The Best Places to Visit in Your Very Own E-Tour of Britain

The Best Places to Visit in Your Very Own E-Tour of Britain

You’ve got your new Raleigh electric bike and an increasing desire to explore this great nation, but where do you go first? With the E-Tour of Britain in full flow, we’ve been thinking about the best places to visit if you’re planning your very own e-tour.

We’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite cities, parks and forests suitable for cyclists of all abilities looking to explore each corner of the country. Whether you’re planning a day trip, short break or a longer adventure, you might want to consider some of the following.

Best UK national parks & nature reserves for cycling

Cairngorms

Mountains, moorland, lochs and forest; with regards to stunning British scenery, the Cairngorms has it all. What it also has is a vast network of cycle routes and trails varying in difficulty from beginner to pro. The Old Logging Way, or slightly longer Speyside Way are both ideal trails if you’re new to cycling, or just getting back into it with your new e-bike.

New Forest

The New Forest boasts over 100 miles of manageable paths across heaths, through woodland and along the coast. It’s this, and the local wildlife - look out for wild New Forest ponies - that make this National Park a family favourite. A great choice if you’ve got little ones joining you on your travels.

Snowdonia

Much more than a single mountain, Snowdonia National Park is brimming with breath-taking views and natural splendour. You’ll see plenty of it from the Mawddach Trail, a nine mile stretch from Dolgellau which follows an abandoned railway line along the Mawddach estuary. With a plentiful supply of picnic spots and pubs, it’s a great pick for a day trip.

Lake District

Another UK favourite for outstanding natural beauty, the Lake District is begging to be explored by bike, or even better, by e-bike. In this National Park your ability level may dictate your destination. Looking for a relaxing, beginner-level jaunt? Head to Windermere’s western shore. Got something more challenging in mind? Ullswater and its surrounding fells are more likely for you.

Crom

Looking for somewhere a little romantic? You’ll do well to beat Crom Estate in Northern Ireland. Tranquil waters, beautiful parkland and castle ruins mean you’ll probably want lots of stops on this gentle ride. Extra points if you spot the elusive pine marten, a rare UK species which makes this part of Northern Ireland its home.

Best UK trail centres for cycling

Dalby Forest

As well as extreme black trails and skills areas for the adrenaline junkies, Dalby Forest has plenty of easier green and blue routes of different lengths. Being one of the UK’s bigger trail centres, situated on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors, Dalby makes for a great location for an adventure weekend away.

Forest of Dean

Another great choice if you’re taking children. The family trail at the Forest of Dean offers 10 miles of smooth, mostly flat pathways. Along the way the more adventurous in your group may want to take an occasional detour onto a section of the blue trail, rejoining the group a little further down the original green.

Cannock Chase

The Sherbrook Valley Trail is Cannock Chase’s longest leisure trail with both a 7.5 mile and a 12.5 mile loop. The blue-graded route would be a perfect trip when you’ve grown too comfortable on the green routes and fancy upping the anti just a little bit. While you’re at Cannock Chase you can whiz around the Route to Health Sculpture Trail, a one mile circular arts trail created by local artists, students and community groups.

Haldon Forest

Just outside Exeter you’ll find 3,500 acres of woodland waiting to be explored. Start on the discovery trail if you’re just getting back on your bike and upgrade to the Spicers trail to experience new surfaces. As with all trail centres, there’s plenty more challenging routes if that’s what you’re after.

7Stanes Mabie

Mabie’s home to the Kona Dark Side, the longest and most difficult North Shore trail in the UK. It’s not all for the pros though, we suggest starting out on the aptly named Big Views Loop. This centre’s another great option for nature-lovers. Look out for red squirrels or try and spot a fishing osprey from the Lochaber Loch wildlife hide.

Best UK cities for cycling

Cambridge

Britain’s cycling capital, Cambridge is well set up for visitors and their bikes. You’ll find considerate drivers like you’ve not seen before in the UK plus plenty of bike racks for parking. A great choice for a weekend cycling city trip, spend a day touring the colleges and city centre and another exploring the gentle tracks of the surrounding countryside.

Oxford

Perhaps not quite as cycling-friendly as Cambridge, nonetheless Oxford does have more than its fair share of cyclists. Meander along waterways, and explore the city’s wealth of parks and green space. You’ll find plenty of cycle routes in and around Oxford, a popular choice to cycle along the river past Port Meadow during which you’ll certainly find a nice pub or two to drop in on.

Edinburgh

Thanks to its vast network of bike paths, you can reach most parts of Edinburgh on safe, traffic-free routes. You could easily fill a few days with different cycle routes in and around the Scottish capital, there’s so much to see. You could take in the beautiful city centre architecture from Arthur’s Seat one day and explore the surrounding coastline another.

York

With plenty of bike-friendly infrastructure and only three miles between the city’s outer ring road and its centre, York is easy to explore by bike. Wind through the streets to visit its famous attractions and follow the river Ouse (North or South) for a longer, non-stop ride - although stopping at tearooms and pubs is definitely recommended.

London

London doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to cycling but there’s so much of the city that can be explored via dedicated bike lanes. You may want to avoid certain areas and roads, yes, but cycling is probably the best way to see England’s capital. For example, you could enjoy all of the following sights from one cycle lane: the Tower of London, The Shard, the Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the London Eye, Somerset House, Big Ben and the Palaces of Westminster.

Get planning!

There are many many more places to be explored by bike across the UK but hopefully this list serves as a good starting point when planning where to take your bike next. Have we missed your favourite British cycling location? Head over to our Facebook page and tell us about it. Not gone electric yet? Find out if an electric bike could be right for you on our ‘What are electric bikes?’ page.