Fort William and Nevis Range, Scotland
Known for its rowdy downhill and World Cup track, we couldn’t not feature Fort William on this list. Hosting the UCI event since 2002, Aonach Mor—the longest track in the event series—is as burly as they come. Already a mountain bike mecca for the UK, Fort William is continuously developing new gondola-accessed tracks and improving existing ones to keep things interesting. If cross-country is more your scene, the Nevis Range and nearby Lochaber MTB centre also has a range of trails for all abilities. If you’re excited by the idea of riding in the Scottish Highlands, Fort William and the Nevis Range aren’t to be missed.
Forest of Dean, England
Hanging out near the Welsh border, Gloucestershire’s Forest of Dean has long been a favourite for UK mountain bikers. Known for its steep, slippery, rooty descents, the Forest of Dean has a huge range of riding to choose from. With two trail centres, Pedalabikeaway and Dean Forest Cycles, and riding for all the family and abilities with wide forest tracks, big DH trails and longer XC routes, there’s plenty to go at here. If you’re into gravity riding, there’s also an uplift service to access the downhill trails to punch out laps until your heart’s content. There’s also a skills area and pump track at the trail hub, plus—if you know where to look—a forest that’s full of unmarked singletrack to explore.
Grizedale, Lake District, England
Traditionally, The Lakes conjures up images of walking holidays with your folks. But between the hiking boots, you’ll find some truly exceptional mountain biking. From scenic 5 mile loops to gruelling 30-mile epics with insane views, ‘The Lakes’ has great riding for everyone. Sat bewteen Coniston Water and Lake Windermere, trail center Grizedale boasts some of the country’s best natural mountain bike trails. If you’re looking for a challenge, check out the intermediate-friendly 10 mile North Face trail that takes you up and over Hawkshead Moor for some leg-burner climbs, fun singletrack, boardwalk and rock features.
Coed Y Brenin, Wales
As Britain’s first forest developed for mountain biking, Coed y Brenin opened in 1997 and still retains it’s reputation as one of the best UK trail centres. An all-weather trail network for all abilities, plus an epic visitor center that has been awarded the Visit Wales Gold Award, Coed y Brenin gives riders the complete experience. You’ll find a couple of beginner-friendly greens and blues for the family and lots of big job reds and blacks like The Beast – many with stunning views of Snowdonia. There’s also a Y Ffowndri Skills Area and pike park if you’re looking for a spot to sharpen your bike skills.
Dalby Forest, England
Situated in the North York Moors National Park, Dalby Forest is an absolute gem for northern UK riders. As one of the larger trail centres in England, it offers a number of different trail loops for varying abilities. There’s green and blue options for beginners and families, as well as the 21-mile Red Cycle Trail that includes plenty of singletrack and technical features like drop-offs and rock gardens to keep things interesting. Need more send? Hit the 4 mile long World Cup XC Trail, which includes a bunch of mandatory highly technical features like Worry Gill and Medusa’s Drop. There’s also a 600m long blue graded skills area and pump track, and a café for those mid-ride refreshments.