Top 10 Cycle routes in East Anglia

The Broads National Park in East Anglia

The Norfolk Broads

The Norfolk Broads are renowned for boating, but cycling is just as good a way to get around. Discover quaint villages, riverside pubs, enjoy the panorama from the tower of Ranworth church, and remember to bring you binoculars for spectacular wildlife. Hire from Broadland Cycle Hire based at Bewilderwood.

Where to eat: The picturesque Fur & Feather Inn is the brewery tap of Woodforde’s Brewery – have a big Yorkshire Pudding filled with onion gravy and beef.

Where to stay: Sprowston Manor Hotel is set in large ground, and is close to the Broads.

 

The Painters Trail

The landscape of Dedham Vale and the Stour Valley has inspired many great artists, including Thomas Gainsborough, Alfred Munnings, and John Constable, whose deep connection with the area lends it its other name: Constable Country. The Painters’ Trail is a 69-mile long route that takes you through this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, stopping off at major artistic landmarks on the way. 

Where to stay: The Mill Hotel in Sudbury is nestled in breathtaking Suffolk countryside on the banks of the River Stour. Get ready to explore the countryside right on your doorstep, or watch others from the warm and cosy bar area.

Where to eat: To be truly authentic, dine in one of the buildings that existed around Gainsborough’s time, such as The Black Boy Hotel or The Angel, both located centrally and serving good food and local ale

Wells and Holkham Circuit

The area around Wells-next-the-Sea is perfect for cycling. One minute you can be on the coast road, perhaps stopping off for a beach walk, or at one of the many excellent pubs for a refreshing drink, the next you could be high up in north Norfolk’s quiet lanes, with the sea far below you. Discover medieval Little Walsingham, bustling Blakeney or historic Holkham. Hire from On Yer Bike Cycle Hire.

Where to eat: How about going to Walsingham Farm Shop stocking up on home-made cheeses, breads and savouries and having a picnic on the beach at Wells-next-the-Sea.

Where to stay: Stay on the coast at The Blakeney Hotel and next morning take a trip to see the seals at Blakeney Point.

Horses at sunrise in Newmarket, Suffolk

The Jockey Trail

This day-long cycle ride starts and finishes at Newmarket, the global home of horseracing. In this small Suffolk town history is made every racing day, fortunes are won and lost, and racing’s great and good are tested to their limits. After exploring this fascinating town, home to one the top sights in Suffolk, you can set off on your bike along the Jockey’s Trail, a route that winds through pretty villages in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, before returning to Newmarket via the heath overlooking the gallops.

Where to stay: Stay at The Bedford Lodge Hotel, an 18th century Georgian hunting lodge, today  a bolthole for owners and spectators who enjoy a little post-race luxury.

Where to eat: Sample the unique opportunity of dining at the Jockey Club Rooms, a private members club that opens its doors to those in the know.

Couple walking towards Blickling Hall, Norfolk

Blickling

You’ll really feel away from it in the country lanes around Blickling Hall. Enjoy the grand Jacobean hall and the explore the lovely market town of Aylsham and little villages of Itteringham, Erpingham, Reepham and visit the magnificent wool church at Salle. Hire from Blickling Hall Bike Hire.

Where to eat: The Walpole Arms is a traditional English country inn at Itteringham.

Where to stay: You won’t have far to go for the traditional Buckinghamshire Arms – it’s in the grounds of Blickling!

 

Tour the Saints in Suffolk

The Saints is a cluster of villages in a remote yet beautiful part of north Suffolk, an area that’s known as bow and arrow country. This looping cycle ride will take you from Bungay through a stream of villages: Mettisham, Ilketshall St Andrew, Ilketshall St Lawrence, Rumburgh, All Saints, South Elham, St Michael South Elham and St Peter South Elham. After cycling through this ancient, high corner of Suffolk, you can return to Bungay, or carry on down Route 30 towards Harleston and mid Suffolk.

Where to stay: The Old Rectory B&B in Kessingland is Suffolk’s first winner of VisitEngland’s new Recognition of Service Excellence (or ROSE) award.

Where to eat: St Peter’s Hall is nestled in beautiful, unspoilt countryside on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, adjacent to the famous St Peter’s Brewery and close to a host of market towns.

Sandringham to Bircham Windmill

Bircham Windmill is at the heart of Royal Norfolk. Anmer Hall, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge live with their children is close, and open to the public is Sandringham, the Queen’s royal retreat where she spends every Christmas and New Year with her family. If you like stately homes, Houghton Hall is also nearby. Hire from Bircham Cycle Hire.

Where to stay: Congham Hall is an elegant Georgian manor with spa facilities, set in gracious parkland.

Where to eat: The Dabbling Duck at Great Massingham – it’s a favourite of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge!

The Millers Trail

On the Millers’ Trail you can discover the mills that have been part of the Suffolk landscape for over 800s years. Departing from the ancient village of Ixworth, you’ll cycle past picturesque windmills and watermills, whose towers you can climb for a great view of the countryside. That’s not to mention a handful of fantastic pubs, and curiosity shops like Henry Watson’s Potteries, where you can browse gorgeous kitchenware and enjoy a cream tea. 

Where to stay: In the heart of this historic market town sits The Angel Hotel, a 4 star award-winning Georgian coaching inn formerly frequented by Charles Dickens, and boasting a unique, art-filled Eaterie.

Where to eat: Housed in a converted 14th century barn, the Leaping Hare restaurant has been in the Good Food Guide for 16 consecutive years, as well as being a Bib Gourmand in the Michelin Guide.

The Cromer Ridge

The Cromer Ridge is the highest point in East Anglia, and a great place to ride along quiet lanes enjoying dramatic scenes down to the coast. As well as beautiful countryside with great views, take in the seaside towns of Sheringham and Cromer, the Georgian market town of Holt, or head west along the coast road and explore Cley-next-the-Sea. Hire from Huff and Puff Cycles at Kelling Heath.

Where to eat: No 1 Cromer is a fish and chip restaurant with stunning views over the pier. Otherwise find a café where you can get a fresh crab sandwich – you can taste the sea.

Where to stay: Try a traditional seaside hotel like Virginia Court Hotel or the award-winning Georgian Grove.

Couple cycling across Dunwich heath on the Suffolk coast

Forest Trails

Cycling in Suffolk is not just for roadies; there are dozens of places in Suffolk to get your mountain biking kick. Rendlesham Forest and Thetford Forest are big favourites, and the grounds of Ickworth House and the forest around the Dunwich and Westleton area are also great places to test your off-road skills.

Where to stay: Set within 1800 acres of protected parkland, The Ickworth Hotel is a family country retreat that prides itself on entertaining the very young to the very old. Think outdoors, luxury and relaxation.

Where to eat: Stay put and dine at Fredrick’s whilst the children are tucked safely up in bed. Grab a table overlooking the Italianate gardens whilst sampling European cuisine made with seasonal ingredients from local growers and artisan suppliers.