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You’ll find plentiful opportunities for cycling in Birmingham’s surroundings as the city is flanked by beautiful countryside and rural trails. Sweeping parklands with labyrinthine cycle paths allow you to head out of Birmingham and dedicate an entire day to riding in unadulterated nature.
Cycle routes around Birmingham are often accompanied by water. Follow the historic Grand Union Canal as far as you like or head to Kingsbury Water Park to explore the trails. The River Cole, Stratford-Upon-Avon Canal and Worcester & Birmingham Canal are more than happy to lead you along wonderful, flat trails until hunger sets in.
Just to the north you’ll find the vast Sutton Park and beyond that, the exceptional Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). From thigh-burning day rides to canalside adventures with the kids, bike rides in Birmingham have plenty to offer.
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Lying on the Birmingham Plateau, England’s second-largest city occupies mostly flat ground. As a result, you can cycle throughout the city without encountering any hills and when you’re looking for glorious, gentle rides, look no further than the many canals.
35 miles (56 km) of canals work their way through the city and cycle routes in Birmingham will invariably lead you along at least one. Much loved locally, if you want to get to know Birmingham, riding along its canals will show you the area’s intriguing history.
Cycling along Birmingham’s waterways can also take you to the rivers Rea and Cole. For family bike rides, wherever there’s water, there’s usually flat routes and in Birmingham, you’re never too far from a snack stop and a pretty park either.
Encircled by the wonderfully rural counties of Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire and Shropshire, your bike rides around Birmingham have unadulterated access to wonderful countryside.
Ride north to pedal your way around the 2,400-acre (970 ha) Sutton Park. Lakes, marshes and woodlands filled with oak, birch and alder make for a nature-filled day on the bridleways.
You can explore in all directions from Birmingham along country lanes, to historic sites like Shakespeare’s Stratford, or into protected regions, like the Malverns. Multi-day adventures can take you to the stunning Shropshire Hills AONB, where offroad trails take you high onto rolling summits and have you speeding down to pretty villages. From Birmingham, you can follow the Worcester & Birmingham Canal through pretty countryside all the way to historic Worcester and the lovely Malvern Hills AONB.
Birmingham was an industrial powerhouse, the canals being only one remnant of this fascinating history. If history (or literature) is your bag, pausing at Sarehole Mill on explorations of the River Cole won’t disappoint. JRR Tolkien's inspiration for the mill in Hobbiton, Sarehole Mill is now one of only two working water mills in the area.
For country houses, the 17th century Aston Hall is an impressive mansion set in beautiful grounds. A lovely objective on a Birmingham bike ride, the hall is open during the summer only. Ride north 15 miles (24 km) to Letocetum and imagine going back a few thousand years in this important Roman settlement, now excavated and open to the public.
With historic bridges, old warehouses and vast factories, riding through Birmingham will reveal snippets of history everywhere.
Explore more of England: Browse the best Cycling Routes in other regions.