As the sunshine warmed my back, white fluffs of dandelions floated in the refreshing breeze. The surrounding green landscape gleamed in the sunny, cloudless day, a blueprint of a perfect day in England’s countryside. Taking in the lovely setting, I peddled a purple bicycle leisurely. With a smile spreading across my face, I was instantly falling for the scenic Bath cycle routes.
Situated in the rolling countryside of South West England, this beautiful city is most known for its hot springs and Georgian architecture. The stunning buildings and pretty landscapes make Bath a wonderful city to explore by bicycle. And cycling allows you to cover more ground to take in the city’s beauty and peaceful surroundings. Between the scenic canal towpaths and greenways, there are numerous wonderful, laidback Bath cycle routes to explore.
Two lovely scenic Bath cycle routes
The towpath along the Kennet & Avon Canal, an 87-mile canal linking London and the Bristol Channel, is open to pedestrian and cyclists. Long narrowboats line the waterway engulfed by green on all sides. With the glimmering water and bright surroundings, the route really comes to life on a sunny day. The towpath tends to be at its busiest close to Bath’s city center, but it quickly grows more and more quiet and peaceful – almost feeling a world away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Highlights along the Kennet & Avon Canal
Sydney Gardens & Holburne Museum
The city’s oldest park, Sydney Gardens is packed with flower beds, trees, lawns, and tennis courts. When exploring this scenic park, it’s easy to see why Sydney Gardens was frequented by Jane Austen and numerous members of the Royal Family.
Located in front of the gardens is the Holburne Museum, Bath’s first public art gallery. It has free admission, but a £5 donation is recommended to keep its doors open. The museum store also sells beautiful gifts, souvenirs, and local art.
We stumbled upon this spot just a short walk from Kennet & Avon Canal’s towpath. We locked up our bikes and walked towards the weir, following the voices of happy and excited people enjoying a warm, sunny day. Warleigh Weir has turned into a favorite swimming spot and is surrounded by a beautiful green field packed with locals. Explore the area a bit to find more seclusion. Despite signs asking visitors to take their rubbish, bags of litter had been left behind, so please, please, please pack out whatever you bring with you.
Farmshop Cafe across Calverton Swing Bridge
This was a great pit-stop and a lovely place to indulge in two pieces of delicious cake and a beautiful canal-side view. The cafe served tea, coffee, and squash. Also, we enjoyed watching the Calverton Swing Bridge being swung open and closed to allow a narrowboat through.
The Dundas Aqueduct carries the Kennet & Avon Canal over the River Avon. This magnificent aqueduct was the first canal structure to be designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument in the UK. The Kennet & Avon Canal towpath leads you to the top of it, so you can enjoy a wonderful view overlooking the rolling green hills.
Also known as the National Cycle Route 244, the Two Tunnels Greenway, completed in 2013, is a relatively flat four-mile stretch of a disused railway line. It cuts through Linear Park, which was originally part of the Somerset and Dorset Railway Line. Following lots of construction and the tunnel entrance closing, the surrounding area turned into a strip of countryside near Bath. Additionally, indigenous plants were planted, making for a gorgeous, peaceful place to explore.
Highlights along the Two Tunnels Greenway
Tucking Mill Viaduct
Located in Midford, you cycle along the top of the Tucking Mill Viaduct while on the Two Tunnels Greenway. The railway that used to run along the viaduct was always a single track, but it was widened in 1906 in order to be able to accommodate a double track. However, the railway track was never actually doubled.
Combe Down Tunnel
Spanning over a mile long, the Combe Down Tunnel is the longest cycling and walking tunnel in all of Britain. It was such a cool experience to cycle through this long of a tunnel, and it was refreshingly chilly on a warm day. And the tunnel even features a light and sound installation, so take it all in!
The Devonshire Tunnel is a little shorter than the Combe Down Tunnel at 447 yards. A portrait bench sits at the north-end of the tunnel perfect for a cycling break and to enjoy the scenic, green surroundings.
13-mile circular Bath cycling route
Traveling clockwise, we started this circular Bath cycling route near Sydney Gardens. Following National Cycle Route 4 along the Kennet & Avon Canal, we headed toward Bathampton. We continued cycling along the towpath until going past Claverton and reaching the Dundas Aqueduct.
Next, we picked up National Cycle Route 24 until we reached National Cycle Route 244, the Two Tunnels Greenway. Then, we continued along until reaching National Cycle Route 4, which took us back where we started our 13-mile cycling trip along the Kennet & Avon Canal near Sydney Gardens. For a detailed map and more information: https://www.somersetcoalcanal.com/map.
Bicycle rental in Bath
We hired bicycles from Bath Narrowboats & Bike Hire, which is located just a 10-minute walk from the city center along the Kennet and Avon Canal. Additionally, it’s a perfect location to start a circular cycling trip. They’re open seven days a week from 9 am to 5 pm. And it’s £15 to rent an adult bicycle for a day.
Bath cycle routes are a perfect way to explore this beautiful area in Somerset at your own pace. You can make detours to places you’d like to see further and stop when you want to have a picnic or enjoy a tea or beer. It’s a peaceful, active way to see this popular tourism destination. Read more about exploring Bath: A walking guide through Bath, UK.