United Kingdom: The Lake District by Bike

The UK is home to a myriad of National Parks, which is something I didn’t know until recently.  Many of the parks have something which makes them stand out from the others – the Yorkshire Dales has its rolling hills, the Peak District has its caves and Dartmoor has its forests.  As for the United Kingdom Lake District, it has a number of beautiful lakes and awe-inspiring mountains which help to make it one of the more unique National Parks.  Who knew, right?

Well, after learning more about this….the first thing that comes to my mind is what would it be like to ride a bike in this area?  I had a talk with some of my UK friends and here’s what they have to say.



Source: http://www.cumbrian-cottages.co.uk/destinations

The Lake District lies almost entirely within the county of Cumbria, which shares borders with Yorkshire, Lancashire, Durham, Northumberland and the Scottish Borders and Lowlands.  It has a long coastline that’s ideal for walking, trails for cycling, and further inland lies the famous lakes of Windermere, Buttermere and Ullswater.

As shown in this map above, there are four specific areas of the county which have their different charms.  Although I was most interested in learning what this area had to offer cyclists, I’m told that the Lake District is also a great place for walking, rock-climbing, and relaxing.

For cycling, my friends recommended riding the Claife Heights mountain bike trail, which was created to help people learn about the legacy of famous local children’s author Beatrix Potter.

“It starts and finishes near Harrowslack Cottage, which is on the western side of Windermere just opposite Bowness-on-Windermere on the other side of the lake.  Along the 10-mile route, you’ll be able to see Wray Castle, St Margaret’s Church and Moss Eccles Tarn, all of which had a big role in the life of the great Ms. Potter.”

From what I know about the landscape of the UK, I can just imagine how majestic and beautiful a ride there would be.  I’ve always known about the history and architecture of this area, but now that I know there are National Parks and great riding trails…..it’s definitely on my “to ride” list.


The entire Cumbria district can be broken down into individual areas.  Along with nice cycling routes, here is what each of them has to offer:

Central & Southern Lakes

The most popular part of the county, some of Cumbria’s most notable lakes are here including Windermere.  Close to the neighbouring Yorkshire Dales, it is prime walking country, and towns such as Kendal and Windermere have plenty of places to rest or refuel after a long day of riding.

Western Lakes & Coast

For anyone who wants a peaceful holiday, heading out west is perhaps the best thing to do.  For anyone with an interest in surfing or simply lying on the coast watching the Irish Sea lap against the shore, this part of the county is perfect.  The towns of Whitehaven and Workington lie here.

Northern Lakes

Although not quite as popular with visitors as the Lakes further south, they’re no less spectacular.  Ullswater, Buttermere and the Bassenthwaite Lake area are all here, each presenting different views and challenges which will delight and unsettle every rambler and cyclist in equal measure.

Eden Valley, Carlisle & Hadrian’s Wall

Often forgotten, this plays host to arguably Cumbria’s greatest landmark – Hadrian’s Wall.  Erected during Roman times to keep Scotland from being invaded, it still stands today.  Carlisle is often underrated as a tourist destination, but it has plenty to offer in terms of shopping, dining and sites of historical interest.  Eden Valley is also overlooked, but it’s great for a peaceful break.

photo c/o www.lakedistrict.gov.uk

  • Eric Hutchins

    Some day……..

  • Clive Chapman

    Hi Darryl,
    Hope you and yours are well, this was a nice piece!
    I know Great Britain is heavily populated and very urbanised now, but if you know where to go, we have some of the most beautiful places on the Planet to see. And for such a small island, pretty remote and great for solitude.
    I’d be happy to share my knowledge if you like.

    Just noticed, Hadrian’s Wall was put up by the Romans to stop the Jocks invading England! Not the other way around. The Scottish tribes were pretty fierce (still are) and their landscape was (still is) pretty hostile making it difficult to occupy and control.

    I think the Romans said “sod it”, we’ll stay here and keep them hooligans out!


    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Great to hear from you, Clive. I’d love to spend my life cycling around the world…..and if I were to do that, one of the stops would definitely be to go riding with you in some of the UK hill and lake country.

  • Martin Palmer

    I live on the edge of Dartmoor and it’s not really known for forests so much as the Tors which are large mounds of granite that dot the landscape. Haytor is probably the best known of these and was the stage finish for the sixth stage of the Tour of Britain this year. It was considered the first “summit” finish of a ToB stage finish so it gives a bit of an idea how hilly it is around here!

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Thanks Martin, we appreciate your input on this one. Have you ridden the Haytor stage?

      • Martin Palmer

        Most of it and all of the Dartmoor section as those are my usual training grounds. It was very pleasing to hear pros like Quintana and Sir Bradley talking about what a tough day out it was – always seem to be to me! It’s a good place to cycle on and off road and there are some flatter areas like the Granite Way which is also a picturesque route. Obviously being the UK and especially Devon, the weather can be changeable and on top of the moor it can be a bit exposed. Having said that, there’s quite a lot of country pubs around to dive into to recuperate if needed! :-)

        If anyone would like further information about cycling around Dartmoor, then http://www.dartmoor-npa.gov.uk/visiting/vi-enjoyingdartmoor/cycling is a good starting point.

        Keep up the good work Darryl – especially love the variety of cycling related topics on your site!

        • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

          Great…thanks for the added information and input. Yeah, I’m pretty sure stopping in at some local pubs would be guaranteed for many cyclists.
          Thanks, Martin…..I really like to mix it up on our site. As long as it has to do with the awesome cycling lifestyle it gets posted.

  • raymond

    Visiting the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales per bicycle are definitely going onto my Bucket List

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      It’s cool that both post created the same response from you. I hope you’re able to cycle the UK lake district very soon.