We know we’re a little biased, but cycling is a great way to spend time together as a family and experience new places. And since you might be looking for ways to keep your little ones (or big ones) entertained, we’ve pulled together a list of five of our favourite cycling routes and trails in the UK for families.
Where: Cornwall, England | Length: 18 miles
- Padstow to Wadebridge – 5.5 Miles (8.8Km)
- Wadebridge to Bodmin – 5.75 Miles (9.25Km)
- Bodmin to Wenford Bridge – 6.25 Miles (10.1 Km)
Working its way through some spectacular scenery, the Camel trail is largely traffic free and relatively flat. You don’t have to do the full 18 miles either, depending on fitness levels or how much time you have.
Using a disused railway line the trail starts at Padstow and follows the Camel estuary up to Wadebridge, before continuing through the wooded trails of the Camel Valley.
It’s a great place to spot wildlife, such as otters and kingfishers and there are lots of opportunities to hop off your bike and explore local towns or visit a café or pub for refreshments.
Where: Peak District, England | Length: 13 miles
Following the closure of the London and North West Railway in 1967, the Peak District National Park bought the line in 1971 and converted it into a cycling and walking trail. Running from Parsley Hay to Ashbourne, the route is mainly traffic free and flat, making it ideal for family days out.
The route passes through Tissington, where you can visit Tissington Hall or stop off and have a picnic. You’ll also travel through the picturesque Derbyshire Dales, so you’ll have plenty to take in as you pootle along, including former station platforms and old signalling boxes.
Millenium Coastal Path – Llanelli
Where: Llanelli, Wales | Length: 13 miles
Traveling along the spectacular Carmarthenshire coast, the Millennium Coastal Path starts at the Discovery Centre in Llanelli and works its way through the Sandy Water Park, a great place to spot birdlife alongside the lake.
As the route continues, you’ll come across the Pembrey Forest, a large pine forest situated on sand dunes. It’s also home to variety of plants and wildlife, so keep your eyes peeled for one of 35 species of butterfly or even a bird of prey!
A completely traffic free route and relatively flat, it makes for a fun family day out.
The Tarka Trail
Where: North Devon, England | Length: 30 miles
Starting in the village of Braunton, this traffic-free route takes in views of the Taw estuary and oak woodlands. You’ll also come across a variety of wildlife and several sculptures and shelters created specifically for the route.
Your journey will pass through various villages and towns providing lots of opportunities to stop off and explore. We can also recommend Puffing Billy, a pub located at the site of the former Torrington railway station, which is on the Tarka Trail.
You can finish the route, either in the town of Great Torrington or cross the river to the end of the trail in Meeth.
Cycle Route 7 – Scotland
Where: Glasgow to Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park | Length: 20 miles
The Clyde and Loch Lomond cycleway is a part of the National Cycle Network Route 7, taking you from the hustle and bustle of Glasgow to the beautiful village of Balloch at Loch Lomond. It’s virtually traffic-free and tarmac surfaced, running alongside the Clyde river and the Forth and Clyde Canal, before joining an old railway line up to Dumbarton. From here you follow the Riven Leven to Balloch.
Balloch is the gateway to Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, where you’ll find a visitor centre, restaurants and shops. It’s also worth noting that most of the route runs close to the railway, so you can hop onto the train if legs are getting tired or the heavens open!
These are just a few of our favourites, but if you’re looking for inspiration, take a look at the National Cycle Network which has a network of dedicated cycle paths across the UK, so you can find a route nearby and explore with the family this summer.
And, of course, don’t forget to take a lock with you, should you want to have a mooch in the local shops or take on some refreshments in a nearby café or pub. Happy riding!