For those who love getting active, walking or cycling holidays are a great way to combine your favourite engaging hobby with a spot of sightseeing somewhere new and exciting.
London is one of the best cities in the world to be a cyclist in, thanks to the vast amount of cycle lanes dotted throughout the city, particularly on some of the key commuter and tourist routes. There’s also a great public bicycle renting scheme via the Lord mayor in collaboration with Santander, meaning even if you don’t have a bike or are travelling light, you can still explore the city on two wheels with ease.
However, if you are a keen cyclist and will be centring your whole trip around your wheels, we’re here to help as we’ve rounded up some of our favourite, most scenic and interesting cycling routes the capital has to offer.
Also, here at The Montcalm, we take health and wellbeing very seriously, so we understand just how important cycling is to some of our guests. That’s why we have plenty of places to store your bikes securely, so you can come back to us, chain up and relax with our world-class Montcalm Hotel Afternoon Tea. Bliss!
Islington Green to London Fields
This course is short yet really great for jetting from place to place in serene surroundings. You can begin with the Santander bicycles by Islington Green and Essex Road (making use of the transport path) until you arrive at the beginning of the cycle course on Northchurch Road. It’s then basically a straight line to London Fields where you can post up in the recreation centre, visit Broadway Market, or carry on somewhat further to Victoria Park where you have miles of vehicle-less cycling readily available.
A huge plus of this course is the fact that while it is all out and about, the roads are generally vacant – a rarity in London! The odd vehicle does mean you do figure out how to manage traffic around you, however generally you can unwind and appreciate the cycle. Additionally, this route means you’ll go through some delightful little streets in this quirky part of town.
Bow and the Olympic Park
Get ready to unleash your inner Olympian with this one! The streets and ways around the Olympic sites are extremely exciting. This is one of the city’s most loved spots to appreciate cycling, and there’s a great deal of room for many cyclists and runners to enjoy it at once. There’s also some really cool stuff to look at alongside this route, from famous Olympic sports to artwork adorning the walls. To arrive from the channel way, cycle towards Hackney Wick/River Lea and there will be intersections onto the Olympic Park. From here you can use the streets and cycle up to the arena, head to the amphibian focus, or locate a pleasant fix of grass to rest up, enjoy a picnic or a book. Though don’t fill up too much, as our menu at Hankies Marble Arch has everything you need to indulge after a long day of exploring!
The best thing about the Olympic park when you’re figuring out how to ride is that there will be some traffic – yet not a ton, so you’ll figure out how to cycle on a typical London street. There are likewise clear cycle paths so there’s a protected separation among you and any traffic and it’s an extremely pleasant (and frequently unexplored) portion of London.
From the Olympic Park, you could head back on the channel bicycle way and head down towards Limehouse, go into Stratford, or park up the bicycle and get a lager at Crate Brewery in Hackney Wick, or join us at the bar at the Aviary London for a drink with a view.
Westminster to Wandsworth – Cycle Superhighway
We couldn’t write a list of top cycling routes in London without a nod to the city’s Superhighways. They take you through some bustling pieces of London however are frequently on protected strips, separate from traffic. They’ll give you a great exploration of the city close by other cyclists.
This is one of the most scenic and tourist-friendly routes around, particularly because Battersea Park en route is an extraordinary spot to stop for a break – it really is very picturesque.
Watch out for the city’s rush hour when taking this route, however, as cycle traffic can get very substantial and Superhighways are still fairly new to the city in terms of accessibility to cyclists. By and large, these expressways are more secure than the open street and are easy to discover.
Angel to Victoria Park – through Regents Canal
For those looking to perfect their city cycling skills, this may not be the best route to start within the capital, as it can get extremely busy via the waterways. This is mainly because these two areas are heavily populated with commuters and London residents.
It’s normally peaceful during the week early in the morning after the suburbanite traffic or mid-evening. The best time to go is early morning on the end of the week (in case you’re up that early). If you plan on riding right along to Victoria Park, go get some relaxed breakfast or an espresso at The Park Café or proceed on riding along the way towards Bow, which is home to a small but quirky local art space as well as a weekend market loved by locals.
Finsbury Park to Alexandra Palace – The Parkland Walk
Now heading to the north of the capital for our last one. The Parkland Walk is a 4.5-mile trail that goes from Finsbury Park to the iconic Alexandra Palace. Its uses an inactive railway line so the path is pleasant and spacious and free from traffic. The approach to the walk within Finsbury park is just on the northern side of the tennis courts. While the path is unbroken by cars – you can always exercise your road skills by riding to Finsbury Park on the bike or joining the trail along the adjacent road.