Cycling is the best, isn’t it? You get to go outdoors, see the beautiful countryside, as well as getting fitter and spending some quality time as a family.
There are few places more beautiful than the Lake District, and by cycling around it you will see more of it than if you were whizzing along in a car.
Family Cycle Routes – The Lake District
If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve got you covered with the following 4 family cycle routes in the Lake District.
Western Shore Of Windermere
This trail, which sound unmistakeably like something from a Tolkein novel, is a 9 mile round trip with a few ups and downs.
It goes through a few small, quiet roads and 3 miles of complete lack of traffic, making it ideal for smaller cyclists who might be a bit wobbly on their wheels.
A great part of this route is that you can take the Windemere Bike Boat, which takes you over a lake onto the traffic free section of the cycle path.
With help to load your bikes, the family can enjoy a short trip on a boat – and a rest from the cycling! This part will add to the fun for kids, especially the younger ones.
After the boat trip, you can head towards Wray Castle, and either picnic by the lake or enter the castle (be warned, there are admission fees!) for some fun activities and a handy tea room.
Once you’re all done with your adventures, head back to the lake shore and await the bike boat to ferry you back to the other side.
This is a gentle cycle route, and is ideal for introducing kids to the joys of cycling and getting out and about in nature.
Langdale Cycle Trail
This 11 mile cycle route should take you just over an hour – possibly longer if you have little ones who need to stop and rest!
It is well signposted and fairly easy to ride – there is one steep section right at the start, but after that it’s plain sailing.
Cycling through the quarry you are advised to look out for large vehicles, but apart from that this trail is traffic free.
You will see some breathtaking views, travel through beautiful woodlands and enjoy seeing the becks and rivers – and remember to keep an eye out for interesting wildlife!
Your route will go through some small towns, giving you an opportunity to grab a drink or a cake, to encourage young ones to keep going.
You can also stop by the river and eat a picnic – but be warned, apparently the swans there are very experienced sandwich snatchers!
Once you reach Chesters, it’s time to turn around – but before you do, be sure to check out The Sticklebarn, the only National Trust run pub in the country, for a drink or a bite to eat.
Ennerdale Cycle Trail
This route is at the North West of the Lake District, and it is almost completely unspoilt. Bear in mind this also means that there are no shops and no facilities!
There are a few “official” routes that are signposted, and a few “off the beaten track” types that follow the bridleways off the fells.
You can choose between 3 different distances to cycle, based on the ability and enthusiasm of your family. Choose the easier routes if you are not sure, to avoid putting your kids off cycling for life.
The official trails explore the wooded valley alongside Ennerdale Water, which means you get both woodlands and water to feast your eyes on.
This area is in the process of being rewilded, with native trees being planted as the Conifers are harvested, and there are around 150 red squirrels that you might be lucky enough to spot.
You will also see breathtaking views of some of the highest and best known fells, including Pillar, the eighth highest mountain in the Lake District.
Stop anywhere and have a picnic, or enjoy the views or spot some wildlife – just remember to pack enough snacks and drinks, as you won’t be able to buy any while you’re there.
The great thing about this trail is that it is completely traffic free, making it ideal for younger riders. However, some areas can be quite steep and uneven!
Grange Over Sands To Town End
This is a short, gentle bike ride, perfect for younger kids – unlike some of the other Lake District rides which can be a bit steep.
Starting in Grange-Over-Sands, a little town just on the Morecambe Bay estuary, you will have a gentle 5 mile spin along quiet country tracks.
It starts on a relatively busy road, so keep an eye on your littles at this point, but very quickly you turn onto country lanes. There may still be the odd car, but it’s not a motorway!
Take in the pretty scenery and feel the wind in your hair as you make your way to Town End – this village has a handy pub where you can refresh yourself before the ride back to Grange-Over-Sands.
Because it is nice and flat, and fairly traffic free, this route is ideal for smaller kids. You will still have gorgeous scenery, but without the steep ups and downs of some other trails.
Keep your eyes out for wildlife, which are always more common in quieter areas, and see if you can spot any interesting plants in the hedgerows.
No need to pack too much in the way of snacks, as you will finish at the pub for refuelling, and end up back in the town you started in.
A few things to remember, when you are planning family cycle routes in the Lake District, is that it is pretty hilly, and some of the routes won’t be suitable for very young or inexperienced riders.
As long as you prepare yourself (and bring waterproofs, as the weather can change quickly!) you and your family can have a wonderful time cycling in this beautiful country. For other options, please check these routes in Cornwall, these routes in France or Ireland.