Day-trip adventures on your Bike

by Sara Barton, 1st August 2023
Day-trip adventures on your Bike

Calling on adventurers of all ages and anyone looking for a great day out on their bike! Whether you are a couple of cycling enthusiasts or a family looking for a fun day out on two wheels, the South of Scotland’s cycle-friendly trails are brimming with delightful surprises and hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. This region has it all – picturesque countryside, enchanting coastal routes, charming towns – and offers an ideal playground for cyclists of all levels. The area’s diverse terrain, from gentle rolling hills to winding coastal paths, presents endless opportunities to explore its rich heritage, breathe in fresh air, and indulge in unforgettable experiences. Here’s our guide to get your started on your perfect cycling day trip.

Great for beginners and families with younger children

Eddlestone Water multipath

Where: Peebles,Scottish Borders

The new Eddleston Water multi-use path opened recently running from the edge of Eddleston village to Peebles and offers 6km of flat easy cycling through fields and alongside the Eddleston Water. This is away from main roads (there are a few crossing points with minor roads) and is rated as an easy cycle. There are plenty of points of interest along the way from the Polish Map of Scotland in the grounds of Barony Castle Hotel to Cringletie Hotel with its walled garden, nature trail and excellent food. Other food and stay options include The Horseshoe Inn and Scots Pine Cafe. For a fantastic range of bike trails within the Tweed Valley area, check out

Cyclists on the Eddlestone water multi-use path. Credit: Bike Valley Trails

Newton Stewart to Wigtown

Where: Newton Stewart, Dumfries & Galloway

Cycle from Newton Stewart to Wigtown along the estuary of the River Cree for a great day out. Start in the market town of Newton Stewart, heading south under the A75 and enjoy the stunning views of the rolling Galloway Hills across Wigtown Bay. The mostly separate cycle path winds its way to Wigtown – before you reach Scotland’s National Book Town, you can take a detour to the Martyr’s Stake, a chilling reminder of the Covenanters and the Killing Times in Dumfries & Galloway.

Wigtown offers an excellent array of bookshops and several cafes before you head back on the return route. A further detour can be made to the Bladnoch Distillery, 1 mile out of town or continue to ride on to visit Torhouse Stone Circle, one of the best preserved of its kind, on the quiet B733.

Wigtown Martyr's Stake
Detour slightly off the path to see the Martyr’s Stake – and fabulous views to the Galloway Hills.

Good for families with older children

Kirkpatrick Macmillan Loop

Where: Drumlanrig, D&G

The Kirkpatrick Macmillan Loop takes you to the very place where cycling began. The inventor of the first pedal bike, a Dumfriesshire blacksmith named Kirkpatrick Macmillan was born at Keir Mill and this 11-mile circuit is named in his honour. It starts from Drumlanrig Castle (with great off-road family trails designed by Rik’s Bike Shed to explore) and there are refreshments on offer at cafes and shops after the ride –check for opening hours.  Drumlanrig Castle also featured in the series Outlander and offers house tours in the summer months – booking essential.

Start off from Drumlanrig Castle to explore the Kirkpatrick Macmillan Loop.

Good for intermediate cyclists

Abbotsford & Eildon loops

Where: Melrose

For intermediate cyclists and those more comfortable tackling a few sections on busier roads, there are four circuits from Melrose taking in the hilly surrounds and stunning scenery. The shortest of these at 5 miles is the Abbotsford loop offering a short climb out of Melrose before dropping steeply through woods to Abbotsford, former home of Sir Walter Scott.  Stop off for a visit or head to their café if you are in need of refreshments. Return to the town via Tweedbank and along the Black Path. Or if you want more of a challenge take on the 8-mile Eildon Hills loop, which heads past the Rhymers Stone, where poet Thomas was said to have been taken by the Faerie Queen to live under the Eildon Hills! It also gives way to a wonderful view of the Tweed Valley – this one has some steep and twisting sections as you descend and head back to Melrose.

Loop around the Eildon Hills for an excellent ride out from Melrose.

Kirkcudbright to Castle Douglas Loop

Where: Kirkcudbright, D&G

This loop from Kirkcudbright to Castle Douglas (or vice versa) is the perfect leisure ride for anyone wanting to enjoy a day out on their bikes and take in the countryside. And you can reward your efforts by sampling the delights at the many restaurants and cafés of Castle Douglas, also known as the region’s Food Town.  By the time you have finished this 20 mile loop you’ll have earned whatever calories you consume part-way round! The ride takes you past the entrance to Threave Gardens and Estate with café and gardens to explore before entering Castle Douglas itself. The return follows an old military road back to Kirkcudbright – and if you need a little pick me up after that hard work, head for a tour of the Dark Art Distillery and a gin sampling.

Castle Douglas has plenty of foodie delights.

Eyemouth to Burnmouth

Where: Eyemouth

This 9.5 mile loop is classed as easy, meaning relatively flat with some climbing required. You do encounter some public roads and care is required in some sections, so be sure you familiarise yourself with the route notes before embarking. That said, this is a great route out of Eyemouth to Ayton Castle, and the climbs make the views down to Burnmouth and out to sea very worthwhile. All that cycling will help you work up an excellent appetite to sample the food at the restaurants of Eyemouth. Or perhaps you want to rest those weary legs while you take in a different perspective, on the water with Eyemouth Rib Trips.

Burnmouth, Visit Berwickshire Coast
Pass through Burnmouth for fresh sea air as you make your way back to Eyemouth. Photo Credit: Visit Berwickshire Coast.

Good for cyclists wanting more distance

Dumfries to Ae Forest/7stanes

Where: Dumfries

This out and back route offers a solid day in the saddle with 20 miles each way and the option of exploring the 7stanes Ae Forest trails – or just enjoying a rest at their café! Leaving Dumfries on the old railway line to Locharbriggs, from there you turn onto a quiet country lane for the rest of the journey.

Hold a little something in reserve to tackle some of the 7stanes trails at Ae Forest.

Good for cyclists wanting a climbing challenge

Selkirk to Ettrickbridge & Yarrow

Where: Selkirk

Enjoy the challenge of this 20-mile circular route with some serious climbs, which are richly rewarded with fabulous views. As you pass along through Ettrickbridge you’ll see the ruins of Kirkhope Tower once owned by the Scotts of Harden, ancestors of Sir Walter Scott. And just past here is the Cross Keys Inn if you are in need of refreshment! Leaving the town you start to climb, summiting at Witchie Knowe. From here the views through the Yarrow Valley open out before you as you descend. After Yarrowford you can cycle through Bowhill Country Estate, home to the Duke of Buccleuch, following the estate road back towards Selkirk and a well deserved rest and perhaps even a wee tot from the Selkirk Distillers.

Cycle through the Bowhill estate en route back to Selkirk