Published: 26th JUNE 2019

Routes in the South East of England

We’ve picked out some of our favourite routes on the National Cycle Network that showcase the best of the South East region. From canals to beaches and cities to countryside, these rides are easily manageable for families with young children and novice cyclists.

Person with backpack walking on gravel track through sunny woods

The Crab and Winkle Way is a scenic route between Canterbury and Whitstable.

1. Crab & Winkle Way

This route does feature some hills, with a 61m (200ft) climb out of Canterbury and an undulating middle section. However, there are fine views over Whitstable from the highest point of the ride. Please take care on the on-road section by Kent University.

2. Cuckoo Trail

The Cuckoo Trail is one of the most popular family cycle rides in the South East and gained its name from an old Sussex tradition of releasing a cuckoo at the Heathfield Fair. Keep your eyes peeled as this route is rich in birdlife.

Cyclist with young child in bike seat with woman cyclist behind on coastal route

Ride along the seaside on the Rottingdean to Shoreham route.

3. Rottingdean to Shoreham Port

The ride begins at Rottingdean on a path between the A259 and the sea, with the ups and downs and spectacular views you would expect from a clifftop path. The path takes you down to Brighton Marina, where luxury yachts are moored alongside small pleasure craft, and into the vibrant and cosmopolitan city of Brighton. Please note there is an on-road section at Shoreham Harbour where you should take care. 

4. The Jubilee River, Eton Dorney

This splendid family-friendly circuit takes in Windsor Castle, Eton College, Dorney Lake, the Jubilee River and the River Thames. Please note there are some rough surface sections. There’s also a tricky bit between Maidenhead Bridge and the start of the Jubilee River - if not confident cycling along the A4, push your bike or walk along the footway.  

5. Tonbridge to Penshurst

This route offers an excellent, almost entirely traffic-free ride from the heart of Tonbridge alongside the River Medway, out into the countryside as far as the glorious buildings of Penshurst Place, some five miles to the west.

Runner with two dogs on tarmac path through woods with gazebo sculpture to the right side

Why not try the Cuckoo Trail on foot? Image by Ian Chamberlain/Sustrans

6. The Phoenix Trail 

The Phoenix Trail links the two market towns of Thame and Princes Risborough, providing an ideal traffic-free ride or walk for all the family. There is also the opportunity to admire the magnificent views of the nearby Chiltern Hills and spot red kites, the impressive birds of prey that thrive in the area.

7. Oxford to Blenheim Palace

This great eight-mile route takes you from the historic city of Oxford out to Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. The Churchill exhibition gives a fascinating insight into the ‘Greatest Briton’ including personal letters, photographs and paintings. Please note there is a section of this route along canal towpath with surface that is unsuitable for skinny road tyres. 

8. Forest Way

Running from East Grinstead to Groombridge, the Forest Way is perfect for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. This route follows a disused railway line and is flat and traffic-free.

Sign up to our newsletter for more route ideas

Share this page