The United Kingdom. Just the name summons images of gorgeous countryside, cups of tea, a long and storied history, classic culture and music, pulsating cities and, of course, unpredictable weather. While its four countries - England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland - each contain their own unique traits, combined they make up one of the world’s best destinations for a bicycle tour.
The most famous UK cycling route is undoubtedly Land’s End to John O’Groats. Stretching more than 1,609 km (1,000 mi) from the windy Cornish coast in England, over the River Severn into Wales and ending on Scotland’s stunning north coast, this is the ultimate ride.
Lose yourself in Dartmoor’s atmospheric wilderness, the raw beauty of the Yorkshire Dales, plus the rugged Cairngorms of Scotland’s Highlands. En route you can appreciate the regional changes, getting off the beaten track and tuck into fine local delicacies such as Cornish pasties, haggis and much more.
Scotland is renowned for its wild and wistful soul and few places sum this up better than the stunning Loch Ness and surrounding Highlands. Twisting natural beauty, legend, and history together, cycling here will introduce you to dramatic gorges, brooding lochs, flowing waterfalls and divine views on every turn. Unsurprisingly, this is also a wildlife treasure trove with red deer, golden eagles and even dolphins calling this land home. And if you are a lover of whisky, then Scotland sure knows how to provide some of the world’s best single malts.
Away from the rolling mists of the Highlands, the quintessential English beauty of the Cotswolds are perfect for those seeking a calmer bicycle tour. Quiet country lanes, beautiful architecture dating from the Tudor era, through to the Georgian and beyond makes the Cotswolds a standout natural area. Pedaling and wandering around the charming village of Bourton on the Water will live long in the memory. And if you have not made it to a classic British pub then now is the perfect time to grab a pint and meet the locals.
There are many memorable sights dotted around the UK to marvel, but The Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland truly is something else. Consisting of 40,000 basalt columns interlocked, they are the result of an ancient volcanic eruption or the depiction of a giant’s footsteps if you prefer a more mystical story. Situated right on the coast, you can see why this area inspired so many writers and poets, and it is a perfect spot to gaze out to the sea and reflect on your journey so far.
Regardless of how much time you have, the UK will deliver on outstanding natural beauty, gorgeous bicycle tour routes, plus the opportunity to lose yourself in historic cities such as London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, and Belfast, while also enjoying an excellent fish and chips and brilliant beer.