Quiet lanes, ancient villages and gently-rolling landscapes make Suffolk a prime spot for cycling, whether you’re a lycra-clad competitive type or more of an intermittent pedal-pusher.
Artists have long been inspired by Suffolk’s scenery, and you’ll be captivated by it too as you take to The Painter’s Trail, a 69-mile route with various shortcuts that explores locations made famous by artists such as Constable, Munnings and Gainsborough. Three routes that each can be completed as a relaxed day cycle begin and end at local railway stations for those who’d like a completely car-free experience.
There are also traffic-free trails from Thetford Forest’s High Lodge Visitor Centre with two loops of 6.5 miles and another of eight miles one-way. All-ability cycle hire is available here courtesy of Bike Art, a centre that, in summer, also offers guided rides. Another forest, Rendlesham, offers two cycle routes – a six-mile short trail has a short cut allowing you to halve its distance, while the second trail is 10 miles long.
Suffolk's Alton Water Park is the setting for a scenic cycle around the county’s largest expanse of open water. With stunning views of the Anglian Water reservoir, you have the choice of a four-mile ride on surfaced tracks or a more challenging cross-country route of eight miles, and there’s a hire shop here too.
See more man-made wonders with the first of a UK-wide series of cycle routes linking magnificent cathedrals with some of the remarkable parish churches surrounding them: the Towers and Spires tour will take you from the impressive St Edmundsbury Cathedral at the heart of historic Bury St Edmunds, out into open country. There are plenty of pubs and cafés en route, and you’ll pass 10 of Suffolk’s most beautiful churches as you work up that thirst.
In the north of the county, explore the Waveney Valley on the Marshes and Lanes loop or the 24-mile Godric Way which begins at Bungay's ancient Butter Cross. Or, close to the border with Cambridgeshire, how about having a go at The Newmarket Rides? The town might be best-known for its racing heritage, but there are three circular routes than can be enjoyed on two wheels as well as on horseback between Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds, a landscape of rolling chalk valleys, pockets of ancient woodland and clusters of thatched cottages.
Did you know? The perfect way to ease aching muscles post-ride, hot tubs can be hired for use at some of our self-catering properties or a visiting spa company could even tailor a luxurious pamper treatment package to suit your exact requirements… take a look at our Holiday Extras for details.