We are looking at undertaking a 4 day cycling holiday with dd(4) and ds(15m)somewhere within England. Has anyone done this or can reccomend a route? We are realistic in the distances (not too far!!!) we can go and plan to b&b it along the way. Any suggestions where we should even start to look at suitable routes would be great.
Last year we did a week's cyclecamping holiday with our kids, then 3.5 and 1.5. We cycled part of the Sustrans Hull to Harwich national cycle route (we went from Kings Lynn to Ipswich, which is further than you'd want to go). The route was a delight, mostly on back roads, very well signposted, and not too hilly. There were lots of things for the kids to do along the way (Orford Castle was a great success, especially the ancient loos!), and we got very adept at finding village playgrounds along the way for snack and lunch stops.
We used the Sustrans maps plus the pink Ordnance Survey maps, and prebooked a mix of campsites and B&Bs using the Sustrans HtoH booklet (it is a good idea to prebook because at the end of the day with two tired and heavy children you don't suddenly want to find you have to cycle on to the next town!).
I could go on about this for ages - we had a brilliant time (even though we had slightly overestimated the distances we could do). Have you done this sort of thing before? It was our first attempt and a friend had given me all sorts of practical tips that really helped make it a success.
Indie, have you googled for this at all? I remember hearing something on the radio about a brilliant string of cycle paths, in the South I think, but can't remember a single detail (not much use, sorry!)
I'd recommend the Isle of Wight. Lots of different terrains (flat and long escarpments, few steep hills), well waymarked cycle routes, family friendly and good beaches/wet weather attractions. It's very pretty there - and although some of the roads can be busy, people are very considerate towards cyclists. We've cycled a bit on the island but not with littlies and not a cycling holiday as such.
I would definitely start with Sustrans.
Thanks for the info - have looked at the suggested website and ordered some maps which is a start!
Azzie - no we have not done this before, so any suggestions on what to expect , to take or not to take, distance we can expect to travel in terms of the kids tolerance etc. would be gratefully received. The route you suggested sounded interesting - thanks.
Here goes - I'll just put things down as I think of them, so it may be a bit haphazard!
How are you carrying the kids? Ours were both still small enough (ds just) to go in a trailer together, which was great because it didn't matter about the weather and dd could nap when she needed. Now that ds is bigger (nearly 5) he is on a tagalong and dd is still in the trailer.
Remember that while the best bit for you is the cycling, the best bit for the kids is the stops, so make sure you have plenty. We looked for interesting things on route, such as Orford Castle, or the Dinosaur Park at Lenwade just outside Norwich. Most villages have a recreation ground with swings etc, and we found these great for snack or lunch stops. Ask in the village shop if you can't see the playground.
We had more luggage than you, because we camped, but a bit of thought about packing helps. We had one small front pannier that was the 'office', with all the valuables such as camera, wallets etc in - when we stopped we only had to take one pannier with us. Another small pannier was the changing bag, with nappies, wipes etc - again you only needed to take one bag off to the changing area. Keep waterproofs easily get-at-able!
We cycled 30-40 miles a day, but this was actually a bit too long with all the weight we were carrying/pulling (I see from elsewhere that your dh is a triathlete, so presumably he'll be carrying the biggest load - unless you're one too?). Ds (nearly 5) is now too big for the trailer, and now goes on a tagalong - on holiday this year he did 23 miles one day, quite good for a littly we thought.
We took a couple of reading books for the kids, but didn't have room for toys. We took some felt tips and exercise books so that they could draw, and we collected leaflets and postcards etc each day and did a diary in one of the exercise books each day with ds - it helped keep him occupied when we stopped in the evening, and he still loves getting it out and looking at it.
That's all I can think of right now - I'll post anything else as it comes to me. We had a brilliant time - we're contemplating doing something similar again soon, maybe in Denmark. We might have to b&b it next time, though, because with ds on the tagalong we can't pull the luggage trailer, so can't carry all the stuff we need for camping.
Anything else you can think of, just ask. How are you getting to start and finish, by the way?