23 cycle routes to do in 2023

To help you plan your cycling adventures for 2023 we’ve listed 23 of our favourite routes from across the UK. Suitable for a range of abilities, many of the routes below have been designed and developed by Cycling UK. We hope these routes inspire you to go on one or many amazing cycle rides in 2023

Cycling UK’s long-distance routes

Cycling UK’s long-distance routes can be done in sections or as one epic bikepacking adventure, as you prefer. Each of these long-distance off-road routes has a detailed route guide and lots of advice and tips to support your adventure.

1.  Rebellion Way

Length: 232 miles

Level of ride: Regular

Type of bike: Any

Follow in the chariot tracks of the trailblazing warrior queen Boudicca on this bikepacking trail around Norfolk.

Meandering along a mix of quiet, mostly flat back roads, byways, cycle paths and bridleways under huge panoramic skies, the 232-mile Rebellion Way is a fantastic introduction to multi-day, on- and off-road adventuring for anyone.

2.  Cantii Way

Length: 147 miles

Level of ride: Regular

Type of bike: Hybrid

Taking its name from the Celtic tribe which inhabited the area during the Iron Age, the Cantii Way combines quirky coastal towns and dramatic chalk cliffs with the rolling hills of the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The circular route uses traffic-free cycle paths, bridleways and quiet roads, and is ideal for touring and hybrid bikes. It’s perfect for a leisurely trip, with lots to discover along the way – from remnants of military defences to vibrant art trails and vineyards.

3.  Great North Trail

Length: 825 miles

Level of ride: Experienced

Type of bike: Mountain bike

Explore the mixed landscapes of Scotland and northern England on this 800-mile route: from rolling hills and dales to remote windswept moorland, crumbling castles to hidden waterfalls, swooping singletrack and old Roman roads, and everything in between. 

4.  King Alfred’s Way

Length: 220 miles

Level of ride: Experienced

Type of bike: Mountain or gravel bike

Immerse yourself in 10,000 years of history by riding this 350km loop around historic Wessex, the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Alfred the Great. Designed by Cycling UK in 2020 King Alfred’s Way forms a crucial part of our goal to create a network of long-distance off-road routes across the length and breadth of Great Britain, through fascinating places and inspiring landscapes.

5.  West Kernow Way

Length: 147.50 miles

Level of ride: Experienced

Type of bike: Mountain or gravel bike

The West Kernow Way takes in many of the highlights of the western half of the Cornish peninsula, including the Botallack tin mines, the Bronze Age monument Mên-an-Tol, Land’s End, St Michael’s Mount and Lizard Point.

Expect spectacular coastal scenery, hedgerows bursting with wildflowers and ancient tracks across isolated moorland. There’s no denying it will be a challenge, with more than 4,200m of climbing – but all that exertion provides a worthy excuse to sample the excellent Cornish cuisine. 

Developed by Cycling UK, the West Kernow Way forms part of the European Regional Development Fund EXPERIENCE project. As part of the project, Cycling UK will also be supporting hospitality businesses along the route to become accredited Cycle Friendly Places, so you know you will be greeted with a warm welcome and everything you need.


Cycling is a fantastic way to explore new places and connect intimately with the landscapes, history and culture of a region – not to mention fuelling up on local delicacies.

Cycling UK is one of 14 partners working on the EXPERIENCE project, funded by the European Regional Development Fund, which aims to develop experiential tourism activities in six regions across England and France. ;Discover new cycle hub locations across Norfolk, Kent and Cornwall, where you can stay at accredited Cycle Friendly Places and explore our promoted routes linking up the fascinating stories of each area.

6.  Norfolk

Often overlooked as a choice for a cycling trip, once you start exploring, this big-sky county is full of surprises. Tranquil lanes, quaint villages, peaceful wildlife havens and buckets of quirky charm, from prehistoric mammoths to steam railways. You’ll find medieval churches, gently rolling hills and tranquil track paths through woods.

Cycling UK has mapped out 18 unique rides based around six cycle-friendly hubs:

  • Cromer is the perfect example of a traditional English seaside resort and thoroughly deserves its ‘Gem of the Norfolk coast’ tag
  • Diss sits on the Suffolk border in a rich farming and forest landscape well away from the busier broads and north coast
  • Fakenham is a pretty market town on the river Wensum with roots going deep into the past of the rich agricultural area near the north coast of Norfolk
  • Hunstanton, a resort blessed with beautiful beaches where you can watch spectacular sunsets melt into the Wash
  • Swaffham, a pretty market town with a centre full of beautiful Georgian houses and shop fronts, with pubs, old coaching inns and coffee houses
  • Wroxham and Hoveton, also know as the ‘capital of the Broads’, has a medieval heart that has flourished as a boaters’ paradise with a real ‘seaside’ vibe

7.  Kent

The south-east corner of England might seem like a busy place, but it’s easy to escape the crowds and discover this green and pleasant land by bike. The ‘Garden of England’ is densely packed with trails, quiet lanes, big-ticket sightseeing, quirky coastal towns, salubrious towns and villages, and curious one-offs.

Whether you fancy an invigorating ride along the cycle paths linking colourful seaside towns, or prefer to head inland and explore the rolling green countryside of the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, there’s lots to discover. Explore the eight routes based around Cycling UK’s three cycle-friendly hubs.

  • Canterbury, home to three UNESCO World Heritage sites, the city has great facilities for visitors, and with lovely riding in all directions it makes a wonderful place to visit and explore by bike
  • Dover, one of Britain’s best-known south coast ports, Dover stands proudly between its famous white cliffs. Our three routes use ancient pilgrim routes and byways, Roman roads and new cycle paths to visit the numerous historic sights, castles and world war memorials
  • Wye, this medieval village is a great base from which to explore the surrounding countryside and the rich history of the area. Our three routes provide a range of riding and experiences to suit leisure riders, explorers and off-road enthusiasts alike

8.  Cornwall

With stunning scenery, unique subtropical vegetation, fantastic seafood and vibrant arts communities, Cornwall is a wonderful place to explore by bike. Escape the tourist hotspots and seek out the back lanes, mining tracks and disused railway lines to join the dots between the many fascinating places that reveal the history and culture of the region.

Yes, Cornwall’s hills can be challenging, but with so much interest and beauty packed into a relatively small area, you don’t need to go far to have an incredible experience. Amazing foodie stops as well as traditional pasties and cream teas to help keep you going are never far away either.

  • Helston, a historic town is the centre of a fantastically varied and beautiful local riding landscape. It’s also the gateway to the breathtaking cycling of the Lizard Peninsula
  • Penzance and Marazion, the largest town in west Cornwall with loads of places to eat, stay and visit, historic Penzance is a fantastic base for exploring the incredible scenery and sights of the south west tip of England by bike

Challenge rides

Looking for more of a challenge for 2023? We have four epic adventures for you to attempt.

9.  British Cycle Quest

By taking part in Cycling UK’s unique cycling challenge you can discover new places all over Britain. Checkpoints are scattered throughout England, Wales and Scotland including many islands. Wherever you are, you’ll most likely find one or two checkpoints within cycling range.

It is all about getting outside and cycling to find as many points of interest across the whole of Britain as you can. Once you find a checkpoint, all you need to do is answer the corresponding question to prove you've been there.

You can also receive BCQ certificates and buy medals for collecting clues. You’ll gain your first certificate when you’ve visited 10 sites. When you’ve visited all 402 sites, we’ll present you with an engraved medal.

10.  Cathedrals cycle route challenge

Long-distance cycle routes in the UK have become hugely popular in recent years and it doesn’t come much longer than this one: the Cathedrals Cycle Route (CCR), stretching almost 2,000 miles across England’s landscape.

The full route is 1,825 miles, but it has been broken down into 42 sections, between each of the cathedrals. The legs are all of differing terrain, difficulty and lengths – ranging from just 1 mile to more than 100! – so there’s something for everyone.

11.  Land’s End to John o’ Groats

Length: 971 miles

Level of ride: Experienced

Type of bike: Road bike

Cycling UK has been helping cyclists ride from Land’s End to John o’ Groats (LEJOG) for more than a century. This iconic route – which wends its way across the entire length of the UK – is a challenge that many thousands of people take on each year. Whether you’re looking for a scenic, leisurely route or want to finish the route as quickly as possible, Cycling UK has all the support you need.

12.  Cape Wrath

Length: 23.8 miles

Level of ride: Beginner

Type of bike: Any, though mountain bike preferable

For 70 years, Cycling UK’s Cape Wrath Fellowship has put cyclists to the test. Located in Sutherland in the Highlands of Scotland, Cape Wrath is the most north-western point of the UK. This rugged, windswept headland is renowned for its natural beauty and challenging coastal path.

Let us know if you cycle to the lighthouse and your name will be added to the Cape Wrath Fellowship.

Grand adventures

13.  Coast-to-coast

There are six ‘official’ Sustrans coast-to-coast routes across northern England, each taking three to four days to complete. Coast-to-coast veteran Rob Ainsley has put together the ultimate guide on these adventures.

14.  North Downs Way

Length: 150 miles

Level of ride: Regular

Type of bike: Mountain or gravel bike

The riders’ route for the North Downs Way stretches for 153 miles through the Surrey Hills and Kent Downs, from Farnham in Surrey to Dover on the Kent coast. It takes in beautiful rolling hills and woodlands, castles and cathedrals, vineyards and breweries. The trail also travels along part of the ancient Via Francigena pilgrimage route.

15.  Great rides

There’s nothing more inspiring than hearing about someone else’s adventure. Over the years, Cycling UK members have been on some amazing cycle trips and we have told their stories in Cycle magazine.

Remember, if you’re planning on going on a great ride, we’d love to hear about it.

Weekend rides

16.  Weekender routes

Cycling UK has almost 20 different routes perfect for a weekend ride. From a gentle cycle around Birmingham perfect for beginners to one of the hardest and best-known sportives in Britain, the Fred Whitton challenge. Explore them all.

17.  Cateran Country

Length: 86 miles

Level of ride: Beginner

Type of bike: Road bike

Stretching from the Valley of Strathmore to the southern edge of the Cairngorms National Park, the Cateran Ecomuseum is one of Scotland’s lesser travelled destinations. It has quiet roads and beautiful scenery.

18.  New Forest

Length: 23 miles

Level of ride: Beginner

Type of bike: Mountain bike

William the Conqueror named his former hunting ground Nova Foresta. Today verderers and commoners continue historic grazing practices that maintain the forest’s semi-open landscape – expect wandering animals. This ride incorporates heathland, railway path, village tea stops, fords, beautiful forest trails, meadows and picturesque country lanes.

Heritage routes

19.  Routes and Roots

Routes and Roots is one of 29 projects supported by The Community Heritage Fund, which The National Lottery Heritage Fund is delivering on behalf of the Department for Communities to help people in Northern Ireland to connect with their local heritage.

Cycling is a fantastic way to get to know a place, and the Routes and Roots project will take residents and visitors alike on a journey of discovery, linking well-known landmarks such as the Harland and Wolff cranes and Titanic museum, as well as a host of hidden gems.

Cycling UK is partnering with local community organisations Eastside Partnership, the Maritime Trust and Sailortown Regeneration to capture stories of everyday life in the city from past to present.

20.  Tales of the Trails

Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Cycling UK’s Tales of the Trails celebrates the heritage of the communities in Ynysybwl and Clydach Vale while inspiring residents and visitors to explore their local area.

Wales’s valleys and the mining communities which sprung up in them are a proud part of our past which deserve to be remembered.

The project has worked with Ynysybwl Regeneration Partnership and the Cambrian Village Trust to capture the stories of residents and bring them to life with cycle trails which take people into the landscape where they happened.

Explore the city

21.  Central London to Windsor

Length: 62 miles

Level of ride: Regular cyclist

Type of bike: Road bike

Legendary London bike shop Condor Cycles takes us on a spin out west to Windsor and back. From Condor’s central London location you can head north, east, south or west. This route goes out to the west through two Royal Parks to Windsor, before a slightly shorter run back to London, passing several large reservoirs.

22.  Edinburgh family route

Length: 4 miles

Level of ride: Beginner cyclist

Type of bike: Any

This family ride is from the Meadows in central Edinburgh out to Dr Neil’s Garden in nearby Duddingston. The route is ideal for families who have learned to pedal and built up a bit of confidence, and are now looking for a longer route. It’s a perfect Sunday pedal, as it uses the road through Holyrood Park which is closed to traffic on Sundays 8.30am-5.30pm.

23.  Cardiff heritage loop

Length: 46.4 miles

Level of ride: Regular cyclist

Type of bike: Road bike

This route in Cardiff is packed with historic and natural interest. Originally created by Cardiff CTC’s Clive Cazeaux, the ride starts at the National Museum Cardiff and takes in the Newport Transporter Bridge, Newport Wetlands nature reserve, along Roman roads and quiet lanes before climbing Penylan Hill opens up amazing views over the Severn Estuary.

More routes

200 routes

In 2018 Cycling UK collected more than 140 unique cycling routes across the UK from people who have strong connections with the organisation. Since then we have added more and there are now over 200.

There are cycling rides to suit all-abilities from well-known cyclists, cycling brands, cycling magazines, cycling groups, community clubs, cycling development projects and Cycling UK staff. Every route has an interactive map and GPX file, and we hope it inspires you to go on an amazing cycle ride.

Find your own way

Journey Planner

If following in someone else’s tyre tracks isn’t your thing, or if you’d like to figure out the way to work that avoids busy main roads, then make sure you explore our Journey Planner. Choose either the fastest, quietest or balanced route between two points and create your perfect commute or trip.

Help us bring you more routes

Cycling UK is passionate about opening up the countryside to cyclists. Many of these routes were designed and developed by us. It is our aim to create a network of long-distance off-road routes across the length and breadth of Great Britain, through fascinating places and inspiring landscapes.

We need your support to help us to continue our work in developing routes and opening up more of the countryside for you.


Join today and support our work

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