To celebrate English Tourism Week 2013 we’ve put together five of England’s best long distance cycle routes. There are so many superb cycle routes in England but these have been carefully selected for their diversity and their suitability for riders of all different ages and abilities.
Devon Coast to Coast
Where: Ilfracombe to Plymouth
Why: Over 70 miles of the 99 miles are traffic-free, ideal for inexperienced and young cyclists. The route crosses the longest traffic-free bridge on the National Cycle Network, the Gem Bridge. Takes in the iconic Tarka Trail in the North and skirts the edge of craggy dramtic Dartmoor further south.
How far: 99 Miles
Accommodation: is varied and plentiful. You can camp, stay in yurts or wallow in luxury B&Bs and guest houses.
Map: By Sustrans from Sustrans.
More information: from Sustrans
Norfolk Coast Cycleway
Where: Great Yarmouth to King’s Lynn around the coast.
Why: The route takes you along spectacular coastline designated as an Area Of Outstanding Beauty (AONB). The excellent network of quiet country lanes guide you through gorgeous quintessentially English towns and villages. The route is pretty flat and the skies are wide, dramatic and simply beautiful.
How far: 85 miles approx
Accommodation: Vast choice of B&Bs and guest houses along this coastline. Hostels in Wells-next-the Sea and King’s Lynn on a budget and even a windmill for those inclined to a little luxury.
Map: By Suffolk County Council from Sustrans.
More information: from Norfolk AONB and excellent article in Coast Magazine’s April edition.
Coast & Castles South
Where: Newcastle to Edinburgh
Why: The Northumberland coastline is one of England’s most stunning and the route treats you to plenty of incredible sea views. At either end of the route there are two culturally brimming, if not entirely English, cities which make the route easy to access on the train.
How far: 200 miles
Accommodation: A good variety and options for low and high budgets alike.
Map: By Sustrans from Sustrans
More information: from Sustrans
The South Downs Way
Where: Winchester to Eastbourne
Why: Almost entirely traffic-free as the route is predominantly on a bridleway. It’s a real challenge as it undulates heavily from start to finish. There are points where you can see for miles across the South Downs and turn your head 180 degrees and be greeted with views of the English Channel.
How far: 110 miles approx
Accommodation: Not much listed on Beds for Cyclists yet but there is plenty of choice found on National Trail website.
Map: by Harveys Maps from Sustrans.
More information: from National Trail – South Downs Way.
Way of the Roses
Where: Morecambe to Bridlington
Why: It’s immaculately signed and takes riders through challenging but an incredibly rewarding and stunning landscapes such as the Forest of Bowland AONB and the Yorkshire Dales. Showers (hopefully not literally) you with the satisfaction of cycling from coast to coast of England.
How far: 170 miles
Accommodation: A brilliant and growing selection due to the routes increased popularity since opening in 2010.
Map: by Sustrans from Sustrans
More information: Way of the Roses official website.
All of these mouth watering routes are fully signed and part of the ever growing and improving Sustrans National Cycle Network. We hope these spur you on to saddle up and roll quietly through England’s beguiling lands, soaking up the culture and weather on route. We’d love to hear what you think of our selection and do send us any tips and photos of your favourite rides.