There are many reasons to take a cycling tour in the United Kingdom. You’ll cover a larger area than you would if you were walking, while still having that outdoor experience you wouldn’t get in a vehicle. What’s more, you’ll take in plenty of stunning scenery, get great exercise, and have a lot of fun. Whatever area you are visiting, there is a bike tour for you, and many of them offer exciting stops and extras. There are tours for travelers of all fitness levels.
Here are five great bike tours spanning different areas of the UK.
1. National Forest E-Bike Holidays, National Forest, England
Covering 200 square miles, the National Forest straddles the counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, and Staffordshire in the center of the UK. The region has more than 400 woodlands made up of a mix of ancient, mature, and more recent plantings and offers a varied landscape that’s rich in history. In the spring, the woodlands are full of blossoms, bluebells, and wild garlic. In the autumn, the National Forest puts on a spectacular display as the leaves change, making this a beautiful area to cycle through.
National Forest E-Bike Holidays are self-guided cycling tours, so there’s no need to keep up with everyone else — you can travel at your own pace. Your accommodations are booked for you, and you’ll bike 20 to 30 miles between stops. You’ll receive maps and guides to help you navigate. Most visitors book in pairs, though you can book as a single person if you prefer. Top-quality Riese & Muller electric bikes with built-in GPS navigation are delivered to your first hotel. All your luggage will be taken to your next hotel for you. The tour organizers live in the area and are always on hand if you have any questions or need assistance. There is also a welcome meeting so that participants can get all the information they need.
Pro Tip: This area is the home of beer! The National Brewery Museum is in the National Forest, and guests can spend a night at a fabulous microbrewery known for its wonderful food and beer. There are also magnificent beer gardens and craft breweries along the way. If you’re a beer lover, make sure to take in the brewery stay.
2. BSpoke’s Grand Tour, Scotland
From the Cairngorms to the Tay Valley, this 240-mile road-bike journey is a classic cycling adventure that finishes with a celebratory freewheel down the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. This fully guided tour by the professionals at BSpoke is suitable for intermediate riders and includes seven days of cycling and six nights of accommodation. You’ll enjoy additional attractions en route, from the site of the Battle of Culloden to the tour and tasting at the Lochnagar whisky distillery. The hotels and inns on the route provide hearty meals, and the organizers hand out home-baked goods to nibble on along the way. You’ll receive plenty of support from the group guide and a logistics vehicle, and your luggage will be transferred for you.
Pro Tip: This tour has limited run times. Other dates may be available upon request, so check ahead before making travel plans. This is a tour for intermediate riders, so consider your fitness level before you book.
3. Cornish Cycle Tours, Cornwall, England
Cornish Cycle Tours runs a variety of tours of some of the most popular Cornish destinations. The outfit offers a choice of routes for both casual and serious cyclists looking to explore Cornwall on their own steam. These include a sport cycle tour, an e-bike tour, and a leisure cycle tour. The latter is more about taking in the scenery and taking your time. The self-guided tours include a detailed map of the local area, maintenance support, pre-arranged accommodations, and luggage transfers to a range of inns and guesthouses. Bikes can be hired directly from Cornish Cycle Tours. The e-bikes are perfect for those looking for some assistance up the hills.
A popular choice is the Poldark Tour. Taking place over eight days, this tour gives cyclists a chance to explore some of the historic locations that have appeared on the show. It’s a great circuit of the southern Cornish peninsula.
4. Roam Tours, Wales
Roam is a family-run company owned and operated by Joe Armstrong, a former Team GB cyclist and international expedition leader, and Gabrielle Coope, a yoga teacher and forest bathing guide. By running just one group at a time, the Roam team aims to offer a very personal service, from pre-trip communication to support on the ground. Joe and Gabrielle have a keen interest in responsible travel. They offer train-travel-friendly locations, support local businesses, and avoid single-use plastics.
Ideal for travelers looking for a slow-paced adventure off the beaten track, Roam’s itineraries wind through stunning and occasionally wild countryside. There are four route options in South Snowdonia, the Cambrian Mountains, and the Black Mountains. Roam provides gravel bikes, allowing participants to veer down unpaved lanes and forest tracks for a more relaxed and adventurous experience. Groups are given a GPS navigation device preloaded with a route to follow to keep them on the right path. They also receive first-rate bikepacking bags to neatly stow everything they’ll need for the trip. Roam offers on-the-ground backup support in case travelers encounter any difficulties, although guests are encouraged to complete the journey unaided for a more rewarding experience. Each day concludes in a cozy country pub.
Pro Tip: The mountainous terrain of Wales and the daily distances of up to 35 miles make these tours fairly challenging. Roam’s trips are ideal for active, fit people with an adventurous mindset and a love for the great outdoors. Up to 25 percent of the route will be on gravel, so being a confident rider is recommended.
The hyper-local travel company Hidden Tracks, led by veteran British Cycling coach Charlie Codrington, takes cyclists of all experience levels on guided rides around and outside London. Participants navigate bridleways, cycle tracks, woodland paths, and the odd quiet road. Rides take anywhere from 4.5 hours to a whole day. Go “Through the Magic Door,” explore the seven windmills on the Miller’s Trail, or set out “Hunting Wombles” across Wimbledon and along the Thames. Investigate routes around Hampton Court Palace, go off-roading all the way from London to Brighton, or follow the pilgrimage trail from Southwark to Canterbury.
During months of lockdown exercise sessions, Charlie discovered these hidden routes linking up off-road areas around London. Now he’s plotted them out for others to enjoy. Not only will riders see unexpected scenery as the seasons unfold — including ancient woodlands, bluebell woods, and carpets of wild garlic and cow parsley — but they will also pick up off-road cycling tips along the way. Best of all, they’ll be treated to Charlie’s famous vanilla fudge and flapjacks!
Pro Tip: Hidden Tracks takes groups of up to 10 people, so you’ll most likely be cycling with other riders. The tours are suitable for novices and experienced riders alike, and children over 14 years old are allowed to join.