Best Cycling Spots in Oxfordshire 2023

Oxfordshire is a fantastic corner of the UK to explore on two wheels, with rolling countryside and bustling cities all at your fingertips. Offering a range of unique routes and boutique hotels for an overnight stay, this destination is an ideal choice for families, groups or solo cyclists to experience the history and landscape in this inviting area of England.

Boasting some of the most attractive locations in the UK, you’re on track for a fulfilling biking experience that caters to all capabilities. For cycling routes in Oxfordshire, choose from the scenic trails in the Chiltern Hills or riverside routes along the Thames and more.

Man and bike in Abingdon Oxfordshire UK
Abingdon is a great ending spot after an easy flat ride along the Hanson Way

Oxford to Abingdon Cycle Path

An easy and relaxing ride, this path takes you nine miles across flat terrain and picturesque landscape. Also known as The Hanson Way, you’ll ride from Oxford to Abingdon, catching views of the Thames as you go. Most of the ride is traffic-free and include purpose-built paths and quiet tracks all over the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside.

If you are enjoying being in the saddle, push on to the village of Ashbury. On this leg you’ll encounter interesting earthwork such as the White Horse, a prehistoric hill figure scoured from chalk, and the ancient tombs of Waylands Smithy, a Neolithic barrow.

Thames Path and Riverside Routes

The Thames Path and Riverside routes pass through many cities, market towns and villages and all are best appreciated by bike, including Bicester. The majority of the paths are flat, traffic-free and family-friendly, although it may be worth investing in gravel bikes to make your journey smoother and more enjoyable.

These cycling routes will take you through the Beech woodlands of Chiltern Hills, the 1000 acres of serene lakes and woodlands of Windsor Great Park and the cycling city of Oxford. Here you’ll find restaurants, bars and cafes that offer the perfect spot to stop off for a refreshment or bite to eat before carrying on with your journey.

ridgeway trail
The mammoth Ridgeway trail is one of the best cycling routes in Oxfordshire

Chiltern Hills and Ridgeway Trail

This designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a breath-taking yet challenging trail and is better suited to more experienced cyclists. Spanning 139km the Ridgeway National Trail will take you across the North Wessex Downs before taking you east of the Thames towards the wooded and intimate valleys of the Chiltern Hills.

Be sure to look out for the beautiful landmarks of the Chilterns, including the ancient beech woods of the Brush Hill Nature Reserve and the Whiteleaf Cross Chalk Figure.

Shotover Park

For tranquil woodland paths and lush greenery, the hilly terrain of Shotover Park is the trail for you. It offers a mix of single-track and fire roads that cater to both mountain bikers and train enthusiasts.

Cycle across this 289-acre site for peaceful views of ancient woods, flowery meadows, marshes, and bracken-covered slopes. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of the wide variety of flora and fauna that call Shotover Park home.

National Cycle Route 57 Oxford to Thame
National Cycle Route 57 Oxford to Thame starts on Catte Street and down New College Lane

Route 57: Oxford to Thame

There’s a direct route to the Chilterns from Oxford on National Cycle Route 57, which runs from Farmington in Gloucestershire, through Oxfordshire, to Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire.

The Oxford to Thame route is largely on country lanes, and you fancy that bit extra on your bike ride you can continue on the Phoenix Trail along the route of a disused railway to Princes Risborough.

There are some additional ideas on our walks in Oxfordshire guide that also work well for bicycles, plus the scenic Cotswolds AONB villages loop that covers Chipping Norton, Winchcombe & Chipping Campden. If you want a short bike ride, you can head from Oxford city centre to Blenheim Palace and get a discount on entry tickets.