Kielder Water cycling route review –  Lakeside Way

kielder water cycling route - lakeside way

Key Statistics

  • Cycled on: Sunday 25th June 2017
  • Distance: 27.5 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1718 feet
  • Surface condition: wide mixed track of concrete, gravel, and dirt

Lakeside Way – Kielder Water Cycling Route Review

Kielder Water is the UKs largest man-made reservoir, offering a range of walking and cycling trails with amazing views across the water and through the forest. It is a mountain bikers haven with a selection of red and black trails along with a mountain bike trials park. But it also offers a waterside trail perfect for the whole family: The Lakeside Way. We cycled this route on a lazy Sunday morning, and must say it has a lot to offer! Read our review to find out about the route, the views and the unique artwork you can see along the way.

A Kielder Water Cycling route for the whole family - The Lakeside Way

Where to start

We started our cycle up at Kielder Castle, where parking costs £5 per day. This is where The Bike Place Cycle shop is located, so you can hire a bike if you need to or pick up some accessories. We grabbed a copy of the Lakeside Way route map, which came in handy when stopping for lunch as well as finding some of the artwork around the route (more on this later). There are several other car parks on this Kielder Water cycling route, which is handy if you want to do a specific section rather than the whole route.

What this Kielder Cycle route is like

The name ‘Lakeside Way’ may trick you into thinking the route will be fairly flat as it circles the water’s edge, but don’t be fooled! It actually has several steep inclines as you move away from the water and into the edge of the forest. These can be a challenge, but the roll back down makes up for it! The cycle track itself is a mix of tarmac, gravel and dirt patches, and overall is a fairly smooth ride, with plenty of space to pass other cyclists. The bulk of the route follows dedicated walking and cycling trails, so you don’t need to worry about sharing the way with cars either.

kielder water cycling route - lakeside way

kielder water cycl

The views

There is no denying that Kielder Water is one of the most beautiful places in the UK; you could easily believe you are in Switzerland instead of Northumberland. This Kielder Water cycle route probably offers the best views of them all, since it circles the entire reservoir.

kielder water cycling route - lakeside way kielder water cycking route - lakeside way kielder water cycling route - lakeside way kielder water cycling route - lakeside way

Food and Refreshments

There are a couple of places where you can pick up a bite to eat. If you go at a leisurely pace you can expect to be cycling for around 4 hours, so you will likely get a bit peckish!

  • Kielder Castle: The castle coffee shop offers tea and cake as well as a few hot snacks.
  • Leaplish Waterside Park: The cycle route passes through this holiday village which has a shop and pub that are both open to the public. You can pick up a quick snack in the shop or head to the pub for a full meal.
  • Tower Knowe: Tower Knowe Café has an outside deck with great views, and they serve hot and cold drinks, cake, sandwiches, jacket potatoes etc.

The artwork

One of the other great things about this cycle route is the unique art you can find along the way. There are 20 pieces of art around the reservoir, ranging from sculpted waterside huts to a maze! We stopped off at five of the artworks, with Silvas Capitalis aka ‘the head’ standing out as our favourite.

kielder water cycling route art kielder water cycling route art

Our Chatty Campers Score

  • Track quality:
  • Family Friendly:
  • Things to see:
  • Cycling ease:
  • Signposting:


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here