When thinking about touring, you’d be forgiven for sunny coastal spots abroad being front of mind compared to a route in the UK. Although UK weather has a habit of being wildly unpredictable (especially in the shoulder seasons), we host some of the best touring routes in the world, especially within Scotland.
The Keis team have put together some absolute must-ride UK routes:
Snake Pass Loop, England
The Peak District is one of the most scenic parts of the country and a popular holiday destination for staycationers, and it’s so easy to see why. Snake Pass Loop runs through the heart of the Peak District and is one of those routes you’ll find yourself wanting to ride time and time again. This route has some particularly twisty roads to keep you challenged but the landscape and scenery will surely keep you entertained.
This loop starts in Glossop and offers some stunning views of the surrounding landscape as you ride across the Snake Pass Summit. Perhaps our favourite thing to mention is that the most popular stop for motorcyclists (Strines Inn) is home to a flock of peacocks which you’ll have to watch out for when passing.
A popular tourist spot in the summer, Cheddar Gorge in Somerset offers some of the most spectacular roadside views in England. The road within the 450ft high gorge is only a few miles long, but the landscape truly is a marvel. A 450ft limestone gorge, Cheddar Gorge is home to the oldest complete human skeleton found in 1903 (estimated to be 9,000 years old!), so if you’re a history buff – this is the route for you. We recommend making a day out of this destination as the gorge offers an abundance of caves to explore and amenities to enjoy. From experience, rush hour tends to be between 9-10am and between 2-4pm, so we recommend you get there early so you can enjoy the route a few times over, as it’s short but fun.
North Coast 500, Scotland
Dubbed ‘Scotland’s Route 66’ the NC500 was created in 2014 and has become the most popular motorcycle route in the UK. Stretching a whopping 516 miles, this ride both begins and ends in Inverness. This ride is particularly great for riders wanting a variety, as you can take in the West, North and Eastern coasts of Scotland before heading back to Inverness Castle. This route is so attractive to riders as there’s truly a huge variety of things to see, from museums to mountains and beaches to whisky tours.
This route is hugely popular in the summer, so we recommend this route for any Autumn riders wanting a weeklong ride. The roads on this route are varied, so definitely prevents any boredom!
Our Head of Brand has ridden this route a few times and always suggests riders travel this route anti-clockwise as “the West Coast is more exciting than the East Coast”.
Box Hill, Tadworth England
A Keis HQ favourite, Box Hill offers some stunning scenic views. A hugely popular biker meeting spot, Box Hill offers an incredibly windy road (aptly named Zig Zag Road) up to the top of the hill, where you’ll be rewarded with views spanning all the way to the city of London (on a clear day). We love this route particularly because of the fantastic café at the bottom of the hill which is locally dubbed a ‘bikers haven’. It’s a great route in the South East if you’re travelling London-way.
Top tip from our Marketing Manager – pack a picnic or get a takeaway from the nearby high street and enjoy the peaceful evening views at the top of the hill. Parking is also free if you’re a National Trust member!
Glen Etive, Scotland
A popular route due to its movie roots (Skyfall was filmed here and in Glencoe in 2012), Glen Etive is a striking peak in the Scottish Highlands, that offers winding routes and stunning roadside scenery. This route, 12 miles long, leads to Loch Etive which offers some amazing views. You’ll notice that when you begin your journey through Glen Etive that you’ll be being looked down upon by two mountains, affectionately named the ‘Herdsmen of Etive’.
Gospel Pass, Wales
Gospel Pass is the highest road pass in Wales and a route we definitely recommend for more adventure type bikes as the roads are winding and quite narrow in some places. It’s reckoned that this valley was a path taken by a band of Crusaders in the 12th Century and St Paul, hence the name. This pass is roughly 18 miles long and elevates to 1,801ft high (549m), making for a great spot to see some snow in the colder months, along with some Welsh ponies.
When choosing where to ride, it’s crucial to make sure you have the right kit. If riding in the shoulder season or the winter months, make sure you’re choosing roads that suit your riding capabilities. If riding in Scotland, remember that the weather is naturally generally a bit cooler and more unpredictable than English weather, so wind chill will affect you more and there’s a very likely risk of snowfall so may be more suitable for a Spring tour. All riders will recommend you invest in some good quality kit, including waterproof and heated kit to make your ride more comfortable and therefore more enjoyable in routes with higher altitudes than normal roads.