25 x cycle routes
Quiet roads, National Trust properties, beautiful scenery and great pubs to find, are just some of the reasons I love exploring our beautiful county on two wheels. Also being relatively flat (it is certainly undulating in parts) means you can find rides suitable for all levels. Here are 25 of my top tips for cycling in Norfolk.
1. Norfolk Coast Cycleway
Norfolk has so much to offer but the coast is world class. A 92-mile network of quiet roads was established in 1998 that runs along the coast from Kings Lynn to Great Yarmouth. The best stretch is Hunstanton to Cromer and you can get the Coast Hopper bus back at various points if you get tired (always nice to know!).
2. The Royal Route
A 22 mile route from Hunstanton (“Sunny Hunny”) to Kings Lynn. It follows the river Ouse and enjoys views of Hunstanton Lighthouse, Sandringham House, Snettisham Deer Park and Castle Rising. Can easily be made into a circular route for a day trip with lunch in Kings Lynn halfway.
3. Gunton Arms
Nothing better than designing a day’s cycling around a great pub to enjoy lunch. The Gunton arms is set in a beautiful deer park and serves fantastic food cooked on an open fire. The owner is an art dealer and the pub has works by Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, Lucian Freud and many others.
4. The Broads by Bike
Such a beautiful and quiet area to enjoy by bike. So many options on offer with 14 circular trails widely available.
5. Norwich to the Reedham Ferry
This is a full day but for me one of my favourite; perhaps because your halfway point is a microbrewery! It includes a ferry ride using a traditional pull ferry and some wonderful Norfolk landscapes. Approx 40 mile round trip depending on your selected route.
6. Dandy Horse
OK this isn’t a cycle route but a quirky café in central Norwich (Magdalen Street). It is a bike workshop and lovely coffee house. Book your bike in for a service and enjoy fantastic coffee from the owners Matt & Kayleigh. The bagels are brilliant too.
7. Marriotts Way
This is the route I can take to work if I want and it is a lovely peaceful cycle over undulating scenery. It is a 26 mile cycle route that follows the track bed of two disused railway lines and travels through villages such as Lenwade, Reepham and Drayton for 26 miles from Norwich to Aylsham. You can stop in The Dial House at Reepham for lunch on route. You can also get a little steam train from Aylsham to Wroxham if you fancy making a day of it.
8. Sheringham Park
A beautiful country estate (now National Trust) with stunning coastal views, Sheringham Park is a great place to explore by bike.
9. The Bicycle Shop
Again, not somewhere to burn the calories but put them on! One of Norwich’s lovely quirky restaurant and bar. Difficult to describe but you will love it.
10. Peddars Way
A 46 mile route from Knettishall Heath Country Park in Suffolk to Holme-next-the-Sea on the Norfolk Coast. Lovely trail but not for road bikes – you will need big tyres for this track.
11. Bure Valley Bike
Running along the River Bure and the Bure Valley Railway, this cycle route takes you from Aylsham to Wroxham, passing lots of lovely Norfolk towns; Brampton, Buxton and Coltishall along the way before finishing in Wroxham.
12. Thetford Forest
For those that love their mountain biking and off road trails then Thetford Forest is the place to be. A wide variety of tracks on offer from leisurely trails that my mum likes to do to some pretty difficult tracks with jumps etc. that she certainly wouldn’t!
13. Holkham Estate
You can park up and enjoy cycling the beautiful 4,000-hectare estate. Holkham is on Route one of the Sustrans National Cycle Network and the perfect place to enjoy a cycle and picnic.
14. Norwich 100/50/30
If you fancy getting involved in a big race for all abilities and raise a bit for charity then the perfect day out. Usually in mid-June and a variety of distances on offer this is a lot of fun.
15. Weavers Way
Following old railway lines (no road bikes sorry) these are lovely quiet trails through mid-Norfolk. Best to Google for maps and directions.
16. Wherrymans Way
A real favourite of mine is South Norfolk with its rolling countryside, quiet roads and gentle river valleys. One of the best is a 28 route through Trowse and Loddon (route number two of the Wherrymans Way).
17. Route 1!
National Cycle Route 1 can be taken through Norwich and all the way to Suffolk – a lovely cycle network of quieter roads and well signposted.
18. Childs Play
With the little ones and fancy a cycle? Eaton Park in Norwich is perfect with cycle tracks, a lovely café and even a mini steam train to entertain if they get tired of time in the saddle.
19. Pedal Norfolk
A great cycling festival at the end of May each year with a variety of distances. This is like a mini festival for those that love cycling and a great day out. Get involved!
20. Holt Loop
A 24 mile loop around the Georgian town of Holt with views of the river Glaven, a working watermill, lots of historic buildings and lovely countryside.
21. Walsingham Pilgrimage – 40 miles
Walsingham, Norfolk's world renowned centre for pilgrimage; ride The Holy Mile; unearth the spooky secret of Fiddler's Hill - and in between experience the rural tranquillity that makes this part of Norfolk great for cycling.
22. Ingoldisthorpe Loop
This loop leaves the cycleway at Ingoldisthorpe and travels through villages of Shernbone and Anmer before going along the boundary of Houghton Hall Park with its impressive house and white fallow deer herd.
23. Dabbling Duck
A lovely pub at great Massingham with lots of quiet lanes close by. Park up on the green for free and enjoy some rides with a fab country pub to return to afterwards.
24. A Serious Day Out
Every year there is a 200 mile round Norfolk cycle for those that like time in the saddle. Not for the faint hearted.
25. National Trust
Norfolk is blessed with some beautiful National Trust properties and Blicking Hall is one of the best. They have just opened cycle and walking tracks around the estate and lake so go and check them out. Nice café for afterwards too.
By Tom Ellis