NOTE! This site uses cookies and similar technologies. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies from this website.
I understand
More Info

If you fancy getting on your bike for a two-wheeled getaway, the UK is blessed with some wonderfully scenic cycle routes, many part of the Sustrans network. Here are ten of the best long-distance rides

1914 hadrians wall trail cumbria credit andrew heptinstall courtesy golakes co uk smaller


Distance: 240 miles
Time: 6-8 days
If you’ve got the stamina, this is a brilliant way to experience the varied landscapes of the West country. Starting at Padstow Harbour you take the Camel Trail – itself one of the most popular leisure cycle routes in the UK – towards the atmospheric open spaces of Bodmin Moor. Then it’s on to the undulations of Exmoor from where the route flattens out across the Somerset Levels, towards Glastonbury before a last climb through the Mendips and finish at either Bristol or Bath.


Distance: 140 miles
Time: 5 days
The UK’s most popular route for cycle charity challenge events, this is also one of the most stunning. Usually ridden from West to East, from Whitehaven or Workington on the Irish Sea to Newcastle or Sunderland on the North Sea, the route passes through the northern Lake District before climbing the Pennines, ‘the roof of England’, and then descending to the railway paths of County Durham.


Distance: 143 miles
Time: 5 days
With its sunset views and quiet roads, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is ideal cycling territory and the National Route 4 variation of this route from Llanelli treats you to a coastal tour, concluding at Fishguard. Note: the hills are steep and relentless!


Distance: 62 miles
Time: 1-3 days
A beautiful route through some of the Isle of Wight’s best scenery, mainly using quieter lanes, signed with a white bike clockwise, and a blue bike anti-clockwise. It’s a moderately hilly route that can either be completed in a day, or at a more leisurely pace over 2 to 3 days.


Distance: 100 miles
Time: 2 days
In its entirety, the South Downs Way is a weekend-long ride (or one long day in the saddle, if you’re really keen) from Winchester in Hampshire to Eastbourne, Sussex, on wide tracks and bridleways. It’s not technically challenging but the hills keep on coming and if the weather’s wet, the chalk can get slippery.


Distance: 200 miles
Time: 3-5 days
This route from Northeast England into Scotland, offers two options for pedalling north from Newcastle to Edinburgh – along the coast or turning inland. Take the former, and throw in a stop at Alnmouth and some Craster kippers for breakfast. After crossing the Scottish border, move into the Tweed Valley, a Mecca for mountain bikers, and ultimately spectacular views of Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth.


Distance: 174 miles
Time: 6 days
The cycleway stretches the length of Hadrian’s Wall in the North of England, taking in breathtaking coastal views, rolling countryside, Roman forts, quaint villages and attractive market towns. This really is a get-away-from-it-all route, enabling you to enjoy the freedom of cycling through some of England’s most dramatic and wild countryside. It can be taken on in either direction, though it is normally cycled west to east, and it runs mainly on country lanes and quiet roads. The coastal sections at either end are relatively flat, but there are a few testing climbs in the middle.


Distance: 99 miles
Time: 3 days
This popular route leads an escape from the city of London, following the Thames out into the countryside, passing through parks at Richmond and Hampton Court, the latter along the riverside path. It takes in Windsor & Eton, traffic-free paths through the centres of Maidenhead and Reading, where Route 4 carries on west and Route 5 turns north. The Chiltern Hills mark the most challenging section of the route, which heads into Oxford via the historic towns of Wallingford and Abingdon.


Distance: 308 miles
Time: 7-14 days
Such is the challenge of the Pennine Cycleway that the most seasoned of cycle tourers split it into two, north and south. The northern network covers such magical routes as Appleby to Berwick (150 miles) on quiet roads through breathtaking scenery. Arguably a tougher proposition than its northern stretch, especially if you have a headwind, the southern section from Holmfirth to Appleby heads up and over the moors, via market towns and old mills.


Distance: 214 miles
Time: 8-10 days
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 contains 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. The Drumochter Pass is one of the highlights of the whole network. The route then descends into Perthshire and Stirling, before passing through Queen Elizabeth Forest Park and onto traffic-free paths into Glasgow.

Share on