Someone cycling up an empty winding road. There is a river running through a valley and large hills in the background.

Best Cycling Paths in the UK

Published: 14 June 2023
Dust off your bike and discover some of the stunning landscapes and cities the UK has to offer. In this blog, we look at 5 popular routes to try as a fun day out exploring somewhere new, or as a way to spice up your training plan for a charity bike ride. 

Lucy Thompson Digital Content Editor at Macmillan

Top 5 cycle routes

The number one.

The Bristol and Bath Railway Path

The number two.

Tarka Trail, Devon

The number three.

Grafham Water, Cambridge

The number four.

Loch Leven, Kinross-shire

The number five.

Richmond Park, London

Start your cycling journey

Someone cycling up an empty winding road. There is a river running through a valley and large hills in the background.Looking for the challenge of a lifetime? Join Team Macmillan for Ride across Britain – a 9 day cycling epic that will take you from the coast of Cornwall to the highlands of Scotland. 

Or kickstart your cycling journey with one of our training plans – if you’re just starting out, download the Sofa to 50K training plan, an 8-week plan developed by British Cycling for people looking to get cycling for health or their first charity bike ride. 

Looking for something different? Explore all upcoming Macmillan cycling events and sign up for your next challenge today. 


Explore Macmillan cycling events


Frequently asked questions

Whether you decide to tackle the stunning circular route around Loch Leven, or the short and fast Richmond Park loop, here’s what to know when planning your next cycling trip. 

You can also explore more information on how to stretch, strengthen and fuel for your cycle with more top advice from our training partner Running with Us. For more resources on preparing for cycle rides in all conditions, check out British Cycling.

  • Planning for a trip – how much training you should do? What about training plans?

    If you’re tackling your first proper ride, be realistic about choosing your distance.

    If you're already reasonably active, aim to complete a 15 mile ride in 60-90 minutes. If you’re only just getting started, plan a 5 mile route, ideally on roads with minimal traffic and no big hills. There are various apps with free options to help plan your route, including Strava, Komoot, Mapmyride and Google Maps.  

    Explore different training plans from British cycling – including a beginner plan to take you to your first 50km.

  • What equipment will you need?

    No matter what type of ride you’re doing, you’ll want to make sure you’re carrying a basic puncture repair kit. This should include:

    • a spare inner tube (make sure it’s the correct size for the wheel of your bike)
    • a couple of tyre levers
    • a pump

    Other things to bring with you include:

    • plasters or a first aid kit in case of any scrapes
    • your mobile phone
    • some cash or a debit card for emergencies
    • plenty of water and possibly also some easy snacks

    Other equipment

    Consider bringing a basic multi-tool, in case of needing to change the saddle height or other adjustments once you’re out on the road. 

    If cycling in dimly lit conditions or fog, you should also have lights equipped to the front and back of your bike. If cycling on roads, it’s always a good idea to wear a high vis top or jacket over your clothes.

    When trying a new route that isn’t necessarily well signposted, consider investing in a GPS bike computer that clips to the handlebars, or a phone mount for you to follow your route on Maps. 

    You may want to invest in equipping your bike with paniers. This will allow you to cycle without a heavy rucksack. 

  • What should I wear?

    You don’t need to invest in expensive cycling gear to begin with, but a helmet is an absolute essential. Make sure you’re wearing comfortable sport leggings for trips longer than a few miles, or lycra shorts beneath jeans. If you like, you can invest in bib shorts down the line.

    Need some inspiration? Check out our range of cycling gear from the Macmillan shop - we've got everything from cycling jerseys to sunglasses.

  • How to check your bike before a ride 

    There are a few things to check before setting out on your ride: 

    • Saddle height: should be high enough to pedal freely, the balls of your feet just reaching the ground while seated
    • Tyres: check tyres are pumped up properly. Use a pump with a gauge to make sure the pressure is correct for the weight and size of your tyres. As you get more experienced, you can experiment with different pressures to optimise your ride
    • It’s always worth learning how to do a basic safety test before setting on your ride.

    You can find more training resources and information on bike checks here

  • How to travel with a bike
    If you’re travelling further afield for a new cycling route, it’s important to plan in advance how you will get to the start point.

    If taking your bike on public transport, particularly trains, you will need to book a bike slot in advance with the train company. Similarly, some buses will not allow you to bring your bike aboard, so it’s important to research this in advance. 

  About the author

Lucy is an experienced lifestyle writer who enjoys hiking, cycling, and generally getting lost in the outdoors. She is currently working on a range of fundraising content at Macmillan.