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Top 6 UK Road Cycling Routes

Plan the next stage of your tour

Just when we thought cycling couldn’t get any more popular in the UK, a nationwide COVID-19 lockdown came along and inspired even more people to get on their bike.

So, you’ve got your road bike, cycling attire and accessories – where do you go?

Group of women road biking

Take a look at our favourite UK road cycling routes below. They may vary in difficulty, but they all offer a slice of beautiful scenery for you to enjoy...

 

Settle Circular

Yorkshire, England

 

Distance: 62 km

Difficulty: Hard

Route Type: Circuit loop

Start / Finish: Settle, BD24 9EJ

Yorkshire has become a mecca for cycling fanatics since it hosted a stage of the Tour de France back in 2014. The Settle Circular route is for serious cyclists looking to follow in the tracks of cycling’s elite by taking on the rolling hills of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

There’s no denying that this is a demanding long-distance ride, but the scenery is enough to keep anyone going. As well as passing through quaint rural villages you’ll get to see the magnificent Pen-y-Ghent in all its glory.

There are quite a few sharp hill climbs on this route, but remember, what goes up, must come down!

 

Box Hill Olympic Circuit

Surrey, England

 

Distance: 16 km

Difficulty: Moderate

Route Type: Circuit loop

Start / Finish: Dorking, RH5 6BX

The London 2012 Olympics will live long in the memory for many cycling enthusiasts. The Box Hill Circuit  gives amateur riders the chance to experience the Olympic course for themselves. The route isn’t in London itself, instead it loops around rural Surrey, taking you uphill to admire beautiful views of the River Mole and surrounding hills.

London 2012 Cycling

Although it features a challenging 2.5km climb up Box Hill, this ride is actually very pleasant. However, we don’t recommend trying the 9-lap version completed by Mark Cavendish and co. at the 2012 games!

 

The Camel Trail

Cornwall, England

 

Distance: 29 km

Difficulty: Easy

Route Type: Linear

Start / Finish: Padstow, PL28 8DG / Bodmin, PL31 2FQ

The Camel Trail is a beautiful traffic-free cycle path that runs beside the Camel Estuary before carving its way through the valley along a disused railway line.

Camel Trail Padstow

Starting in the gorgeous town of Padstow, pick up NCN Route 32 to begin your jaunt through the stunning Cornish countryside all the way down to Bodmin. It’s virtually flat and suitable for any rider, regardless of ability.

 

Six Dams

Elan Valley, Powys, Wales

 

Distance: 44 km

Difficulty: Moderate

Route Type: Circuit loop

Start / Finish: Rhayadar, LD6 5HP

Explore the lakes and reservoirs of the Elan Valley by gliding around a circuit that links together six different dams with stunning views across forests and farmland.

Elan Valley Six Dams

Start near the Elan Valley Visitor Centre and loop back in just a couple of hours. The majority of the course uses NCN Route 61, so you can easily avoid road traffic and navigate your way around.

 

Assynt Achiltibuie Circuit

Highlands, Scotland

 

Distance: 117 km

Difficulty: Hard

Route Type: Circuit loop

Start / Finish: Achiltibuie, IV26 2YG

The Scottish Highlands present a cycling challenge like no other. Witness the natural beauty of the mountains, streams and coastal shores throughout this demanding ride. There are man-made wonders along this route too, including the ancient ruins of Ardvreck Castle.

ardvreck castle

The Assynt Achiltibuie Circuit mostly involves public roads, although this part of Scotland is particularly desolate and the highways are largely unused, giving you freedom to pedal away in peace.

This course really isn’t one for the faint-hearted. The epic climbs may be gruelling, but all is forgiven when you see the phenomenal hilltop views.

 

Ballycastle to Giant’s Causeway

County Antrim, Northern Ireland

 

Distance: 56 km

Difficulty: Moderate

Route Type: Circuit loop

Start / Finish: Ballycastle, BT54 6BN

Ride from the charming seaside resort of Ballycastle to the world-famous Giant’s Causeway and back again on this scenic circuit.

Giant's Causeway

Pedalling along NCN Route 93 and the stunning Causeway Coastal Route, you’ll get to see the breath-taking north coast landscape before returning to Ballycastle via Bushmills on the quiet country roads of North Antrim.

 

Be responsible

We must reiterate that current government guidelines restrict activity in relation to travel and tourism. Be responsible, follow the rules and only travel where necessary, unless permitted to do so by the relevant authorities.

Stay safe.

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