Kent is a great county for reasonably easy holiday cycling. A highly varied landscape and some great destinations like historic Canterbury, Chatham and Rochester make it worthwhile to explore the area by bicycle.
The North Downs and High Weald are two narrow hilly ranges stretching across the county from west to east, making cycling challenging at times, but always providing great views. Especially at Folkestone and Dover, where the North Downs hit the coast, the scenery with the famous white cliffs is spectacular.
A reasonably flat area from Tonbridge and Maidstone in the west to the dead-flat Romney Marsh in the east lies in between the two hilly ranges; great cycling country with plenty of quiet country lanes to plan traffic-calmed routes yourself. The area north of the North Downs, the North Coast, also provides plenty of reasonably flat cycling conditions, but as it is more populated, creating traffic-calmed itineraries is more challenging. Especially around Whitstable, on the Isle of Sheppey, in the Medway area and further east towards Gravesend and Dartford it can be difficult to avoid the main through fares and to find pleasant cycling conditions.
An exception to all this is National Cycle Network Route 1 which connects the Dover ferry terminal with London. This routes takes in some sections of the North Downs and primarily finds its way through the reasonably flat north. Route 1 is a great exploration as a mini break or weekend for the more experienced cyclist, families with children could use it to make a cycling holiday of a week or so. With plenty of railway stations on the way, it is easy to create various start- and end points.
Route 1 features the White Cliffs of Dover, the coast at Deal, historic Sandwich, Canterbury and Faversham, plenty of cycling via Kent's famous fruit orchards, the estuaries of Swale and Medway, the historic Chatham Docks and the Thames Route from Gravesend via Dartford to Woolwich. On the crossroads with continental Europe, a high concentration of castles can be found on the way, from the majestic Dover and Rochester castles to the Roman Ruins of Richborough. We take pride in providing one of the very few publications describing the Dover-London route in full detail, also featuring alternatives for sections where route 1 is not up to standard.
Our Cycling in Kent route contains:
Route: Dover - Sandwich - Canterbury - Whitstable - Faversham - Medway (Chatham and Rochester) - Gravesend - Dartford - Erith - Woolwich Ferry
Total distance: 108 miles (175 km); cycle paths: 44%, quiet roads: 51.5%, roads with regular flow or possibly fast moving traffic: 4%, busy main roads with adjacent footpath: 0.5%
Grading: Generally easy, some short climbs, one serious climb out of Dover. Sections Canterbury-Whitstable, Rainham-Chatham and Erith-Woolwich suitable for younger children. All other sections suitable for children who have completed Bikeability Level 2.
Highlights: Dover Castle & White Cliffs, coastal path (castles), Richborough Castle (Roman ruins), Kent fruit orchards, Canterbury Cathedral City, River Medway Park, Chatham Dockyard, Rochester Castle, Upnor Castle, Gravesend Promenade, North Downs Quarries, Thames Path, Erith Pier, Woolwich Arsenal
Our Cycling in Kent 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 Kent!
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