Category: Holiday Ideas

‘Wheely’ great holiday locations for mountain bikers in the UK

Man in orange shirt on mountain bike going down stoney slope with trees

The UK has endless opportunities for mountain biking

There are many fantastic mountain bike trails throughout the UK, from the world-class challenging routes of the 7stanes in Scotland to the varied and windswept terrain of Exmoor National Park. Whether you are seeking the adrenaline rush of hair raising purpose-built tracks; desire the freedom of country off-road trails; or want the challenge of tricky single-track descents, the UK has something to satisfy all abilities and stamina levels.

Maybe you want to take your mountain bike away on holiday to get off the beaten tourist track and explore some of the areas natural treasures or possibly you are planning a dedicated biking break. Whatever your motivation, self-catering can provide a welcoming retreat to return ‘home’ to at the end of the day. Many holiday cottages offer secure bike storage, wash down areas for muddy bikes and facilities for drying wet outdoor gear. With such a vast selection of holiday homes around the UK, you are sure to find one in the chosen area you want to explore.

Let’s take a look at five popular holiday destinations for mountain biking in the UK.

Grizedale Forest in the Lakes in Cumbria

Grizedale Forest, situated in the hugely popular Lake District, offers a number of waymarked cycling trails which vary greatly in terms of ease. Famed for its wildlife and jaw-dropping sculptures, Grizedale Forest provides a choice of trails with some stunning scenery along the way. From the blue moderate two mile Goosey Foot Tarn Trail; to the Adrenaline pumping red North Face Trail with its leg burning climbs and challenging descents, the forest provides a fun and satisfying day out for all. The Lakes also feature the highest mountain in England, Scafell Pike, so there are no end of challenges for all levels of mountain biker in this part of the country!

Two cyclists going over bridge that straddles stream with mountains in back ground

The Lake District, a cyclists paradise

Machynlleth in Mid Wales – the Cli-Machx trail through Dyfi Forest.

The Cli-Machx trail in Wales may not be for the faint-hearted; it is one of the most testing and therefore alluring destinations for keen mountain bikers in the UK. Opened in the Dyfi Forest in 2005, it is noted for its rocky terrain and the vast challenges that it lays out around its 15 kilometer round trip. Certainly deserving its Red grade status, the Cli-Machx trail is renowned for its never ending tricky single track descents, with a few hair raising rocky jumps along the way and a sequence of large berms at the end that can test the bravest of bikers! Sitting in Powys between Dolgellau and Machynlleth, the rugged peaks of the Dyfi Forest tower over its wooded hillsides where rocky valleys give way to cascading streams and mystic ruins – a perfect backdrop for your outdoor adventure.

Newcastleton in the Scottish Borders – one of the 7stanes

Girl and boy on mountain bikes looking over a large lake on a cloudy day

From lochs to mountains, Scotland’s scenery provides the perfect setting for a mountain biking holiday

The 7stanes are seven purpose built mountain biking centres spread out across south Scotland. Whether you enjoy gentle woodland rides, want an introduction to mountain biking or seek the challenges and thrills of downhill, there is a trail to suit. Providing access to some of  Scotland’s most beautiful forest scenery, 7stanes is great for families with trails that are fun for all abilities and ages. Newcastleton is amongst the most popular of these and can be found near the England/Scotland border. Offering some of the 7stanes shortest routes, it is a good starting point, both for exploring all seven trails and as an introduction to those new to mountain biking with blue and red graded trails to explore. Newcastleton is one of the Borders’ much loved treasures and nestles amongst spectacular scenery within the Liddesdale Valley. The village has a number of pubs, shops and cafes and is just a short ride from the start of the 7stanes trails. Take a look at our self-catering accommodation in Newcastleton or the wider Scottish Borders area for some ideas.

Cannock Chase Forest in Staffordshire

Cannock Chase Forest is situated in Staffordshire and is a premier mountain biking location in the Midlands. Another good place for the whole family with green, blue and red graded trails, Cannock Chase Forest offers picturesque valleys for leisurely rides, along with plenty of opportunities for Cross Country, Leisure and Downhill riders. It is most famous for its Follow the Dog and Monkey Trails. Whilst the former is suited towards competent riders with its technical single track trail, the latter is geared up towards highly-experienced mountain bikers (some may say fearless!) seeking a tougher challenge with boardwalks, drops and jumps to test your balance and skill. Meanwhile the less demanding trails such as the family friendly Fairoak Trail, allow you to take in the stunning valley scenery and wildlife at a leisurely pace.

Dalby Forest in the North York Moors

A track cutting across heather clad moorland with green hills in background and grey moody sky

Miles of off-road tracks to explore across the North York Moors

The impressive dramatic landscape of the North Yorkshire Moors has starred in a number of TV shows over the years and, since 2007, cyclists have been able to experience 35 miles worth of trails within its famed Dalby Forest – a consistently popular destination for mountain bikers. The trails vary from relaxing greens to the incredibly challenging reds and blacks, offering something for all levels. The 21-mile red route is notable for its testing series of terrains, making it the ideal challenge for highly-experienced mountain bikers. Closely located to the world-famous seaside towns of Whitby and Scarborough, you can combine the excitement of the forest trails with some wonderful sea air and relaxing days on the beach to relax your aching limbs.

Mountain biking can provide an exhilarating fun experience and what better way to explore the UK’s incredible landscape than by bike, whilst burning off a few holiday calories along the way! Not restricted to roads, you can discover many hidden gems off the beaten track, so next time you go away in the UK, make sure you take your mountain bike or hire one and tackle one of the many tracks and trails just waiting to be ridden.

Silhouette of mountain biker at top of grass hill by monument

Get off the beaten track with your mountain bike on holiday

10 thoughts on “‘Wheely’ great holiday locations for mountain bikers in the UK

  1. Ian BESFORD

    Daley forest is the place to be, whether you are at peak of this sport or just want a leisurely cycle through wonderful scenery the Bike Barn has cycles for hire for the hour, day or longer and offers a range of corses and support for those wishing to improve. For those staying in Pickering there is now a compact cycle course through the woods under the castle walls. Again courses for all ages and abilities. Whichever site you try, Pickering makes for a wonderful base to stay with great places to eat, for any budget and independently owned shops offering unique products and gifts. For those who yearn for more nostalgia, Pickering is also the start of the award winning North Yorkshire Steam Railway which now runs through to Whitby.

  2. Katie Thompson

    Brilliant bike rides around little haven & surrounding coastal villages, you cycle through some amazing places, with excellent views if on coastal path or lanes, miles of wonderful bike rides past lots of beaches & plenty of wildlife to see on the way. Why not stay at Cerrigwen cottage when exploring the seven havens.

  3. Alex Walter

    Dumfries and Galloway is the first county in Scotland when you cross the border and is another place to access the world class 7Stanes mountain bike trails. Turn left at Gretna Green and head west, Kirroughtree Forest and Glentrool both have trails not far from the town of Newton Stewart. Our holiday cottage Carsebuie in an area of outstanding natural beauty is a bike ride from both starting points and the fabulous Galloway Forest Dark Skies park. Fantastic walking and wildlife spotting are all here too. Why not visit outside the school holiday period and enjoy carpets of bluebells in spring or gorgeous copper autumn leaves. There are some amazing ancient woodlands and historic stone circles as well as stunning coastline.

  4. Joyce Laird

    The award winning Mountain biking centre at Glentress is only 20 miles from our holiday cottage near Skirling in The Scottish Borders, with a skills loop and routes varying from green up to the scary black route. Just a little further on is Innerleithen for the more experienced rider. If you come and stay at The New Farmhouse you can also try out the trails at the beautiful Drumlanrig Castle, only 40 mins by car.

  5. Bronwen

    Fantastic biking on and off road around this whole spectacular area of Lake Vyrnwy, the Berwyns and Snowdonia, including the highest motorable pass in Wales – loads of bike room at the property, natural power shower, ample drying area and sleeps 15 with loads of room….. perfect for cycling and biking groups!

  6. Barbara Elborn

    Great off road trails between Newcastleton Forest & Kielder Forest and Water Park – about 17/20 miles of cross country and when you get to Kielder from Newcastleton you can cool off in the Lake!

    Not strictly mountain biking but the Scottish Borders plays host to the first stage of the Tour of Britain on the weekend of Sept 14th/15th. Grand depart on Sunday from Pebbles to Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfries and the same route hosts a sportive for those amateurs who are brave enough to have ago on the Saturday. Will be a fantastic sight watching the peloton weave its way through the Scottish countryside. Cant wait!

  7. Karen Chadfield

    Agree with Ian’s comments about Dalby Forest – something for everyone there with miles of cycle tracks as well as walking and play areas. We’ve just been with bikes and horses for a fantastic day out ending with a well earned BBQ! Why not base yourselves at Rosedale Holiday Cottages near Whitby – we cater for cyclists with washing down facilities as well. There is also close access to the cycle routes across the North Yorkshire Moors and the old railway line from Whitby to Scarborough going past Robin Hoods Bay and some terrific scenary. There are cycle hire facilities just outside of Whitby for those that don’t want to bring their bikes.

  8. Eryl Evans

    Here in the beautiful Dyfi Valley, Machynlleth, Mid Wales we have miles and miles of fantastic cycle tracks set in amazing countryside. Bring your bikes, stay in one of our farmhouses and take some time out to visit local beaches or the mountains of Snowdonia.

  9. Claire Franklin

    Our cottage is located 20 miles from Dalby Forest in the heart of the North York Moors, the whole area is perfect for mountain bikers but at Dalby they have miles and miles of different terrain tracks for you to explore.
    Stay with us and take advantage of our guest accommodation pass which gives our guests unlimited free access to the forest and facilities.

  10. Jan Blythin

    The Tanat valley in Powys close to Lake Vyrnwy not only has stunning scenery and countryside perfect for cycling, but also the popular Revolution bike park, a downhill park of 110 acres of woodland where moderate to experienced riders can hone their skills. Belle Vue cottage and B&B is only 5 miles from Revolution and as well as great accommodation has facilities for bikers to clean and store their bikes safely.


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