6 Ways to cycle around Falkirk with kids

This post is an advert for and based on a visit in August 2022. Any shares / edits beyond this point have not been asked or paid for. Please always check information direct with venues when making plans as there may have been changes after this post was published. 

6 Ways to cycle around Falkirk with kids

Are you keen to try cycling as a family but perhaps aren't sure where to start? If this sounds like you, I would definitely recommend considering the Falkirk area as a short break destination where you can incorperate a little (or lots) of cycling with kids into your break with little or no prior experience. 

Falkirk does have options for experienced cyclists looking for a challenge, but for this post I'm going to focus on why it's an ideal option for a first cycling holiday / cycling with kids or nervous/beginner cyclists. 

Falkirk has miles and miles of traffic-free, flat and easy cycle routes with various ways you can hire equipment and lots of planning tools to help you out too. It's pretty easy to cycle between attractions and rather than spending the whole day cycling, incorperate a bike ride or two into your itinerary instead. 

There are many different ways to enjoy cycling in Falkirk and the beauty is you could try as many or as little as you like during your break. You don't need to bring your own helmets or bikes - everything can be provided and it's not too expensive either. 

From a personal perspective, I would say I have below average fitness and haven't really cycled much during my adult life but I still enjoyed cycling around Falkirk. Don't let lack of experience or fitness levels put you off. 

Where to Stay 

It takes 2.5-3 hours to drive to Falkirk from Newcastle and there is a train station in the town (change at Edinburgh for trains from Newcastle). I would recommend 2 full days and 1 night or 3 full days and 2 nights here to really make the most of everything on offer. 

Many people stop off at The Kelpies when driving to / from Scotland from the North East and if this is your plan, why not extend your visit and try a suggestion or two from this post as well. 

We stayed at LeaPark Hotel which is a 3* hotel with ample on site parking. It's well located for exploring Falkirk and just half a mile/ a 10 minute walk from Zetland Park where you can hire E Bikes or try out the fabulous new pump track. 

Family rooms at LeaPark sleep up to 4 and are very spacious. There is a main bedroom, a living room with TV, sofa, mini fridge and dressing area plus a large family bathroom. I will say the rooms are dated but they are clean and what they lack in style, they make up for in space and location.

A traditional Scottish breakfast is included in your room rate and you can choose to dine on a DBB basis which is perfect if you're tired after a day's cycling or need to get the kids to bed early. We dined here on one evening and the food was really good. 

You can check other accommodation options here (including glamping, cottages and even barge hire) 

6 Ways to cycle around Falkirk with kids

  1. Hire a Raleigh Bike at Falkirk Wheel 
  2. Hire an E-Bike from Forth Bikes (various locations - over 16s only)
  3. Hire a Mountain Bike at Callendar Estate
  4. Try a Longer Route
  5. Bring Your Own Bike to Zetland Park
  6. Accessible Cycling around Falkirk

1 - Hire a Raleigh Bike at Falkirk Wheel 

Cycle from The Falkirk Wheel to Falkirk Town Centre and Callendar House & Park.  6.7 mile mostly flat circular loop. 

Bike hire at the Falkirk Wheel

Need to Know: 
  • Hire bikes from Outdoor Trax at Falkirk Wheel - look out for the 'Bike Hire' shed. Available from £10 per hour. Child and adult bikes, child seats and trailers are available along with helmets and bike locks. Call 07828 008997 to book.
  • Find out more about Callendar House here 

This is a lovely and flat route and ideal to combine with lunch & a little shopping in Falkirk followed by an afternoon at Callendar Park. 

As well as bike hire, the Falkirk Wheel offers lots to do including water zorbing, an adventure playground, cafe and street food vans, boat trips, splash park & more. It's the ideal spot to start / end your adventure. 

Bikes can be secured on the High Street (locks are included with bike hire) and my top recommendations to visit when in Falkirk Town Centre include: 

The Lonely Broomstick Falkirk
The Lonely Broomstick 

Falkirk Heritage Trail 

Haggis Burgers Behind the Wall
Haggis Burgers from Behind the Wall 

Scottish Tapas from Christie's
Scottish Tapas from Christie's 

The best Sticky Toffee Pudding from Christie's 

Callendar House and Park is just 0.7 miles from the town centre and definitely worth adding to your itinerary. It's free to visit with secure bike storage and lots to see and do (both indoors and out). 

Facilities include: 
  • Local History Exhibitions inside the house plus a Georgian Kitchen 
  • Natural Play Trail (we spotted squirrels too) 
  • Golf Course
  • Roman Themed Playground (it's excellent!) 
  • Takeaway Kiosk near the park 
  • Beautiful Tearooms inside the house (ideal for coffee and cake after your cycle) 
  • Nature Walks 
  • Water Refil Station 

Natural Trail Play Area at Callendar Park
Natural Play Trail at Callendar House 

Callendar House Walks 

Water refill station at Callendar House 

Roman themed playground at Callendar House
Roman themed playground at Callendar House 

Roman themed playground at Callendar House 

Callendar House

Callendar House Tearooms 

I really liked cycling this route. It is mostly along the picturesque canal but there are shorter periods where you can join the road (with a cycle lane) or walk with your bike on the path next to the road. It's an easy flat route with plenty of places to stop and enjoy a lovely afternoon out. Make sure you bring a backpack to carry your shopping. 

2 - Hire an E-Bike & Cycle between The Falkirk Wheel & Helix Park (over 16s only) 

4.2 miles one way. This route is super easy and flat - you just follow the canal (it's also well signposted). 

Hire E Bikes from the Kelpies

Need to Know: 
  • You can hire Forth Bike E Bikes from various locations across the Falkirk area. Simply download the Forth Bike app to get started. You don't need to book - bike locations are shown on the app.
    E bike hire is reasonably priced (£7.50 for three hours). Helmets are not included and I'd advise bringing your own.

    There's lots of info about how it works on their website here  and if you encounter any problems, give their customer services a ring (they are super helpful). 

    E Bikes are for over 16s only. If you're cycling with kids, I recommend starting at Falkirk Wheel and hiring Raleigh Bikes for the kids from Outdoor Trax at the same time. 

  • Find out more about the Falkirk Wheel here 
  • Find out more about Helix Park and the Kelpies here 

I absolutely loved hiring an E Bike and this was one of the trip highlights for me. They are so much easier than regular bikes and it just felt like such a joyful experience with no worries about getting tired. Lots of older people were hiring E Bikes too and seemed to love it so this is an option if you'd like to bring active grandparents along. 

How to hire an e bike at Falkirk

Helix Park and the Kelpies is one of my favourite places to visit in Scotland. It's free to visit, something a little different and I just always feel so relaxed when we visit. 

Facilities include: 

  • Kelpies Tours (additional cost)
  • Large Adventure Playground 
  • Nature Walks and Ponds 
  • Boating Lake 
  • Plaza Cafe 
  • Splash Pad 
  • Picnic Tables 
  • Food Kiosks 
  • Helix Cafe, Visitor Centre & Gift Shop 
If you can, I would recommend booking onto a Kelpies Tour. Tours are well priced at £7.50 per adult with two kids per adult going free. Booking onto a tour is the only way you can go inside a Kelpie which is super interesting and fun too. Our guide Pat was so knowledgable and we all agreed that the tour was worth doing. Tours are open to all ages but I would say ages 8+ will get the most out of it. There is seating inside the Kelpies. 

Lunch at the Helix Cafe overlooking the Kelpies was lovely. They use local ingredients and suppliers and keep their food miles as low as possible. Everything is freshly prepared and reasonable. As attraction cafes go, this one is up there with the best. They even have plug sockets on some tables if you need to charge your phone. 

Don't miss the Visitor Centre which is free to pop by (it's in the same building as the Helix Cafe). You can watch a time lapse of the Kelpies being put together, build your own sculpture with LEGO, compare the sizes of different sculptures around the world with scale models and activities for kids. 

Kelpies Tour

Lunch at the Helix Cafe 

Nature Walks around Helix Park

Outdoor seating at the Plaza Cafe by the Playground

Helix Park Adventure Playground
Helix Park Adventure Playground

Inside the Kelpies 

It takes around 20 minutes to cycle between Falkirk Wheel and Helix Park which leaves plenty of time to enjoy both attractions. 

Falkirk Wheel Boat Tours
Falkirk Wheel Boat Tours 

Falkirk Wheel Playground 

3 - Hire a Mountain Bike at Callendar Estate

Mountain Bike Hire Callendar Estates

Need to Know: 
  • You can hire mountain bikes from Greenrig Cycles on site. If visiting on a weekend, it's best to book in advance (you can do this online) but if you're visiting during the week, you can usually just pop in. Bike hire is super reasonable (from £5 per child and £7.50 per adult). Trailers and children's seats are available and helmets are included. 

  • There are different trails to follow which are well-signposted, one way and for bikes only (with a few exit points) including child-friendly green trails for beginners. You can see the different trails here. 

  • Callendar Estate is part of the John Muir Way 

  • As well as cycling, there are heritage walking trails to enjoy here and a nice cafe too 

Even as a child, I'd never tried mountain biking in a woodland setting and I had no idea of what to expect. It was completely different to our leisure cycle along the canals and much more exhilirating / thrilling. You definitely build up some speed and feel a rush. 

I will be honest and say this wasn't my favourite experience, I'm a bit of a scaredy cat in my older years and the speed was a little much for me. I felt as if I was holding Steve and Dee back who said this experience was the highlight of the trip for them. They were away and had the best time. Mountain biking (on the green trail anyway) didn't feel as taxing as regular cycling and I would say it's ok for all fitness levals and abilities. 

Despite being pushed out of my comfort zone here, I am still pleased I tried it and I will never forget us whizzing past some wild deer who were grazing on the meadow as we passed.

Mountain Biking around Callendar Estates

4 - Cycle to Blackness 

A range of routes including an 8 mile circular route (Bo'ness to Blackness and back) up to a 32 mile circular route (Falkirk Wheel to Kinneil Estate to Blackness and back) including the John Muir Way. 

Blackness Beach

Need to Know: 
  • Blackness is a sleepy harbour village overlooking the Firth of Forth. You can cycle here from The Falkirk Wheel (32 miles round trip) and there are plenty of stop off points of interest along the way. 

  • Or you could cycle part of the way, especially if you bring your own bikes. The route from Kinneil Estate to Blackness is 10 miles, mostly flat and takes place on the John Muir Way via traffic-free paths

The route is easy to follow and well signposted. 

My top recommendations for Blackness include: 

  • Lunch at The Lobster Pot - a unique pub serving delicious seafood (other dishes and a kids menu are available). Booking recommended. 
  • Walking along the beach area - it's so quiet and all you can hear is the little fishing boats bobbing along 
  • Visit Blackness Castle - it's fantastic with lots of quirks including the last drawbridge of it's kind, a secret tunnel and trapdoor. The views are fantastic (you can spot the Queensferry bridge in the distance) and the whole castle is shaped like a boat about to go out to sea 
The Lobster Pot Blackness

Blackness Castle

Blackness Castle shaped like a ship

There are a few places you can stop off en-route including: 
  • Kinneil House 
  • Kinneil Nature Reserve 
  • Kinneil Museum 
  • Bo'ness Town Centre (there is an E Bike Hire Station here) 
  • Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway 

We visited Kinneil Nature Reserve which was super peaceful. There  is lots of wildlife here with information boards to help you identify different species and it's a fab place for spotting trains (including steam trains). 

5 - Bring Your Own Bike to Zetland Park 

Zetland Park Pump Track

Need to Know: 
  • Zetland Park is free to visit and ideal if your kids have brought their own bikes. There is free parking nearby or you can cycle here. Find out more / get the address here. 

  • There is an E Bike Hire Station in the park as well as a free bike library. 

Zetland Park has recently undergone a multi-million pound refurbishment and is packed with brilliant facilities. They have a new pump track which is fab and includes different sections for varying abilities. 

Below is a photo of another great feature. Within the park there is a mini pretend road track designed for little ones to practice their bike skills. It's super cute and if you've been to Alton Towers / LEGOLAND is very similar to their mini driving schools (only this one is for bikes/scooters and completely free). 

Zetland Park also features a new adventure playground with accessible play equipment and sensory play (radar key required for the wheelchair swing), a pond, smooth surfaces which are ideal for cycling, sports courts and a rainwater garden which was filled with roses and other pretty flowers on the day of our visit. 

Zetland Park Wheelchair Swing

6 - Accessible Cycling around Falkirk 

I wanted to end this post with a little information about accessible cycling around Falkirk. Visitors with disabilities or limited mobility can take a trishaw tour from the pioneering Falkirk-based charity Cycling Without Age Scotland.  

I noticed these tours about on 4 different occasions during our last visit. They seem super popular and everyone seemed to be having lots of fun. Trishaw tours should be pre-booked and are subject to volunteer availibility. You can find out more here. 

Trishaw Tours Falkirk
Credit : Visit Falkirk 

You can find out more about cycling around Falkirk here: 



No comments

Post a Comment

© North East Family Fun | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Designed by pipdig