Here are 12 long distance cycle routes in the UK and Ireland mostly for duration up to 4 days except for two which are full weeks. There is a mix of on and off-road, and some with both. Two are in Scotland, one in Wales and two in Ireland. The rest in England. Four are C2Cs and half are recognised routes whilst the other half are my own creation. Bear in mind these are my favourites so you will no doubt note some omissions (such as LEJOG).
The Prize Draw Offer
Choose your favourite 3 in order of preference and enter them onto the ‘draw’ sheet and send. Of those entering ( it is free) you will be placed in a random ‘draw’ where the winner will be eligible for two free places on the voted favourite ride in 2021 (conditions apply -see below)
Click here to enter.
1. The C2C Coast to Coast Cycle Route – the ‘Sea to Sea’ 136 miles up to 3 days
This is the iconic coast to coast cycle, normally cycled in two and half to three days. Some testing hills and beautiful scenery.
The route is normally cycled West to East, with start points at Whitehaven and Workington, and end points at Tynemouth or Sunderland.
Mainly on road but some optional off road – hybrids recommended
2. Wainwright’s Route Coast to Coast 170 miles 4 to 5 days
This cycle tour follows (as close as possible) Alfred Wainwright’s famous coast to coast walking route. A challenging bike ride the route takes you through some of the most beautiful countryside in Northern England. For the more adventurous rider there are some optional off-road sections taking you off the beaten track. The first two days are in the spectacular Lake District National Park with an overnight stay in Keswick. Leaving ‘The Lakes’, the route climbs over the remote Pennine Hills before descending into the Yorkshire Dales to ‘Swaledale’ (a real gem). Riding through many picturesque villages along quiet country roads lined with dry stone walls you reach the market town of Richmond. The final section of the route passes through North Yorkshire Moors National Park, renowned for some of the best off-road biking in England. The tour finishes in the quaint fishing port of Robin Hood’s Bay.
3. Hadrian’s Cycleway Tynemouth to Carlisle 85 miles 2 to 3 days
Probably the second most popular and easier coast-to-coast route.
Often cycled East to West for best views of the Wall. Starting in Tynemouth along the same route as the C2C, the route then keeps to the Tyne Valley to cross the Pennines and closely follows Hadrian’s Wall visiting most of the iconic Wall features. It is best enjoyed at leisure by explorers of history, psychogeography, and teashops!
4. Devon Coast to Coast Cycle Route 102 miles 2 to 3 days
From either Ilfracombe or Bude on the north coast of Devon to Plymouth on the south coast.
This is a wonderful route taking in coasts, estuaries and beaches, plus The Granite Way on the flank of Dartmoor, the Plym Valley Trail and the famous Tarka Trail.
Easier than the North of England’s C2C, but still with some climbs – it’s not flat! If you’re not sure about the real C2C as a challenge, maybe do this one first?
5. English South Coast -Dorset, IOW and New Forest 170 miles in 3 days
A substantially coastal ride of great variety within easy reach of London. Commencing in Weymouth
the route runs close to the Dorset Coast ( with recommended hiking excursions to visit the iconic coastal sites such as Durdle Door. Then on to the Isle of Purbeck, Bournemouth and Lymington, the jumping off point for the Isle of Wight. After a full circumnavigation of the island, the route returns to the mainland at Lymington after which follows an exploratory ride through the New Forest finishing in Brockenhurst. Both start and finish points are on the main rail line into London. Suitable for road bikes but if you wish to take advantage of the amazing network of trails in the New Forest, then go for a hybrid.
6. Great North Trail - English section 265 miles 6 to 7 days
From the Peak District (Matlock) to Scottish Border (Keilder Forest -Cheviots)
A tough off-road route which has been recently devised and is as close as possible to the famous walking Pennine Way. The route continues to Cape Wrath in Scotland.
7. Lake District Round 167 miles on and off road in 4 days
A mix of on and off road (some single track) which visits every major lake, water, reservoir. Quite strenuous in parts, this is certainly a ‘challenge ride’ including some 25% grades. However, with probably the most beautiful scenery in England this Ride is quite stunning.
8. Wales -North West to South East 210 miles in 4 days
This is not the North to South close to the Welsh/English Border but from Holyhead on the Isle of Anglesey to Chepstow on the Severn Estuary. Visiting Caernarvon with its famous castle, Snowdonia, the remote central Welsh Cambrian Mountains, Hay-on-Wye and the Black Mountain. A Ride full of variety and excitement and all on-road.
9. West Highland Way 95 miles 3 to 4 days
One of the classic walking routes in Scotland which can also be cycled with a mountain bike. Commencing at the southern end of Loch Lomond, it follows the Loch and then across the wild Rannoch Moor to Fort William. An Iconic route.
10. Northern Scotland 500 – 500 miles in 8 days
Already reviewed in a previous Blog. This is a new on-road route through the best mountain, glen and coastal scenery in Scotland. A world class road route which also features the highest road pass in Scotland.
11. Connemara Round 250 miles and 4 days
My own devised round trip of one of the most beautiful corners of Ireland, featuring part of the Wild Atlantic Way, mountains and evocative moorland.
Totally on road, with moderate hilly sections and opportunities for non-technical mountain hiking. Based from Galway
12. Antrim Coast 150 miles 3 days
My own route from Belfast along the beautiful Antrim Coast with extension into the Antrim Hills,
returning inland to Belfast International Airport. The route features the Giants Causeway, a world heritage site.
Conditions of Free Trip in 2021
The free trip is for 2 persons sharing rooms throughout the duration of the event and includes all meals, snacks and non-alcoholic drinks on the Ride, cycle guiding, maintenance and vehicle and first aid support
The location will be the most popular route chosen by all entrants to the prize draw. This event will be organised in 2021 and every effort will be made to accommodate suitable dates for the winners. The winners will have the option of joining one of the listed alternative trips in the UK or Ireland, but no guarantee can be made as to which of the alternative trips will be run during 2021.
The trip excludes
The hire of a bike. Either bring your own or hire locally.
Transport to the start and transport from the finish of the Ride
Personal travel insurance
Drinks and personal effects