Route 1 is one of the National Cycle Network’s star routes: a long distance challenge that connects Dover in the south of England to the Shetland Islands to the northeast of Scotland. This epic cycle journey will appeal to anyone looking to stretch their legs, test their limits and see the beautiful scenery of the British Isles.
The whole of Route 1 is stunning, from the fantastic views of the famous White Cliffs of Dover to the wild mountain scenery of Scotland.
Along the way, you’ll get the chance to experience some of the UK’s cultural and natural highlights. These include the Sutton Hoo Anglo-Saxon burial ground, the Norfolk Broads wetlands and Canterbury Cathedral.
Route 1 hugs the east coast for much of its length, offering you fantastic views of dramatic coastline and castles. At 1,695 miles along Route 1 is a fantastic adventure but with plenty of train stations along the way, it’s also easy to ride shorter sections. As you pedal along the east coast of England and up towards Scotland on Route 1 you’ll be rewarded with beautiful coastal vistas of a lesser-known part of the UK.
In Scotland, the scenery is wild, dramatic and stunning. The terrain is steep in places. We’d recommend taking it easy and planning in time to sample some tasty local products or partake in a few well-earned whiskies at the end of a long day cycling.
Bikepackers or cycle tourers will love the variety of the route. While most of it is in wilder, less populated regions you’ll also visit two of the UK’s capital cities - bustling London in the south and enchanting Edinburgh in the north. With its atmospheric medieval Old Town and elegant Georgian New Town, Edinburgh is a highlight of many people’s trips.
Route 1 also takes in some of the UK’s charming old towns such as Whitby, where you can visit the ruined Whitby Abbey. This Gothic beauty inspired Bram Stoker when he was writing ‘Dracula’. Whitby has embraced its dark roots and holds a twice-yearly goth festival. You’ll also pass through countless delightful British villages on your journey.
Route 1 is an excellent showcase of some of the less-visited corners of the UK. It will allow you to imagine that you’ve stepped back in time as you gaze at one of the half-ruined castles in the north of England or relax by the fire in a cosy backstreet pub in Edinburgh.
As well as being a fantastic way to explore Britain Route 1 is part of a longer route called EuroVelo 12, which connects to Norway and Holland. EuroVelo is a network of 15 fantastic long-distance cycle routes which connect the whole European continent. These cycling trails are a bicycle tourist’s dream: epic journeys which take in some of the best landscapes and places of cultural interest in Europe.
If you’re looking for a challenging, inspiring long-distance route which will allow you to escape the tourists and get under the skin of the UK then Route 1 is an ideal choice.
We have taken all responsible steps to ensure that these routes are safe and achievable by people with a reasonable level of fitness. However, all outdoor activities involve a degree of risk. To the extent permitted by law, Sustrans accepts no responsibility for any accidents or injury resulting from following these routes. Walking and cycling routes change over time. Weather conditions may also affect path surfaces. Please use your own judgement when using the routes based upon the weather and the ability, experience and confidence levels of those in your group.