Quick! Make the most of the longer days and warmer weather and unlimited exercise allowance and hop aboard your trusty bike and take the family out for a cycle ride. The question is where? Well, thanks to research of our own (the boys are mad about their bikes at the moment) as well as recommendations from other Tunbridge Wells parents, we have compiled this list of the best places family bikes rides in Kent and East Sussex – many of which are close to Tunbridge Wells!
Please check on the website for each destination before visiting (if there is a site) and if you have any of your own recommendations or thoughts, please do comment below and we can then update this post if needed. Also If you are reading this blog post during the coronavirus outbreak and do decide to go to any of these places, please do follow these guidelines.
♥ Explore a 2,000 acre forest at Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest. There is 10km of family cycle track around this glorious forest and there are also adapted cycles available to hire for people with a disability or learning difficulties. Plus the option to stop off and enjoy the cafe and have a play in the various children’s playgrounds there! Update: The car park is currently open, but many other facilities, including the cafe, bike hire and some toilets, remain closed (May 2020).
♥ Hire a bike and have a family day out at Bewl Water or take your own bikes. Whichever you prefer. The 12.5 mile round route takes in a variety of forest paths, all weather track and quiet country lanes or if it seems like to far to go with younger kids, you can always cycle part of the way. You can read our blog post here about our cycle around the lake and a lovely pub which we stopped off at half-way (which at the moment is closed but will hopefully open soon). Visit the website for more details (and to check whether bike hire is open). Entry is £5 per car (pay and display).
♥ Explore a host of wildlife along The Cuckoo Trail, a 14 mile surfaced path through the Sussex countryside that is traffic free (although there are a few roads to cross over on the way) and a safe route for walkers and cyclists of all ages. The Cuckoo Trail forms part of the National Cycle Network – route 21. It’s buggy friendly too, which is handy for us at the moment.
♥ Participate in one of the family days out at the Cyclopark in Gravesend. The Cyclopark offers world class facilities including BMX track, road track, mountain bike trails, skate park, group fitness activities and much more. Update: sadly the Cyclopark is currently closed. We will update this post as soon as it re-opens
♥ Combine your ride with a spot of birdwatching at Rye Harbour nature reserve, a stunning coastal habitat with changing coastline and military history. This has been recommended by several parents recently and we are hoping to check it out too…Update: please check the website before going. There are some building works planned, though they may be delayed.
♥ Leave behind the hustle and bustle of the town and try out the River Medway towpath cycle route. The route follows the river closely which makes it very hard to get lost and is a safe and traffic free way to get into Maidstone from Aylesford Bridge.
♥ Explore the disused railway ‘Forest Way‘, a 10 mile stretch ideal for cycling (as well as walking and horse riding) between Groombridge and East Grinstead. We have parked up just outside Groombridge and joined the trail there (you can read about exactly where in this Facebook thread) and have also parked at the old train station in Hartfield and then gone to the little play area in the village afterwards. As it is quite flat, it’s buggy friendly too.
♥ Journey to picturesque Penshurst from Tonbridge castle along the Tudor Cycle Trail which is mostly off road. We usually park up at Tonbridge Swimming Pool (parking is free on Sundays) and cycle out to Haysden Country Park where we then have a little break, maybe play in the playground and the wooded area which has natural ramps for bikers. We haven’t yet continued on to Penshurst as it is quite hilly for the kids but it is a lovely scenic route so if you are a family of strong cyclers – give it a go! Update: The outdoor cafe at Haysden is currently open for takeaways and the toilets are open too!
5 more of the best family bike rides in Kent and East Sussex…
♥ Pick a promenade and enjoy the long flat stretch alongside the seaside, explore the coastal towns of Bexhill, Eastbourne or Brighton from the comfort of your saddle. If taking little ones it might be easier to try these routes on overcast days so you’re not dodging sun worshippers en route (especially in Brighton which can get really busy)! Update: Obviously at the moment you might want to avoid these areas or go to one that will likely to be quieter. Another option could be to go late in the afternoon or really early…
Hopefully you found this blog post about the best family bike rides in Kent and East Sussex useful. Please do get in touch if you have any places to add!
For more inspiration, here are 75+ things to do around Tunbridge Wells this Summer!
Or you fancy going for a walk instead of a bike ride, check out our blog post featuring 30 top walks for families in Kent and East Sussex!