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York cycle routes

York is full of beautiful architecture and one of the best ways to take it all in is to hop on a bike and get moving. If you’d rather escape to the countryside, York is the ideal location for that too – head just outside the city walls and take a ride in the fresh air. No matter your cycling experience, there will be a route for you, with several designated Leisure Routes which offer a 90-minute, low-effort bike ride. 

Millenium Bridge to Naburn Return 

The Millenium Bridge is a great landmark starting point for your cycle, with a car park in case you’ve had to travel to reach it. The main feature of this leisurely cycle is the wonderful Solar System sculpture, an art piece featuring the Sun and the planets in our Solar System where the size of the models and the distances that they are spaced apart are correct and to scale. The route passes by a number of cafes so you can stop for a refreshment before finishing at The Blacksmiths Arms, where you can recover with a seat and a bite to eat. This route is estimated to take around 80 minutes (that’s 40 minutes each way) at an easy pace, so this is the perfect route for beginners or families. Take a look at the full route on the iTravel York site. 

York Minster to Millenium Bridge 

This is another easy ride suitable for any cyclist beginning at the beautiful York Minster, heading past the Naburn Railway Bridge, and finishing at the Millenium Bridge. The White Rose Cycleway takes you away from York to make up the 21.3 mile loop, allowing you to circle back to the Millenium Bridge in less than 2 hours. View the full route map on the Komoot website. 

Riverside Bridges to York Circular 

This is an intermediate-level ride taking only 30 minutes each way. You’ll take in sights such as the Abbey Ruins and the Lendal Bridge along the way before finishing the route back at the Scarborough Bridge. This route also takes you past a fun landmark – the Judi Dench Walk. Dame Judi Dench was a York school girl when she got her first major role in the Mystery Plays and is honoured by her hometown with this scenic riverside walk. This section of the cycle route requires you to dismount and walk alongside your bike, but once you reach Lendal Bridge, you can start pedalling again. This 1-hour route is a small step up from the easiest leisurely routes if you’re looking for a bit more of a challenge. View the full route on the iTravel York website. 

For the mega-keen cyclists out there, why not venture out from York and try the Trans Pennine Trail or the Way of the Roses? These coast-to-coast trails can be joined by York cyclists, but be warned – they're hard work! The Way of the Roses is a 170-mile route while the Trans Pennine Trail is a whopping 350 miles including the link up to York, so these challenging routes are not for the faint of heart. 

These are just a few of the many cycle routes around York to get you started on your cycling journey. To find out more about things to do around York, take a look at our Buyers’ Guide.