UK cycling holidays have a lot to offer, but it can be tricky to know where to start when you’re planning one. That’s especially the case when you’re looking for easy routes suitable for families or beginners.

But cycling holidays for families are some of the best UK holidays – you get quality time together, you stay active, and you can see a lot of sights. So it’s worth the effort in finding a good option!

In this article we share our pick of the best easy cycling holidays in the UK, with inspiration for some of the best areas and routes to consider.

The regions and routes we’ve selected are:

  • Suitable as beginners cycling holidays or family cycling holidays in the UK
  • Suitable for road or gravel bikes (we’ve specified which in each section)

In the interests of complete transparency, we haven’t cycled all of the routes in this article ourselves. We would love to though! If you have ridden any of these, let us know in the comments below!

Read this for our pick of the best family cycling holidays in Europe.

1. Cornwall

Suggested route: Carn Euny (23 km)
Best kind of bike: Road bike with wider tyres
Great for: Taking in a bit of history

Cornwall is known for its stunning scenery, fantastically fresh seafood, and beautifully weathered beaches. There are various disused railway tracks taking you between fascinating places, full of culture and history. For those with the energy, there are some challenging hills en route, but with the distractions around you, they’ll hardly be noticeable.

The Carn Euny route is filled with interesting and scenic riding, making the Kernow landscape a treat. You’ll pass a cairn at a Neolithic burial site before you weave your way through stone farm buildings in Brane. This is ideal terrain for beginners’ cycling holidays and families, as it’s a short route, full of adventure and artefacts surrounded by lots of opportunities for other activities.

More information

Our guide to cycling Cornwall.

2. Devon

Suggested base(s): Devon Coast to Coast (159 km)
Best kind of bike: Road bike
Great for: Traffic free and mainly flat roads

The Devon Coast to Coast is an extremely scenic route, ideal for families and beginners to UK cycling holidays due to its lack of traffic. It’s also one of the better options for flat cycling holidays in the UK, so if the kids don’t fancy uphill rides, consider this route in Devon for your family cycle holidays.

The route combines countryside views, luxurious valleys, beautiful estuaries and marvellous beaches. It skirts along the edge of west Dartmoor, with increasingly beautiful views. It mainly follows a disused railway line with tunnels and stunning viaducts that take you past various historic sights, while allowing you to plan in rest days to take part in alternative activities.

More information

Our guide to cycling Devon.

Wide bay at Woolacombe beach in north devon
Salcombe beach south coast of Devon

3. The New Forest

Suggested route: Beaulieu to Brockenhurst loop (26 km)
Best kind of bike: Gravel bike
Great for: Pretty villages and not too many hills

Cycling holidays in the New Forest are popular with families and less experienced cyclists, due to the forgiving terrain and the beauty of the surrounding nature. The area is home to some of the best cycling adventures in the UK.

Beaulieu and Lymington are two of the prettiest villages in the New Forest, with village ponds, fine dining, sailing/yachting, and museums. They provide an array of activities for the best family cycling holidays, and indeed some of the best English holidays overall.

There are some great cycling routes to choose around the New Forest. The New Forest National Park cycling map is a useful starting point.

4. Isle of Wight

Suggested route: Round the Island route (109 km)
Best kind of bike: Endurance bike or road bike
Great for: Visiting the whole island in one go

The Isle of Wight is a well-known holiday destination within the UK, that is known for being relaxed and sleepy.

You’ll find lovely quiet lanes and lots of unspoiled countryside. Nearly half of the island is designated an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty,’ perfect for an easy UK cycling holiday.

The Round the Island route will take you through various villages and towns on the Island, allowing for numerous café stop options along the way. You’ll pass by the most exquisite and unspoiled beaches and countryside. It’s a great option for beginners wanting a relatively flat cycling holiday – but to be aware of some big hills, particularly in the south of the island! You can also easily split it up into a multi day ride.

More information

Our guide to cycling the Isle of Wight and the round the Isle of Wight route.

Cycling the Military Road in south Isle of Wight, alongside a bright yellow field
Cowes harbour: one of the most well-known towns on the island

5. Kent

Suggested route: Dover-Deal Sandwich (39.4 km)
Best kind of bike: Gravel bike
Great for: A ride providing lovely, quiet riding away from traffic

Kent is densely packed with trails, sightseeing, quiet lanes and villages. It’s one of the absolute best places for cycling holidays in the UK.

There are great cycle-paths connecting interesting seaside towns and the vibrant green countryside. With so much to offer, there will be a route for you to find your perfect UK bike adventure.

The starting point for the Dover-Deal-Sandwich route is overlooking the busy docks, travelling into town toward Dover Castle where you can stop off to explore and take in its beauty. Once finished here, you will continue on a wonderful straight Roman road to Betteshanger.

This route is perfect for a family cycling trip in the UK or incorporating into a beginner’s cycling holiday, because the terrain is pretty flat and comprises a mix of byways, quiet lanes and cycle paths. Plus once you reach the seafront you can stop off for a spot of lunch in the lighthouse or that all-important ice-cream.

Of the options on this list, it’s one of the best for gentle cycling holidays near London, since you can get there in just a couple of hours by car.

6. Suffolk

Suggested route: Dunwich, Minsmere loop (32 km)
Best kind of bike: Gravel bike
Great for: A relaxed tourist ride in the countryside

Suffolk is a busy county with a full programme of summer events, from food festivals to music events and country fairs. Tie an event in with a wonderful easy cycling holiday through the beautiful countryside and you’ll have a glorious active time for the whole family.

This Dunwich and Minsmere loop is perfect for exploring the Suffolk Coast and the Heaths Area of Natural Beauty, taking you through Dunwich Forest and the attractive Westleton village, with its stunning thatched church.

7. Snowdonia

Suggested base(s): Mawddach Trail (14 km)
Best kind of bike: Road bike with wider tyres
Great for: A quiet, scenic route

Snowdonia is an iconic National Park in Wales that is recognised for some of the country’s best cycling holidays for beginners, due to the extraordinary mountain scenery it provides, along with other activities you can take part in while staying in the area. While hardly flat, the roads are quieter which makes them well suited to family cycling tours.

The Mawddach Trail is one of the most scenic former railway paths in the country. This route runs alongside the striking Mawddach Estuary, below the foothills of Cadair Idris. It takes you along a former railway track from Dolgellau to the seaside town Barmouth, past truly breathtaking scenery.

8. Coast to Coast, Whitehaven to Sunderland

Suggested base(s): Whitehaven to Sunderland (221 km)
Best kind of bike: Touring bike or E-bike
Great for: A scenic challenge

The Coast to Coast cycle route is one of the best known and most popular UK challenges out there. You can do it at whatever speed you like – the fastest cyclists will ride it in a day, but why not take your time and enjoy the multitude of terrains and scenery as you cross the country. Tradition also has it that cyclists on this route must dip their rear wheels In the Irish Sea and front wheels in the North Sea. Perceived wisdom is that this route is best ridden from west to east, so you can take advantage of the prevailing winds.

You start in Whitehaven, an old seaport on the west coast of Cumbria, with quiet lanes and striking scenery. You soon head into the Lake District and take on the fearsome Whinlatter Pass – a major mountain climb and a real challenge for any cyclist – but don’t forget, what goes up, must come down. There’s then some serious climbing in the Yorkshire Dales and North Pennines, before things get easier along the coast for the final section into Sunderland.

The route is a tough one, but if you are ready for some climbing and have got your fitness up it could make a first beginner cycling holiday in the UK, especially if you break it up into chunks. You’ll find some welcoming cycling hotels that are used to receiving cyclists.

More information

Our cycling guide to the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales

9. Northumberland

Suggested route: Coast and Castles route (320 km)
Best kind of bike: Touring bike
Great for: Visiting castles along the coast

The Coast and Castles route is a much-loved route by many, not just cyclists: 192 miles from Newcastle to Edinburgh and 85 miles of it are in Northumberland. This is a route that will allow you to take on a grand tour on your bike with all the home comforts of the UK. This route takes in lonely beaches and beautiful sea views. It’s also dotted with exciting historical sites to spark your imagination, including some of the UK’s best castles – great for travelling with the kids.

It’s a great easy cycling holiday, with lots of options for accommodation throughout and ample fuelling stops within the villages and towns you’ll pass through.

View to Wynrose Pass
View from Simosntone Hall, Hawes

10. Hebridean Way, Scotland

Suggested route: Vatersay to The Butt of Lewis (300 km)
Best kind of bike: Road bike with wider tyres, gravel bike or touring bike
Great for: A first touring holiday in the UK

The Outer Hebrides are a known magnet to cyclists, so it won’t come as a surprise to find that the Hebridean Way route is starting to become popular with UK guided cycle tours that can help with inconveniences like luggage. It’s perfect for those seeking a slower pace of life and quiet roads to ride on. You’ll spend your trip winding past windswept beaches, stone cottages and ancient castles, watching birds of prey playfully soar above you. This route will fill you with joy and fresh air while you take in the stunning turquoise seas.

Although the Outer Hebrides take a bit of getting to, once you’re there they’re a relatively easy UK cycling holiday. The exquisite location, peace and tranquillity are likely to also make them unforgettable. Spread this route out over a week or so and make the most of the fantastic pubs and restaurants.

More information

Our guide to cycling in Scotland and Scotland’s best cycling routes, including some excellent cycling holidays for beginners.

View of Peebles, Scottish Borders, Scotland
Looming clouds over a Scottish country road

What’s your favourite easy cycling holiday in the UK?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the best places to go for easy cycling holidays in the UK – whether for families or beginners. Share your thoughts below!

For family cycling holidays in Europe, read this.

If you’d like some more inspiration for your next UK cycling holiday, check out our UK guides on our UK cycling hub page and also this article on the best cycling routes in the UK.

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Clare Dewey

Clare Dewey is a cyclist with a passion for travel. She set up in 2018 to help make it easy for cyclists to explore the world by bike. Today her mission is still inspiring cyclists to discover new places on two wheels – and doing what she can to make sure they have the best possible time while they’re there. Clare has visited 50+ destinations around the world, many of them by bike.

Last Reviewed: 21 January 2023

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2 Responses to “10 best easy cycling holidays in the UK 2023 (for families and beginners)”

  1. What type of family ride?
    I’m not sure many young families would do some of those rides. Round the IOW – are you kidding ?

    • As ever, it will be a personal decision depending on the age of your kids and how much cycling they’ve done. What’s right for a five year old is somewhat different to what’s right for a fifteen year old. Also bear in mind that you can often easily split routes up into multi-day adventures.

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