A beginner’s guide to UK cycling holidays

What to expect and our top first-time rides

How do self-guided cycling holidays work?

Maps and guidebooks

1 Get your bicycle ready, pick your ideal itinerary for your chosen route and receive your custom Holiday Pack four weeks before your tour begins. You’ll use our maps, directions and GPX routes to navigate on your holiday.

A waymarker on a trail.

2 Leave your bags at your accommodation for us to carry and set out through the UK countryside on road or bridleway. Cycle at your own pace, add detours as you please, and choose where to eat along the way.

Walking holiday accommodation

3 Arrive at hand-picked accommodation each night, where you’ll find your luggage waiting for you. Explore this new town and pick a place for dinner. Enjoy breakfast at your B&B the following morning.

What do Contours provide?

  • A drawing of the rear half of a bicycle with side panniers mounted. A Contours Holidays guidebook sticks out of a panier pocket.We book your trip. We reserve all your overnight accommodation, breakfasts included, and arrange daily luggage transfers along with any lifts you might need between your accommodation and the trail.
  • We tailor your itinerary. If there are changes you’d like to make to your tour, like staying somewhere for an extra night or cycling only a portion of a route, let us know and we’ll be happy to discuss your options with you.
  • We provide all the instructions required to lead your way through the countryside. Our custom holiday packs include maps and guidebooks, plus a bespoke information pack detailing your overnight stays and how to reach them from the trail.
  • We look out for you throughout. Our friendly office is open 9.00–17.30 British local time from Monday–Saturday, and our dedicated emergency line operates 24/7 so you can always get in touch. But most of all we know and are in touch with your accommodations, so in the event of any problems while you’re out riding, we can resolve them before you even have to worry.
  • We offer loyalty discounts. If you’re hoping to get into the cycling habit, or if you’ve already built a long wishlist of routes to ride, our loyalty scheme could come in handy, offering percentage discounts on all Contours adventures after you’ve completed two holidays with us.

In short, we arrange brilliant point-to-point cycling holidays through the UK, leaving all the flexibility required to make the ride your own. If a stress-free adventure sounds right for you, browse our holidays via our search page or holiday location map, or get in touch to see what Contours can arrange for you:

Email us

Call us
+44 (0)1629 821 900 Mon-Sat 9am-5:30pm
Write to us
Contours Holidays
Unit 11, Via Gellia Mill
Via Gellia Road
Bonsall, Matlock
United Kingdom


Send us a message

If you have any queries or just want to tell us what you think, we would love to hear from you. Please mention which trail you are interested in so we can get back to you with the relevant information as quickly as possible.

If you are messaging regarding an existing booking, please send us an email, as we cannot change bookings based on Contact form messages.

Great cycling holidays for beginners

For maximum flexibility, Contours Holidays offer both road cycling tours and off-road mountain biking holidays. If you’re interested in an approachable tour of either type, here are our recommendations. They’ve been picked for their circular nature, which makes it easier to transport your bicycle; their flexibility; the ease of the terrain; the quality of the sights; and their overall popularity.

A Tour of the Lake District cycling map.

Road cycling

A Tour of the Lake District

4 to 5 nights
174 miles
From £550 per person
This self-guided cycling holiday through the Lake District offers a choice of routes between overnight stops, so you can choose an easier or more difficult ride depending on how you feel each day.Find Out More
White Peak Road Cycling Holiday Map.

Mountain biking

White Peak

3 to 4 nights
53-76 miles
From £380 per person
Ride the best mountain biking trails of the White Peak on this exhilarating route from Bakewell.Find Out More

Family Cycling Holidays

If you’re looking for an approachable ride suitable for a family group, we highly recommend the White Peak Leisure cycling holiday. This holiday keeps to established traffic-free cyclepaths for the vast majority of the route, with reliable well-maintained tarmac and hardpacked surfaces throughout.

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Bringing your bicycle

Contours Holidays do not provide bicycles for our cycling holidays, so what kind of bike should you be bringing along? This varies between holidays, and you can find our suggestions in the Elevation & Terrain tab of your chosen tour.

Once you're sure your bike suits, make sure to thoroughly service your bike and pack all the necessary spares. You may want to consider mounting panniers or a frame bag on your bike to carry the heavier consumables and tools — carrying them in a backpack will get tiring on a long-distance trip.

If you're travelling to the start of your holiday by public transport, make sure to double-check the rules for bicycles. Most train services allow bicycles, for example, but as spaces are limited, it's important to book your bike in ahead of time.

You can head over to our kit list page for more information.