Best routes for cultural heritage

Bamburgh Castle

Bamburgh Castle on the Coast and Castles South cycle route. Image © Sam Howard

castle and bikes

Broughty Castle, National Route 1 Broughty Castle

Northumberland coast and castles

From castles and stately homes to quaint villages and Roman ruins, these National Cycle Network Routes have it all

Fancy travelling back in time? Then these routes are for you.

Each September sees thousands of volunteers open up their doors as part of Heritage Open Days, England's largest festival of history and culture. To celebrate we have assembled some of our favourite routes to places of histocial interest. 

Taking you through the fabulous history and heritage of the UK, these rides on the National Cycle Network have it all - from castles and stately homes to quaint villages and Roman ruins. 

Causeway Coast Cycle Route

Dunluce Castle, Northern Ireland

The iconic ruin of Dunluce Castle is just one of the dramatic backdrops on this stunning 23 mile cycle route along the North Atlantic coast from Castlerock to the Giant’s Causeway.

> Buy the map: The Causeway Coast & Glens Cycle Map

The Clyde Walkway

Bothwell Castle, Uddingstone, Scotland

The Clyde Walkway takes you to Bothwell, Scotland’s largest and finest 13th century castle. Dramatically set beside a bend in the River Clyde you can experience the grim reality of prison life in the prison tower.

> Buy the map: Glasgow, Stirling & the Clyde Cycle Map

Alloa Hillfoots Loop

Alloa Tower, Scotland

Boasting to be the largest keep in Scotland, the medieval Alloa tower was once home to Mary Queen of Scots. It may look very forbidding on the outside but within its walls there is a surplus of art and riches - not to mention historical tales - to uncover. Explore Alloa and the other Hillfoots villages on the mainly traffic free circular Alloa Hilfoots Loop. Perfect for families and inexperienced cyclists.

> Buy the map: Edinburgh, Stirling & the Forth Cycle Map

Pontypool/Blaenavon Cycle Route

Big Pit Mining Museum, South Wales

The Pontypool/Blaenavon route takes you past Big Pit National Mining Museum, a real coal mine and one of Britain's leading mining museums. The museum is set in a unique industrial landscape, designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000 in recognition of its international importance to the process of industrialisation through iron and coal production.

> Buy the map: South East Wales Cycle Map

Lôn Las Cymru North

Harlech Castle, North Wales

In Harlech on the challenging 137 mile north section of the Lôn Las Cymru the imposing structure of Harlech Castle is hard to miss. During the War of the Roses this huge fortress is thought to have been the site of the longest siege in British history.

> Buy the map: Lôn Las Cymru North

Coast and Castles South route

Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland

The Coast and Castles South route is 200 miles long and takes you all the way from Newcastle to Edinburgh. With a number of heritage sites, breathtaking Scottish Borders countryside and stunning sea views it really has it all. On the way you can visit Bamburgh Castle, Kelso Abbey, Floors Castle, Dryburgh Abbey, Melrose Abbey and Traquair House to name just a few!

> Buy the map: Coast and Castles South

York to Beningbrough route

Jorvik Viking Centre, York

The York to Beningbrough route starts in the historic and picturesque city of York, a must on most UK visitors itineraries, and wends its way north towards the impressive Beningbrough Hall. The Jorvik Viking Centre is well worth a visit and is built on the site where archaeologists discovered the houses, workshops and backyards of the Viking age city of Jorvik as it stood nearly 1,000 years ago.

> Buy the map: West Yorkshire Cycle Map

Thames Valley route

Runnymede, Surrey

The Thames Valley route takes you past Runnymede, the birthplace of modern democracy. In 2015, to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, we created a special edition national Magna Carta cycle trail map.

> Buy the map: Thames Valley Cycle Map

Oxford to Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire

Visit the birthplace of Churchill, the ‘Greatest Briton’. The 10 mile Oxford to Blenheim Palace ride takes you from central Oxford right past the entrance to the palace.

> Buy the map: Thames Valley Cycle Map

Grand Union Canal

Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire

The Grand Union Canal takes you past what once was ‘Britain’s Best Kept Secret’. Visitors can explore some of the iconic World War 2 codebreaking huts and blocks and marvel at the astonishing achievements of the codebreakers whose work is said to have helped shorten the war by two years.

> Buy the map: Warwickshire & The South Midlands Cycle Map

West London Thames ride

Hampton Court Palace, Kingston

This delightful route runs alongside the River Thames following a traffic free path through the grounds of one of Britains's greatest and most impressive historic palaces, Hampton Court. Beginning at Kingston station, the route is traffic free all the way to Weybridge.

> Buy the map: West London Cycle Map

Reading to Basingstoke route

Roman City Walls and Amphitheatre, Silchester

The Reading to Basingstoke route on National Cycle Network 23 takes you past Calleva Atrebatum, known as Roman Silchester, a well-preserved Roman settlement managed by Hampshire County Council and English Heritage. At the Museum of Reading in Reading Town Hall there is a gallery devoted to Calleva, displaying lots of archeological finds from previous excavations.

> Buy the map: Thames Valley Cycle Map

Jubilee River route

Windsor Castle, Windsor

The mostly traffic free Jubilee River route takes you past Windsor Castle, the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world and the official residence of Her Majesty The Queen.

> Buy the map: Thames Valley Cycle Map

Shakespeare's Cycleway, London to Stratford-upon-avon (via Oxford)

The Globe Theatre, London

The 1997 replica of the Globe theatre was home to Shakespeare’s troop of actors (the Lord Chamberlain’s Men) and is a stone’s throw from the original building demolished in 1644. The long-distance Shakespeare Cycleway connects two locations forever entwined with the famous playwright from the Bard’s birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon to the Globe Theatre in London.

> Buy the map: Shakespeare's Cycleway

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