9 National Cycle Network routes for fun family days out

Three young smiling children, one carrying a net, exploring a wooded area together

The National Cycle Network can take you to loads of fun places

Dad and daughter enjoying a well deserved break in a field on the Network, with bicycle in the backgroun

Head outdoors and spend time with the whole family

Two children playing on climbing frame

These rides are a great way to get kids outside and active

These great routes on the National Cycle Network are perfect for a fun day out with children. All have things to see and do along the way and end up at fun places to play.

1. Ely to Wicken Fen Nature Reserve

Starting at the impressive Ely Cathedral, known as the ‘Ship of the Fens', this mainly traffic-free route takes you across the uncluttered landscape of the fens to Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve. Grab your binoculas and see if you can spot one of the 9,000 amazing species that call this reserve home.

2. Llanelli to Pembrey Country Park, Wales

This 12-mile traffic-free path follows the coastline offering superb views of the Gower Peninsula and a variety of attractions both natural and man-made. Starting at the Discovery Centre in Llanelli, the route passes Sandy Water Park, local nature reserve Ashpit Ponds and the new marina at Burry Port before reaching Pembrey Country Park.

3. Ingrebourne Valley, London

This short, family-friendly ride starts from Ingrebourne Hill and heads along the Ingrebourne Valley, through Hornchurch Country Park and finishes at Upminster Park. There are picnic spots and lots of play areas - perfect for a fun day out with the whole family.

4. Leicester to Watermead Park

Watermead Country Park is a beautiful wildlife and recreation area which is only five miles from Leicester city centre. This mainly traffic-free route takes you through this 140-acre green oasis. Bring your swimsuit and have a go at some watersports, dig out your binoculas and dabble in some birdwatching, or seek out the brilliant statue depicting Shakespeare's King Lear.

5. Worthing to Brighton Aquarium and Pier

The route is very flat and at either end there's a train station to take you back again. The route heads along the coast where you can admire the fabulous beaches on one side and the South Downs in the horizon on the other. There is no shortage of cafes and amusements to keep young children entertained en route. Please note there is an on-road section at Shoreham Harbour where you should take care.

6. Millennium Coastal Path, Llanelli

If you're looking for a shorter ride in Llanelli, you can't beat a great day out on the Millennium Coastal Path. Following a mixture of stunning coastline and beautiful woodland, this 7-mile traffice-free route has so much to see and do along the way. End in Pembrey Country Park for a fun, activty-filled adventure including tobogganing, crazy golf, an equestrian centre and play areas.

7. Exe Valley, Exeter

The five-mile, traffic-free route is fairly flat and takes in some fantastic views along the River Exe and Exe Estuary. The estuary is a beautiful wildlife reserve, which provides a year-round haven for thousands of birds - great for young birdwatchers.

8. Forest Way, East Grinstead

The 10-mile, traffic-free route travels through the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and provides an important habitat for wildlife. The route also passes the village of Hartfield which was the setting for the much loved AA Milne tale ‘Winnie the Pooh'.

9. Spen Valley Greenway

This traffic-free route is both a Greener Greenway and an Art Trail. There's loads to spot along the way including sheep artwork constructed from recycled industrial scrap. Plus the Ponderosa Centre, with its rare breed animals, is just off the route - making this a perfect day out for kids. 

Want more places to play along the National Cycle Network? Check out our top 10 park rides

Find your next adventure and discover your local traffic-free path