***: Cotswolds sightseeing tour
Gloucester, 18m - Cheltenham, 72m - Cleve Hill Pass 246m - Winchcombe, 94m - Stanton, 142m - Broadway, 85m - Broadway Tower, 312m - Blockley, 147m - Moreton-in-Marsh, 129m - Rollright Stones, 221m - Chipping Norton, 198m - Charlbury, 88m
6h (3/4 + 3/4 + 1/3 + 1/2 + 1/3 + 1/2 + 1/2 + 1/3 + 3/4 + 1/2 + 3/4)
d: too much traffic everywhere
This trip started with trouble. I had to change trains in Didcot and the transfer was pretty tight. I reached the platform when the train was arriving, but the bike compartment was on the other end of the train. I hurried to get there, but when I reached it, they did not let me in... cursing did not help, the train started moving, leaving me behind on the platform. So, I had to wait one hour to take the next one. Fortunately, they did not carefully check my ticket, because it was only valid on this specific train that I missed. Then I arrived at 11 am in Gloucester, which is actually a quite lovely town with a nice cathedral and a river port. I spent more than one hour there before I continued to Cheltenham Spa. I just wanted to follow the bike path signs, but in the end I realised that I had taken some unnecessary detours. Cheltenham is a dynamic city, but without any major sights. When I left Cheltenham, I was already 2h behind my initial schedule. After Cheltenham the road starts climbing over a pass to Winchcombe, a lovely typical Cotswolds town with a castle, but the entrance fee was ridiculous, so I skipped it and continued to Stanton, which has nice houses but is boring otherwise. I tried to find a shortcut to Broadway there, but I did not find anything compatible with my road tyres. Broadway is a very touristy village with some renowned art galleries, but I did not have enough time to visit them - instead I enjoyed my icecream. What followed then was a steep climb to Broadway tower - a castle-like building on a hill with nice views all around. I visited the tower and left after 5pm. There were still 60km to go to Oxford. Yet, I made a stupid, exhausting detour to avoid the main road. The last place I wanted to visit were the Rollright Stones, a stone age site with a stone circle. The monoliths are smaller than in Stonehenge, but still quite impressive. I continued after 7pm. Unfortunately, I felt some pain in my knees, so I opted for taking the next train to Oxford from Charlbury at 8pm; otherwise, I would still have had another hour to ride, which I would not have enjoyed it much... so, this was probably the better solution.