The Best Cycling Routes in the UK – Bike Trails

The best cycling routes in the UK

Staycations are the new rage, but staying in place doesn’t have to mean staying still in one place. If you haven’t thought about going on a cycling trip, then now’s the time to start, as the UK has some epic cycle routes and trails. They vary wildly in scenery, and happily, in difficulty level, so as you get better you can tackle the tougher routes.

We think there’s something massively rewarding about completing a cycling trail and if hunger strikes, try one of our delicious snacks along the way.

Get out more by hopping atop your bike and checking out the top cycle routes in the UK.

Camel Trail

Location: Cornwall
Endless sea views? Rugged cliffs? Possible Poldark sightings? The Camel Trail in Cornwall offers it all. Okay, so maybe we can’t promise Poldark, but we can promise 30km of gorgeous Cornish scenery on this celebrated cycling trail. The route runs alongside a decommissioned railway line that followed the River Camel right to the estuary in Padstow. You can do this ride solo, with a partner, or with your family. The landscape is fairly flat, and you won’t be hassled by traffic. Great as a beginner trail.
Cycle route difficulty : Easy
Distance: 29km
Duration: 2 hours
Best cycle route in the UK for: Families

Hadrian’s Cycleway

Location: Cumbria
Hadrian’s Cycleway is a tougher challenge altogether. Like the Roman wall it’s named after, the full route crosses the neck of the country, coast-to-coast. Starting at Ravenglass out west, to South Shields in the east.

For serious cyclers, the full route totals 280km and takes about a week to complete. However, you can bite off smaller chunks of this epic trail, such as cycling from Ravenglass to Carlisle. Expect Roman ruins, medieval castles, and plenty of Northumberland scenery to decorate the journey.
Cycle route difficulty : Medium to Hard
Distance: 96-280km
Duration:1-7 days
Best cycle route in the UK: A historical cycling trip

Yorkshire Wolds Cycleway

Location: Yorkshire
Forget the Yorkshire Dales, the Yorkshire Wolds is where it’s at, especially if you want to explore the country by bike. This cycle route will take you through Neolithic mounds, pretty villages, and up the rolling hills of the Wolds where you’ll be treated to some spectacular coastal views. This cycle route is excellent for cyclists wanting something a bit more challenging than Cornwall’s Camel Trail, but you can chop and change the route to suit your fitness level. For instance, you can cycle from Pocklington to Beverley in a day. If you want to up the ante, sign up for the Yorkshire Wolds Cycle Challenge, where you complete the full route in two action packed days.
Cycle route difficulty: Medium
Distance: 42-237km
Duration: 1-7 days
Best cycle route in the UK for: A tailored cycling trip

Lakeland Loop

Location: Lake District

Sea views shmee views, if you’re after lakes and lots of them, you need to make for Broughton-in-Furness, and set your wheels upon the Lakeland Loop. The scenery might be serene, but this bike ride won’t be.
Come prepared, bring a bag full of snacks and lots of water. Expect 65km of serious trail, the toughest section of which is the climb through Wynrose Pass. This is one of the steepest roads in Britain, with gradients that top 30%, so the faint-of-heart need not apply.

Cycle route difficulty: Hard
Distance: 65km
Duration: 1 day
Best cycle route in the UK for: A challenge (and those views!)

Applecross Peninsula Route

Location: Highlands
Of course, if you really want a challenge, then you need to look north, to the very tip of Scotland, in Applecross. This is a 70km loop trail that both starts and ends in Applecross. This cycle route takes you deep into the Highlands, where you’ll cycle along coastal roads, down tight switchbacks, and up into some lofty alpine passes. The most adrenalin pumping section of the trail is the 626m climb up to Bealach na Bà, but the views are definitely worth it – you’ll get to see the Isle of Skye – and the way down offers 20% gradients for you to sail down.
Cycle route difficulty: Very Hard
Distance: 70km
Duration: 1 day
Best cycle route in the UK for: A serious cycling challenge.

There are cycle routes all over the UK, and you can start with something nearby if you’re not ready for a cycling trip just yet. You can also try your hand at some of the smaller routes to train for the bigger ones. One thing is for sure, no matter which route you tackle, you’ll need one of our tasty snacks to enjoy along the way.