For seaside cycling and Dorset charm, Poole can’t be beat.
A maritime getaway — think Jurassic Coast scenery, golden-sand beaches and tall ships — pretty Poole is also an ideal spot for a relaxing ride. Its cycle network tops 50 miles, with 28 away from traffic, and nearby Christchurch and Bournemouth add another 100 miles. Much of Dorset is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, so you really can’t go wrong in these parts.
Start with a 10-mile beachy cruise on the promenade from Sandbacks to Hengistbury Head, and if you still have the legs, hop on the chain ferry to Studland to explore the gorgeous Isle of Purbeck countryside. Or follow the Castleman Trailway railway line to Winborne. The Purbecks offer some of the best mountain biking in England, too, with a huge variety of terrain, an extensive collection of bridleways, ridgetop views and singletrack descents.
Back off the peninsula, head to Redhill for open heath, Surrey Hills for (obv) hills and Arundel for long ascents and long, rooty downhills. The New Forest, proclaimed as such by William the Conqueror way back in 1079, is a great place for both road and gravel|| follow the woodland two-tracks and bridleways and you can rack up close to 100 miles of riding.
The best supported rides take advantage of Dorset’s natural charm: Gravel grinders love the Dorset Dirt Dash 5050 and 100, and roadies swoon for the Dorset Bike Ride (with five routes, from 22 to 108 miles) and the New Forest Tour.