Stuck for inspiration on where to pedal off to? We show you where to find the best family cycle routes near you – wherever you are in the UK.
Cycling – kids love it, it’s great exercise, and it’s free!
But if you’re not sure where to find the best family-friendly cycle routes, there are a number of excellent free resources that will help you find fantastic cycle trails that are right on your doorstep.
How to find the best family cycle routes
Search the National Cycle Network
The National Cycle Network passes through every major town in the UK (in fact 75% of Brits live within a couple of miles of it).
Transport charity Sustrans have mapped the entire network, and made it searchable by postcode, town or cycle route.
Many of the routes on the network are low traffic or entirely traffic-free – making them perfect for family bike rides.
National Cycle Network routes are marked by blue cycle signs (with a red number telling you which route you’re on).
Not sure where to start? Sustrans have picked out some of the best routes for each region in the UK.
Each route has a map and a summary of the ride – while some also have free leaflets you can download.
Just select your region and the type of ride you’re looking for (the ‘Easy Ride’ option is best for families) and away you go.
National Trust cycle routes
If you’re looking for spectacular views, gorgeous gardens and handsome historical sights to take in, then the National Trust have some excellent family bike ride routes across England and Wales for you to download and explore.
Transport Direct Cycle Route Planner
If you want to create your own family-friendly bike route, it’s worth checking out Transport Direct’s cycle route planner tool.
Just enter your journey start point (postcode, district or town) and the location where you want to go, and the route planner will calculate a cycle route for you. You can alter the settings so it will automatically find you the route that is quietest, quickest, or passes by the most attractions.
Contact your local council
Many councils have dedicated cycling sections on their websites, with excellent free cycling resources and annual budgets for cycle routes, trail maps and more.
Transport for London Cycle Journey Planner
If you’re looking at hiring a Barclays (Boris) bike in London the TFL cycle journey planner is a handy resource to map out your route. It clearly shows where the Barclays cycle hire stations are located and you can filter your route by Easy, Moderate and Fast cycling options.
Simply enter your journey start point (postcode, address or place) and where you want to ride to, and the route planner will show you the best route.
MyFamilyClub’s top family cycle routes
Below are some of MyFamilyClub’s favourite family cycling routes.
Forest of Dean (Gloucestershire)
Ride specially created bike trails through the gorgeous greenery of the Forest of Dean. There are smooth riding paths designed with families in mind, as well as plenty of picnic spots and wildlife to see as you go. Bike hire available.
Kennet and Avon Canal (Bath to Reading)
The Kennet and Avon canal path is one of the most beautiful cycle routes in the UK – and it’s perfect for any number of family bike rides. It will take you two-three days to ride the entire route, but of course you don’t have to ride the whole thing – you can join it from Bath, Bristol, Reading, Newbury, Bradford on Avon or anywhere in between.
North Wiltshire Rivers
This is another long cycle path (25 miles in total) that is not too far from the Avon Canal route. Again, you don’t have to cycle all of it, but there’s load to see throughout the whole route – from the beautiful Lacock Abbey (which was in the Harry Potter films) to the ancient stone circle at Avebury.
Troll Trail (Isle of Wight)
A smooth surfaced ride through pretty countryside complete with stone carvings of funny-looking trolls. What’s not to like?
Chase Trails (Staffordshire)
The Chase Trails are made up of three separate cycle routes, all of which are suitable for families. (The Birches Valley Trail is especially good for young kids who are just starting out riding on their own).
The Solar System (York to Selby)
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This is a unique cycle trail that’s great for science buffs. This six-mile route modelled on the structure of the Solar System, with the sun and different planets spread above the track. Every 100 metres of the track is equivalent to over 57 million kilometres in space – which means you should be able to cycle at least 10 times the speed of light…
West London Thames Ride
Escape from the hustle and bustle of the city with this attractive riverside ride that takes you past Henry VIII’s impressive Hampton Court Palace and its gorgeous gardens, quirky moored houseboats and the Hurst Park racecourse.
Tissington Trail (Derbyshire)
The Tissington Trail runs for 13 miles through some picturesque Peak District scenery and winds its way through some scenic little villages. Its gentle gradients make for an easy, pleasant ride.
Have you got a favourite family bike ride?
Our list of favourite bike trails is only a tiny selection.
What are your family cycling tips? Have you got a great family cycle route you think should be included? Let us know in the comments below!