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Lake District Tourist Guide - Local Information

Cycling in the Lake District

The English Lake District is an ideal area for biking, either on the slopes on mountain bikes or around or through the area on country lanes and other bicycle friendly routes. A stunningly beautiful area, it is wealthy in destinations with literary associations and historic houses and gardens.

Cycle routes

The Lake District National Parks Authority has designed walking and cycling routes that do not retrace your steps. They are in the south of the National Park, around Bowness, Hawkshead, Coniston and Grizedale. The Great Walking and Cycling Made Easy leaflet can be downloaded from their website at

For cyclists, it includes:

The North Circular Cycle, a family friendly ride - 4 miles - up to 2 hours with a 35 minute boat ride on Coniston to Brantwood, once the home of John Ruskin.

Windermere Wheeling Cycle is another family ride, along the Windermere shore and through the forest of Claife - 5 miles - up to 2 hours.

Grizedale Forest Getaway Cycle Ride is aimed at more experience cyclists - 7 miles - up to 3 hours.

The NPA Cross Lakes Experience leaflet gives prices and timetables for the public transport across Windermere and Coniston for buses and boats.
There are a number of National Cycle Network Signed Routes in the Cumbria area. Many have been mapped.

Mountain biking

The Whinlatter Forest and Grizedale forest are crossed by mountain bike routes for riders of the differing ability levels. Bikes can be bought or hired by individuals or groups at Grizedale Mountain Bikes,, and Keswick Bikes,

Organised cycling

The Nine Lakes Tour was put together in 1996 for riders seeking organised cycling holiday routes. Passing through the popular towns of Keswick and Ambleside, the lakes included are Bassenthwaite, Buttermere, Coniston Water, Crummock Water, Derwentwater, Grasmere, Thirlmere, Ullswater and Windermere. These tours are self guided but arranged with accommodation, luggage transfers and support. See


The Sea to Sea Cycle Route, also known as C2C, won a global award for tourism in 1996. It passes through the northern Lake District from the Irish Sea Cumbrian coast at Whitehaven to the east coast at Sunderland on the North Sea. Within the Lake District cyclists ride through the towns of Keswick and Penrith and then move on to Alston. The full route is 140 miles and is normally covered in three or five days. The National Cycle Network map number 7 covers the route, which is not a single way-marked cycle track. Full support is again available and includes transport to the start and from the finish. The distance and the level of difficulty have been assessed. The organisers believe that the five night holiday option is manageable for all fit cyclists except the very young. See

Cycling holidays

Another company specialising in cycling holidays is Country Lanes – Lake District, It can offer cycle hire, mountain bike hire, self-guided cycle tours, bespoke holidays and corporate events. Also cycle servicing and repairs, route advice and accessories.
They have cycle hire centres at Windermere, near Bowness and Ambleside and Lakeside, at Newby Bridge, near to Grizedale Forest.
Other useful sites can be found at

• Bike for all,
• Rough-Stuff Fellowship - the oldest off-road cycling touring club in the UK,

Spinnoff guided mountain biking,,
Sustrans - co-ordinator of National Cycle Network,,
Wheelbase Cycling Shop in Staveley,

Now all you have to do is go for it! Enjoy your happy and safe cycling in the English Lake District!

When planning your stay be sure to check out all the Windermere hotels.

Cycling in the Lake District

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