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England’s Best Cycling Destinations
October 31, 2019 | By: Matthew Adams
England may not be at the top of the list of world cycling destinations, but with its diverse and in many cases simply stunning landscapes, it has a lot to offer the cycling aficionado! The country is a picture postcard of quaint villages, winding rural lanes, steep valleys, dramatic coastlines, ancient monuments…and so much more just waiting to be explored. With so much to see, choosing where to go can seem overwhelming. Luckily with the help of Active England Tours, we have narrowed down a list of our 5 favourite cycling destinations in England to help you plan your next trip.
#1 The Cotswolds
Straddling 5 counties, the Cotswolds is 800 square miles of rolling green hills and honey-stoned English villages and market towns. Cycling its winding lanes will take you through the unforgettable countryside, including ancient woodlands and wildflower meadows in a landscape crisscrossed by historic stone walls. The Cotswolds is also home to some of the country’s most picturesque towns, such as Cheltenham, Tewkesbury, and Bath. For history fans, this is a fantastic place to explore with monuments galore and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Blenheim Palace, just on the doorstep. Oxford also sits just at the edge of the region and is the ideal spot to begin or end your trip with its soaring spires and rich history!
#2 Devon and Cornwall
Combining England’s two southernmost counties in one cycle tour allows you to explore golden sand beaches, dramatic moorlands, and some legendary monuments. Start your trip by exploring Dartmoor National Park. This wild open moorland dotted with mysterious tors is a unique place to explore with wonderful landscapes and rare wildlife. Flat, quiet tracks and former tramways, such as the Granite Way and the Mineral Tramway, will take you through this unique landscape. Visit Cornwall’s St. Ives with its magnificent setting and sea views, Padstow and Port Isaac and experience traditional Cornish seaside towns. Fish and Chips are essential and make sure to try some of the other locally caught seafood! A visit to King Arthur’s legendary birthplace, Tintagel Castle is not to be missed with a spectacular new bridge linking the castle to the mainland.
#3Dorset and the New Forest
Combining Dorset and the New Forest is a fantastic way to explore a variety of beautiful landscapes and some of the UK’s most famous landmarks. The New Forest is an ancient royal hunting ground home to free-roaming ponies, deer, and donkeys across an area of woodland, health land and moors. It is a wonderfully peaceful place to explore by bike. Just on the edge of the New Forest, you will find the ancient city of Salisbury with its striking cathedral spire, which is a must-see while you are in the area! From Salisbury, you can also visit the world-renowned Neolithic monument, Stonehenge and cycle around the chocolate box villages in its surroundings. To the south of the New Forest, you will find the unforgettable Dorset coast with its white cliffs and memorable sites, such as the Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove. These jewels of the south coast can easily be reached by bike along dedicated cycle paths and former railway lines with some great vistas to appreciate along the way.
#4 The Peak District
For a great mix of easy and challenging cycling on dedicated paths head to the Peak District in the centre of England! This is a stunning region of the UK characterised by its steep limestone valleys, dark gritstone ridges, rugged moorland, and picturesque villages. You can combine your cycling trip with visit a visit to the magnificent Chatsworth House (more of a palace!), several medieval manors and castles, such as Haddon Hall. There are several different routes to choose from including the Pennine Cycleway, the Trans Pennine Trail and many other shorter multi-terrain routes. The Peak District is an excellent destination for varied cycling with steep valleys, gently lakeside tracks and open moorland. Routes are well marked and many of the paths are also free of traffic, giving you the chance to enjoy the scenery stress-free.
#5 The Lake District
The dramatic landscape of the Lake District has inspired some of the UK’s greatest artists from poets and novelists to painters and musicians. It is an ideal location for a cycling holiday with multi-terrain routes that include country lanes and cycleways suitable for a range of abilities. One of the best routes is along the Eskdale Trail. You can take your bike on a converted carriage on the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway up to the Scafell range. From there you can make your way down through the meadows and oak woods of the Eskdale Valley to Ravenglass on the Irish Sea. There are also great mountain biking routes through the Whinlatter and Grizedale Forests if you are looking for more excitement! Whatever you decide, make sure to spend some time exploring the lakes and the fabulous views around them.
Are you inspired? If so, make sure to check out the tours offered by Active England Tours, which cover most of the regions above. You can join them for 6 day guided cycling tours with transport and accommodation all arranged for you!
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