These are tours and itineraries for 2024 events
COTSWOLD TO COAST 2024
April 14th -18th
We meet at the Chesford Grange Hotel near Leamington Spa for dinner at 7.30.
We start the driving by heading cross country on minor roads to Bishops Itchington and on to Barton Dasset Country Park, before traversing the ridge of Edge Hill, famous for the battle of that name. We then head south still on minor roads to Hook Norton Brewery for a coffee stop
After coffee we loop back up the main road to Moreton in Marsh before turning south again on minor roads to pass the Cotswold Farm Park on the way to the picturesque village of Bourton on the Water. A stop here is optional and you may like to visit the model village or the small car museum or simply walk around the riverside paths. It is then only a short run to Bibury for lunch at the Classic Motor Hub where you can eat surrounded by exotic motors and/or visit the fascinating shop where you can buy something you didn’t know you needed!
The afternoon run takes us through the sprawling Cotswold Water Park and then south on more ‘B’ roads to by-pass Wooton Bassett, and then on to Lyneham with its extensive RAF base. We continue on main roads for a while before making a detour on smaller roads to avoid the towns of Calne and Devises. The route then takes us into the rolling countryside of the Vale of Pewsey and on to the edge of the vast Salsbury Plain. We go right across the plain to Warminster and our sumptuous hotel for the night – the Bishopstrow Hotel.
A busy day. First it is a short run to the famous Sparkford Motor Museum (home of the Haynes manuals), where you can spend most of the morning perusing the multitude of exhibits – and have a coffee.
Next we have a long run south on minor roads through Blackmore Vale and in to Dorset. Passing through, Puddletown and Tolpuddle (of Martyrs fame) before stopping for lunch at our next museum, the impressive Tank Museum at Bovington.
The afternoon run then takes us south for our first view of the coast as we approach Weymouth. We follow the coast road around to the Chesil Beach Visitor Centre for a brief stop for tea and to admire this unique natural feature. It is then back north through the town and a loop around the county town of Dorchester before heading inland again on minor roads. These bring us to Cerne Abbas with its impressive giant hill feature.
More cross country roads through rolling countryside bring us to the little town of Beaminster before we turn south again towards the sea. We skirt Bridport on our way to our hotel for the next two nights, The Eype’s Mouth Hotel, overlooking the bay.
A long driving day today – But some spectacular scenery.
First we head west along the coast to Lyme Regis where we thread our way through the quaint narrow streets before returning to the main road to by-pass Sidmouth. Then we head north through the hills of East Devon on minor roads through wooded countryside towards Honiton. A short main road run then takes us west, further into Devon, to Cullompton and on to Tiverton, where we stop for coffee at the magnificent Knightshayes Court, art gallery and gardens.
From here we follow the twisting Exe Vale road before turning off to Dulverton and Exmoor. We make a large circuit of the more rugged parts of this National Park to Simonsbath in the heart of the moors. Heading east again we stop for lunch at Whaddon Cross.
The afternoon run is across the edge of the Brendon Hills and down to Bishops Lydeard, where ‘steam buffs’ may like to stop at the terminus of the West Somerset railway. For the rest there is a tea stop at Burrow Farm on the other side of the Blackdown Hills. Some straight country roads bring us back to the main road to Bridport and back to the hotel.
Homeward bound via cheese and supercars.
We head north from Bridport to Beaminster before heading west across country to pick up another main road heading north to Illminster. We have a few little minor road diversions including one to a Cidery – for coffee!
We then head through totally different scenery as we leave the rolling Dorset hills and enter the flat lands of the Somerset Levels. Another little detour along the ridge of the Polden Hills offers us views over this different landscape. More level roads bring us into the town of Cheddar and its famous Gorge, where you might like a cheese sandwich for lunch.
A short afternoon run takes us through the Mendip Hills south of Bath to our final stop at the Five Zeros Supercars showroom, in Brafrord on Avon, where you can have tea whilst drooling over the exotica on display. Our hotel for the last night, The Leigh Park, is just the other side of the village.
4 DAYS 5 NIGHTS. PRICE – £1699 per car
THE HEART OF ENGLAND TOUR
May 5th – 8th
SUNDAY May 5th We meet at the Q CREWE HALL HOTEL for dinner at 7.30.
DAY ONE Monday 6th
A ‘PETROL HEAD MORNING’
We have a leisurely start with a short run around Crewe to the Bentley showrooms at CW1 House. Here you can stroll around the display of luxurious machines and make your choice of matching accessories. We keep up the motoring theme with another short run through the Cheshire lanes to the legendary Oulton Park Race Circuit near little Budworth. We cannot drive on the track but we pass the famous gates at Lodge Corner and the infamous Knicker Brook. More quiet country lanes lead us to Cholmondley Castle for a coffee break.
After coffee we head further south, passing through Malpas on our way to Ellsmere (of the Mere, NOT the Port!). You might like an early lunch here on the picturesque lakeside. A cross country run then takes is through Cheshire into Shropshire with the Shropshire Hills looming ever bigger ahead. We cross the A485 at Halfway House and then take a series of ‘B’ roads to the edge of the Shropshire Hills at Steperstones. The first ridge of hills give us some beautiful views with a hint of what is to come. We then stop for tea at a secluded little pub at The Bridges.
The ‘Piece de resistance’ comes next! We cross The Long Mynd north to south, which means that the ‘big drop’ is on the driver’s side as we descend into the valley below. After this excitement some slightly more major roads bring us down to Leintwardine and then across to the Devil’s Elbow, and a short run down the A49 to our hotel at Ludlow. This is one of our favourite hotels, used several times in the past, The Fishmore Hall, where we stay for the rest of the tour.
DAY TWO Tuesday7th
TO THE WOODS
Today we go south to an area we haven’t been to for some time, the Forest of Dean. However, first we go east to Clee Hill where we get panoramic views over the Worcesteshire country side with the Malvern Hills ahead. Dropping down to Tetbury Wells we start a long ‘B’ road run which takes us through rolling countryside to Bromyard and along the valley of the River Frome and loop around the hills and woods of Broadmoor Common.
A long straight ‘B’ road then brings us to the edge of the Forest of Dean. After passing through Mitcheldean we take a minor road which meanders across to the mighty Severn Estuary where we join the A48. This takes us south alongside the river for a while before we turn back into the forest at Blakeney on our way to Speech House for lunch.
After lunch we cut across through the forest to the Wye Valley and follow the river north. A loop back into the forest brings us to the famous Symonds Yat viewpoint overlooking a bend in the river in a deep gorge. From here we continue north, cutting across country to the Golden Valley and a stop for tea at a large garden centre/farm shop. The run back to Ludlow is mainly on major roads through picturesque countryside until we reach Wigmore where we turn off to Leinthall Starkes and the final stretch through the woods overlooking Ludlow. We then just have to cross the town to reach our hotel.
DAY THREE Wednesday 8th HISTORY
A shorter day today but plenty to see.
We leave the hotel in the opposite direction today and head straight into country lanes. We follow the flanks of Wenlock Edge before cutting across country to the Severn Valley via the quiet villages of Ditton Priors, Cleobury North and Stottesdon before turning north again to Bridgnorth for a coffee stop. You have time to visit the northern terminus of the Severn Valley Steam Railway or climb the cliffs via the funicular railway.
From Bridgnorth it is a short main road run to the outskirts of Telford and our main point of interest for the day, the Victorian Village of Blists Hill. You can have lunch in a ‘period’ pub or café, or you may like to look down into the Gorge and visit Ironbridge with its famous bridge and several more museums.
The return run to the hotel is relatively short with just the main road back to Much Wenlock, then a little ‘criss cross’ detour over Wenlock Edge itself before rejoining the main road into Ludlow.
3 DAYS – 4 NIGHTS £1599 per car
PEAKS AND DALES
JUNE 16th – 19th
Once again we start with dinner on Sunday night at the Q Crewe Hall Hotel at 7.30.
A long day in the Peaks and Pennines.
We have to first thread our way through the Cheshire towns on the fringe of Greater Manchester as far as Congleton, where we take the twisting main A54 road into the Peak District. We climb over the hills to Allgreave where we take a picturesque minor road northward through a wooded valley. This brings us to the infamous ‘Cat and Fiddle’ Road. The actual Cat and Fiddle pub is now a distillery – so we will stop for coffee at a nearby café.
We continue over the moors to Buxton and head north again into the Goyt Valley. After crossing the Errwood reservoir we loop around to Whaley Bridge and Chapel en le Frith and then head to Mam Torr, one of the highest Peaks, before descending into the beautiful valley of Edale.
We pass the start of the famous Pennine Way footpath and head on to the spectacular Ladybower Reservoir. From here we climb over The Snake Pass to Glossop and make our way past several more reservoirs on our way to the Woodhead Pass. This brings us to the top of the Pennines with panoramic views in all directions, before we stop for lunch at a fascinating ‘Workshop’ near Holmfirth (of Last of the Summer Wine fame).
After lunch we climb back over the Pennines and as all the major roads run east-west, and we want to go north, we zig-zag our way through the little towns of Ripponden, Littleborough Todmorden and Bacup. Despite this once being a heavily industrialised area, our route from one hill top to the next, provides plenty of views over the rugged scenery before we eventually drop down to the outskirts of Burnley. We take the motorway briefly to avoid this bigger town and then head through Padiham and on to more open country within sight of the imposing Pendle Hill. We climb over Longridge Fell which gives us views of the Fylde Coastal Plain in one direction and the hills of the Forest of Bowland in the other. There is one last spectacular view over the Bowland valley before we reach our hotel for the rest of the tour, the fabulous Gibbon Bridge Hotel.
DAY TWO – TROUGH AND DALES
Today we leave the hotel and head west on minor roads which bring us to the flanks of Oakenclough Fell. Here we drive north with awesome views over Morecambe Bay to the Lake District hills – on a clear day! We then travel the full length of the Trough of Bowland which is a valley and pass through the Forest of Bowland, which in turn is no longer a forest but a vast open moorland. This brings us to the quaint little village of Slaidburn where we take ‘the quiet lane’ over Lythe Fell, which gives us views of Gisburn Reservoir and Forest and the Yorkshire Three Peaks ahead. We drop down to another little village, Wray, where we stop for coffee at a classic car orientated café.
After coffee we head across the Lune Valley with more glimpses of Morecambe Bay and the nearby fells. We loop round to follow the Lune into Kirkby Lonsdale for lunch.
The afternoon starts with a run up the length of Barbondale with its drystone walls almost hanging from the steep valley sides. A sharp descent drops us into Dentdale which we follow east to Dent Head, passing the imposing structures of Airten Ghyll and Denthead viaducts on the famous Settle – Carlisle Railway.
BARBONDALE AIRTEN GHYLL VIADUCT
We then turn south through Ribblesdale and pass the most famous viaduct, Ribblehead.
A quick stop for tea at Goat Gap then precedes a cross country run back into Lancashire on some quiet roads through Wigglesworth and Cow Ark back to Gibbon Bridge with some un-expected views reminiscent of parts of Scotland.
DAY THREE SOUTH DALES AND PENDLE
A new direction today – north east. We go through Waddington and by-pass Clitheroe as we head up the Ribble Valley. We also by-pass the picturesque village of Bolton in Bowland, in favour of higher ground which will give us views of Pendle hill as we briefly loop back south before joining the A65 near Hellifield. The main road then brings us to a coffee stop outside Settle.
From coffee it is right into the Dales proper as we climb up to Yew Cogar Scar, an imposing hill feature cut into a deepsided valley. This drops us into Littondale and Arncliffe before we head to the popular village of Grassington. We don’t join the tourist throng here though as we head east onto the moors, passing above Grimwith Reservoir and Stump Cross Caverns. We then turn south and head back to the main A65 at Blubberhouses, passing more reservoirs on the way. The Blubberhouses Pass then takes us over the Hill to Bolton Abbey where we can have lunch in the tranquil riverside surroundings.
After lunch we head back to Skipton and take the by-pass around the western side of the town before turning on to minor roads back into the fells. The roads around Elslack provide fantastic views of the Ribble Valley and surrounding hills before we run into a slightly more built up area near Colne. Minor roads soon take us back into hilly country with the famous Pendle Hill looming ahead. We climb upto the flanks of this prominent feature steeped in history (Pendle Witches) but skirt round its northern reaches back into Clitheroe. A short scenic cross country run then brings us back to Gibbon Bridge and our final dinner.
3 DAYS – 4 NIGHTS £1599 PER CAR
September 8th – 17th
We have ‘done’ the far north of Scotland and much of the acclaimed NC500 several times in recent years, so we thought we would do something completely different in 2024. We haven’t visited the Western Isles for some time, so we decided to join some of last years tour which was shrouded in fog, with a trip to Mull and Arran.
As usual we start with dinner at the Villa Hotel just south of Kendal on Sunday 8th September.
DAY ONE Monday 9th
A run through the spectacular Lake District scenery gives a taste of things to come. We leave the hotel and are almost straight into the picturesque Lyth Valley, noted for its Damson Blossom (in season), which brings us to the shores of Windermere, before we climb the mighty Kirkstone Pass. Once over this rugged mountain road we come to the shores of Ullswater, arguably the most beautiful of the lakes.
We follow the lake shore for most of its length before turning off into more remote countryside on our way to a coffee stop near Caldbeck (famous for the legendary Cumbrian Huntsman – John Peel).
After coffee we climb to the summit of Caldbeck Fell which gives us views over The Solway Firth to South West Scotland. The Carlisle ring road then takes us to Gretna Green and the Scottish Border. We virtually follow the border north east ward to Langholm where we stop for lunch.
From Langholm we criss cross the hills via Newcastleton and Hermitage Castle on some quiet, remote roads, before joining the main A7 north briefly. More quiet little roads with beautiful views of the Border Hills by pass Hawick and then it is just a short main road run to our hotel, the sumptuous Schloss Roxburgh for the night.
DAY TWO Tuesday 10th
We start today with a visit to Scott’s View not far from the hotel overlooking the River Tweed and Eildon Hills.
Then it is on to another nostalgic stop just across the moors, The Jim Clark Museum in Duns. You may like a coffee in the town square (there is no café at the museum). From Duns we head north through the Lammermuir Hills and pass the Whiteadder reservoir before dropping down to the outskirts of Edinburgh. This year we take the ring road all the way around to the Forth Bridge where we stop for lunch at a hotel between the old and new bridges.
After lunch it is a relatively short run along the cost of the Firth of Forth to our next hotel, the Old Manor, perched on the hillside over looking the forth.
DAY THREE Wednesday 11th
After a short run across country to St Andrews for coffee, we cross the Tay Bridge into Dundee. We head north into the area we missed because of the fog last year. We don’t go all the way to Cairn O’Mount but instead we continue north into the secluded glen that takes us to lunch at Glen Clova.
After lunch we return down the other side of the glen and then head west on remote little minor roads which take us past the phantom castle.
It was hidden in the fog last year despite being barely 100yds from the road.
We then descend down through the rolling countryside of Strathmore to our hotel, The ‘oldy worldy’, Balathie Hotel near Perth.
DAY FOUR Thursday 12th
Into the heart of the Highlands today.
First we have a gentle run through the pleasant farmland of Glen Almond before turning north into the more rugged Sma Glen and then through the forests to Aberfeldy. Then it is north to Pitlochry and on to the stunning Queen’s View for coffee.
After coffee we follow the full length of Loch Tummel before turning south and crossing the hills and the flanks of the mighty Schiehallion to drop down into the pretty village of Kenmore at the head of Loch Tay, for lunch.
Afterwards we run along side the loch for a while before cutting across to the remote Glen Lyon. We follow this scenic valley deeper into the mountains and then take the spectacular road over the top to Lawyers Dam. (There is a little café at the bottom if you feel the need for further refreshment before tackling the climb.) Once over the top we descend to the shores of Loch Tay again with superb views ahead.
Once at the foot of the mountain we continue along Loch Tay on the main road to Crianlarich. It is then main roads all the way to the hotel – but what main roads! We cross the vast wilderness of Rannoch Moor on our way to the awesome Glen Coe, where we stay in a hotel surrounded by huge mountains.
DAY FIVE Friday 13th
Off to the isles today.
First we descend from Glen Coe to the banks of Loch Leven. We complete a full circuit of this fjord like loch before heading for our first ferry of the day. We cross Loch Linnhe via the little Corran Ferry where there may be queues as it is a popular short cut and takes a limited number of cars. You might be glad of a coffee at the Ardgour Inn on the other side. Once across we follow the loch northwards and all the way round to Loch Eye (not Och Aye!) and join the main road ‘to the isles. We follow the West Highland Railway to Glenfinnan where we can have lunch not far from the famous viaduct.
After lunch we continue towards the sea but don’t go all the way to the end of the line as we turn off south to cross the Moidart Penninsula. The first section runs along the coast with superb views out to sea and the islands of Rum, Eigg and Muck. We then climb through the forest to Salen where we turn west again onto the remote Ardnamurchan Penninsula and the even more remote ferry port (jetty) at Kilcohan. A 30 minute ferry crossing brings us Tobermory and the magnificent Isle of Mull. Depending on time and weather you may like a quick break here (‘Ballamory’). There is a ‘free day’ tomorrow so you may prefer to return then and have a little more time.
There is still a spectacular 20 mile run to the hotel down the east coast of the island. We then have three nights at the Isle of Mull Hotel.
DAY SIX Saturday 14th
A ‘Free day’, i.e. you can make your own itinerary e.g.
Return to spend more time in Tobermory.
Visit Duart Castle – just down the road from the hotel.
Drive to Fionnphort at the southern tip of the island and take the ferry across to Iona (Holy Island).
Take a Wild Life Tour. This would be at extra cost and numbers may be limited.
DAY SEVEN Sunday 15th
A full clockwise circuit of this fabulous island. The full length of the west coast, driving over Gribun Rocks with fantastic views out over the sea and passing the beautiful white sands of Calgary Bay, before climbing over the hills past the Mishnish Lochs, and down into Tobermory.
DAY EIGHT Monday 16th
It is a very short run to the ‘big’ ferry at Craignure which takes us back to the mainland at Oban. From Oban we head south down into the Mull of Kintyre stopping for lunch at the pretty harbour village of Tarbet.
We then cut across country to Claonaig to catch the (small) ferry to the Isle of Arran. We run down the un-spoilt west coast with views across to Kintyre before climbing over the mountain to Brodick. Our hotel is then just a little way up the coast at Corrie.
DAY NINE Tuesday 17th
We should have time to do a circuit of the southern end of Arran before returning to Brodick for the ferry across to Ardrossan.
A main road run then takes us around Ardrossan and Ayr before we visit the Robbie Burns museum for lunch.
The afternoon run sees us head south east on the edge of the Carsphairn forest on a good main road before we turn off on to our last cross country run on minor roads through the hills to Monyash and down to Dumfries. It is just a short run to our final hotel at Powfoot, near Annan where you can have dinner watching the sun go down over the Solway Firth.
DAY TEN 18TH
A short run to the A75 to Gretna and the M74/M6 home
9 NIGHTS – 10 DAYS £3499 PER CAR
LITTLE DEVILS TOUR
In association with Kirkby lonsdale Motor Club.
Spectacular Lakeland scenery and some classic road rally routes in Cumbria. No non-metalled road
£65 per car – Accommodation NOT included
DALES TO DURHAM ‘24
For this tour we return to one of our old haunts, the Crooklands Hotel where we meet for dinner on Sunday night. Some of the tour is based on last years Autumn Dales etc Tour, which so many people had to pull out of at the last minute. We thought therefore we would give them a second chance to see what they missed. However, as you would expect things are not exactly as last year, we have changed a few things around whilst keeping most of the highlights of 2023.
DAY ONE Monday 14th
Although our ultimate destination is in the North East, we first head south, passing the imposing hill feature, Farleton Knott, as we run parallel to the M6 motorway as far as Burton in Kendal. We turn off the main road and follow some quiet lanes through Docker with the Barbon and Middleton Fells ahead. We then stop for coffee in the charming market town of Kirkby Lonsdale.
After coffee more quiet lanes take us to the picturesque Killington reservoir with the Howgill Fells ahead. We then follow the M6 north with the Howgills getting closer as well as views across to the Lakes hills. We pass through the dramatic Lune Gorge where our road runs above the M6 and the West Coast main railway line, high on the valley side. After passing through Tebay, we actually run alongside another railway – except it isn’t any more. We follow the A685 which was built on the trackbed of the old Tebay-Kirkby Stephen railway. We are actually on the old main road which is now little used. Some more lanes take us within sight of Sunbiggin Tarn before we reach the army village of Warcop with the Pennines ahead. Passing through the village we cross the busy A66 and briefly drive on the edge of the army ranges on our way to lunch at the splendid Appleby Manor hotel.
From Appleby a cross country run at the foot of the Pennine Hills brings us to the majestic Hartside Pass. We don’t go all the way to the summit but far enough to get the fanyastic panoramic views over the Eden Valley as far as the Solway Firth – on a clear day. We head north as far as the pretty Talkin Tarn before climbing over the hills on a very minor road which provides views of Kielder Forest and the Scottish Borders. The main road then brings us back south to Alston, the highest market town in Britain. A final main road run over the moors brings us down to Middleton in Teesdale, Barnard Castle and our hotel for the rest of the tour, the very comfortable and homely, Headlam Hall.
DAY TWO Tuesday 15th
Todays route is a mixture of two of the days last year, but run the opposite way around. If you see what I mean – all will be revealed.
First we head north and loop around the edge of Hamsterley Forest into Weardale where we stop for coffee at the Dales Vistor centre in Stanhope. Some remote fell roads then take us along the Pennines and on to the fabulous Langley Castle for a lunch not to be missed!
Afterwards we head east, skirting Slaley Forest and doing almost a circuit of the Derwent reservoir. From here we take some little known roads in the heart of Durham but we don’t quite make it in to the city as we turn south and take the main A68 through West Auckland and back to the hotel.
DAY THREE Wednesday16th
Again today’s route is similar to last year, but the opposite way round with some interesting additions. From Headlam we go south across the A66 take the minor road through some pleasant villages, Winston and Newsham before we climb up to Stang Forest, which then drops us into Akengarthdale.
We then take a little short cut which crosses ‘Herriot’s Ford’. This was used in the opening sequence of the original ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ TV seties. This brings us down into Swaledale where we follow the dale west. Not for long though as we turn off onto the steep climb up to the imposing Oxnop Scar. From the summit we get views over Wensleydale where we stop for coffee at Simonstone Hall.
After coffee it is back over the hill into Swaledale, passing the famous Buttertubs on the way. Unlike last year we won’t then climb up to Tan Hill, instead we go due west crossing the boundary into Cumbria where you suddenly get a surprise view over the Eden Valley with the Lake District Hills in the distance. We then follow the River Eden down the full length of the Mallerstang valley alongside the famous Settle-Carlisle Railway. We pass Garsdale Station and climb the infamous ‘Coal Road’ bringing us to the top of Nowtberry Hill, before the steep descent into Dentdale. Turning left at the bottom we pass the impressive viaducts at Airten Ghyll and Ribblehead. At the top of Dentdale we join the main road down into Hawes. We don’t stop here this time though as we head up Sleddale and over the top into Wharfedale with views of Ingleborough ahead. Lunch is then at the Buck Inn in Buckden.
We don’t follow last year’s route after lunch but go the opposite way through Bishopdale. We cross Wensleydale again before passing the historic Bolton Castle at Castle Bolton! Another loop across the dale brings us to the Middleham Gallops where we have views down the length of Wensleydale in one direction and across the the North York Moors in the other. W emake our wat through the little town of Middleham and on to some minor road which takes us past the secluded Thornton Reservoir and then onto the outskirts of the vast Catterick Army Camp. We by-pass the camp and follow the A1 on minor roads to north od Scotch Corner where the Roman Road brings us straight back to Piercebridge and Headlam for our final dinner.
3 DAYS 4 NIGHTS £1499 per car