How to: plan a long distance cycle – the best UK routes

Part two of my collab with Sustrans to send you on your merry cycling way. Once you’re prepped and ready, these are some of the prettiest UK routes you can get your biking teeth into.

Coast & Castles (July 2008)

1. Devon Coast to Coast
A fantastically beautiful route that takes you from the beaches of north Devon, through the lush Torridge valley and into the historic maritime city of Plymouth. Following the Tavy and Walkham rivers, the ride takes you past quaint villages and flanks the western edge of Dartmoor. Flat and traffic free, it’s the perfect introduction to cycle touring.
Distance: 99 miles.

2. Coast and Castles South.
This ride does what it says on the tin – and then some. Taking you along the underrated splendour of the Northumberland coast, it’s an epic trip past iconic landmarks like Bamburgh Castle and Tynemouth Priory, before heading across the border and into Edinburgh.
Distance: 200 miles.

3. Celtic Trail West.
The Western section of the Celtic Trail hugs one of the UK’s finest coastlines. The seasidey sections are threaded together by quiet, hilly lanes winding through Pembrokeshire’s scenic countryside – perfect for the more experienced cyclist looking for adventure through this stunning part of Wales. Take your bikini and stop off for a dip in one of my favourite wild swimming spots, the Blue Lagoon.
Distance: 143 miles.

4. Way of the Roses.
Saddle up and cross the northern tip of Lancashire and the broad breadth of Yorkshire, through the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the Yorkshire Wolds and the Studley Royal World Heritage Site near Ripon (yes Ripon, from Downton Abbey. Get your best Lady Mary impersonation ready).
Distance: 170 miles.

5. Garden of England.
Meander from London to Hastings, following the wonderful north Kent coast. Steeped in history, you’ll travel past castles, churches and historic houses with plenty of great cafes and pubs on the way for some well-deserved pit stops.
Distance: 113 miles.

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What’s your favourite long distance ride in Britain? Let me know and I’ll add it to the list!

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