With the new year just ahead of us, we’ve put together this handy guide to the 100 best British cycle routes.
Covering the whole of the UK and with routes listed for different levels of fitness, cycling ability and style of bike you’re sure to find something to whet your cycling appetite and get you out on the road, trail or bridle path amongst this little lot.
Ranging from short leisure rides suitable for all the family to more demanding road routes aimed at the wannabe Wiggins all the way through to the best mountain bike spots for trail tearaways we’ve done the research, plotted the routes and measured the distances so you don’t have to. All you need to do is saddle up and get out there!
Packing spare inner tubes, hand pump, a multi-tool and a waterproof jacket into a backpack or your panniers would also be a good idea. Take our word for it, packing the wrong type of inner tube into our bag before riding around the coast of the Isle Of Wight did inevitably come back to haunt us.
Drumlanrig Castle, Dumfries and Galloway
This was home to the blacksmith who invented the pedal bicycle in 1840. The castle of Drumlanrig is therefore a must for cycle buffs with over 70 bikes on show, and there are many exhilarating kilometres of cycle tracks and off road mountain bike trails, each varying in gradient to suit all levels of ability.
Kinross and Loch Leven, Perthshire
A circular route around Loch Leven provides relatively easy riding for Scotland taking in a selection of farming hamlets and villages. If you start at Kinross, it is just a short distance off the M90 with a decent car park and you can take in refreshments at the end of your journey at the spectacular Kinross House.
This place is great for cross-country and you can choose from a selection of trails to suit every ability and interest from gnarly ‘old school’ technical singletrack routes, to swooping family trails through the beautiful Drumlanrig woodlands. There are 8 routes from green to black graded.
Clyde and Loch Lomond
An gentle route starts close to the Glasgow Science Centre and heads west along the River Clyde. Mainly traffic free, the route covers part disused railway and canals to meet the Firth of Clyde where a marina is being developed. Loch Lomond provides your backdrop at the end as one of the largest freshwater lakes in Britain.
Lochaber, Fort William
This area has a great choice of cross country trails, suitable for all abilities. From flat forest tracks providing great views and gentle exercise for beginners, to all day epics through remote highland glens.
Oban to Campbeltown, Argyll
This is as remote as Britain gets. Cycling from Oban to Campbeltown you pass ancient abbeys, castles and stone circles. Its worth adding an extra day for the tough 32-mile round-trip to Mull of Kintyre and its views of the Antrim coast in Northern Ireland. Start in Oban and finish in Campbeltown.
Hamsterley Forest, Co Durham
2000 hectares of mixed woodland lying between the Wear and Tees valleys on the edge of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Hamsterley is an oasis of broadleaved and coniferous woodland, sprawling along the sides of a sheltered valley that provides a range of cycling from family friendly blue routes to technically challenging blacks.
North City and Centre, Edinburgh
Leave from Granton Square next to the Forth, where you can head south to Murryfield Stadium. After this you can follow the Leith back into the centre, going through Parks and past the Royal Botanic Centre before reaching Leith Harbour where you can visit the Royal Yacht Brittania.
Glentress and Inrelathen, Tweed Valley
Glentress is possibly the best biking centre in Britain, with brilliant trails of all grades, a top-notch cafe, a bike shop with bike hire, changing and showering facilities, and a great atmosphere. Innerleithen, situated just a few miles south east of Glentress, is quite different from its better-known sister - away from the hustle and bustle, it’s a venue for the more experienced rider.
Cairngorms, Scottish Highlands
Britain’s biggest National Park, which includes the largest area of sub-arctic mountain landscape in the UK. Be warned, it is a paradise for experienced mountain bikers and to add to the spirit of adventure, trails are rarely waymarked.
Howe of the Mearns, Aberdeenshire
This figure of eight route can be broken in two to halve the journey. You will tour the foot of the Grampian Highlands from Fettercairn to Auchenblea and then all the way south to Edzell before the last push back to Fettercairn. It takes in some glorious scenery and impressive stone architecture with just 2 miles being off-road.
The Coast to Coast, Whitehaven to Sunderland
This is a grawling traverse of England at its narrowest point, through amasing upland scenery including the Lake District and the Durham Dales and is Britain’s most popular long-distance cycle route, tackled by some 15,000 cyclists every year. Start at Whitehaven lighthouse and finish at Sunderland lighthouse.
Wast Water, Cumbria
This is a loop from Wast Water to Santon Bridge via Gosforth and many say it offers the finest view in the Lake District. The hills will make it more of a challenge for those lacking on the fitness front but the loop can be reduced if needed.
Blanchland and Slaley Forest, Northumberland
This tour takes you through Hadrians country in a loop. About 4.5 miles of this route are off-road, which takes in views of Hadrians Wall to the north and Teesdale mining country to the south. Start in Blanchard where there is a car park and head north to Derwent Revevoir and onto Slaley before dropping back south through Slaley Forest.
Try this loop for a mix of on and off road, easy and scenic cycling. The off road is mainly around the river banks of Durham, so is fairly traffic free. A few hills will tax the thighs, but overall an excellent weekend ride.
Kielder Forest, Northumberland
Home to the UK’s largest population of Red Squirels, these 250 square miles of woodland provide a blend of some of our best cycling routes. If you want a long leisurely blue route or a highly technical black route or the challenge of a cross boarder trek, it’s all here.
The Pennine Cycleway, Northern section
The Pennine Cycleway is England’s longest ‘challenge’ cycle route. It runs from Derby to Berwick-upon-Tweed, through remote countryside in the National Parks of the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales and Northumberland. Complete all 355 miles or just go with this Northern section from Appleby to Berwick.
Buttermere & Crummock Water, Cumbria
This route is undulating and combines the beauty and exhilaration of the climb through the Newlands Valley and pass with a visit to Buttermere village. The return is through Whinlatter Forest Park and uses part of the
Dark Peak, Derbyshire
This is a classic Peak that’s rewarding and tough. It requires the thighs of Jeff Capes and a level of determination shown by Beckham’s Old Trafford performance against Greece. The views and descents to Ladybower reservoir well and truly make up for it.
Grizedale North Face Trail, Cumbria
A trail some adrenalin-pumping singletrack and features that ridersboth love and dread – berms, jumps, boardwalks, all within the spectacular of an oak and conifer woodland. The trail consists of 9 sections of singletrack.
The Medlock Valley & City Centre, Manchester
This valley encompasses a number of well known neighbourhoods and landmarks commencing with a leafy suburb earmarked for new high quality housing. The route then follows on to Holt Town where the River Medlock acts as a tranquil backdrop.
Further east you pass the world-class facilities of Sportcity, home to both the National Cycling Centre and Manchester City Football Club, following on to the open pastures of Philips Park, one of the oldest Municipal Parks in the world.
Bowland Fells and Ribble (Northern Loop), Lancashire
This loop explores the remote Bowland Fells, the rich Fylde Plain and the lush valleys of the Lune and Ribble. Highlights include the Cross o’ Greet pass, at 1400, stunning views of the Pennine Hills, and the beautiful Hodder Valley.
The quiet country lanes of the Fylde Peninsula offer you a respite from steep gradients of the Forest of Bowland. There are outstanding views across Morecambe Bay to the Lake District Hills.
Isle of Man
Famous for motorbikes, but pedal power is a far better way to appreciate the island. There are 6 well laid out routes, each providing a loop. The longest route starts in Ramsey, which has a good shopping area and pleasant harbour and covers the Northern Plain, which is a flat expanse of land much in contrast to the rest of the island.
Delamere Forest, Cheshire
If all you want to do is rip up some forest tracks, Delamere forest does the job. There are two courses, both suitable for younger riders.
Castle Howard, North Yorkshire
Castle Howard was the setting for period drama Brideshead Revisited. Set off from the Saxon village of Terrington and take in the fantastic Yorkshire countryside with refreshments to be had at the castle. It’s a relatively gentle trip and suitable for cyclists of most abilities.
Ellesmere Port Loop, Chester
With Canals, Locks, Rivers, Lanes, hills, bridges and bridleways, this route supplies a great blend of modern day cycling surfaces. Both on and off-road you will enjoy the views and benefit from the facilities in both Chester and Ellesmere Port.
Whinlatter Forest Park, Keswick
This is the longest purpose-built trail in the Lake District. Ideal for riders new to the “north shore" scene there are two trails - a red grade and a blue. The venue also provides one of the highest mountain forests in the UK along with some decent refreshment facilities.
The Solar System (York to Selby)
If you every wanted a little more of a novelty ride, here is your chance. This route follows a model of the galaxy, where the sun is eight feet in diameter and suspended above the track which follows part of the old East Coast main-line railway to form one of the first Sustrans routes completed in 1987.
The Grand Old City of York
York is regarded as one of the country’s premier cycling cities and has an extensive network of off-road cycle paths and on-road cycle lanes. There is a selection here, but try ‘Leasure Ride 2’ which will take you on a circular ride from the Millennium Bridge to Heslington Common via the golf course and the University campus.
Dalby Forest, North Yorkshire
Dalby Forest offers some amazing riding .There’s plenty to satisfy everyone from those who want an 80 mile jaunt to the coast, to a family loop of a couple of mile. Green, blue, red and black grading give you an idea why the Mountain Bike World Cup is staged here.
Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire
This is a great spot for everything from a traffic free family expedition to some more risky down hilling on some well crafted trails. The signposted family routes follow purpose-built paths and railway lines dotted with plenty of picnic sites to stop at along the way and there are plenty of opportunities for the more serious mountain biker to get off the trails.
Howardian Hills Tour, Yorkshire
This gentle ride, with a choice of on- or off-road routes, takes you through the rich countryside around Castle Howard. The undulating roads pass castles and stately homes, visit pretty villages and woodland with panoramic views of the North York Moors and Rydale on offer.
Middleton-in-Teesdale, Barnard Castle
This provides the more determined family with some rides on the north Pennines that take in some of Britain’s finest landscapes – remember the routes here are steep and long.
The Pennine Cycleway – Central section
The Pennine Cycleway is England’s longest ‘challenge’ cycle route. It runs from Derby to Berwick-upon-Tweed, through remote countryside in the National Parks of the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales and Northumberland. Complete all 355 miles or just go with this Central section from Holmfirth to Appleby.
White Rose Classic, Yorkshire
This is an event but can also be tackled independently with a start in Hawes and a tour around the Yorkshire Dales National Park. There are 3 route distances to choose from, but we suggest the shortest to break yourself in. There are significant climbs on this route are the Climb out of Dent into Kingsdale, a nice pull up out of Stainforth to reach Malham Tarn just to warm up for Park Rash. Our option finishes at Fleet Moss.
Romantic Road, Gloucestershire
The Cotswolds are magnificent for road cycling with it’s gentle hills, winding country lanes and honey-stone hamlets. The Romantic Road is a tour that traces the tales of the many artists and writers who have drawn inspiration from these hallowed hills starting from Cheltenham, it meanders through a loop of beautiful villages.
Canals of Brum, Birmingham
With more miles of Canals than Venice, its a great way to explore the city away from traffic. You can meander through the old industrial heartland and refresh yourself with a stop for some local ale in a cool new bar.
Chocolate Tour, Birmingham
It should be easy to persuade everyone on this trip around a veritable Wonker wonderland. The trail starts in Birmingham and meanders along the Rea Valley to Yorkshire, Humberside Midlands.
Hanson Way, Oxfordshire
Oxford is natural cycling territory, with cyclists as ubiquitous as the spires. An easy route is to follow the river south to Abingdon and Didcot, where you can catch the train back to Oxford, or do it in reverse. Most of the route is traffic free on riverside tracks and purpose built paths.
The Pennine Cycleway– Southern section
The Pennine Cycleway is England’s longest ‘challenge’ cycle route. It runs from Derby to Berwick-upon-Tweed, through remote countryside in the National Parks of the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales and Northumberland. Complete all 355 miles or just go with the Southern section of Derby to Holmfirth.
Tissington Trail, Peak District
The Tissington Trail runs from Ashbourne to Parsley Hay. At this point it joins up with the High Peak Trail, which runs from High Peak Junction to Dowlow near to Buxton and you can significantly extend your ride by taking this in too. Surrounded by beautiful countryside the traffic-free trail is ideal for cyclists of all standards.
A Stage of the Tour of Britain, Stoke on Trent
You don’t have to be a pro cyclist to ride this as you can opt for a shorter stage and also attempt it independently. The full 100 mile route celebrates the centenary year of Stoke-on-Trent as a city and now ventures further in to the Peak District to give some truly demanding race conditions midway through the stage, before the battle on Gun Hill. We recommend the half route.
Sherwood Pines, Nottinghamshire
Sherwood Pines Forest Park is 3300 acres and the largest single tract of forest open to the public in the East Midlands. The cycling facilities will satisfy everyone from family cyclist to experienced off road riders.
The Water Railway, Lincolnshire
The Water Railway links Lincoln to Kirkstead Bridge towards The Wash. The treat for cyclists is the benefit of the vast flatlands with the fens and hugely expansive skies and a mix of art installations to take in.
Hinckley and Bosworth Field, Leicestershire
The Ashby Canal forms a large part of this ride, passing the Battle of Bosworth site and the accompanying steam railway. Be aware that you need a permit for the towpath from British Waterways Board (01923 226422). Starting in Hinckley and heading north along the river to Shakerstone station, this journey can be broken in two with the first 13 miles all off-road.
Rutland Water, Leicestershire
This relatively gentle circuit around the reservoir takes in some pretty villages and a Michelin starred hotel, but the real view of note is the half submerged church that stands within 50ft of the shore - the planners decided to leave it when they flooded the area. 95% of this route is off road.
Cannock Chase, Staffordshire
A mix of terrain to keep everyone happy, whether hardcore downhill riders or families looking for an afternoon freewheel. There is even some open heathland and forest for cross-country riders with two trails. This route is short but a great opportunity to take a view of the coast. The route provides a journey of great variety – including wooded valleys, surf battered beaches, tunnels and cliffs – to provide a family friendly trip on the mainly traffic free trail.
Ely Trail, Cardif
Try this route through a variety of landscapes from the mouth of the river, to the rural and parkland landscapes around St Fagans. Start of the trail is on Dunleavy Drive adjacent to Grangemoor Park to get your fix on the city centre and finish in the village of St. Fagans on Castle Hill.
The Brecon Beacons
The SAS carry out their selection process in these mountains and our sister magazine Dirt Mountainbiking tests it’s hardwear there too – so in case you aren’t sure, it’s tough. Having said that, there are softer facilities for families who want to give it a go. The descents are great and the scenery a complete wonder on a clear day. There are 16 routes across the area.
Rhayader Round, Powys
Cwm Rhayader, valley of the waterfall, is one of the wildest MTB spots in the UK’s preeminent MTB country. Rhayader has two of the best downhills in Wales. This route takes in both and thank the gods, it doesn’t include the loop South of Rhayader with the river crossings and vertical climb.
Lon Eifion, Gwynedd
The Lon Eifion trail in North Wales sweeps around the western edge of the main mountains of Snowdonia with good views of the Nantlle ridge and, near Penygroes, you get a more distant glimpse of Snowdon. Heading south there is a fine view of the Lleyn mountains dramatically descending to the sea. The route has an excellent hard surface all the way.
Coed y Brenin, Snowdonia
Some say this Wales’s premier bike park, as the forest was developed around it being a MTB venue. It has six hard-core circuits it also offers the Yr Afon trail which is a mellow ride. Be sure to take in the breathtaking scenery, with views across to Cadair Idris, glaciated valleys, wild untamed rivers, an expanse of forest and all in the heart of Snowdonia National Park.
This is a tough mid Wales route. You will follow some wild and beautiful terrain, leaving the Arenig Mountains, before dropping through the Coed-y-Brenin Forest following the Mawddach valley to sea level at Dolgellau. Plenty of long climbs, but only one long and severe one as you leave Dolgellau. Though much of the ride is on remote, unclassified roads, there is a section on the A494 and a fairly brief one on the A470.
Millennium Coastal Park, Llanelli
One of the finest stretches of the entire National Cycle Network, according to Sustrans. This newly opened South Wales route, part of the Celtic Trail, is the fruit of a project to turn some industrial wasteland in to green parkland, and quite simply provides a stunning trip out on two wheels.
Norfolk Broads circular, Norfolk
Flat route around the Broads and waterways of Norfolk, taking using quiet lanes and tracks and passing through picturesque villages and hamlets. Very short detours off the circular route at Barton Turf and Irstead gives great views of Barton Broad and the staithes (the moorings for pleasure craft).
Afan Forest, Swansea
Between Swansea and Cardiff and just minutes from the M4, this is one of the most accessible Welsh bike centres yet with an uplift service for those a little too puffed out to ride to the top again. With a total of over 60 miles of trails, it has good downhill and cross country for all levels of riders.
Strumble Head, Pembrokeshire
Using quiet country lanes and trails, this route takes you past sites of historic and prehistoric interest. Tall hedges mixed with wild flowers are mixed with extensive views for which the area is noted. Parts can be muddy with some difficult climbs.
Coed Llandegla, Wrexham
The newly opened park has everything – a scenic location to a range of 4 trails graded green, blue red and black.
Blickling Hall, Norfolk
Bickling Hall and it’s Jacobean architecture provides a good starting point for this tour along the Marriott Way. The route is part of National Cycle Route 1 and runs along a disused rail line which is mostly flat and follows a variety of tracks and country lanes and passes the market town of Aylsham.
Thetford to Wells Next The Sea - Norfolk
The great thing about going north of Thetford is that it is mainly flat until you reach the North Sea. This is part of National Cycling Route 13. If you have the energy to add a couple of miles on at the end of the trip, you could visit the Seal colonies of Blakeney to the east.
Aston Hill, Tring
An hour north of London and not a mountain in site, this terrain is for serious riders of some of the fiercest downhill in the south-east, but it has cross country too if you fancy giving that a go.
Meadows and Colleges, Cambridge
Set off from Granchester and take the route through the meadows into town, passing punts and the haunts of famous poets you arrive in Newnham where you cross the park to the Mill Pond.
From here you can tour the colleges through the city centre before taking a rest on Midsummer Common. Make your way through the old kite area of the city, and Fenners cricket field before heading back to Newnham and Granchester.
Flitch Way, Essex
Easy to ride trail along disused rail lines rich in countryside from Braintree to Great Dunmow. The route passes a 19th Century industrial centre. Victorian stations and plenty of wildlife. A traffic free route also means it’s suitable for everyone.
Constable Country, Essex
With Manningtree station just 2 miles away, it provides easy access to the start of this route in East Bergholt, which follows pretty Suffolk villages west to Polstead and then returns via Higham to finish with the wonderful setting of the Hay Waine – Flatford Mill. Most of this route is on country lanes.
Thetford Forest, Suffolk
Englands largest forest provides some excellent trail loops. Blue runs to black runs provide enough variety to satisfy most. The sandy soil makes for a forgiving surface, whilst there are opportunities to call in for refreshments after each trail as it takes you back to High Lodge.
Heath and Marsh, East Suffolk
This is a great way to take in what is known as the sunrise coast. Starting in Southwold you cross the barron heathland and river estuaries, pass the ancient town of Dunwich which has mainly washed out to sea and take in the Minsmere nature reserve. This is flatland with opportunities for good pub refreshments on route.
Tamsin Trail, Richmond
This is a cycle path around the inside perimeter of Richmond Park which takes between mins and an hour. The route is also a footpath and it is worth noting that the off-road is reserved for wildlife. Plenty of Royal Deerto observe.
River Lee, Hackney and Bow
You can escape the confines of the city quickly via this wonderful cycle route. Get onto the tow path in Bow or Hackney and pass some of London great industrial heritage until you arrive in the meadows of Broxbourn.
A flat, 100% traffic free journey lends itself to taking a train back to Liverpool St or letting your legs take the strain.
Sunday in the City, City of London
The weekend is a good quiet time to take in the sights of the City and ride this loop. By starting at Blackfriars you can head east to the Bank of England, before heading for the Tower of London and St Kathryn’s Dock.
Heading north via Whitechapel you will get to see the huge diversity of wealth between E and EC postcodes, before reaching Liverpool St and heading west to Smithfield.
London to Brighton
Cycling out of the capital, rather than driving, gives you a strong sense of transition from urban to suburban to country to sea. You start in Clapham Common and finish on Brighton seafront, with the finale being complemented by a one-mile push up Ditchling Beacon.
Palaces, Parks and Politics, Westminster
A chance to take in some of Britain’s history, whilst getting into the green open spaces of central London. Starting at Baker St and using National Cycle routes 50 and 39 you will pass around Regents Pk, before heading to Hyde Park to take in some views of Kensington Palace.
This is then followed by the Serpentine Lake and Buck House. Green Park, takes in the Treasury, Foreign Office, Cabinet Office, MOD and Horse Guards Parade, prior to meandering back to Baker St via the West End.
Surrey 4 Hills, Richmond
As this suggests you get some decent hillclimbs after setting off on this loop from Richmond Park. Take in Bushey, Cobham and Oakham Common before heading east to the infamous Box Hill to test your thighs before heading north back to London via Epsom and Chessington.
Epping Forest, London
Mountainbiking within the M25? Yes, and it’s not all that easy. Start at the Conservation Centre in High Beach and take a loop around the forest heading towards Chingford first prior to completing the northerly peddle up the eastern side of the forest towards Epping. The route is a mix of mud and made up tracks that can be tough in winter.
London to Cambridge
Pick up the route just outside the M25 in Cheshunt by taking the A1170 to Ware before joining the B158 to Standon. As you head north from here the hills start to kick in, but after a further 10 miles you have conquered the undulating stage and drop down to the Cambridgeshire flatlands in Fowlemere for the home run. A train will get you back to London in under an hour.
The Camel Trail. Cornwall
All off-road but part tarmac, this easy trail winds through some of Cornwall’s most beautiful and littleknown countryside. You will travel along disused railway beside the River Camel from track bed to trail, linking the towns of Bodmin, Wadebridge and Padstow and could always pop into to see Rich Steine at the end of your journey
St Austel to Bude - Coast to Coast, Cornwall
Part National Route 3 and known as the Cornish Way. Starting at St. Austell, you will pass the Eden Project and Bodmin before heading north where the route passes Camelford and the edge of Bodmin Moor on the way to Bude. It’s a beautiful journey that literally cuts the peninsula in two, and whilst it’s a challenge, you will be heavily rewarded by the experience.
Haldon Forest, Devon
With wonderful views on offer over Exeter, Haldon forest is home to a network of flat trails for all the family (and also provides paths for more extreme mountain biking).
If you get yourself to Mamhead Obelisk you will experience some of the best views over the Exe. There are two family orientated trails and one technical trail that offers some serious challenges with some hand built jumps and obstacles.
The Quantocks, Somerset
Sweeter than honey, these hills offer a stunning range of mountain biking terrain from steep and narrow descents to rolling hillsides with amazing views across Exmoor. The route takes you across mainly unbroken countryside in a loop through woodlands and across moors.
The Marlborough Downs, Wiltshire
Despite not being many mountains in Wiltshire, there are plenty of ancient bridle ways weaving across the chalk hills, making it fantastic mountain bike territory. By starting and finishing at Coate Water Country Park near Swindon, you can choose from a 50km or 100 km route.
Bristol and Bath, Avon
Try two cities in one trail by taking a tour of the streets at either end and then setting off on this route along a disused railway. You can opt to explore the ancient splendour of Bath or the more diverse culture of Bristol, or perhaps choose both.
Bath to Bradford-on-Avon
Canals are often heaven for family cyclists and the Kennet and Avon is no exception, passing wonderful rolling landscapes punctuated with beautiful Georgian buildings typical of the region.
The eight mile trail can get busy and you should also pay attention to avoid the swans at Bathampton, for fear of Her Maj placing an arrest warrant on you.
This is a beautiful route that takes in the majestic Lacock Abbey. This protected village featured in two Harry Potter movies and the trail links the towns of Melksham and Chippenham. The route passes Britain’s first millennium bridge and the ancient Cherhill White Horse and Avebury stone circle.
The Tarka Trail, Devon
Aim to cover the stretch between Braunton and Meeth, using the old railways of North Devon. You pass through largely unspoilt countryside as it was described by Henry Williamson in his classic novel ‘Tarka the Otter’ first published in 1927. This is one of the best traffic free cycle routes in the UK, so well worth a day out.
Isle of Purbeck, Dorset
A circular route that you can start in Worth Matravers, with 4.5 miles off-road. You will head west to Kimmeridge taking in fantastic coastal views before heading north through the hills to Corfe where you will not only find a castle but a steam train too.
You can then head back across country via Langton Matravers to get some well earned refreshment at the Square & Compass in Worth.
Coastal Tour, Isle of Wight
The island has long been a favourite for seaside holidays. Tastes have changed it has re-invented itself as an adventure destination, spearheaded by its annual White Air extreme sports festival.
The cycling possibilities are plentiful, with a 200-mile network of undulating cycle-ways. A classic is the Coastal Tour loop. Start/finish: Any of the ferry ports (Yarmouth, Cowes or Ryde).
Hamsey and Barcombe Mills, East Sussex
This route has the added spice of wartime defences, Roman ruins and a steam railway at Isfield. If you are feeling like fulfilling some childhood ambitions, you can even go and pull some levers in the signal-box and try pulling the levers. This loop starts and finishes in Barcombe, near Lewes.
Queen Elizabeth Country Park, Hants
This is ideal for new riders wanting to get a taste of single-track forest trails. The terrain is fast and hilly but not too technical.
The Cuckoo Trail, East Sussex
According to yocals, the first cuckoo of spring was heard at Heathfield Fair. The trail is part of the National Cycle Network, following disused rail routes through Hailsham woodland and passes Michelham Priory, home to England’s longest medieval moat. Through this mainly traffic free journey, you will discover wild flowers and plenty of picnic points.
The South Downs, East & West Sussex
This Winchester to Brighton route called South Downs Way is a major three-day ride. Plenty of good hostelries on the route exist with fine ales.
Brighton Seafront to Hove
You may be best to avoid the annual naked bike ride as it will demand you stick to a designated route. We suggest starting at the new marina, taking in the sights of the nudist beach, before pottering through the Lanes and then on to Hove, viewing the mix of Victorian and Regency grandeur to your right and the beauty of nature to your left.
This place has all you need for a muddy day out – showers, a hire centre and refreshments. You can choose between family-friendly trails and a hard-core ‘freeride’ course with jumps and North Shore to spice things up.
Crab and Winkle Way, Kent
From Canterbury West to Whitstable, this is mostly traffic free and passes through Blean Woods, one of the largest areas of ancient broadleaved woodland in southern Britain. Have a picnic at Winding Pond or save yourself for the delights of Whitstable Oyster Fishery Restaurant on the seafront.
Bewl Water and High Weald, Kent
A great route to take in views across the reservoir, hop fields and the Lamberhurst Vineyards. Start at the Bewl Water car park and head north/west to Hook Green. There are plenty of pubs, Bayham Abbey ruins and a castle on the route which takes in 5 miles of off-road.
The Hell of the Ashdowns, Kent/Sussex
Its not all pain and suffering. There will be pleasure, as you wend your way through the finest scenery that the North Downs, Weald of Kent, and Surrey & Sussex High Weald has to offer.
The route takes in some stunning byways, and will introduce you to picturesque country lanes that you never knew existed. Start in Knockholt Pound village and follows quiet lanes southwards through Sundrige, Brasted and up Toys Hill and on to the beautiful Hever Castle. You’ll also take in Ashdown Forest home of the legendary Pooh Bridge.
Lisburn to Jordanstown, via Belfast
This trail is traffic free with relatively flat and pleasing scenery. The Lagan and Lough cycle way is ideal for all family bikes and you can vary your distance by linking a return with one of the railway stations on the route.
The Lagan to the City Centre, Belfast
Set off from Whiteabbey and follow the River Lagan into the city where you pass used and disused docking facilities to end up in the vibrant centre where you can cross the river back and forth by bridge and take in Ormeau Park and the Botanic Gardens before returning on yourself.
The Coast Road, Antrim
A rural winding road that hugs the coastline. Sea views are on one side and rugged steep hillsides are on the other. The route follows the Causeway Coastal Route so traffic is heavy during summer and holiday periods and whilst there are plenty of options for refreshments, some have gaps of up to 11 miles between them.
Castle Archdale, Fermanagh
This route weaves its way through 230 acres of mature forest situated on the shores of Lower Lough Erne, and enables the cyclist to explore over 1000 years of history. The relatively gentle route is flagged as a family venue.
Lagan and Lough Cycle Way
The Lagan and Lough Cycle Way is a traffic-free ride connecting Lisburn, the Lagan Valley, Belfast (with links to the city centre) and Jordanstown. It is mostly level and is suitable for novice and family cyclists of all ages and abilities.