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Heritage Coast Encounter

Tour: 4H
Circular Cycling Holiday
Hotel To Hotel Cycling Holiday

Full of local colour, this rural route leads to a stay near the heritage coast itself just a pedal push away from hauntingly beautiful heathlands, forests, creeks and shingle stretches. Highlights include historic market towns;the panorama from Framlingham’s curtain wall castle; lines of vines; rows of Southwold beach huts and an endless crinkle-crankle wall disappearing into the distance at Easton on the return stretch. Read More



Start Day

Any Day

Board Basis

Bed & Breakfast

Prices from



4 Days, 3 Nights


Feb - Nov

Tour Grade

Grade 3 (Moderate)

Read Overview
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A really enjoyable rural route full of local colour. This tour sets out from Needham Market to a stay near the heritage coast itself just a pedal push away from hauntingly beautiful heathlands, forests, creeks and shingle stretches. Highlights include historic market towns such as Halesworth; the Framlingham’s 12th century curtain wall castle; Dunwich Heath and the cliff-top ruins of the Grey Friars; Southwold with its lighthouse, beach huts and refined seaside charm; a moated Tudor manor house with real English country gardens and an endless crinkle-crankle wall disappearing into the distance at Easton on the return stretch.

Tour Code:
Circular Cycling Holiday, Hotel To Hotel Cycling Holiday
4 Days, 3 Nights
Board Basis:
Bed & Breakfast
Feb - Nov


We are currently offering two itinerary options for this tour, related to a choice of accommodation on the very first night of your break.

Options include:

Itinerary option 1 – Arrive in Suffolk at your accommodation either A near Diss, or B at Bildeston (upgrade charge) and relax.  If you wish, you can travel to/from your accommodation to our Cycle Breaks HQ in Needham Market (16 miles from accommodation A; 9 miles from accommodation B) to enjoy optional circular Suffolk cycle rides (10-40 miles)On your second day, return to Needham Market after breakfast  to park your vehicle, collect your bikes and follow the cycling itinerary below.

Itinerary option 2 – Arrive in Suffolk at our Cycle Breaks HQ in Needham Market and cycle to your accommodation near Diss (c. 20 miles/ 32 kms).
On your second day, you will cycle to your accommodation in Halesworth (c.32 miles / 51 kms). From day 3 onwards, you will follow the cycling itinerary below.
The market town of Framlingham with its fine castle can be incorporated into your final cycling day on request with little impact on the mileages.

Day 1 Arrive & explore

Route option 1 – arrive in Suffolk at your accommodation (see above for choices) 

Route option 2 – cycling from Needham Market on day of arrival to first accommodation

Arrive at the small market town of Needham Market. Cycle along little Mid-Suffolk lanes through charming rural villages and past great greens. Discover the mysteries of Mendlesham and the fine churches at Bacton and Wyverstone en route to Walsham-le-Willows where the stained glass at St Mary’s offers year-round floral colour. A little further north, the original Suffolk terracotta pottery is across the way at Wattisfield, but near Hinderclay you’ll want to get a handle on an ancient trading town with a split personality and close links to St Botolph.

Overnight: Near Diss.

Mileage: Rec 34 Min 20 Max 35

Day 2 Market towns & more OR Bombers, brew-houses, Munnings & monks

Option 1 – Leave Needham Market to head out via the leaning legacies of Debenham and countless historic hamlets to friendly Framlingham, the second market town on the clock with its bustling square and 12th century castle. From here it’s a short pedal past outstretched vineyards, through rolling rural landscapes to timeless Peasenhall and Sibton – little villages with lots of character. Walpole is the next cluster of time-honoured cottages, home also to a unique historic chapel. Finally market town number three comes in to view. Halesworth, where you will spend your overnight, has recently proved itself to be an up-and-coming Suffolk ‘arty’ favourite.

Mileage: Rec 35 Min 35 Max 37

Option 2 – Nip into Norfolk for a short while today to explore the historic market town of Diss with its impressive mere, a museum housed in the former control tower of a WWII American airbase and the charming little independent shops, antique and artisan hideaways of Harleston. Back in Suffolk, with the River Waveney for company, discover the little village of Mendham on the marshes, birthplace of famous horse and hounds artist Sir Alfred Munnings which has a WWII pillbox surprisingly close to its medieval church tower. The wide valley is full of tales of priories as you pedal through the area known as ‘The Saints’ to St Peter’s South Elmham and a fascinating place which looks like a moated monastery and turns out to be nothing of the sort, although it is home to a famous brewery, offering tours, a shop and tearooms. Finally enjoy some gentle terrain through wide arable landscapes to arrive in the upcoming, arty, yet time-honoured market town of Halesworth.

Mileage: Rec 35 Min 35 Max 37

Day 3 Windmills & waders

Today, it’s time to answer the call of the coast by heading east, past the post mill at Holton on the outskirts of Halesworth and on to the refined greens, white lighthouse, tasteful pier and brewery delights of Southwold. Lean up your bike against a canon on Gun Hill perhaps, look out to sea and share more sobering thoughts about the Battle of Sole Bay. Across the creek and on through the fishing village of Walberswick, there’s a shady forest ride and glorious heathland close to the clifftops at Dunwich. If you’re up for it, why not go off-road to the RSPB’s famous bird reserve at Minsmere? The choice is yours, but either way, your route will lead you to the delightful village of Westleton where you’ll be nestling down for the night.

Mileage: Rec 24 Min 23 Max 29

Day 4 Rural return

The return route meanders almost as much as the famous redbrick crinkle-crankle wall in the thatched estate village of Easton. Two Bells, a Crown and three White Horses mark the way back, signs that sleepy Suffolk villages are still very much alive and welcoming. Stop for a pint perhaps or delight in a banquet of local herbaceous border colour at Helmingham Hall, before returning to Needham Market.

Please note: Framlingham with its fine castle can be included on day four with little impact on the mileages.

Mileage: Rec 34 Min 34 Max 38



Dates & Prices

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Ensuite accommodation as described with full English breakfast (prices based on two adults sharing)

Hire of hybrid bicycle and ancillary equipment (single pannier and handlebar bag or map holder, pump, basic tools, spare inner tube & puncture repair equipment, helmet if required)

Luggage transfer between hotels

Local assistance on call (we will attend for puncture repair in Suffolk)

Detailed itinerary with meticulously planned and researched routes following quiet country lanes with a choice of routes available each day (usually recommended, long and short)

Route notes, descriptions and use of good OS mapping (maps available on arrival). We pride ourselves on our detailed level of documentation which includes plenty of top tips for places to visit or for relaxing and sampling the local fare along the way. We send electronic versions of these documents by email approximately two weeks before your stay so you can plan ahead and look forward to your gentle cycling adventure

We have now switched the default navigation system to GPS – in our opinion this is now the most convenient method as it eliminates the need for frequent stops to check the map

  • We provide you with access to a premium GPS smartphone navigation app (IOS or Android) and send you links so that you can download all of the route options before you leave home. We will provide a handlebar bracket for your phone if required; it is also recommended that you bring a spare battery/powerbank to make sure that your phone lasts the day
  • We can also provide GPS tracks in whatever format if you prefer to load them into your own GPS Unit
  • Finally, we can provide a limited number of GPS units with the routes preloaded – this is on a first come first served basis – please let us know as soon as you can if you would like to use one
  • We also provide OS 1:50,000 mapping on arrival as additional support to allow for any impromptu route changes
  • Traditional map-based navigation (using marked OS maps) is still available as an alternative at extra cost upon request (at least two weeks in advance)
Please note that the price EXCLUDES

Costs of getting to and from the start point

Accommodation Options

Selected 4 star historic inns at Rickinghall and Halesworth; a 3 star hotel in Westleton.

If choosing the Bildeston option at the start this adds a 3 star hotel and removes an inn.

We are pleased to discuss details on request

Request Booking