Tour of Britain comes to Sussex
How kind of the Tour of Britain to take in so much of our Sussex countryside. The route for stage 7 of the cycle race, on Saturday 13th September, will be passing near so many of our holiday cottages that many of our clients will be well set for a ringside view. As anyone who's watched a cycle race will know, the actual cycling can be more like blink-and-you'll-miss-it, but the build-up is great: I don't know what it is about this sport, but it generates an incredible atmosphere.
Much of my enthusiasm I owe to a good friend of mine, who first dragged me up to London to see the Tour of Britain about 30 years ago when it was still known as the Milk Race. Back then he was not long recovered from a cycling accident that took a year out of his life, but it hadn't dimmed his zest for the sport. 'What's so great about watching a load of blokes whizz past on bikes?' I asked. And then they did, and I was hooked.
So, back to the Sussex connection. The route, which really could be a brochure for Amberley House Cottage Holidays, comes south through Guildford to pretty Petworth, a focal point for some of our gorgeous holiday accommodation (click here to see the selection); then it heads eastwards through Billingshurst, Horsham, Haywards Heath, Uckfield and a plethora of picturesque Sussex villages, before turning south again to Hailsham and Eastbourne and following the coast back round to Newhaven. It goes up to Lewes before looping back to end on the Brighton seafront. It's just a shame the riders won't have a chance to take in the scenery as they go, unless of course they get left behind on the gruelling Ditchling Beacon climb, in which case they're probably be swearing at it rather than admiring it.
If you want to spectate, the climbs are great places to stake out since the riders take a little longer to go past - not much longer, admittedly, but while the sprint stages are thrilling they are over in a blink. The three sprints are at Horsham, Newick and Hailsham while King of the Mountains stages are Beachy Head, Ditchling Beacon and Bear Rd. My advice is go early, take a picnic, join in the atmosphere - it's a real family occasion.