21 of the best triathlons in the UK

From sprint distance to Ironman we list 21 of the best triathlons in the UK

Llandudno Sea Triathlon is one of our must-do UK triathlons

The UK is blessed with so many incredible events that it’s hard to narrow a list of the ones you simply have to do. 

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But we’ve had a go and, with the help of the triathlon community, have put together a list of some of the best triathlons in the UK.

1. Portishead Triathlon

Location: Portishead, Somerset
Date: August
Distance: 400m | 25km | 5km

“For an extremely well-organised sprint tri event, I’d highly recommend Portishead,” explains Claire Eatock, who raced there in 2016. “The lido is a great venue for the swim.”

“For a step up from a first tri, the cycle route is challenging and hilly, but the view along the coast road is a much-needed boost. The run is beautiful, taking you along the coastal path.”

See also: Bristol Triathlon

2. London Triathlon

Location: Royal Victoria Dock, London
Date: August
Distance: 750m | 20km | 5km

The London Triathlon is one of the biggest city centre triathlons in the world and takes you past iconic landmarks including Tower Bridge, the London Eye and Big Ben.

A third of competitors are new to the sport and, with thousands of competitors and spectators, the atmosphere is simply electric.

See also: Leeds Triathlon and other triathlons near London

3. Craggy Island Triathlon

Location: Argyll & Bute, Scotland
Date: October
Distance: 550m | 14km | 8km

“Craggy Island stands out as an unique event,” says Sean McFarlane, who finished second here in 2016. “The swim starts on the mainland at Oban across to the gorgeous isle of Kerrera, with an off-road bike and run following.

“This format set amidst a spectacular location is hard to beat. Durty Events don’t do dull and the Craggy is the jewel in its crown.”

See also: Aviemore Triathlon

4. Eastbourne Triathlon

Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex
Date: June
Distance: 750m | 18.3km | 5km

“The Eastbourne Downs and seaside provided a dramatic backdrop and a challenging course. The race day was a joy with friendly marshals and staff. And the band at the top of the hill on the run was a lovely touch.” Nick Neter, 109th in 2016.

See also: Brighton & Hove Triathlon

5. Black Country Sprint Triathlon

Location: Wombourne, Staffordshire
Date: September
Distance: 400m | 20km | 5km

“Going strong for 24 years, the twice-yearly BCT Sprint was where top pro Jodie Stimpson started her career. With a pool swim and flat off-road run the race is also perfect for beginners, and Black Country Triathletes offer training days leading up to both events.” Jack Sexty, 220 freelancer and Wombourne local.

See also: Blithfield Triathlon

6. Llandudno Sea Triathlon

Location: Llandudno, Conwy County
Date: September
Distance: 750m | 17.5km | 5km

“Llandudno has a spacious transition and a calm sea swim. The bike has a hill that goes on and on, followed by a fast technical downhill. It has an amazingly well supported run route with a nasty surprise at the halfway mark for the sprint-distance athletes. All in all it’s a cracking race in a beautiful part of the country.” Michael Barnett, 58th in 2016.

See also: The Gower Triathlon

7. The Slateman

Credit: Henry Iddon

Location: Llanberis, Snowdonia
Date: June
Distance: 1.5km | 49.6km | 11.9km

“The Slateman is a personal favourite and showcases all of Snowdonia in all its epic glory. The swim is in the clean 94-foot deep Llyn Padarn, a leg-busting bike follows around the local mountains and the run – through the comically steep Dinorwig Slate Quarries and Coed Dinorwig woodland – is like nothing I’ve experienced.

“All of this with a hugely supportive local population hollering from the first athlete to the last. There’s a fine post-race hog roast as well…” Matt Baird, 220 regular and 861st in 2014

See also: Helvellyn Triathlon

8. Croyde Ocean Triathlon

Location: Croyde, Devon
Date: July
Distance: 1.5km | 40km | 12km

“I’d say the Croyde Ocean Triathlon is the most scenic triathlon in the UK. It features a unique 1.5km ocean swim in a spectacular location with incredible views throughout. And the organisation is fantastic, too. It’s a race that you don’t want to end.” Paul Bisset, 111th in 2016.

See also: Perranporth Tri

9. Windsor Triathlon

Location: Windsor, Berkshire
Date: June
Distance: 1.5km | 40km | 10km

“Held since 1991 and perennially popular ever since, no other UK race oozes tri history like Windsor. How often do you get to swim in the shadow of the Queen’s gaff and bike on open roads around the Great Park? And the run is possibly the greatest 10km in UK triathlon, with that beastly Castle hill to be tackled a trio of times.” Matt Baird, 1,319th in 2011

See also: Blenheim Triathlon

10. Bala Standard

Location: Bala, Gwynedd
Date: September
Distance: 1.5km | 38.6km | 9.4km

“This popular September race attracts beginners and elites alike, with ITU pro David Bishop holding the course record. Starting on the choppy Llyn Tegid, the out-and-back bike and run routes are super fast and flat, perfect for a standard-distance PB.” Jack Sexty, 220 freelancer and 30th in 2013.

See also: The Snowman Triathlon

11. Leeds Triathlon

Credit: Tom Dulat/Getty Images

Location: Leeds, Yorkshire
Date: June
Distance: 1.5km | 36.2km | 10km

It has to be on this list, doesn’t it? The city is synonymous with triathlon thanks to the success of the Brownlee brothers and the annual race, which is also home to a World Triathlon Championship Series event, is an experience that’s hard to match.

The huge support makes the atmosphere amount the best in the country, the route is fun and you can catch the pros doing their thing on the same weekend.

See also: Cardiff Triathlon

12. Castle Howard Triathlon

Location: Castle Howard, Yorkshire
Date: July
Distance: 1.5km | 45km | 10km

“From the Castle Triathlon Series organisers, the Castle Howard event boasts a challenging course on quiet, relatively traffic free roads. It’s tough but very rewarding and suitable for all abilities. It also has a stunning location, exceptional organisation and a festival atmosphere offering something for everybody.” John Hardcastle, 33rd in 2016.

See also: Hever Castle Triathlon

13. Ironman 70.3 Weymouth

Location: Weymouth, Dorset
Date: September
Distance: 1.9km | 90km | 21.1km

“The gorgeous sunny skies certainly helped but the debut Ironman 70.3 Weymouth in September was a cracking day.

“The clear and warm blue waters could’ve been lifted from the Med, the rolling bike leg was like a promotional tour of Dorset’s quaint villages and lush countryside, and the flat half marathon was full of buoyant support and old school seaside charm. Just book your hotel early…” Matt Baird, 220 regular and 1,000th in 2016.

See also: Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire

14. The ROC Scotland

Location: Glencoe, Scotland
Date: October
Distance: 1.5km swim | 38.5km bike | 16.5km run | 42km bike | 1km run

After a challenge? The ROC is certainly that. The swim takes place in Loch Leven before a 38.5km bike route that features a mix of road and trail, and a healthy helping of some of the best mountain scenery these isles have to offer.

An ascent and descent of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain, follows, before a return journey on the bike and a 1km trail fun to finish.

See also: Jurassicman

15. TITAN Brecon

Location: Brecon Beacons, Wales
Date: June
Distance: 1.9km | 96km | 21km

A beautiful lake swim, epic bike route and traffic-free run make this a middle-distance race to consider. The bike route is a particular highlight, taking you from the southern end of the Brecon Beacons to the north. In between lies fantastic roads and even better views.

See also: Ironman 70.3 Swansea

16. The Vitruvian

Location: Rutland Water, Leicestershire
Date: September
Distance: 1.9km | 84km | 21km

“The spectacular setting of Rutland Water in the East Midlands plays hosts to 1,000 racers for this middle-distance classic. The two-lap bike course is rolling with one big climb to contend with, and a flat mixed-terrain run around the lake climaxes with a well-spectated finish line creating a party atmosphere.” Jack Sexty, 88th in 2015.

See also: The Bala Middle

17. The Outlaw

Location: Holme Pierrepont, Nottingham
Date: July
Distance: 3.8km | 180km | 42.2km

“As an event, the Outlaw has everything. It’s brilliantly organised, the atmosphere is incredible, and the encouragement from the marshals and the crowd is heroic. The swim itself is glorious. The roads are flat, smooth and fast. And that painful, bleary-eyed shuffle down the finishing straight will be a memory that stays with you forever.” Matt Kurton, 526th in 2012.

We named The Outlaw the most beginner-friendly long-distance triathlon in Europe.

See also: Ironman UK

18. Celtman 

Location: Wester Ross, Scotland
Date: June
Distance: 3.4km | 202km | 42km

“Set amidst the awe-inspiring and iconic location of Scotland’s west coast and the legendary mountains of Torridon, Celtman is undoubtedly a truly epic long-distance extreme triathlon. It’s both a race and experience like no other, allowing you to push your limits in a landscape that has none.” Sean McFarlane, 2nd in 2012

See also: The Brutal

19. The Lakesman

Location: Keswick, Cumbria
Date: June
Distance: 3.8km | 180km | 42.2km

Everything about The Lakesman is seamless. From a slick and stress-free registration and amazing feed stations throughout the day, to sitting at the end with a real knife and fork on a real plate eating real food.

See also: The Snowman Triathlon

20. The Bastion

Location: Hever Castle, Kent
Date: July
Distance: 3.8km | 180.2km | 42.2km

“My husband and I took on the mighty Bastion at Hever Castle and with only one aim: to beat each other,” says Melissa Rayner, who came second in 2016.

“We had a terrific day of racing. The three disciplines showcase the beautiful surroundings of Hever Castle. The event is professional with a lovely personal touch and superb atmosphere.”

See also: The Midnight Man in August, which we named among Europe’s most beginner-friendly iron-distance triathlons.

21. Ironman Wales

Location: Tenby, Pembrokeshire
Date: September
Distance: 3.8km | 180km | 42.2km

“The choppy swim, the long, long run uphill to T1, the relentless hills on the bike and the marathon which is entirely up or down, make for a physically tough day out. Add the high probability of inclement weather and there isn’t much about Ironman Wales that’s easy,” says pro triathlete Lucy Gossage.

“But I’ve never raced anywhere with as much support as Tenby. Remembering the crowds on Saundersfoot Hill gives me goosebumps even now.” Read some tips for racing Ironman Wales from Lucy Gossage and Scott Neyedli.

We also named Ironman Wales the 9th toughest iron-distance triathlon in the world.

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See also: The Long Course Weekend