Cycling has become one of the UK’s favourite sports in the past year. Welcoming healthier and active transport during the pandemic, government data reported that cycling had increased up to 384 per cent in May 2020 when compared to the start of March. In the past year, more people have been on their bikes than ever before.
But now, as the economy reopens and the public prepares itself for a summer of staycations, will a cycling holiday be on your agenda? The UK has no shortage of idyllic landscapes to enjoy a bit of cycling, and for extreme sports enthusiasts, there’s an overwhelming number of mountainous ranges and forest trails to choose from. Time to get those tyres muddy!
New research from Leisure Lakes Bikes has revealed the best locations for mountain biking enthusiasts.
The study analysed Tripadvisor reviews at various UK locations. When searching for ‘mountain biking’ in the UK, Tripadvisor returns 990 locations and activities as results. Each location and activity can be categorised by its type. Categories include mountains, National Parks, and mysterious sites. The total number of reviews at each location was then counted.
Here, we rank each location based on their total number of reviews to reveal the most popular locations for tourists where you can enjoy taking your mountain bikes.
1. St Michael’s Mount
Not only is it the most popular cycling spot in the UK, but St Michael’s Mount is also arguably one of the most aesthetic locations in the nation. The tidal island sits in Cornwall, connected with a man-made granite causeway. St Michael’s Mount has been reviewed a total number of 5,033 times, proving its popularity among tourists.
Mountain biking fans rejoice! It’s an incredibly popular location for a ride, offering amazing coastal views of the island through the historic landscape. There’s a route for everyone, from beginners to the most experienced.
Is anyone surprised that Snowdon placed so high up the list? The tallest peak in Wales, Snowdon is one of the most popular locations for hikers and bikers alike. With steep hills and rocky roads, it’s perfect for the seasoned mountain biker. Snowdon accrued 3,072 reviews, while the Snowdon Mountain Railway achieved an impressive 3,072 reviews. So you can enjoy riding the train up the mountain or dodging under tracks and bridges as the carriages pass over you.
However, the Snowdon Voluntary Cycling Agreement means that cyclists are asked not to cycle on Snowdon between 10am and 5pm from May to September. Still, that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying an early morning or evening bike ride. And you can enjoy the rest of the day chilling in the colourful village below. You could also visit during the off-peak season to get extra cycling out of your day.
3. Cairngorm Mountain
While Cairngorm Mountain in Scotland may be best known for skiing slopes, in the summer months it becomes the perfect place for mountain biking. With 2,527 reviews, it’s another popular spot among visitors.
A mix of woods and muddy trails, complete with an amazing loch, it’s a great mountain biking location for all the family.
4. Ben Nevis
When we’re talking about mountain biking in the UK, you’d be surprised if the tallest mountain in the country didn’t make the cut. Located in Scotland, and standing at 1,345 metres tall, Ben Nevis takes the fourth spot as the most popular biking location in the UK with 2,461 reviews by visitors.
The trails around the mountain are known as “the Witch’s Trails”, which incorporate mountain biking trails for all abilities. The Nevis Range Mountain Experience also proved popular among visitors, with 2,302 reviews to its name. So whether you want to climb to the peak or enjoy cycling around the forested area below, you can be sure that Ben Nevis offers fun for any keen cyclist.
5. New Forest National Park
Sitting between Bournemouth and Southampton, New Forest National Park is the perfect cycling retreat in the South of England. As a national park, this location has been chosen for its outstanding beauty and natural significance. The park is also home to a variety of rare birds, including the curlew, redshank, snipe, and lapwing.
The park has 1,813 reviews, showing how the site is a popular spot for tourists. There are also over 100 miles worth of cycle tracks across the Crown Lands of the Forest. So, whether you want to see some local wildlife, enjoy a spot of cycling, or do both, New Forest National Park has a lot to offer.
6. Kilt Rock
This geological formation is a superb location for mountain biking. Named after its resemblance to a kilt, this Scottish cliffside area features stunning views and a magnificent waterfall to match.
While windy weather isn’t the best for cycling, visitors are stunned by the eery tone the cliffs naturally produce when hit by strong gusts. Its remote location may mean that only the most experienced mountain bikers give this rocky formation a go, but the location is certainly popular among a wide variety of tourists in Scotland. In fact, the cliffside area has 1,777 reviews, with tourists passing their judgement on the location.
7. Loch Ness
Have you seen Nessie? You may spot this mythical creature when cycling around this popular mountain biking location. Loch Ness is the second largest Scottish loch, but certainly the most famous. With 1,707 tourist reviews, it’s an idyllic location for any keen cyclist.
In 2002, a new biking trail was opened. Named the Loch Ness 360, it offers an accessible biking trail for all cyclists. Divided into six sections, you can curate your own cycling route and enjoy any level of difficulty.
Are you planning a cycling holiday this summer? Well, there’s no shortage of amazing locations for you to visit with your mountain bike. The UK has more surprising spots for cycling than you may think. Trusting the public with their reviews is a good place to start when deciding where to go!