Best Family Bike Rides in the UK
There are few things more enjoyable than a family bike ride in the UK countryside. With little ones joining, you may prefer to keep your route short, but older children may prefer more of a challenge. Luckily there are plenty of routes to choose from with everything from city bike rides to peaceful cycles through the country. So, we've put together a list of our favourite family bike rides around the UK to get you and your little ones out of the house and into the great outdoors.
Liverpool Loop Line
Distance: 10 miles
Starting point: Park Lane in Aintree
Starting at Park Lane in Aintree and travelling to Hunts Cross train station in Halewood, the Liverpool Loop Line is a straight path with few bends. It passes through several major parts of the city and there are lots of places to stop for a bite to eat along the way.
Distance: 3-7 miles
Starting point: Moor Top car park
Tucked away in Hawkshead, the Lake District, Grizedale Forest offers both long and short cycle routes, depending on how long you want your bike ride to be. The cycle route follows the forest road at a gentle gradient and you can look out for the wooden mushrooms scattered along the trail.
Distance: 215 miles
Starting point: Anywhere along the trail
The Transpennine Trail goes much further than the North West and is the perfect place to take a long or short bike ride at any point on the trail. Spanning coast to coast from Southport to Hornsea, the Transpennine Trail offers gentle pathways with little traffic and stunning scenery.
Nostell Cycle Trail
Distance: 1.7 miles
Starting point: Boathouse Bridge
The Nostell Cycle Trail in Wakefield is made up of two 0.6 mile trails that join in a figure of an eight loop. The parkland path is suitable for cyclists and walkers and offers stunning countryside views and beautiful woodland scenery. Follow the green cycle signs from the car park to Boathouse Bridge.
Tees Barrage Ride
Distance: 3.7 miles
Starting point: Tees Barrage White Water Rafting Centre
The circular Tees Barrage Ride from the Tees Barrage White Water Rafting Centre is a traffic-free route along the river. Visit Saltholme Nature Reserve to see the local wildlife and have a bite to eat and pass through Teesauraus Park to see the steel dinosaurs along the way.
The Solar System Cycle Route
Distance: 6.4 miles long
Starting point: Park in Riccall and start at Pluto
Just outside of York in Riccall, The Solar System Cycle Route is a fun and educational bike ride for the whole family. Cycle past the scale model of our solar system and through the nature reserve along an old railway line. The route is also close to a number of great pubs along the way.
Distance: 1-3 miles
Starting point: Car park then cycle to your chosen trail
Lanhydrock in Cornwall has three different trail grades with a number of trails to choose from. Explore the woodland area on simple trails, suitable for all of the family, or try out some testing tracks that will really put your trail riding skills to the test. There is also a cafe and adventure playgrounds.
Bath to Bristol
Distance: 13 miles
Starting point: West Bath Riverside Path
The Bath to Bristol cycle path is a popular leisure and commuting route on the former Midland Railway. It's a traffic-free cycle path which connects to many other walking and cycling routes along the way, as well as providing good access to refreshments and historical places of interest along the way
Plymbridge Woods Cycle Trail
Distance: 10 miles
Starting point: Plymbridge Woods car park
Follow the old Great Western Railway in Plymouth along a gentle off-road cycle track. Pass quarry faces, cycle across viaducts, through the woods and stop at the Peregrine viewing platform to see the birds in late spring or early summer. It's the perfect way to enjoy the Dartmoor Countryside.
Christchurch Meadow Canal Loop
Distance: 17.9 miles
Starting point: Sandy Lane West
Explore the beautiful Oxford countryside on this easy bike ride for the whole family. The route is mostly paved, travelling along the peaceful canal and through the meadow. Enjoy stunning countryside views along the way and pass the historical Carfax Tower.
Hythe and the Royal Military Canal
Distance: 13 mile circular route
Starting point: Seabrook Road
The cycle route in Kent offers an easy and relaxing bike ride. The Royal Military Canal was built as a coastal defence in 1804 and now provides a peaceful place to cycle off-road on the banks of the canal. The route is well marked with plenty of places to stop for a picnic and you can enjoy the stunning scenery of Romney Marsh.
Distance: 4 miles
Starting point: Car park
There are a number of skills tracks to enjoy in the forest, making Deers Leap the perfect place to practice your mountain biking skills. The park in Sussex also has main trails with steady ground along with a cafe, outdoor fitness area, bike hire and ponds so there are plenty of things to do beyond bike riding.
Distance: 8.5 miles
Starting point: Blackwell Mill
Enjoy the magnificent scenery the Peak District has to offer by cycling between Blackwell Mill and Bakewell. Cycle the full length of the old railway route in the Limestone Dales and venture through the tunnels of the former Monsal Railway Line. Along the way, you can also experience the picturesque Water-cum-Jolly Dale on the River Wye.
Rea Valley Millenium Route
Distance: 5.7 miles
Starting point: Chamberland Square
Even in the centre of Birmingham, it's possible to enjoy a peaceful bike ride with the family. Starting in Chamberland Square in the centre of Birmingham, pass through Cannon Hill Park and Kings Norton Park and take a detour to Bournville, the home of Cadbury's. It's the most popular cycle route in Birmingham and ends in the city centre.
Distance: 20 miles of trails
Starting point: Near the cafe and cycle centre
The National Trust Park in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, is open all year round with four main marked trails to choose from. Cycle through parkland, farmland and woodland areas and stop to play in the Pleasure Ground. You can also grab a bite to eat and with the Victorian chapel, stables, entrance lodges and glasshouses there is plenty to see and do.
Cardiff to Castell Coch
Distance: 9 miles
Starting point: Bute Park
Starting at Bute Park, pass the Millenium Stadium and cycle along railway paths, riverside paths and forest roads. Follow the River Taff through the middle of the city and pass the Melingriffith Water Pump and the 19th century Castell Coch on the hillside. It is mostly traffic-free with plenty of places to stop for refreshments on the way.
Elan Valley Trail
Distance: 18 miles
Starting point: Cwmdeuddwr
Follow the old Birmingham Corporation Railway line past four reservoirs, rolling hills and breathtaking landscapes. Cycle off-road through the heart of Wales and enjoy the stunning countryside as you pass crashing dams. There are also plenty of cafes and pubs to stop for refreshments.
Distance: 3-6 miles
Starting point: Coed Llandegla Visitor Centre
Llandegla Forest in North Wales avoids major climbs and technical riding but is a great place to enjoy off-road cycling. There are some uneven surfaces which is ideal for young mountain bikers and cyclers of all ages. Explore the forest, cycle around the reservoir and stop for a picnic.
Cairngorms National Park
Distance: 3.5 miles one way
Starting point: The Cairngorms car park
This traffic-free route at Loch Morlich follows the Old Logging Way between Aviemore and Glenmore. Cycle through Cairngorms National Park and enjoy this relaxing route through forests and passing lochs, with beautiful views of the Cairngorms.
Rob Roy Loop
Distance: 13 miles
Starting point: Car park at the southern edge of Strathyre
The Rob Roy Loop at Loch Lomond has lots to offer. There is a mix of quiet roads and cycle tracks through Strathyre Forest, home to red squirrels. Be sure to stop at Creag an Tuiric, The Boar's Rock, and the small villages of Balquhidder and Strathyre village along the way for some refreshments.
Distance: 16 miles
Starting point: The Helix
The cycle track in Falkirk connects 16 communities via towpaths and woodland trails on this mostly traffic-free route. See famous landmarks such as the Kelpies and the Falkirk wheel and pass the Callendar Park and Estate. There are also plenty of places to stop off for a picnic or at a cafe.
So, there you have it. Whether you're looking for the perfect family bike ride on your doorstep, or you're prepared to travel a few hours to explore somewhere new, there are plenty of bike rides to choose from. Discover the peaceful countryside or practice your mountain biking skills in the forest. Wherever you choose to take a family bike ride in the UK, you are certain to make memories to last a lifetime.