Pedal Power: The two-wheeled guide to a UK adventure

The two-wheeled guide to a UK adventure

Cycling is enjoying a resurgence. As energy prices rise and climate concerns grow, many are shunning four wheels for two as they embrace the benefits pedal power has to offer. As well as a fun way to meet your fitness goals, cycling provides a cost-effective and flexible way to explore the richness and diversity on our doorstep.

Despite being no larger than the US state of Oregon, the British Isles offers everything from rugged coastlines and rolling hills to vibrant cities steeped in history and picture-perfect villages. With this in mind, it’s time to don our Lycra, pump up our tyres, and set off for all that a cycling holiday in the UK has to offer.

Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash

Coastal Getaways

Think seaside escapes in the UK and you would be forgiven if images of rainy summer days in tired seaside towns come to mind. Think again! For the uninitiated, the UK’s coastline has so much more to offer, rivalling that of any European getaway. Okay, so maybe the weather can be hit and miss, but the natural unspoiled beauty of some of our coastlines more than makes up for it.

The most obvious stop on a coastal tour of the UK must be Cornwall, which enjoys both the mildest and sunniest climate of the UK. Its blend of rugged cliffs, pristine sandy beaches, hidden coves, and picturesque fishing villages makes it a holiday favourite, as well as boasting some of the best restaurants in the UK. 

The neighbouring county of Devon sees the start of the famous Jurassic Coast, a 95-mile long stretch spanning 30 miles of Devon’s coastline and most of Dorset’s. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and recognised for its outstanding rock, fossil and landforms.

Dorset Jurassic Coast, UK

Further north, the rugged coastline of Northumberland, peppered with historical ruins, are a throwback to its rich and eventful history. The least populated country in the UK, you are more likely to encounter some of the region’s diverse and colourful wildlife than another cyclist making it a haven for those in search of nature.

And we cannot overlook what has been named fifth in the ‘Top 5 Coastal Routes in the World’ listing by Now Travel Magazine – the North Coast 500, a 516-mile route across the top of Scotland and home to some of the world’s most breathtaking

Rural Escapes

The beauty of a UK cycling holiday is that, given its size, you don’t have to travel very far to experience the contrast the UK landscape offers. Each county has its own distinct personality. 

Head west to experience the quintessentially English charms of the Cotswolds, with chocolate box villages that inspired literary greats including Laurie Lee, J. R. R. Tolkien, Beatrix Potter and J. M. Barrie. 

For a more dramatic backdrop to your travels, the Lake District in Northern England allows cyclists to switch off and enjoy the tranquillity this area has to offer with its vast, sparkling lakes, towering mountains, and winding lanes. 

Lake District, Cumbria

The cultural heritage and award-winning landscapes of the Scottish Highlands have long inspired Hollywood filmmakers, and a cycling holiday through this part of the British Isles provides the chance to witness the rugged beauty seen in films such as Braveheart and Rob Roy first-hand.

Photo by Nick Page on Unsplash

Historic Trails

For the history enthusiast, cycling around Britain provides a great way to immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage found in British towns and cities. 

Weaving through the ancient cobbled streets of Edinburgh, you will come across the Royal Mile, The Castle at Holyrood and the majestic Edinburgh Castle perched on watch over the city. Each of these has its part to play in the city’s dramatic history. In England, the city of Bath with honey-coloured Georgian crescents, Roman Baths and artifacts, and some of the UK’s prettiest streets provides a picturesque backdrop for those exploring the cycling highways of the Southwest of England and the Cotswolds.

In fact, you don’t have to travel far, to uncover a town or city with a story to be told. Colchester in Essex, York, Chester, Exeter and Stratford-Upon-Avon are just some of many towns and cities that will delight history lovers, with landmarks and sights that all play a role in Britain’s rich and colourful past.

Discover its historical, architectural and literary charm

A walk through history

Reasons to visit Bath

Photo by James Shaw on Unsplash

There is something for everyone

Cycling around the UK is not just about the destinations; it’s about embracing the cycling culture that thrives across the country. While the cycling infrastructure in some of our cities may have a long way to go to compete with that of the Netherlands or Scandinavia, an extensive network of cycle routes and paths across our country caters to cyclists of all abilities.

From the scenic Tarka Trail in North Devon to the epic Land’s End to John O’Groats route, there is something for everyone. Cyclists can also enjoy cycling events and festivals, such as the Tour de Yorkshire, Coast to Coast, or the RideLondon-Surrey 100, where there is the opportunity to engage with the cycling community and challenge yourselves on iconic routes.

Caithness, Scotland

Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or a leisurely rider, the UK offers a plethora of routes and destinations that will leave you with lasting memories. So, grab your bike, set off on your own two-wheeled adventure, and let the UK’s wonders unfold before you.

Happy cycling!