Keswick Loop cycle routes

Top 10 cycle routes in the UK

Whether you’re an avid cycler or want to get into it more, we recommend checking out our list of top 10 cycle routes in the UK. If you’re looking for long distance routes, or perhaps something a little bit more family friendly, our list has something for everyone.

Did you know that the UK has 12,739 miles (20,501 km) of signed cycle and walking routes that form the National Cycle Network? So, whether you’re in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, there’s always a cycle route near you!

England Cycle Routes

Brockenhurst, New Forest

Brockenhurst New Forest cycle route

Length: 29 miles (48km)

Difficulty: Easy

The UK as a whole is quite a hilly place, especially so within its National Parks. However, we understand that sometimes you don’t want to have to deal with them and if hills aren’t your thing, then we recommend checking out the New Forest. This is a largely flat park in an idyllic spot in the South of England.

Brockenhurst is the perfect place to ride. In every direction there is an abundance of peaceful lanes perfectly made for cycling – especially so for new riders. The only thing you will need to look out for is the ponies that roam the park and often wander over onto the roads.

Cromer Ridge, Norfolk

Cromer Ridge cycle route

Length: 14 miles (22km)

Difficulty: Medium

Although East Anglia isn’t known for its hills, this cycle route travels to the highest point in Norfolk; Beacon Hill. At over 103 metres in height. the views from these paths make an excellent cycling route. On route, you will ride past Cromer’s Victorian Pier, flint villages and the National Trust’s Felbrigg Hall.

Some areas are a little challenging due to being off-road with uneven farm tracks and cattle grids, but for the most part is a fairly easy ride. Also, if you don’t fancy the two miles up to Beacon Hill, you can return to Felbrigg Park from Aylmerton Church.

Keswick Loop, Lake District

Keswick Loop cycle route

Length: 26 miles (46km)

Difficulty: Hard

Starting in the market town of Keswick, this 26 mile loop takes you over two of the very best mountain passes in the whole of the National Park.

The first is Whinlatter; you make your way through its mountain forest and make your way along to Honister. From here you begin at Buttermere Lake and make your way up to the summit. The last push is where the real challenge sets in

Scotland cycle routes

Loch an Eilein, Cairngorms

loch an eilein cycle route

Length: 4 miles (6km)

Difficulty: Easy

The stunning views over the lochs and scenic woodland surrounding them should be enough to satisfy anyone, but if you’re more into your architecture, there is also a wonderfully captivating ruined castle on an island in Loch an Eilein.

Easily one of the best family-friendly cycle routes in Scotland.

Applecross Peninsula, Scottish Highlands

Applecross Peninsula cycle route

Length: 44 miles (72km)

Difficulty: Medium

This wild, single-track mountain pass of Bealach Na Bà is nothing short of breath-taking. Bealach links the remote village of Applecross with civilisation and at 9km, is one of the longest climbs in Britain, boasting the greatest height gain (626m) of all.

From Shieldaig, the shortest loop is 44 miles (72km), and we recommend you ride clockwise to catch the climb from its best side. Things change fast in Scotland, so be sure to keep a close eye on the weather and try where possible to attempt it in the summer.

Assynt Achiltibuie Circular, Achiltibuie

Assynt Achiltibuie Circular cycle route

Length: 70 miles (112.5km)

Difficulty: Hard

This beautiful (but very challenging) circular route up in the North West of Scotland allows you to travel through some of the wildest and absolutely stunning landscapes. Along the way you can see famous mountains such as Sula Bheinn, Cùl Mòr and Stac Pollaidh.

You will also encounter idyllic beaches and lochs, creating one of the very best experiences for cycling in the Scottish Highlands.

Wales cycle routes

The Great Orme, Llandudno

The Great Orme cycle route

Length: 5 miles (8km)

Difficulty: Easy

Although it is a short ride, the views are so stunning that it is well worth it. This cycle route takes you around and up the Great Orme – a prominent limestone headland situated on the North coast of Wales.

Rising up over 200 metres out of the sea, the Great Orme is a ‘mini-mountain’ to the local residents and one that we highly recommend seeing by bike. Just remember to try and keep at least one eye on the roads!

Mawddach Trail, Dolgellau

Mawddach Trail cycle route

Length: 10 miles (16km)

Difficulty: Medium

The Mawddach trail is an underdeveloped area most noted for its peace and tranquillity. With the Rhinog hills to one side and the Cadair Idris Massif on the other, it’s no wonder this trail is celebrated by both walkers and cyclists alike. As you cycle along the route you will join the old railway line from the town of Dolgellau to the popular seaside town of Barmouth.

The route is also great for birdwatchers, and the former signal box at the old train station at Penmaenpool has been converted into an RSPB observatory. There are also picnic areas, various viewpoints and little nature reserves along the route.

Merthyr Tydfil to Brecon

Merthyr Tydfil to Brecon cycle route

Length: 25 miles (40km)

Difficulty: Hard

Although a bit of a hard slog, this is one of the very best cycle routes in the UK. Although the cycle starts in an industrial looking landscape, you’ll soon find your self alongside the river Taff and over the Cefn Coed Viaduct before climbing gently up three crystal clear reservoirs; Pontsticill, Pentwyn and Talybont.

Further along you’ll find more beautiful sites of waterfalls and mountain landscapes, as the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal takes you into the town of Brecon.

Northern Ireland cycle routes

Slieve Croob

Slieve Croob cycle route

Length: 25 miles (40km)

Difficulty: Hard

In the South of Belfast sits the Slieve Croob cycle route. On a clear day, the route offers views over to the Isle of Man. The route begins in the town of Castlewellan and winds through the Castlewellan Forest Park and the Slieve Croob mountain – which peaks over 500 metres above sea level.

It is a circular route that finishes back in Castlewellan with a pretty challenging uphill climb. Be sure to reserve some energy for this final push!

Keep your bike in top shape with Transyl

Ensure your bike has the best protection possible with Owatrol Transyl, our multi-purpose oil that is used in many industries for many different tasks but most commonly used for its lubricating and releasing qualities.

Over time, your bike chain will be subjected to all sorts of things. From changes in temperature and humidity, to exposure to mud and water and just using your bike as a bike! Unfortunately, this will slowly cause damage no matter what you do.

To help keep dirt, grime and rust at bay, Transyl Oil is a fantastic solution to keep your bike going for many years to come. Transyl is available in a variety of sizes including 200ml and 400ml spray cans which are especially handy for application into small and hard to reach areas as they both come with a long thin straw.

If you want to know what else we recommend you keep in your saddle bag then take a look at our previous post “What to carry in your bike saddle bag

We hope you found this post on the top 10 cycle routes in the UK helpful!

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