The wind in your hair, the world rushing by and the buzz of endorphins as you power yourself along – there’s a fantastic sense of freedom when riding a bike, so it’s no surprise cycling holidays are hugely popular. It’s a great way to see a place properly, as you can go at your own pace and discover hidden gems en route.
If you’re looking for a cycling event to spark your interest in biking holidays, then the UK has plenty. From time trials in the South Downs to family-friendly routes in Cambridge, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best destinations and events for cycling in the UK.
Bike ride destinations in the UK
If the whole family want to join in the fun and take to the saddle, Holiday Lettings has hundreds of spacious rentals to pick from that will suit tots and teenagers alike. Couples looking for a romantic biking break might opt for a picturesque cottage or an apartment close to the action. Whatever you’re looking for, you’re sure to find the perfect rental for you.
The Yorkshire Dales
With its acres of moors, valleys, hills and villages, this scenic national park is perfect cycling territory. If you’re up to the challenge, the Etape du Dales sportive takes place here each May and covers 110 miles, so you might want to start training now! The event starts and finishes in Threshfield, near Grassington, and you’ll find some beautiful rentals nearby where you can relax after a day’s cycling. Bike are available to hire locally from Dales Bike Centre.
Known for its rural villages and local red sandstone buildings, this picturesque county is a pleasure to cycle through. The Evans Cycles Cheshire 100 event takes place here in July and it’s a beautiful route loved by cyclists and spectators alike. The 100km route winds its way through country lanes on the Cheshire Plains, and through Dunham Massey Deer Park and Tatton Park along the way. There’s also a 100-mile route on the edge of the Peak District for riders who want more of a challenge. If you want to hire bikes when you get to your holiday rental, check out Delamere Bike Shop and Hire.
With its craggy landscape, forests, rivers, wetlands and tors, Dartmoor’s winding trails are excellent cycling terrain. If you’re looking for a cycling holiday in July, The Dartmoor Classic Sportive, organised and run by the Mid-Devon Cycling Club, is one of most prestigious open-road cycling events in the UK. There’s so much to see and do in Dartmoor, too; explore Neolithic tombs, Bronze Age stone circles and abandoned medieval farmhouses. Enjoy a meal out in one of the pretty villages or maybe stop in at a deli to cook some local produce back at your private rental. Looking for local bike hire? Check out Devon Cycle Hire.
South Downs, Sussex
Visit the South Downs in October if you want to take part in the Wiggle South Downs 100. Pit your wits against a challenging course spanning Hampshire and Sussex, and if you’re feeling especially energetic, join one the climbs against the clock on closed roads – the next best thing to the Tour de France! The South Downs National Park is stunning in autumn and you’ll find plenty to see and do, from walks in ancient woodland to gazing at the white cliffs of Seven Sisters. Choose a cosy cottage in a picture-perfect village or pick a family-friendly home in a bustling market town. And if you’re in need of bike hire, visit Hassocks Community Cycle Hire located right next to Hassocks train station.
Head to Fort William for a relaxing break in the Scottish Highlands. Known as the gateway to Ben Nevis, this beautiful spot has plenty of independent shops and restaurants, so it’s great if you love pottering around the town. For something more energetic, the 2018 Scottish Downhill Association Series, plus the Scottish Championships run for Scottish Cycling, take place here every September. It’s a thrilling event to take part in, or spectate. If you enjoy skiing, the nearby Nevis Range Mountain Resort has ski runs and forest trails. Reward your efforts with a ‘wee dram’ at the Ben Nevis Distillery. Looking to hire a bike? Choose from an extensive range at Nevis Cycles.
Richmond Park, London
Created by Charles I in the 17th century, Richmond Park in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, is the largest of London’s Royal Parks. It’s also a Special Area of Conservation and a national nature reserve. The London Duathlon takes place in the park every September so if you love cycling and nature, you’re in for a treat! Riders must give way to the 600+ resident deer which, along with the stunning flora and fauna in the park, adds to the charm of this event. You’ll find hundreds of rentals nearby, so there are plenty of places to choose from when it comes to resting your head after a long day of riding. And if you’re looking to rent a bike, visit Totally Richmond to find out more.
Home to the prestigious University of Cambridge, this elegant city on the River Cam is a haven for cyclists. It’s the best way of getting around and you’ll find excellent cycle lanes and places to lock bikes if you want to spend the day sightseeing. Visit the University museums, the Gothic chapel, the cathedral and much, much more. If you fancy a bit of a challenge, The Strawberry 50 community cycling event happens every September and is a fantastic family-friendly cycle ride. Why not book a rental for a week or two to make the most of your stay? Choose a cosy cottage by the river or a spacious townhouse in the centre. Bikes are available for hire from Outspoken! Cycles.
Be prepared – the Eroica Britannia cycle ride is a challenge! But if you’re up to it, it’s one of the most rewarding routes in the UK. With the glorious Peak District National Park as your backdrop, cycling through this stunning part of the world will give you a new lease of life. The event takes place each June and there’s entertainment, food and shopping available, too. Book a stay in one of the historic towns, such as Bakewell, or find a rustic rental overlooking ancient moorland. No need to bring your bike as you can hire them locally from the Bike Garage.
Box Hill, Surrey
Located in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this stunning summit of the North Downs is every cyclist’s dream. It’s also a Site of Special Scientific Interest, noted for its orchids, rare plant species, and over 40 species of butterfly. Hire a bike from Surrey Hills Cycle Hire and enjoy a leisurely ride, stopping at the visitors’ centre en route. Or if you want to raise money for a fantastic cause and test your cycling ability, sign up for the Sigma Sports Box Hill Original Sportive that takes place in October.
Set off for the Brecon Beacons this August to take part in the 2018 Brecon Beacons Devil Sportive. The event offers three stunning cycling routes, passing through the best of the Brecon Beacons National Park and the Radnorshire Hills. From Hay-on-Wye to the Black Mountains and the pretty villages beyond, this ride offers some of the best scenery you can enjoy from a saddle in the UK. When you’re not racking up the miles on a bike, explore peaceful waterfalls, pop into a farmhouse cafe or maybe spend an evening stargazing at your private holiday rental. If you need to hire a bike, try Bikes and Hikes.