What are the most family-friendly cycling routes in the Lake District?

The Lake District, also known as the Lakes or Lakeland, located in Cumbria, is famous for its lakes, forests, and mountains, and its associations with the early 19th-century poetry and writings of William Wordsworth and the Lake Poets. It's a panoramic paradise for cyclists, with an extensive variety of cycle routes that cater to all ages and abilities. Whether you're a professional cyclist seeking a challenge or a family looking for a serene bike ride, the Lake District offers the perfect route for everyone. In this article, we'll focus on the most family-friendly cycling routes in the Lake District, including Windermere, Coniston, and the Great Lakes.


Windermere, the largest natural lake in England, is a great place to start your family cycling adventure. This 10.5 mile long lake is surrounded by mountain peaks and villages, making it a picturesque backdrop for your ride.

One popular family-friendly cycling route here is the Windermere West Shore Cycle Trail. This 4 mile route begins at Brockhole on Windermere, a visitor center offering a wealth of fun family activities. The trail is mostly flat and car-free, making it safe and manageable for younger riders.

If you don't have your bikes with you, Brockhole offers bike rentals, including adult, child, and electric bikes. There are also some excellent picnic spots along the route, where you can stop and enjoy the stunning lake views.


Coniston is another great spot for a family bike ride. Located in the southern part of the Lake District, it's home to the beautiful Coniston Water, the third-largest lake in the district, and surrounded by scenic hills and woodlands.

The Coniston to Torver Trail is a fantastic choice for families. This 4.2 miles route is mainly off-road and flat, making it perfect for kids and novice cyclists. The ride offers scenic views of Coniston Water and the surrounding fells, making it a memorable experience for the entire family.

You can rent bikes from Coniston Boating Centre, which offers a variety of bikes, including children's bikes, trailers, and tag-alongs. There's also a café at the start and end of the trail, where you can refuel with some tasty treats.

The Great Lakes

The Great Lakes, a network of five lakes in the Lake District, offers some of the most scenic and family-friendly cycling routes in the region. This includes the Ullswater Valley, Derwentwater, and the Borrowdale Valley routes.

Ullswater Valley is an 8 miles route that takes you around the second largest lake in the Lake District. The route is mostly flat and suitable for families with older children. It offers fantastic views of the surrounding mountains and the lake itself.

Next, is the Derwentwater. A 10 miles circular route that is largely flat and takes you through some of the most stunning landscapes in the Lake District, including woodlands, fells, and the lake itself.

Lastly, the Borrowdale Valley route. This 6.5 miles route is slightly more challenging with several uphill and downhill stretches, but it's still quite manageable for families. It takes you through the beautiful Borrowdale Valley, offering wonderful views of the surrounding fells and the River Derwent.

Cumbria Valley

The Cumbria Valley offers a unique cycling experience for families. Known for its serene beauty, the valley has several family-friendly cycling routes that are largely flat and off-road, making them safe and manageable even for young children.

The Eden Valley Loop is a popular choice. This 14 miles route takes you through the beautiful Eden Valley, offering spectacular views of the Lakeland fells and the Pennines. The route begins and ends in the charming market town of Appleby-in-Westmorland, where you can explore its historic castle and enjoy a meal in one of its cosy pubs.

Another great option is the Hadrian's Cycleway. This 174 miles route follows the line of the Roman Frontier, but you don't have to do the entire route. The stretch between Carlisle and Bowness-on-Solway is particularly family-friendly, with flat terrain and stunning views of the Solway Coast.

Cycling in the Lake District is a fun and active way to explore the region's stunning landscapes. Whether you're cycling alongside a tranquil lake or through a beautiful valley, it offers a unique and unforgettable experience. So pack your bags, bring your bikes, and come enjoy a family-friendly cycling adventure in the Lake District!

Grizedale Forest

The Grizedale Forest is a haven for cycling enthusiasts. Nestled in the heart of the Lake District, this woodland offers a variety of biking trails that are suitable for families with children of all ages.

One of the most recommended family-friendly cycling routes here is the Grizedale Tarn Trail. This 8-mile route promises a moderate yet thrilling cycle journey that even beginners can navigate with ease. The path is well-signed and car-free, ensuring a safe and stress-free ride.

While you ride, don’t forget to take in the stunning views of the forest, the sculptural artworks scattered across the area, and the tranquil Grizedale Tarn. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some local wildlife!

If you don't own a bike, no worries; the Grizedale Mountain Bike Hire Centre can cater to your needs. They offer a wide range of bikes, including child bikes, adult bikes, and even electric ones.

After your ride, you can relax at the Grizedale Café, which serves a variety of refreshments. There’s also a children’s playground nearby, so your little ones can continue their fun after the ride!

Cumbria Coastal Way

If you're looking for a unique cycling experience, the Cumbria Coastal Way is a great choice. This epic route stretches for 150 miles along the stunning Cumbrian coastline, from Silverdale in the south to Gretna in the north. But don't fret; you don't need to cycle the full distance!

One of the most family-friendly sections of this route is the 10-mile stretch from Whitehaven to Workington. This part of the trail is mainly flat and traffic-free, making it suitable even for young children.

As you cycle, you'll enjoy spectacular views of the Irish Sea, the rolling fells, and the charming coastal towns of Cumbria. You'll also pass by the fascinating Roman fort of Maryport, which is a great place to stop for a picnic and explore the area.

If you need to hire a bike, the Whitehaven cycle hub offers a variety of options to choose from. And once you reach Workington, there's a selection of cozy cafés and restaurants where you can indulge in some local delicacies.


Cycling in the Lake District truly offers a one-of-a-kind experience. The picturesque landscapes, the serene lakes, and the family-friendly routes make it an ideal destination for a weekend break or a longer cycling holiday with your loved ones. Whether you prefer a leisurely ride along the shores of Lake Windermere, a challenging journey through the Grizedale Forest, or an epic adventure along the Cumbria Coastal Way, there's a cycle route that's perfect for your family.

Remember, always check the condition of your bike before you set off and download the GPX of your chosen route to your device. This will ensure a safe and enjoyable ride for everyone. We hope this article inspires you to embark on a memorable cycling journey in the beautiful Lake District National Park. Happy cycling!