Lush green forests, endless sweeping moors and twisting mountain paths – the UK has its fair share of natural beauty if you know where to look. And what better way to enjoy this beauty than from your saddle?
The Halfords Discovery Hub pulls together cycling and scooter routes from across the UK so that, when Covid restrictions allow, you can embark on your next family adventure. Some of our favourites are explored in more detail below.
Shirebrook to Sherwood Forest
Length: 5 miles
On this pretty East Midlands route, you’ll start out in the town of Shirebrook, pass through Market Warsop and finish in Sherwood Forest, home to the legendary Robin Hood. The beautiful forest also boasts the Go Ape adventure centre, where your kids can take to the treetops on a range of zip wires, high ropes and rope bridges.
Frinton-on-Sea to Clacton-on-Sea
Length: 5.5 miles
This traffic-free route gives you miles of stunning Essex coastline to enjoy, with endless sea views. It begins at Frinton Golf Club before winding its way down National Route 51 to The Esplanade and continuing along the coast to Clacton. As well as the sights of the route itself, you could treat the kids to a visit to the nearby Holland Haven Country Park, which is full of wildlife.
Cuckoo Trail (scooter)
Length: 11 miles
One of the most popular family routes in the south-east, the Cuckoo Trail takes you on a journey from Polegate to Heathfield. You’ll pass through expanses of woodland, grassland and farmland, as well as several pretty English villages. If little legs get tired, there are carved wooden seats to relax on and spend some quality family time nature watching.
The Antrim Loop
Length: 4.5 miles
This great family cycle route takes in the shores of Lough Neagh, the county town of Antrim and Rea’s Wood. Follow the path from the car park into the wood, with its wet woodland and rich mix of wildlife. Once you reach the National Nature Reserve, look for the signs for the Mill Race Trail along Kirby’s Lane. A riverside path will then lead you back to Antrim town, where you can enjoy a well-earned break.
Length: 7 miles
As the name suggests, the Comber Greenway will take your family on a tranquil, nature-filled adventure from Belfast to Comber. The route follows an old railway line and is a haven for wildlife, with conservation areas like the River Enler. You’ll also get the chance to see Stormont’s parliament buildings, the 19th-century Scrabo Tower and Belfast’s famous Samson and Goliath shipbuilding cranes.
Length: 4 miles
For something a little more off the beaten track, there’s the Rathlin Trail. Take a ferry from Ballycastle harbour to the beautiful island of Rathlin, which is famous for being a wildlife haven. The route runs from Rathlin harbour in Church Bay to the West Lighthouse, taking in the RSPB Seabird Viewport along the way. It’s a great choice for nature lovers and those looking to get away from it all.
Aberfoyle-Gartmore Loop Ride
Length: 7 miles
The vistas of Scotland are some of the most stunning in the UK and this trail along the eastern side of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is no exception. As well as offering breath-taking views, kids will love the activities available at the Scottish Woollen Centre in Aberfoyle (where you can see birds of prey, sheepdogs and duck shows), the Trossachs Holiday Park and Action Adventure Activities.
Kincardine to Charlestown
Length: 11 miles
If you’d like to stay a bit closer to Scotland’s major cities, then the Kincardine to Charlestown route is for you. Starting east of the famous Kincardine Bridge, this ride passes through the town of Culross before following the coastal path out towards Charlestown. Sights along the way include the River Forth, Preston Island and the bird-watching spots of Torry Bay.
Union Canal (scooter)
Length: 12 miles
The Union Canal trail offers a route for scooter lovers between Linlithgow and the Falkirk Wheel. There are so many sights here that you’re spoilt for choice! Linlithgow has the 15th-century Linlithgow Palace, while the route passes the ruins of Almond Castle and the Falkirk Tunnel. There’s also The Helix in Falkirk to enjoy, a parkland that provides a range of activities and is home to The Kelpies sculptures.
Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal
Length: 12 miles
Connecting Newport and the canal basin of Pontymoile, this cycle route follows the towpath of the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal. While the canal is no longer operational, it offers beautiful views of the surrounding hills – which rise to more than 1,000 feet! – and a lovely peaceful ride. As an added bonus, the town of Newport has a museum and art gallery for your family to explore.
Length: 9 miles
The Welsh Mawddach Trail is one of the most scenic old railway paths in the country. Beginning in Dolgellau, the trail passes through miles of photo-worthy landscapes as you wind your way alongside the Maddwach estuary and out towards the sea. Your final stop is the pretty seaside town of Barmouth – a perfect place for the kids to grab an ice cream!
Llynfi Valley Trail (scooter)
Length: 2.5 miles
This route boasts amazing valley views and scenic artwork stop-offs, making it a perfect family adventure. Running from Maesteg Train Station to Caerau, the Llynfi Valley Trail passes a variety of land artworks, stone artworks and waymarkers that have been developed with the support of the local community. Inspirational and educational in turn, this is an ideal route for kids and parents alike.
This is just a snapshot of the great family-orientated cycle and scooter routes available on the Halfords Discovery Hub. So, what are you waiting for?