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Bibury Trout Farm | © Peter/Flickr
Bibury Trout Farm | © Peter/Flickr

The Most Beautiful Cycling Routes in the Cotswolds

Picture of Sarah Dawson
Updated: 3 May 2017
With an abundance of quiet country lanes and bridleways, the Cotswolds is the perfect destination for cyclists. Although most routes may include a short stretch on a main road or an uphill burst, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views wherever you go. Cycling is a great way to explore the picturesque villages that make up the area, and provides the perfect excuse to indulge in a guilt-free drink and bite to eat in one of the many pubs that line the way.

The Infant Thames

Starting at Kemble train station, this easy bike ride takes you through the sleepy Cotswold villages of Ewen, Somerford Keynes, Shorncote – believed to be the smallest village in Gloucestershire – and Siddington. You’ll also cycle into the Cotswold Water Park, which makes the perfect place to stop for a picnic, swim or even windsurf if you’re feeling up to it! As the name suggests, this route takes you close to the source of the River Thames, as well as some cracking pubs including the charming Wild Duck, at Ewen.

The Infant Thames cycling route

Afternoon at the lakes #cotswolds #picnic

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Burford

Heading out from Burford, along the Windrush Valley, this 33-mile ride is a great way to explore the East Cotswolds. The route winds its way through picturesque hamlets and along quiet country roads, and offers some great attractions on route that might just tempt you off your bike – in particular Minster Lovell Hall ruins, which makes a great picnic spot.

The Burford Circular Ride East

Bourton

Even if it’s your first visit to the Cotswolds, chances are you’ve heard the stories about how ridiculously beautiful the twin villages of Upper and Lower Slaughter are. This route offers the perfect opportunity to see exactly what all the fuss is about! Winding through the scenic village of Bourton-on-the-Water, through The Slaughters and beyond, this one-mile ride showcases some of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds.

The Bouton cycling route

Bibury

If you’re just passing through, this short two-hour ride can easily be fitted into a weekend break. Hire bikes from the starting point of Bibury Trout Farm, then follow the route through the scenic villages of Chedworth and Coln St Dennis. At the latter, make sure you stop for a break at St John the Great church. The views from this Norman church, across the water meadows and towards the River Coln, are truly idyllic and one of the area’s best kept secrets!

The Bibury cycling route

Coln Valley 🚲🍺🚲🍺🚲

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Kingham

This easy nine-mile cycle is a great option for couples who are all about balance; balancing out the effort of the ride with plenty of foodie pit shops that is! The route takes you out of Kingham, through the villages of Bledington, Upper and Lower Oddington and Adlestrop, and past some of the best pubs the area has to offer. The King’s Head in Bledington, set on a tranquil village green, is definitely worth stopping for – even if it’s just for the quintessentially English, country village scenery.

The Kingham cycling route

#villagegreen life, can't argue with it on a day like today! #beautiful day #thecotswolds #publunch #kingsheadinnbledington

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Winchcombe

Wichcombe, the start and end point for your ride, is the kind of unspoilt, honey-hued market town you hope to discover when exploring the Cotswolds. If you’re in the area visiting Sudeley Castle, do try and get out to see more of the area on your bike. The route passes through beautiful, sleepy villages, home to ancient churches and grand manor houses, which would otherwise lay undiscovered to the typical day-tripper. Reward yourself after the 28-mile cycle, with a drink at the welcoming Lion Inn.

The Winchcome Circular Route