Sustrans is the custodian of the National Cycle Network and the charity making it easier for people to walk and cycle in the UK. Working with a wide network of volunteers, supporters and policy-makers, they aim to create a society where the way we travel creates healthier places and happier lives for everyone.
This article was first published in August 2019 but has been updated this year to keep the routes relevant. Remember to adventure safely and use the routes below to discover new places or inspire some more rides in your local area.
The National Cycle Network is a great resource for active people everywhere – not just cyclists but also walkers, runners, and anyone who wants to escape on an outdoor adventure. With over 5,000 miles of traffic-free routes, Sustrans is encouraging us all to discover the Network near us and find an Everyday Adventure on our doorstep. We asked them for a few great examples of fun days out in different spots across the UK.
The Glasgow Waterways Loop takes you on a great tour of the city, starting and finishing at Speirs Wharf. Taking in historic waterways on some peaceful paths and roads, it’s also a great way to work up an appetite.
Cail Bruich on Great Western Road is a slight detour from the route but well worth it. Offering modern Scottish cuisine since 2006, it has won many awards including Entertainment Awards Scotland’s Best Restaurant in 2013 and 2014 and has featured in The Sunday Times 100 Best British Restaurants.
If you like art then Baltic to Bill Quay cycle route is perfect. The route starts and finishes at the BALTIC, a major international centre for contemporary art housed in a landmark industrial building on the south bank of the River Tyne.
Baltic is the largest gallery of its kind in the world with an ever-changing diverse programme of contemporary visual art.
The Barnsley to Old Moor RSPB Reserve is the perfect route for bird watchers and nature lovers alike.
The largely traffic-free route takes you from Barnsley Train Station before taking you on a traffic-free path to the RSPB reserve where you can spot a diverse range of wildlife and birds while enjoying some alfresco dining at the cafe.
While the weather in the UK doesn’t always permit it, there’s nothing nicer than heading out for a picnic.
The Forest Way takes you from East Grinstead to Groombridge and is used by cyclists, walkers and horse riders. The tree-lined path cuts through the picturesque East Sussex countryside, with there being an array of wildlife to marvel at along your travels. There’s also plenty of seats and picnic benches along the way to take a breather and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
The Sheffield to Rotherham (via Meadowhall) route takes you between two of South Yorkshire’s main urban areas along the canal and the River Don Valley.
It passes the shopping mecca of Meadowhall along the way where you can shop to your heart’s content.
If you’re a hip city slicker, then the London Docklands and Lea Valley ride through East London is perfect.
Taking you through some of the area’s best-loved green spaces including Hackney Marshes, there are lots of cafes and pubs along the way.
Whether you like rugby or football, a visit to the Liberty Stadium in Swansea is a must.
Home to the Ospreys and Swansea City FC the Swansea Valley cycle ride takes you right past its front gates.
The Afan Valley route travels between Port Talbot and the gorgeous Afan Forest in south Wales.
With world-class mountain bike trails, you can really test your mettle. Don’t worry if you turn up on a road bike, there are bikes available for rent there.
Afterwards, make sure you kick back with a cold drink from the café and soak up the amazing panoramic views.
Get more ideas for great days out from the Sustrans Everyday Adventures Inspiration or find a route near you.
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