Cycling is a great way to entertain the kids, stay active and explore new places. For added peace of mind, it’s always worth considering traffic free cycle routes.
With over 5,000 miles of railways lines converted into paths, and horizons full of beautiful countryside to explore, there are a lot of wonderful places to ride around the UK.
Using the National Cycle Network for inspiration, we’ve put together our top traffic free cycle routes for you to discover.
Chiseldon to Marlborough (Wiltshire)
Treat yourself to a hearty breakfast at the Three Trees Farm Shop and Café at the beginning of the cycle path in Chiseldon and embark on a flat route through the picturesque villages of Ogbourne St George and St Andrew before arriving at the beautiful market town of Marlborough.
This cycle route is ideal for the little ones, with plenty of incentives at the start and the finish. Including feeding the ducks in the River Kennet and popping into The Polly Tearooms on the Marlborough high-street. Kate Middleton attended the college in Marlborough, so you’ll be walking (or cycling) in great company too!
Distance: 7 miles
Ideal for: families looking for their first leisurely/picturesque cycle route
Llangollen canal to Chirk (Denbighshire)
Situated in the north-east of Wales, this canal route is perfect for the family. Follow the path along the Llangollen canal and witness beautiful country backdrops and fascinating engineering. You’ll also see the incredible Pontcysyllte Aqueduct on your ride as well.
If you get peckish along the way, there are dozens of cafes and eateries nearby, so there’s always an opportunity to pick up an ice cream during the hotter months.
Distance: 8 miles
Ideal for: families embarking on their first bike ride together
Groombridge to East Grinstead (Sussex)
The Forest Way railway cycling route sits on the Kent-Sussex border, taking you on a gravelly route from Groombridge to East Grinstead.
You’ll pass between High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the River Medway, giving you countless opportunities to stop and enjoy a picnic. The cycle route is almost hill and traffic free, until the final couple of miles where you’ll have a few minor roads to consider.
This cycle route will also take you through Hartfield village, where Winnie the Pooh creator AA Milne lived. Just make sure you’re ‘selfie-ready’ when you visit the ‘House at Pooh corner’!
Distance: 9.5 miles
Ideal for: families with some riding experience seeking a fun day out
Paisley Canal to Lochwinnoch (Renfrewshire)
This almost entirely traffic free cycle route follows the railway line all the way to Lochwinnoch. Along the way, you can witness spectacular artworks, loch views, architecture and wildlife.
And if that wasn’t enough to convince you, Castle Semple Country Park offers an array of ice creams and beverages.
Just note, 0.2 miles of the journey will be next to a busy road, so we recommend you walk along the pavement for this part if you have kids with you.
Distance: 10 miles
Ideal for: families with a bit of riding experience and share a mixture of interests
Ashbourne to Parsley Hay (Derbyshire)
As one of the first rail-trails in the country, the Tissington cycling route gives you and the family a golden opportunity to see the stunning sights of the Peak District.
For the first half of the route, you’ll ride through woodland with plenty of picnic sites. It’s worth noting that there is a slight incline at one stage. However, once you’ve tackled that, you’ll be greeted by a traffic free route overlooking the stunning views of the Derbyshire Dales.
Distance: 13.5 miles
Ideal for: cyclists with some experience, looking for natural beauty
Consett to Sunderland (Tyne and Wear)
If you fancy a sightseeing, traffic free cycle route up north, the Consett to Sunderland path has all the ingredients. You’ll pass the Beamish Open Air Museum and Stadium of Light, and end up at the Roker beach.
While this route is around 26 miles long (one way), we recommend the Washington to Sunderland cycle route (8 miles) if you’re looking to take the kids. The tarmac and gravel paths will make it easy to ride on as well, so you don’t have to be an expert to complete this cycling route.
Distance: 26 miles
Ideal for: families (if split into sections) or couples who fancy an action-packed day out
Braunton to Meeth via Barnstaple (North Devon)
As one of the UK’s longest traffic free cycle routes, the Tarka Trail in Devon mixes fun with fitness. You’ll endure just over 30 miles of gorgeous views across the mouth of the Taw Estuary, with mud flats, salt marshes, ditches, streams and meadows along the way.
Don’t forget to fuel up at the Puffing Billy in Great Torrington, where you’ll find a great range of fresh foods and thirst-quenching drinks.
Just note, this particular cycle route might not be the best option for children as it will require a bit of experience on the bike.
Distance: around 30 miles
Ideal for: couples looking for a long day out and plenty of scenic views
Before you check out one of our traffic free cycle routes, make sure you’re kitted up. Here at Halfords, we have everything you need, including picnic equipment, bike racks, new bikes and other cycling accessories.