Cycling is a passion the whole family can share! Throughout the UK there are many beautiful and exciting family-friendly routes to explore, from woodland trails in Shropshire to disused railway lines in Northern Ireland and troll-lined trails in the Isle of Wight.
A fun, healthy and memorable experience, cycling is a rewarding activity for all whether it’s a short-ride around the park in an evening, a summer day-out or a weekend cycling trip. So, if you fancy pedalling as a family, take a look at these 15 places to take the kids on a bike ride!
Loch Ard Family Sculpture Trail, Trossachs, Scotland
The Loch Ard Family Sculpture Trail near Aberfoyle is an enchanting place for a family bike ride. The Great Forest of Loch Ard offers five different cycling trails, suitable for all abilities, with a range of distances.
Throughout the route there are many chainsaw sculptures and willow weavings, representing a range of local animals and birds to discover amongst the woodland. There are also several interactive learning zones where younger children can explore fascinating wildlife.
Calke Abbey, Derby
The Tramway Trail at Calke Abbey, Derby is an easy, figure of 8 route perfect for families with younger cyclists. With the option to ride either the full 6.8 miles or shorter 3.7-mile route, the leisurely cycle through woodland areas and farmland is suitable for a range of abilities.
Families can discover the old horse-drawn tramway route, that connected Ticknall to Ashby and cycle under the many bridges and tunnels before enjoying a picnic or exploring the new recreation area Calke Explore. With natural play areas and wooden forts to explore, it’s the perfect place for a day of family fun outdoors!
Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire
The Forest of Dean offers a range of cycling opportunities including a family cycle trail, boasting a comfortable ride and ideal terrain for little ones. Starting in the Cannop Valley, the 11mile circular route mainly follows an old railway line and boasts plenty of spots perfect for a picnic.
Dudmaston Estate, Shropshire
A moderate ride, the woodland trail around Comer Woods on the Dudmaston Estate in Shropshire is a great place to take the kids on a bike ride. Pack a picnic, and enjoy this 2.2-mile scenic route past ‘ancient’ trees and sweeping meadows.
Remember to keep your eyes peeled for a White Admiral Butterfly too as the Estate is home to the UK’s most northern population.
Kingston Lacy, Dorset
Boasting 8,500 acres of unspoilt Dorset countryside, Kingston Lacy is an ideal place for a bike ride with the kids. With stops at woodland play areas and a ride-along boardwalk, there’s plenty do along the trail which is on old carriage routes.
An easy ride with a short and longer route to choose from (20 minutes to 2 hours), the pleasant flat route winds through stunning forests as well as offering beautiful views of the Italian-style palace and parkland.
Pheonix Trail, Buckinghamshire
A section of the National Cycle Network, the Phoenix trail in Buckinghamshire starts at Princes Risborough running to Thame. Offering incredible views of the Chiltern Hills, the 7-mile trail follows a disused railway line and is a great place to take the kids on a safe, leisurely bike ride.
Spot red kite birds, discover artwork along the trail and, at the halfway mark, stop off at the family-friendly pub for a refreshment.
Nostell Priory and Parkland, Yorkshire
Home to a Woodland Cycle trail newly designed for families, Nostell Priory and Parkland in Yorkshire is a fantastic place to take the family cycling. The route is a simple 2.7-mile figure of 8 loop that can take between an hour to 2 hours and 30 minutes to complete.
The route starts at the boathouse bridge followed by scenic views across Nostell’s Lower Lake. Explore Obelisk Park, take the twisting path through the woodlands and cross colourful wildflower meadows before munching your well-deserved sandwiches at the Hardwick Beck designated picnic area.
Osterley Park and House, London
A beautiful green space in the capital, Osterley Park and House in Middlesex is home to a short (15 to 30 mins) and easy cycle-route around the perimeter of the grounds.
Families can explore the house and gardens as well as a leisurely bike ride at the Georgian Country Estate. Why not make a stop at Garden Lake to spot the large carp bobbing at the surface? Or enjoy food and refreshments from the shop and café at the stables.
Troll Trail, Isle of Wight
Beware of the Trolls! This traffic-free, family-friendly cycle route runs from quaint Merstone to Shide along the old railway line and crosses many bridges along the way. There’s also several art installations and hidden troll sculptures along the route, a highlight for kids!
With an easy 2 mile trail through woodlands and alongside the Plym estuary, Saltram is an excellent place for a family bike ride with younger children. As well as the cycle route there’s the Pump Tack ideal for younger children to learn to ride a bike and gain confidence plus a number of play areas along the way.
The area also offers the opportunity for a picnic with idyllic spots such as under the amphitheatre with views overlooking the water. Cycle to Saltram House and enjoy a coffee at the stables, there’s also a longer route to Plymbridge Woods for more experienced cycling families.
Wallington Estate, Northumberland
An exciting spot for a bike, the Dragon Cycle trail journeys through Broom House Farm’s fields and picturesque woodland as well as boasting expansive views across Northumberland. Adventurous little ones can follow the route through the suitably named sections such as Dragons Teeth, Dragons Brow, and Dragons Tail.
The route is considered easy. However, there are a range of route lengths for different abilities. Keep your eyes peeled for deer and the perfect picnic spot at the Upper Black Belt area.
Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire
The Upware Cycle Route at Wicken Fen starts at the visitor centre before exploring ‘Europes most important wetlands.’ The easy 9-mile circular route consists of parts of the National Cycle Route 11 and Lordes Way and should take around an hour and 30 minutes.
The smooth flat terrain is perfect for beginner cyclists and younger children and the route also crosses the family-friendly “Five Miles from Anywhere no hurry” pub.
Heaton Park, Manchester
At over 600 acres, Heaton Park is the largest municipal park in Europe. Perfect for families, the park offers large green spaces just outside of the city of Manchester. The comfortable 3-mile cycle route is ideal for younger children and passes plenty to do along the way including a visit to Heaton Hall, the boating lake, an animal farm, lush woodlands and an adventure playground!
North Wales Coastal Route
An idyllic place to take the kids for a bike ride trip, the North Wales Coastal Route offers 105 miles of mainly traffic-free trails. Starting at Holyhead, families can ride along the stunning coast to Chester through a number of coastal and historic towns.
Spend a few hours at the beach, visit a castle or enjoy some seaside amusements. There are plenty of accommodation options for staying overnight, or you could choose a shorter, traffic-free route.
Comber Greenway, Northern Ireland
Take the kids for a bike ride to the old railway line at Comber Greenway. The 7-mile stretch is a car-free zone starting at Dee Street, Belfast and ending in south of Comber near Strangford Lough loch.
Discover a wealth of history and culture from the Titanic Museum, the famous C S Lewis statue in East Belfast and take in the rural views.