Why Dorset Is the Best Place for Cycling Holidays
Cycling holidays. You can't beat them.
Whizzing around Girona on a warm day? Wonderful. Exploring the slopes and coasts of the Algarve? Bliss. A whistle-stop tour of Tuscany? Yes, yes please and yes again.
These cycling hotspots, however, come with a hefty drawback. For UK cyclists, doing Girona or tackling Tuscany means international travel. And international travel means faff – especially when you've got two wheels in tow.
Of course, it would all be different if the UK had a world-class cycling destination to call its own. We could travel light, leave our passports at home and avoid the absurd hassle that comes with flying avec vélo.
Good news: we do have a world-class cycling destination. It's called Dorset and it's home to some of the most cycle-friendly terrain in all of Europe.
Not convinced? Read on. You'll soon be swapping cycling holidays for cycling staycations.
You're never too far from a cycling route
Put it this way. How many council websites provide detailed cycling trails, complete with maps, photographs and step-by-step directions?
Sheffield Council serves up a few. Manchester gives it a go. Birmingham basically says, "There are canals" and leaves it at that.
But Dorset Council brings the goods. Its website is a treasure trove of trails, tips and local insight. There's enough information on there to plan a good three years of annual cycling holidays – if not four or five.
And that's just the start. Look beyond the municipal miscellany and you'll find dozens more suggestions from cycling enthusiasts across the web.
They say you're never more than six feet from a rodent. In Dorset, you're never more than six miles from a cycling route. Probably.
Our scenery is spectacular
The phrase 'spectacular scenery' is so overused as to be almost meaningless.
Tourist guidebooks splash it all over the place. 'Come explore the spectacular scenery of our local landscape', they say. Then you make the effort to visit and all you see is a drab dale and an angry seagull.
But Dorset is the exception to the rule. Our scenery really is spectacular – and it's as varied as a pitcher full of pick 'n' mix.
Pedal around Weymouth and you'll spot dozens of bobbing boats and pretty harbourside homes. Skirt Sparkford and you'll discover hidden country lanes, flanked by rolling fields and blankets of blue sky. Tackle the punishing slopes of Purbeck Ridge and you'll be rewarded with skip-a-beat views of Corfe Castle and the distant Jurassic Coast.
Talking of which…
Our coastline is world-famous – and for good reason
There are cycling holidays. Then there are coastal cycling holidays.
For some reason, seaside views make a two-wheeled adventure all the more memorable. Maybe it's the juxtaposition of static land against the untamed ocean. Maybe it's because the sea air is full of performance-enhancing electrolytes. Maybe it's just because beaches are pretty.
In any case, Dorset has some of the best coastal cycling trails this side of Timbuktu. The Jurassic Coast, as its known, delivers 95 miles of breathtaking beauty, characterised by imposing chalk cliffs, golden beaches and snap-worthy panoramas.
Love a bit of prehistoric intrigue? As the name suggests, the Jurassic Coast is a haven for fossil hunters. Why not plan a stop on your cycling route and bag yourself a juicy ammonite or two?
You might be surprised by the weather…
…in a good way.
See, our county is something of a climate anomaly. While the rest of the UK swings from storms to snow and back again, Dorset's weather tends to be a little more predictable.
Here, things are milder – most of the time. Our summers tend to be pleasantly warm rather than scorching hot. Our winters lean a few degrees warmer than the UK average. You're less likely, generally speaking, to start your afternoon ride in glorious sunshine and finish with your wheels underwater.
Of course, this is a huge boon for cycling holidays. Nothing ruins a ride quite like a sudden torrential downpour at the halfway mark, after all.
We don't want to promise too much, though. While Dorset's weather is somewhat less unpredictable than, say, Scunthorpe or Stirling, it's still part of the UK. And the UK's roulette wheel of a weather system can never truly be tamed.
Our advice: plan your cycling holidays carefully – and pack for all weathers, just in case.
We're well-equipped for cycling holidays
If you've read this far, it should come as no surprise that Dorset is a popular destination for cycling holidays.
So, as you might expect, we've got more mechanics than an F1 training day. Dorset is chock-full of cycle repair shops and bike hire firms – and we even have a cycling-centric cafe or two.
We're not just talking about urban centres like Weymouth and Poole, either. You'll find specialist shops spread throughout the county, even in smaller towns such as Stalbridge and Shaftesbury.
Then there are the cycling clubs. At the time of writing, Dorset has at least 12. Many run regular social rides that are open to anyone – even if you're just visiting.
Put simply, Dorset is a cyclist's paradise. Where else can you enjoy stunning scenery, make new, pedal-happy friends and get a puncture fixed before the next bus comes by? Exactly.
We've got the perfect spot to rest and recuperate
Planning cycling holidays means choosing routes, packing carefully and perhaps giving your trusty bike a bit of TLC before you head off.
But it also means allowing time for rest and recuperation. Remember that it's not just a holiday – it's also an extended workout. Give yourself a break and your legs will thank you for it.
So why not book a room at the George Albert Hotel? We have all the facilities you need to freshen up and get back on the road, including comfy beds, ensuite showers and tasty, nourishing food.
Plus, we're conveniently located close to Dorchester in the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This puts us within easy reach of many scenic cycling trails, including the West Dorset Pedal – an adventurous 17-mile tour of urban sights and rural landscapes.
Ready to put your pedals through their paces? Take a look at our cosy rooms today.