10 great routes to take

Discover London with a little power on one of these charming cycle paths.

January is here again, which often equates to going to the gym, cutting out alcohol, and generally detoxing. But if you’d rather get in the fresh air than fight over all that gym gear, why not feel the sun on your face (well, hopefully) and the wind in your hair as you leisurely pedal the best trails. London cycle routes? Renting a bike is very easy – here are ten routes to know where to go.

1. Stratford to Waltham Abbey

All the inspiration you need to complete this one comes at the beginning. It starts in the Olympic Park, the scene of some rather historic British cycling victories in 2012. You don’t have to be Chris Hoy to tackle this route, as you have to walk leisurely up the River Lea. Admire the beautiful wetlands of Walthamstow as you travel north to the end point of Waltham Abbey, a quaint market town that’s home to many cute pubs and a rather splendid church.

2. Regent’s Canal

Cycling down the Regent's Canal
Photo: @lalalobelle

Here at Secret London headquarters, we’re pretty familiar with the crowded hellish landscape of Camden Town station. We will therefore warmly approve any cycle route that denies the need to go there. This route follows Regent’s Canal through Kings Cross, through the East End to Canary Wharf, although you can take it the other way to see ZSL London Zoo, Little Venice and Paddington Basin. Quite flirtatious if we say so ourselves.

3. Richmond Park

Cycling in Richmond Park

Wonderfully wild, Richmond Park is unlike any other park in London. A jaunt (or a run) along the Tamsin Trail is the perfect way to experience what Richmond Park has to offer – it circles the park, in 40-60 minutes. Keep your eyes peeled for the herd of wild and free stray deer, and once you’re done, head to a cute spot for a bite to eat. We suggest the Hollyhock Café fairy tale for a big slice of the pie. You deserved it! For a bonus bike path, descend to the riverside for an incredibly scenic ride.

4. From St James Park to Kyoto Garden

St James Park

If you want to live the life of the park, take this bike path. It runs through St James’s Park, Green Park, Hyde Park and ends at the magical Kyoto Garden in Holland Park. Green as you like it, and quite flat too, it’s a gentle jaunt through some of London’s most beautiful places. Take a picnic to eat in Holland Park, or hop back on the bike and head to the cafes and bakeries of Notting Hill for a bite to eat.

5. Regent’s Park in Hampstead Heath

Hampstead heath

From one beautiful London park to another. From Regents Park, you can cycle through Queen Mary’s Rose Garden and continue to Primrose Hill. Avoid the tourists in Camden, then continue to Hampstead Heath, where the views from Parliament Hill are worth all the pedaling. From here you can stroll through the faded splendor of Hampstead’s pergola, bathe in one of Hampstead’s bathing ponds, or have a pint or two at the Spaniards Inn, one of London’s oldest pubs.

6. Croydon in Westerham

Cycling the Kent Downs

One of the southernmost of South Londoners is this one. Especially since it takes you almost to Kent. Okay, stop the screams of “this is not London!”Because it is a bucolic beauty. The charms of Croydon quickly give way to rolling hills and picturesque English countryside, ending at the edge of the magnificent Kent Downs. Of all these cycle paths, this is probably the steepest, but the view and the country air are a great asset.

7. Battersea Park in Greenwich

Greenwich Park

This 10 mile trail will give you the chance to see the who’s who of London landmarks including the Tate Modern, London Eye, Globe and Southbank. From Battersea Park, you’ll cycle along the banks of the River Thames past the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and the Sea Containers. Passing past Borough Market – a great place to refuel with a coffee or a tasty meal – you will then head south-east to the UNESCO-listed Greenwich Park, home to the royal observatory.

8. From Finsbury Park to Alexandra Palace

Alexandra Palace

This charming cycle will allow you to discover one of the most charming and off the beaten track places in London – Haringey’s Parkland Walk. Along the route – which takes you from Finsbury Park to Crouch End and then to Ally Pally – you’ll pass abandoned railway platforms, graffiti walls, and mysterious statues. You’ll also have a good chance of spotting some of London’s resident wildlife, as it is London’s longest nature reserve. After the cycle, head to the top of Alexandra Palace from where you can take in some of London’s most magnificent views.

9. The Wandle Trail

Morden Hall Park

This easy-to-follow cycle path winds its way from Wandsworth to Croydon following the scenic River Wandle. It is a nice bend of about 20 kilometers and begins along the National Rail Cycle Route 20 outside of Wandsworth Town station. As you cycle, you may be lucky enough to spot some of the resident wildlife that resides here, including brown trout, newts, frogs, herons, and brown trout. Top sights along the way include Morden Hall Park, Deen City Farm, and Merton Abbey Mills.

10. Epping Forest

Cycling in Epping Forest

This vast forest located near Chingford and Woodford offers over 8,000 acres of space for biking. An abundance of lakes, rivers, cute little bridges, and plenty of Instagram-worthy places live in this little gem, and there are plenty of historic sites to see while you cycle. A place not to be missed is Amesbury Banks – the remains of an Iron Age fort built around 500 BC.

Also posted on Average.

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