on Wednesday morning from our base in the Surrey Hills for eight days of gloriously scenic and challenging riding across the entire south-west of the country to Land's End, and finishing back where you started on the following Wednesday evening.
In total you'll cover some 1,070 km (660 miles) with around 13,000 m of climbing. You will need a high level of cycle fitness to enjoy this hilly tour.
The maximum group size is just 12 riders, assuring you of a highly personalised service from the moment you first contact us right through your Glaudax experience.
The 8-day schedule
Stage 1, Wednesday: Stoke d'Abernon to Salisbury
distance 135 km; climb 1,200 m
Arrive at our Surrey Hills base – Café Barbera – between 8am and 9am on the Sunday. We'll take your luggage, give you some breakfast and a briefing and set you off when you are ready. You will be following our GPS-mapped recommended route heading out west via Farnham by coffee time, Lasham for lunch at the garden centre, and a cheeky early beer perhaps at Horsebridge. You'll hang up your cycle clips for the night at our hotel in Salisbury where we will meet you with your luggage.
Night 1: Merchant's House Hotel
Stage 2, Thursday: Salisbury to Exeter
distance 163 km; climb 1,800 m
We head west across rural Wiltshire and the Cranborne Chase AONB, with an early optional detour into Longleat Park for an easy bonus climb up Park Hill. Numerous small Somerset towns provide ample refreshment opportunities before hitting the brutal Blackdown Hills AONB and crossing into Devon for a well-earned cream tea in Honiton. From there it's a benign final 30 km to Exeter.
Night 2: Jurys Inn Hotel
Stage 3, Friday: Exeter to Charlestown
distance 126 km; climb 2,900 m
The Queen Stage! By a considerable margin this is the hilliest stage of the tour, and you are going to be using your granny gears almost from the get-go as you haul yourself up onto Dartmoor before the long fast plunge down into Tavistock for coffee. Then you'll be climbing again but not for long before another eye-popping descent to cross the River Tamar...welcome to Cornwall, where the fun really starts! You may get the impression that there are no flat roads anywhere in Cornwall, which is not entirely true but almost. Along with the hills and the full-body workout however goes breath-taking scenery at almost every turn. A pasty or cream tea will go down a treat when you hit the coast at Looe, and then for the specialist climbers looking for a bit extra there's a bonus climb opportunity at Polperro. We cross the Fowey estuary using the Bodinnick ferry from where it's a relatively gentle 13 km to your salvation in Charlestown, where much of the BBC Poldark series was filmed.
Night 3: Pier House Hotel
Stage 4, Saturday: Charlestown to St Just
distance 118 km; climb 2,100 m
A day of climbing and descending between picture postcard Cornish fishing ports such as Mevagissey, Portloe, Newlyn and Mousehole. Take a short walk – and a dip! – at Pendower Beach on the Roseland Heritage Coast before boarding the King Harry Ferry across the River Fal to Trelissick where there's a National Trust garden and coffee. Our route then cuts across the north of the Lizard peninsula and hits the coast again at Marazion for splendid views of St Michael's Mount. We use the coastal path to skirt Penzance and the national cycle route to reach Land's End, where you can get photos of that signpost and eat chips. Ten hilly kms later you'll arrive in St Just where there are four pubs within 100 m of each other and you might just need them all!
Stage 5, Sunday: St Just to Padstow
distance 99 km; climb 1,500 m
This is the shortest day of the tour, but don't let that lull you into any sense of complacency! Every cyclist knows that scenic means hilly, and today is a supreme example of that truism. Our route hugs the rugged Atlantic coastline and the hills come in never-ending waves, just like the Celtic Sea to our left as we pass through St Ives, Carbis Bay, Hayle, St Agnes and Newquay. It's well worth making an effort today to get to our hotel earlier rather than later, as it is the grandest hotel of the tour with complimentary carafes of sherry and gin in every room! And if you are minded to push the boat out and eat at one of Rick Stein’s establishments, you are advised to book very early.
Night 5: Padstow Harbour Hotel
Stage 6, Monday: Padstow to Exeter
distance 126 km; climb 1,700 m
Today's climbs are perhaps longer but the gradients are kinder. We take the ferry across the Camel estuary from Padstow to Rock before ascending steadily for the first 30 km to an altitude of 300 m, so just 1% on average. Then begins the long bleak descent to Launceston for elevenses, shortly followed by the Tamar crossing back into Devon... and back up onto the northern fringes of Dartmoor! At Lydford we turn onto the Granite Way cycle route – 15 km of delightfully smooth car-free tarmac all the way to Okehampton (formerly the rail link to Tavistock and Plymouth), a good place for lunch. Then we take the old A30 to Tedburn St Mary before turning onto the Whitestone road for fantastic Dartmoor views to your right and a fast descent into Exeter.
Night 6: Jurys Inn Hotel
Stage 7, Tuesday: Exeter to Salisbury
distance 163 km; climb 1,800 m
Today we retrace most of the stage 2 route back to Sutton Veny before turning south-east for the final 30 km to Salisbury. So that means a second chance to appreciate the Blackdown Hills, and the Longleat bonus climb will still be there in case you missed it on the way out!
Night 7: Merchant's House Hotel
Stage 8, Wednesday: Salisbury to Stoke d'Abernon
distance 135 km; climb 1,200 m
Head east out of town via peaceful leafy lanes and sleepy villages to Mottisfont where we turn northwards to follow the divine Test Valley through Stockbridge and up to Whitchurch for coffee and cakes at the delightful Silk Mill cafe on the River Test. A few moderate climbs later we rejoin our stage 1 route at Lasham and its garden centre. Then it's a long downhill run into Farnham where the hills finally peter out, followed by a gentle run to the finish where a well-earned finishers meal will be served back at Café Barbera from 5pm – congratulations, you've just ridden to the end of England and back!