Hadrian’s Cycleway

Probably the second most popular coast to coast cycle-touring route after the C2C, Hadrian’s Cycleway has become an iconic route in its own right.

Starting on the Cumbrian coast it finishes on the North Sea coast at either North or South Shields.

It is well signposted along the way, with cyclists generally taking 3 to 4 days, but if you take longer, you can of course stop off along the way. There is plenty to see, such as the city of Carlisle and Hexham.

The route of Hadrian's Cycleway
The route of Hadrian’s Cycleway

You can also visit Roman sites such as Vindolanda (and also Housesteads by coming off the waymarked Sustrans route to follow Hadrian’s Wall itself).

The official Sustrans map is out of print at time of writing. Instead, Cicerone have a very good guide book to the route as well, complete with maps, photos and descriptions of what you can see along the way.

Brief description of Hadrian’s Cyclway

Hadrian's Cycleway Cicerone guide book
Hadrian’s Cycleway Cicerone guide book

The start point is at the old Roman port (now a small village) on the Cumbrian coast – Ravenglass.

Ravenglass has its own station on Cumbria’s West Coast line, but do check how to book a bike on board if you are arriving by train.

From Ravenglass Hadrian’s Cycleway goes north either on dedicated cycle routes or on minor roads. It passes through Whitehaven, Workington and Maryport before following the Solway estuary into Carlisle. Carlisle has a castle and cathedral well worth seeing.

The route then winds its way to Hexham with its impressive abbey.

From there, you have a relatively easy ride down towards Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Follow the river Tyne to finish at either North Shields or South Shields.

If you are planning to cycle back to the start, try the Reivers Route as an option.

You can order the map and/or guide book below or click on the link to find out more about each.

There are other maps that might be useful for the area around as well.

The Guardian newspaper reviewed the route when it opened.