The Most Popular Cycling Holiday Destinations in the UK
The UK boasts some of the world’s most spectacular cycling routes. Many of these are traffic-free, making them suitable for beginners and families with kids. Best of all, you can guarantee incredible sceneries, from picturesque villages to stunning natural wonders, gorgeous beaches and famous landmarks. So, if you’re planning to explore the UK on two wheels, refer below for our list of the most popular cycling holiday destinations in the UK.
- The Lake District
Often synonymous with unparalleled scenery and stunning mountain passes, the Lake District offers some of the most scenic cycling adventures in the UK. But you better prepare your legs since some routes pack in a decent amount of elevation. And although you cannot expect dedicated traffic-free routes, your efforts will be rewarded with incredibly scenic views!
Keswick, Ambleside and Kendal are some of the best starting points for a cycling holiday to the Lake District. You will find designated off-raid trails at Whinlatter Forests and Grizedale, including a selection of cycling paths at the Lowther Castle in the Eden Valley. You can also combine your bike ride with a steam journey along the Western Lake District’s Eskdale Trail.
Some of the UK’s most scenic long-distance bike routes pass through the Lake District, offering the opportunity to explore off-the-beaten paths. You can cycle through the entire section of the Hadrian’s Wall or venture into the Lakes and Dales loop. Conquer a portion of the Pennine Cycleway or the 81-mile Bay Cycle Way, which takes you through the Arnside & Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Due to the popularity of cycling holidays in the Lake District, you do not need to bring a bike with you since you will find numerous places to rent a bike, from mountain bikes to electric bikes.
There are various ways to explore Scotland’s incredibly scenic landscapes – hiking, cruising, and touring by train. But for adventurous explorers, cycling is the way to go. In fact, Scotland is one of the UK’s top destinations for a cycling holiday. You can cycle coast to coast along the Great Glen Way, conquer mountain trails in the Cairngorms National Park, or enjoy a more leisurely pace through the classic North Coast 500 route.
Preparation is the key to an enjoyable cycling holiday. Take note that Scotland is mountainous, so you better come prepared. Although the cycling holidays in Scotland are suitable for any regular and active cyclist, proper preparation can go a long way. If you plan on taking long-distance point-to-point routes like the North Coast 500 or the Great Glen Way, expect to be on your bike for up to seven hours each day, with some challenging climbs.
The National Cycling Route 7 is a great starting point for your cycling holiday. It takes you to some of the country’s most beautiful sceneries, spanning two beautiful National Parks, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. You will cycle between Sunderland and Inverness, where you can see breathtaking views of forests, lochs, and hills.
The Yorkshire Dales has some excellent cycling holidays across the UK, perfect for those who want to explore with ease. Famous for its rugged scenery and ferocious gradients, Yorkshire has been topping the list of the best areas in the UK to explore on a road bike. In fact, it has hosted some of the world’s most prestigious cycling events, such as the Grand Départ for the Tour de France in 2014.
Yorkshire is a vast county blessed with numerous fantastic cycling regions, from the North York Moors to the Strines in South Yorkshire. Some of the most famous climbs are in North Yorkshire, specifically in the Yorkshire Dales.
Boasting beautiful scenery, the Yorkshire Dales is the perfect choice for a scenic cycling adventure in the UK. It’s an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, thanks to its stunning countryside that stands out from the rest of the UK. Here, you’ll cycle through craggy limestone cliffs and remote moorland that vividly contrasts the lush green valley with its charming stone villages and barns.
- The New Forest
Formerly called the New Forest, the New Forest National Park UK is nestled in Hampshire, on the south-central coast of England. Offering some of the best cycling routes in the UK, you can expect over a hundred miles of well-marked family-friendly paths, with much of them traffic-free. In addition, there are numerous bike rental facilities in the area, so you don’t have to go through the hassles of bringing your bikes.
Off-road cycling in the New Forest is only possible on some routes. For the more adventurous cyclists, you will find mountain bike circuits along the Moors Valley Country Park in Ringwood.
It’s worth noting that the New Forest is a working forest, and you can expect forestry, farming, and equestrian activities along its narrow tracks and roads. Cattle, ponies, and other animals can roam freely throughout the forests, even passing along most trails, so you should be mindful of them. Use your bell or call out a warning when you see them and make sure you give them plenty of space to roam around.
Oxfordshire is another region in the UK that promises an unforgettable cycling holiday. It’s an area where most people get around on a bike, making it one of the country’s most bike-friendly cities.
Not surprisingly, Oxford has many scenic cycling routes. You have the picturesque Cherwell Valley cycle path, about 28 km long, and take in railways, canals, and rivers before circling the valley. You’ll also find short cycling paths close to the picturesque towns of Kidlington, Woodstock and Kirtlington.
You can also cycle through the route to Boars Hill, where you can admire Oxford from several stunning viewing points. You can also join the National Cycle Route 51 along Oxford and conquer the 25-km route towards Bicester. The journey takes you to Kidlington before continuing through the quiet and traffic-free roads featuring tranquil views of the river Cherwell.