Winning tip: Morecambe to Scalestones Point, Lancashire
This trip takes you previous Happy Mount Park with its nice journey playground and Splashpark (open in summer season months); there’s an out of doors sculpture path on the promenade and loads of refreshment stops. On the return leg you have one of many biggest views within the UK: throughout Morecambe Bay to the Lake District fells. Close to the beginning is the spectacular Venus and Cupid sculpture (it’s designed in order that youngsters can clamber over it). From Scalestones Point to the Stone Jetty Cafe is simply over two miles. It’s three miles to Beach Cafe at Battery – or you may prolong the trip by a mile and a half to absorb the Heysham historic ruins (although the ultimate stretch into Heysham village isn’t as cycle-friendly). The route is a part of the 81-mile Bay Cycle Way. Free on-road parking on Coastal Road (A5105) at Scalestones Point or pay and show at Happy Mount Park.
• Route map and rent particulars visitlancashire.com
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Peak District trails
The Tissington Trail. Photograph: Alamy
We cycled the Monsal and Tissington trails within the Peak District final weekend. Both are perfect for household cycle journeys as they’re each on disused railway tracks. You can deliver your individual bikes, though the paths supply cycle rent, and there are stops for drinks/refreshments, often in disused station buildings, alongside the routes. Small detours additionally supply the choice of a pub lunch. Tissington is longer and hyperlinks to the High Peaks path, giving good views throughout the Peak District. Monsal follows a valley with tunnels and viaducts.
East London canals
The Regent’s Canal in Hackney. Photograph: Alamy
Transport for London’s bike rent permits everybody to have an incredible, hassle-free household time out biking alongside the canals in east London. The towpaths of London open up an entire new world of chilled-out musicians, pop-up cafes and the eclectic mixture of wildlife that co-exists fortunately alongside the narrowboats. Try the largely traffic-free cycle trip from Westferry DLR station, skirting the perimeters of lovely Victoria Park – the oldest public park in London. Stop off at south Hackney’s Broadway Market, established within the 1890s, and choose up some particular treats to nibble on the five-mile cycle trip again.
• Route map at sustrans.org.uk
The Strawberry Line, Somerset
A view over the Somerset Levels from the Strawberry Line.
Taking its identify from the fruit it used to move by way of the Mendip Hills, the Strawberry Line is a pleasant 10-mile path beginning in Yatton that takes in wildlife-rich wetlands, apple orchards (that is Somerset), wooded valleys and, finally, the magnificent Cheddar Gorge – what’s extra, it’s virtually all traffic-free, with well-managed gravel tracks and few gradients of be aware – perfect for kids. There are loads of pitstops alongside the way in which, although none higher than the Lion Rock Tea Rooms, the place you may tuck right into a well-deserved cream tea, with strawberries, naturally.
• Bike rent out there at Yatton; route particulars at thestrawberryline.org.uk. There are plans afoot to increase the Strawberry Line and mix it with trails such because the Bristol to Bath route (see under) to create a traffic-free, 85-mile Somerset Circle
Bristol to Bath
A pair biking on the Bristol and Bath Railway Path in spring. Photograph: Alamy
Beginning at Temple Meads station, it’s a 13-mile traffic-free stretch to Bath, the place you’ll have the choice to catch the prepare again. But chances are you’ll not make all of it the way in which as there’s a lot of curiosity en route. Stop at disused Mangotsfield station, which apparently gave (Dad’s Army star) Arnold Ridley the inspiration to jot down his well-known play The Ghost Train. There are quite a few artworks, historic and industrial archaeological websites to analyze alongside the path, if these float your boat. Pick a day when the Avon Valley railway is working and you may watch steam engines. You can rent bikes at Bitton station (Webb’s of Warmley). There are loads of cafes near the cycle path.
• Route at sustrans.org.uk, bike rent from £16 at webbsofwarmley.com
Belfast to Lisburn
Shaw’s Bridge over the river Lagan. Photograph: Alamy
The Lagan Towpath is an 11-mile lengthy traffic-free canal route connecting Belfast and Lisburn. It begins at Shaw’s Bridge, in-built 1709, and ends on the Lisburn Civic Centre, a stone’s throw from the city centre. Along the way in which you may discover a restored canal barge at no cost, or seize a well-earned chew to eat in what was the lock-keeper’s cottage. Best of all, the biking charity Sustrans arranges common household cycles alongside the towpath, and supplies the bikes freed from cost. An incredible household time out.
• Bike rent with mountainbikeni.com half a mile from Shaw’s Bridge; route at sustrans.org.uk and walkni.com
Sutton Park, Birmingham
Cyclists close to the ford on the Wyndley Gate entrance to Sutton Park. Photograph: Alamy
Access is nice, being utterly surrounded by the suburbs of Birmingham. The park is on two National Cycle routes however is a enjoyable day by itself (you may cycle alongside canals and in Plantsbrook nature park from Brum metropolis centre). The park was used and given to the locals by Henry VIII – undecided he cycled a lot! The routes take you thru open grassland, historical forests, alongside Roman roads, previous swimming pools and bronze age mounds, splashing by way of a ford (Wyndley Gate) and over a stunning set of 20-plus slender bridges round Bracebridge Pool. If you favor tarmac there’s the highway that climbs to Four Oaks Gate alongside the park’s jap perimeter. Nice snacks and drinks can be found on the patio of the Renato Lounge in Mere Green and in addition within the park at Town Gate cafe and Blackroot Bistro.
Loch Katrine, Stirlingshire
Cycling by Loch Katrine. Photograph: Alamy
This picturesque loch-side cycle may be mixed with a cruise on the historic steamship Sir Walter Scott for an incredible household time out within the coronary heart of the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs nationwide park. Begin the day on the Trossachs pier and customer centre at Loch Katrine, the place ample metered parking is on the market. A variety of bikes may be employed on web site, with costs for a four-hour rental interval beginning at £eight for kids and £15 for adults (katrinewheelz.co.uk). Board the steamship together with your bikes in tow on a one-way ticket to Stronachlachar on the loch’s reverse finish. The journey time is round one hour, and sailings depart each day at 10.30am in the summertime months. Advanced reserving is really useful, which may be performed on-line (grownup £17, youngster £9). On disembarking, it’s a 13-mile cycle again to the customer centre, together with a small variety of quick however reasonably steep climbs close to the beginning. The largely traffic-free route is on a tarmac observe and has stunning views over the water and surrounding hills. There is a tearoom on the pier car-park.
A teen cycles to the sting of Loch an Eilein. Photograph: Alamy
This is a 20-plus mile route from Inverdruie close to Aviemore for the extra adventurous and skilled. Start by following the tracks to Loch an Eilein. Skirt the loch edge within the Caledonian forest earlier than breaking into the open and heading in the direction of the gorgeous Lairig Ghru go by way of the iron bridge. From right here, well-laid tracks lead on to Loch Morlich the place there are many picnic spots and loch-side cafes for a lunch cease. Extend your journey by visiting the magical and aptly named Green Lochan within the Ryvoan Pass. Rest awhile within the stunning surroundings and be careful for the elusive crimson squirrels. Back on the principle route, it’s an thrilling downhill trip on tracks alongside the ski highway to return your bikes. You’ll be just a little saddle-sore however it’s an incredible day’s biking that the household will all the time bear in mind.
• Day’s bike rent from £21 day at In Your Element
Wadebridge to Padstow, Cornwall
The Camel Trail phase between Wadebridge and Padstow is especially in style. Photograph: Alamy
Without a doubt my favorite household cycle trip is one which encompasses flat, protected paths, wonderful costal surroundings and a good reward on the finish – on this case, gorgeous views and a hearty pasty. Start at Wadebridge the place you may lease bikes from Bridge Bike Hire (grownup bike from £13 a day) and cycle alongside the pathway proper subsequent to the Camel estuary. After reaching Padstow (5.5 miles) and having fun with a pasty and exquisite harbour views, hop again in your bikes for the trip again to Wadebridge and revel in a drink in one of many many pubs. If you’ve nonetheless acquired loads of power you may keep on to Bodmin (5 miles) and Wenfordbridge (6 miles).
• Route particulars at cornwall.gov.uk
Bishop’s Stortford to Braintree, Essex
The Flitch Way is 15 miles lengthy. Photograph: Alamy
The comparatively flat Flitch Way follows the route of a railway deserted within the 1970s. You can cycle, stroll or trip a horse alongside the 15-mile traffic-free path, skirting the Tudor looking enclave of Hatfield Forest, passing fields of retired shire horses, free vary turkeys gobbling within the woods, dragonflies hovering over wetlands, and a number of other previous stations and halts full with unique platforms, enamel indicators and picket fences. There are two cafes en-route, one indoor at Rayne serving truffles and pastries, the opposite out of doors at Little Canfield providing pumpkin soup and bacon sandwiches. Be good and decelerate for pedestrians, although.
• Map at visitparks.co.uk