Tour of Britain - a cycling enthusiast's itinerary
Tour of Britain - a cycling enthusiast's itinerary
On Sunday, 11 September 2022, the biggest professional cycling event in the UK, the Tour of Britain, comes to the Isle of Wight. Stage Eight of the Tour will start in Ryde and work its way around the Island, with the finish line right by the IOW’s most iconic landmark, The Needles.
If you’re a cycling enthusiast, you may be considering visiting the Isle of Wight to catch the final stage of the Tour. If so, we’ve put together a sample long weekend itinerary to give you a flavour of what you could get up to during your stay and help you make the most of the Island, while making sure you catch as much of the action as possible.
And if you’re thinking of bringing your bicycle along for the fun, you’re in luck – bikes go free on all Wightlink services if you’re travelling as a foot passenger.
Your long weekend itinerary
Friday, 9 - Monday, 12 September
Lymington - Yarmouth
If you’re a big cycling fan, you’ll want to make the most of your weekend away on the Isle of Wight. Not only can you witness some of the greatest sporting stars at the peak of their game, but you can take on some of the Tour of Britain route yourself in the challenging terrain of West Wight.
To explore the west of the Island, travel on our Lymington – Yarmouth route, which connects the New Forest in Hampshire with the Isle of Wight. Head down early on the Friday – you’ll have a wealth of sailings to choose from – so you can make the most of your long weekend.
Make sure to bring your bicycle with you – if you’re coming by car and attaching your bike on the back, don’t forget to include the extra height or length when you book your vehicle on our ferry. If you’re cycling down through the New Forest, great news – you can bring your bicycle on board for free when you travel as a foot passenger.
Day one - explore Yarmouth
When you hop off the ferry, you’ll be well placed to explore Yarmouth, a quaint market town in the north west of the Isle of Wight. Grab a bite to eat from Grace’s Bakery and an ice cream from one of the many local parlours before hitting the road on your bike.
You can choose to follow part of the Tour of Britain route, which will flow from Yarmouth up to East Cowes, or you could opt for a mixed-terrain route by taking on the Yarmouth and Tennyson Trail, a popular 12 mile route for cyclists who like a challenge.
Make sure to book some nearby accommodation in advance of your stay – West Wight Cottages have a selection of excellent self catering options, ideal for keeping your bike safe overnight. The George Hotel is a great choice, too, only moments from our Yarmouth port and with beautiful views out across the Solent. And if you fancy something unique, Glamping the Wight Way offer spacious and well-equipped safari tents for a camping getaway with all the luxury you could ever need.
Tour of Britain 2022 on the Isle of Wight
Find out more about the Stage Eight of the Tour of Britain, which is taking place on the glorious Isle of Wight. Discover route information, some history about the UK’s most prestigious professional cycling race and details of how to get across the Solent to the Island.
West Wight is where all the thrills and spills will be happening on Stage Eight of the Tour of Britain. The Tour will finish at The Needles, not long after a big stretch of straight along Military Road, and you can explore both on the day before the event takes place.
Although the official Tour course will take riders west along Military Road towards the Needles, we recommend tackling it the other way around, starting at The Needles and riding east along to Blackgang Chine. You’ll have the wind behind you this way and you can switch your return to the east coast to an inland route, where you’ll be sheltered from the worst of the headwinds.
Heading out from the Needles, an iconic landmark synonymous with the Isle of Wight, cycle towards Freshwater Bay. It shouldn’t take long to get there but it’s still well worth taking a break on the picturesque beach, if only for the beautiful views out into the Channel.
Once you’re back onto Military Road, continue eastwards until you reach Isle of Wight Pearl. If you’re in the market for some jewellery, it’s a famous Island destination for all things shiny but, otherwise, nip round the back to Pearl Cafe and pick up a slice of cake and some coffee.
If you’ve brought a mountain bike along on your trip, a detour north at this point, towards the Isle of Wight Mountain Bike Centre, is well worth your time. Home to some fantastic purpose-built mountain bike trails, ranging from 3.5 to nine kilometres, it’s a great place to ride some jumps and try out some new skills.
Back down to Military Road, follow the coast in a south-easterly direction until you reach Whale Chine, a stunning ravine cut into sandstone cliffs. Whip out your phone and take some pictures before jumping back on the saddle and down towards Blackgang.
To return to West Wight, cycle north through Chale Green and then head west through Shorwell, Brighstone and Shalcombe until you reach the familiarity of Freshwater.
Day three - catch the action at the Needles
The Big Day! If your ideal race day involves catching the drama on the finish line, we recommend getting up nice and early to secure your spot near the heart of the action.
You’ll find a dedicated Tour Village near the Needles, where you can purchase official merchandise, pick up free gifts, take part in activities and watch the race unfold on a big screen.
Predicted timings haven’t been released just yet but based on previous Tours, you can expect the race to be nearing its end in the mid-afternoon, around 15:30, so make sure you’re in place when the riding pack start getting close.
Once the title has been settled, you’ll be able to watch the awards ceremony where the overall winner, plus many section victors, will be presented with their prizes and jerseys.
If crowds aren’t your jam, though, you still have plenty of options to catch the professional riders in full flow. Settling down in Brighstone is a good option as it will give you two opportunities to catch the racing pack.
They travel directly through the village as they head towards Yarmouth and then, an hour or so later, they pass to the south of the village – about 15 minutes walk away – on their final stretch towards the Needles.
The last day - relax and unwind
If you’re all cycled out, you can make your final day on the Island one of culture and nature.
Pay a visit to the Dimbola Museum and Galleries in Freshwater, once home to the celebrated Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. The museum is dedicated to her work but also displays contemporary exhibitions from photographers across the globe.
Then, not far from our Yarmouth port, you’ll find the Newtown National Nature Reserve, a perfect place to unwind after a hectic long weekend. It’s a popular destination with bird watchers and wildlife fans but, more than anything, it’s great for a peaceful walk along its many footpaths.