Cycling

A Guide to Cycling Holidays in the UK

Cycling in the United Kingdom has a long tradition. Cycling holidays in the UK have seen a revival in recent decades. Modern cycling holidays are often tailored and have clear goals, destinations or challenges. There are also, as we have seen above different types of bicycle you can choose.

For those that wish to travel large distances and conquer the hardest climbs of Snowdown race bikes are the way forward. Mountain bike holidays are the choice for those looking for an adventure. Imagine biking over rugged and difficult terrain. 

Recreational cycling holidays for intermediaries who ride hybrid bikes on and off the track. You can combine cycling with other sports on a long-haul vacation.

How to Choose the Best Cycling Holiday Locations?

Choosing the right cycling holiday spot for you and the family can be a momentous task. It often comes down to going back to one of your favourite cycling locations or considering somewhere entirely new! There are lots to think of when deciding.  These include food and drinks, weather reports, side attractions and other offers available in the location. 

Is it fun for the family?

If you are riding alone or with friends and family, you notice you can customize your vacation to fit your needs. Determine the average speed at which your family or friends can cycle. Agree with the amount of time that everybody plans to be on the road and can spend per day cycling. Consider the challenge level of each location.  

Is the temperature and weather conditions good enough?

The temperature and weather will significantly affect the overall experience of your holiday. Before deciding, review the weather and pick the best location you think would fit your needs and that of the family. During the summer, some locations will get incredibly hot. So, have this in mind while heading for your preferred warm location.

How fit are you?

You must consider a cycling location that is not beyond your strengths. Instead of attempting to be the strongest cyclist in the world, these locations should have obstacles you can overcome. After all, it is your holiday not an attempt to defeat the Tour de France winner. We rarely do as much training as we all try, or get as fit as we would like before our cycling holiday.

The hardest part is to seek to push through two days and despair after six months of your last riding. Only do as much as you can in the run-up to the holiday. In other words, you need to work on your physical fitness but remember you are not a Philippa York nor Chris Froome.

How safe and secure is the location?

It’s nice to relax and let your guard down while you are on a cycling holiday. Hence, you must bear in mind the safety of your preferred location. For your safety, take as few valuables with you as possible and those valuables should always be with you.

You would be able to go without a laptop unless you’re a wandering journalist! It may be obvious but pay attention to your bike. Do not leave it unattended, even for a few minutes, without locking it to something immovable. Bike robbers are opportunists in search of a speedy getaway.

Will the local food be okay?

Whether it is traditional Welsh cakes, laverbread and bara brith (called fruit bread), or the endless choices of seafood in Scotland’s coastal towns, there is something for everybody to explore during their cycling vacation. Meanwhile, will you be ready to do the exploration of these local cuisines?

To answer that, look at things you’re eating, or want to try vis a vis what is available in the location. The response to your next cycling vacation location could look you in the face.  If you have any unique nutritional requirements that might not be met in all places, pick wherever you can have access to what you need!

What are the types of cycling holidays in the UK?

What cycling holidays do you want?  The UK provides some of the best locations you can think of. From smooth road trip, independent or guided journey, to professional or leisure cycling, pocket park right at your doorstep, mountain biking with lots of quick, winding single-track and rugged downhills

Road Cycling

Any ride to a world championship, Olympic glory or ‘maillot jaune’ began by getting on a wheel. The UK isles are blessed with some of the world’s most scenic, demanding and pleasurable riding routes. From the coastal main road in Scotland to the plains of the Norfolk Broads, there is a cycling journey that fits everybody.

Leisure Cycling

Independent recreational cycling tours are a wonderful way to relax and explore a region. You will discover the beauty and wonder of the local landscape. The friendliness and warmth of the local people will welcome you and be free to travel at a pace you deemed fit. 

Mountain Cycling

The UK has great mountains for your cycling holiday. There is plenty of mountain routes to pick from.  With loads of excellent paved man-made routes, trail hubs, cycle parks, miles of bridleways across open farmland, a system of channel trails, waterside pathways and disused railway lines, you will enjoy every bit of your mountainous ride in the UK.

Family Cycling

Most of us at lettings.co.uk are parents too, we appreciate what makes family holidays fun. If the kids are content, excited and entertained, then the parents are likely to have a wonderful time too! Family housing was selected to accommodate the desires of both parents and children. All our hosts are making a special effort to welcome kids and there is always plenty to do for the adventurous family – usually right from the door. You have complete flexibility to experiment when and how you want to enjoy your stay.

Utility Cycling

This involves all cycling that is undertaken as a way of travel rather than as a recreational or recreation. This is the most growing and initial kind of cycling around the globe.

Best Cycling Holiday Routes in the UK

Cycling is a wonderful activity to add to every holiday. You can see far more of an environment than you can on foot. But, you should interact with your surroundings enough that you do not replicate sitting in a car or a bus. Our selected routes have everything for everybody. They include spectacular speed runs, headlong sprints and a gentle rolling down the Great Britain roads.

The Ridgeway, Southern England.

With many miles of road, commuting around the Ridgeway’s is almost an endless trip. Horse riding and cycling is a perfect opportunity to enjoy this landscape as well as socialize with friends and relatives. These activities improve your physical and emotional health on Britain’s oldest road.

Cycling the path amid Avebury and Goring is a common and easy idea for a weekend break for two or three days. This section of the path brings you across the beautiful North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). From there, you pass via significant geological sites like the UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS) in Avebury, Uffington White Horse and Lowbury Hill.

The path in this region is ideal for cycling groups as it is primarily a large road, enabling cyclists to ride abreast. Train posts at Great Bedwyn, Swindon and Goring are connected by beautiful National Cycle Network routes to the Trail. This enables pedalling from your doorway and leaving the car at home.

NCN 45 and NCN 482 link Swindon train station to Marlborough at the Avebury end. Alternatively, there is NCN 403 from Great Bedwyn station to Marlborough via Savernake Forest with Goring station which is a five minutes trip away from the Road. We recommend two or three days cycling along the Ridgeway as described below:

For Two Days Ride. Riding along the Ridgeway is a huge undertaking for most riders over a weekend because it needs good trail and weather conditions. The second day is not as long as the first. This allows the opportunity to set for home on Sunday rather than remaining overnight. First Day: Avebury to Goring at around 69 km or 43 miles. Second Day: Goring to Wendover at around 47 km or 29 miles.

For Three Days Ride. This provides more flexibility to explore the environment and backup when the weather and trail conditions are difficult. First Day: Avebury to Wantage at 48 km or 30 miles. Second Day: Wantage to Wallingford at 40 km or 25 miles. Then on the third day, Wallingford to Wendover at 40 km or 25 miles.

Where to stay ?

The Lakeland Loop of Lake District, Cumbria.

The Lakeland Loop will take some beating in the beauty stakes if your legs can hack it. With the first kilometres touching Lake Coniston’s shoreline, it is obvious why cyclists have such high respect for the route. The undulating and challenging terrain conveys one of England’s hardest climbs and provides stunning views of the region’s rough landscape.

The challenging 65km path was once voted Britain’s greatest bike trip.  This is a path that shows off surrounding lakes at their finest.   Justifying cyclists’ votes, Cycling Plus’s editor, Rob Spedding commented that: “This ride beat off some extremely tough competition but I’m not surprised – it’s got everything. Stunning lakeside scenery, quiet roads and in Wrynose Pass a proper cycling challenge”.

Where to stay ?

Verdant Lake District, Cumbria.

Our next cycling holiday location, Verdant Lake District is a 5-hour trip from London. Though quite challenging, it’s reasonable for a long weekend and far enough to sound like you’re truly going for a holiday. After 145 km, that is 90 miles and 6,500ft in two days of ascent, your body will know some work is done. This taster also has road and mountain bike varieties with special weekends at the Chiltern hills, South-East England.

The atmosphere is volatile. To get a good picture of the area, you’ll need a touch of luck. So, you need to keep an eye on the sky before the walk. If clouds cover the peak or if it rains, climbing would be quite miserable. Usually, the best time to visit is summer. Please go with an axe and crampons till April’s ending, ice could still be covering some parts of the mountain. In other words, do not expect a warm climate even though it is summer. 

Where to stay ?

Richmond Park, London.

Cycling around London’s Richmond Park is popular, particularly on weekends, among mountain bikers, road cyclists and families. There are various combinations and itineraries across the park. That may differ based on your hire period and how easy or heavy you want to pedal.

Road cycling along the edge of Richmond park is about 11. 25km, that is 7 miles, long and provides some high-pitched fast climbs as well as some long gentle inclines. Asides that, two roads are accessible to cyclists who drive pass white lodge across the centre of the forest.

The 11.81km (7. 35 miles) Tamsin Track across the edge is the only safe and legal off-road mountain cycling route in Richmond Park. Also, some asphalts/footpaths beside the roads, though not as pleasant as the Tamsin Track can be used. Horses are not allowed in this route because it is primarily built for pedestrians and cyclists. The route is been sponsored by the Charitable Trust of Richmond Park.

Beyond mountain climbing, Tamsin Trail is also the most popular family-friendly cycling track around Richmond Park. But families with young children are better off with other shorter and more interesting routes that avoid the sharp hills. Such shorter routes pass through some fun areas of the park where the popular deer of Richmond Park normally graze.

Carmarthenshire, South-west Wales

Cycling is one of the most fun ways to discover this region of wales. With NCR 4 (National Cycle Route 4) covering a long section of the coast, there are a lot of excellent cycling options within this area of Britain. Lodging in Llanelli or Carmarthen will allow you to cycle wherever and anytime you like on the trail.

If you would rather find a road, then a rundown of some routes we have put together below will be of help. You can also use the three hand-illustrated maps for family-friendly and traffic-free drives across the city put together by Discover Carmarthenshire.

Royal Oak Inn – Loop from Cynghordy to Soar-Y-Mynydd Chapel. Though the route is marked difficult, its surfaces are mainly paved. This makes it suitable for every degree of ability but requires really strong health. 

Amman Valley Cycleway – Loop from Gorslas to Llyn Llech Owain Country Park. Though its difficulty rate is not graded, cycling there should be easy.  The cycleway has a beautiful landscape and it is traffic-free. This makes it very suitable for families and individuals who derive joy in a calm ride.

Abergwesyn Common – Loop from Llandovery to Sugar Loaf railway station. Rated difficult and mostly suitable for Cycling experts.

Where to stay ?

Camel Trail, Cornwall

The cycle route of the Camel Trail was built on a 17 mile stretch of abandoned railway trail. The abandoned railway was formerly the Atlantic Express Railway from London to the West. The trail is an exceptionally scenic path.

The most famous and first segment of the Camel Trail runs from Padstow to Wadebridge, an attractive fishing harbour. This segment runs with its spectacular scenery and plentiful wildlife along the beds of the Camel Estuary. The second part of the Trail passes from Wadebridge to Bodmin across the Camel Valley forest landscape.

The Trail eventually continues farther inland from Bodmin to the small moorland settlement of Blisland at the base of Bodmin Moor. The Camel Trail is available 365 throughout the year. A perfect way for riders to experience this stunning Cornish landscape at any time of the year. There are lots of roads off the main trail. These roads lead to several remote towns and charming Cornish streets for those seeking a more challenging ride.

It’s not only the trail’s openness that invites; it’s a breath-taking walk through which the scenery constantly shifts charisma. As you cycle from the sandbanks and rugged shores through granite-studded moorlands, make sure you look at water skiers on the Camel Estuary. Stopover for native ice cream; and enjoy the award-winning cocktail by taking a diversion to the Camel Valley Vineyard.

The Welsh Forest

Though this is a challenging ride set amid the stunning set of the Welsh mountains, any fairly fit rider should face no difficulties in cycling through the route.  It is around 10000 feet of elevation, including around 98 miles of the most beautiful scenery in the UK. The cycling route is filled with both descents and sharp climbs, breath-taking scenery and no further traffic riding around the edge of Snowdonia National Park.

The magnificent Dyfi woodland is also a prominent feature of this beautiful but challenging route. The path is mostly on the lane, often on small highways. Llanrwst (75 miles), Gellilydan (44 miles) and Brithdir (25 miles) are the three feed-stops of the Welsh Forest. An alternative shorter route of 64 miles is available.

Where to stay ?

The National Park, Snowdonia

The Snowdonia National Park stretches well beyond the popular and well-visited Snowdon Horseshoe of Beddgelert and Betws-y-Coed tourist attractions. The Rhinogydd range is to the south and it is the least-visited mountain of the park. This cycling route borders along the Western side of the range, starting from Porthmadog’s harbour town, moves along the Cob and passes the Italianate fantasy village of Portmeirion by Clough Williams-Ellis.

After passing the recently restored road bridge of Pont Briwet, the trip drives uphill, starting with a 1-in-4 climb to Llandecwyn. Though abandoned, these lanes are lined with bronze-age statues for the flock of sheep or infrequent farm cars. The road indicates this was a significant staging point in Celtic Britain. The waterfalls of Nantcol which are directly above Llanbedr are worth a pause in the freezing mountain lake, for a paddle or a dive.

The road winds its way across the hillside to further bronze-age sights at Dyffryn Ardudwy then turns North back to Harlech Castle. Harlech Castle is one of the most significant sited castles erected by Edward I during his invasion of the Welsh princes. It might be safer to get on a train back to Porthmadog after all the cycling, or simply retrace the route from earlier in the day. 

Where to stay ?

The Three Parks Track, South Wales.

This is the trail between Pontypridd and Crossgates located in South Wales. It is a simple, traffic-free track, taking in three of the most scenic parks in Wales. The trail begins at the country park of Sirhowy Valley beside Crosskeys. After 6 miles from Sirhowy, make a cross at Hengoed Viaduct, a viaduct with 16 arches that is 37 meters (120ft) tall.

You should visit the spectacular artwork called ‘Wheel of Drams’ at Hengoed, an 8-meter tall sculpture constructed of ancient coal carts. Continue riding the valley that passes through Penallta Park, otherwise known as Parc Penallta, built from an old coal edge. From there, climb to the Observatory High Point which gives stunning views around the county.

From this pinnacle, you won’t miss the pit pony: Sultan, the biggest figurative monument created from clay in the UK. There are other ancient sculptures all over the park. Exit NCN 47 at Trelewis and follow the NCN 476 towards Parc Taf Bargoed, a former coal-mining town. Its river, which once streamed in black and is currently a birdlife sanctuary for dippers and wagtails, covers 21 km (13 miles).

Where to stay ?

  • Kings Arms Hotel

The New Forest, Hampshire.

 Around Southampton in Hampshire and Christchurch in Dorset, the stunning green area is something beyond a forest. Protected since 2005 as the New Forest National Park, it features clear lush heathlands with waist-high brackish and gorse patches. There are boggy swamps all over the place. To the south, their ponds are crowded with frogspawn during the spring.  Also, the coastline sometimes houses groups of waders and rare black-headed gulls.

To experience all the great things we have to share, your 2 wheels will work and are better than 4! Antique forest, beautiful villages, moorlands and a 40-mile ‘hidden’ coastline and cycle-friendly lodging are some of the awesome stuff that bicycles have to do. Oh, the big benefit is that the New Forest here has over 140 miles of traffic-free licensed bike paths. So, what are you waiting for? Explore any of the following types of cycling at the New Forest. 

Family welcoming routes.  There are miles of off-road tracks where you will not only enjoy relaxed and easy cycling but also see thousands of free-roving horses and cattle. This is perfect for families and cyclists who want to enjoy a relaxing ride at their own bound.

Off-road Riding. A good aspect of off-road riding exists in several of the cycling routes in the New Forest. Moreover, the off-road bike network can be accessed with no difficulties by road or rail. This makes several options available to either go with your bikes, buy or to hire them on your arrival.

Long Distance. If you are a cycling expert, the long-distance cycling routes offer on and off-road rides where you can explore everything the New Forest has for you. A perfect example of this is the 25-mile Lyndhurst Road to Burley. Depending on your preference, the route can be reduced or prolonged by using off-road trails and country tracks.

The Sandy Balls Loop which is suitable for all ages and cycling skills is another great long-distance cycling route. This path is 19. 65 miles long but it’s so much fun and you’ll have so many fantastic views along the route. It is perfect for families that lodge or stay at the Sandy Balls Holiday Village. 

Where to stay ?

Elan Valley, Wales

The Elan Valley is an all-levels bike hub. The valley is one of the finest mountain biking locations in Wales, following the former Birmingham corporation railway route. This secret treasure leads you miles out from the main road. The paved path passes across the valley beginning at Cwmdauddwr takes you through the Rhayader Tunnel. A Wildlife Trust Reserve that is host to a range of bat species.

Continuing through forests and fields. The road climbs past Garreg Ddu Reservoir – a perfect spot to take a shot of the nearby valleys and ends at Craig France.  If you are looking for a little bit more action, you can choose from one of the 7 mountain bike routes. These include the easy 9 km Ant Hills or the tougher 60 km Elan Epic.

Where to stay ?

Hadrian's Cycleway (NR 72), Northern England

If you’re intrigued by a ride from Coast-to-Coast, but worried that the hills would be too hard for you, Hadrian’s Cycleway is the solution to your dilemma. Not too challenging and with wonderful scenery along the way. From the rough coastline to the bumpy landscape of Northumberland, this is the perfect short-break drive. Market towns like Brampton and Haltwhistle are lovely places to make a stopover as Newcastle’s bright lights end your stay.

The Cycleway mainly follows Hadrian’s Wall route. The route started close to Carlisle and stopped at Tynemouth, around Newcastle. While the Coast-to-Coast reaches 600 meters above sea level, Hadrian’s Cycleway is not far above 250 metres. The road is 174 miles (that is, 280 km), from Ravenglass in Cumbria to South Shields in Tyne & Wear. Most people can complete the route in 3 days but it is likely to take 4 or 5 days for those who want to stop at any of the many attractions on the way.

Where to stay ?

Manifold track, Staffordshire.

Manifold Track is a 9-mile (14. 5km) track which passes, with a lot of fascinating sights, between the end of Hulme and Waterhouses. Cyclists get an unrivalled view of the Staffordshire Peak District’s Limestone canyon along with Thor’s Cave (a natural cave high up a vertical limestone crag) and a Bronze Age coalfield.

The trail is a simple, child-friendly path. It is largely in flat tarmac road for walkers and cyclists accessible from both ends of the trail and points along its length. The track is ideal for cyclists of all skills level, beginning at Hulme End and finishing at Waterhouses. Explore the stunning scenery of the calcareous and experience delights like ascending the stairs to Thor’s cave (250ft above the trail) to appreciate the spectacular view of the valley. Please be vigilant with kids. There are on and off-road parts in Manifold Track.

Where to stay ?

Safety Tips for Cycling Holidays in the UK

Cyclists are subject to a handful of rules. These include not riding more than twice in a row, stopping at red lights, marking the route and going in the same direction as other cyclists on the road and in front of them. Against this background, there are several road safety measures that cyclists can take to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries.

 

  •  It’s advisable to look for groups of fast cyclists on sleek bikes who are preparing and participating in local races and championships. These are intended to be used by cyclists to limit the risk of accidents. But there are many things cyclists should take into account when sharing the road with other road users, such as traffic lights, speed limits and traffic lights.
  • Always make sure your bike is prepared for the trip. Do I need to say this? Carrying a helmet is very important for your safety and should be second nature to you. You are not likely going to do a lot of night riding. But wearing reflective bands and bright clothing makes it easier to see in the daytime.
  •  Use on a cycling tour agency. Cycling tour agencies are known for finding the best routes, train local guides and facilitate travel. So, they will be good for your next cycling holiday.
  •  Keep a tab on your bike. Do not leave it unattended, even for a few minutes, without locking it securely to something immovable
  • Pay attention to any illness symptoms and get in touch with the nearest health facilities
  •  Be wary of blind spots when approaching a lorry. A lot of lorries have blind spots. This means that the driver may not see you and maybe making a manoeuvre that seriously endangers you. ­

Please, Don't just cycle, Watch!

At Lettings, we have done all we can to ensure that the selected routes are safe and cyclable by persons with some measure of physical fitness. Yet, a level of risk is involved in all outdoor activities and these routes are not an exemption. Please, make use of your judgement when using the routes based on your research, ability and the health conditions of your team.