Two years has passed since the Olympic Games brought passion and excitement to our shores and now the UK is set for yet another sizzling summer of sport. From the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow to the ever-popular Wimbledon Championships, 2014 is chock-a-block with thrilling sporting events. Yet none are causing quite as much fuss as a certain cycle race, which will be coming to the UK this July.
You guessed it; we’re talking the Tour De France, the world’s biggest and best cycle race. Since 1903, this multi-stage contest has seen riders from all corners of the world compete for the coveted yellow jersey and a place on the podium at the finish line in Paris.
In recent years, us Brits have become increasingly fond of the Tour De France, due in part to the popularity of British riders like Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Mark Cavendish. But this year’s Tour looks set to take the UK by storm, as the contest’s Grand Départ will begin in Yorkshire.
Setting out from the city of Leeds on 5th July, the Tour takes the scenic route through the Yorkshire Dales, skirting Skipton, Grassington and Ripon before entering the spa town of Harrogate- and that’s just the first stage! Stage Two sees the peloton (posh name for a pack of cyclists) pass through parts of the Peak District National Park before landing in Sheffield; then it’s onward from Cambridge, through the pastoral Essex countryside before the Tour comes to the end of its UK leg in the capital.
For your chance to get up close and personal to the peloton, take a look at our guide to the best places to see the Tour De France below.
A spectacular panorama and a leg-torturing ascent make Buttertubs pass one of the most rewarding and challenging sections of the Grand Départ. Named after a series of potholes which farmers used to cool their pails of butter, Buttertubs offers spectator and rider exquisite views across the Dales- decamp here with a picnic to watch the peloton pass amid wonderful surroundings.
If you’re holidaying in Harrogate during the Grand Départ, lucky you! The Tour will be tearing through this pretty spa town twice during its stint in God’s Own County, so you’re twice as likely to catch a glimpse of the riders as they blast on by. For information on when and where to see the cyclists as they hasten through Harrogate, visit the Grand Départ website.
Traditional terraces make way for austere heathlands above the village of Cragg Vale in the uplands of Calderdale. Here, the peloton will face the longest continuous uphill gradient in England, which rises 970ft over a gruelling five and a half mile ascent. The moorland ascent poses a challenging hike for spectators too, so pack a lunch and lace up on the walking boots if you think Cragg Vale looks like the place to spectate.
Yorkshire Holiday Accommodation near the Tour De France route
Here at Sykes Cottages, we’re prolific cycling fans, and it seems our owners are too! During the Tour De France, a handful of our holiday cottages near the Tour De France route are offering great discounts on seven night stays, making a self-catering cottage an affordable option for a cycling holiday when the Tour comes to town. Here are three of our properties which are currently available to rent near the Tour De France route.
11 Hardy Grange, Grassington
A stone-built period cottage located close to the centre of Grassington. The peloton passes through this village on the first day of the Tour, making 11 Hardy Grange ideal for spectators. Plus, the owners are currently offering £1,000 off the property price for a 7 night break between 4th-11th July, so book soon to avoid disappointment!
Monkholme Cottage, Threshfield
Monkholme Cottage is a wonderfully romantic retreat in Threshfield near Grassington. This charming Yorkshire Dales holiday home offers spectacular views and is close to the pubs and shops of the village, making it a great place to await the arrival of the racers. You’ll receive a 35% discount on stays between 27th June to the 4th July, so book today to make the most of this great offer.
The Thyme House, Haworth
The Thyme House is a first-class luxury holiday home in Haworth, ideally located for watching the riders zip by en-route to Skipton. This palatial Yorkshire Dales holiday rental sleeps 10 people and comes fully-equipped with a wealth of great self-catering facilities, making it the perfect base for a Tour De France themed get together with family and friends.
So there you have it, our definitive guide to where to watch and where to stay during the Tour De France. For our complete range of self-catering accommodation near the Tour De France route, visit our Tour De France cottages page today.