Top 10 UK Cycling Routes

With the UK still reveling in the recent Tour De France euphoria, there is sure to be a spike in bike sales and cycling trips. Cycling is a great way to exercise outdoors, for both amateurs and professionals. If you are looking to lengthen your bike rides or maybe take a cycling holiday, take a look at our top recommendations for cycling tours around in the UK.

1. Dark Peak, Derbyshire

The Peak District National Park has over 65 miles of off-road cycling trails and an abundance of scenic lanes, making it a great place to visit for cyclists of all abilities. For serious cyclists looking for a challenge, the Dark Peak is the place to head for. With rocky terrain and tough climbs, the area is ideal for experienced mountain bikers. Situated in the north of the peaks, there are 26 routes in total so there is definitely lots to choose from.

2. Mendips Hills

Home of the Cheddar Gorge cycling challenge, the Mendip Hills attract thousands of cyclists each year. The challenge is a popular annual event that takes on some of the steepest terrain in the country around Black Down and Beacon Batch. It is not just all about one event though, The Mendips have some of the toughest hikes and drops on the cycling circuit and with 18.5 miles to discover, there are certainly lots of thrills to be discovered by mountain bike enthusiasts.

3. Harrogate to Ripley

This may be a short 4 mile (one way) cycle route but where it lacks in distance, it excels in great views. Also known as the Nidderdale Greenaway, the route will take you through the seven arch Nidd Gorge viaduct and along rich woodland, where you can admire nature at its best. The route is traffic free and is mostly a low terrain tarmac path, making it ideal for those new to cycling. A very tranquil and relaxing ride.

4. Cardiff Bay Trail

This easy 6 mile circular bike ride will take you around the wetlands of Cardiff Bay. You will cross the Ely river on the bridge that joins Cardiff to Penarth. Spend time at the Barrage and enjoy splendid views across the bay and over to the Severn Estuary. With plenty to see and do in Cardiff Bay, this short bike ride can be stretched to a full day out in wonderful Wales.

5. Delamere Forest, Cheshire

Explore this Cheshire forest on two wheels, via two easy cycle routes. Covering acres 2.400, Delamere forest attracts millions of walkers and cyclist all year round and offers a great family day out. You can take your own bike or on Thursday evenings you can hire a bike and take a guided ride through the forest. For experienced mountain bikers, there are maps available at the information center, so you can explore the multiple terrains of the forest.

6. Forest of Dean

Spend a pleasant couple of hours exploring the beautiful woodlands of this former mine site. With bluebell woods and trees full of singing birds, this cycle route is like stepping into a fairytale. Whilst there is a low terrain track that is ideal for families, cycling aficionados can enjoy a longer 11 mile cycle, taking in impressive views after short climb through the forest. The Sallowvallets area, designated by the Forestry Commission for mountain biking, offers moderate to severe routes, including the red-graded Freeminer trail

7. Bath to Bradford Upon-Avon

Explore the idyllic Avon Valley, between Bath and Bradford Upon-Avon on this 9 mile flat ride. Take in views of the English countryside and the serene Avon & Kennet canal on this relaxing ride. Terrain is very comfortable along the whole of this route, on the site of a disused railway line. Ideal for beginners and families.

8. Causeway Coast Cycle Route, Northern Ireland

This impressive 23 mile cycle route runs along the North Atlantic Coast, from Castlerock to the Giant’s Causeway. The majority of the ride is on a cycle path but there are some quiet roads to navigate. The route has several short climbs and two reasonably long climbs, all the better for enjoying the long sea views and impressive beaches. As you approach the Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage site, you can revel in the stunning scenery and be glad that you made the effort to finish this route.

9. Isle of Arran

If you are feeling adventurous, take a journey (by train then ferry is probably best) up to the beautiful Isle of Arran. The island is a haven for bike lovers, from beginners right through to professionals. With a variety of cycle routes, all circular, ranging from 6 mile to 21 miles there is plenty of choices to be made and enough routes to enjoy a long stay on the island. With rugged mountains and rolling hills, there is some tough terrain out there for those seeking a challenge. Make sure you take a map with you and look out for the blue (easy/moderate), red (hard/technical) and black (difficult/severe) cycle routes.

10. Avenue Verte: London to Paris

For the really adventurous, a cycle ride between two of the world’s greatest cities will definitely be a welcome idea. A cycle route in the making, the Avenue Verte takes you down from London to Paris via the North down, Sussex and the South Downs. From there, you will take a ferry (Transmanche Newhaven-Dieppe service) over to Normandy where you can then explore the highlights of Northern France on your journey to Paris. Along the way you cross following French departments, or counties: Eure, Oise, Val-d’Oise, Yvelines, Seine-Maritime, Hauts-de-Seine and Seine-Saint-Denis. You will need to be well prepared for this 406 km ride, especially in terms of appropriate clothing for weather changes. The ride is predominantly over green non-traffic areas, hence the name, but there are some areas of shared traffic. Bon Voyage!

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