Cycling UK launches brand new bikepacking route in east Kent, England

Two female cyclists riding through woodland
(Image credit: Cycling UK / Jordan Gibbons)

Cycling UK, the UK’s cycling charity, has just launched a brand new cycle touring and bikepacking route in east Kent, England. Named after the Iron Age Celtic tribe that inhabited the area, the Cantii Way is a 150-mile (230km) mixed terrain route that follows the success of the King Alfred’s Way launch back in 2020.

While the King Alfred’s Way is a challenging and mostly off-road route, the Cantii Way is definitely a more accessible option for those looking to try out bikepacking for the first time. Despite traversing some outstanding natural landscapes, the Cantii Way passes through most of the major coastal towns of East Kent, including Whitstable, Herne Bay, Deal, Dungeness, Dover, and Folkestone. This means you’re never too far from civilization should anything go wrong, and there will be plenty of sheltered options for eating and bedding down for the night if you’re not prepared to ‘rough it’.

A male and female cyclist riding along a coastal trail in the wind

(Image credit: Cycling UK / Jordan Gibbons)

I was fortunate enough to join the Cycling UK team on their recce ride back in March, so I’ve already experienced the entire route firsthand. If you’ve already delved into our list of the best UK bikepacking routes, you might notice some overlap with the Wye Overnighter that sits at the top. The route starts and ends in Wye, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that really sets the tone for what’s to come. 

It takes in all manner of terrains from woodland bridleways and trails, to coastal paths, paved country lanes, and traffic-free cycle paths. Along the way, you’ll discover much of what the ‘garden of England’ can offer, including remnants of military defenses along the coastline, Roman ruins, vibrant art trails, and eco-friendly farms. Sticking mostly to the seafront, there’s plenty of local produce available, with lovers of shellfish particularly well catered for. The route also passes through several vineyards, and past the recognizable pointed white tops of hop-drying oast houses, so drink connoisseurs will be in their element.

Three cyclists riding through an orchard at golden hour

(Image credit: Cycling UK / Jordan Gibbons)

There are parts of the route which make use of Cycling UK’s North Downs Way trail, so if you wanted to extend your trip, you could veer off in that direction as well.

Cycling UK was able to develop the Cantii Way as part of the European Regional Development Fund EXPERIENCE project, which aims to develop sustainable year-round tourism activities in Kent, Norfolk, and Cornwall. In addition to this, Cycling UK has developed a Cycle Friendly Places accreditation scheme to promote businesses that cater well to cycling visitors.

Three cyclists are silhouetted and overlooking a green landscape from a lookout point

(Image credit: Cycling UK / Jordan Gibbons)

Those planning to try out the route for themselves should check out the route guide written by mountain bike guide Max Darkins, where you can also gain access to the GPX files.

Mildred Locke
Freelance writer

Mildred previously worked as a review writer for Bike Perfect. She enjoys everything from road cycling to mountain biking, but is a utilitarian cyclist at heart. Determined to do everything on two wheels, she's even moved house by bike, and can regularly be found pedaling around Bristol and its surrounding areas. She’s spent over four years volunteering as a mechanic and workshop coordinator at the Bristol Bike Project, and now sits on its board of directors. Her expertise comes from previously working in a bike shop and learning the ins and outs of the industry, and she's previously written for a variety of cycling publications, including Bikeradar, Cycling Plus, Singletrack, Red Bull, Cycling UK and Total Women's Cycling. At home on slicks and knobblies alike, her ideal ride covers long distances through remote countryside, on mixed terrain that offers a bit of crunch, followed by a gourmet campfire meal and an overnight bivvy beneath the stars.

Rides: Stayer Groadinger UG, Triban RC520 Women's Disc, Genesis Flyer, Marin Larkspur, Cotic BFe 26, Clandestine custom bike

Height: 156cm (5'2")

Weight: 75kg