The world's largest annual sporting event arrives in Yorkshire in just a month's time (4-7 July).
The Grand Départ 2014 will feature two stages of the Tour de France, taking riders from Leeds to Harrogate, then York to Sheffield, before the Tour moves south for a third stage from Cambridge to London.
If you plan on following the cyclists then have a look at the best places to stay along the route that will guarantee a piece of the action.
Glamp on the starting line
Harewood House is hosting a festival and transforming its grounds into a site for both campers and glampers throughout the Grand Départ weekend (4 – 6 July). Dare 2b Yorkshire Festival of Cycling will take over the country house near Leeds and offers visitors the chance to pitch up in a prime spot to watch the race first hand as it rides up the drive, stopping right outside the front of the house for the Ceremonial Start.
Among a host of entertainment over the weekend there will be a cycling powered cinema, live music, literary and adventure talks, family activities and big screens to view the rest of the Grand Départ. A series of rides will also head out into the Yorkshire Dales so that fans can view the later stages of the race on both days, with selected routes led by Olympic silver medallist and local rider Lizzie Armitstead. Standard camping starts at £14 per person, pre-pitched and luxury camping costs £33 and £60 per person respectively.
Welcome to Yorkshire
Group cycling in the heart of the action
The Rendezvous hotel in Skipton is located on the edge of the Dales, closer to the route than any other hotel. On day one of the Tour it's just one mile from the route and on day two it's three miles from all the action. The hotel is offering a three night inclusive package for cycling groups, which includes bed and breakfast, dinner each evening followed by a discussion on the following days' cycling, plus a packed lunch for each day of the race. Cyclists will be fully escorted and supported by Cycol Tours throughout. The package costs £320pp with a 10% discount for bookings made in June.
Take your bike to Stage 2
The Double Tree by Hilton Sheffield Park Hotel is offering a two-night package which includes a three course dinner on both nights, breakfast, secure indoor bike storage, packed lunch and an energy drink on both days. The hotel is located five miles from Sheffield city centre and seven miles from the Stage 2 finish line. Prices start from £159 per night for two.
Hilton DoubleTree Matthew Shaw Photography
Camp within a grass verge of the Cote d'Oughtibridge climb
Pitch up at Greenhead Fields & Jawbone Hill Camping, which is situated on the Sheffield stage of the route, literally next door to the Cote d'Oughtibridge climb of Stage 2. Local bands will perform on site and there'll be a food and beer tent to enjoy too. Three nights' camping for two people starts from £150 per pitch.
Bed, breakfast and a seat on the grandstand
The newly refurbished Best Western Plus: The Gonville Hotel in Cambridge is offering seats on its very own pop-up grandstand in its grounds, giving guests a clear view of the race. Stage 3 of the race starts right outside the four star hotel, which is undergoing extensive refurbishment, set for completion in June. Two night packages start from £540 per room, including breakfast and two grand standseats.
Camping in the Lee Valley
Lee Valley Regional Park's three campsites are the perfect place to stay to watch the Tour and are a great value alternative for those wanting to stay near the action. Lee Valley Campsite - Sewardstone near Chingford – is a family-friendly campsite under four miles from the route as it travels through Epping Forest. The site offers touring and camping pitches, as well as two and four berth woodland cabins. Lee Valley Caravan Park - Dobbs Weir - is ideally located just nine miles from Epping where the sprint will be taking place. This campsite offers touring and camping pitches as well as deluxe and classic pre-pitched tents. Finally, at Lee Valley Camping and Caravan Park – Edmonton – visitors can watch the cyclists pass through en route to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The site is just five miles from the route through Woodford, it has touring and camping pitches as well as two and four berth cosy cabins for families.
Cycle and sleep
No. Ten Manchester Street Hotel in Marylebone is offering guests a special cycling package to celebrate the Tour de France coming to town. The package costs £305 for two guests and includes a stay in its deluxe rooms, breakfast, a day's bike hire for two and a packed lunch prepared by its restaurant, Dieci.
Packed lunch in the capital
Lancaster London is all geared up for the Tour de France as it offers guests a fully prepared lunch to take along to watch the race ride by on 7 July. For £176 per room, guests can stay in a superior room with breakfast and a picnic for two. The picnic, which comes in a handy bag, has an assortment of sandwiches, cakes, crudités and strawberries and cream. Guests can add a half bottle of champagne to the picnic for an additional £20.
Editor's picks: Cycling holidays
Tour De France in Yorkshire: Best places to stay along the route
Best for: Food lovers. Explore the joys of Umbria and southern Tuscany, taking in three beautiful little towns in the Maremma region: Sorano, Sovana and Pitigliano, all dating back to Etruscan times, and far enough from Siena and Rome to be off the tourist route. Both Sorano and Pitigliano soar high above their river valleys on high cliffs, so precariously perched that some parts of Sorano have been declared terminally uninhabitable. Begin with a feast of gourmet food - and as you explore the region, you'll be treated to more and more delectable dishes and flavours.
Best for: Cycling pros. This one isn't for the fainthearted! If you have lots of mountain biking experience and a good level of fitness, the Atlas Traverse trip promises thrills galore. The Central High Atlas is one of the most unspoilt and beautiful mountain regions in the world, and offers some of Morocco’s best mountain biking terrain, with mile upon mile of uninterrupted jeep tracks and trails. The ten-night trip includes a night’s wilderness camping and a night with a local family with the chance to sample local cuisine.
The details: The Atlas Traverse costs £895 per person exlcluding flights. Visit saddleskedaddle.co.uk for information.
Cycle Mallorca's Tramuntana Mountain range - as well as lots of less demanding flatter country rides - on a four-day trip with The Healthy Holiday Company. You'll be kitted out with the very best carbon road bikes and a special cycling map of the island. From £1,165 per person based on two adults sharing and includes return flights, four nights accommodation, breakfast and dinner each day, guide and equipment as well as three relaxing massages.
Best for: chocolate box scenery. The picturesque region of Gstaad in Switzerland has launched an array of newly refined biking trails, and increased the facilities for cycling enthusiasts with 11 new specialist certified 'bike hotels' offering 3-5 star accommodation, on-site repair services, lockable bike storage, bike cleaning areas, hire services, expert advice, packed lunches and luxurious wellness facilities to relieve sore muscles at the end of a long day.
Best for: Getting off the beaten track. Squeezed between Croatia, Serbia, Herzegovina, Albania and the Adriatic Coast, Montenegro boasts towering mountains, immense lakes, a stunning coastline and a varied array of mountain biking trails. This eight-day trip takes in the Ziovo mountains along the Montenegrin-Albanian border, as well as the mysterious high plateau of Sinjajevinja, followed by lunch with local shepherds.
The details: Prices from £995 per person (excluding flights). Visit saddleskedaddle.co.uk for more information.
Best for: Downhill cyclists! Head south from Salzburg deep into Austria’s 'Little Canada’, surrounded by the highest mountain peaks. Pedal away from St Michael im Lungau through a National Park rich with birdlife to the buzz of Graz, the lively capital of Styria. Forests, farms, fertile plains and trailing vineyards mark this amazing tour through hidden Austria right down to the borders of Slovenia. You'll be cycling mainly on a dedicated cycle path in countryside which is practically downhill all the way. Accommodation is in comfortable three and four star hotels with plenty of local character in Salzburg, St Michael im Lungau, Murau, Judenburg, Bruck, Graz and Mureck.
Best for: anyone in need of something more demanding. Cycle over Dolomite mountain passes while experiencing Italian, German and Ladin cultures and exceptional cuisine. A week long guided holiday starts and finishes from Cortina d’Ampezzo Tackle a different area of the mountains every day (the difficulty will be adapted to the experience of the group). Enjoy hairpin turns, testing ascents and exhilarating descents. From £1,960 pre person with the Healthy Holiday Company
Best for: Nature lovers. Situated in the foothills of the Massif Central, Limousin is a paradise for anyone with a passion for nature. You'll take in the Dordogne Valley, the regional parks of Millevaches and Périgord-Limousin and some of the prettiest villages in France. Discover its medieval villages, granite churches, magnificent countryside and mouth-watering cuisine at your leisure.
Best for: Vulcanologists! This trip covers the wonderful area from the volcanic slopes of Mount Etna to the Mediterranean shore. Quality rides rule - you can forget guidebook-style sightseeing. Stay at Castello Camemi, an impeccably restored 15th-century castle with a pool and spa, and enquire about family cycling holidays.
Best for: Sea views. Discover the mountain passes of South Africa’s beautiful Cape region as well as breathtaking coastal rides with an expert guide. A five-day (four night) cycle adventure covers between 100km and 150km per day depending on your fitness, accompanied by a professional rider. There's an easier itinerary can be arranged for less experienced riders. From £795 per person. thehealthyholidaycompany.com