England ticks all the boxes for magnificent motorcycling, and it can be as quiet or as sociable as you like. If you crave splendid isolation, you can find it; but equally, there's also a lively and friendly biker community to get stuck into. We have compiled a list of the five best motorcycle trips in England for you below.
Why go motorbike touring in England?
England has the scenery, the food, the culture and all the activity you could ever want, not to mention some fantastic, off-the-beaten-track roads. And let’s face it - it’s unlikely to be too hot. We’ve put our heads together to come up with a list of some of our favourite patches of England to explore (our motorcycle jeans are perfect for this, protection on the road and still look good at the pub!). We hope you’ll find something new in our personal picks. And when you get home, please drop us a line to tell us your favourite rides, too.
Looking for some of the best motorbike routes in England? Here are the Roadskin recommendations
1. Kent motorcycle road trip
The Garden of England is the county that the Roadskin team calls home. We’re very fond of our green and leafy patch, with its miles of coastline, quaint villages, splendid history, sunshine and biking community. It’s well set up for visitors. Pubs, coffee shops, farm shops and delis around every corner keep you fuelled up. See some of the country’s finest countryside in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Beauty, with pretty, twisty lanes bisecting wheatfields, woodlands and pasture. Along the A262 you’ll find picturesque Biddenden (and its vineyard), Sissinghurst (world-famous garden) and hilltop Goudhurst (check out the views as you descend westwards). Canterbury Cathedral is on everyone’s bucket list but our must-see is the atmospheric Historic Dockyard at Chatham. For more remote, flatter and open roads, head south to Romney Marsh, home to an RSPB nature reserve, Dungeness power station and watersports. The Lydd military ranges provide wide, sweeping bends, but check the firing times before you go.
2. Northumberland motorcycle road trip
Ride to the northeast for rugged beauty, plus the best stargazing and clearest night skies in England. Start at Alnwick, famous for its Harry Potter castle. Head north along the B1340, part of the Northumberland Coastal Route, past Bamburgh castle, and over the causeway to Holy Island (Lindisfarne). It’s only passable at at low tides so be sure to check the tide times so you can enjoy the spectacular, sometimes splashy, journey. Inland now for some greenlaning (you’ll be wanting the Ordnance Survey’s OL16 map); the Kielder Forest Drive, one of England’s highest roads and a spectacular 12-mile ride on unsealed forest road (£3 toll); and the Otterburn military ranges. Return to Alnwick via the B6341.
3. North Yorkshire motorcycle road trip
A York to Whitby, city-country-coast combo covers all the bases. This ride takes you over swathes of heather moorlands, startlingly purple in the summer months, to crowd-pleasing Whitby. Take the A64 then at Malton turn left on to the A169. The riding is easygoing, aside from the very occasional hairpin, so you can take in the views, and breathe in the fresh air and feel the remoteness. For something twistier, head off via the smaller roads towards the River Esk. The village of Goathland is a great stop, with bracing walks, pubs, tea rooms and working steam railway. The station plays Hogsmeade in the Harry Potter films. Stay overnight for a day or two. Or, get back on to the A169 for the 20-minute ride into Whitby, which offers every home comfort alongside some invigorating sea swimming.
4. New Forest motorcycle road trip
The New Forest is lively all year round and has a relaxed, outdoorsy vibe, with fishing, sailing and walking on the activity menu. It’s not a place for high speeds, and the distances aren’t long but, then again, there is a lot to stop for. Go for the famous Beaulieu Motor Museum, stay for the five-star Sammy Miller motorbike museum. Out on the Forest, the roads are windy and the terrain undulating, with views across woodland and open heath. Cattle grids keep the wild ponies at a distance - usually. Brockenhurst makes a fine base. The road to Sway via Longslade Bottom is a goody. The 10 miles of back road from Beaulieu to Lyndhurst is a fun run, especially the humpback bridge at Beaulieu Road Station. Make sure you ride out to the sailing village of Lymington, sit out and have a drink by the marina and watch the ferry tootle over to the Isle of Wight. Go crazy and ride on to the ferry! That’s another blog.
5. Lake District motorcycle road trip
This beloved national park hosts roads well travelled by motorcycle. One of our favourite routes starts at the tourist resort of Ambleside and finishes in the Eskdale valley. Head west and over the Wrynose, a narrow mountain pass between the Duddon Valley and Little Langdale. It’s steep, but it’s really just a warm-up for the next section: the Hardknott Pass, a hair-raising 13-mile-long single track that happens to be the steepest road in England (gradient 1:3). It’s properly challenging, with cliff drops, blind spots and hairpin bends a-go-go. Ride with caution and only in fine conditions. Keep an eye out for the Hardknott Roman fort. Eskdale is an easier proposition altogether. It is an oasis of woodland, walking and wild swimming - and pubs for the perfect end to the day.
What to pack for a UK motorcycling road trip
When riding somewhere unfamiliar, it’s more important than ever to pack the right kit to keep you safe. Look after yourself, and keep packing minimal, with protective motorbike clothing that will look good on and off the bike, from the city streets to the pub garden. High quality motorcycling jeans give you that versatility. Roadskin’s Taranis jeans for men and ladies, created from premium denim woven with Kevlar, have been awarded the highest possible safety rating: AAA. These bestselling bike jeans are the real deal: stylish, lightweight, comfortable, tough and protective in one single layer. Added stretch means you can ride all day long, so they’re ideal for long rides and adventure touring. Do check out our five-star reviews to see why they’re the perfect travelling companions - and enjoy your trip!