Of all the places you can go for your UK holidays, Wales offers some of the very best scenery and for that reason, it is one of the top locations for a great cycling break.
Wales is one of the countries that make up the United Kingdom. Rich in history and natural beauty, Wales has a living Celtic culture distinct to the rest of the UK. Travellers are attracted to Wales because of its beautiful landscape, including the mountains and coast of its stunning national parks, the wealth of history and large number of imposing castles.
Lying on a mountainous western peninsula of the island of Great Britain, Wales is bordered to the east by England, the Republic of Ireland sits to the west across the Irish Sea, while the West Country of Devon and Cornwall is directly south across the Bristol Channel/Celtic Sea. Only two hours from London but with less than one-third of that city’s population, to enter Wales from its crowded eastern neighbour is most certainly to enter another country, although it does share many similarities – and good looks – with its Celtic neighbours of Devon, Cornwall, Ireland and Brittany.
Cycling in Wales
There can be few things that feel more liberating than sitting in the saddle, powering yourself along many times faster than you could walk, yet just as able to feel with wind in your hair, while smelling the scents of the flowers or the sea air. Yet you can take a stop whenever you feel like it to explore some point of interest, enjoy a spot of lunch or visit one of the many historic buildings dotted around Wales.
All this comes with a huge variety of possible routes, from family-friendly ones that are quite flat to huge hills that you can hurtle down with a great surge of adrenalin. You can also enjoy areas of rugged mountain scenery or much gentler terrain with green fields and meadows. And of course there is always the sea, with plenty of chances to ride along some of the many coastal paths on or near the shores that offer panoramic views across the Irish Sea or the Bristol Channel. You can also take the chance to visit a couple of beaches while pedalling around.
And as people like lots of different things on their activity holidays in the UK, it may be good to know that there is lots of variety to be sampled in the 11 cycling activity centres that are available. All of these provide cycle hire and with the appropriate bike will come a safety helmet. Then, once you are in the saddle, you and your family can head off and enjoy yourselves.
What makes these among the best UK family activity holidays is the great choice you have. The 11 centres are spread out across Wales and vary from locations among mountains like Brecon in the Brecon Beacons and Dolgellau in Snowdonia to coastal destinations such as Aberaeron and the Llyn Peninsula, as well as areas near the English border such as Knighton and Prestigne.
With over 330 miles of traffic-free cycle paths across Wales, you can tailor your outdoor activity holidays to your own tastes. The routes you can enjoy from these centres are as varied as the locations themselves and this means you can choose big hills or gentle slopes, short rides or long ones, dense forest or wide open spaces.
For instance, from the centre at Tywi Valley you could enjoy a trip to the Welsh National Garden on a 20-mile route, or the 12-mile Medieval Mystery ride, taking in the sights – and chocolate flapjacks – of Cerreg Cennen Castle. At Dolgellau you can enjoy an easy family-friendly ride on low-lying terrain to Barmouth or a dramatic circular ride around Cadair Idris before climbing the same mountain the next day. Another great ride from here is to Machynlleth, which provides a challenging uphill climb followed by a fantastic long downhill surge.
And while enjoying the great scenery you can also indulge in a little bit of history. For instance, from Aberearon or New Quay you can ride from one town to the other via the various plaques that mark the Dylan Thomas Trail, which includes his former home at Ceri Bach beach. If you go to Saundersfoot in Pembrokeshire, there are several rides involving local castles and one of these – Carew Castle – might include a sighting of the ghosts of Sir Roland Rhys and his pet ape.But the best thing of all about Wales is its wonderful, green countryside and the gentle pace of life it provides. This means that you and your family can enjoy a really refreshing break with the great feeling of empowerment that being on a bike provides. And as the countryside of Wales offers so much beauty – a fifth of it is covered by one of its three national parks – you will take away memories of its grandeur so rich you will be keen to come riding back. Whether it is the golden sands and rugged cliffs, the green fields or steepling mountains, the gushing rivers and waterfalls or gorgeous lakes, the scenery of Wales is a captivating thing and a wonderful reason to come and have a holiday on a bike.