Any Brit could tell you that the United Kingdom's countryside is well worth exploring. Pastoral villages, rolling hills, and quaint country roads are great for ramblers and Sunday drivers, but by far the best way to experience the countryside is to get on your bicycle.
We've lined up some of the most famous routes in the UK but before we get onto them, here’s a quick note about safety. If you are inspired to take any of these routes on remember to cycle safely in a helmet and visible clothing. Should the worst happen it's important to make sure you are protected. And that goes beyond protection against physical damage.
This coast to coast route takes in 170 miles of English hills, dales, and forests. Start at Morecambe Bay in red rose country (Lancashire) and finish at Bridlington Bay in York, home to the white roses. Because the route is so long, it's worth splitting the journey across a few days and making a weekend out of it. There are plenty of hotels along the route to stay in, as well as historical buildings to stop in at.
The mostly flat terrain and quiet country tracks make this Ulster based cycle route very popular with beginners and families. Lough Neagh is the biggest lake in the British Isles, and as such offers a lot of unique and stunning views. The trail takes in 25 major interesting sights, including marinas, nature reserves, and areas of archaeological importance.
The Isle of Wight is a great place for a cycling holiday anyway, with an annual cycling festival each September attracting serious velo heads. One of the best routes is the 62 mile 'Round the Island', which takes in the perimeter of the Isle of Wight. The route is well signposted once you arrive, but you can ask for a map from the island's tourist board beforehand if you'd like to plan your journey out before arriving. It's a good way to get a grip on the island's size, and make the most of discovering the sights and sounds.
The trail is all about hills and lochs, so it's no surprise that this short route just outside of Edinburgh has them both in abundance. The route takes in four reservoirs and a couple of hills, with on road and off road tracks, and offers breathtaking views across the city. Sheep sometimes wander out of their fields, so keep an eye out.
Not for the faint hearted, this 250 mile ride from Holyhead to Cardiff covers three mountain ranges. Enjoy the dramatic descents in Snowdonia National Park, and see what wildlife you can spot in the woodland after Machynlleth. The whole route is beautiful, and it's worth taking a week to see it all. If you only have a few hours at the weekend, try a 26-28 mile taster; ask for advice in a local cycle shop.
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