Our top 10 challenging rides

cyclists stop by the lake district

Stop for a mid ride photo on the Sea to Sea route looking over the Lake District hills

Cyclists on Way of the Roses route

Stunning views await on the Way of the Roses route

Man in orange t-shirt cycling towards a loch

Enjoy the dramatic scenery on the Lochs and Glens North route

Looking for a challenge? If so then the National Cycle Network’s iconic long distance rides are ideal.

Whether you are looking for dramatic and wild countryside or magnificent coastal views we have a challenge ride for you.

1. Devon Coast to Coast

Distance: 99 miles

This coast to coast route combines the beaches and estuaries of North Devon with the lush green valleys of evocative West Country rivers. Starting at Ilfracombe and ending in Plymouth this route is not too daunting, with many flat sections.

Buy the official Devon Coast to Coast map

2. Sea to Sea (C2C)

Distance: 140 miles

This is the most popular long-distance ride in the UK and takes you all the way from Irish Sea to the North Sea. You can start at either Whitehaven or Workington and then travel to Newcastle or Sunderland.

Buy the official Sea to Sea Guide

3. Way of the Roses

Distance: 170 miles

A spectacular coast to coast cycle route passing through both the red rose county of Lancashire and the white rose county of Yorkshire.

Buy the official Way of the Roses map

4. Coast and Castles North

Distance: 172 miles

The Coast and Castles North route begins in Edinburgh, crossing the Firth of Forth into the Kingdom of Fife with its beautiful countryside. The route then follows the coast north passing through fishing villages and historic sites such as Dunnottar Castle on its way to Aberdeen.

Buy the official Coast and Castles map

5. Hadrian’s Cycleway

Distance: 174 miles

A ride through some of England’s most dramatic and wild countryside, taking in magnificent coastal views and Roman forts. Starting at Glannaventa Roman Bath House, Ravenglass and ending at Arbeia Roman Fort and Museum at South Shields.

Buy the official Hadrian's Cycleway map

6. Lochs and Glens North

Distance: 214 miles

This great route takes you from Inverness to Glasgow passing through two fantastic National Parks.

Buy the official Lochs and Glens North map

7. Celtic Trail

Distance: 220 miles

Running across Wales at its widest point, the Celtic Trail takes in St David’s, Britain’s smallest city, the spectacular Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, dramatic castles in Haverfordwest, Pembroke and Kidwelly, Llanelli Millennium Coastal Park and the wide sweep of Swansea Bay.

Buy the official Celtic Trail map

8. Belfast to Ballyshannon

Distance: 231 miles

Ireland's first coast to coast route begins in Whiteabbey and goes on towards Ballyshannon and the Atlantic Ocean.

Buy the official Belfast, Down & Armagh Cycle Map 

9. Avenue Verte

Distance: 250 miles

Starting at the London Eye and ending at Notre Dame, the 250 mile route takes riders on a challenging but rewarding journey through towns, villages and beautiful countryside on both sides of the Channel.

Buy the official Avenue Verte map

10. Lôn Las Cymru

Distance: 250 miles

Lôn Las Cymru runs for over 250 miles down the whole length of Wales from Holyhead to Chepstow or Cardiff. It is one of the toughest of all the long distance routes on the National Cycle Network.

Buy the official Lôn Las Cymru map

Feel inspired? Check out our top 10 rides to National Parks

Want to find a route near you? Explore our online National Cycle Network map