Top Spots for Cycling in the Lake District

The GO Guide to the Lake District – Cycling

In the second edition of our guide to the Lake District, we focus on cycling. The Lake District offers some fantastic opportunities for cyclists of all abilities. We’ve listed some great routes to look up, and some helpful places to hire bikes should you not have your own.

Bike Hire and Essential Equipment

Should you need to hire a bicycle, we’ve included the best cycle hire locations below (although it’s always more fun if you have your own equipment!). Whether you’re interested in mountain biking (like us) or prefer to take road routes (also enjoyable), we have a wide range of top quality bicycles from leading and well-trusted brands here at GO Outdoors, such as Whistle, DBR and Calibre.

1. Grizedale Mountain Bikes

Head on over to Grizedale Mountain Bikes, based at Grizdedale Visitor Centre, Hawkshead where you’ll find a huge selection of bikes for hire. Once you’ve found your perfect fit, there’s no excuse for not getting as close to the stunning scenery of the Lake District as possible.

2. Country Lanes

Whether you’re looking for cycle hire or mountain bike hire, for individual use or for group cycle events, you’ll find just what you need at Country Lanes, based at The Railway Station Precinct, Windermere.

3. Coniston Boating Centre

Stop off at Coniston Boating Centre where you’ll find a wide choice of bikes available for hire, including tag-alongs, electric bikes and trailers. Helmets, puncture repair kit, map and locks are all included in the hire price, giving you one less thing to worry about. Details of where to find it are included on our Miscellaneous Outdoors map below.


Cycling Routes

1. Forestry Commission – Grizedale

Whatever your ability, Grizedale offers a wealth of cycling routes and opportunities for exploration, from the moderate Moor Top Trail through to the more advanced North Face Mountain Bike Trail. So whether you’re looking for a particular route or prefer to just set off on your bike and see where you end up, you’ll find plenty to keep you occupied here.

The routes can be downloaded from:


2. Forestry Commission – Whinlatter

If you’re hoping to experience the thrill of real mountain biking then head along to Whinlatter where you’ll find spectacular views of the Lakes – it took our breath away! Choose from the moderate 7.5km Quercus Trail or the more difficult Altura Trail depending on your ability.

The routes can be downloaded from:


3. Little Langdale

If you favour a shorter mountain bike challenge with the option of a pub lunch en-route (who doesn’t love a slap up meal in the heart if the English countryside?) then why not try the Little Langdale cycle trail. Take care on the ascent to Hodge Close as the climb can be a little strenuous.

The route can be downloaded from:


Our friends over at Pedal North have supplied us with their pick of cycle routes in the Lake District for varying abilities – so you can take as easy or as advanced a route as you prefer.

4. Loweswater Loop (easy difficulty)

Cycling beginners can start off easy with the gentle and short Loweswater route. At just 5.3 miles long, you can complete this route in a fairly short space of time before rewarding yourself with a slice of cake from Newhouse Farm tea rooms or a pub lunch from the Kirkstile Inn – sure to get your taste buds tickling and your mouth watering.

The route can be downloaded from:


5. High Street and Boredale (medium difficulty)

High Street and Boredale will appeal to those looking for a longer and more challenging route. With a combination of steep climbs, ridge riding and a five mile unbroken descent along the way, this medium difficulty route is a Lake District classic not to be missed.

The route can be downloaded from:


6. Tour de Coniston (medium difficulty)

If you’re rewarded with a clear day, take the Tour de Coniston cycle route and enjoy impressive views of the Lakes from the top of the Walna Scar and Parkamoor. If you begin your trip from the foot of the lake, you’ll also have your pick of facilities and refreshments to keep hunger at bay during your ride.

The route can be downloaded from:


7. Walna Scar (hard)

Not for the faint hearted, Walna Scar is up there with the toughest of the tough mountain bike routes – but for those in love of a gruelling challenge, it’s the Lake District’s best-kept secret.

The route can be downloaded from:


8. Loughrigg Loop (hard)

Located in the heart of the Lakes, Loughrigg Loop is a favourite among walkers and cyclists alike. Although the tough climbs and descents will test your ability, the stunning scenic views make it all worthwhile.

The route can be downloaded from: