Recently we were invited to Scotland to see what family cycling in Falkirk was like. Falkirk has miles of traffic-free paths and flat, easy cycling routes, and there are so many places to go for a great family day out.
Where is Falkirk ?
Falkirk is a large town in the lowlands of Central Scotland. Set right in the middle of Glasgow and Edinburgh (around 20 miles each way), Falkirk is around a 4 hour drive from the North West of England where we live.
If you want to read our post on 10 Things to do in Falkirk with Kids you’ll find it here.
If you’d like to watch our Instagram Stories of the weekend do check out our Falkirk Instagram Highlight.
We did a number of different cycling activities while in Falkirk and enjoyed our days out. The style of family cycling in Falkirk can be adapted to suit your families needs.
When we visited Zetland Park in May 2022, Zetland Park was coming to the end of a huge refurbishment project. As a tourist I’m not sure it’s a place you’d make a beeline for, as it’s not got the wow factor of Callendar Park for example, but it is most definitely a lovely spot to visit with the bikes if you’re staying nearby, or have younger kids who will enjoy the safe cycling spot.
The accessible playground, with a spot for kids to learn to cycle, and the brand new pump track for kids makes it a great spot for families with their bikes. I was also privileged enough to meet George at the Bike Library in Zetland Park who runs the bike library, an amazing scheme run by the Council to loan people bikes so they can fall in love with cycling too. Bikes are returned after four weeks, but can be borrowed again. I was genuinely impressed by the scheme.
Callendar House & Park
I was blown away by Callendar House & Park. When you drive up and make your way through sixties Council flats I wasn’t overly hopeful, but the 170 acres of beautiful parkland makes for some fantastic walking and cycling opportunities.
When we visited the paths were clear and open and it felt like a hugely safe place to cycle. People were considerate and generous with the pathways and didn’t seem to resent cyclists on the paths (which can’t always be guaranteed).
You can do an 8.8 km cycle around its gardens and ancient woodlands, which include remnants of the Roman Antonine Wall. You can either rent an E-bike at the Forth Bike station located in the park to follow the Callendar House Trail or take your own bikes like we did.
I also love that you can top up water bottles with fresh drinking ‘Scottish water’ from the top up tap in the park.
Callendar House was also recently used as a film location for the hugely popular Outlander TV Series. Visit Scotland has an excellent Outlander Film Location map which you can access here, to download the Outlander map click here. Follow in Jamie and Claire’s footsteps for yourself with this fantastic Outlander audio guide created also by Visit Scotland.
Callendar Estate Cycling
We really really enjoyed cycling at the Callendar Estate. At Callender Estate Activity Centre & Cafe they have built a network of (one way) single track mountain bike trails to complement the Heritage Trails. They are easy family friendly routes through attractive woodland. Each trail has been graded according to its level of difficulty and challenge. Green is easy, blue is moderate and red challenging. It is important that you chose a grade that suits your ability. Green was just right for us! Also all these trails are FREE!
Check out our Instagram video of our time on the Callendar Estate cycling.
Whilst at the Callendar Estate cycling, we had a visit to a lovely Ice Cream parlour the Milk Barn. You can either walk, or cycle to the Milk Barn from the Callendar Estate Activity Centre on this route! It’s only 3.5km.
We had toasties for lunch and the most amazing ice creams and the girls really enjoyed the huge jumping pillow.
Cycle from Falkirk Wheel to the Kelpies
In our 10 Things to do in Falkirk post we cover why you should visit both but you can also cycle between the two which we would highly recommend.
This route plan shows how you can cycle from the Falkirk Wheel to the Kelpies. If you don’t have your own bike, then you can hire a bike from Outdoor Trax, or for over 16’s, hire an E-bike for a more leisurely cycle to the Helix Park and Kelpies.
Distance: Falkirk Wheel – The Kelpies: 20min/4.2 miles
Cycle from Bo’Ness to Blackness
If you’re intending to visit Blackness Castle then try not to bet on parking in the really small (up a narrow road) car park at Blackness Castle itself. We recommend cycling along the coastal path to Blackness from Bo’Ness and avoiding the parking issue altogether. Not only do you get a lovely family cycle along the coast road but you also get free parking and no stressful parking in a town that’s really not designed for all the cars Blackness Castle brings.