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Best London Cycling Routes – 9 Easy London Bike Rides

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Easy Rider. London cycling can seem daunting at first, given all the traffic and busy roads. However, there are a variety of cycling journeys in London that are scenic and safe. A London bike ride doesn’t necessarily need to be on highways and some of the best London cycling routes involve parks or riverside paths.

From gorgeous greenways to Thameside sculpture trails, these are our best London cycling journeys (all personally tested with cycling route planners, London based).

Cycling routes in London - the best scenic rides

To note given some of the relatively short distances, these London bike routes are not aimed at professional cyclists (we definitely haven’t biked from London to Brighton!) and are more for your general weekend London cyclist. You could also easily do all of these London cycling routes by hiring a Santander Bike / Boris Bike.

All our London cycling route suggestions also end with our recommended pubs so you can possibly end with a cold pint with nice views, also included below (the best bit of my research!)

Cycling route planner London – 9 best Cycling routes

1. Hammersmith to Putney

This terrific Thames path trail (around 2.5 miles) is really flat and has a heady mix of history and culture – a perfect London bike ride!

Starting in Hammersmith, head towards the Thames. If you are feeling thirsty at the start, the Hammersmith bars around Furnival Gardens are fantastic, particularly the Dove, one of London’s oldest boozers. It has an incredible outdoor deck overlooking the Thames and reputedly where ‘Rule Britannia’ was written.

Turn left once you see the newly restored Hammersmith Studios (where they used to film the likes of TFI Fridays, Never Mind the Buzzcocks and also Doctor Who in the 1960s), and cycle along the Thames Path.

Cycling routes in London - the best scenic rides

Apart from the section by Craven Cottage (Fulham FC’s riverside football ground), the entire cycling route is directly parallel to the Thames with lovely views all the way – you’ll also likely see lots of rowers.

Towards the end of your cycle, check out ancient Fulham Palace, the former home of the Bishop’s of London – as well as exploring London’s second oldest botanical garden, the palace is also free to visit and has an incredible recently restored Tudor Courtyard and Great Hall

If you have hired a Santander bike / Boris bike, you’ll find a Santander bicycle docking station just outside Fulham Palace in Bishop’s Park Avenue – just park up your bike as you enter – afternoon teas are also available in the cafe.

Finish this easy West London bike journey by cycling or walking to Putney Bridge.

Cycling routes in London - the best scenic rides
Fulham Palace

Start and end transport for this London Cycling route

Start at Hammersmith Underground station, and finish at Putney Bridge underground station or Putney rail station (or the Putney Bridge ferry service).

Best pub to end your London bike journey in

The Rocket (a Wetherspoons) as it overlooks the river and is on the cycle path so there is good bike parking – or if you aren’t a Wetherspoons fan, try the Eight Bells near Putney Bridge station, a traditional London boozer, or the massive beer garden at The Golden Lion (plus cheap as beer!).

YOU MIGHT LIKE: things to do in Hammersmith guide >

2. Greenway – Beckton to Fish Island via Olympic Park

Covering 4.3 miles in length, this is a totally flat, shared London bike and pathway that is most notable for some of its historic buildings such as the Abbey Mills Pump House (a Victorian gem).

What sets this London cycling route apart is that some of the views towards this city are pretty sweet, including the Docklands area and Canary Wharf (one option is to alight at the midway point and finish in Docklands instead).

Cycling routes in London - the best scenic rides

Randomly, it is also said that part of this London cycling route was Gandhi’s daily walk, when he visited London in the 1930s.

There are a few additional ‘attractions’ along the way like a human sun-dial (you become the pointer) and a colourful converted snail-shell (once a piece of machinery).

Probably the ‘least’ pretty of all the London cycle routes included in this blog, it should also be said that there is some crime on the Greenway. Quite a few cyclists have been robbed along the Greenway in the dark winter months so it is best to only cycle here in the daytime.

Cycling routes in London - the best scenic rides
Memorial Recreation Ground
Cycling routes in London - the best scenic rides
Abbey Mills Pump House

Start and end transport for this Cycling route

Start at Beckton Light Rail station, and finish at Bow Road or Bow Church underground stations.

Best London pub to end your cycling journey in

The Lighthouse Bar & Kitchen (there is not much else in the way of pubs around here) – alternatively, head to one of the brewery bars in nearby Hackney Wick.

3. Tottenham Hale to Limehouse

Canal cycling in London can get busy at the weekends but this 7.5 mile cycling route takes in numerous sights and doesn’t involve any road cycling (so it is perfect for families).

Cycling routes in London - the best scenic rides
Olympic Stadium and Mittel Orbit
Hackney Wick street art

Highlights of this London cycling route include views of the London Stadium and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the ArcelorMittal Orbit from afar.

You can also  watching narrowboat life up close, lots of street art around Hackney Wick and a quick side trip into leafy Victoria Park (if you want to escape the canal for a while).

Cycling routes in London - the best scenic rides
Old Ford Lock
Limehouse Basin

Start and end transport for this London Cycling route

Start this London bike ride at Tottenham Hale underground or train station, and finish at Limehouse DLR station. Note that as at 2023, there are no Santander bike / Boris Bike docking stations in Tottenham Hale.

Best pub to end your London Cycling journey in

The Grapes, a historic boozer owned by none other than Gandalf himself, Sir Ian McKellen, with a small deck looking out directly onto the Thames.

4. The Line London Sculpture Trail – Stratford to North Greenwich

The Line Sculpture Trail is London’s first dedicated public art route (around 7 miles in length), envisaged as an outdoor art exhibition (some installations are permanent, some temporary) and as such, very popular with cyclists, joggers and walkers alike.

Starting in Stratford, this London cycling route and walkway broadly follows the actual Greenwich Meridian ‘line’ finishing in North Greenwich between the Greenwich Peninsula (the 02 centre) and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

As well as excellent exhibits, there is also a lot of history along this London cycling trail including Three Mills Island. There have been mills here since the saxon times (originally nine in number) – and one you can still see today is the world’s biggest tidal mill.

Cycling routes in London - the best scenic rides
Three Mills Island – Grade I listed House Mill
Cycling routes in London - the best scenic rides
Danes Yard Tower

You’ll also find the Grade I listed House Mill – the whole area backs onto a film studios of the same name which hosts productions such as Masterchef (you’ll recognise the canal towpath as where the Masterchef contestants always do their weird introduction walk).

The end to this London bike ride is obviously slightly less historic, as the 02 Arena was primarily constructed as the Millennium Dome area.

Check out our detailed Line Sculpture Trail guide >

Sculpture of shopping trolleys called DNA DL90
Bow Locks

Start and end transport for this Cycling route

Start at Stratford underground/DLR/train station or Pudding Mill Lane DLR station, and finish at North Greenwich underground station.

Best pub to end your London bike journey in

As this finishes at the 02, which is mainly chain bars like All Bar One or hotel bars, your best bet is the quirky Pilot Pub (which is also a Fuller’s Pub, so you know the selection on draft will be excellent).

5. Hammersmith or Chiswick to Richmond via Strand on the Green

Depending on how much you want to cycle, you can either start this easy London cycle path in the busy Hammersmith area (just head straight to the Thames Path from Hammersmith Tube station) or if you fancy something a little more sedate, start in leafy Chiswick.

This River Thames cycling route stays along the water all the way – if you want to make a day of it, this route also runs parallel to Kew Gardens (admission fees apply) or you can grab lunch at one of the lovely pubs overlooking Kew Green.

Cycling routes in London - the best scenic rides

As well as cycling in Chiswick, the route takes you through the Strand on the Green, one of West London’s best kept secrets – there are several riverside pubs here directly on the Thames (no road blocking the way) and it is so picturesque around here.

Whilst cycling along the Thames, you may also recognise it as a key filming location for The Beatles movie A Hard Day’s Night.

This London cycling route finishes at Richmond Bridge. If you still fancy more exercise, you can hire a boat or punt here, or carry on cycling along the Thames all the way to Twickenham.

Cycling routes in London - the best scenic rides
Strand on the Green

Start and end transport for this Cycling route in London

Start at Hammersmith Underground or Chiswick train station, and finish at Richmond underground and train station.

Best pub to end your London Cycling journey in

The White Cross in Richmond – smack bang on the Thames with incredible views, a nice beer garden and plenty of room to park your bike.

6. Victoria Park

An obvious choice but still a goody – arguably one of London’s most characterful public parks (and definitely one of the most visited), Victoria Park has heaps of open space and cycle paths / roadways all around. 

As well as the boating lake and two cute cafes, Victoria Park is also particularly proud of its pergola, moved here from Hyde Park after the Chinese Exhibition in 1842.

If you visit on a Sunday, this East London cycling route will coincide with the Victoria Park Farmer’s Market, selling the very best seasonal fruit and veg, cakes, baked goods galore and a wide selection of street food vendors.

At the end, you can also easily explore and cycle into Victoria Park Village, with its range of arts and crafts stores, gastro pubs and restaurants. Check out our guide to Victoria Park Village and Park >

Start and end transport for this London cycle route

Start and end at either Mile End or Bethnal Green underground stations, or Cambridge Heath overground station.

Best pub to end your London Cycling journey in

A tough call between the Royal Inn on the Park (as it overlooks directly onto Victoria Park), or The Empress gastropub just a little up the road.

7. Hackney Marshes to Hackney Wick

Although Hackney Marshes may not be on your hit-list as it is more synonymous with sports and recreation, the cycling path and walkway is a windy and wonderful waterside trail that follows the River Lea and is brimming with nature and conservation areas.

Follow the trail to North Marsh and the Middlesex Filter Beds Nature Reserve (a relic from the water treatment days).

Hackney Wick

Once you hit the River Lee Navigation, bear left and cycle along the canal towpath past all the beautiful barges until you hit Hackney Wick-ed. If you want to extend your cycling route, you could also head towards Walthamstow Wetlands – Europe’s largest urban wetlands (free entry and cycle friendly on most trails in there) and then loop back to the Wick.

Hackney Wick
Walthamstow Wetlands

Start and end transport for this cycle route

Start at Leyton underground station or Lea Bridge railway station, and end at Hackney Wick Overground Station.

Best pub to end your London bike journey in

Crate Brewery for the outside beer garden overlooking the canal, or Howling Hops, for its incredible selection of beers (and the UK’s first tank bar). Check out our guide to the best bars, pubs and breweries in Hackney Wick >

8. Westminster Bridge to Greenwich

A London cycling route through the heart of the city, along the banks of the Thames, taking in numerous historical sights including Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, the reconstructed Globe Theatre and a mysterious bridge that was never completed.

Very flat, this can easily be done by hiring a Santander bicycle if you don’t fancy bringing your own bike into London.

This is a very flat London cycle ride – around 8 miles long that starts at Westminster Bridge, overlooking the Houses of Parliament and finishes in Greenwich at the Cutty Sark (with minimal traffic as you are essentially using shared pathways pretty much all the way).

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Cutty Sark
Things to do in the Square Mile London
Tower of London

You simply cycle along the Thames Path all the way, with an option to either stay on the South Bank or cycle across Tower Bridge and go via Wapping and Docklands (this is our preferred route as it is quite easy to go astray in Rotherhithe and Deptford).

If you’d prefer to walk it instead, we have a more detailed Southbank to Southwark walking itinerary with 25 key stops.

Tower Bridge

Start and end transport for this cycle route

Begin at Westminster or Waterloo stations, finish at Cutty Sark DLR station.

Best pub to end your London bike journey in

Either The Gypsy Moth pub overlooking the Cutty Sark or itself or at the Trafalgar Tavern just down the road, with views overlooking the Thames – both have ample outdoor space for bicycles. Read our full guide to all the things to do in Greenwich here >

9. Parkland Walk – from Muswell Hill to Finsbury Park

Despite its name, this woodland track is also popular with London cyclists. A former railway line that used to run between Alexandra Palace and Finsbury Park, this 3 mile pathway is totally free of traffic and also has lots of street art (well, cool graffiti).

Given it is quite a short trail, you may want to combine this with some street cycling or a side-trip to Crouch End, a cute and creative London suburb with loads of good bars and restaurants.

If you still have energy at the end, Finsbury Park itself is rather pleasant to cycle around, with its boating lake and numerous tracks and roadways.

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The Faltering Fullback

Start and end transport for this London Cycling route

Start at Highgate underground Station, and finish at Finsbury Park tube and train station or Manor House underground station.

Best pub to end your London Cycling journey in

The Faltering Fullback – literally a 30 second cycle from the end of the Parkland Walk with an incredible beer garden and some of the most tasty Thai food in whole of London.

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