Route GuidesRoutes City GuidesCities Map Log in
Easy East Coaster
Land’s End to John O’Groats
1094 mi / 19-37 days
Epic
🇬🇧
2
route reviews
Overview
Stage-by-stage
Plan a trip

Why waste your ride of a lifetime on an uninspiring slog? This Land’s End to John O’Groats route takes in great tourist sights – Gloucester, Stratford, York, the glorious Northumbria coast, and Edinburgh – while minimising climbing.

In fact, we reckon this is the flattest route possible on quiet roads. It has 25% less climbing than the most popular LEJOG route, and only three climbs over 300m (vs a more typical 11). We’ve designed it for a three-week ride, with overnight stops in towns where there’s something to see. It’s almost all on country lanes or traffic-free paths, but it occasionally ducks onto busier roads to save a long detour.

Route map
Get the route
Open map
Download PDF map
Download GPX track
Send to phone
Plan a trip
Basics
Route
Getting there

Basics

How many days?

We’ve planned this as a three-week route – or more specifically, 20 days, including a very short final day to John O’Groats so you have time to get the train home. If you’re used to long days in the saddle then you could polish it off in a fortnight.

How hard is it?

We’ve designed this route expressly to be approachable by riders without thousands of miles in their legs. LEJOG should never be your first multiday tour: we’d always recommend you get used to the concept of 50/60-mile days before setting out on a tour like this. But you certainly don’t need to be a whippet-thin athlete to tackle this route.

Where do I sleep?

Most LEJOG cyclists choose B&Bs and the occasional larger hotel. Some choose to book their entire itinerary in advance, though a fixed schedule can rapidly go to pot in case of mechanical trouble or inclement weather. Others may choose to book just a few days or hours before turning up, or even just arrive on spec – though we wouldn’t recommend that in the summer months.

Of course, you can camp as well; but if you’ve not done it before, bear in mind that a tent and camping gear will slow you down considerably. Youth hostels can be a great money-saver compared to B&Bs, though many have closed in recent years.

What sort of bike?

The great majority of this route is on-road (78%). There are a few unpaved trails – railway paths, canal towpaths and the like – but nothing that a laden tourer or a road bike with decent tyres can’t cope with. The most important thing is to choose a bike which will enable your daily mileage without tiring yourself out.

Route

Is it signposted?

No, because there’s no single LEJOG route. That said, many miles of this route follow the National Cycle Network, and there’ll be entire days when you can just follow the little blue signs for a stress-free navigational experience. That said, we would recommend you load a Garmin or smartphone with the route.

What other routes can I choose?

Probably thousands of LEJOG routes have been ridden through the years. Here’s a few starting points if you’d like to consider alternative routes:

  • Cicerone publish a popular guidebook to a route going up the west of England. This is probably the most commonly ridden route.
  • The Cycling UK routes are similar and are now free to download. There are three variations: a fast route on busy roads, a quieter one using B&Bs for accommodation, and another planned with youth hostel stays in mind. (Note, however, that many youth hostels have closed since the latter was drawn up.)
  • The Sustrans route follows the National Cycle Network exclusively and as such has the least traffic of any route, though it is longer as a result.
  • CycleLEJOG.com is an informative, well-designed site dedicated to the route, full of helpful advice. Their suggested route follows the East Coast, like ours.
  • Cycle End to End is an enthusiasts’ site collecting people’s routes and journals and has literally hundreds of rides.

Getting there

How do I get to Land’s End?

The nearest railway station to Land’s End is Penzance, 12 miles away. Services to Penzance are operated by GWR and CrossCountry, both of which now have pitiful accommodation for bikes in upright-hanging cupboards. Book as far in advance as possible, including a bike space. Not all train booking websites have a facility to book a bike space, though GWR’s does. But we would strongly recommend going to your nearest staffed station if you can – booking office staff can sometimes find a bike space when the online systems are saying “no”. See if you can get a reserved seat near to the bike compartment so you can keep an eye on your bike.

When on the train, you’ll need to take your panniers off when hanging the bike up.

How do I get back from John O’Groats?

By train: John O’Groats is 16 miles from Wick station or 20 from Thurso. Services are run by ScotRail. The bike space is a little less parsimonious than on the Penzance trains, but you’ll still need to book as far in advance as possible.

Train services on the ‘Far North Line’ are infrequent and slow! In practice, this means that getting to England in one day from Wick or Thurso (changing at Inverness and Glasgow/Edinburgh) requires catching a train around 8am. One alternative is the Caledonian Sleeper from Inverness.

If you do want to try for the 8am train from Thurso or Wick, we’d recommend changing your last few days’ stopping points: Tain (not Cromarty) at 965mi, Bettyhill (not the Crask Inn) at 1035mi, then the next day, reach John O’Groats at 1090mi, and backtrack to Thurso or Wick for your overnight accommodation.

By taxi: You can also consider a courier service from John O’Groats to Inverness. This is, surprisingly, quicker than the train and can help you make a daytime connection. Here’s one such service.

By ferry: This might sound counter-intuitive, but it’s definitely the most fun, and can be the quickest. Take the ferry to Orkney either from John O’Groats itself, or from nearby Gills Bay (a short ride back along the coast). Each ferry runs two or three times a day. Then ride across Orkney for 15-20 easy miles to Kirkwall. Take the overnight ferry from Kirkwall to Aberdeen, which runs around three times a week. You’ll arrive early morning in Aberdeen, ready to catch your train home.

Ride reports & comments

Lejog using the 'easy east coaster'

A friend and I have just finished Lands End to John O groats using the easy east coast route. We took it leisurely aiming to do an average of just…

Read more...

Ridden this route? Write a ride report and share your experience…

Thu 22 Jul, 08:59

We just cycled this from Taunton to Edinburgh. It is a great route. We are retirees and to begin with we had 25kg of camping equipment so our bikes were pretty loaded. We were in Taunton after cycling from London. The route to Bristol is longer than the hilly way but much easier and is charming. Then to Gloucester, again longer but “mostly” flat. Up through Stratford, Nottingham, York etc. our only challenging day was from Berwick back across to Haddington. There was an exhilarating descent but the earlier ascents were quite hard work. In general the route is well thought out we didn’t follow the timing described, each of his “days” took us at least two. We abandoned camping as far too many sites are vans only, the few that take tents were fully booked. We shipped our camping gear home as there are plenty of cheap hotels and Inns. Thank you for your hard work, I imported the gpx into Komoot and it worked really well.