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Overseas Visitor Information
PLANNING YOUR TRAVEL IN THE UK
We are often asked about how to get from the airport to our base, Petchfield Farm, near Ludlow on the English/ Welsh borders.
Choose your airport
Don't rush: book an extra night in Ludlow before you start your cycling holiday
Travelling by train: The best prices are only made available 8-10 weeks before your travel dates. (called "Advance" tickets and have to be booked). The best website to check prices www.nationalrail.co.uk . The best explanation of UK rail system - Man in Seat 61 website
UK WEATHER ON YOUR CYCLING HOLIDAY
England and Wales are green countries with lush vegetation and great gardens. We have a mild climate influenced by the Gulf Stream. You can find average temperatures etc, together with information about the countryside on our Events Calendar so you can check what weather to expect on your holiday. But whatever the season, some rain is likely, so remember to pack a waterproof coat!
Spring weather for cycling holidays
Early spring can be a bit unpredictable. In April, you can get all four seasons in one day, but by May, temperatures have risen substantially and it stays light until around 10pm by late May.
Summer weather for cycling holidays
During the summer months we have days of glorious sunshine, with temperatures up to 20 - 25˚c and sometimes beyond. We enjoy longer days too. During mid summer, its light from around 3 am and stays light until almost 11 pm .
Autumn weather for cycling holidays
As we head into autumn, the days gradually become shorter and the temperature cools. Some years September has been very warm and dry, but the evenings do draw in and it gets dark by 7pm.
Its easy to get caught out by different customs...and opening hours are one of the things everyone expects you to know, but this is a very rural area, and is operated on very different lines to big cities
Bank holidays - are national holidays, the dates vary each year, but the time of the year remains unchanged. There is always a much reduced service on trains and public transport. But apart from that, bank holidays are always fun, lots of extra activities and festivals on these dates. Big events are busy, but the country lanes remain quiet and a joy to cycle. Its always best to book a table for your evening meal in advance over bank holiday weekends. Either check out TripAdvisor to phone through your booking or make sure its the first thing you do when you arrive in your overnight destination.
Easter bank holiday - the Friday before Easter Sunday and the Monday after.
May bank holiday or May Day - the first monday in May
Spring bank holiday or Whitsun - last Monday in May
Summer bank holiday - last Monday in august
Shops and Early Closing Days. One of the delights of this area is the number of small independent shops in our towns and villages. One of the surprises to visitors is that these shops do only open from 9-5pm Mon to Sat.(and might go home early if there is no one around!) . And, we still have early closing days (Hay on Wye on Tuesday, Clun, Bishops Castle, Church Stretton and Ironbridge on Wednesdays, Ludlow on Thursday) which means they close at lunchtime. Large shops or chains have longer opening times and are open 7 days a week. Village shops are often community run by volunteers and follow similar hours, but might also open on sunday mornings.
Teashops generally open between 10 and 5pm, with lunch served between 12am and 2pm. Often only open part of the week, so check our route guides (we try to keep them up to date with opening days)
Pubs/Inns one of the UK's great assets, good food, drink and friendly atmosphere. Nothing beats a meal or a drink at one or England and Wales' country Inns.
Usual Opening times
Open for drinks from 11am
Lunch 12.00 noon to 2.00pm Mon-Sat
Sunday Lunch 12.30-2.30pm
Evening meals 6.30pm to 8.30pm
Last orders for drinks about 10.30 - 11pm
However there are some exceptions to this. Sunday lunch is a big event, many pubs shut or offer a snack menu in a Sunday evening.
ENJOY AND JOIN IN
This is wonderfully unspoilt area - no big attractions, but lots of small things which add up to a unique experience. Here are some ideas to get the most out of your cycle tour
Ordnance Survey Maps are supplied together with your detailed route guide. Look at the key, then look at the map, this gives lots of detailed information about the area; the landscape, location of churches and other ancient historical features, contours and practical things like the location of pubs and inns.
Join in local events - from village fetes, to agricultural shows, There is always lots going on and visitors are very welcome
Visit local churches- Wonderful buildings, many date from Norman times (or before) and can be over 1000 years old. They hold lots of information about the area...... Look out for the fantastic Bell towers at Pembridge, Yarpole and Richards Castle. Circular church yards mean that the church is built on an ancient (pagan) site. At Brampton Bryan, the beamed roof was taken from the Castle Keep, when it was rebuilt after the siege, and in Clun look out for the gravestone of playwright John Osbourne.
Places to visit; Castles and gardens and museums, all offer a fascinating insight to the area. Many of the special sites are looked after by English Heritage (or Cadw in Wales) and are free to visit. The larger Castles and Stately homes, do charge a fee. Consider taking an Overseas Touring Visitors membership of English Heritage or the National Trust, if you plan on visiting lots of these sites during your stay in the UK. If you are already a member of Royal Oak your membership gives you free access to National Trust properties in the UK
Music and arts are celebrated all through the area. There is a strong community of artists and musicians living in the area. There are music festivals, theatre and arts events all through the summer.
As you know the UK operates the National Health Service.
This is how you access it, if you need help whilst on holiday.
Pharmacies in most towns (Ludlow, Bishops Castle, Church Stretton, Hay on Wye, Brecon), offer basic medical advice. General stores, sell basic supplies of over the counter medication eg headache, suncream etc.
Call 111 if you’re worried about a medical concern, to speak to a fully trained adviser. Depending on the situation, the NHS 111 team can connect you to a nurse, emergency dentist or even a GP, and can arrange face-to-face appointments if they think you need one. NHS 111 advisers can also assess if you need an ambulance and send one immediately if necessary.
Doctors Surgeries can be found in towns. Ask your host for the location. As a visitor you can visit any of these. Opening times are 9-4pm Mon - Fri. Saturday limited opening times
Emergency Dial 999 - the system sends out either paramedics, ambulance or air ambulance (helicopter) depending on the emergency described.
Nearest hospitals are Shrewsbury and Hereford, about 45 minutes from any of your locations. If it is a major accident and the air ambulance is called, you might be taken to one of the hospitals in Birmingham
Our Help If there is an emergency, call the health professionals first, and then call us after and we will sort out any logistical assistance needed.
We explain this in the briefing - but this is the standard procedure wherever you are in the UK. Treatment is always given first and then paperwork afterwards!
You may like to donate to the Midlands Air Ambulance service, which is funded by donations only. Amazing Service.