This week sees the Tour of Britain cycling race pass through parts of Cumbria and the Lake District. The world’s top cyclists travel the 1,140-kilometre route across the UK from the South Wales coast to London, passing through several counties, including Cumbria on the 6th and 7th of September.
The first of the two Cumbrian stages travels 14km from Cockermouth through Whinlatter Forest via Lorton. This unique uphill time trial is set to be a real challenge to the cyclists! The second Cumbrian stage travels from Barrow-in-Furness in the south of the county all the way back to Whinlatter Forest, travelling through some of the Lake District’s most beautiful scenery, including along the shores of Coniston, past Helvellyn, and through Keswick. In this stage, which is 168.3km long, cyclists will be challenged to climb the steep Whinlatter Pass (with an average gradient of 7%) not once, but twice!
For more information on the race including accessibility, maps, timetables, and activities, please visit the official Tour of Britain website.
The event aims to encourage more people to hop onto their bikes and participate in this fun form of exercise. There’s nowhere better to do this than in the beautiful Lake District, which has plenty of opportunities for amazing cycling. To help you, we’ve picked out some of our cottages with bike storage and their nearby routes.
If you’d like to know about any of our other cottages with bike storage, please feel free to get in touch with us on 017687 80571, and we will be happy to help you find your perfect cottage. The office is open 7 days a week from 8.30am to 9.00pm every day.
A pretty little cottage near Penrith, Hillcrest is within easy reach of the market town, Ullswater, and the glorious Eden Valley. A wonderful option is the wonderful ‘Edge of Lakeland’ route, from where you can admire the increasing height of the Lake District fells as you head west. This also forms part of the famous C2C. Close to Hillcrest you will also find a small village called Greystoke with its popular cycle cafe. A well-known stop for cyclists, the cafe provides refreshments and ‘Quirky Workshops’, which include classes on stripping and rebuilding bikes amongst many others.
The Eden Valley is a glorious area yet to be discovered by mass tourism and, as a result, is a tranquil option for a cycling holiday. The rolling terrain and quiet rural roads and bridleways are much gentler than what is found in the better-known parts of the region and there are many circular routes, too. More experienced cyclists can find higher-altitude and more challenging rides around Alston. The Eden Valley is a cyclist’s heaven, with routes suitable for all ages and abilities, and Oak Tree Studio is perfectly located for them all!
Taking in gentle, hilly terrain, woodland, and a network of tiny lanes, the route between Lowick Bridge, Spark Bridge, and Penny Bridge is great option for those looking for a bit of a workout without making things too difficult! At just over eight miles long, this circular route makes for a wonderful day out, passing several pubs along the way and offering lovely views of the Lake District mountains. Alternatively, head north from Garden Cottage (Howe Foot) to Windermere and enjoy some cycling along the shores of England’s longest lake - you choose how far you want to go!
Whether you want a short, quick ride along the old railway track, or to take to one of the surrounding fells for a high-altitude adventure, The Stables in the centre of Keswick is perfectly located for all of them. There is storage at the cottage itself but also three places within town where you can hire bikes, including electric powered ones.
The Torver Trail, travelling between Torver and Coniston, is an easy route that takes in the western shores of the lake and makes use of, in parts, the old railway line that used to connect Coniston village with the Furness Railway. The trail is perfect for beginners and young families. For more adventure and mountain biking, then you have to head to Little Langdale with a ford over the River Brothay, a challenging ascent at the Hodge Close slate quarries, and a chance to let it go on the return descent towards Coniston. Yewdale Crags Apartment makes a comfortable base for it all.
Just a short distance from the Dalegarth terminus of the Ravenglass and Eskdale miniature steam railway, Wood Barn is in the heart of glorious cycling country. The Eskdale Trail follows a traffic-free route to the coast at Ravenglass, from where you can catch a train back home (don’t forget to pre-book your bikes). Another excellent option is the Burnmoor Tarn Round following the corpse road, which begins with an ascent up the wonderfully-named Giggle Alley! There is a whole mix of terrain from gravel patches, grassy roads, and boggy areas. The route is a little tricky in parts but a lot of fun (and usually very muddy!)
With Whinlatter Forest just across the lake - in fact, you can see it from the balcony! - Sale Fell is perfectly located for experienced road cyclists and mountain bikers. Whinlatter Forest Park has a great selection of off-road tracks and the steep Whinlatter Pass is a brilliant challenge for those with the expertise. The local area has also plenty of routes for those looking for a gentler option
The 18th century village of Hesket Newmarket, just outside the national park, is part of the Reivers Route and makes up the most challenging part of this long-distance cycle way. However, the ups and downs that make this stretch difficult are well-worth it thanks to the fabulous views that open up as you approach the Lake District. Alternatively, the 40-mile Penrith to Hesket Newmarket loop (taking in part of the Lakes and Dales Loop) makes for another fantastic ride. You can treat yourself after a day’s cycling with a beer from the village’s famous brewery! After all that adventure, you'll be glad to have somewhere like Brant Le'ath to return to!
Crag Lea is found in beautiful Borrowdale, home to the intimidating Honister Pass, which Cycling World describes as “one of the most beautiful climbs in the world”. Rising to 1,167 feet at the summit and with a gradient of 1 in 4, it is not for the inexperienced or casual cyclist, but is one to tick off the bucket list for the very fit and experienced riders. Never fear, there are gentler options, too, with bridleways and gentle, family-friendly tracks in abundance.
Brighouse, set high on the fellside, is surrounded by a mountain biker’s dream with crags and fells galore. The Duddon Valley at Seathwaite route takes in the best of the scenery, including views over the coast, and offers a real sense of being out in the wilds. This route includes the infamous Walna Scar Road. The Lakes and Dales Loop also passes through this area and offers a half-day to day-long route that takes in undulating scenery over 12 miles. There are also two detours to take you to a viewpoint on Stickle Pike or a pint and a nibble at the New Field Inn at Seathwaite.
Away from the well-beaten tourist track, Townend Stables is conveniently close to the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which has designated bike tracks stretching along the gorgeous coast and into the border city of Carlisle. Allonby, along the route, also offers bike hire and a wonderful ice cream parlour where you can treat yourself after the exercise! Also close to Townend Stables is Watchtree Nature Reserve, which hires out both standard and adapted bikes, as well as offering optional cycling classes. A little further beyond and you will find yourself on the Hadrian’s Way route!
Though there is no actual bike storage at Grizedale Lodge, its location in the heart of Grizedale Forest is perfect for cycling and there are bikes available from Grizeadale Forest Mountain Bike Hire. There are gravel tracks suitable for families and casual cyclists - the Sculpture Trail takes in the forest’s famous artwork, or the Grizedale Tarn Trail offers a relatively easy ride and views over the Ambleside fells. There are plenty of options for more experienced mountain bikers, too; the North Face Trail is a red-graded trail with technical climbs, lots of single track, and fast descents.
Ravenglass is famous as the start point of the “La’al Ratty” miniature steam train, which runs from the coast to the centre of Eskdale. The Eskdale Trail follows a similar, traffic-free route that takes in the rugged beauty of this tranquil valley. You can cycle all the way from Ravenglass to Dalegarth and then hop onto one of the trains for a leisurely tootle back. Alternatively, you can go as far as you like and catch the train at any of the numerous stops along the route. Don’t forget to pre-book your bike onto the dedicated bike carriage!
We hope you’re raring to get onto your bikes and explore the Lake District. For more cottages, check out our cottage search. Or call us on 017687 80571 if you’re looking for something more specific. We’re open every day from 8.30am to 9.00pm.
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