Gastronomic cycling in the UK and Provence

Friday, 13 January 2012 11:09 AM

If you have a passion for cycling and discovering new places, you can't beat a short break trying out some of the top trails in the UK and beyond. To find out what some of the best routes in the UK and the foodie paradise of Provence are, read on.

Cycling is a wonderful activity the whole family can enjoy, so whether you're hoping for a family holiday, a weekend away with your partner or a solo adventure, you should be able to find something that will suit everyone.

Indeed, there is an abundance of routes to choose from right here in the UK, with the south-east being home to a particularly large number of fantastic leisurely routes.

If you're keen to have a cycling adventure abroad but would like to get some practice in closer to home first, you'll certainly be spoilt for choice in this picturesque region.

Don your cycling clothes and head to Kent and you'll find an array of fabulous paths, from simple routes suitable for people of all abilities to more challenging trails to test your skills.

A firm favourite is the Viking Coast Trail, which is well signposted and has some stunning traffic-free sections. Totalling 43.51 km, the route can be begun at a variety of easy-to-find starting points, such as Margate train station, and will take you to scenic treasures such as Reculver Country Park.

However, if you're planning a short cycling break and you're itching to escape overseas, consider heading to Provence. Situated in south-east France, it is reasonably quick to reach - making it suitable for briefer breaks - and famous for its delectable gastronomy.

So, if you're something of a keen foodie, you can combine your passion for cycling with your love of delicious dishes in this incredibly scenic region.

One of the best areas to go cycling here is Vaucluse. Crisscrossed with veloroutes - or special, safe cycle paths - it is home to trails for people of all abilities. Indeed, whether you're pulling on your cycling shorts for the first time or you're biking at a competitive level, you'll find yourself well catered for.

Those in the former category may want to try the 18 km veloroute de Cavalon - a beautiful green trail that is sure to please.

Holidaymakers keen to see as much scenery as possible and have a little bit of a challenge as they ride might prefer to take the 51 km trail to discover the ochre quarries of Luberon National Park. Running through Apt, Villars and Saint Saturnin - to name but a few - the route ends in Gargas.

Along the way, you can expect to see the beautiful natural site of the quarries, as well as scenic hilltop villages and sprawling lush vineyards. This destination is brimming with striking colours, so don't forget to pack your camera and take a few photos as a memento of your time here.

Of course, whenever you're not cycling it is well worth taking the time to sample the region's exquisite food - and visiting a winery or two to try some of the local produce is a real treat.

What's more, you'll find there are some fabulous restaurants serving up traditional fare that will make for the ultimate French culinary experience - the perfect indulgence of a day spent cycling in the sunshine.

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