…And on the subject of maps. I’ve just stumbled upon something that’s not only rather good but, dare I say, useful! (It’s not the list mentioned in a few moments although that is of interest too – keep reading). I received an email this week about a list (there you go…) of the UK’s ‘best cycling staycations‘. It’s sponsored by Raleigh and is worthy of visual meander. Their list includes some familiar and not-so-familiar locations. Here they are from one to ten:
1. Scarborough to Whitby – 21.7 miles
This coastal route through North Yorkshire takes riders to two stunning locations on the east coast of England. It’s perfect for a staycation, with many camping sites and boasting the highest concentration of pubs for pit stops along the way. There is quite a long hill, but with the aid of an e-bike, everyone can participate and take in the rarified air and breath-taking views. And don’t forget to top it off with some Whitby scampi for the perfect end of ride treat!
2. Marriott’s Way – 18.4 miles
Marriott’s Way follows an old train line taking riders from the middle of Norwich into the surrounding countryside, embedding riders into its rich and natural wildlife. This route meanders through farmland, woodland and water meadows, perfect for getting the family out and about on a relatively flat trail for all riding abilities. Marriott’s Way also boasts the best summer temperatures of all trails featured on the list and the third highest density of pubs for you to take a break and unwind with a pint.
3. Viking Coastal Trail – 9.2 miles
This shorter and easier section of the Viking Coastal Trail takes you from Margate Station to Reculver with spectacular views of the chalk cliffs this area is known for. Along the way you can visit the Reculver Towers and Roman Fort, making this a perfectly educational bike ride for the entire family. There’s also dozens of pubs to stop by during the ride, and plenty of campsites in the area. For those looking for a bigger challenge, the entire Viking Coastal Trail is 32 miles long for those wanting to make it a bigger trip away.
4. London Docklands & Lea Valley – 20.7 miles
The London Docklands pathway is perfect for those wanting to mix a city break with some R&R in nature. This route takes you from the heart of London out through London’s green spaces like Mile End Park, Hackney Marshes, and Walthamstow Wetlands amongst others. The trail also boasts a high number of pubs for shelter, though if you’d rather stay in the great outdoors there are a couple of camping sites near the path for you to sleep under the stars.
5. Birmingham to Wolverhampton – 13.4 miles
Path Number 5 connecting the cities of Birmingham and Wolverhampton ranks well on our list with its high density of pubs to stop by, warm summer weather and relatively flat terrain. That high density of pubs makes this a good trail for those on electric bikes as well as pedal cyclists as it gives them a chance to recharge both sets of batteries – manpower and bike power. If you’re looking for a mix of a city break and a chance to reconnect with nature, the Birmingham-Wolverhampton route is perfect.
6. Derby Canal Path and Cloud Trail – 13.3 miles
For those just getting back on the bike after a long time or looking for something a bit more laid back, the Derby Canal Path is for you. Cycling past a former railway and alongside the canal, riders can explore Derby out into surrounding villages of Worthington and Melbourne. If you follow the Cloud Quarry you can also reach Loughborough for an extended tour. Either way you’ll have plenty to see and lots of pubs to stop at for refreshments.
7. Preston Guild Wheel – 21.2 miles
Route 622 in Lancashire is a great trail for a day out with the family to explore the docklands, parks, and a nature reserve around Preston. There are many markers along the route to take breaks, as well as an excellent selection of pubs to enjoy along the way.
8. Route 221 – 8.7 miles
Passing along Basingstoke Canal, Route 221 is a peaceful, scenic route perfect for summer days. As you cycle along you’ll pass plenty of green spaces perfect for picnic stops, while Woking’s restaurants, pubs and shops are also easily accessible. The trail can be completed in around 44 minutes, making it one of the best options for families with younger children.
9. Consett and Sunderland Railway Path – 14 miles
This path is perfect for a little history and taking in local art as it takes riders down an old railway line to Roker Beach. Following the former Stanhope & Tyne Railway, you’ll pass the new Stadium of Light, Hell Hole Wood (a part of the woodland Trust) and the Beamish Open Air Museum. This trail can be a bit more challenging in terms of hills, but with all the sightseeing stops along the way, you’ll breeze right through it.
10. The University Way – 8.8 miles
Whilst the shortest route in the top ten, The University way makes up for it in accessibility, air quality, and ambient temperature. The trail takes riders from the heart of Bedford out into the surrounding countryside. This trail boasts historical stops along the way such as the Priory Country Park and the Danish Camp. Once you reach the destination at Sandy, riders can also explore its RSPB nature reserve rounding out the day with more activities for nature and history lovers alike. After a year of staying home and melting into our sofas, it’s time to get back outside and get back on two wheels. If you’re looking for a getaway to get the whole family moving, then there’s no finer way to rediscover the UK than through a cycling staycation.
…and here they are on a map, with a few added details (keep strolling for the interesting bit):
In the email, the author Mike Carden is asked to comment and this is what he has to say:
“Cycling holidays look set to skyrocket this year with limited travel abroad. The UK’s cycle paths offer a great opportunity for getting outdoors and seeing more of the country.
Where we are lagging behind a little is in charging stations – compared to mainland Europe we really don’t have provision for the rising number of e-bike riders to charge on the go. As e-bikes continue to grow in popularity, I think we’ll see an investment and increase in the number of dedicated charging points across the country.”
It turns out that Mike Carden (and this is the really interesting bit) has a website, BikeRideMaps.co.uk. And it’s rather good. (I’ll forgive him that he makes no mention of my own books…). Enjoy!
What do you think?