Family friendly cycle routes in the Dales

Now that spring is finally here (no more snow until Christmas – we’ve decided!) we’re turning our attention to the great outdoors and the family friendly cycle routes you can set out on in and around the Dales.

The Dales are great for cyclists of all abilities to get out in the fresh air, take in the great sights and grab a healthy dose of exercise. With all the chocolate consumed over Easter, it’s never been a better idea to grab the bikes, don the helmets and set out as a family.

Check out these 6 family friendly cycle routes around the Yorkshire Dales:

Malham tarn

This is a lovely introductory cycle around the Malham Tarn nature reserve. You’ll start and end at the Water Sinks car park and set off on the 4 mile round ride with plenty of opportunities to bird watch and picnic on the way. It’s made of good stone tracks and tarmac roads so is great for beginners.

Click here for the route

Newby Hall

Newby Hall has a number of different routes that you can set out on depending on how many miles you fancy covering (between 1 and 3).

Access the route here

Ilkley to Bolton Abbey

This is a really popular 5 mile ride from the quaint little town of Ilkley through to Bolton Abbey. On your journey, you’ll see lots of the Dales countryside, the River Wharfe and Ilkley Moor. The Abbey is a lovely spot to have a picnic or you can nip in to The Cavendish Pavilion for delicious homemade cake. You’ll need the energy for the ride back!

Find the route online here

image of children and parents riding bikes on one of the family friendly cycle routes in the Dales


Studley Royal Deer Park

Though children over 8 aren’t allowed to cycle in Fountains Abbey, there’s a recognised route that runs around the adjoining Studley Royal deer park that you can set out on as a family before or after you’ve visited the abbey. You can do this on foot or on bike.

Head here for the route

Gargrave circular route

This is an 8 mile circular route that will take you from the little town of Gargrave around the southern parts of the Dales. You’ll get to see wonderful views of the Flasby and Barden Moors and stop off at some of Yorkshire’s cyclists’ favourite cafés and inns. You’ll be on the roads for some of this ride, the traffic is usually light but you’ll need to stay alert.

Get the route here

Kirkby Stephen

Set out on this 7 mile round trip from Kirkby Stephen up to Smardale Gill and back again. You’ll definitely want to take a break when you get to Smardale Gill and have a look at the 14 arch viaduct and nature reserve.

Click here for the details

If you enjoy any of these rides or think we’ve missed some really great family friendly cycle routes, get in touch and let us know!