Summer is on the horizon, and there’s no better time to book a cycling trip here in the UK. While there are some great options abroad, the kind of limitless exploration you’re looking for is right on your doorstep.
It’s easy to take this for granted after the restrictions of recent years, but now nothing is stopping you from embracing the vast countryside and coastal landscapes the UK has to offer.
Here you’ll find a list of the best cycling holidays in the UK, alongside popular routes to try out in each location.
A scenic mountainous region in northwest England, The Lake District is one of the most popular locations for cycling holidays in the UK.
It houses sixteen lakes in total, the largest being Windermere, and each has its own character built on the surrounding towns and scenery.
UNESCO selected the area as a World Heritage Site in 2017, which speaks volumes of its natural beauty and unparalleled cycling routes.
Since it spans over 2,000 square kilometers of countryside, The Lake District provides endless options for cyclists of any level of experience. Whether you’re a family looking for circular lake routes or an advanced cyclist after extreme mountain biking trails, there’s something for everyone.
At the southern end of the Pennines rests The Peak District, spanning over 1,400 square kilometers.
It was the first area in England to be designated as a national park and covers multiple counties, including Derbyshire, Yorkshire, and Cheshire, to name a few.
Some of its most notable villages include Castleton and Bakewell, the latter being the home of the Bakewell pudding, a famous English dessert. What better place is there to pick up a mid-ride snack?
The Peak District is popular for cycling holidays here in the UK, so many bike hire centers are dotted around. This is ideal for families who cannot transport all of their gear or for budding cyclists looking to try this activity before purchasing a bike.
We couldn’t put together a list of the best cycling holidays without including Wales. You’d be pushed to find a better escape for cyclists looking to blow away the cobwebs.
Endless mountains, beaches and rolling hills are within cycling distance across much of this landscape, making it one of the most varied cycling holiday locations in the UK.
Suppose you’re traveling as a family or looking for a relatively easy ride. In that case, there are plenty of road cycling routes scattered against the backdrop of the Welsh countryside, and the Wales Coast Path is a great opportunity to get out into the sea breeze.
Wales also offers plenty for the experienced mountain biker, from marked trails to extreme downhill freerides. You could hit the Antur Stiniog downhill trails one day and tackle Penmachno the next.
Easily reached via ferry from Portsmouth, Southampton, and Lymington, the Isle of Wight is an island situated in the English Channel.
It boasts over 200 miles of cycling routes from coastal cycle paths to woodland trails and is the perfect setting for a family cycling holiday in the UK. The kids will experience the novelty of traveling to the island, while the adults save the money it would otherwise have cost to travel abroad.
The Isle of Wight Mountain Bike Center is located on Cheverton Farm, a glorious countryside setting surrounded by woodland and open fields. There are various purpose-built mountain bike trails on site, accommodating both experienced mountain bikers and those new to the hobby.
Host to the Tour de France back in 2014, the Yorkshire Dales National Park isn’t just a fantastic location to travel to with your bike, but it now has its own place in cycling history.
Speaking of history, there are plenty of historical features to see as you cycle, including:
Depending on the time of year you choose for your cycling holiday here in the UK, the Yorkshire Dales can be incredibly atmospheric. Many cyclists intentionally flock to Yorkshire during the colder seasons to experience this shift in mood, as it adds an air of mystery to an already eerie landscape.
Mountain biking is prevalent in this location thanks to over 900km of cycling routes to explore, many of which are scenic and historic trails perfect for putting your skills to the test.
One of the most popular ways to spend a cycling holiday in the Yorkshire Dales is to rent out a holiday cottage. You won’t find many built-up areas in this part of the country, which certainly makes for a peaceful cycling experience.
There’s even a dedicated cycling website, cyclethedales.org.uk, with plenty of tips and routes for cycling in the area, so be sure to check it out before you visit.
Cornwall is a stunning place to take a cycling holiday in the UK, thanks to its warm climate and beautiful beaches. It’s the closest you’ll get to a summer retreat without traveling abroad.
While relaxing may be on your agenda, you’ll be glad to know that the option to challenge yourself is also there since Cornwall is home to some of the toughest climbs in the UK.
Coastal paths are certainly Cornwall’s unique selling point, but it still provides something for the mountain bikers amongst us. There are 247 MTB trails listed on trailforks.com alone, so you certainly won’t run out of options during your stay.
If you want to strike a nice balance between winding down and chasing that sense of achievement, the coast-to-coat trail is just what you’re looking for. It may sound intimidating, but it’s a mere 11 miles and can be completed within an afternoon.
Last but certainly not least, the breathtaking Scottish Highlands have their fair share of scenic cycling routes.
Whether you’re visiting Loch Ness or the magical Fairy Pools of the Isle of Skye, there’s plenty to see both on and off your bike.
The North Coast 500, otherwise known as Scotland’s Route 66, offers a great opportunity to take in some of the country’s most impressive views. It can be completed as a 7-day road cycling tour, which is highly recommended for cyclists keen to take on a real challenge.
The West Highland Way is a classic that mountain bikers are sure to love. From the Devil’s Staircase to Nevis Forest, it’s a technical yet blissful ride through wild Scotland.
It takes you past some of the most famous Scottish landmarks, including:
A UK cycling holiday based in the Scottish Highlands provides something for everyone, no matter their cycling ability. Its rich history and the character of its landscapes make it an obvious choice.
Cycling holidays are fun, but they can quickly turn stressful if something goes wrong. Getting the right insurance will ensure you and your bike are covered when the unthinkable happens.
At Cycleplan, our specialist cycling insurance provides up to £5m Public Liability cover if you cause accidental injury to another person or damage their property. It also covers your bike up to £30,000 for accidental damage.
Click here to discover how our specialist bike insurance can help you have peace of mind on your cycling holiday, and get an instant online quote today.