Cycling Routes In London – The Best Scenic Rides

Cycling Routes In London

‘I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike…’ is generally the way most of my weekends start when I’m back in London. If the weather is pleasant (not always the case in the UK), there is better way to explore than on two wheels on some of the best cycling routes in London.

Based on my last few months exploring, these are the ‘best London bike rides’ I would consider as scenic with little or no road cycling and easy to do (I’m not a hardcore cyclist – no lycra for me!) Given some of the relatively short distances, these are not aimed at professional cyclists (more so weekend cyclists or families) and are also routes which you may want to combine with other adventures. These also aren’t detailed itineraries and are more ideas and suggestions for your own cycling routes in London… which you can then possibly end with a cold pint with nice views, also included below (the best bit of my research!)

Cycling routes in London:

Cycling routes in London - the best scenic rides

Hammersmith or Chiswick to Richmond via Strand on the Green

Back when I used to live in West London, this used to be one of my regular weekend cycle routes, as it is so scenic and also quite a level track (no need to use all those bike gears!) – depending on how much you want to cycle, you can either start in the busy Hammersmith area (just head straight to the Thames Path from Hammersmith Tube station) or if you fancy something a little more sedate, start in leafy Chiswick. The route stays along the Thames river all the way – if you want to make a day of it, this route also runs parallel to Kew Gardens (admission fees apply) or you can grab lunch at one of the lovely pubs overlooking Kew Green.

As well as cycling in Chiswick, the route takes you through the Strand on the Green, one of my favourite riverside areas in London and possibly West London’s best kept tourist secret – there are several riverside pubs here directly on the Thames (no road blocking the way) and it is so picturesque around here – you may also recognise it as a key filming location for The Beatles movie A Hard Day’s Night. The cycle route finishes at Richmond Bridge – if you still fancy more exercise, you can hire a boat or punt here, or carry on cycling along the Thames all the way to Twickenham.

Start and end transport

Start at Hammersmith Underground or Chiswick train station, and finish at Richmond underground and train station.

Best pub to end your journey in

The White Cross – smack bang on the Thames with incredible views and a nice beer garden.

Victoria Park

An obvious choice but still a goody – arguably one of London’s most characterful public parks (and definitely one of the most visited), Victoria Park has heaps of open space and cycle paths / roadways all around (you can easily do cycle circuit training if that is your preference). As well as the boating lake and two cute cafes, Victoria Park is also particularly proud of its pergola, moved here from Hyde Park after the Chinese Exhibition in 1842.

If you visit on a Sunday, your cycle will coincide with the Victoria Park Farmer’s Market, selling the very best seasonal fruit and veg, cakes, baked goods galore and a wide selection of street food vendors. At the end, you can also easily explore and cycle into Victoria Park Village, with its range of arts and crafts stores, gastro pubs and restaurants.

Start and end transport

Start and end at either Mile End or Bethnal Green underground stations, or Cambridge Heath overground station.

Best pub to end your journey in

A tough call between the Royal Inn on the Park (as it overlooks directly onto Victoria Park), or The Empress gastropub just a little up the road.

Hackney Marshes to Hackney Wick

Although Hackney Marshes may not be on your hit-list as it is more synonymous with sports and recreation, the cycling path and walkway is a windy and wonderful waterside trail that follows the River Lea and is brimming with nature and conservation areas. Follow the trail to North Marsh and the Middlesex Filter Beds Nature Reserve (a relic from the water treatment days).

Once you hit the River Lee Navigation, bear left and cycle along the canal towpath past all the beautiful barges until you hit Hackney Wick-ed. If you want to extend your cycling route, you could also head towards Walthamstow Wetlands – Europe’s largest urban wetlands (free entry and cycle friendly on most trails in there) and then loop back to the Wick.

Start and end transport

Start at Leyton underground station or Lea Bridge railway station, and end at Hackney Wick overground Station.

Best pub to end your journey in

Crate Brewery for the outside beer garden overlooking the canal, or Howling Hops, for its incredible selection of beers (and the UK’s first tank bar).

Westminster Bridge to Greenwich

A cycle through the heart of the city, along the banks of the Thames, taking in numerous historical sights including Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, the reconstructed Globe Theatre and a mysterious bridge that was never completed.

This is a very flat cycle ride – around 8 miles long that starts at Westminster Bridge, overlooking the Houses of Parliament and finishes in Greenwich at the Cutty Sark (with minimal traffic as you are essentially using shared pathways pretty much all the way). You simply follow the Thames Path all the way, with an option to either stay on the South Bank or the way, or cross over to the other bank at Tower Bridge and go via Wapping and Docklands (this is our preferred route as it is quite easy to go astray in the Rotherhithe and Deptford).

If you’d prefer to walk it instead, we have a more detailed Southbank to Southwark walking itinerary with 25 key stops.

Start and end transport

Begin at Westminster or Waterloo stations, finish at Cutty Sark DLR station.

Best pub to end your journey in

Either The Gypsy Moth pub overlooking the Cutty Sark or itself or at the Trafalgar Tavern just down the road, with views overlooking the Thames – both have ample outdoor space for bicycles.

Things to do in the Square Mile London
Tower of London

Tower Bridge

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Cutty Sark

Parkland Walk – from Muswell Hill to Finsbury Park

Despite its name, this woodland track is also popular with cyclists – a former railway line that used to run between Alexandra Palace and Finsbury Park, this 3 mile pathway is totally free of traffic and also has lots of street art (well, cool graffiti). Given it is quite a short trail, you may want to combine this with some street cycling or a side-trip to Crouch End, a cute and creative London suburb with loads of good bars and restaurants. If you still have energy at the end, Finsbury Park itself is rather pleasant to cycle around, with its boating lake and numerous tracks and roadways.

Start and end transport

Start at Highgate underground Station, and finish at Finsbury Park tube and train station or Manor House underground station.

Best pub to end your journey in

The Faltering Fullback – literally a 30 second cycle from the end of the Parkland Walk with an incredible beer garden and some of the most tasty Thai food in whole of London.



This article was originally published on CKTravels.