The best places to go cycling in Yorkshire holiday cottages

The best places to go cycling in Yorkshire

Clare Willcocks 18 April 2023

If you’re a cycling enthusiast in search of your next adventure, look no further than Yorkshire! With its rolling hills, stunning landscapes and picturesque villages, Yorkshire’s cycling routes are some of the most popular in the UK.

We’ll take a look at some of the best places to go cycling in Yorkshire, including Yorkshire Dales cycling trails amidst bucolic scenery and moorland, North York Moors cycling routes through rugged, heather-clad hills, and the Yorkshire Wolds Cycle Route to discover East Riding and Ryedale.

With so much terrain to test your mettle and muscles, a cosy and welcoming holiday cottage is just the tonic after a long day on two wheels. Why not book a stay in one of our Yorkshire cottages, and read on to discover where your cycling trip could take you?

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Yorkshire Dales cycling

Yorkshire Dales at Sunset

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is a dream destination for cyclists of all abilities. With photogenic views around every corner, challenging hills and superb riding roads, it offers a range of cycling routes to suit every level of cyclist. The following are three of the top cycling routes in the Yorkshire Dales.

The Buttertubs Pass

Buttertubs Pass on a clear day

The Buttertubs Pass from Hawes to Muker is one of the most favoured routes amongst cyclists in the Dales. Offering a tantalising combination of stunning views and winding roads, the exhilarating ride takes in a series of steep switchbacks up to a height of 526 metres above sea level, which represents an elevation gain of 287 metres.

The ‘buttertubs’ after which the pass is named, are a series of limestone potholes that were once used for keeping butter cool. Cycling the Buttertubs Pass is a bucket list-worthy feat for serious cyclists looking for a challenge and some truly unforgettable scenery.

Stay nearby: 

The Old Penny Bank, Hawes | Sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

The Swale Trail

River Swale on a clear day

Spanning 12 miles along mostly unsurfaced paths, the Swale Trail is a fantastic cycling route between Reeth and Keld in Swaledale.

This picturesque trail follows the River Swale, offering outstanding views of the countryside along the way. It’s a fantastic choice if you’re looking for family cycle routes in Yorkshire, as it has places of interest and eateries at either end and midway in Gunnerside. This route is perfect for those who want to explore the natural beauty of Yorkshire on two wheels.

Stay nearby:

Foxy’s Den, Reeth | Sleeps 4 + 1 dog

Beryl Burton Cycleway

Knaresborough from the air

Connecting Knaresborough to Harrogate and beyond, the Beryl Burton Cycleway is a wonderful tribute to one of the greatest British cyclists of all time. Beryl Burton won numerous world titles and set multiple world records during her career.

Whether you’re an expert rider hoping to follow in her footsteps, or a family looking for a traffic-free cycle route in the Dales, the Beryl Burton Cycleway is a top choice. The trail runs alongside the River Nidd, then through pastoral landscapes before coming out in Bilton, where you have the choice of taking in the sights of Harrogate or trundling on to Ripley.

Stay nearby:

The Stables at Spinney Croft, Knaresborough | Sleeps 2

Yorkshire Dales Cycleway

A lone walker hikes in Malham Gorge

If you’re up for a challenge, the 130-mile Yorkshire Dales Cycleway is for you: a circular route through some of the most stunning landscapes in the UK. Taking in the majority of the most notable dales in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, it starts and finishes in Skipton, but you can pick it up wherever you like along the route.

It meanders through charming market towns and quaint villages, as well as the picturesque hills and valleys of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, taking in sights including Wharfedale, Wensleydale, Swaledale and Malham Gorge. Cyclists can expect challenging climbs and exhilarating descents, as well as plenty of opportunities to stop and take in the breathtaking scenery. With numerous pubs and cafes along the way, you’ll never be far from somewhere to rest and refuel. Arguably one of the best routes for cycling in Yorkshire, the Yorkshire Dales Cycleway is a must for any keen cyclist looking for an unforgettable adventure.

Stay nearby: 

Coopers Chapel, Skipton | Sleeps 4 + 1 dog

North York Moors cycling

North York Moors. Black sheep are on the road surrounded by purple and green countryside

The scenery of the North York Moors is worth the effort that cycling through it entails! With heather-covered hills, ancient forests and rugged coastline to explore, cycling in the North York Moors is a unique and memorable experience for cyclists of all levels. The following are some of the top cycling routes to discover in the North York Moors National Park.

The Cinder Track

Cinder Track. A tunnel with green foliage all around

If you’re looking for traffic-free cycle routes in North Yorkshire, look no further than the Cinder Track. Spanning 21.5 miles from Scarborough to Whitby, it’s an interesting coastal route which follows an old railway line, and you can hop on and off to complete sections as you please.

You won’t be short of places to stop and catch your breath, with Scarborough, Ravenscar, Robin Hood’s Bay and Whitby all popular spots for a bit of sightseeing en route. Unlike many railway tracks, there are quite a few noticeable inclines along this trail, and the terrain, while generally level, varies in quality, so prepare to get a bit muddy and puffed out in places!

Stay nearby: 

Cloud Recess, Scarborough | Sleeps 6 + 1 dog

Dalby Forest

Dalby Forest. An empty path through the woods

Dalby Forest presents over 50 miles of well-maintained cycle trails, with something for cyclists and mountain bikers of all abilities. From gentle, family-friendly routes to challenging single-track trails, there is a diverse range of cycling experiences on offer here. The forest’s natural beauty provides a stunning backdrop for cyclists, with towering trees, babbling brooks and picturesque vistas.

A cycle skills area offers a place for riders young and old to hone their technique, while other tracks, such as the World Cup MTB trail, are designed to challenge experienced riders. If you’re looking for a thrill, tackle one of the black-grade trails which require advanced off-roading skills and plenty of stamina!

Stay nearby: 

Moor Cottage at Wellspring Farm, near Scarborough | Sleeps 4

Moor to Sea Cycle Network

A couple rest on a cliff-top bench and look at the view. Their bikes are nearby

Doing exactly what it says on the tin, the Moor to Sea Cycle Network connects the stunning Yorkshire coast with the rugged and rural treasures inland. Linking Scarborough, Whitby, Dalby Forest, Pickering and Great Ayton, you can discover 150 miles of luscious landscape on two wheels, including the section which runs along the aforementioned Cinder Track.

Eleven bite-sized chunks make the cycle network easier to tackle on a cycling holiday, or just choose one section to suit your ability or preference. The trail follows forest tracks and green lanes and includes some sections along minor roads, passing through a variety of landscapes on fairly good surfaces. The 32-mile Coast and Forest Circular is a ready-made itinerary for exploring part of the Moor to Sea Cycle Network.

Stay nearby:

Whitby Retreat, Whitby | Sleeps 6

Yorkshire Wolds cycling

An empty track next to a field and a couple of trees in the Yorkshire Wolds

Cycling in the Yorkshire Wolds allows you to experience the vast, open spaces, incredible views and interesting wildlife at a faster pace than if you were to set out on foot. What’s more, there is a fantastic cycle route which can be joined at any point, so the hard work of route planning has been done for you…

Yorkshire Wolds Cycle Route

An exterior view of Burton Agnes Hall

Spin your way around the 146-mile circular route through the chalk hills of the Yorkshire Wolds, nipping through welcoming market towns and meeting the coast at Hunmanby Gap, Bempton and Bridlington. As you turn back inland from the coast towards the start/end point at Beverley, you’ll pass Woldgate, a location which inspired David Hockney’s series of paintings on Woldgate Woods. Along the entirety of the route are photo-worthy vistas, including the nesting birds on Bempton Cliffs, the spectacular church of Beverley Minster and the captivating ruins of Kirkham Priory.

Sections of the Yorkshire Wolds Cycle Route can be enjoyed independently. For example, between Driffield and Bridlington, there is a pleasant and flat 20-mile stretch with a superbly placed lunch-break stop at Burton Agnes Hall and Gardens.

Stay nearby: 

The Minster View, Beverley | Sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Big Skies Bike Rides

A view of Bempton Cliffs on a moody day

If you’re on the hunt for short cycling routes in the Yorkshire Wolds, look no further than the Big Skies Bike Rides which are varied loops with a range of grades to suit all riders. The good thing about these well-planned trails is that they all have places for refreshment en route, or at the beginning/end – just the ticket for a relaxed day out under your own steam.

The Big Skies Bike Rides include Sledmere Country, which takes in the inspiring Sledmere House; Millington Dale, a beautiful dry valley; and Bempton Cliffs, to name but a few of the options.

Stay nearby:

Dexters Den, Bridlington | Sleeps 6 + 2 dogs

Other Yorkshire cycle routes

A man stops on his bike to take in the view of the hills in the distance

Yorkshire is brimming with opportunities to take to two wheels! Besides those mentioned above, other popular cycle routes in Yorkshire include the Way of the Roses, a 170-mile route that takes cyclists from Morecambe to Bridlington, ticking off the cities of York and Lancaster and meandering through varied landscapes including the Yorkshire Dales and the Yorkshire Wolds.

The Coast to Coast Cycle Route (or Sea to Sea as it is often known) is another favourite – an epic 140-mile journey from Whitehaven to Tynemouth, taking in the Northern Lake District, Pennines and part of County Durham.

The 215-mile Trans Pennine Trail is another coast-to-coast route, traversing the country from Hornsea in the East Riding of Yorkshire to Southport in Merseyside. The mainly traffic-free and mostly surfaced route can be joined wherever you like, with many sections suitable for families.

Bike hire in Yorkshire

Two men happily ride their bikes along a track

If the lack of a bike is the only thing stopping you from setting off on a cycling holiday in Yorkshire, then you’re in luck! There are plenty of bike hire options available across the region, whether you want to go cycling in the Yorkshire Dales, or mountain biking in the forest.

There are too many fantastic companies to mention, hiring out everything from high-performance road bikes to electric bikes to give you that extra oomph! Here are a handful of the places offering bike hire in Yorkshire:

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Yorkshire holiday cottages

A montage of our Yorkshire holiday cottages

If you are planning to go cycling in Yorkshire, you’ll want somewhere comfortable and relaxing to rest your head. Many of our cottages in Yorkshire also have bike storage, so you can rest easy knowing that your pride and joy is safe and sound. Browse our full range of holiday cottages in Yorkshire by clicking the button below.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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