You can accept our cookies policy or customise your choices.
Please refer to our Cookies Policy for more information.
Family-friendly cycling routes in each Scottish city
What better way to bond with the family than by embarking on a new adventure and pedaling through the vibrant streets of Scotland’s cities. Following the grandest cycling event of the year - the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships - VisitScotland has curated a list of the most thrilling, kid-friendly cycling routes visitors can enjoy with the family.
Explore Scotland’s stunning landscapes with over 2,000 miles of designated cycle routes to discover. Prepare to be captivated by awe-inspiring views, connect with nature’s wonders, and enjoy the rich tapestry of history intertwined in these routes.
To ensure a secure and enjoyable experience for the whole family, it’s crucial to prioritise safety and adhere to the Highway Code when embarking on a cycling adventure.
Innocent Railway Path: This cycling route offers a blend of nature, history, and family-friendly amenities, making it an ideal choice for a cycling adventure with kids. It stretches from Duddingston to Newcraighall, following the historic trackbed of the first railway line in Scotland. A good starting point is the massive Innocent Railway Tunnel itself and the route will exit into Holyrood Park. Safety comes first, especially when cycling with kids, so the Innocent Railway Path is predominantly traffic-free, meaning less of a worry about nearby cars, although it’s important to always stay alert.
Silverknowes Loop from Bonnington: This journey is a perfect choice for adventurers of all ages, offering an easy and enjoyable route that can be completed in approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. Designed with families in mind, this loop is a fantastic way to spend quality time together in the great outdoors and look out for views of Cramond Island (remember to check tide times if planning to cross over to visit). With its gentle terrain and manageable distance, it’s an ideal introduction to cycling for young ones and a relaxing ride for adults.
Pollok Country Park Loop from Glasgow Central: This is the perfect mix of nature and family-friendly amenities. Along the way, discover convenient rest spots and picnic areas for a break, refuel, and to admire the beauty of the surroundings. The park also boasts playgrounds, and for those eager to learn and explore, Pollok House (a Georgian House with extensive beautiful gardens) and the Burrell Collection – a world-class museum presenting the priceless personal collection of over 9,000 works of art from Rodin, Cezanne and Degas to ancient Chinese and Islamic art.
Forth and Clyde Canal Pathway: Visitors cycling along the canal will be surrounded by breath-taking landscapes and waterway views, creating a sense of wonder and excitement. Waymarked by Sustrans with no traffic to worry about, parents can relax and enjoy the journey alongside their little cyclists. There are plenty of opportunities to stop and rest at quaint spots, enjoy a family picnic, and observe the boats gliding on the water.
V&A Dundee – Broughty Castle loop from Dundee: It combines a bit of everything - culture, history, and incredible views. The adventure begins at the iconic V&A Dundee, a masterpiece of contemporary architecture. There are stunning view of the River Tay along the waterfront as well as the city’s skyline. The route goes to Broughty Castle, an ancient fortress testament to Scotland’s rich history, where visitors will be able to take a look at a collection of artefacts, including uniforms and weapons. The Dundee Cycle Hub – located on the city’s Waterfront - offers bikes for hire, repairs, route advice and is worth checking out.
Camperdown Country Park: Nestled amidst nature, this picturesque park boasts designated cycling paths for the whole family. Open year-round, the Templeton Woods Circular spans about 2.9 miles and takes roughly 1 hour and 10 minutes to complete. Or if looking for more of a challenge, the Camperdown Yellow Trail is the one to go for. The surrounding tranquility is truly enchanting. And the nearby wildlife centre, where kids can enjoy fascinating creatures and deepen their appreciation for the natural world, is the perfect place to stop and enjoy a family day out. The park was recently named the second best place in the UK for a family day out.
Deeside Way: The Deeside Way is a longer distance path running from near the centre of Aberdeen to Ballater, in the Cairngorms National Park, famous for its Victorian Heritage and links to Balmoral Castle. Join Deeside Way at Deeside Golf Club in Bieldside where there is a small car park; from there visitors can proceed to cycle into the Duthie Park in Aberdeen (approximately four miles with a good, flat surface) to enjoy the Winter Gardens and two play-parks. Recharge with a coffee and cake at the Park Café.
Hazlehead Park: Hazlehead Park is another excellent destination for family cycling outings. The designated paths ensure that even the youngest riders can comfortably join in on the adventure. Additionally, the park offers a range of amenities, such as play areas, a maze, and green spaces, where kids can enjoy some fun and playtime after their ride. Beyond the joy of cycling, the park’s idyllic setting creates the perfect backdrop for a family picnic.
Caledonian Canal: Linking Inverness on the east coast to the picturesque Fort William on the west coast, the Caledonian Canal presents an incredible panoramic cycling experience. Covering a remarkable 60-mile length (so optional to cycle the whole route!) it offers a relaxing and enjoyable bike ride amidst some of Scotland’s most breathtaking landscapes.
Whin Park and Ness Islands: Whin Park offers cycling paths that run through the park and seamlessly connect to the Ness Islands. The Whin Park Loop is perfect for kids as it’s considered of the easier routes in the park, typically taking around 20 minutes to complete. It proudly showcases not one but four separate adventure play areas, ranging from exhilarating zip lines to a cool crashed plane feature and an array of climbing structures and thrilling slides.
The Riverbank Ride: Spanning an impressive 16.6 miles, this route allows for the opportunity to explore the best of Perth and its attractions. The Smeaton’s Bridge Loop from Perth takes about two hours to complete and it’s relatively flat and well-maintained, making it suitable for riders of all ages and skill levels. Be enticed by the city’s thriving culinary scene, with award-winning restaurants to indulge tastebuds.
Scone Palace: On this route from Perth to Scone, the ride is quite smooth and on relatively flat terrain. The cycle route covers a distance of approximately 3.5 miles, most of which is unpaved. The gentle and tranquil roads guide cyclists through scenic landscapes, ensuring a peaceful escape from everyday life. If choosing to visit Scone Palace, travel back in time, immersing oneself in centuries of Scottish history and heritage; the Murray Maze there is great for kids there are lovely walks in the gardens and grounds too.
Stirling to Bridge of Allan: The somewhat short and flat ride on this route ensures an enjoyable experience for all cyclists. The breath-taking views of two iconic landmarks - the magnificent National Wallace Monument and the historic Stirling Castle will make for a memorable adventure with loved ones. These imposing structures stand proudly against the backdrop of the Scottish landscape, adding a touch of grandeur to an adventure.
Loch Katrine: Besides the magical views, this route offers amenities including a well-stocked shop, and a cosy café to recharge and refuel after a journey. It is around 14 miles in one direction between Trossachs Pier and Stronachlachar and usually takes three hours for the round trip. The option to hire bikes is readily available for those needing bike rentals. And if choosing to explore the waters further, Sir Walter Scott and Lady of the Lake boats will create a truly unique experience on the lakes. Local bike hire company Katrine Wheelz is worth checking out.
Pittencrieff Park: Cycling through Pittencrieff Park allows cyclists to really enjoy the outdoors. The lush greenery, vibrant flowerbeds, and peaceful landscapes provide a magical backdrop when crossing the pathways. Additionally, the park’s wide-open spaces and designated cycling areas allow cyclists to explore freely, however, it’s important to always be mindful of surroundings and make sure safety precautions are taken.
Duloch and Calais Muir Woodland: A hidden gem for nature enthusiasts, this woodland is a fantastic escape from your everyday routine. The route from Duloch is around 3.7 miles and the paths have been resurfaced and graded. The cycling trails wind gracefully through the forest, providing a comfortable journey for cyclists of all ages.
Notes to Editors If you choose to run this story, please provide a link back to: If you require more information, have any questions or need additional quotes, please contact: Monika Metodieva, Digital PR Executive, Yard at: email@example.com Follow VisitScotland on Twitter: @visitscotnews and @visitscotland
For more ideas for things to do in Scotland, visit www.visitscotland.com. Scotland. Made for Cycling. #PowerOfTheBike
VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.