Come and see top cyclists as they compete in this exciting event when it returns in Scotland this September. The Aviva Tour of Britain is the largest annual event in the UK that’s free to watch.
Split into eight stages from 6 – 13 September, the tour begins on the island of Anglesey in Wales, with the second stage continuing in Wales and northern England before the third and fourth stages cross the border into Scotland on 8 – 9 September. The subsequent days and the final stage will take place in England and finish in London on 13 September.
Stage three: Cockermouth – Kelso
Starting in Cockermouth on the edge of the Lake District in Cumbria, stage three will cover 134.3 miles on its way to Kelso and will pass through Dumfries & Galloway as well as Newcastleton, Hawick, Selkirk, Tweedbank, Melrose and St Boswells in the Scottish Borders.
In Kelso itself the cyclists will weave their way along New Stream river before crossing over the River Tweed, passing the historic ruins of Kelso Abbey. The race will then run through the cobbled streets of the town centre, where people will line the streets to cheer them towards the finish point at the grand Floors Castle.
As well as spectating events there are also chances for you and your family to get involved on the days surrounding the events, including races and rides in Kelso.
Home to the Duke of Roxburghe and Scotland’s largest inhabited castle, Floors Castle will be open on the day and is offering a special reduced rate for visitors. Other places to explore along the route include the house at Abbotsford in Selkirk, which was once home to Sir Walter Scott, and Dryburgh Abbey by St Boswells.
If seeing the competitors inspires you to hop on your bike, then the Scottish Borders is a great place to do it. There are cycling and mountain biking routes and trails to suit both experienced bike riders and those new to the sports. Tackle the area’s undulating country roads on some or all of the 55 mile circular 4 Abbeys Cycle Route, or head to one of the area’s 7stanes mountain biking centres for great trails.
Handily, the Borders Railway, which runs between Edinburgh and Tweedbank, will be open from 6 September. Stage three actually passes the station at Tweedbank, and other stations near the route include Stow and Galashiels.
Stage four: Edinburgh – Blyth
The capital is hosting a Tour of Britain stage start for the first time on 9 September, where you can some and see the competitors as they set off on a 135.2 mile race through East Lothian and the Scottish Borders before they cross the border into Northumberland and finish in Blyth.
Starting in Holyrood Park, the stage four route will travel through Edinburgh’s Old Town, beneath the city’s famous castle, and through the centre of the New Town before heading out the city along the coast and into East Lothian.
Passing through Musselburgh, Levenhall, Prestonpans, Cockenzie, Port Seton and Longniddry, the cyclists will then head inland to Pentcaitland, East Saltoun and Gifford. They will continue on into the Lammermuir hills past Whiteadder reservoir and then the race will conclude the Scottish leg of the race with another stint in the Scottish Borders. East Lothian can be easily accessed by train and bus, with train stations near the route including Musselburgh, Wallyford, Prestonpans and Longniddry.
Those looking to hop on a bike themselves should try out some of the John Muir Way while in East Lothian. This 134 mile coast to coast walking and cycling route stretches between Dunbar, where John Muir was born, and Helensburgh in the west. If you’d prefer to pair watching the race with something more sedate, why not stop for an ice-cream from S. Luca of Musselburgh, which is featured on Scotland’s Ice Cream Trail, or take a stroll along one of the nearby beaches?
Back in the Scottish Border you can watch the cyclists as they race through the village of Cranshaws and pick up speed as they head down into the village of Dun. Watch them as they battle it out on their way into Coldstream before crossing the River Tweed and entering England.
Follow the latest updates from the tour on Twitter by using #AvivaToB2015