Cornwall is premier holidaying country. With such a magnificently long coast line, with so many beaches and secluded coves to choose from, it remains one of Britain's most popular tourist destinations. Its extremely rugged country narrows the options for easy holiday cycling, but this doesn't take away the fact that there are various flat and traffic-free cycle routes available for those who'd like to take their holiday cycling easy. Let's start with a summary of those easy, flat cycle paths on former railway beds!
The Camel Trail between Padstow and Wadebridge alongside the wide Camel Estuary is probably one of Britain's most famous cycle paths. During a warm summer day the number of cyclists on this route can compete with the levels of cycling participation in cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen. With numerous bicycle rentals available in both Padstow and Wadebridge, it is definitely the most easy access cycling adventure in Cornwall you can have, although there is no railway station nearby. More quiet is the inland section between Wadebridge and Bodmin (which lies five miles away from Bodmin Parkway station) and beyond Bodmin to Blisland.
Much less known, but providing equally easy traffic-free cycling is the Mining Trail in the valley of Bissoe. From Bissoe, blessed with a cycling cafe and bike rental, you cycle in a surreal landscape of former mine pits. A similar scene awaits you on the half traffic-free, half traffic-calmed route between Redruth and Camborne. Truly flat coastal cycling is possible between Marazion and Penzance and, to some degree, around Hayle . All these areas make reasonably short route itineraries possible, with various railway stations in relatively close distance from each other.
If you'd like to combine your holiday cycling with lots of sightseeing you may want to organise a holiday in the St Austell area. It is one of the few places in Britain where you can easily access many top-rated attractions by bicycle. The Eden Project, Lost Gardens of Heligan, Mevagissey Harbour, Pentewan Beach, historic Charlestown and the Cornish Alps Mining Heritage Museum are all within an eight mile radius away from each other. Find out more on our Pearls of Cornwall page.
On any other routes, you have to be ready to cycle longer distances and also for some serious climbing, mostly on-road. The hills on quiet country lanes are not so bad on our routes between Padstow, Newquay and Truro. Truly hard are the routes between Bude, Widemouth Bay, Tintagel Castle and Blisland. Regular touring cyclists who also cycled the Alps have mentioned to us that cycling via Tintagel is harder than crossing the Alps. So yes; hilly it is! Amazing scenery with spectacular coastal views are the reward for all the climbing efforts.
Not so bad, but still pretty hilly, is a circular route from Penzance into the Penwith Peninsula, taking in the extremely scenic harbours of Newlyn and Mousehole. The Lamorna Valley is a hidden gem on the way to England's most westerly point; Land's End. The views from this cape are phenomenal and if you are put off by the commercial developments on this famous cape, you can always head for Cape Cornwall, a completely unspoiled and less well-known coastal landmark. Cycling back to Penzance via the heights east of St Just you can see how Penwith is surrounded by water on three sides; amazing views with clear weather!
Our Cycling in Cornwall route contains:
Route: Bude - Widemouth Bay - Tintagel or Bodmin Moor - Blisland - Bodmin - Wadebridge - Padstow - Newquay - Truro - Redruth - Camborne - Hayle - Penzance - Land's End - Penzance
Total distance: 148 miles (240 km); cycle paths: 29%, quiet roads: 66%, roads with regular flow or possibly fast moving traffic: 3%, busy main roads with adjacent footpath: 2%
Grading: Only Camel Trail, Mining Trail, Redruth-Camborne, Hayle and Penzance coastal routes generally easy, suitable for younger children. All other sections moderate, hard or strenuous; various extreme climbs, especially between Bude and Widemouth Bay and around Tintagel. Tintagel strenuous route can be avoided by using moderate Bodmin Moor alternative route. Most on-road sections only suitable for fit and keen teenagers who have completed Bikeability Level 2. For more suitable routes for younger children in Cornwall, see our separate Pearls of Cornwall package holiday offer.
Highlights: Bude Beach and Coast Path, Widemouth Bay Beach, coastal route to Crackington, Crackington Haven Beach, coastal route to Tintagel, Tintagel Castle, Trebarwith Beach, cornish hills, Bodmin Moore reserve, Crowdy Reservoir, remote St Breward, Camel Trail, Bodmin & Wenford steam railway, Wadebridge, Padstow, Harlyn Bay Beach, Newquay coast, City of Truro, Mining Trail, Redruth and Camborne heritage mining area, Towans Beach, St Michaels Mount, Penzance, Newlyn and Mousehole Harbours, Sennen Cove Beach, Land's End, Cape Cornwall
Our Cycling in Cornwall route is part of our London-Land's End Cycle Route Book (costs £ 15.99 plus postage). This guide book provides great value for money, includes GPS-tracks and features many more regions other than just Cornwall!
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