Kendal Mountain Festival — Road, MTB and gravel routes from Kendal


Kendal Mountain Festival — Road, MTB and gravel routes from Kendal

Bike Touring Collection by Kendal Mountain Festival



19:50 h

242 mi

16,075 ft

Check out a selection of rides that you can enjoy while you're visiting South Lakeland for Kendal Mountain Festival.

Whether you've brought a mountain bike for some Lake District singletrack, fancy exploring the hills and valleys around Kendal by road or are just looking for a trundle down the river for ice-cream, there are rides here to suit everyone.

As well as ranging in difficulty, the routes also vary in terms of duration, from shorter road rides to all-day epics. Squeezing in some outdoors time between talks and film screenings or adding some days onto your festival trip, you’ll find Tours here to suit your time frame.

Nature lovers should consider the loop to Silverdale and Arnside, with the fantastic RSPB Leighton Moss nature reserve to explore. If tough hills are your cup of tea, check out the Twin Terrors route for two spicy inclines. If you have longer to explore and fancy ticking off one of the ‘100 Greatest Cycling Climbs’, check out the lap of Helvellyn for a long effort up the famous Kirkstone Pass.

Taking things off-road, there are a few options for gravel cyclists and mountain bikers. Head to nearby Staveley, either along the road or on the train, to challenge yourself with the legendary loop taking in Garburn Pass for some classic Lakes MTB.

All of these routes start from the 2021 Kendal Mountain Festival Basecamp: the Shackleton Tent at the Brewery Arts Centre. It’s the perfect place to start and end your ride, with plenty of food and drink options at the festival hub to enjoy.

For any spares or mechanical help, there are a few bike shops in Kendal and nearby Staveley.

Thank you to local organisations Cold Dark North and Lakes Gravel Gang for helping us to pull together these great routes.

For more about what’s on at the Kendal Mountain Festival and how you can enjoy the experience remotely, visit

On The Map


Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    37.1 mi
    12.7 mph
    2,400 ft
    2,400 ft
    Intermediate road ride. Good fitness required. Mostly well-paved surfaces and easy to ride.

    This 37-mile (60-km) loop takes you to the south from Kendal, touching on the south-eastern fringes of the Lake District National Park through the Lyth Valley before heading down to enjoy Silverdale and Arnside Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

    Your legs will get a speedy warm up as you head west out of the town and straight uphill on Underbarrow …

  • Intermediate
    39.7 mi
    12.5 mph
    2,125 ft
    2,125 ft
    Intermediate road ride. Good fitness required. Mostly well-paved surfaces and easy to ride.

    Enjoy views of Morecambe Bay and the south-eastern Lake District with this figure of eight loop from Kendal. There are a few tasty climbs on this one: Tow Top and Brigsteer Brow.

    There’s an easy start as you head south through Natland and cross the River Kent to Levens. A great stretch of tarmac follows alongside the dual carriageway that …

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  • Intermediate
    47.3 mi
    12.4 mph
    2,875 ft
    2,875 ft
    Intermediate road ride. Good fitness required. Mostly well-paved surfaces and easy to ride.

    Prepare yourself for some breath-taking scenery on this lap of the Howgill Fells to the east of Kendal. Famously described by Alfred Wainwright – the legendary Lakeland guidebook writer, illustrator and former Kendal inhabitant – as a herd of sleeping elephants; the velvety, green curves of the Howgills are a delight to behold.

    Head east out of the town with …

  • Difficult
    77.5 mi
    14.8 mph
    6,050 ft
    6,050 ft
    Expert road ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly well-paved surfaces and easy to ride.

    A more challenging road cycling route with some classic Lakeland climbs thrown in for good measure, this lap of Helvellyn and Windemere is a real corker for experienced riders.

    You head out of Kendal to the north to start this loop, passing through Staveley – where there’s a great little bakery for that second breakfast and coffee boost! Continue along …

  • Easy
    11.2 mi
    10.7 mph
    350 ft
    350 ft
    Easy bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Fancy an easy-going pedal with a sweet treat in the middle? This short spin along the River Kent out of Kendal and along the road to nearby Staveley is a very chilled out-and-back ride, taking in sections of cycle path out of town.

    After riding past the old stone bridges crossing the River Kent and joining the road through Burneside, …

  • Intermediate
    14.2 mi
    7.5 mph
    1,575 ft
    1,575 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    For riders looking for a real Lake District MTB classic, Garburn Pass is fairly close to Kendal and offers some spectacular mountain riding around the high point of Sallows.

    This loop starts and finishes in Staveley, a short ten minute train journey from Kendal or a 5.6 mile (9 km) ride along the main road.

    You climb from the off, …

  • Difficult
    14.5 mi
    8.4 mph
    700 ft
    700 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Join Lakes Gravel Gang on their Castles and ride social gravel ride at the Kendal Mountain Festival by signing up here: Gravel Gang (LGG) are a community based in the Lake District, Cumbria with a focus on building friendships and confidence on two wheels.Women led, for Women, Non-binary folk and Trans Women.You can see more of what they get up to here: social community ride will have a mix of LGG gals and visitors!

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    242 mi
  • Duration
    19:50 h
  • Elevation
    16,075 ft

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Kendal Mountain Festival — Road, MTB and gravel routes from Kendal