London’s Hidden Cycle Routes

London, as with many urban environments, is popular with cyclists. Quite apart from the obvious health benefits, cycling around the city can often be the quickest mode of transport. But having a bike in London is also fantastic for escaping the hustle and bustle of the inner city altogether. Let’s take a look at a couple of the top routes for enthusiastic cyclers…

 

Paddington to Hayes

14 miles

approx.. 3.5 hours

Little Venice is one of London’s most charming areas. Sitting between Camden and Paddington, this part of the Grand Union starts out a little busy to be truly relaxing on a bike. But once you get past the bulk of pedestrians and boat-owners (who have even erected barriers to make cycling even more problematic) you come to a nice, wide towpath. Once past the Harrow Road, things improve immensely, as you pass Kensal Green Cemetery, Wormwood Scrubs Park and eventually Park Royal, where the canal passes under the heavy traffic above (and there’s no greater feeling than getting past the noise of the roads to the serenity of the countryside). On to Neasden, and the towpath becomes a little scruffier again, but as you reach Hayes, it’s so pretty you won’t mind. Best thing about this route is the availability of trains from Hayes to Paddington, so if you’re really tired after the journey out, you can take your bike back by rail.

 

Richmond to Hampton Court

7.5 miles

1 hour

This is a great ride for all the family on a Sunday. There’s something entirely satisfying about cutting your way through London along the Thames, knowing that it was once the first ‘route’ of any kind here. Take a train to Richmond Station (on the North London line) and make your way over to Richmond Bridge. Here, you can join the Thames Path, and set off on a remarkably flat journey. You might be surprised to come across sandy beaches – ideal for a picnic stop. Proceed towards Teddington Lock, and feel the true force of the countryside hit you like a palate cleansing sorbet after the meat of the inner city. If you don’t want to lug a picnic, there are plenty of good pubs along this route (although easy on the pints if you don’t want to end up in the drink!).

 

There are well-worn cycle routes all across London, and leading outside the city. If you’re travelling west, you could do worse than staying in Kensington – Millenium Hotels offer some very fine Kensington hotels.

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