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London Cycle Routes For Sightseers

London is a fantastic city that offers an endless list of things to do, see and experience for visitors and veteran residents alike. Accessing the sites of London has never been easier, and the scenery, attractions and trendy spots are all accessible via bicycle! The city also has the blessing of being on the receiving line of Boris Johnson’s cycling revolution and is set to receive billions in cycling infrastructure on top of its already cyclist-friendly features. 

As an accommodation provider for those visiting London, we are often asked by our guests about the best way to see the city. Any local will tell that the best of London encapsulates everything from the exhilarating skyscrapers and busy streets of the city, the iconic features of the Thames bank, to the cool laid-back canal paths of Hackney.  

So whether you are visiting London for a break, or are a Londoner wishing to get out and about more at the weekends, this guide is for you. Discover or rediscover London by hopping on a bike and checking out our curated list of great London cycle routes.   
 

Cycling in London tips

Regardless of your cycling experience, there are a few golden things to remember before you set out on any of our routes.    

  • Renting a bike in London - The easiest way to rent a bike in London is to hire a Santander bike. These are readily available at over 750 docking stations all over London and can be hired for £2 per 30 minute stint 
  • Safety equipment - Whilst the law does not enforce the use of helmets, they are essential in protecting against fatal head trauma should an accident occur. Mishaps can always happen at the most unexpected of times. We strongly advise you to bring a helmet or rent one from the London Bicycle Tour Company.
  • Consider elevation - London is pretty flat for the most part but some routes cross hilly areas like Alexandra Palace. Aggressive elevation can be challenging depending on your physical condition so make sure to choose a route that is within your capability.    
  • Rules of road - Inner city cycling can be quite intense and any holdups or errors will probably result in beeps from angry motorists! For your safety and that of others, be sure to familiarise yourself with the rules of the road before setting out. Official UK highway code guidance is a good place to start but CyclingUK do a great guide on what/what not to do on the roads 
Map of nearby Santander docking stations

Central London cycle routes

For those that want a bike ride that ticks off all the classic central London must-sees, a central London cycle route is the perfect way to go. 

Thames central cycle 

What better way to tick off some of London’s riverside gems than a relaxing cycle along the river Thames. It’s important to note that you can’t cycle on the Thames riverside path since this is a public walkway. However, the great people at Visit London have provided a detailed cycle route that starts at the Southbank centre, progresses eastwards to Greenwich, crosses the river to Canary Wharf before looping back westwards and crossing over the Thames via tower bridge back to Southbank.

This all-encompassing ride takes you past a long list of hot spots such as Borough market, HMS Belfast, City Hall, The Design Museum, The Maritime Museum, The King Edward VII memorial, Tobacco Dock and The Tower of London. Find out more information and a detailed route map at visit London 

Shoreditch to St Pauls 

Anyone visiting London to see the sights must experience the sheer magnitude of the city district. After all this is home to some of the most powerful and iconic buildings in the world. We recommend starting at Shoreditch high street and then progressing into the city via Bishops gate where you’ll see the famous SushiSamba building, the boutiques of Threadneedle street and the pillared Bank of England headquarters. 

Continuing along Canon St you will then see the iconic St Paul's cathedral to your right before heading down Ludgate Hill. You’ll then find yourself passing Fleet Street which contains a mix of period architecture that reference the street’s past and present association with the UK press. Look out for the Mersey house, The Telegraph building, the Express building and the former Reuter’s headquarters.   

This is a nice flat/downhill city cycle but you will be contending with central London traffic so we recommend only tackling this with some good road cycling experience to boot. Alternatively you could also try and do it on a weekend or public holiday when traffic is less busy. 


 

Santander bikes

Scenic cycle routes London

If you’ve already seen the sites or just fancy a more natural riding experience, there are some beautiful scenic cycle routes in London that will make you forget that you’re in a capital city! Why not pack a picnic lunch and head out to enjoy one of the many scenic bike rides London has to offer.  

Richmond park cycle route 

Richmond park is one of London’s eight royal parks and is the city’s largest sight of scientific interest. This beautiful piece of land is located in the Borough of Richmond upon Thames, which is about an hour’s cycle from Bloomsbury. Once there you can rest up, perhaps have a sandwich and then enjoy the seven-mile circular cycle route around the park. This is a great route with a smooth path that offers plenty of natural scenery for the eye including wild deer, woodland, grass fields and not a car in sight!  

Finsbury Park to Alexandra Palace 

It probably seems far-fetched to suggest that there’s a relaxing scenic cycling route in the middle of north London but it’s true! The Park Walk route is a short slither of a nature reserve that snakes along from Finsbury Park, passing Queen’s Wood, Muswell Hill and ending up in Alexandra Park. The origins of this route stretch back to an old 1860 railway line which has since been abandoned. Again this is a wonderfully serene route where riders can enjoy a nice gravel path and take in the 200 wildflower species and birds. One tip is to be wary that the path is very narrow and that pedestrians have right of way so don’t get too carried away with speeding the route!  
 

Man cycling in park

Quiet cycle routes in London

Your stay in London doesn’t have to be all about busy congested sites. There are a number of quiet cycle routes in London that can lead riders along more urban, less centralised areas.   

Regents park outer circle 

Regents park is the best known of all London’s royal parks and despite its central location, offers spacious paths for a stress-free ride. Spanning an impressive 375 acres, the park has an outer circumference path that makes for a great 3 mile loop. This route is relatively quiet owing to the large space it occupies but you may find the odd gaggle of speeding cyclists who are mesmerized by the route’s flatness. Either way, by sticking to one side and taking your time you will be fine. On the north side of the “outer circle”, the London Zoo Giraffe house sits to the left and you can often see the Giraffes poking their heads out from time to time.

Limehouse to London Fields Park 

Limehouse to London fields park is a quiet canalside route perfect for beginner cyclists or those that just feel like a chilled out low key breeze. The towpath route is not one for speed demons so if blowing off some lightspeed miles is what you’re after, check out a cycle highway route instead. The route starts at Limehouse basin and follows regents canal northwards passing Mile End Park and reaching the base of Victoria park, easily the most pleasant park in East London. At this point you can enjoy the wide flat gravel pathways that orbit the park before completing a loop and turning back round.  

London Thames at sunset

Staying in London with Stay Central

Sightseeing in London by bike is a fantastic way to keep active and access great spots with relative ease. At Stay Central we offer rooms and self-catered apartments at central London locations which act as a perfect base from which to explore London by bike. We also offer great bed and breakfast packages for those who want value and convenience. 

We are also compliant with government guidelines around COVID-19 safety and have introduced frequent and thorough deep cleaning processes throughout all of our accommodation.

If you’d like to find out about our accommodation options, visit Stay Central now.
 

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