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Little Venice ❘ © Adrian Scottow /Flickr
Little Venice ❘ © Adrian Scottow /Flickr
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The Best Cycling Routes In London

Picture of Paola Moretti
Updated: 12 July 2017
London is certainly not one of the most bike-friendly cities, although it is not impossible to find quiet, greener routes away from the metropolitan traffic. The city’s thick canal networks and widespread parks provide an appealing alternative to the much noisier and smoggy streets. We take a look at the best bike rides in London, for those who can’t do without cycling.

Limehouse Basin to London Fields

This route follows a lesser-used stretch along the Regent’s Canal. Starting from the Limehouse Basin it flanks the waterway all the way to London Fields. The ride allows several stops throughout in adjacent parks, the first being Mile End Park. Newly renovated, it includes a climbing wall, an art pavilion and an ecology pavilion. The next stop is Victoria Park, the oldest city park that definitely does not look its age (nearly 170 years old). The final destination is London Fields. However, if it’s Sunday, it may be worth a further stop at Broadway Market before arrival.

Route to Limehouse Basin to London Fields

Bow to Tottenham

It is possible to choose between two variations of this route, one which follows the River Lea from the beginning, the other which joins it later. Taking Bow Road as the starting point and heading north, you can go right until, after passing through several estates, you reach the River Lea. Following the waterway the route passes near the Olympic Stadium and the warehouses of the Hackney Wick area. If you take a left on Bow Road, you will need to continue until you reach Regent’s Canal. When the latter crosses with Hertford Union Canal, the ride has to be continued along this canal, which leads to Hackney Wick. The walls in this area are covered with graffiti and the water is spotted with several longboats. From this point, cycling further north, the path will be flanked by Mabley Green and Wick Woodland.

Route for Bow to Tottenham

The Parkland Walk | © Matt Brown / Flickr
The Parkland Walk | © Matt Brown / Flickr

Parkland Walk

A branch from the railway has mutated into a greenery path near Finsbury Park. The rail tracks were removed and the vegetation left to grow. Since 1984, the former part of the London and North Eastern Railway’s line from Finsbury Park to Edgware has been known as the Parkland Walk. The trail stretches until Highgate, bridging over Upper Tollington Park and Stapleton Hall Road, before passing under Crouch Hill. Once the trail ends, it may be a good idea to cycle a little further to Highgate Cemetery, which is one of London’s historical cemeteries.

Route for Parkland Walk

Along the Thames Path, Fulham | © Peter Trimming / Geograph
Along the Thames Path, Fulham | © Peter Trimming / Geograph

Battersea to Kew Gardens

For those who wish to cycle along the Thames and enjoy the view of several tourist attractions, this route is a good choice. The ride begins at Westminster Pier, right in front of Big Ben. Heading west and following the river, you will pass the Palace of Westminster and after a while, the Tate Britain. On the other side of the bank you will catch a glimpse of the Battersea Power Station and just behind it, the eponymous park. From Wandsworth Bridge this route follows the Thames Path, where for a certain stretch cyclists have no legal right to ride. There are signs instructing cyclists to dismount, although it’s still worth wandering through this area on foot. Fulham Palace comes right after on the northern embankment and the route ends on Kew Bridge, right before the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Route for Battersea to Kew Gardens

Little Venice ❘ © Adrian Scottow /Flickr
Little Venice ❘ | © Adrian Scottow /Flickr

Hackney Gasworks to Little Venice

This ride heads west, where you will first cross through Dalston and De Beauvoir Town. The City Road Basin is the next spot to be reached – this was once the biggest trading centre along Regent’s Canal. The tour continues towards Camden Town, where the trail might be a bit messier and more crowded, yet still enjoyable. On the way to this destination there is also London Zoo in admirable Regent’s Park; a slightly wilder diversion from the city chaos. To skirt around the park is the fastest way to reach Little Venice. After crossing a couple of streets there will be the Grand Union Canal meeting Regent’s Canal, the point where your journey ends.

Route Hackney Gasworks to Little Venice