Routes in and around cities

Black and white timbered house and cyclist

Explore some of the UK's historic city centres by bike.

Cyclists in Worcester

Cycling in the city can be a tranquil experience if you pick the right route.

Four cyclists on a cobbled city street

These routes make a great day out with friends.

Cyclists near the Millennium stadium

Cycle past Cardiff's Millennium stadium on this easy route.

Joggers on the Comber Greenway, Belfast

The Comber Greenway is a tranquil green corridor prefect for cycling, walking or jogging.

girl cycling past a canal

The Aire Valley Towpath offers wonderful, scenic tranquility

If you want to explore some of the UK's best cities then these top 10 urban rides on the National Cycle Network are perfect for you. From the hustle and bustle of city centres to the tranquil green spaces just outside them, these routes showcase the diversity, culture and beauty of our great urban environments.

1. Leeds

Are you looking for a ride that takes in beautiful countryside, rich industrial history, stunning scenery, galleries, shops, museums and the longest canal in the country?

Then the Aire Valley Towpath is for you! The route takes you through the vibrant city of Leeds and out past numerous attractions, the highlight of which has to be Saltaire, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

2. Belfast

The Comber Greenway ride follows along a tranquil green corridor all the way from the Titanic Quarter in East Belfast and out to Comber. The route is traffic free and runs along the old Belfast to Comber railway line. The trail is a haven for wildlife, with areas of nature conservation which run close to the beautiful River Enler.

3. Liverpool

The Liverpool Loop Line is a popular traffic-free wildlife route which runs from Halewood to Aintree and on to Southport. This fabulous walking and cycling route follows the old railway line and gives fantastic views of the city.

4. London

One of the best cities in the world, this is the ultimate urban ride. The Tower Bridge to Greenwich section of National Route 4 starts from the iconic bridge and weaves around the Thames through various parks and past docks, to Maritime Greenwich, taking in some of the best London landmarks.

5. Worcester to Droitwich

Worcester and Droitwich Spa are fantastic cities with lots of historical buildings to explore. Worcester, famous for its Cathedral and Droitwich for its spa, medieval churches and half-timbered buildings are connected by two National Routes. You can either ride them individually, or make a day of it and combine them together to make a loop. Both routes are just under 10 miles and mainly flat, making them perfect for the inexperienced rider. 

6. Cambridge

Cambridge is the quintessential British city, the Cambridge to Bottisham route follows the River Cam and takes you past many of its galleries, museums and college buildings. Although this is an urban route it leaves the city via some of its fantastic green spaces including Jesus Green, Midsummer Common, Stourbridge Common and Ditton Meadows.

7. Gateshead

This cycle route takes you on a great tour of Gateshead. Starting out at the BALTIC Gallery you will follow the banks of the River Tyne until you arrive at the Bill Quay Community Farm, a treasured green space on the edge of Gateshead.

8. Cardiff

The Cardiff Bay Trail is a must! It provides a fantastic opportunity to explore Cardiff Bays vibrant waterfronts cafes, bars and restaurants; heritage sites and array of fantastic activities at the new International Sports Village.

9. Peterborough

The Peterborough Green Wheel is a network of routes in and around the city created as part of a Millennium project. The route takes you on a loop through the city centre and out to Ferry Meadows Country Park and back again.

10. Edinburgh

This route takes you from the beautiful city of Edinburgh and its many historical and architectural delights to South Queensferry and then across the impressive Forth Road Bridge.

For more routes, search our online map

To support our work with the National Cycle Network you can sponsor a mile or volunteer on your favourite route.