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"On Yer Bike!" 6 Beautiful Cycle Routes on London’s doorstep

Updated: Oct 8, 2020

“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike” – John F Kennedy.

Cycling in 2020 has seen a huge increase in demand and popularity with many Brits rediscovering this simple pleasure! With government investment on new high-quality routes, numerous cycling schemes, and the £2b cycling and walking package announced in May, getting on our bike feels easier and safer than ever.

We couldn’t think of a better opportunity to take yourself on an exploring adventure over the weekend to an area of outstanding beauty (on the city’s doorstep!) than on your bike.

Whether you are a beginner and thinking about getting a bike, or you have owned one for a while but limited yourself to cycling in the city, we have rounded 6 beautiful cycling routes ranging from easy to intermediate, featuring scenic river trails and ancient woodlands. Perfect for those looking to go a little further afield or simply improve their fitness game taking in all the health benefits that come with it!


Guildford to the Seaside via the Downs Link

Fancy a trip to the seaside? Then you’ll be glad to know that there is a traffic-free route connecting the North and South Downs Way. The route which used to be an old railway line (now disused) starts in Guildford and takes you all the way to Shoreham by Sea! You’ll see varied landscapes along the way, from woodlands to meadows, as well as attractions such as Bramber Castle ruins as you approach the end of the route. It’s suitable for beginners and families (if you break it down in smaller sections) but be mindful there are a couple of steep segments not suitable for very small children.

Distance: 59km / 37 miles

Difficulty: Easy (Family-friendly - not suitable for very small children)

Refreshments stop: Try Stan’s Bike Shack to refuel with cake, coffee, or an indulgent hot chocolate.

Route details: Route Details


Greenwich to Gravesend on the Thames Path

Perfect for those looking to avoid the crowds and go on a peaceful weekend afternoon ride, mostly traffic-free along the Thames Path! The route uses National Cycle Route 1 starting from Greenwich and follows the river around key landmarks (Cutty Sark, The O2, Thames Barrier, and Canary Wharf in the distance!). This mostly industrial but somehow beautiful landscape continues along to Erith where it takes on the Darent Valley Path for a bit before joining the A2026 and A296 for the last leg to Gravesend. Most suited for those that are also comfortable on roads!

Distance: 40km/ 24 miles

Difficulty: Intermediate

Refreshments stop: Try The Wharf in Dartford situated on the lake for a halfway snack!

Route details: Route Details


Victoria Park to Epping Forest Circular Route

Thinking about a day trip out of the city to an ancient woodland? Then this one's for you! Starting at Victoria Park, this circular route goes past the Olympic Park and continues adjacent to the River Lea Navigation before joining the main road networks to Epping Forest. Once there you have infinite options on trails in its 6000 acres! Immerse yourself in the forest surroundings then return via Chingford and Walthamstow town centres. Not suitable for complete beginners due to the steep terrain and some road action!

Distance: 50km / 31 miles

Difficulty: Intermediate

Refreshments stop: Try the Butler’s Retreat located in the heart of the forest with stunning views of Chingford Plain!

Route details: Route Details


The Wandle Trail

“15 miles of largely uninterrupted heritage, flora and fauna” is what awaits when joining this trail following the river path from Wandsworth Town Station all the way to East Croydon Station. In the past the river played a key part in the textile industry and was heavily polluted; nowadays with its abundance of green spaces and nature reserves is a place of rich heritage. See if you can spot the blue plaques along the way as part of the Wandle Art project, look out for woodpeckers or tufted ducks on Wilderness Island or visit the buzzing Merton Abbey Mills craft market which was a former William Morris factory site!

Distance: 21km / 15 miles

Difficulty: Easy (Family friendly)

Refreshments stop: Try The Ram Inn in Wandsworth or Dog & Bull in Croydon two wonderful pubs with a lot of history!

Route details: Route Details


London to Windsor Loop

Starting in West London’s Chelsea Bridge this beautiful cycling route will take you through Richmond Park and it’s trails, Surrey’s picturesque countryside, and Windsor Great Park in all it’s 4800 acres of glory. The route is on a flat and even path making it perfect for those who want to perfect their cycling skills. The town is just behind Windsor Great Park where you can either hop on the train or if you are feeling up for the challenge cycle back to London! We’d recommend this route one on a sunny weekend, starting early and making it a whole day trip experience allowing you plenty of time to enjoy the wonders of Windsor!

Distance: 64km / 40 miles (one way)

Difficulty: Easy

Refreshments stop: Try Cinnamon Café in Windsor for a delicious cinnamon bun for a well-deserved treat!

Route details: Route Details


Fancy getting a taste of an Olympian worthy circuit? Box hill’s Olympic circuit has gained increased popularity over the years especially after becoming an official Olympic road race route. With easy access from London by train making a start at Burford Bridge Hotel this loop is fantastic for those more confident cyclists to savour the beauty of the Surrey Hills and test their stamina on the famous Zig Zag road!

Distance: 16km / 9.9 miles

Difficulty: Intermediate

Refreshments stop: Try Box Hill Centre Cafe at the top of the Hill

Route details: Route Details


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Blog by Julia P! HWE (Health & Wellness Executive)


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