United Kingdom

It’s difficult to describe cycling in the United Kingdom briefly, because the country is so varied! Whether it’s dramatic coastlines, rolling hills and countryside or bustling cities you’re looking for, you’ll find it in the UK.

The thing to look out for is the National Cycle Network, which consists of more than 14,000 miles of signed cycle routes crossing the length and breadth of the country. About a third of the network is traffic-free, whether it’s on former railway lines, along canals or on new paths through parks and cities. Many routes feature great art trails such as the Water Rail Way from Lincoln to Boston (part of EuroVelo 12). Stunning views can be found all around the network, and no two days of cycling will be the same. The country has a rich culture and history as well as dramatic natural features, so it’s well worth braving the risk of rain!

National Information

Aberdeen - John O’Groats

Further information on National Route 1 - The most northerly sections of the National Cycle Network are on the Aberdeen to the Shetlands cycle route passing through wild mountains and along rugged coastlines via Banff, Inverness, Lairg, Tongue and Thurso. Aberdeen to Inverness (150 miles) also forms part of EuroVelo 1.

Bristol & Bath path - Bristol to Bath

Further information on National Route 4 - The immensely popular Bristol and Bath path provides a short (13 miles) tranquil walking and cycling path between the two cities. The path begins in the historic port of Bristol, and passes via Mangotsfield, Warmley and Saltford before arriving in the heart of Bath. You’ll find ideal stopping points for drinks and snacks at Bitton and Warmley stations, or you could enjoy a pub lunch at Saltford.

Celtic Trail East - Severn Bridge to Swansea

Further information on National Routes 4 and 47 – If you want action-packed cycling and walking adventures, combined with panoramic views, wildlife-rich country parks, fascinating heritage sites and attractions, and quirky café and pub stops, then explore the east section of the Celtic Trail.

Celtic Trail West - Swansea to Fishguard

Further information on National Routes 4 and 47 – Follow coastal paths, riverside trails and quiet lanes, as the Celtic Trail takes you on a journey of discovery through the wonderfully scenic West Wales. Whether you’re an experienced cyclist, a family with children, or looking for great historic attractions, coastal gems and fantastic pit-stops, the Celtic Trail in West Wales offers all this and more. There are two potential routes from Swansea to Fishguard.

Colchester – Ipswich

National Route 1 - Between Colchester and Ipswich the route follows the Fakenham to Harwich route, which is also part of the North Sea Cycle Route; a 6,000 km chain of exciting experiences waiting for the cycling tourist to discover. The route is being developed by an international partnership and you will find a lot of useful information about the UK section on their website (http://www.northsea-cycle.com/). Please Note: Possible closures and Diversions on route.

Devon Coast to Coast - Plymouth to Ilfracombe

Further information on National Route 27 - If you are looking for variety choose the spectacular Devon Coast to Coast. The route combines the beaches and estuaries of North Devon with the lush green valleys of the Torridge, the Tavy, the Walkham and other evocative West Country rivers. The route also skirts round the western flank of Dartmoor offering superb views of Cornwall and the surrounding area and plenty of opportunity for wildlife spotting.

Edinburgh - Aberdeen

Further information on National Route 1 - Edinburgh to Aberdeen is known as the Coast & Castles North cycle route that crosses both the Forth and Tay rivers and passes through St. Andrews and Dundee.

Fakenham - Hull

Further information on National Route 1 - The route continues through Norfolk via King's Lynn and then through Lincolnshire, departing its proximity to the coast after Boston, taking in Lincoln and heading finally to Kingston-upon-Hull.

Garden of England - London to Dover

The route starts in Greenwich and takes you on a traffic free path along the Thames. It continues onto Gillingham, Sittingbourne and Faversham. From here you head towards Whitstable where you join the largely traffic-free Crab and Winkle Way. This section of the route does feature some hills, with a 61m (200ft) climb into Canterbury. Leaving Canterbury you travel through Fordwich, Britain's smallest town and then the route follows the coast to Sandwich and Deal before arriving in Dover.

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Harwich - Colchester

Following national route 51 you travel inland picking up the River Colne near Wivenhoe before arriving in Britain’s oldest recorded town, Colchester. Colchester attracts more than 4.5 million visitors each year so make time to explore its unique heritage and history. Please Note: Possible closures and Diversions on route.

Hull - Humanby

Further information on National Route 1 - The section between Hull and Humanby is just over 45 miles and is mainly on quiet roads, passing through the East Riding area of Yorkshire. You’ll see some of the wonderful landscape that inspired David Hockney with a gently rolling route that travels past the towns of Beverley, Driffield and Bridlington and on to Hunmanby, south of Scarborough.

Hunmanby - Whitby

This mainly coastal route is currently open and signed between Hunmanby and Whitby via Scarborough. Scarborough to Whitby is also known as the Cinder Track.

Inverness to Aberdeen

Further information on National Route 1– An excellent cycle trip for a short holiday through some of Scotland’s most celebrated towns and cities as well as beautiful Aberdeenshire countryside with breath taking views of the Moray Firth coastline. Cycling from Inverness to Aberdeen via National Cycle route 1 is a must for those who like peace and quiet. Natural and visitor attractions include; Culbin forest, Findhorn Bay Nature reserve, Bridge of Alvah (Banff) and the Aberdeen Maritime museum.

Ipswich - Fakenham

Showcasing some of the best the east of England has to offer, this long distance route takes you through the historic town of Norwich and ends up in the attractive market town of Fakenham. The route is one of the flattest National Cycle Network routes and is the ideal way to experience the tranquil beauty of the East Anglian countryside. Please Note: Possible closures and Diversions on route see below;

John O’Groats - Shetland Islands (via Orkney Islands)

Further information on National Route 1 - Continue your route from John O'Groats to the northernmost point of the British Isles, on Shetland. Ferries connect mainland Scotland with both groups of Islands so take the opportunity to explore them on the National Cycle Network, which gives you the chance to travel to the northernmost point of the UK. Please Note: Possible closures and Diversions on route.

Kennet & Avon Cycle route/Canal - Bath to Reading

Further information on National Route 4 - This historic canal links the Thames and the Bristol Channel, weaving through spectacular scenery on its way from Bath to Reading. Its impressive architecture is in keeping with its surroundings that also provide a habitat for a diverse range of flora and fauna. Local attractions include; Bath Abbey, Claverton Pumping Station, Tithe Barn and Caen Locks.

Lochs & Glenns Route South - Carlisle to Glasgow

Further information on National Route 7– There are lochs and glens, plus miles of coasts and forest on this route north from Carlisle. It takes you along the beautiful Solway Coast, over the hills of the Galloway Forest, and to the beaches of Ayrshire, before heading into Glasgow. The route offers something for everyone with a variety of easy and challenging cycling, both on and off road.

Lochs & Glens Route North - Glasgow to Inverness

Further information on National Route 7– National Route 7 between Inverness and Glasgow is a stunningly beautiful route that passes through two National Parks. Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park contain picturesque lochs, forests and bustling tourist towns. The Cairngorms National Park extends over the UK’s largest mountain range with heather –clad moors and ancient pine forests.

London Docklands & Lea Valley - London to Ipswich to Harwich

Further information on National Routes 1 and 51 - The route heads out of London from Greenwich in a northerly direction along the traffic-free London Docklands and Lea Valley cycle route into Hertfordshire. From Harlow the route travels through Essex and takes you via Chelmsford to Colchester before joining route 51. The section between Colchester and Harwich forms part of the North Sea Cycle Route, also known as EuroVelo 12.

Lon Las Cymru - Holyhead to Cardiff or Chepstow

Further information on National Route 42 – Lôn Las Cymru runs for over 250 miles down the whole length of Wales from Holyhead to Chepstow or Cardiff. It is one of the toughest of all the long distance routes on the National Cycle Network however it can also be broken down into shorter traffic free and challenging sections.

Lon Las Cymru North - Cardiff to Llanidloes and Llanidloes to Holyhead

Further information on National Route 8 - The route connects Holyhead to Anglesey to the Wye Valley in the heart of Wales using minor roads, railway paths, forestry tracks and ancient coach roads. There are some tough challenges as the route crosses the Snowdonia National Park and the range of the Cambrian Mountains however, there are convenient railway stations at Holyhead, Bangor, Porthmadog, Barmouth, Tywyn and Machynlleth that can help you break up the route into smaller sections.

Lon Las Cymru South - Llanidoes to Cardiff bay or Chepstow

Further information on National Routes 8 and 42 - This route connects Llanidloes in the heart of Wales to the attractive finishing points of Cardiff or Chepstow. National Route 42 connects Hay on Wye to Abergavenny and Chepstow via a taste of the Black Mountains, whilst the largely traffic free Taff Trail links Brecon to Cardiff via Merthyr Tydfil on National Route 8. Bursting with greenery and wildlife, you will not be disappointed by the natural beauty of this section of Lon las.

Middlesbrough - Tynemouth

Further information on National Route 1 - A series of traffic-free routes and short on-road sections connect Middlesbrough and Tynemouth via Seaham and Sunderland and form the Three Rivers cycle route. National Route 1 uses many of these sections and runs north - south close to the coast.

Staithes - Middlesborough

Between Whitby and Staithes Route 1 is currently not open. An alternative route between Whitby and Middlesbrough is available by following National Route 165 (formerly Regional Route 52) to Kildale and National Route 168 to Saltburn-by-the-Sea where you can get back onto Route 1. Alternatively, keep on National Route 165 to Hutton Rudby and join National Route 65 to Middlesbrough to rejoin Route 1 in Middlesborough.

Thames Valley - Reading to Putney Bridge

Further information on National Route 4 - This popular route leads from the countryside into the bustling city of London along the Tames, passing through parks at Richmond and Hampton Court, the latter along the riverside path. The route travels through Staines and then onto Thorpe Park, for those wanting to test their mettle on the rides. Local attractions include; Tower of London, The London Eye and the Houses of Parliament.

Tynemouth - Edinburgh

Also known as the Coast & Castles South cycle route, National Route 1 hugs the coast between Tynemouth and Berwick-upon-Tweed via Blyth and Bedlington, heading inland to Edinburgh via Melrose. National Route 76 provides an alternative coastal option between Berwick-upon-Tweed and Edinburgh.