With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, why not go for a bike ride or walk on the National Cycle Network, which provides the perfect backdrop for romance and adventure.
According to cycling charity Sustrans, 75% of us live within a couple of miles of the Network, so there may be a great cycling path closer to home than you realise.
- Distance: 24 miles
- Start: Burgh by Sands
- Finish: Solway Coast
- Terrain: Tarmac, gentle terrain. No hills – only a few steeper sections near the coast.
Magnificent coastal views and breath-taking countryside makes this route one of the dreamiest rides on the National Cycle Network. You’ll travel through beautiful saltmarsh and farmland before arriving at fantastic beaches where you can look out to sea and watch the sun set. For wildlife lovers, make sure you stop off at Campfield Marsh, an RSPB nature reserve and wetland paradise with 360 degree views of the Solway Plain.
Solway Coastal cycling, National Route 72
- Distance: 9 miles
- Start: Ely Cathedral
- Finish: Wicken Fen
- Terrain: Tarmac with a short section of stone farm track. Mostly traffic-free.
Starting at the impressive Ely Cathedral, known as the ‘Ship of the Fens’, this route takes you across the dramatic landscape of the Fens to Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve, which is one of Europe’s most important wetlands. Here you can lose yourself in the reed beds in the winter, with the sounds of the Bitterns booming, and the wonderful flowering meadows in the spring and summer. It is the perfect secluded spot for a romantic trip for two to enjoy the beauties of nature.
Ely Cathedral, National Route 11.
- Distance: 9 miles
- Start: Alnmouth village centre
- Finish: Druridge Bay Visitor centre
- Terrain: Flat
This route hugs the beautiful Northumberland coastline, passing castles and quant fishing villages before finishing at the picturesque Druridge Bay. With seven miles of pristine dunes and sandy beaches you should be able to find a private spot to enjoy some quality time with your loved one. This undiscovered gem is an absolute must.
Warkworth is also a great stopping off point as it provides an opportunity to explore Warkworth Castle. Sitting on a hilltop above the River Coquet, it’s incredibly impressive.
Crossing Glen Ogle viaduct, Cycling National Route 7, Glen Ogle. Callander to Killin, Lochs and Glens, in Scotland
- Distance: 99 miles
- Start: Ilfracombe
- Finish: Plymouth
- Terrain: Predominantly traffic-free and flat
For more experienced cyclists, the epic Devon Coast to Coast route combines the beaches and estuaries of North Devon with lush green valleys for the perfect weekend away. The route also skirts around the western flank of Dartmoor, offering superb views of Cornwall and the surrounding area. Largely tracing the course of former railway lines, the path takes you through tunnels and across breath-taking Victorian viaducts and bridges.
Lake viaduct- full span- straight on view, National Route 27, part of the Devon Coast to Coast Route (2002)
- Distance: 8 miles
- Start: Moreton-in-Marsh
- Finish: Kingham
- Terrain: Quiet country roads
The Cotswold Line takes you into the heart of the Cotswolds and through the quaint village of Kingham. Make sure you stop off at the Wild Rabbit pub in Kingham. This stylish yet traditional pub is the perfect pit stop for a romantic lunch. Relax into one of the large leather chairs in front of the fire and sample beers from local artisan breweries.
- Distance: 24 miles
- Start: Callander
- Finish: Killin
- Terrain: Challenging with mixed surfaces
If you’re up for exploring wild and beautiful countryside, then the challenging Callander to Killin route is for you. Showcasing Scotland’s natural beauty, the path takes you past waterfalls, glens, lochs and heather clad mountains, providing the perfect backdrop for a romantic cycle ride for two.
- Distance: 7 miles
- Start: Bute Park
- Finish: Castell Coch
- Terrain: Mixture of tarmac and good quality gravel
Our Cardiff to Castell Coch route takes you to the 19th-century castle built on medieval remains. Situated on a hillside surrounded by beech woodland, its conical turrets rising above the trees give it a beautifully romantic fairy-tale appearance.
This section begins at Bute Park and follows the River Taff through the heart of the city. The park is a fantastic green space which is well worth exploring before heading into the castle. Originally created as the private garden to Cardiff Castle, its Victorian layout still exists but it has been extensively planted with trees to form the Bute Park Arboretum. Nothing says romance, quite like taking a stroll here.
- UK walking and cycling charity Sustrans is custodian of the National Cycle Network – a network of traffic-free paths and quiet on-road cycling and walking routes. For more route inspiration please visit: www.sustrans.org.uk