50 family-friendly cycle routes in the UK

A family is riding on a trail through woods
Go cycling with the whole family with our kid-friendly routes
Cycling with young children is often easier and safer on traffic-free or very quiet routes. We’ve picked our 50 cycling routes across the UK that are suitable for all the family. Most have a place to stop for food and drink

With school summer holidays fast approaching in the UK, you might be thinking of ways to keep the kids occupied. A family bike ride can be a great way to spend time together, get outside and tire the young ones out so they’ll sleep later – giving you some much-needed quiet time.

But finding suitable routes close by can be a challenge. We’ve taken the hard work out of it for you with our list of 50 routes suitable for families all across the UK. There’s a good mix of distances and difficulties, so you’re sure to find one that works for your family’s needs.

If you wish to plan you’re own route, use our journey planner to find a cycle-friendly route near you or view hundreds of other pre-set routes around the UK.

England

1. Dalby Forest, North Yorkshire

The popular Ellerburn Trail is perfect for smaller children who can choose from a 2.8km route or the slightly longer 4.5km route. The trail follows forest tracks and is mostly flat, with a slight include near the end.

2. Liverpool Loop Line

This green corridor through urban east Liverpool is 17.4km long. It forms part of the award-winning Trans Pennine Trail and offers great views across the city. It is flat, well-surfaced and almost free from traffic. Do beware there is a short section along the busy A59.

3. Millennium Greenway, Cheshire

This 11.9km route runs along an old railway line from Mickle Trafford, east of Chester, through the historic city of Chester to finish at the Wharf at Connah's Quay. Fairly flat and totally free of traffic, it’s an undemanding ride.

4. Grizedale Forest, Lancashire

Located in the Lake District, the forest is packed with lovely off-road routes. The shortest, at just 3.5km, is Goosey Foot Tarn Trail, a great place to start with little ones. It passes two of the forest’s man-made tarns, but there are a couple of small climbs involved.

5. Manifold Way, Derbyshire

An accessible 13km route that follows the route of the disused Leek and Manifold Light Railway in the Staffordshire Peak District. The first section follows a minor road, but the rest is off road, following the meandering River Manifold. It’s well-surfaced and mostly level.

6. Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

Colliers Trail is a fully marked, circular family cycle trail at Beechenhurst. It’s 14.5km long and perfect for beginners who want to explore the forest. Gradients are generally moderate, with a steeper downhill section.

7. Nutbrook Trail, Derbyshire

A 16km trail that links the towns of Long Eaton and Heanor, via Shipley County Park. Entry to the park is free, but there is a parking charge. There are also two play areas for children. The route is traffic free.

8. Rea Valley Route, Birmingham

This linear 9.2km route follows traffic-calmed streets and a canal towpath that links Birmingham city centre with Cannon Hill Park and King’s Norton Park. There’s an opportunity to detour to Bourneville, home of Cadbury world.

9. Forest Way, East Grinstead

The route passes through the village of Hatfield, the setting for A A Milne’s Winnie the Pooh. This 10-mile route is traffic free, and is part of the High Weald area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

10. The Phoenix Trail, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire

With stunning views of the Chiltern Hills and the chance to spot a Red Kite, this 12km, flat, well-surfaced and traffic-free ride is ideal for nature-loving youngsters. It links the pretty market towns of Princes Risborough and Thame.

11. Cuckoo Trail, East Sussex

One of south-east England’s most popular family rides, this 16.7km route takes you through broadleaf woodland, open grassland, arable farmland and wildflower pasture. It links Polegate to Heathfield via a traffic-free, well-surfaced path.

12. Marriot’s Way, Norfolk 

This 42km footpath, bridleway and cycle route follows the routes of two disused railway lines. It is split into easy-to-manage sections so you can choose to do short or longer rides. Traffic free and mostly flat, it runs between Aylsham and Norwich.

13. Bristol and Bath Railway Path 

A 23km flat, traffic free path that runs along the disused railway line between Bristol and Bath. Take care in Bath city centre, where the route includes an industrial estate and residential road.

14. The Camel Trail, Cornwall 

A beautiful 18 miles of woodland and riverside paths. The trail is broken down into three sections, so you can choose a route suitable to your family. Taking in the Cornish countryside between Padstow and Bodmin, it’s largely traffic free, well-surfaced and level.

15. Mote Park, Maidstone

A lakeside track using National Route 177 runs though this 450-acre park. The park is traffic free and a great place for beginners. There are places to eat and plenty of attractions to keep kids entertained.

16. Richmond Park, London

The biggest enclosed park in London, where deer roam freely and where cycling is popular. You can follow National Route 4 through the park, and if you go further you’ll find the London Wetland Centre, where there is plenty to do for kids.

17. Red Squirrel Trail, Isle of Wight

A 51km loop of flat cycling for the family that starts and ends at Cowes. It takes in estuaries, woodland, farmland, downland and a stretch of the island’s coastline. Keep an eye out for Red Squirrels as this is one of the few places in England where they can be seen.

18. The Downs Link, Surrey and West Sussex

This 60km route from Guildford to Shoreham by Sea is great for families as you can pick small sections. It is a popular route as it is accessible by train. The full route will appeal to older children. It’s traffic free and relatively flat, with some steeper sections.

A girl with a blonde ponytail is cycling on a gravel track through a forest, she's going away from the camera. A man in mountain bike gear is standing to the side of the track
Dalby Forest

Northern Ireland

19. Castlewellen Forest Park, Co Down

There are 27km of mountain biking trails in this 450ha park north of the Mourne Mountains. The gentle, circular, 4km Green Trail circumnavigates Castlewellen Lake and is suitable for all ages and offers incredible views of the mountains.

20. Craigavon Lakes Mountain Bike Trail, Co Armagh

A 10km traffic-free loop through broadleaf woodland and wildflower meadows, with lovely views of the lake. Some sections are more challenging than others and may include obstacles such as roots and rocks with some sharp turns, so it’s best for those with some basic off-road riding skills.

21. Dungannon Park, Co Tyrone

This short 2.5km loop is ideal for a family ride with young children. It offers splendid views across the park and lake. It’s traffic free but does have a couple of steep climbs. There’s a café and children’s play area in the park.

22. Crom, Co Fermanagh

Starting and ending at the Crom Estate visitor centre, this 6.5km route takes in woodland, Nalughoge Lough and riverside views. You can cycle along while trying to spot Pine Martens and visit the ruins of Crom Castle. The terrain is a variety of off-road paths.

23. Castlerock to Downhill Forest, Co Londonderry

This 3.2km route starts at the promenade at Castlerock, following the main road through the village before picking up a traffic-free cycle path to the forest. It’s very short so good for little ones.

24. Rathlin Island

The route offers some challenging terrain so might be best for older children looking for an adventurous day out. Head out from Church Bay, close to the ferry terminal, west through 6.4km of heathland and ancient meadow to the noisy and spectacular seabird colony.

25. Comber Greenway, Co Down

Using a former railway line, this 11km green corridor leads from the centre of Belfast to Comber on the shores of Strangford Lough. It’s traffic free, but watch out, though, as some junctions cross roads.

26. ​Lagan and Lough Cycle Way, Counties Antrim and Down

A 34km largely traffic-free route that connects Lisburn, Belfast and Newtownabbey. It can be easily split up into smaller family-friendly sections. It offers views of Belfast Lough, while it’s lovely to ride alongside the River Lagan.

27. ​​Ballycarton Wood, Co Londonderry

This short, linear route from Ballycarton Wood heads along the forest track through Binevenagh Forest. It’s 4km of dusted forest road, beautiful views of cliffs and nearby Lough Foyle.

28. Antrim to Randalstown

With its riverside and parkland views, castle ruins and spectacular railway viaduct, this  8.4km section of the Loughshore Trail offers plenty of attractions. The route sticks to quiet minor roads.

29. Castle Ward, Co Down

Explore the stunning grounds of this 18th-century mansion with its 34km of multi-use, multi-ability trails to choose from. You’ll ride through sheltered woodland, rolling meadows and to Strangford Lough.

Two people are cycling along a paved path alongside a lake
Lagan and Lough Cycle Way

Scotland

30. Circuit of Great Cumbrae

The island of Great Cumbrae is located in the Firth of Clyde. This 21km circular route heads around the island’s coast, offering lovely views of Bute and the firth. It’s an easy road ride on mostly well-paved surfaces and very flat.

31. Loch Ard Family Sculpture Trail, Trossachs National Park

There are five trails from 3.2km to 16km. Pick the trail that suits your family by looking at the map (PDF 5.57MB). Look out for animal sculptures and sound posts of wildlife recordings. Cycle on gravel tracks with some uneven patches.

32. Loch Katrine, the Highlands

Why not go for a steam boat ride and then a cycle ride? After a 45-minute sailing from Trossachs Pier to Stronachlachar, you cycle the 21km back to the pier a mostly traffic-free lochside road with lovely views.

33. Loch an Eilein Route, Aviemore

This 9.6km route on the Rothiemurchus Estate is a circular ride on mostly wide gravel roads and forest paths to the shores of the loch, with views of a 13th century island castle.

34. Laggan Wolftrax, Newtonmore

There are more than 30km of purpose-built mountain biking trails in Laggan Forest. The two green routes are suitable for children and beginners: Gorstean is a 2km route on a wide, low-level, surfaced gravel trail; Wolf Cub Green is 3.5km on relatively flat, wide and smooth trails with a shallow climb.

35. 7stanes, Dalbeattie

Ironhash is a 11.5km green trail which is a good taster for teenagers who want to try mountain biking. It provides an easy ride deep into the heart of the forest, mainly on forest roads. A short uphill climb gives impressive views over Dalbeattie.

36. Ben Nevis, Fort William

Ideal for family cycling, Nevis Range is a trail centre with plenty of cycle routes that are rideable with a trailer or tag-along. The 10km Puggy Loop is a green route through the heart of Leanachan forest. It’s a gentle yet satisfying ride.

37. Culbin Forest, Inverness

The site has plenty of wildlife, views and forest tracks. Hill 99 is a 5.7km way-marked trail on largely wide, firm and smooth gravel and sandy surfaces to the tower on Hill 99 for a views over the forest and across the Moray Firth. There are steps up to the tower.

38. Tentsmuir, Dundee

A good network of firm, level trails offers easy cycling through pine-scented forest, windswept sands and a wonderful variety of wildlife. The Ice House Trail is 6.2km of largely firm, uneven sandy surfaces to a 19th century ice house.

39. Isle of Mull

The island has plenty to choose from. Fishnish and Garmony or Aros Park’s Coastal Trail are worth a visit. Keep an eye out for eagles!

40. Argyll Forest Park

Only a short distance from Glasgow, this is Britain’s oldest Forest Park. It has some fantastic cross-country mountain biking routes. There’s a whole network of trails from Ardgartan, including a circuit round the peninsula.

Four youngsters on mountain bikes are riding around a gravel track in a forest. A wooden building is in the background
Laggan Wolftrax

Wales

41. Lôn Las Menai, Caernarfon

A 5.6km section of an old railway line linking Caernarfon with the old slate harbour of Port Dinorwig (Y Felinheli). There are some short road sections at Caernarfon and y Felinheli, but the rest is off road. It’s all paved too.

42. Three Parks Trail, south Wales

An easy 21km traffic-free route that takes in three of Wales’s parks. Look out for the listed 16-arch viaduct, the Wheel of Drams sculpture and Sultan the Pit Pony, the UK’s largest figurative earth sculpture. Head through ancient wild oak wood and park land.

43. Swansea Bike Path

This is 9.3km traffic-free route hugs the curving coastline of Swansea Bay. It offers views across the bay to Mumbles Head and the Gower Peninsula. You can also visit Oystermouth Castle.

44. Clydach Gorge, Abergavenny

Largely traffic free and well surfaced, this easy 13km route offers views of Clydach Gorge, Skirrid Mountains and Brecon Beacons and Sugar Loaf Mountain. There is one steep section to traverse.

45. Peregrine Path, Gwent

Straddling the border between Wales and England, this beautiful ride has plenty of places to stop and explore. The mostly traffic-free tarmac path winds alongside the River Wye. The full route is 12km.

46. Afan Valley route

Running between Port Talbot and Afan Forest, the 11km route offers lots of wildlife and easy riding. It’s largely free of traffic and well surfaced. It ends at Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre, with its world-class mountain biking trails.

47. The Millennium Coastal Path, Llanelli

Starting at the Discovery Centre, the route follows a mix of coastal and woodland paths to Pembrey Forest. The 7.2km linear route is traffic free, flat and smooth. There are plenty of tracks around the country park to extend your ride.

48. Mawddach Trail, Mid Wales

This scenic railway paths runs along the spectacular and atmospheric Mawddach Estuary below the foothills of Cadair Idris. The 14km route has no climbs and no traffic, but be aware it’s mostly loose, unsurfaced terrain.

49. Lon Las Cefni, Anglesey

A 15km largely traffic-free and hard surfaced cycle path that is perfect to enjoy with all the family and is rich in nature and wildlife. Take time to explore the Dingle and Llyn Cefni nature reserves.

50. Elan Valley Trail

Start at Cwmdeuddwr on the western side of Rhayader, where there is parking and a number of cafés, shops, pubs, a bike shop and toilets. It’s 29km long but easy to do shorter sections.

A gravel cycling and walking path in the Welsh countryside with mountains in the background
Mawddach Trail