• The Best Cycling Routes in (and around) London: Our 2018 List

    Road, trail, and everything in between.

  • A better way to explore the capital 🚴

    We created this list to help our fellow Londoners find new and unique ways to enjoy the city and its surroundings.

     

    We wanted to include something for everyone - from noiseless lanes for beginner cyclists, to veteran climbs, and even a few off-road tracks for MTB enthusiasts.

     

    For each route, we kept it short, sweet and packed with relevant info.

     

    Here’s what the list includes:

    • 30+ new and popular bike routes in and around London (with more coming soon) ✔️
    • Cycling paths of all lengths & difficulty levels ✔️
    • To-the-point summaries, with must-see landmarks, pub suggestions and more ✔️
    • Google Maps for each route ✔️
    • Downloadable as an Ebook ✔️

    In other words, whether you want to discover London's historic towpaths, bike through tree-lined royal parks, or escape to the open countryside for a day (or three) - our list of cycle routes should have you covered.

    Enjoy!

    P.S. If you'd like to have all the routes at hand, leave us your email and we'll send you the entire list as an Ebook. We'll also send you all the routes we add to the list in the future.

    Short Bike Rides

    (5km - 50km)

    A little something everyone can enjoy...

    Distance: 6Km

    Type: Trail

    Difficulty: Easy

    Duration: ~30 minutes

    London’s very own ‘countryside’ trail

    The capitol’s longest local nature reserve, ‘Parkland Walk’ traces the historic railway bed between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace. With its sumptuous wildlife and some magnificent views of North London, the tree-lined trail is perfect for anyone who’d like to step away from the city madness - without leaving the city. Off-road tires recommended, but not essential.

    The capitol’s longest local nature reserve, ‘Parkland Walk’ traces the historic railway bed between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace. With its sumptuous wildlife and some magnificent views of North London, the tree-lined trail is perfect for anyone who’d like to step away from the city madness - without leaving the city. Off-road tires recommended, but not essential.

    Distance: 21Km

    Type: Road & Trail

    Difficulty: Easy

    Duration: 1~2 hours

    History on wheels

    Add a nice touch of history to your city ride, as you traverse both the oldest canal (Limehouse Cut) and the oldest public park (Victoria) in London. Conveniently enough, both also double as a hotbed for all sorts of wildlife; with a bit of luck, you could come across anything from swans, ducks and cormorans to noisy moorhens and rummaging deer. It’s not exactly safari, but beats most London journeys by a mile!

    Distance: 22Km

    Type: Road & Trail

    Difficulty: Easy

    Duration: 1~2 hours

    Calling all nature (and beer) enthusiasts

    Exploring the scenic gems of Putney Heath, Wimbledon Common and Richmond park, this gratifying nature trail accommodates cyclists of all skill levels. From Putney’s abundant woodlands to rolling dirt trails and resident deer of Richmond Park, and several solid pubs in between, there’s something for everyone!

    Distance: 22Km

    Type: Road & Trail

    Difficulty: Easy

    Duration: 1~2 hours

    Open spaces and quiet places

    Follow the popular ‘Waterlink Way’ (part of the National Cycle Network) from Cator Park to Greenwich, through a medley of noiseless lanes and traffic-free paths along the River Ravensbourne. While at Greenwich, treat yourself to arguably the best views of London from the park’s vantage points, or recharge at the recently refurbished Pavilion Cafe.

    Distance: 25Km

    Type: Road & Trail

    Difficulty: Easy

    Duration: 1~2 hours

    Traffic? What traffic?

    Trade the rush hour gridlock for this colorful river-bound trail, which traces the Thames Path ‘till the very end. Pass the famed Hampton Court Palace (or make a day out of it!), then head on down the quiet streets and beginner-friendly slopes to the historic town of Weybridge in Surrey.

    Distance: 26Km

    Type: Road & Trail

    Difficulty: Easy

    Duration: 1~2 hours

    Athletes, Pilots and Bankers

    Take a leisurely ride along a medley of mix-use roads and tracks. See the Olympic stadium, City airport, Thames riverside, pillars of finance, and even Britain’s only floating towpath (it’s cooler than it sounds, I promise!). Then finish it off with some lovely coffee and cake at the popular View Tube cafe.

    Distance: 30Km

    Type: Road

    Difficulty: Easy

    Duration: 1~2 hours

    Come for the sights, stay for the giant walrus

    Chart the Thames from the Tower Bridge all the way to Greenwich Park, before heading south towards Forest Hill. True to its name, the artsy district features some of London’s steepest roads, making this a fairly challenging ride for its length. If you’ve never been, a visit to the local Horniman Museum is a must, with panoramic views of Central London and the city’s biggest (and only?) taxidermy walrus!

    Distance: 30Km

    Type: Road

    Difficulty: Easy

    Duration: 1~2 hours

    Not out of the woods yet!

    Encircling not one, but two royal parks (plus the charming woodlands of Ham Common), this route is green through and through. Shadow the main pathways of Richmond Park, then follow the (virtually traffic-free) riverside trail to Hampton Court Palace and Bushy Park, renowned for its gardens and roaming deer herds!

    Distance: 49Km

    Type: Road & Trail

    Difficulty: Easy

    Duration: 3~4 hours

    Where the wild things are

    Discover the vibrant wildlife of a 10000-acre long Lee Valley Regional Park, as you navigate the towpaths of River Lee through parks, infinite marshes and nearby islands. Head on back once you’ve hit Hooks Marsh, or stick around and join the local otter discovery trail!

    Distance: 50Km

    Type: Road

    Difficulty: Hard

    Duration: 3~4 hours

    Here’s where things get a bit tricky...

    Fancy a challenge but find yourself short on time? This hilly route to rural Kent and back can be done in a couple of hours and will put your hamstrings to the test, but shies away from the area’s more demanding climbs. And if you do get tired, why not stop by the old home of Charles Darwin in Downe - it’s on the way!

    Have ALL routes on the fly!

    Medium Bike Rides

    (50km - 100km)

    Going further afield, you’ll want gears for some of these.

    Distance: 54Km

    Type: Road

    Difficulty: Moderate

    Duration: 3~4 hours

    Two worlds collide

    Following the NCN4 to Rochester, this route takes you through the best of both British worlds - from the busy urban streets of London to Kent’s open countryside. Needless to say, attractions and sites of interest abound. There are a few rough stretches along the way through, so a capable bike is definitely recommended.

    Distance: 72Km

    Type: Road

    Difficulty: Moderate

    Duration: 4~5 hours

    Therapy on wheels

    For those that need to unplug and get away from it all for a few hours, this route’s got a little bit of everything. Long riverfront stretches? Check. Open parks and places of interest? Check. Quality pubs there and back? Need you ask?

    Distance: 75Km

    Type: Road

    Difficulty: Hard

    Duration: 4~5 hours

    Up and away from the Big Smoke

    No list of colorful cycling getaways can be complete without the undisturbed countryside of Hertfordshire. Do keep in mind however that, while charming, this route is still notably taxing, featuring plenty of rolling hills and shifting gradients. Luckily, there’s no shortage of ‘refueling stations’ in Hertford, such as The White Horse pub or The Old Cross Tavern.

    Distance: 82Km

    Type: Road

    Difficulty: Moderate

    Duration: 5~6 hours

    Royally good fun!

    A perfect opportunity to brush up on your royal parks, this route grazes not one, not two, but five of them (plus Battersea Park) on a scenic stroll through the heart of London. Zip past Kensington Gardens, Hyde, Green and St. James Park before heading downstream to tackle the largest of them all - Richmond Park. Pubs and sights abound!

    Distance: 85Km

    Type: Road

    Difficulty: Moderate

    Duration: 5~6 hours

     

    “♫♫ You really got me goin’... ♫♫’”

    Home of the Kinks and some of the greatest views over Central London, Muswell Hill abounds with green space, and its undulating streets should provide a good workout. Circling ‘round Tooting Commons and Richmond Park before veering north, this one stretches just short of the old Ally Pally. And if all that pedalling gives you the munchies, check out The Famous Royal Oak on the loop’s northern tip!

    Distance: 85Km

    Type: Road

    Difficulty: Hard

    Duration: 5~6 hours

    Kent strikes back

    While few would consider Kent to be the pinnacle of cycling climbs, there’s plenty of opportunities in the Garden of England to test your calves. Deceptively titled, Toy’s Hill is actually the highest point in Kent, and surely one of its toughest ascents. Don’t let the initial gradient fool you either - the further you climb, the steeper it gets!

    Distance: 90Km

    Type: Road

    Difficulty: Moderate

    Duration: 6~7 hours

    Big Ben to Hampton Court, and everything in between

    Mirroring the longest course of the annual Thames Bridges Bike Ride (hosted by the Stroke Association), this route doubles as a bona-fide tour of London’s top attractions. You’ll be crossing exactly 18 of the capital’s most popular bridges, on what’s arguably the flattest route on the list. If you’d like some company, visit stroke.org.uk to sign up for the next ride, and support a great cause!

    Distance: 92Km

    Type: Road

    Difficulty: Hard

    Duration: 6~7 hours

    There will be burning thighs

    A veritable legbuster, this route skips the serene country lanes of Surrey Hills, and jumps straight to pain. Follow the A24 down to Epsom - not the most scenic stretch on the list, but gets the job done - before taking on Box Hill, one of Surrey’s most ‘beloved’ climbs. And though the Zig Zag road is famously unforgiving, don’t discount the ride up to Ranmore Common afterwards either!

    Distance: 93Km

    Type: Road

    Difficulty: Moderate

    Duration: 6~7 hours

    One for the ages

    Jam-packed with ancient relics and medieval memorabilia, this route is a must for any and all history buffs. Starting off at Fulham Palace (former residence of the Bishop of London) you’ll veer through Richmond and Bushy parks, before taking a riverfront jaunt to Windsor Great Park. The first leg culminates at the majestic Windsor Castle, which should be reason enough to give this one a try!

    Distance: 94Km

    Type: Road

    Difficulty: Moderate

    Duration: 6~7 hours

    From Lee to Liquor

    A true British classic, London to Cambridge makes for a fairly flat ride with just enough elevation to keep it interesting. Start in the ever lively Lee Valley, breezing by Knights Pits, Waltham Abbey and the Royal Gunpowder Mills, before moving on through the sleepy Hertfordshire countryside. And if all that cycling gets you yearning for a pint, check out The Maypole or Cambridge Blue near the finish line!

    Long Bike Rides

    (100km - 200km)

    Now we’re cooking!

    Distance: 110Km

    Type: Road

    Difficulty: Moderate

    Duration: 6~7 hours

    From country trails to Kentish ales

    Kicking off at Greenwich park, the route sports a hilly profile, though it pales in comparison with some other entries on the list. Jump on the A20 down to Sidcup, before picking up the National Route 1 all the way to Whitstable, passing by myriad unique landmarks, including Dickens’ country home, Rochester Castle as well as Shepherd Neame, Britain’s oldest brewer. And yes, they do guided tours!

    Distance: 112Km

    Type: Road & Trail

    Difficulty: Moderate

    Duration: 7~8 hours

    Flora, fauna, muddy fenders

    Lee Valley is quickly becoming one of the best cycling areas north of London, and this route’s no exception. Meadows, marshes, and miles of unobstructed canal path give way to quaint rural lanes as you near the northern end of Lee Valley Regional Park, before heading back via Potters Bar and Barnet. Lots of brilliant small pubs en route!

    Distance: 113Km

    Type: Road

    Difficulty: Hard

    Duration: 6~7 hours

    Seabound at last!

    This rocky run to the coast cuts straight through High Weald AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), a self-proclaimed ‘cyclist’s mecca’ dotted by patchy farmsteads, quiet meadows and old routeways. The middle chunk turns rather hilly, but it’s smooth sailing the closer you get to the sea.

    Distance: 114Km

    Type: Road

    Difficulty: Moderate

    Duration: 6~7 hours

    Our Own ‘University Challenge’ spinoff

    Ditching the Thames Valley trail for the most part, this route breezes past Uxbridge and Slough on its way to southern Oxfordshire. And while it may be trailing behind its academic archfoe of Cambridge when it comes to the overall popularity of cycling, Oxford still feels like a better city to explore on two wheels. Also, if you’re not rushing to catch a train back, alehouses aplenty once you reach the uni.

    Distance: 122Km

    Type: Road

    Difficulty: Moderate

    Duration: 6~7 hours

    Parks and rivers and giant cinnamon buns

    A crowd favorite with local cycling clubs, this route is often used for winter training, though it’s a real doozy any time of the year. Breeze through two royal parks, pass the scenic Surrey countryside and through the Windsor Great Park, then find out what all the fuss is about Cinnamon Café’s massive buns before heading back.

    Distance: 135Km

    Type: Road

    Difficulty: Hard

    Duration: 7~8 hours

    ♫♫ The Hills are Aliveee...! ♫♫

    As a cycling excursion, Chiltern Hills still feel cruelly underrated by many Londoners. Just an hour away from the Big Smoke, you’ll find yourself immersed in an entirely new ecosystem, dominated by plush, rolling hills, thriving wildlife and remote hamlets. That said, getting there ain’t exactly easy: clocking in at 135km, the loop is reasonably taxing, and best tackled with flapjacks in every pocket.

    Distance: 138Km

    Type: Road

    Difficulty: Hard

    Duration: 7~8 hours

    No medal, but a lifetime of bragging rights

    Ever wanted to feel like a proper olympian? Here’s your chance! Inspired by the London Olympics road race, this route encircles everyone’s favorite Richmond Park, before pitting you against some of Surrey’s most infamous climbs. Snake up Box Hill’s aptly-named Zig Zag Road, just like countless pros before you. End the course back at the luxurious Rapha Club enjoy a coffee whilst staring at signed pro jerseys.

    Distance: 140Km

    Type: Road

    Difficulty: Hard

    Duration: 7~8 hours

    The only way is Easter

    Based on an annual Easter Classic sportive by the London Phoenix Cycle Club, this route shows you the side of Essex you’re, erm, less likely to see on ITV. Looping the charming villages of High Easter and Good Easter (hence the name) on placid country lanes, the course is relatively flat, and absolutely worth it. For a group experience, check out: http://www.londonphoenix.co.uk/easter-classic/!

    Distance: 161Km

    Type: Road

    Difficulty: Hard

    Duration: 8~9 hours

    For long-distance connoisseurs

    Leaving the Victorian townhomes of Balham behind, journey south via Oxted to the open woodlands of High Weald. Living up to its ‘AONB’ (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) demarcation, the Weald is famed for its varied landscape and sloping hills, which are sure to test your tires as well as your resolve. And if you need to recharge while in Stonegate, check out The Great House - a 16th century inn with a stellar selection of ales and wines!

    Distance: 184Km

    Type: Road

    Difficulty: Very Hard

    Duration: 10~12 hours

    There are routes - and then there are routes

    Not for the faint of heart (or legs), this monster run mimics the annual London to Brighton charity course - but rather than let you relax and catch a train once you hit the coast, also has you cycling back. Tackling the notorious Ditchling Beacon on the way to Brighton isn’t impossible, but it’s far from a beginner climb either. Be warned, the ride back is harder than the ride there! Leave this one to the veterans...or the mad.

    Touring Rides

    (200+ km)

    Essentially training for the impending zombie apocalypse...

    Distance: 283Km

    Type: Road & Trail

    Difficulty: Moderate

    Duration: 2~3 Days

    Bring a tent, a credit card, and some tools

    Ever get that feeling when riding out of London that you just want to keep on going and not turn back? With this multi-day ride along back roads and canals, now you can! The numerous Pubs, B&Bs and camping spots make this a great way to experience the glory of multi-day touring. Be sure to have puncture repair kit and some basic tools with you, there aren't many bike shops along the way.

  • Get ALL The Routes

    Download our 'Routebook' for free, and enjoy all the rides on the fly. If you have any comments, suggestions, or rides you'd like to see included, please let us know.

     

    We'll keep updating the routebook, so make sure to leave your contact info!

     

    See you on the road! 🚴‍♀️🚴‍♂️

    Credit & Thanks

    Thanks to the following sites and their amazing contributors for inspiring us with great bike routes, trails and paths to ride and curate:

    strava.com

    letsride.co.uk

    uclucyclingclub.com

    bikely.com

    plotaroute.com

    london.cyclestreets.net

    justgoride.co.uk

    mapmyride.com

    routeyou.com

    sustrans.org.uk

    Stay tuned...more London cycle routes coming soon!

    If you like what we do, please help us spread the word by sharing this routebook with other London cyclists you know.

    Just click the twitter or facebook share button here and show us some #sociallove ❤️

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