If you love cycling and are looking for an exciting adventure. Then the UK is a country that has a lot to offer! With breathtaking landscapes, stunning coastlines, and historic towns and villages, there are endless places to explore on two wheels. Whether you prefer easy routes or challenging terrain that will put your skills to the test. The cycling opportunities in the UK are varied and wide-ranging. From cycle paths that wind their way through the tranquil countryside to thrilling downhill trails that take you through rugged hills and valleys. There’s something for everyone. So whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or just starting out, strap on your helmet and get ready for some unforgettable cycling adventures in the UK!
History of Cycling Adventures in the UK
The history of cycling adventures in the UK dates back to the late 19th century when bicycles first became widely available and affordable. Since then, cycling has become a popular pastime, mode of transportation, and sport throughout the country. From the early days of cycling clubs and organised races to the recent boom in leisure cycling tours and holidays. The UK has been at the forefront of cycling innovation and development. Today, there are countless cycling routes and destinations to explore. From the Lake District’s challenging Lakeland Loop to the scenic Settle Circular in Yorkshire. With a rich history and diverse landscape, the UK is the perfect destination for any cycling enthusiast looking for an adventure.
Top Routes for Cycling Adventures in the UK
There are countless cycle routes in the UK to suit every mood and fitness level. The Lakeland Loop in the Lake District is a challenging 68-mile ride featuring steep climbs and stunning views. Box Hill Olympic Circuit in Surrey is a popular route for weekend warriors, offering a mix of rolling hills and fast descents. The Camel Trail in Cornwall provides a more relaxed ride along the coast, with plenty of charming cafes and pubs along the way. The Settle Circular in Yorkshire is a 62-mile scenic loop through the Dales, with plenty of opportunities for hill climbs and photo stops.
Assynt Achiltibuie Circuit in Scotland is a remote and rugged route, with challenging climbs and breathtaking views of the coast. Elan Valley in Wales provides a peaceful and picturesque ride through mountainous terrain, with plenty of wildlife sightings. And for those in London, Richmond Park offers a traffic-free oasis to escape the city and enjoy a leisurely ride. Whatever your preference, the UK has a wealth of top-notch cycling adventures to explore.
The Lakeland Loop, Lake District
The Lakeland Loop route in the Lake District has been voted the best cycle ride in Britain by readers of Cycling Plus. This 40-mile circular journey offers spectacular views of Cumbria’s landscapes, taking cyclists through the challenging Wrynose Pass. Starting from the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel in Great Langdale. The route leads through quiet country lanes, passing by the lakes of Windermere, Coniston, and Rydal Water. The route is a challenging one but allows for up-close and personal experiences with the stunning scenery of the Lake District. It is a must-try for any cycling adventure enthusiast visiting the UK.
Box Hill Olympic Circuit, Surrey
The Box Hill Olympic Circuit in Surrey is a must-visit destination for cycling enthusiasts. Its popularity dates back to the 1880s when cyclists in the area started using the route for their rides. The circuit gained worldwide recognition when it was chosen as a key route for the Olympic road race in 2012. Cycling on this route gives riders the opportunity to test their strength and endurance against that of Olympians. The circuit starts and ends in London and provides breathtaking scenic views from the summit of Box Hill. It is easily accessible from the Dorking rail station and promises a thrilling adventure for cyclists of all levels. It is no wonder that Box Hill is now an iconic cycling location in the south of England.
The Camel Trail, Cornwall
The Camel Trail in Cornwall is a must-do for any cycling enthusiast visiting the UK. Following an old railway line, the largely flat and traffic-free trail provides access to the heart of North Cornwall. Hire bikes are available in Padstow, Wadebridge, and Bodmin, making it easy for visitors to explore the beautiful and little-known countryside. The 17-mile-long path meanders through some of the most scenic sites in the region, with the estuary and river providing a stunning backdrop for a leisurely ride. Whether you’re an experienced cyclist or a family looking for a fun-filled day out. The Camel Trail is open all year round and is a fantastic way to explore North Cornwall’s hidden gems.
The Settle Circular, Yorkshire
The Settle Circular in Yorkshire is a must-visit destination for cycling enthusiasts in the UK. This picturesque route offers views of Ribblesdale, the hills of the western Dales, and Pendle Hill. It also features quiet back lanes away from traffic, providing a serene environment for a bike ride. With Ingleborough, Pen-y-Ghent, and limestone outcrops near Wharf, this circular route offers sights that will take your breath away. However, caution is advised as some portions of the tour may be difficult to ride due to unpaved areas. Overall, the Settle Circular provides a challenging, yet enjoyable adventure for cyclists seeking a memorable experience in Yorkshire.
Assynt Achiltibuie Circuit, Scotland
The Assynt Achiltibuie Circuit in the Scottish Highlands is not for the faint-hearted. But for those seeking breathtaking splendour and a challenging cycling adventure, it is a must-do. The 70-mile route mostly involves public roads, including both single-track and A roads. It is recommended to plan for a full day of cycling to complete this circuit. Those visiting the UK for cycling can explore many other fantastic cycling routes, including Box Hill Olympic Circuit in Surrey or the Camel Trail in Cornwall. The North Coast 500 and The Great North Trail are both also top contenders for those seeking a cycling adventure in the UK.
Elan Valley, Wales
Elan Valley in Wales is a hidden gem for cycling enthusiasts. This hub for leisure and mountain biking boasts an extensive network of trails that weave through mountains, valleys, and woodland, offering a thrilling adventure. The graded trails comprise red, blue, and black loops suitable for varying levels of cyclists, from beginners to experienced riders. The valley’s spectacular trail climbs past three reservoirs and is part of the National Cycle Network. With many cycling routes available, visitors can choose from scenic roads, hills, or challenging tracks. The Elan Valley is fast becoming a mecca for gravel and mountain biking, making it a popular destination for cyclists looking for an adrenaline-pumping adventure.
Richmond Park, London
Richmond Park is the largest of London’s Royal Parks, covering an area of 955 hectares. Its stunning nature and cycling routes make it a popular spot for road cycling, especially at weekends. Visitors can access cycling routes, maps, safety information, and regulatory guidance to ensure that their experience is a pleasant one. The Richmond Park Loop from Putney is an expert 90.6km bike ride that takes around 5 hours to complete. Moreover, for those who prefer a guided experience, there are cycle tours available to explore the park. Additionally, for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Richmond Park is an ideal place to explore the beauty of nature.
NORTH COAST 500 is Best for Cycling Adventures in the UK
The North Coast 500 is a must-see destination for cycling enthusiasts seeking a challenging adventure through Scotland’s rugged northern coastline. Notably, this 500-mile circular route offers breathtaking views of mountain ranges, lochs, and beaches that are sure to leave cyclists in awe. Moreover, with guided tours and exceptional support, cyclists can experience high-quality accommodation and an itinerary planned around an average of 65 miles of cycling each day.
Furthermore, the North Coast 500 is a perfect example of the diverse range of cycling adventures available in the UK. For instance, from Cornwall’s Camel Trail to London’s Richmond Park, the UK offers a vast array of cycling experiences that cater to individuals of all skill levels. In other words, whether you’re a novice or an experienced cyclist, you can find a cycling adventure in the UK that suits your abilities and preferences.
THE GREAT NORTH TRAIL is Best for Cycling Adventures in the UK
The Great North Trail is undoubtedly one of the most exciting and adventurous long-distance cycling routes in the UK. Developed by Cycling UK, this 800-mile off-road trail links the Pennine Bridleway in the south with the northern tips of mainland Scotland, taking in some of the most stunning and varied landscapes in the country. Although many top cycling routes are available across the UK. This trail is a must-ride for adventure-seekers looking to explore the beautiful countryside of the UK on two wheels. Moreover, it is a perfect trail for experienced mountain bikers with excellent fitness levels and advanced riding skills as it consists of various terrain types, from rolling hills and dales to remote windswept moorland. So, if you are up for a challenging but rewarding cycling adventure. The Great North Trail should definitely be on your bucket list.
In conclusion, the United Kingdom offers some of the best cycling adventures in Europe, with picturesque routes through the Lake District, Cornwall, Yorkshire, and Scotland, to name a few. Cycling is not only an excellent way to explore the countryside and get some exercise but also has significant economic and societal benefits. According to statistics from 2021, cycling adds over $556 million and 3,400 jobs to Wisconsin’s economy. Moreover, UK walking and cycling interventions have a benefit to two-thirds of shopping trips. Additionally, cycling is an ideal option for solo travellers. As well as there are various self-guided and guided tours available throughout Europe and the UK. With the continued push for more cycling-friendly infrastructure in metropolitan areas such as London, cycling’s popularity is only set to increase.