The UK has an almost embarrassing number of amazing places to cycle. It is like everything in the UK is moderate: there are no deserts or huge mountains, impenetrable forests or inaccessible wastelands. Instead, there are thousands of miles of coastline, rolling hills, ancient forests, picturesque towns and cities, rivers, lakes, and more. Cycling in the UK has something for everyone, from young children to competitive cyclists. So, what to do this summer?
Tour de Yorkshire
Since its beginning in 2015, following the amazing success of hosting the Tour de Yorkshire in 2014, the Tour de Yorkshire has grown into one of Europe’s premier cycling events. Spanning 4 days in early May (2nd to the 5th), the Tour de Yorkshire is an unmissable part of the UK’s cycling scene. Over 2.6 million people turned up to watch last year as some of the best cyclists in the world fought over some of the prettiest scenery in the UK.
Non-competitive riders can take place, with a variety of races for children and amateur riders being held at the same time. It’s an amazing experience to take part in and it’s a brilliant holiday for children. The event sees all hotels and guesthouses for miles around being booked up, so make sure you book early.
The Cornish coast has everything – world class surfing, sailing, and extreme sports, deserted beaches, picturesque fishing villages, hidden coves, and smuggler’s caves. The entire coastline is accessible on a bike (more or less) and there are dozens of amazing bike rides to take. Cycling to the Lizard, the farthest westerly point in mainland UK, is a spectacular and popular choice. Alternatively, a coast to coast ride can challenge most riders and show you some of the prettiest scenery in the country. Perfect for families, even with young children, Cornwall is an amazing cycling destination. Make sure you get a Cornish cream tea, it is unmissable!
If you can tolerate the midges (tiny biting flies that are everywhere in the Scottish countryside), you are bound to fall in love with Scotland. The main cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen are not the best places to cycle in the world, but they give you access to the surrounding countryside. Up north in the Hebrides, you can cycle to ancient stone circles and monoliths. To the west, beautiful islands like Mull are fantastic destinations for the serious cyclist. In central Scotland, you will be treated to some of the best night’s skies in the world and some of the greatest scenery. It can get cold and it’s frequently raining, but the sheer beauty of Scotland is worth it.
Around the Coast
The entirety of the UK coast now has an uninterrupted path around it. You can travel around the whole island on your bicycle, if that takes your fancy. Not many people do the entire thing, but exploring a stretch of coastline on your bike is probably the most intimate and enjoyable way of enjoying Britain. What is more, every few miles there is a town or city you can stop off in and enjoy a cup of tea and a bun. Organising your trip around the coast is easy, even with small children. There are plenty of places to stay but book early to make sure you get the best places and prices.
Popular ways to explore the coast on a bicycle include town to town trips. For young children, this can be ideal as there is a definite destination and plenty of amenities on the way. The coast can be tough, however, and up in Scotland or on some of the Welsh coast, you can find terrain and conditions that will challenge even the toughest cyclists. The amazing variety of the British coast makes it a top destination for international cyclists.
The Lake District
The Lake District is a National Park and World Heritage Site, even though it is essentially a manmade environment. No matter, it’s one of the prettiest spots in the UK. The dozen or so lakes and reservoirs make brilliant day trips on a bike, accessible to children and adults alike. If you’re looking for something a bit more extreme, there are mountain bike routes dotted around the Lakes, like Whinlatter and Grizedale Forests. Everyone from beginners to experts will find something to challenge them.
The Lakes are a very popular holiday destination for us Brits, who come to enjoy the amazing scenery and relaxing atmosphere. If you are holidaying with someone who isn’t into cycling, this could be the perfect destination for your group. You can hire bikes for reasonable rates and there are campsites and guesthouses that cater to cyclists all over the place. Look up the free cycling events British Cycling hold.