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five of the best cycling trails in the Lake District in the UK

Five of the Best Family Bike Routes in the Lake District

For families seeking adventure, the Lake District is the perfect location for some family bike rides. There's no better way to immerse yourself in the landscape than by embarking on some scenic rides 

Join us as we recommend some of the finest family cycle routes in the Lake District. From the tranquillity of Windermere's western shore to the twists of the Langdale Cycle Trail, they're all scenic and fun.

Whether you're a seasoned cyclist or pedalling with little ones, these routes promise an unforgettable ride. At Bike Club we have a selection of great kids bikes available to take on your travels. You can also take a look at our guide to planning your first family bike ride.  

The Eskdale Trail  

  • Distance: 7 miles 
  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Terrain: Flat and easy to follow 
  • Starting point: Ravenglass Railway Station 
  • End point: Dalegarth 
  • Highlights: Eskdale Railway Museum, Muncaster Castle
  • Other places to visit: Wasdale Head, Buttermere, Buttermere Lake, Hardknott Roman Fort

The first Lake District cycling route is The Eksdale Trail. This trail is a 7-mile traffic-free cycle route in the Lake District National Park. It is a great option for families, as it is relatively flat and easy to follow.  

The route starts at Ravenglass Railway Station and follows the River Esk to Dalegarth. There are several places to stop, including the Eskdale Railway Museum and Muncaster Castle. 

Several points along the way provide access to the fully signposted Eskdale Trail. There are also several places to park bikes along the route. The trail is open all year round, but it is best to avoid it during the busy summer months. 

If you are looking for a fun and easy bike ride with the family, the Eskdale Trail is a great option. It is a beautiful route that offers stunning views of the Lake District countryside. 

Langdale Cycle Trail 

  • Distance: 12 miles 
  • Difficulty: Moderate to challenging 
  • Terrain: Hilly with some steep climbs and descents 
  • Starting point: Stickle Ghyll car park 
  • End point: Stickle Ghyll car park
  • Highlights: Langdale Pikes, Elterwater, Skelwith Bridge 
  • Other places to visit: Grasmere, Rydal Water, Windermere   

The Langdale Valley Cycle Trail is a 12-mile circular cycle route in the Lake District National Park. It is a challenging route, with some steep climbs and descents, but it is also a very rewarding one. The route takes in some of the most spectacular scenery in the Lake District. Starting at Stickle Ghyll car park you will ride down to Skelwith Bridge.

You'll come across the Langdale Pikes, Elterwater, and Skelwith Bridge.  

If you are looking for a challenging but rewarding cycle ride, the Langdale Valley Cycle Trail is a great option. It is a beautiful route that offers stunning views of the Lake District countryside.   

The Torver Trail 

  • Distance: 6 miles 
  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Terrain: Flat and easy to follow 
  • Starting point: Torver Village Hall car park 
  • End point: Torver, via Coniston 
  • Highlights: Torver Common Wood, Hoathwaite, Coniston Water 
  • Other places to visit: Tarn Hows, Hawkshead, Grasmere  

Discover the beauty of the Lake District National Park with the Torver Trail, a delightful 6-mile traffic-free cycling route. Ideal for families seeking a leisurely adventure, this trail boasts a gentle terrain that's easy to navigate and captivating to explore.  

Kickstarting your journey at the Torver Village Hall car park (subject to a fee), you'll follow the trail along the old railway trackbed, seeing the region's rich history as you pedal toward Coniston. 

En route, the Torver Trail treats you can take a moment to embrace the tranquillity of Torver Common Wood.  

Designed with family enjoyment in mind, the Torver Trail is a harmonious blend of accessibility and beauty.  

Its relatively flat terrain ensures a stress-free ride for all ages. Meanwhile, the captivating vistas of the Lake District's countryside provide great picture spots.  Once you reach Coniston you can retrace your route.

For those in search of an enjoyable and accessible bike ride that encapsulates the Lake District, the Torver Trail beckons.    

The Grasmere Trail 

  • Distance: 4 miles 
  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Terrain: Flat and easy to follow 
  • Starting point: Ambleside 
  • End point: Grasmere 
  • Highlights: Rydal Water, Grasmere, Wordsworth's Dove Cottage 
  • Other places to visit: Windermere, Keswick, Lake District  

Explore the charm of the Lake District National Park with the Grasmere Trail, a leisurely 4-mile traffic-free cycling path. Perfect for families seeking a simple and enjoyable adventure, this trail offers a gentle route that's easy to navigate.  

Beginning at Ambleside, your journey unfolds along the serene shores of Rydal Water and Grasmere. 

The Grasmere Trail is a family-friendly choice, featuring a relatively flat terrain that promises a hassle-free ride. As you pedal, you'll encounter inviting stops such as Rydal Hall, Grasmere Gingerbread Shop, and Wordsworth's Dove Cottage.

Designed for family enjoyment, the Grasmere Trail captures the essence of easygoing cycling. Its manageable path is complemented by the beauty of Rydal Water and Grasmere's surroundings, creating a perfect backdrop. 

Windermere Western Shore 

  • Distance: 14 miles 
  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Terrain: Flat and easy to follow 
  • Starting point: Bowness-on-Windermere 
  • End point: Wray Castle 
  • Highlights: Lakeside, Bowness Pier, Ambleside 
  • Other places to visit: Windermere, Grasmere, Keswick 

Discover the captivating allure of the Lake District National Park with the Windermere Western Shore. This is a delightful 14-mile traffic-free cycling route tracing the serene western edge of Lake Windermere.  

Tailored for families seeking an enjoyable adventure, this route offers a gentle path that's both accessible and enjoyable. 

Your journey begins at Bowness-on-Windermere, a charming starting point that sets the tone for the picturesque ride ahead. As you pedal along the tranquil lakeshore, you'll be treated to breathtaking views.  

The route leads you to Wray Castle, standing as a testament to the region's rich heritage.  

Along the way, there are numerous stops where you can pause and savour the surroundings. Whether it's the allure of Lakeside or the inviting ambience of Ambleside, each stop has something to offer. 

For families in search of a joyful adventure that captures the essence of the Lake District, the Windermere Western Shore beckons.  

Questions We’re Regularly Asked By Parents About Cycling in the Lake District 

Are the cycling routes in the Lake District safe for kids and beginners? 

These routes are all well-signposted and easy to find. They are also relatively quiet, making them ideal for families. However, some of the cycling routes in the Lake District can be challenging, especially for beginners. If you are unsure about whether a particular route is suitable for your family, it is best to check online

What essential items should we pack for a family cycling trip to the Lake District?   

Begin with well-maintained bicycles, helmets, and necessary tools for quick repairs. Comfortable clothing and sturdy footwear are essential for each family member, along with rainproof layers to combat unpredictable weather. Don't forget to pack a first aid kit, sun cream, and insect repellent for added safety.  

Carry ample water and energy-packed snacks, as well as a map or GPS device to navigate the picturesque trails. Finally, don't forget a camera and a phone charger.

Are there any specific rules or regulations we should be aware of while cycling in the Lake District with children? 

Yes, there are rules you should be aware of while cycling in the Lake District with children: 

  • Cyclists must obey the same rules of the road as motorists. This means riding on the left-hand side of the road, stopping at red lights, and yielding to pedestrians.  
  • Cyclists are not allowed on pavements. This is because pavements are for pedestrians, and cyclists can pose a hazard to them. 
  • Cyclists should be aware of their surroundings. Be prepared to share the road with other users, such as pedestrians, motorists, and horse riders. 
  • Cyclists should be considerate of other users of the road. Avoid riding in a way that could be dangerous or disruptive. 

More Family Bike Routes  

If you want to see more bike routes, view our blogs on bike routes in Devon and bike routes in Cornwall. We also have a blog on bike routes covering the whole of the UK.