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Best Cycling Routes in York

Wednesday 20 March 2024

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Yorkshire easily lends itself to some picturesque cycle routes, and the city of York itself is no exception. When cycling in York, you have the opportunity and freedom to uniquely explore this charming city and county. 

With CrossCountry, you have the chance to wheel on your own bikes. But don’t forget to book a bike space in advance. If you’re not travelling with your own bike but still want to see what cycle routes York has to offer then no need to fret, as there are a number of options for bike hire around York train station and the city centre, including companies such as Cycle Heaven.

Rawcliffe Country Park to York City Centre

For a short route that packs in both a country park and parts of the historic city centre, this is an ideal route for all of the family. With the round trip approximately covering five miles, it should take just over half an hour to finish this route. 

Rawcliffe Country Park provides further entertainment for your kids during a break in the bike ride too, with a children’s play area that’ll keep them active. The whole park is surrounded by 2,000 trees as well as 1,500 woodland shrubs, which provides a level of seclusion you wouldn’t expect to a park so close to the city centre. This lends itself as the perfect place for a break during your family bike ride. Due to its close proximity to the city centre, you’re never too far away from the countless activities and attractions that York has to offer to make the most of your day when you’ve finished the cycling route.

Hemmingbrough & Howden Loop

If you’re looking for a longer and more rural route, the Hemmingbrough & Howden loop may provide more of a challenge. Spanning across 46 miles and starting from the train station, this route should take over four hours to complete. 

Throughout the route, you’ll be met with varying conditions and terrain all while exploring what the south of the county has to offer. As soon as you set off from the railway station, the history of the city won’t leave you, as the route leads you through some beautifully preserved villages and market towns that deserve to be explored. One site in particular is Howden Minster, where you can see part of the original structure still standing after almost 900 years! Alongside the history, the route also takes you to some of the most picturesque parts of Yorkshire, including tracks along the famous River Ouse.

Someone cycling on a country road

The Planet Trail

The Planet Trail is not only a unique and serine route, but it also doubles up as a lesson about our solar system. An initiative created by York University, the trail includes scale models of all the planets in our solar system, and they also include models of two different spacecrafts. The York Solar System scale works out as every 100 metres that you walk or cycle equates to over 57 million kilometres in space, giving you context on the sheer size of our solar system. 

This trail is ideal for a family cycle route with a twist, as each planet offers you a perfect spot to recuperate. With the trail starting just twenty minutes south of the train station too, you won’t be too far from exploring the galaxy on your bike!

York Flat Loop to Bolton Percy

The York flat loop to Bolton Percy route provides an easier trail for cyclists that are thinking of trying out a longer bike ride. Starting at just over a half a mile away from the train station and stretching out for twenty-nine miles, you’ll have the opportunity to see the less coveted sites further out of the city centre as well as the more popular and breath-taking architecture within the walls of the centre.

The first sites you’ll see on this route are the Lendal Bridge, followed by York Minster. These are two of the most famous sites in York which you can tick off your list right at the start of your bike ride. As you start to venture further out of the city centre, you will still see some beautiful architecture such as the grand Bishopthorpe Palace, which includes gardens where the River Ouse forms a natural barrier. You might also be lucky to spot an otter, as some in the area call this river home. 

Foss Islands to Murton Park

Foss Islands to Murton Park is another ideal cycle route for the family to get involved in. As the start of the trail is just over a mile from the train station on the other side of the city centre, it gives you a chance to take in the sites beforehand. 

Another perk to this cycle route is that at the end of it, you will arrive at Merton Park. You will struggle to run out of things to do here, with a museum celebrating the history of agriculture in the area, a number of barnyard animals to interact with and a playground. Not only this, but there is also the Derwent Valley Light Railway, offering passengers the chance to even drive a full-size locomotive!

If you’re planning a bike ride around these cycle routes in York, don’t forget to book an Advance ticket via our website or the CrossCountry app. If you need more information, you can contact us here.

Written by Julia

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