If your idea of a great holiday is spending more time on two wheels than two feet, the best cycle routes for the advanced rider are waiting for you to enjoy. What’s more, our wide selection of holiday parks gives you the choice of some fantastic locations when you are looking for an ideal base of operations. We’ve picked out five of the best cycle routes to challenge the pedal strokes of the advanced cyclist. Will you conquer them or let them beat you? There are definitely a few steep climbs involved, they're definitely not for the faint-hearted, but they are guaranteed to make for a memorable trip.
The Hardknott PassThrill level: Very High
Location: Eskdale, The Lake District
Length: 1.40 miles
Maximum Gradient: 33 percent
The Cumbrian Tourist Board say this '1 in 3' gradient climb is on par for the steepest road in England. With that accolade alone conquering this snaking beast would put more than one feather in an advanced cyclist's cap - or bike helmet! If it's a 'Hardknott life' for you, consider adding a touch of the amazing to your memories by taking on ‘The Pass’. You can do this safe in the knowledge that you have a bar, restaurant and beer garden to relax in after the drive back to Fallbarrow or White Cross Bay. Don’t worry, if you take a look at this route and think you’d prefer something more relaxing, the surrounding area is rich with cycle routes. Everyone in your group will be able to enjoy a full day of cycling whatever their skill level. Nearest Holiday Parks:Fallbarrow, White Cross Bay
Route: Take this single track road from Eskdale to the Duddon Valley.
The Rosedale Chimney/Chimney BankThrill level: High
Location: The North Yorkshire Moors National Park
Length: 0.8 miles
Maximum Gradient: up to 30 percent
Description: If you're looking to take a thrilling ride as part of your holiday break, the North East can offer you a rival to the Lake District's Hardknott Pass. Set in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, the Rosedale Chimney has an overall route that averages out at a 14 percent gradient. However, at its steepest it can reach up to a 30 percent gradient, making it the main contender for the title of England's steepest road. The added bonus of the location is that there are many other cycle and walking routes you can use to explore the natural scenery in this beautiful part of England.
Nearest Holiday Park: Cayton Bay
Route: Take Gill Lane from the junction at Rosedale Abbey and Alder Carr Lane. Ride from the stop sign to the stop sign before the first junction on Rosedale Chimney Bank.
Great Dun FellThrill Level: High
Location: Knock, Cumbria, North Pennines AONB
Length: 4.62 Miles
Maximum Gradient: 25 percent
Description: Mount the mountain bikes on the car it's time to set off for an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the North Pennines. The locations of Fallbarrow, Limefitt and White Cross Bay put two great rides and two beautiful outdoor areas well within reach of your caravan. So if you'd like to take in some of Mother Nature's most stunning scenery whilst you conquer one of England's toughest rides, it's worth a day trip away to experience this truly 'one off' road. Great Dun Fell boasts a mixed bag of difficulty, providing brutal climbs with little rest in between. The achievement of completing this route will be a reward in itself. Pair this with the view you'll get to take in at the top and you’ll certainly have a day trip to remember.
Nearest Holiday Parks: Limefitt, White Cross Bay, Fallbarrow
Route: From Knock Village turn away from the farm gate and start your climb to the Great Dun Fell Radar Station.
Ffordd Pen LechThrill level: Very High
Location: Western Wales
Length: 0.19 miles
Maximum Gradient: 40 percent (downhill only)
Description: This one is for the nature lovers as well as the thrill seekers. If you like relaxing in a caravan park with an indoor heated pool and great options for food, but if you also want to get active and ride through some of Wales' most incredible scenery, you'll want to take this day trip. The scenic drive from Brynowen or Ty Mawr to Ffordd Pen Lech is roughly an hour and a half. Once you can see the water it's time to tackle this steep road on the Western coastal edge of Snowdonia National Park. England's roads can offer a gradient of up to 33 percent in steepness, but is reserved for downhill traffic only, this is the sharpest slope in the UK at a staggering 40 percent. Feel the Welsh coastal air flow through your hair as you grapple with this gradient - just one of the various and varied cycle routes in this area with the stunning National Park behind. All of the routes in the area are put well within your reach when you stay at one of your choice of two holiday parks set within in the Welsh wilderness.
Nearest Holiday Parks: Brynowen, Ty Mawr
Route: Take the Ffordd Pen Lech opposite the Harlech Emporium and the Caffi Bwtri Back Café Hwylfar Nant junction. Take a left to reach the train station and head down to the beach.
The Lecht from CockbridgeThrill level: High
Location: Aberdeenshire, Cairngorm National Park
Maximum gradient: 20 percent
Description: Roughly an hour from Tummel Valley or Nairn Lochloy Holiday Parks is The Lecht - and this ride hits you from the start... hard. If you can push through it eases up, but don’t be fooled, it remains a tough climb throughout and you can take a clue from the fact that this road is closed in the winter. You can, however, take comfort in the knowledge that there are a few descents in the route, but they are brief. The sense of achievement when you reach the Ski Centre at the top is unmatched – certainly the stuff of amazing memories. The beauty of this ride is that it’s located in the Cairngorm National Park and the drive to this beast of a cycle climb is set in the backdrop of some of Scotland’s most beautiful natural landscape. It’s easy to make this a part of a well-rounded visit to this outstandingly beautiful part of the Scottish Highlands. Plus, there's a wide selection of cycle routes throughout the national park for you to explore and enjoy.
So there you have a handful of the toughest rides we could find - in fact, they may well prove to be more than a handful. If you take some stunning pics at the top of your ascent why not share them on Facebook and Twitter? Don't forget to hashtag your chosen holiday park's name and add #parkdeancycle.