The event starts on July 5th in front of Leeds Town Hall and ends 18 days later with the grand finale on the Champs-Elysées in Paris. From Leeds the route travels 190-kilometres towards Harrogate through the Brewery town of Masham where the 4,000 competitors will ride through the heart of the 22,000 acre Swinton Estate.
In a typical year’s race the Tour de France attracts 12 million spectators along the route. The last time the tour visited England was in 2007 when it raced from London to Kent and now the popularity of cycling is at fever pitch in the UK after such success in the Olympics and of course Bradley Wiggins being the first ever Briton to win the Tour de France in 2012, followed closely by Chris Froome in 2013. The winding moorland roads are already becoming a hot destination for all levels of cyclists – those attempting the whole 120 mile section in one day, to those happy to just have a go and admire the scenery along the way.
The Swinton Estate is one of the largest estates in England in arguably one of the UK’s most spectacular locations, stretching from the River Ure in Wensleydale up onto the moorland Dales. It is home to Swinton Park, a luxury castle hotel, located just a mile from the route as it passes through Masham. The hotel has bikes for hire – normal and electric for those that want to take it easy - helmets, storage and even “cyclist massages” in the spa and is the perfect location for cycling enthusiasts keen to sample the route for themselves or catch a glimpse of the teams in training in the run up to the event. The hotel can also arrange an exclusive private roadside area for this for those wanting the ultimate viewing.
The hotel has also launched a ‘Tour de Yorkshire’ package to celebrate the Grand Depart. The accommodation package includes free use of the hotel’s bikes (including electric bikes), a massage and complimentary pick up or drop off for those wanting to cycle further afield. The suggested cycle route maps supplied by the hotel include gentle trips around the Swinton Estate (via their glamping site and café at Bivouac at Druid’s Temple), off-road sections on Masham Moor and the more ambitious 60 mile “Terrier’s Head” which is the northern section of the official Tour de France route.
The package price starts from £190 per person per night, which includes:
• dinner, bed and breakfast,
• cyclist’s massage
• an hour in the exclusive use hot tub and sauna
• suggested cycle route guides
• free use of bikes (or complimentary hose down and storage)
• a complimentary drop off/collection point for guests staying in superior rooms and suites
Alternative accommodation is available at Bivouac during the Tour de France weekend. Bivouac is a combination of very different style of accommodations located at the heart of the Swinton Park Estate. Rustic, sustainable with a luxurious twist, Bivouac is perfect for those who enjoy a truly authentic rural experience. Bivouac consists of six Woodland Shacks, eight Yurts and a twelve-bed bunkbarn located next to ‘Druid’s Temple'.
The Swinton Estate has been in the ownership of the Cunliffe-Lister family since the 1880’s, when Samuel Cunliffe-Lister bought the estate on retiring from his mill in Bradford, Manningham Mills. His descendants became the Earls of Swinton and Baron Masham in 1955. Mark, Baron of Masham, is now responsible for the running of the Estate, and he and his wife Felicity converted the family home into a hotel in 2001. It was even the ‘almost bolthole’ of the British Royal Family since Queen Victoria almost bought the property instead of Balmoral.