A cycling holiday is a great way to discover some of the hidden charms and rich history that England has to offer.
It’s the ideal holiday for reconnecting with nature, exploring the outdoors, and bonding with family or friends in beautiful locations.
While there are lots of stunning landscapes to explore in England, it can be difficult to find the best spots.
Here is a guide to cycling holidays in England so you can pedal through the countryside, rugged villages, and gorgeous seaside towns on a cycling holiday you won’t forget.
What is a cycling holiday?
Cycling holidays are organised with the intention of exploring new locations by bike. They can range from one day to several weeks and consist of cycling for a couple of hours a day to travel to a new location.
They are a fantastic way to explore new locations, meet new friends, and experience new foods and drinks.
Cycling holidays can be enjoyed by anyone and everyone. They are ideal for single people looking to meet new people, families looking to bond, and couples seeking a romantic and wholesome holiday.
Due to the myriad of cycle routes in the UK, cycling holidays are suitable for all abilities. Whether you’re a beginner or a cycling expert, you are sure to find a cycling location that is perfect for you.
What are the benefits of cycling holidays?
Cycling holidays offer lots of benefits including:
- Exploring new places
- Trying new food and drink
- Exercising and fresh air
- Meeting new people
- Bonding with family/friends
Where are the best locations for biking in England?
The location of your cycling holiday can make a huge difference to the type of holiday you experience. Consider what type of landscapes you enjoy most to discover which destination is best for you.
If you love the sound of the waves crashing while the wind whips through your hair, then a seaside location like Cornwall might be best for you.
Or, if you prefer a more peaceful, gentle cycle in the midst of a gorgeous medieval town, then Northumberland might be the place for you.
Here are our suggestions for the best locations for a cycling holiday.
Cornwall is renowned for its clear seas and long stretches of sandy beaches. With endless stunning scenery, disused railway tracks and fantastically fresh seafood, it’s no surprise why many people choose to holiday in Cornwall each year.
It is also a great location for cycling holidays. The Carn Euny route in particular is filled with interesting and scenic riding landscapes. The route is relatively short at 23km but worth doing to experience the natural spring shin of Carn Euny.
While there is a steep climb out of Newlyn, the rest of the gradients are a lot more gentle so accessible to all rides. Even the section of off-road routes to access Carn Euny is safe for any bike or short enough to walk if you don’t want to risk skinny road tyres.
Another trail to explore in Cornwall is The Camel Trail. Attracting 350,000 cyclists each year, this is the UK’s most popular cycle trail. It’s ideal for younger children riding their own bikes or sitting in trailers, and while riding both ways is a long day out, you can just ride from Wadebridge to Padstow and back for a 12-mile round trip.
Another scenic location offering plenty of countryside views, luxurious valleys and beautiful estuaries is Devon.
The Devon Coast is an extremely scenic route, ideal for families and beginners due to its lack of traffic and relatively flat terrain.
One of the most popular routes to explore is from Ilfracombe to Plymouth. The journey takes you through rural devon, winding through rolling countryside and pedalling over historic railway tracks.
The three-day journey is an excellent option for newcomers to cycling or families as it allows either a steadier pace of riding or plenty of time to rest, explore on foot and take pictures.
Another popular trail to explore in Devon is the Tarka Trail. This is an entirely traffic-free 32-mile cycle trail which runs from Braunton to Meeth in North Devon. The flat and family-friendly trail travels through beautiful countryside, offering scenic views across the estuaries of the River Taw and Torridge with lots of picnic spots, cafes and pubs along the route.
The Lake District is well known for its breathtaking views and excellent bike trails.
From rolling hills to epic bodies of water, every inch of the Lake District is filled with magical hot spots.
Hadrian’s Wall is a popular self-guided cycle tour taking you across the Pennine hills via the sea-to-sea cycleway route. This truly is a road bike experience with superb natural vistas, wonderful friendly accommodations and historic treasures to visit.
The Langdale cycle trail runs through Great Langdale valley and the varied scenery of meadow, woodland, slate quarry and eventually along a riverside path from Elterwater to Skelwith Bridge. Here you can stop off for refreshments before continuing your cycle up the valley to enjoy the awe-inspiring views of the Langdale Pikes. This trail is 11 miles (17.6km) and takes roughly 1 hour and 15 minutes.
With mostly flat terrain and quiet lanes, this trail is suitable for families. However, there is one section of steep climbs and descents which is tackled on both the outward and return journeys.
Another route to try is the Whinlatter and Honister Pass. This is a 38-mile circular route passing the beautiful but touristy Buttermere Lake and towards the end of the cycle, Bassenthwaite Lake. To get there invariably involves cycling up many other Lake District hills, but it is worth the effort as it is a great climb, with equally superb views.
The New Forest
With its unique mix of landscapes including ancient, wetlands and bogs, the New Forest is an absolute paradise for walking, camping and cycling.
The New Forest is an area of Southern England that includes New Forest National Park. The region is best known for its heathland, forest trails and native ponies.
Cycling is the best way to get around the New Forest to experience the scenic beauty it offers.
The Ashurst to Lyndhurst Loop is a particularly stunning ride. We recommend doing this trial in August and September to catch the heather in its full purple bloom. This trail is 14 miles and mainly on roads, giving you the best open views that the Forest has to offer.
Or, try the traffic-free Hawkhill Trail and discover some of the most interesting features of Beaulieu Airfield with some very visible evidence of its WW11 past.
In WW11, Roundhill campsite was used as the ancillary accommodation site for the RAF personnel who lived and worked at Beaulieu Airfield.
If your children are a bit older and you fancy tackling a more exciting cycling holiday to keep them entertained, then why not try the climbs of Snowdonia?
The Lon Las Ogwen is a great route for experienced cyclists or older teenagers. Taking you from Bangor to Llyn Ogwen, this 17km route is predominantly traffic free with a few sections that are on-road/off-road in the middle section. Renowned for its idyllic mountain views, this is a fairly advanced ride packed full of glorious views.
There are inclines as you are going into the Snowdonia mountains, but as you will be circumnavigating the famous Penrhyn quarry, there are plenty of flats as you follow the disused tram roads.
What to pack for cycling tours in England
Packing the right equipment will make your cycling holiday much more comfortable and enjoyable.
Here are a few essentials to remember for your cycling holiday:
- Padded shorts – These are essential for protecting and cushioning you while you ride
- Cycling tops – Choose sweat-wicking sports t-shirts that are loose enough to allow your arms and shoulders freedom of movement, but not so baggy that the top is annoyingly flappy when you cycle
- Arms and leg warmers – These are perfect for any trip that takes you up into the mountains
- Cycling jackets
- Bike shoes – Investing in a pair of cycling shoes that clip into pedals will make a massive difference to your pedaling power
- Bike helmet
- Water bottle
- Gloves – This will stop your hands from becoming sore and raw
Hooked on Cycling & Walking: Cycling breaks in England
If you are looking for the best range of cycling holidays suitable for everyone, then look no further than Hooked On Cycling & Walking.
At Hooked On Cycling & Walking, we offer guided and self-guided bike tours in a number of beautiful locations.
For additional information on Suffolk cycling holidays, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our friendly team here today.