We pre-booked the first six nights as we set off on the Queen’s Jubilee weekend and it was half-term too. After that we found places as we went, usually stopping somewhere lunchtime to find and book for that evening using our iPhones. Sometimes there was no signal but there was usually a café or pub with WiFi. In the more sparsely populated areas we booked a day or two ahead.
As you will see from our daily blog, some of our daily distances were quite short and it would be possible for regular cyclists to completely bypass several of these places, staying at the next.
There’s a link to each website – hover your mouse over the town or stopover name, though many are no longer in business so the links may not be successful.
Penzance – Treventon Guest House
Nice and clean and quiet. Friendly and very helpful – washed and dried our cycling clothes. Bike was not under cover but safe in a secure garden. Lots of places to eat in Penzance.
Gweek – Trevone House Gweek
The accommodation – a separate annex in the garden, was very good. More rooms in the house. Bike was stored inside. Breakfast was good and friendly, chatted with other guests. Pub two minutes walk. Gweek is a good base for getting to the Lizard.
Trewint Farm near Blisland – Amazing place. Stunning decor, beautiful rooms and a welcoming cream tea. Very friendly hosts. Bike in a large outhouse/garage. Great food and atmosphere in the Blisland Inn, a 20 minute walk (down and up).
Forda Farm near Holsworthy – A few miles from Holsworthy, so take some food, though Val offered to take us into town for food or join them for an evening meal. Washed our cycling clothes and couldn’t have been more helpful. Lovely annexed accommodation. Bike in farm shed.
Lower Yelland Farm, Fremington near Barnstable – We had a job finding it from the Tarka Trail. Room was ok and breakfast good. Bike in outhouse (under a swallows nest – yuk). Food a couple of miles back up the trail at Instow.
The Anchor Inn, Exebridge – Good evening food, room was tidy, above bar. Bike in a shed. Breakfast seemed unrehearsed and a little long, though the landlady gave us sandwiches to take with us on our ride.
Lower Farm, Thornfalcon near Taunton – Lovely place. Bike in an open garage but secure. Accommodation in a converted barn with self-catering facilities. Lovely breakfast in the farmhouse kitchen. Pub less than a mile but we stayed in.
Weston Super Mare – stayed with cycling contacts.
The Jessop Town House, Tewksbury – Top floor room was a bit of a climb. Friendly welcome and chatty hosts. Plenty of pubs in town. Bike in restricted alleyway under overhang.
Gainsborough House Hotel, Kiddermister – Travelling exec and function hotel rather than a tourists. Helpful staff, bike in an inside storeroom. Room was typical business/function in style. Restaurant was closed so a half hour walk into town for food.
The Swan at Ironbridge – Interesting room under the roof beams but the pub was not that inviting so we ate elsewhere – plenty of choice in Ironbridge. Breakfast cooked to order was good. Bike outside round the back in a small courtyard.
Doddington Lodge Hotel, Whitchurch – Smallish Hotel with helpful staff, seemed to be mostly occupied by contractors working locally. Rooms were clean but dated. Evening food ok breakfast could have been better. Bike in a separate building.
The Jug and Bottle, Heswall – stiff climb from the cyclepath up to the Pub come Hotel come Restaurant. Room was on the small side. Food in the Tapas Restaurant was good. Bike outside hidden behind wooden screen at back of pub in car park.
Rita’s B&B, Liverpool – Large suburban house within easy reach of the city centre by bus. Very welcoming and helpful, Rita washed some of our kit for us. Room was newly decorated and very comfortable. WC and Shower room across landing. Excellent breakfast. Bike locked up in back garden behind locked gate.
Legacy Preston International Hotel, Preston – Business Hotel in University area. Helpful, friendly staff. Good evening meal and breakfast. Bike in a meeting room.
The Berkeley Hotel, Morecambe – Friendly welcome. Clean room was on top floor with nice view of the beach. Bike stored in shed to rear of property. Plenty of places to eat in the evening. Breakfast was good.
The Snooty Fox Tavern, Kirby Lonsdale – Typical small town pub. Rooms over the bar area, creaky floorboards but a certain charm to the place. Reasonable food in the evening but breakfast was late and slow coming. All in darkness when we went downstairs first time. Bike in outhouse.
The Royal Oak, Appleby in Westmoreland – Nice pub. Smart and clean rooms, good food and beers. Popular in the evenings. Bike in a garage at rear of garden.
Sands House, Brampton – Not your typical B&B but friendly welcome and a good breakfast. Room was comfortable and clean. Bike was parked up inside on newspapers. Pubs in town centre, 15 minutes walk.
Sleetbeck, Cumbria – stayed with relatives. Brampton to Langholm is easily achievable.
The Eskdale Hotel, Langholm – Old hotel in the town centre. Large room was ok if a bit dated. Noise from large logging trucks as they trundled past outside. Evening food and breakfast was good though several items on the menu were ‘off’. Bike under cover in pub garden.
The Tushielaw Inn – Between Langholm and Peebles. Nothing else for miles. Accommodating and chatty host. Room was comfortable. Fantastic views. Food was ok but not up to expectations after reading the menu. Bike outside in the garden but landlord offered to put it in shed.
The Craigiebield House Hotel, Penicuik – More of a function hotel which serves as a local pub too. Busy when we arrived. Room was comfortable and food ok. Helpful staff. Parked the bike in a small garage in the grounds.
Edinburgh – stayed with relatives.
Roxburghe Guesthouse, Kinross – Probably the worst place we stayed on our trip. Friendly and helpful hostess and breakfast was ok but room very, very small and way overpriced. Bike in garden. We ate at the Kirklands Hotel 10 minutes walk, and rooms there were cheaper.
The Bankfoot Inn, Bankfoot – Nice pub accommodation with friendly welcome. Bike was parked up in outhouse. Evening food and breakfast was good. Popular pub.
Atholl Arms Hotel, Blair Atholl (not Pitlochry) – Large and very ‘Scottish’ Hotel. Room was ok but railway runs past at rear of Hotel. trains not too frequent but noisy. Evening meal with choice of pub or a la carte and breakfast was all good. Probably the last Hotel before the Drumochter Pass but the reward the other side is the Dalwhinnie Distillery.
The Glen Hotel, Newtonmore – Pub hotel. Room was big but private WC/Shower room was across corridor. Food in busy bar was good as was breakfast.
Fairwinds Hotel, Carrbridge – More of a guest house but a very nice one with helpful and attentive hosts. Immaculate decor and rooms. Excellent food in the evening and at breakfast. Bike parked up in a disused chapel in the garden – takes the prize for most unusual bike shed.
Royal Highland Hotel, Inverness – Right next to the railway station in the city centre. Large rooms were a little tired but comfortable. Some noise from the street. Food in the annexed restaurant was ok but not all on the menu available. Receptionists were not overly helpful about finding a home for the bike and it ended up spending the night padlocked in the entrance foyer.
Golf View House, Tain – Another beautifully decorated and clean B&B with a friendly welcome and lovely breakfast. Faultless. Walked into town 15 minutes to the Royal Hotel for one of the best meals of the trip. Bike in the garage. The Glenmorangie Distillery tour is a must as you leave Tain heading north-west.
Lochview B&B, Lairg – A warm welcome, with a cream tea to make us feel at home. Nice, clean room and a large drying room to dry out our wet cycling kit. Lovely breakfast. 10 minute walk to the Lairg Highland Hotel for mediocre evening meal.
The Altnaharra Hotel – Just about the only half-way stop between Lairg and the North Coast. Expensive and almost empty but very Scottish and relaxing. Not overly large room. Evening food and breakfast was good. Bike in outhouse.
Farr Cottage B&B – A warm welcome from Lesley. Nice clean room with adjacent wc/shower room. No pubs nearby but Lesley is a chef, so evening meal was good. Take your own wine/beer (shop in Bettyhill). Stunning view of Farr Bay. Pleasant evening sitting in the lounge chatting with Lesley and the other guests. Bike in large shed.
Holborn Hotel, Thurso – Small town Hotel with public bar and restaurant. Room was ok, evening food and breakfast good. Bike in function/meeting room (tight fit through door).
Seaview Hotel, John O Groats – Nearest Hotel to the finish (until the one by the harbour is completely rebuilt). Room across the road in additional accommodation which was new, and clean. We were put in a large ‘disabled access’ room with walk-in shower. Beds had waterproof undersheet so first night was very sweaty. Made our own bed and stripped the undersheet for rest of stay. Breakfast and evening food was ok, bar usually busy with locals. The Hotel also services coach tours lunch/dinner stops so it gets busy.
Afore ye go, if you have time, take the John O Groats ferry Maxi Tour of the Orkneys.
Getting back, we booked with John O Groats Bike Transport who came out to the Seaview and collected us, our Tandem and another tandem couple along with a solo rider, to take us all back to Inverness. Dropped one at a Hostel, two at the Station and us at a Hotel. They shipped the other tandem and solo back for the owners. We stayed in the Glenmorriston Town House Hotel, leaving the bike there while we taxi’d out to the airport the next day to collect a one-way rental car from Avis which we then took back to the hotel to collect the bike.