A cycling holiday in the UK not only opens up avenues for some amazing sightseeing opportunities but also for enjoying a vacation in a relaxed manner with your family. The country is vast with some of the most well-developed routes, that offer opportunities not only for exploring the urban areas but undertaking long rural rides as well. For the perfect adrenaline-packed holiday with some odd things thrown in, just take time out to explore these handpicked cycling routes in the UK.
UK is also extremely popular for some terrific walking routes. These cycling holidays can also be turned into walking holidays if you prefer a slower pace. Bike or walk – UK has exceptional countryside views which should not be missed. Try one of these routes to gauge for yourself.
Family holidays for older children can be tricky so keeping them busy with an active cycling holiday option is an excellent bet.
Must-Try Cycling Routes in the UK for Families
The 174 miles long Hadrian’s cycleway is said to be the best long-distance route in Britain, if not anywhere else in the world. Depending on the time available, the cyclist can choose to cover as many sites as possible, and ride it in either direction from Arbeia in South Shields to Ravenglass on the coast of Cumbria.
The scenery along the route is quite stunning and covers some true sites of historic importance over quiet country lanes and peaceful roads. The Hadrian’s Cycleway is designated as National Route 72, and is usually cycled from West to East. While the paths along the coast are mostly level, there are some steep climbs to be encountered in some hill sections which prevail in the central region.
Some important points to be considered before you undertake the trip should be carefully studied.
- Maintain a certain level of physical fitness before attempting to ride the Cycleway. Starting with light training sessions and climbing up hills will stand in good stead on the actual route.
- Carry enough spares and plenty of fluids as the going can get hot at times.
- If visiting the Roman ruins is on your itinerary, then allow for at least five to six days to complete the journey.
- If you do not want to undertake long rides, there are plenty of short bike rides on offer. You can either go all the way alone or take the assistance of a local cycling specialist. This will give you all the information you need from the best routes to follow and the must see sites which fall in the way.
Routes-Ravenglass to Tynemouth
Total 3 to 6 days of cycling
Length 174 miles/278 km
Level of difficulty-moderate
This trip begins at the gorgeous seaside village of Ravenglass and follows the West Coast to the start of the Hadrian’s Wall itself at Bowness on Solway. The path further heads to Newcastle to Tynemouth, which is the end of the route. The beauty of the ride is the remarkable sites which can be seen on the way. These include, the Ravenglass and Eskdale narrow gauge railway line, Roman fort of Birdoswald, the Roman Army Museum at Greenhead, the unmissable Vindola Settlement and the Hexham Abbey among others.
(Hadrian’s Cycleway can be covered in three different itineraries ranging from three to five days)
Day One- Arrival at Ravenglass
Day Two- Ravenglass to Silloth-86km
Day Three-Silloth to Brampton-69km
Day Four- Brampton to Corbridge-69km
Day Five- Corbridge to Tynemouth-54km
The Hadrian’s Cycleway is a journey with a difference. The living history of the wall unfolds before your eyes as you ride from the West Coast of England to the East Coast. By using a professional service provider, one can avail of transport enroute, good quality accommodation and get information and detailed maps with GPX files.
SEA TO SEA
St.Bees to Tynemouth
Total days of cycling- three to five
Distance covered 225km
Level of difficulty- Challenging
The 225 km long, Sea to Sea(C2C) or Coast to Coast cycle route is another trip which every avid biker wants to add on the bucket list. The path begins on the west coast in Cumbria, from either Workington or Whitehaven(St Bees) and ends at either Tynemouth or Sunderland. This route passes through the North Pennines and can be traversed in any time from a couple of days to a week depending on the choice of the biker.
On the way the biker will cross national parks in the Lake District, the Eden Valley, North Pennines (roof of England) and finally over Black Hill to the coastal town of Tynemouth, via Durham county. The entire route is very well marked and offers choices to bikers to either undertake the challenging sections or simply cycle just the roads. A third of the route is on travel free paths and road conditions are good. Of all the Coast to Coast holidays, this one is for the serious cyclist.
The nearest airport is at Manchester, from where one can catch a train to St Bees via Carlisle, where you need to change trains. The town lies on the Cumbrian coast and takes an hour to reach by road from junction 40 on the M6. To know the exact timings visit www.nationalrail.co.uk
Day One- Arrival at St. Bees-a former mining town and port on the Irish Sea
Day Two- St Bees to Alston-132km
Day Three- Alston to Tynemouth-100km
Day Four- Trip ends at Tynemouth after breakfast
The Sea to Sea cycle route has varying sections to cover. The itinerary can be broken up from three to six nights. The shorter ones are for the more serious cyclist.
A fully supported trip will include services of a trained professional guide to meet you along the way for necessary updates. The guide will also ensure you have enough spare parts, water and a stock of light refreshments. Transport, from arrival to departure and also en route if needed. Good accommodation, close to the route with bed and breakfast. Outlets nearby to have an evening meal or snacks. Route maps and GPX files with a list of cycle repair shops along the way. Details about the location of your hotel for each night, contact numbers in case of emergency, and a recommended list of things to carry. An emergency recovery service in case of mechanical or physical accidents.
No matter which way you enter the UK, whether it is by road, rail, ferry or air, there is no better way to have an adventure here than on a gentle cycling trip. You may have seen the English countryside many times, but the real feel can only be achieved by a bike trip. So, irrespective of whether you have just a weekend on hand or the luxury of a longer trip, taking a bicycle break offers the perfect remedy with some respite and fresh air.
Have you tried these cycling routes in the UK or have specific recommendations for us? Share in comments below.