Cycling the Trans Pennine Trail – the UK’s most iconic coast to coast in 7 days

Johnson Cameraface (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Cycling the Trans Pennine Trail – the UK’s most iconic coast to coast in 7 days

Bike Touring Collection by komoot
4-9 days
3-6 h / day
243 mi
5,525 ft
5,500 ft

Majestic eagles circle over vast wetlands, peaceful cycling paths lead through lush green nature and past industrial docks that once changed the course of history; all this and more awaits you as you cycle the Trans Pennine Trail from one coast of northern England to the other.

This Collection will guide you along one of the most famous cycling routes in the UK, the Trans Pennine Trail, a popular coast to coast. With gradual gradients, detailed signposting and mostly traffic-free cycle paths along former railway lines, rivers and canals, the Trans Pennine Trail is perfect for riders of all ages and abilities.

Starting in the coastal town of Southport, you will cycle 215 miles (264 km) through some of the UK’s most dramatic scenery and interesting history. The Collection is broken down into seven rides ranging from 27 miles (45km) to 46 miles (75km) in length. As the paths are well maintained, you do not need a high-end road bike or mountain bike to depart on your adventure, any type of bike will serve you well.

Your journey will take you through some of Northern England's most impressive cities such as Manchester and Liverpool as well as the peaceful countryside of the Peak District and through the Pennines. The diverse cultural sites and landscape mean there is something for everyone in this Collection; whether you are a family with young children, nature lover, or history buff.

As each day finishes in a town or city, you will find plenty of comfortable accommodation as well as restaurants to regather your energy for your following day in the saddle. You can also easily choose to only ride a specific section of the route as the trail is easily accessible by train.

Your journey begins in Southport, a seaside resort boasting the oldest pier in the UK and world-famous golf clubs. With direct rail connections from London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds, Southport is easily accessible by train.

For more information about the Trans Pennine Trail, visit: transpenninetrail.org.uk
For train tickets and timetables, visit: thetrainline.com/destinations/trains-to-southport

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

    46.3 mi
    10.3 mph
    600 ft
    600 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Fragrant sea air, green rolling countryside, calm lakes, and cities brimming with culture await you on your first day cycling the Trans Pennine Trail.

    Your day begins from Southport, a large seaside town next to the Irish Sea with plenty of character. Heading off along the seafront, you will soon turn inland through green countryside as you follow the trickling waters of the Magull Hey Cop, a tributary of the River Alt.

    The traffic-free path leads 14 miles (23 km) to the suburbs of Liverpool. Here, it is worth taking a detour to explore the historic center and cultural legacy of this bustling city. The birthplace of the Beatles, Liverpool still boasts a huge number of cultural events and sites – it was even recognized as the European Capital of Culture in 2008.

    After passing through the suburbs of Liverpool mostly via cycle lanes, the route reaches one of the widest spots of the River Mersey. Look out for Atlantic grey seals that have been known the venture into the river in the past.

    Following the river, the trail passes through Widnes, an industrial town that was the birthplace of the chemical industry during the Industrial Revolution in 1847. Here, the trail joins St Helens Canal before arriving in your final destination of the day, Warrington.

    Founded by the Romans, Warrington was once a thriving market town strategically built on the banks of the River Mersey. Today, the town still has a tradition of textile and tool production. In Warrington, you can find many comfortable accommodation options including camping at Laylands Farm campsite just on the edge of the town.

    35.6 mi
    8.0 mph
    825 ft
    550 ft
    Expert bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Today’s leg of your journey along the Trans Pennine Trail takes you past pristine lakes, pretty villages of terracotta stone, and through the outskirts of Manchester, one of the most famous cities in the UK.

    Starting from Warrington, the 35-mile (57 km) route is relatively flat, with only small and gradual inclines. The trail begins by following the Manchester Ship Canal before heading inland towards Lymm.

    The red terracotta stone buildings of Lymm tell of the town’s former industrial past as the route continues along its former railway line. Once the means of transporting tons of goods around the UK, the railway line is now popular among cyclists, hikers, and horse riders alike as it heads through quaint countryside towards the outskirts of Manchester.

    Despite Manchester’s status as the second biggest metropolitan area in the UK, its suburbs are home to peaceful countryside, the River Mersey, canals and woodland. The ride towards the city center may surprise you with its landscape, wildlife and calm.

    With its world-famous football teams, museums and historic buildings, its is worth taking a few hours to visit Manchester. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that you may have to cycle on busy roads to reach the city center. Visiting Manchester adds approximately 10 miles (16 km) to your journey for a round-trip. We’ve prepared a good route which follows cycle lanes as much as possible, here: komoot.de/tour/69807966

    The Trans Pennine Trail joins the River Tame in Stockport, before continuing through the lush Reddish Vale Country Park. After 5 miles (8 km) and a small uphill stretch, you will reach Denton. This small Manchester suburb has many great restaurants and accommodation to rest your head (and legs) for the night.

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  • Difficult
    30.5 mi
    7.7 mph
    2,025 ft
    1,600 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Meandering rivers carve through vast moors and dales, historic stone walls line pastures of grazing sheep, quaint villages hold centuries of unique history – stage three of the Trans Pennine Trail takes you through the Peak District National Park, and it does not disappoint.

    Today, you face the most amount of climbing of the seven routes with 650 meters (2,130 feet). However, your hard work will be rewarded with breathtaking views of outstanding nature as you ascend into the rolling hills of the Peak District.

    Slowly leaving the Metropolitan Area of Manchester behind you, you soon reach the boundaries of the Peak District National Park at Hadfield, a pretty market town with gray-stone buildings that are typical of the area. It is a good idea to stock up on food and water here as the next section of the route is more remote.

    From Hadfield, you will follow the traffic-free Longdendale Trail along the banks of the Valehouse, Rhodeswood, Torside, and Woodhead Reservoirs. As the waters are surrounded by layers of hills, this 19 mile (31 km) stretch is especially beautiful. The route slowly climbs into the mountains, but its gradual incline makes it manageable even for novice riders.

    The descent will lead you past the glistening waters of the Upper and Lower Windleden and the Winscar Reservoirs, where you will then join the River Don. From Dunford Bridge, a remote village in the Peak District, the route continues mostly downhill through quaint villages and green countryside before arriving in Penistone, your final destination for the day.

    Located in the heart of the Pennines, the thriving market town Penistone is the highest market town in the country. Still today, there is a market held in the oak barn in the town center every Thursday and Saturday where you can buy a range of local produce. You can find out more about Penistone, including accommodation options here: visitpenistone.co.uk

    29.5 mi
    9.4 mph
    875 ft
    1,525 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today, you will cycle past regal medieval castles, through wide open parklands and thick forests, along meandering rivers and through what was once the industrial heart of the world.

    With only 270 meters (885 feet) of ascent and 470 meters (1540 feet) of descent, stage four of the Trans Pennine Trail is relatively gentle.

    Your day begins downhill in the Pennines from Penistone. Soon, you will cross the River Don as the path leads up Bower Hill for just over half a mile (one km) and skirts around Silkstone Common village before arriving in Worsbrough.

    A former mining and industrial town, Worsbrough is home to a Seventeenth Century water-powered mill and a Nineteenth Century steam-powered mill. Set amongst 240-acres of parklands, the Worsbrough Mill is a fascinating place to stop for an afternoon tea or ice cream. You can find out more information about the mill here: worsbrough-mill.com

    The trail continues along the River Dove, which powers the Worsbrough Mill, and past Wombwell, Brampton, and Wath upon Dearne. Despite the fact towns are becoming more frequent, you will still pass through peaceful green countryside and even nature reserves along the way.

    Just after Conisbrough town, the route leads over the Conisbrough Viaduct which crosses the River Don. With 21 arches and 465 meters in length, the viaduct is an impressive place to cycle. The viaduct was used as a railway line from 1909 to 2001 before it was transformed into a bike path in 2010.

    Your final destination is the flourishing town of Doncaster in South Yorkshire. Originally the site of a Roman Fort in the 1st Century, the town has a fascinating history – from pledging allegiance to Kings during civil wars, suffering from the black plague and recovering from a disastrous fire.

    Today, you can experience this history at the Doncaster Museum & Art Gallery in the city center. Doncaster is a bustling town with plenty of interesting sites, great restaurants, and cozy accommodation. You can find more information about visiting Doncaster here: visitdoncaster.com

    37.2 mi
    8.2 mph
    275 ft
    300 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    Stage five of the Trans Pennine Trail is the flattest of all the routes. Today, you will only gain 80 meters (262 feet) across the 38-mile (62 km) stretch.

    Setting off from Doncaster, you soon will reach the New Junction Canal after riding 8-miles (13 km) on minor roads and bike lanes through the city. Built in 1905, the entirely straight canal once carried 300 to 400-ton barges. Today, it still serves as a waterway for freight as well as a destination for leisure boaters.

    Leaving the canal, you will pass through the quaint village of Sykehouse on the border of the Easting Riding of Yorkshire. Here, you can enjoy a cooling drink at the Old Gorge Inn, which also serves a delicious carvery on Sundays. The pub is open from 12 pm until late.

    Rolling countryside, gushing rivers, and peaceful canals await you on the second half of the route as you make your way to Snaith and Selby, both lively towns.

    Sprawling on the banks of the River Ouse, Selby was once a leader of the shipbuilding industry and an important port, bringing goods from Leeds. Nowadays, it is a busy town with various activities and restaurants.

    The route leaves Selby via the River Ouse, which you will then follow to reach the final destination of your day, Heminborough. This small village has a good country pub and some comfortable accommodation options.

    30.6 mi
    9.5 mph
    275 ft
    250 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Your sixth day of cycling the Trans Pennine Trail is a pleasurable 28-mile (45 km) stretch from Heminborough to Brough. Following the Humber tidal estuary, the route is mostly flat and you have no major climbs today.

    Rejoining the River Ouse at Heminborough, you will pass through the small village parish Barnby on the Marsh and through a patchwork of green farmland. The River Ouse is never far away, as the route leaves and rejoins its waters regularly. Look out for Herons, Kingfishers, ducks, and geese as you ride.

    Just before the Boothferry bridge, the River Aire and River Ouse combine to form the Humber, a large tidal estuary that flows into the North Sea.

    The route continues along the Humber, passing through the small villages of Howdendyke and Skelton and through unspoiled countryside to Saltmarshe. One of the wealthiest parts of the UK, in Saltmarshe you will find manicured gardens and a grand country estate.

    Along the Humber, the wetlands and nature reserves offer a perfect opportunity to spend a few hours discovering wildlife. The Humber Estuary provides ideal conditions for magical waders, warblers, and raptors to nest.

    As you cycle along the banks of the Humber, you will pass Whitton Island. The almond-shaped island, situated in both East Riding of Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, is managed by the RSPB as a Nature Reserve.

    Your final destination is the town of Brough, a small town on the Humber Estuary. Once known as the Roman city of Petuaria, this historic town now offers ideal accommodation for cyclists.

    33.7 mi
    8.6 mph
    650 ft
    675 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Your final day of cycling the Trans Pennine Trail runs from Brough to the end of the trail in Hornsea. Today, you can expect vast expanses of water, bustling industrial cities, tranquil bike paths, and white beaches.

    From Brough, you will rejoin the Humber estuary at North Ferriby and continue to follow it towards the North Sea. The route will gradually become more and more populated as you reach the suburbs of Hull.

    Known for its unique slang words, Hull is the perfect place to "gerroff" your bike for a pitstop. From trading hub to whaling and fishing center, military supply port to industrial metropolis, and post-industrial decline to the epicenter of fighting the slave trade, Hull has had an interesting and turbulent history.

    Today, the city has many sites reflecting its fascinating past. You can visit the Maritime Museum, take a walk around the historical center or follow the Fish Trail. You can find more information about Hull, here: visithullandeastyorkshire.com

    Passing through the historic Victoria Docks, you will leave the Humber estuary behind for the final leg of the Trans Pennine Trail. As the concrete expanse of Hull gradually shifts into peaceful countryside, there is less than 12 miles (20 km) of your adventure ahead of you.

    The final miles follow the Hornsea Rail Trail until the very end of the Trans Pennine Trail on the beach front. With no hills or traffic and mostly tarmac or pathed surfaces, the Hornsea Rail Trail is a relaxing last stretch of your journey.

    When you reach the seafront in Hornsea and the official Trans Pennine Trail marker – you have arrived! Congratulations – now all that’s left is to enjoy a generous portion of fish and chips or an ice cream on the beach.

    To return home from your epic journey, you can take the train from Hull which has direct links to Sheffield, Manchester, Leeds and other cities across the UK. You can find more information and tickets, here: hulltrains.co.uk/travel-information/station-information/hull

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    243 mi
  • Duration
    27:41 h
  • Elevation
    5,525 ft5,500 ft

Cycling the Trans Pennine Trail – the UK’s most iconic coast to coast in 7 days