It’s that time of year again when a lot of families are looking for the best ways to spend time together during the colder months. Maybe you’ve taken up cycling as a new year’s resolution or gifted your child their first bike for Christmas and are looking for exciting cycle tracks to enjoy together. Whilst cycling may not be at the forefront of your mind during winter, there are some spectacular routes to be enjoyed by all ages, especially now the busy summer months are over!
We’ve rounded up a few of our favourite UK tracks for you to enjoy throughout winter.
1) Morden Hall Park (London) - Somewhere to enjoy with little cyclists
This south London cycle route is set in the grounds of the beautiful national trust Morden Hall Park. Ideal for less experienced cyclists the flat route takes you on a tour of this historical setting, making for a relaxed and light hearted family day out. This route is highly recommended for young families as there is also a playground and plenty of other facilities (including toilets and cafes) on hand, meaning everything you need for a stress free day out is on site! We highly recommend tucking into a well-earned seasonal lunch in one of the cafes as the best way to warm up after a breezy winter cycle!
For more info visit: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/morden-hall-park
2) The Crab & Winkle Way (Kent)- Love cycling and sea food? This one’s for you!
Some people may say that a trip to the beach in winter is a terrible idea, but we think VERY differently! This cycle route starts of in the historical Kentish town of Canterbury and follows the old railway route to costal Whitstable which is famous for its award winning sea food. If you’re not afraid of a few light hills this route will warm you up no matter the weather, perfect for families with older children in the mood for an adventure and some good food!
For more info visit: https://www.sustrans.org.uk/sites/default/files/documents/crabandwinkle.pdf
3) The Liverpool Loop Line (North West) – Accessible Route
This family route in the North West is well served by public transport but still traffic free. The Liverpool Loop Line, also known as the Wild Flower route is an old railway that was used to take vegetables from the Lancashire Plain to London’s Nine Elms market. Once it the rail line was no longer needed it was developed in a cycle path – perfect for families!
4) The Tees Barrage (North East) – For nature lovers
The Tees Barrage is a 10-mile circular route with a shorter 3-mile option also. The route runs along a traffic-free path past the Potrack Marshes Nature Reserve, a wetland home to hundreds of birds and the largest RSPB site in Britain.
Find out more: https://www.sustrans.org.uk/ncn/map/route/tees-barrage-ride
5) Bath two tunnels circuit (Bath)- Something unique
If you’re looking for a bike ride like no other, the Bath two tunnels circuit will defiantly fit the bill. The clue is in the name with this bike trail, with a circular route that travels through the Combe Down and Devonshire tunnels in Bath. What makes this ride extra special is the audio-visual instillation in the combe Down tunnel which creates a journey like no other! We think it’s great to hit this route in the cooler months as it gets super busy during summer and the tunnels also provide a bit of shelter from the wintery weather! If you can tackle the 13 mile route, why wouldn’t you want to tick the UK’s longest cycle tunnel of your bucket list?
For more info visit: https://www.sustrans.org.uk/ncn/map/route/bath-two-tunnels
6) Monsal Trail (Peak district) – For a more casual ride
The Peak Districts Monsal Trail provides the perfect route for a leisurely 8.5 mile bike ride. With plenty of scenic views and a variety of places for pit-stops to warm up at along the way, this makes for the perfect wintery weekend bike ride! This route journeys through four old railway tunnels, each around 400 meters long, meaning there’s always places to shelter if the weather gets a little too wild! The top sites to look out for on this route are the viaduct and old mill’s which add some wonderful historical education to this beautiful bike ride.
7) Loch Leven Heritage Trail (Scotland) – Perfect for any age!
The 21km Loch Leven Heritage trail is a natural and historic trail around Loch Leven in Scotland, around 31 miles from Edinburgh. With the trail being largely flat, it is perfect for cyclists of all ages. There is a huge array of wildlife to be spotted whilst cycling, as well as natural and historic sites.
To find out more visit: http://www.lochlevenheritagetrail.co.uk/index.html
8) Exe Estuary Trail- There’s no place like home!
With the Hornit’s Nest based in Exeter (Devon) it was impossible for one of our favourite cycle routes not to be around this beautiful city! The Exe Estuary Trail provides 26 miles of costal views with an abundance of wildlife, chocolate box villages and plenty of pubs to make the cycle worthwhile for anyone! Although this is the longest route on our list the roads and trails are mainly flat making it suitable for anyone who’s confident on a bike. This route is great for families as it is mostly off-road meaning a relaxed and safe bike ride is in store for anyone who fancies the adventure!
For more info visit: https://www.exploredevon.info/activities/cycle/exe-estuary-trail/
We hope our round-up of some of the UK’s best cycling routes has inspired you to get out this winter! We really do think cycling in winter is the best, but always make sure you take your safety seriously! Lights, horns, helmets and hi-vis are always recommended but particularly during the darker winter months, when light isn’t as good, and tracks can become icy. Check out our cycling accessories here - https://www.thehornit.com/adults.