Mountain Journeys

Hadrian’s Cycleway – 1 of the best Coast to Coast cycle routes

Hadrian's cycleway - River Tyne

The Tyne seen on many occasions during Hadrian's cycleway


Hadrian’s Cycleway - Blog post

Mostly due to time constraints and damp weather conditions, we’ve been cycling more than climbing of late. Just a few days ago I worked on a guided cycle ride from London to Brighton. This was on behalf of Alfresco Adventures who are based over in the Yorkshire Dales. Check out their website here

Most of that route was actually really nice, but getting out of London was not so nice.

I decided to search for some similar routes that are closer to home, more rural, and that offer stunning scenery. So far I’ve come up with quite a list that’s growing fast. For starters, here’s the Hadrian’s Cycleway.

This is around 83 miles and has 1300m of ascent, although this will depend on the exact route taken. I chose to start from Carlisle and this seems to be a popular choice, no doubt due to the very easy access via train. Carlisle is a small city so easy to navigate and very quickly the route is on a cycle path by the River Eden, well away from traffic.


Rest stop on Hadrian's cycleway

Passing over the North Pennines involves a fair amount of climbing, some of this was steeper than I had expected (and being from the Lakes I’m well used to very steep) with some time spent out of the saddle.

Just shy of 30 miles in came my first rest stop with a delicious Turkey and Cranberry pie from the butchers in Haltwhistle. With this fuel on board I was ready to tackle more of this fine route.

I was yet to be on a busy road, everything was super quiet with a mix of country lanes and dedicated cycleway. Occasionally Hadrian’s Wall would run alongside the road. There were plenty more historic sights to see too, the Vindolanda and Lanercost Priory being a couple of examples. Mostly it was the far reaching views that captivated my eyes.

At around the 55 mile mark the route passes through the small town of Corbridge, another pretty place and worthy of a stop. So I did and made another visit to a butcher’s for more pie but ended up with a quiche on their recommendation, it proved to be a fine choice. I sat on sandstone kerbstones on the main street and devoured this whilst watching the locals go about their business.

From here to Newcastle there would be more downhill than ascent. I was starting to feel a little tired so pretty pleased to know the hard work was mostly behind me.

#hadrian's cycleway

A familiar sight along Hadrian's cycleway

Passing hamlets and villages in the delightful Tyne Valley this route kept on giving beautiful scenery. As I approached Newcastle my expectations were not high for the interest to continue but how wrong was I. Countryside gives way more and more to the urban landscape, with the route always finding the best way to stay clear of traffic, and the final few glorious km’s follow the Tyne. The river then dominates everything. At this point it is tidal so will always be a little different too.

I had a hotel room booked along the famous Quayside where the route passes, so was able to ride straight into the hotel and still be on the route.

After 80 something bumpy miles on my fully loaded gravel bike with 40mm off-road tyres on, I was well and truly ready for a big dinner and a big sleep. But a little exploring of the Quayside first as it was a beautiful evening. For anyone who hasn’t been to Newcastle I can well recommend a visit. It’s a fabulous place with a friendly vibe and plenty going on.

And for the Hadrian’s Cycleway, that gets a big thumbs up too. Having done it in a day, I’d say better to spend 2 or even 3 days on the route, this will feel far more relaxing.

Quiet roads and big views on Hadrian's cycleway

Wide open spaces on Hadrian's cycleway

What bike to take for Hadrian’s Cycleway?

My gravel bike worked a treat. Some surfaces are a little rough so the slightly wider tyres were beneficial. I would opt for a slicker tyre in future, probably 35mm and semi-slick. A road bike would be perfectly adequate too, just not as comfortable on some of the sections.

Having only 1 night away I was pretty lightweight, but still completely self sufficient.2

From 2024 we will be offering guided cycle tours along this route and will have the 1, 2, and 3 day options available with B&B accommodation each night.   For more about what we currently offer on 2 wheels

Thanks for reading


#hadrian's cycleway

The Tyne and some of its many bridges



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