Cycling

 

 

Cycling is a popular activity throughout the UK and Ireland, especially when enjoying a countryside holiday. Some people consider it the best way to explore the landscape and scenery with fantastic views on two wheels. Take in miles of stunning coastline and beautiful seaside views, enjoy a tranquil downhill jaunt through the Scottish hillsides or just peddle your way through the picturesque villages of the Cotswolds. There are many variations of cycling route, from long distance, athletic routes to scenic, traffic free trails but either way you are bound to find plenty of hidden gems along the way. Here are some of the best scenic cycling routes in England to start you off on cycling holidays in the country:

The Tudor Trail in Kent is a fantastic family route due to the lack of cars. It is almost entirely traffic-free after you leave Tonbridge and boasts views of some wonderful sights and historic buildings such as Haysden Country Park, the River Medway, Penshurst Place Estate, Chiddingstone Castle and Hever Castle. The journey should take around an hour and is suitable for all abilities and ages if you're looking to enjoy a family cycle ride.

The cycle route from Bath to Reading is however not suitable for all and should only be undertaken by an intermediate. Following the Kennet and Avon Canal for ten miles, this cycle route passes the crescents and colonnades of Bath, two viaducts and the wonderful Caen Hill Lochs at Devizes.

If you have every wanted to cycle the breadth of England then this is the perfect cycle route for you. The way of the Roses, Morecambe Bay to Bridlington Bay is a coast to coast route starting in the red rose county of Lancashire. You will then travel through the 'white rose' territory of Yorkshire and through the beautiful Forest of Bowland which is an awarded 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty' and the Yorkshire Wolds before reaching the North Sea. Beware of the hills!

 

Isle of Wight Holidays

The Isle of Wight is a stunning island and a very popular destination for anyone looking to go on a country cottage holiday, it also happens to be the perfect destination to enjoy a fairly challenging cycle route. Cycle round the Isle of Wight on a 62 mile journey through country lanes, breathtaking sea views and quaint villages, travel clock-wise or anti-clockwise and you will have an amazing journey on a reassuringly flat route. Read more about the Isle of Wight and cycling holidays.

A completely difference route to that of the Isle of Wight would be Swinley Forest. This fantastic forest is 2, 600 acres of pinewood forest with hard track trails for all abilities. For a family day out you can enjoy the woodland paths or if you are more experienced then give one of the specific 'expert' mountain biking areas. Although there is a cycling permit for anyone over 16, the Swinley forest is an excellent location for cycling.

 

Holidays with cycling in the New Forest

Another superb cycling holiday destination is the New Forest in Hampshire on the south coast of England. This small national park has umpteen country roads and also traffic free trails through the woodland. People come from far and wide to cycle through the parkland. There are a number of villages in the New Forest where it is possible to hire bicycles and find somewhere to stay. A large number of visitors inevitably descends in the best summer months which is a telling sign of a fantastic place to visit for an active outdoors break.

 

If you choose to take a cottage break close by to the capital then don't panic, there are some great cycling experiences to be had. The West London Thames ride is a great way to get out of the city and enjoy a waterside cycle that starts in Kingston and follows along to Hampton Court Palace and the former racecourse of Hurst Park. This two hour cycling is an enjoyable way to get out of the bustle of the city.

This next route is a pretty cycle trail that is suitable for all as it follows a disused railway line, the Manifold Trail in the West Midlands. This beautiful cycle path follows the old track through stunning gorges and is a fairly easy peddle however if you get tired and fancy stopping for a break there is a visitor centre and pub at Hume End for you to sit back and enjoy before heading on your way.

The west country is a well known and popular part of Britain to go on a self-catering cottage holiday due to its stunning coastline, spectacular countryside and wonderful weather. The West country way is a amazing cycle route with plenty to see if you've got the stamina to handle the 240 mile journey and 8 day ride. A difficult ride this fantastic route starts in Padstow Harbour and the famous Camel Trail and stretches onto Bodmin Moor. It becomes a lot flatter as you travel from Exmoor into Somerset towards Glastonbury and over the Mendip hills to Bath or Bristol.

Finally Melksham , North Wiltshire Rivers Route has plenty of amazing sights to satisfy the kids on this 25 mile ride. Catch a glimpse of Lacock Abbey, Cherhill White horse and the Avebury stone circle. Suitable for all this route will take around 3 hours.

Discover Self-catering Cycling holidays in the UK and Ireland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some more fantastic routes in the UK:

The Camel Trail, Cornwall: This is a 17 mile route that runs beside the River Camel. The ex rail route begins in Poley's Bridge passing Bodmin and Wadebridge and finishing in Padstow.

Hartington, Peak District: There are three ex rail routes to be found here, the High peak trail which is 17 and a half miles, Tissington Trail which is 13 miles and the Manifold Way which is only 8 and a half miles (mentioned above).

Lon Mawddach Trail, North Wales: The Mawddach estuary is a beautiful sight to behold and when cycling this 11 mile journey you can take in all the views. Ride from Barmouth to Dolgellan along the old railway path.

The Cuckoo Trail, Sussex: Another 11 mile route along an old railway path from Heathfield to Polegate through spectacular farmland and woodland.

Putney Bridge, London to Weybridge, Surrey: Beautiful riverside route through Richmond Park for an 18 mile journey.

Taff Trail, South Wales: A largely traffic free cycle route from Cardiff to Brecon travelling for quite a distance of 55 miles. The route takes you through Pontypridd and Merthyr Tydfl.

Bealach na Ba, Scottish Highlands: A stunning area of natural beauty and a wonderful area to cycle a 43 mile circuit from Shieldaig in a clockwise direction.

Coast to Coast, North England: A long 140 mile route from Whitehaven to Sunderland on traffic free trails and minor roads.

South Downs Way, Hants: A fantastic and popular route from Winchester to Beachy Head taking in great countryside on your 100 mile off road journey.

Land's End to John O'Goats: This is the ultimate of all big rides, taking three weeks to complete a 1,000 mile route, a strenuous challenge but a brilliant achievement.

 

Ireland

There are also plenty of fantastic routes to enjoy throughout Ireland, from the gentle rolling hills and spectacular coastline trails to the mountainous challenging routes in the south.

Sheep's Head: A wild route on the Atlantic coast, involving a peninsula with impressive plunging cliffs, castles, caves and unspoiled landscape with spectacular views. This cycle route starts in Ballylickey and ends at Roaringwater Bay near Ballydehob, the ride stretches for 120km but you don't have to do the whole thing of course.

The Beara Way: Tracing one of Ireland's wildest and most remote peninsulas, this route stretches for 138km, taking you away from it all and into the beautiful countryside. You will definitely leave Ireland with life long memories of awe inspiring scenery and landscapes.

Killarney: Killarney National Park is Ireland's Oldest park and is a popular area to enjoy amazing cycle rides, for all abilities and ages. You can bring your own bike or rent one from one of the many rental places. Peddle your way through ancient oak forests and past beautiful sparkling lakes, taking in all that Ireland's countryside has to offer.

North West Trail: This trail is the ideal way to discover the hidden gems of Leitrim, Sligo and Donegal as well as Tyrone and Fermanagh in Northern Ireland. The route is 326km of quiet roads and various different landscapes and terrain. There are plenty of chances to experience many different scenes in areas such as the Atlantic coastal regions, beside the rivers, quiet country roads and remote uplands.

Loop Head: If you're looking to get away from it all and escape for the day with just your two wheels and a rucksack then the Loop head cycle way in county Clare is a fantastic choice of route. Positioned on a wonderful peninsula, the 65km route weaves through Special Areas of Conservation and Natural Habitat Areas providing you will a unique and beautiful experience of Ireland.

The Great Western Greenway: An ideal trail for families this route stretches for 18km along traffic-free paths from Mulranny to Newport.

Connemara: An unforgettable area of Ireland, home to wonderful wildlife and spectacular scenery. Enjoy a breathtaking experience cycling the quiet rural roads of the Connemara for 40km on the Ballyconneely and Roundstone Loop. This is a trail that can be completed in less than three hours but is well worth stretching out so you can take in the wonderful natural beauty of the National Park. There are also plenty of other cycle routes in the Connemara.

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