Wheat field in Devon

Planning the best LEJOG route (or JOGLE route)

Cycling LEJOG from Land's End to John o'Groats is great fun, but a lot of preparation is needed for a successful trip - not least of which is planning the best route & arranging accommodation. Some people say that the planning is harder work than the actual pedalling!

There is no "official" Land's End to John o'Groats cycle route and people ride all different paths - you'll find many different suggestions online. Most people tend to stay west of the Pennines, however since I live in Yorkshire I took my ride on a more unconventional route via Leeds and along the stunning Northumberland coast (click here to download my LEJOG route). You really can go wherever you want!

The best "end to end" route for you will depend on many factors such as how quickly you want to complete it, how much you want to avoid busy roads, and whether there's any specific points of interest you want to include along the way.

This page is here to give you tips on planning the best LEJOG or JOGLE route that works for you, as well on navigating & finding places to stay. And over on the LEJOG route planning tools page there's some step by-step guides to working with some really useful online route planning tools too.

Jump to topic:

Which direction - LEJOG or JOGLE?

The first - and biggest - decision to make is which direction are you going to head in? Do you want to cycle north from Land's End to John o'Groats (LEJOG), or south from John o'Groats to Land's End (JOGLE)?

Some factors that may influence your decision could be:

  • Availability of accommodation - Will there be a shortage of accommodation at any point? Finding available accommodation in Cornwall during the summer holidays can be especially difficult (more so than in northern Scotland), so the time at which you pass through Cornwall could be important. I'd initially planned to ride south but switched from a JOGLE ride to LEJOG after realising that I'd be finishing just as the school holidays were starting. This is less important if you can book all your accommodation in advance, or if you have a support vehicle that can drive you in an evening thus giving you much more options of where to stay.
  • The prevailing wind - Supposedly the wind in general blows south to north more than it does north to south. This can be very variable though so while it might influence your choice, I wouldn't personally rate it as important (albeit there aren't many things that are as demoralising as cycling into a strong headwind!).
  • Direction of the sun - During the summer the sun is always behind you if you're heading north; this can be useful as it means you're never having to squint to see (especially if you'll be doing long days in the saddle and riding into the evening as the sun is setting).
  • Bike shops - A less common consideration could be the availability of bike shops. There's far more in Cornwall than there are north of Inverness, and you're more likely to have bike issues late in your trip as your bike accumulates the miles. This certainly wouldn't be a main consideration for me, but if everything else was equal then it could be a factor. My rear brake started to wear out on the last couple of days, and without a support car to drive me back to a bike shop, I had to ride for 2 days in north Scotland with only one effective brake.
  • Personal preferences - Of course one of the main factors could just be your personal preference! Maybe you've done LEJOG already and want to now attempt JOGLE, or maybe you live close to either Land's End or John o'Groats and want to finish or start near home. Some people also prefer starting at John o'Groats as psychologically (looking at a map) it feels like it's downhill! (even though Land's End is actually higher by about 150ft).

Whichever direction you do it in, get ready to hear the same joke over and over from friends & family about JOGLE being downhill and LEJOG being uphill.... (you'll soon learn to fake laugh your way through this!)

LEJoG and JoGLE souvenirs

Key decisions

There's a few other key aspects to decide too before you can start planning a detailed LEJOG / JOGLE route:

  • Are you going for enjoyment or purely for speed? If you're happy cycling on busy A-roads then your mileage might be around 900 miles; avoiding these will mean a route of around 1,000 miles (achieving this round number of miles can often be an objective in itself). Major roads are often less hilly, faster, and better maintained than minor roads, however they're obviously not as pleasant and can often feel unsafe.
  • Decide how many days you want to take & your rough daily mileage. With either of these decided you can calculate the other, assuming a ride length of about 900 or 1000 miles. Remember to allow a non-cycling day either side for travelling to/from the start & end points too.
  • What type of accommodation do you prefer? Bed & Breakfasts, hotels, youth hostels, or camping? Camping can give you more flexibility as you can pitch up anywhere (land rights depending of course), however it means carrying extra gear. Youth hostels are the least common, whilst bed & breakfasts and hotels can be found anywhere. These all may need to be booked in advance - see the LEJOG accomodation section below for tips.
  • Are you just cycling Land's End to John o'Groats or making it a true End-to-End bike ride? Even though Land's End and John o'Groats are famous iconic locations they're not - despite what many people assume - the most southerly and northerly points of mainland Britain (although Land's End is the most south-western point). Those honours go to Lizard Point in Cornwall (about 35 miles from Land's End) and Dunnet Head in Scotland (about 14 miles from John o'Groats). Some people choose to add these points onto their ride.
  • Or perhaps you fancy riding something even longer? Whilst the vast majority of people stick to a simple LEJOG/JOGLE route, a tougher challenge that appeals to some hardcore cyclists is a "Four Corners of Great Britain" ride that's designed to include other extremeties of the country too. As well as the most northerly & southerly points mentioned above, other waypoints could include the most north-westerly point of Great Britain (Cape Wrath), the most south-easterly point (near Dover), the most easterly point (near Lowestoft), or even the most westerly point (Ardnamurchan in Scotland).
  • And then for the ultra-dedicated, how about an entire lap of the British coastline? This is only for the most extreme of cyclists however, taking about 4-5000 miles to complete!

    [Edit: I wrote that last sentence back in early 2017 thinking who would be crazy enough to do such a trip? And yet, a few years later in 2022, I did! (well, half of it so far anyway). It was an amazing experience - see my website www.cyclingtheuk.com]

Creating an outline LEJOG / JOGLE route

Once you decided on the fundamentals above then you can start to plan your route:

  1. Decide on a handful of key waypoints. This will give you a very rough route, for example you might choose to go via Bristol, Hereford, Runcorn, Penrith, and Inverness. You might also want to add in certain other places of interest too such as your home town, or tourist attractions like the Angel Of The North in Gateshead.
  2. You'll also need to decide on your broad route through Scotland. There's two main routes that people generally take to get to Inverness - via Edinburgh and Aviemore in the Cairngorms, or past Glasgow to Fort William and along Loch Ness.
  3. Plot a rough route in Google Maps. Google Maps is a great tool for quickly visualising where a possible route may take you. Using the "cycle route" option (ideally sign in first, you'll then be able to save this route) you'll be able to plot an initial route between Land's End and John o'Groats that takes in your chosen waypoints. Study the suggested route and make any changes needed (click and drag the route to change it) to avoid any areas you don't want to pass via, for example if it's taking you through a particularly hilly region or on roads you'd rather avoid.
  4. Identify your daily waypoints. Now looking at this rough route, and knowing how far you want to cycle each day, identify towns, campsites, or areas that are likely to have accommodation in roughly the right area for each evening. These locations now become your daily itinerary.
  5. Plot the detailed daily routes. Now it's time for the detailed work! There are several online mapping tools available for this; for my LEJOG trip I used Strava.com, however my tool of choice for cycle route planning now is Cycle.travel. You might prefer a different tool (see below for various route planning tools), or even simply prefer to use paper maps! Either way, this is the stage where you plan the exact roads you'll be cycling on each day.

When designing a route it can be helpful to consider the National Cycle Network (NCN). Developed by the national cycle charity Sustrans, this is a 13,000 mile (as of 2021) network of cycle routes around the UK that uses quiet roads and traffic free paths. Dedicated cycle route planning websites, such as Cycle.travel, will almost always highlight these routes within their maps to make it easy for you to find them. You can also buy the poster route maps from the Sustrans website.

The Safety & Security page of this website is also worth checking out, as it contains details of routes (and how busy the roads are) around some of the key sections of the ride.

Planning a Land's End to John o'Groats cycle route can be an iterative effort. When you get down to the detail you might find some areas unsuitable for cycling - for example if it's too hilly, the roads aren't suitable, or there's a lack of suitable accommodation choices - and you might find yourself returning to the overall rough route a few times to make some adjustments. Eventually though it'll all come together and you'll have your perfect route.

Don't underestimate the effort & time needed for route planning!

If you want a headstart on this then take a look at my Land's End to John o'Groats route which is available for download.

Detailed route planning - useful tools

There's plenty of tools available to help you plan your route (including good ol' paper maps!!) but I used 3 main ones for my LEJOG trip - Strava, Google Maps, and Google Street View. I've also since used Cycle.travel extensively as well.

Cycle. travel

Cycle.travel logo

Whilst I didn't use Cycle.travel for planning my LEJOG trip (as I only discovered it afterwards) I'm listing this site first simply because it's so fantastic and is now my route-planning tool of choice.

It's an independent route-planner that's made specifically for cycle tourists, preferring quiet and scenic roads and traffic-free trails. It's also free!

It works like all other mapping software - you enter start and end points and it plots a route - but it's built for cyclists. It knows about all the National Cycle Network routes, will display accommodation, bike shops, and even pubs, and even has several classic routes (such as the Coast-to-Coast) already in its database.

Other great features are the ability to split journeys into multi-day trips, the option to avoid off-road sections, and the ability to show you photos (pulled automatically from various internet sources) of any section of your route so you can see what the surface and area is like.

Once you've created your route you then can download it in a variety of formats (including GPX) suitable for your GPS unit. If you use a Garmin Edge cycle computer you can even magically send your route directly to that at the click of a button.

An iPhone app has also recently (late 2022) been launched (available on the Apple app store), with an Android app in the works too.

Watch this presentation given to the Cycle Touring Festival 2022 by the founder of the website, Richard Fairhurst, to see just how easy to use the site is and all the features it has.


Route planning with Strava

For planning my LEJOG trip the main tool I used was Strava.com. This website has long been popular with athletes wanting to share records of their activity with friends, however the site also has a route planning feature too. This used to be free for everyone, but in May 2020 they sadly switched it to being a premium feature that requires a paid subscription (£8.99 per month or £54.99 for the year, as of January 2023).

It's similar to Google Maps in that it automagically generates a route between two points, but with the added option of finding the route with the least climbing. You can also choose the base map to display, overlay heatmaps of where others have cycled (to give you ideas), and view an elevation profile to see where the hills are. And after all that you can export the GPX routes to GPS devices as well (see "Navigation" below).

Sometimes I'd compare Strava's route suggestion with the cycle routing option on Google Maps. On the odd occasion Google did suggest a better route which I then used, but 9 times out of 10 Strava's suggestion was just as good or better.

See a step-by-step guide here for using Strava.

Route profile on Strava

Google Maps

Google Maps

The routes generated by Strava weren't always perfect; the tool is only as good as the data and maps it uses. On my third day the route went on dirt tracks that had appeared as roads on the map but which were impassable. After that experience I started using Google Maps to always check the aerial view of the route (you can do this in Strava too but it felt much slower than Google), allowing me to confirm that a road was, indeed, a road.

The best way I found to do this was to export the route from Strava and import it into Google's "MyMaps" (see step-by-step guide here). The route was then overlaid on an aerial photo which I could zoom into to check for any potential issues.

With Google Maps you can also easily share your routes as well, for example to let your loved ones know exactly where you're going.

Google Street View

Google Street View

Even Google Maps wasn't always enough. There are some areas, particularly in Scotland, where the resolution of aerial photos (both on Google & Bing Maps) isn't very good and are nothing more than a colourful blur when zoomed in.

This is where Google Street View was particularly useful, helping to see how busy certain roads were as well as whether a cycle path really did exist next to a busy road. It can also be extremely useful for verifying if a road is passable at all and not a gated private road - if the Street View car has been able to drive the road then it's a fair bet that you can ride it too!

To check which roads Street View images exist for (or more interestingly, which ones don't) then simply drag the orange man icon (on the bottom right of the screen in Google) over the map and all roads with Street View images will turn blue; dropping the man onto a road will then launch Street View for that road. If a road you're interested in doesn't turn blue then you'll need to investigate further, or find an alternative route.

I didn't use Street View for the whole route (that would have taken hundreds of hours), but it was especially useful for just quickly checking out any spots that I wasn't sure about.

As well as the main tools I used, there are others that could be worth checking out. Whilst I didn't use these for my LEJOG trip I have used them both at one point or another and can recommend them. They're also especially useful for editing existing routes on (by uploading a "GPX" file of the route):


komoot logo

komoot.com is a route planning tool that has been created especially for outdoor activities. It's not one I've used for any long distance cycle tours, only for local rides, however it's regularly used by many cycle tourists as their route planning tool of choice with many useful features.

Whereas other route planning tools often just have a "cycle" option, komoot allows you to specify that you're planning a route specifically for cycle touring. This means that it won't just stick to tarmac roads (as road cyclists want) and will look for quieter tracks too, but nor will it route you via anything that can only be ridden by a mountain bike. They also actively encourage users to add markers on the map of interesting points to help everyone find the best route.

There is a small cost to be able to save and export routes such as to GPS devices (as of October 2022 it's a one-off cost of £30 for worldwide maps, less for specific regions), and a further premium option (£60 per year) allows for features such as splitting long rides into multi-day trips and live tracking to enable your friends and family to follow your progress.

GPS .com

RideWithGPS logo

One final website is www.ridewithgps.com. This is great for route planning too as, unlike Strava, it has the key feature of allowing you to edit pre-existing routes (such as the one I make available here).

It does cost but only USD$8-10 a month (depending on your plan) and you can cancel anytime. Its route planning features are superb and allows you to merge or split sections, with routes snapping to follow the road network as you move waypoints too (unlike some free alternatives such as ViewRanger).

If you have any other favourite tools you use, perhaps with the power of RideWithGPS.com but for free, then please let us know using the comments section at the bottom of this page!

LEJOG accommodation

How far in advance to book?

Finding accommodation en-route can be a pain! If you're certain of where you'll be each day, and are confident in your fitness levels, then it's probably best to book it all in advance (assuming of course that you're not going to be wild camping). For me, not having done any long distance cycling before, I was less confident of my fitness and so wanted to stay flexible.

I booked the first week's worth of accommodation in Cornwall, where choice is more sparse and where I didn't think I'd be able to rely on finding anything day-by-day. I started with a very low daily mileage (around 30 miles - I knew Cornwall is hilly!), figuring that after Bridgwater I'd have a better idea of what mileage I was capable of, and that there'd also be more choice beyond that point too. Between Bridgwater and Inverness I then booked accommodation a maximum of 2 days ahead as I went.

Staying flexible paid off, as I was unexpectedly forced to have 2 rest days in Cheltenham whilst my broken rear wheel was rebuilt. If you do book ahead then always check the cancellation policies! Booking ahead does obviously have advantages though; there'll be more choice available and it will often be cheaper.

From Inverness to John o'Groats I again booked in advance due to the lack of accommodation there. Even booking a few days in advance I still had to spread my route out over 4 days instead of my preferred 3 due to the places I wanted being fully booked.

Finding accommodation

Booking.com is invaluable for finding accommodation along your LEJOG route. Most B&B's and hotels have listings on here, and the map view allows you to find properties exactly where you want. I used it to find available accommodation on the dates I wanted, but then always Googled for the property's contact details and phoned them direct. This had 2 purposes:

  • I could ask if they had any bike storage (somewhere undercover & secure);
  • Direct bookings were also often (although not always) cheaper.

In addition the Cyclists Welcome website is another extremely useful place you should try; this CTC-run site contains searchable listings of cycle-friendly accommodation throughout the UK.

Another popular choice amongst long distance cyclists is Warm Showers. This is a community of cyclists who open their homes to fellow cyclists, with the hope being that you then reciprocate and offer accommodation to other cyclists when you're back home if you're able to.

And finally there's the Beds4Cyclists website as well, with listings of cycle friendly accomodation around the UK.

Other tips

There's a few other tips that might be useful to know or think of:

  • Premier Inn hotels are especially good at accepting bikes. If they don't have a store room then you can often take it up to your room (nb Premier Inn aren't on Booking.com, you'll need to go to their website directly). It's always best to phone ahead to double check about your bike.
  • Youth Hostels are also good for bike storage, although their accommodation is more basic than B&B's for often not much difference in cost.
  • Always think about where you'll get an evening meal from! Before booking somewhere check if there's a pub or restaurant within walking distance. Some B&B's will cook evening meals by prior arrangement.
  • Not all B&B's are registered on Booking.com. Sometimes by zooming in on Google Maps you might find some other ones listed in locations that you're interested in, which you can then look up on Google and contact direct (what would we ever do without Google?!).
  • You can also consider contacting local tourist information offices for help too.

Cyclist diversion road sign

Road sign on route in Northumberland!

So, you've got your LEJOG or JOGLE route planned and your accommodation sorted? Great - you've done 99% of the work! Now you just need to work out how you're going to navigate each day...


Back in the "olden days" cyclists would use paper maps and notes, stuffed into waterproof covers stuck on the top of a handlebar bag. This obviously worked well - tens of thousands of people have successfully navigated Land's End to John o'Groats over the years - but modern technology has made it oh so much easier (how good is it to be living in these modern times?!)

Garmin Edge 1000

Garmin Edge 1000

No longer do we need to carry numerous heavy & bulky maps, constantly trying to work out where we are and having to keep re-folding and re-orienting the map as we tick off the miles - modern GPS units will do all this for us in one small lightweight package. Genius.

They may cost but in my opinion my GPS unit was one of the best pieces of kit I took with me; it enabled me to just concentrate on the cycling and enjoying the scenery without having to stress about finding my way.

There's many different makes & models available; the one I used was an older Garmin Edge 1000 (the most recent version being the Garmin Edge 1040*). These devices mount easily onto your handlebars and provide you with turn-by-turn directions as you go, as well as recording various aspects of your ride (such as your route, speed, and altitude climbed) so that you can upload it to the web and share with friends and family. Popular manufacturers to look for include Garmin, Wahoo, Polar, and Hammerhead.

Getting your routes onto the device is a doddle. You simply export them as .gpx route files from whichever website you created them in, connect your Garmin to your PC via a USB cable, and put the route files into the folder called "New Files" on the GPS unit. Easy! And if you've used Komoot, Strava, or Cycle.travel to build your routes, you can even now magically send them straight to your Garmin without any cables needed. See our step by step guide to uploading route files onto Garmin GPS units.

Backup power & maps

Sometimes it was too easy to take the Edge for granted so it's always a good idea to have backup plans. One night I forgot to re-charge it so was extremely thankful that I'd packed a tiny portable battery pack which I was able to use to keep it powered through the next day (this was also useful for recharging my phone as well).

UKMap app icon

The inbuilt maps on the Edge also aren't the best if you find yourself having to re-route for whatever reason (I find zooming out and manually scrolling slower and more awkward than on a phone), so another tool I used a couple of times was an app on my iPhone called "UK Map". This costs £6.99 to download but you can then download detailed maps from along your route (from the Open Street Map project) for free (or pay for Ordnance Survey maps if you prefer). The maps are stored locally on your phone so you don't need a phone signal to then use them - handy when you're in the middle of nowhere and can't access Google Maps!

With this app it's like having a full paper map of the country in your hand, allowing you to find out where you are (using your phone's GPS) and to quickly see how to get back on track. I found it extremely useful & highly recommend it.

Other similar apps, including ones for Android phones, are also available, including MapOut which is built for cyclists and shows where all the cycle routes are.

Pre-prepared LEJOG routes

Yeah yeah so all the above stuff is great, but wouldn't it be ace if someone could do the hard work for you and give you some ready-made LEJOG or JoGLE route files? Yeah? Well, it's your lucky day! 😉

Everyone's routes will be different as we all have different goals and priorities, however ready-made route files can help to get you started. You'll still need to do some work though, especially as you'll need to deviate slightly to get to wherever your accommodation is.

    LEJOG Route map for Cornwall, Devon, and Somerset
  • First up are the route files I made & used. The majority of my riding was on quiet roads and separate cycle paths, although there were necessarily a few main roads along the way too (nothing that I found uncomfortably busy). I did a thorough review of this route in 2024 too, updating it to take advantage of newly built roads and cycle paths, as well as to incorporate any feedback and other ideas received. Overall I think this LEJOG route is as good as any you'll find anywhere else!
  • Visit our dedicated page to download a zip file of these ready-made LEJOG routes (in GPX format and ready for use).

Other options:

  • Cicerone have a couple of books out on the Land's End to John o'Groats ride. Buy it from Amazon here*.
  • Another popular option is the book by Royston Wood. Royston has ridden LEJOG (and JOGLE) a few times now, and his experiences have prompted him to find a route along quiet roads and paths. This can be bought from Amazon here*.

Join the discussion!

How did you go about planning your route? Have you got any tips to pass on to others? Let us know here!