English Tourism Week
Cycling is a great way for many of us to get outdoors, keep fit, socialise and improve our overall well-being. Whether you want to put in some serious miles of training when you have time off work, or you want to experience an exciting outdoor adventure with your friends, family or partner, England has some truly wonderful landscapes and trails you can take your bike for a spin. With this guide to the top five spots in England for cycling holidays, chosen by Asgard, we’re here to prove it’s never been a better time to explore our wonderful countryside with your bike. Just remember, when you’re back from your holiday, you’ll need a secure and safe place to store your bikes, so be sure to take a look at Asgard’s range of bike sheds.
Bordering Wales, the Wye Valley is an outstanding area of natural beauty. It has lush green woodland in the summer, dramatic hills, rivers and an abundance of English wildlife. This area of Herefordshire and Gloucestershire has a great deal to offer for holidaymakers who are interested in being involved in outdoor sports and activities. Mountain biking is high up on the list of popular activities that will enable you to appreciate as much of the Wye Valley countryside as possible.
There are loads of B&B’s to choose from that will accommodate cyclists and their parties. The village of Symonds Yat is a particularly good spot for adventure seeking cyclists, as many of the hotels and cottages look onto the river Wye and the vast woodland areas and farmland that stretches across the Welsh border.
The Forest of Dean is another area of the Wye Valley that is definitely worth venturing to on your bike. An area of cultural significance, the Forest of Dean has played host to ancient Celtic tribes, Roman colonists, Saxon warlords and Norman invaders. Cycling around this area is great for history enthusiasts, as you’ll come across St Briavels Castle, Flaxby Abbey and many more historic structures, not to mention the beautiful countryside.
If you want to explore a corner of England that can still be said to be ‘off the beaten track’ then be sure to visit the Wye Valley for one of the best areas for cycling holidays this country has to offer.
Many of us will know Cornwall to be England’s answer to a surfers paradise and while this is true, the mystical county of Cornwall (or Kernow in the native tongue) has a lot to offer the serious cyclist. If you’re looking for the addition of beautiful coastlines and sandy beaches to your countryside cycling holiday, taking your bike for a ride across Cornwall is a must. Who wouldn’t want to relax on the beach with a BBQ and some real Cornish Scrumpy after a day of cycling. Sounds like heaven doesn’t it?
One of the most well known cycle trails in this unique part of England is called the ‘Cornish Way’ and it takes you from Lands End all the way to Bude. This scenic trail directs you along the coast of the Celtic sea, taking you through the tourist haven of Newquay and the fishing port of Padstow, roughly 123 miles to the seaside town of Bude. There’s also an option to follow an alternative route on this trail that takes you through St Austell, which is the home of the St Austell Brewery, one of the oldest businesses in Cornwall and a great place to visit for the craft beer enthusiasts among us.
Cornwall has many options for those who wish to take their bike with them on holiday and the ‘Cornish Way’ is only one of these. To find more exciting trails, be sure to take a look at Cornwall’s official tourist board website for more information about where you could explore on your bike.
North Yorkshire Moors
The North Yorkshire Moors make up one of England’s biggest and national parks. Made up of vast expanses of heather moorland and sparsely populated with small villages and towns, this area of England is ideal for the adventurous cyclist who wants to see some of Northern England’s untouched and non industrialised natural beauty.
If you’d like to see some of the sea on your cycling tour of the North Yorkshire Moors then look no further than the spectacular scenery where the Cleveland Hills meet the sea. This part of the moors is truly breathtaking and has been designated as a heritage coast. It’s also the same coastline that Count Dracula is said to have landed on in Bram Stoker’s famous story. If you’re a classic literature fan, you might want to cycle down to Whitby Abbey where it is said Dracula’s grave can be found within the ruins of the benedictine architecture.
Rievaulx Abbey, once one of the great Abbeys of England is situated in the North Yorkshire Moors. The ruins of this medieval Cistercian monastery will conjure up visions of a time from long ago and the monks that lived within its walls and inhabited it’s grounds, as you cycle around. Visiting the Abbey on a bike is a great way to the whole area and get a feel for its historical significance in England’s heritage. If you’d like to find out more, prior to your cycling holiday visit the Yorkshire tourist board’s website.
Finally, you shouldn’t forget that North Yorkshire plays host to part of the Tour de Yorkshire and has some fantastic roads to cycle on.
The often overlooked holiday destination of the Kielder Forest is a place of untouched natural charm and whatsmore it offers some of England’s most exciting bike trails. Every year the Kielder Forest is the location for a duathlon that features a 20k mountain bike route. Of course there’s more than 20k to explore this vast expanse of woodland, lakes and wildlife, so you don’t have to stick the route the duathlon follows, you could make your own route up or even just explore the area with your off-road bike.
Off-road mountain biking is what this remote location of England is all about and one of the best known trails is called the ‘Bloody Bush’ trail. The combination of both lonesome Pine & Bloody Bush mountain bike trails has an impressive 33 km of red grade trail riding. It gives riders a single route to the border with Scotland. Cyclists who have followed this trail report that it offers an awesome adventure ride through some of the UK’s wildest terrain, meaning you’ll have to be prepared for tough riding conditions. The trail was named the ‘Bloody Bush’ because of its location on the Scottish border, which is marked by a stone pillar to commemorate a battle between english cattle raiders and Scottish farmers during medieval times. If you’re an intermediate level rider this rail is for you. The route takes you through trees and moorland, quite literally in the middle of nowhere.
The Chiltern Hills are an expanse of hills, situated north-west of London, covering the counties of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. A designated area of natural beauty, the Chiltern Hills give Londonders and other nearby city dwellers the opportunity to get out of the city and explore an area of England with a great deal to offer. Of course, the hills specifically offer mountain bikers some fantastic trails.
If you’re a competitive mountain biker, there’s the Chiltern Ridge Trail Ride event that takes place on April 27th this year. The trail takes you on a trip through one of the best mountain biking routes the home counties has to offer and includes big climbs, shaky descents and a fast singletrack, all of which are within the picturesque Chiltern Hills. The course if fully signposted and supported with maps and GPS, so if you’re fairly new to finding your way through mountain bike trail rides there’s plenty of help on hand to get you to the finish line.
Symonds Yat - https://flic.kr/p/caPV8G
Cornwall - https://flic.kr/p/a5R9aG
Whitvy - https://flic.kr/p/VTyQsy
Kielder Forest - https://flic.kr/p/5jmgm6
Chiltern skies - https://flic.kr/p/6ozAC9