Coast & Castles Cycling Holiday - Newcastle to Edinburgh
Cycle along the stunning Northumberland Coast & through the Scottish Borders
On the 200-mile (320km) Coast and Castles cycling trip we ride from the vibrant city of Newcastle to the majestic Scottish capital of Edinburgh, enjoying the breath-taking natural scenery and fascinating cultural heritage along the length of the route. Countless magnificent castles, abbeys and priories in various states of survival stand defiantly along the route.
On this tour we cycle 200 miles (320km) from Newcastle to Edinburgh. This is a rewarding cycling trip that follows the National Cycle Network along a combination of traffic-free cycle paths and quiet country roads.
Starting in Newcastle, the first half of the trip takes us alongside the magnificent Northumberland coastline, blessed with outstanding natural scenery and cultural heritage. Rocky headlands protect countless coves and bays and onshore reserves and coastal islands provide wildlife havens.
North of the Scotland-England border at Berwick-upon-Tweed, the route moves into the Tweed Valley where quiet lanes lead us through beautiful border country before a gentle climb onto the Moorfoot Hills into Midlothian. From here spectacular views of Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth unfold as we cruise into Scotland’s capital city.
The terrain is largely flat, but with some undulations and low hills to negotiate. Most of the route is on quiet country lanes or cycle paths, with some short sections on grassy fields or farm tracks. There is one major ‘climb’ from the Tweed Valley through the Moorfoot Hills towards Edinburgh.
- Natural beauty – The wild coastal landscape of Northumbria, including Druridge Bay’s 7 miles of pristine dunes and sandy beaches.
- Stunning strongholds – the superb fortifications at Tynemouth, Warkworth, Dunstanburgh, Bamburgh and Norham; not to mention the beautifully situated priory and castle at Lindisfarne and the abbeys at Kelso and Dryburgh.
- The rugged beauty of the Scottish Borders with fine views of Edinburgh from the Moorfoot Hills.
- Vibrant cities – Newcastle and Edinburgh, with their thriving cultural scenes, striking buildings and strong identities are the perfect start and end points for this cycling trip.
This is a sample itinerary based on 4 days of cycling. The daily distances, accommodation stops and meal plan can be tailored to your specific requirements.
Day 1 – Join Tour Newcastle.
The lively city of Newcastle, with it’s trademark skyline and bridges spanning the River Tyne is a superb starting point for this route. Arrive early in order to enjoy the best of the city.
Day 2 – Cycle from Newcastle to Alnmouth.
Leaving the B&B after breakfast, we’ll freewheel down to Newcastle’s Quayside and the Millennium Bridge where our cycling adventure begins. We’ll follow the River Tyne downstream to reach the coast at Tynemouth, with its ruined priory and lofty statue of Lord Collingwood overlooking the North Sea. With the sea close by, we’ll head north with the superb Northumberland coastline and countryside unfolding before us. After passing through the seaside resort of Whitley Bay and numerous coastal settlements we’ll ride alongside Druridge Bay’s seven miles of outstanding sandy beaches and dunes. The 12th century castle at Warkworth is worth a stop before we arrive at our night’s stop at the compact harbour village of Alnmouth.
Total distance: 53 miles / 85 km
Overnight: Guesthouse/Inn, Included Meals: Breakfast
Day 3 – Cycle from Alnmouth to Berwick-on-Tweed.
The next leg of our coastal journey continues into the Northumberland Coast AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). The route threads its way between idyllic coastal villages and hamlets such as Craster – famous for its kippers and with views towards the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle – and Bamburgh with its imposing castle which was formerly the seat of the kings of Northumbria. Bamburgh is also celebrated for its association with the Victorian maritime heroine Grace Darling, who is buried in the village. The tidal island of Lindisfarne, also known as Holy Island since it played a crucial role in the development of Celtic Christianity, is well worth a detour along the tidal causeway to visit the priory and castle if the tide levels – and time – are favourable. The final five coastal miles of our route bring us to our night stop at the handsome border town of Berwick-upon-Tweed. Although part of England since 1482 the town changed hands on many occasions during the Border Wars between England and Scotland and the well-preserved town walls and Elizabethan ramparts are testament to this.
Total distance: 47 miles / 75 km
Overnight: Guesthouse/Inn, Included Meals: Breakfast
Day 4 – Cycle from Berwick to Melrose.
The character of the tour changes this morning as we leave the coast behind and head westwards and inland along the tranquil Tweed Valley. We’ll cross the Scotland/England border three times in the first thirteen miles as our route weaves its way alongside and over the River Tweed. The castles theme continues with Norham Castle marking our final entry into Scotland and Floors Castle just outside the abbey town of Kelso, with its cobbled central square. The terrain becomes more undulating as we head upstream from Kelso, crossing the River Tweed once more near Dryburgh Abbey and skirting the distinctive triple-peaked Eildon Hill as we approach Melrose at the end of today’s journey.
Total distance: 45 miles / 72 km
Accommodation: Guesthouse/Inn Included meals: Breakfast
Day 5 – Cycle from Melrose to Edinburgh.
Our final day’s riding continues along the Tweed Valley past Galashiels and through Innerleithen, where we leave the Tweed behind and head north through the Moorfoot Hills of the Scottish Borders. Although today’s ride is the hilliest, the climb to the highest point of the entire route is long and gentle. The effort is justly rewarded with superb views towards our final destination of Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth beyond. The remaining miles are largely downhill, riding through the towns of Dalkeith and Musselburgh before rolling into Scotland’s stunning capital alongside Arthur’s Seat. We’ll finish our ride at The Mound, situated at the heart of the city between Edinburgh’s New and Old Towns.
Total distance: 55 miles / 88 km
Included meals: Breakfast
Which bike to bring?
The Coast & Castles route is almost entirely on roads with just a few short section on grassy fields and farm tracks, so a road bike or hybrid is suitable for this trip. If you’re intending on riding on a mountain bike, slick or semi-slick tyres are recommended as opposed to fat, knobbly tyres. Suspension is not really necessary but if you do have suspension which you can lock-out (particularly the rear shock on a full-suspension bike) you’ll find the long miles on the road more enjoyable. You’ll need to ensure that your own bike is in good working order – ideally serviced by a qualified mechanic before the ride – and you have sufficient spare parts with you on the ride
What you’ll need to bring
You’ll need to bring your own helmet, water bottle/hydration pack and cycle clothing. We strongly recommend you wear cycling gloves and padded shorts.
Your main luggage will be transferred each day from your start to end accommodation, leaving you free to ride carrying only your supplies needed for the day. Please note: your luggage is limited to one item and must not exceed 15kg in weight.
What’s not included
Personal travel insurance, any relevant entrance fees, meals other than those mentioned in the itinerary, any charges for travelling with your own bike (if applicable).
We do not currently have any scheduled Coast & Castles trips for 2017, but we can organize a bespoke trip for your or your group. Please contact us to discuss details and prices.
We can organize Coast & Castles cycling trips for private groups of any size and for any duration. Please contact us with your request and we’ll give you a specific price according to your requirements.