Our UK Cycle Route Planner

Written by Bethany McAtee on 4th January, 2020

Why Cycle in the UK?

Why not? Step outside your door and no more than 30 minutes drive away there will be areas perfect for cycling. You may even be lucky enough to live in amongst quiet country lanes, dense forests or woodland. Whilst most of the UK can be deemed cycleable, there are some routes that trump others. 

So, what makes a good cycle route, good? Lack of traffic is a start. Then, there’s epic scenery, such as mountains, lakes and beautiful countryside. For the road cyclists out there, a challenging climb en roue is practically mandatory. Therefore as one of the leading cycling holiday travel agents, we’ve put together a UK Cycle Route Planner. Read on to explore where the UK’s best cycling routes are and why they should be on your bucket list.

Yorkshire

Not only does Yorkshire provide the best tea in the UK, it is also home to some truly epic cycle routes. Although, we highly recommend combining the two at cafes along the way! The Yorkshire Dales National Park is possibly the best area to base yourself, due to being better connected. Routes such as the Yorkshire Dales Cycleway, Pennine Cycleway and Way of the Roses all travel through the Yorkshire Dales. However, the Yorkshire Wolds Cycle route is further East, near York and Hull. Yet regardless of which part of Yorkshire you decide to stay at, you definitely won’t be in want for routes. 

Dotted about Yorkshire are the Tour de Yorkshire stage routes, which are certainly just as good as the named cycleways. Those up for the challenge can even tackle the 4 Tour de Yorkshire 2020 stages before the pros do. All are above 100km, with a couple nearing 200km, so not for the faint of heart! What makes cycling in Yorkshire special though, is the cozy, hospitable villages you’ll meet regularly. Stop for a hearty pub lunch with the friendly locals, or a quick coffee at a cute stone built cafe.

a road cyclist in the yorkshire dales between hills at sunset

Lake District

It’s hard not to be blown away by the luscious green landscapes of the Lake District. Sprawling hills roll into deep valleys, to which quiet roads meander. Whether you’re a hardcore road cyclist or a parent with children, the Lake District offers a great British escape. Especially iconic is Lake Windermere, which is an 18km long nature paradise with castles, breathtaking scenery, and a Beatrix Potter museum. Even though a route around the whole lake is more suited to mountain and hybrid bikes, road cyclists should still venture as close to the banks as possible.

When most road cyclists talk of the Lake District, Hardknott Pass often makes an appearance. Whilst the UK doesn’t have a mighty Mont Ventoux or a Sa Calobra, we do have a fair few hardy climbs. What we lack in length can definitely be made up in gradient. Hardknott Pass is a 2.25km Roman hand-me-down  built in the 2nd century with eyes watering 25-30% gradients throughout. A lot of cyclists combine Hardknott Pass with other short, punchy passes such as Kirkstone, Honister and Wrynose. Cycling all these routes will take you on a fantastic route in the heart of the Lake District. You’ll even zip past the wild west coast.

a road cyclist climbing hardknott pass in the lake district

Scottish Highlands

If you’re looking for wild then look no further than Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Here, the Scottish Highlands offer unique experiences exploring mountains and Lochs. Take in a long breath of fresh air as you face the mysterious waters of Loch Lomond, bike in hand. Whilst all routes in our UK Cycle Route Planner allow you to escape into nature, the Scottish Highlands are otherworldly. In a conversation with Graeme Obree, he told us that in fact, he didn’t use route maps or time himself in the Scottish Highlands. Being his favourite area to cycle in, Obree talked of letting himself go and riding wherever the road takes him.

However, we’ll provide a glimmer into the rural roads surrounding Loch Lomond for those who’ve not ventured into its wilderness. In particular, the harder loop around the Loch is popular for road cyclists and totals at nearly 100km. Starting by the 5* Cameron House Hotel (where we recommend staying!) you will first skirt away from Loch Lomond. Then, discover Gare Loch and Loch Long before heading back toward Loch Lomond and taking the ferry across it from Inverbeg. Now you’ll be cycling right on the waters of Loch Lomond, where incredible reflections of surrounding mountains are truly mesmerising.

road cyclists on a road with ben lomond in the background, near lake lomond in the scottish highlands

Inspired by our UK Cycle Route Planner? Give us a call on 02071571519 and we can organise your holiday of a lifetime around the corner in the UK. Use our handcrafted GPX experiences with routes, descriptions and tips to discover the UK’s wild side.