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THE UK'S BEST CYCLING DESTINATIONS

"The UK is full of ideal cycling terrain. From flat expanses to craggy mountainscapes, there's plenty of variety for weekend outings. If you need a change of scene from your local loop, here are our top tips."

YANTO BARKER

1. The Mendips, Somerset

The Mendips may be bit of a surprise to feature on this list, but that's more because it's unsung rather than un-interesting. With the wide-mouthed drama of Cheddar Gorge as well as the calm country idylls in the valley below, a loop of the Mendips can take in some serious altitude gains and also offer up a number of notable sights. Glastonbury and Wells both spectacular in their own right, a ride in the Mendips can be as challenging as you choose it to be. Sparsely populated, traffic isn't an issue. Easily accessible from Bath and Bristol, there's no reason your weekend city-break can't have a bit of green-lane-ing tied in to it.
 
DO - Stop for a ploughmans and enjoy the local cheese.

DON'T - Forget anything - shops are sparse on the Mendips.

2. The Peak District

Monsal, Mam Tor, Winnats Pass, Bank Road - There's a reason that the Hill Climbing community has a strong following in the Peak District. Dry stone walls lining the roads that haul themselves over the sharp contours of the valleys, riding in the Peaks can be tough. Never climbing gradually and instead insisting on doing it all at once, the Peaks are an ideal retreat for any rider wanting to really test themselves. A very disctinctive and barron landscape the reward for riders conquering the hill climbs, there's plenty of quality stops for riders in need of smoe refuelling.
 
DO - Take on Winnat's Pass - this is one road to conquer.

DON'T - Leave your legs at home.

3. Isle of Skye


Getting to somewhere as remote as Skye is always a push, but the reward for making the effort are some of the UK's most spectacular views and punishing climbs. The Quiraing road in particular offers some impressive 15% gradients and the most striking landscapes you can find without leaving the UK. If you're after a challenge though, take the the road towards Applecross, the Bealach Na Ba. 9.1km in length and taking you to 636 meters, this road is famed for it's Alpine qualities, and at the top, offers a view over the sea to Skye.
 
DO - Stop for a dram of whisky after your ride.

DON'T - forget to bring your camera.
 

4. The Purbecks, Dorset

Bear with us on this one. Yes - it's not super dramatic. No, it's not the most challenging place possible to ride, but Dorset does offer some nice little highlights. Not too far from the capital, the Dorset coast offers plenty of variability. Flat and quick or lumpy and punchy, the Purbecks are easily reachable, offer pleasant countryside and are often fairly quiet. A weekend away not too complicated to arrange, we recommend taking in Corfe Castle before taking the Sandbanks Chain Ferry into Poole. If you're tempted to push out of the Purbecks, why not tackle Shaftesbury's Gold Hill for extra kudos on a cobbeled climb.
 
DO - Stop at Lulworth Cove.

DON'T - Stray from the path - firing ranges abound.
 
 

5. The Lake District

 
 
 
The home of Wordsworth, the Lake District doesn't need us to shout about it's hardy beauty. The roads however, we can discuss. Home of the UK's joint steepest road, Hardknott Pass, the Lake District provides diverse landscapes and terrain to keep you on your toes. Avoiding the main roads aroud Windemere and heading off to the West of the Lakes makes for quieter and more dramatic riding. With the Lake District one of the few places in the UK that wild camping is tolerated, why not bring a tent for the ultimate bikepacking weekend getaway?


DO - Pick up some Kendal Mint Cake to keep you going.

DON'T - Forget that pack jacket.

 

6. The Surrey Hills

It may be a contraversial additon to the list, but despite being one some of the most populated roads in the UK, the leafy lanes and mossy banks of the Surrey Hills have their charms and challenges. From the steep and abrupt climbs to the simple hedged lanes that are indicative of the Garden of England, riding in Surrey is somewhat special because of the infrastructure that's there for you. Well equipped to serve the cycling community, there are no shortage of coffee stops and bike shops for you to solve, sort and fix any issue you might have on the road.
 

DO: Take in Leith Hill and test your legs on Whitechapel lane.

DON'T: Just do laps of Box Hill.

6. Snowdonia, Wales


Snowdonia has long been hailled by mountain bikers, but that's no reason for you to steer clear on thinner sets of tyres. With the Bwlch y Groes route claiming the title of Wales' second highest road, you can enjoy sweeping vistas and mountainous parcours. Giving you the variety, complexity and diversity to give you more impetus to get on the bike, a trip to Snowdonia can provide you with renewed enthusiasm for outings on two wheels.
 
DO: Profit from recovery rarebit.

DON'T: Attempt to pronounce the road names.
 

7. Snowdonia, Wales

 
 
 

Snowdonia has long been hailled by mountain bikers, but that's no reason for you to steer clear on thinner sets of tyres. With the Bwlch y Groes route claiming the title of Wales' second highest road, you can enjoy sweeping vistas and mountainous parcours. Giving you the variety, complexity and diversity to give you more impetus to get on the bike, a trip to Snowdonia can provide you with renewed enthusiasm for outings on two wheels.
 
DO: Profit from recovery rarebit.

DON'T: Attempt to pronounce the road names.

8. The Yorkshire Dales & Forest of Bowland

 
We couldn't not include the Dales - with their unique landscape, near empty roads and vast horizons, you can ride in expansive countryside. With plenty of decent routes and roads to choose from, you can even see how you rank compared to the pros over some of the famed Tour de Yorkshire routes. With the Forrest of Bowland nearby offering even more green lanes and even fewer cars, you can really get in touch with riding again.
 

DO: Take on Buttertubs Pass.

DON'T: Pack away too many puds.


Think we've missed something?

Yes - your own turf is always the best turf, so, if you've got any riding suggestions that you love escaping to, don't hesitate to let us know. Until then, happy riding.