Hardy Country Cycling Holiday

Discover a rare unspoilt corner of the United Kingdom cycling in deepest Dorset in the heart of Thomas hardy country.

European Cycling Tours are thrilled to offer a unique cycling holiday immersing yourself completely in ‘Olde England‘ cycling the breathtaking scenery and historic hamlets of a land rich with history dating back thousands of years…

This short break cycling holiday designed for groups of friends and family to enjoy will take you on an a cycling adventure like no other in Europe, cycling Dorset’s latticework of peaceful ‘olde worlde‘ backroads and country lanes taking you on a journey of discovery through secret valleys, picturesque hamlets and high over the great Dorset chalk downs revealing spectacular panoramas of a land as Hardy would have seen it in his day.
You will visit hidden gems of landscape features including ancient iron age hill forts, stately homes, water mills and remnants of a distant Roman occupation… as well as name places cunningly transformed by Hardy in his epic novels and poems – and not to mention the numerous pubs and coaching inns Dorset is also famous for along the way!

Transport yourself to another world on our Hardy Country cycling holiday, taking you ‘far from the madding crowds’ enjoying the peace and tranquility of the ‘Wessex heights’ and olde England with all it’s charm and trappings of a bygone era.

Total Distance: upto 160mi
Total Ascent: Up to 2,100m
Highest Point: 250m
Difficulty Grade 2.5/5
Upto 5 Nights
2, 3 or 4 day cycle availableScenery Score: 10/10
Guide Price: POA

Trip Highlights

■  Thomas Hardy’s Wessex Country
■  Designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty [AONB]
■  Peaceful ‘white lane’ cycling
■  Panoramic three county views
■  Pretty villages untouched by time
■  Traditional Dorset Pubs & Inns
■  UNESCO World Heritage Coastline

Bicycle 100px

The Hardy Country Cycling Holiday
Available for private ‘closed’ group rides


Full itinerary available shown below.
Your itinerary can be designed to be 2, 3 or 4 day cycling with tailored distances to suit your group – speak to our team to discuss further.

Day 1 – Arrive to your Dorset accommodation deep in the heart of Hardy country – meet and greet with your guide/support, check bikes before evening meal and early night.
Day 2 – Stage One cycle North – Cerne Abbas and Piddle valley ride – 28mi (45km) +530m
Day 3 – Stage Two cycle South – Ridgeway and Portland Bill ride – 42mi (65km) +765m
Day 4 – Stage Three cycle East – Frome valley, Hardy Cottage, Corfe Castle ride – 48mi (76km) +675m
Day 5 – Stage Four cycle West – Eggardon Hill, Bredy Vale ride – 44mi (70km) +900m.
Day 6 – Easy morning before return journey home.


4**** Manor House Accommodation (5 nights inc Breakfast), Cycle Guide, Bicycle Mechanic (inc spares/tools), First Aider

Not Included

Travel to/from event, lunches, dinners.


Bike Rental, Upgrade to 5***** Hotel Accommodation, Supporting Vehicle (attend while cycling)

Climate & Kit

Wessex during the summer months we can generally expect long spells of warm sunshine however occasionally interrupted by rogue summer rain showers. With some luck we will stay dry and the sun will join us all the way for the ride.
The Hardy Country Tour is a road bike tour. Your bike should be well maintained and in good running order with suitable gears and brakes to tackle the Dorset gradients – up and down! A sports hybrid bike is ideal but a road/touring bike also with high gears and wide tyres (28mm) would be suitable.
eBikes welcome on this itinerary.
A full kit list will be issued in your ‘Joining Instructions’ document after your application. We will be glad to discuss any aspect of kit and your bike with you, please call us anytime with any questions.

Fitness & Training

This is a level 2.5 cycle event. You should be capable of riding comfortably up to 90km in a (flat) day and/or used to riding distances up to 70km over hilly terrain (minimum). If you have any doubt as to your fitness regarding participation in this event, please give us a call and we will be more than happy to chat with you.

Have just completed a delightful cycling tour in Normandy through some of the area’s wonderful towns & places of interest. Jason & Giles did everything they could to make the tour work smoothly for our group. Excellent route-planning & guiding from Jason; first rate logistics back-up from Giles. Both guys were great fun to be with.
We had an equally good experience with Jason & Clare the previous year on our trip to Paris and are already looking forward to our next trip with ECT

Andrew 2023

Hardy Country Routes

Your Stay in Hardy Country

Little Court House

Deep in the heart of Thomas Hardy’s Wessex, you will be based in Dorset AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). just a couple of miles north of the historic county town of Dorchester [Casterbridge] in the pretty village of Charminster.
A proud Edwardian period country house, ‘Little Court’ is set in it’s own acreage surrounded by peaceful countryside where you will be able to relax after your ride in the well kept gardens including an outdoor swimming pool (heated) for you to sit by, kick back and enjoy a long drink into the evening sun discussing your day of wonderful riding.

I have been on 2 trips with Jason and ECT and if you want the best routes with fantastic support, going the extra mile to find good local restaurants in the evening this is the company to book with!


Contact us to arrange your ride of discovery in Thomas Hardy country

For more testimonials tap here

Cycle into deepest Dorset and transform yourself to a world how Hardy saw it, unspoilt and still full of charm and beauty!

“This is the weather the cuckoo likes,
And so do I;
When showers betumble the chestnut spikes
And nestlings fly;
And the little brown nightingale bills his best
And they sit outside at ‘The Traveller’s Rest,’
And maids come forth sprig-muslin drest, 
And citizens dream of the South and West…
And so do I…”

Weathers” Thomas Hardy [1922]