• By Ellen O'Riordan on Mar 17, 2016

Park your Bicycle: The Best London Parks for Cycling

With over 40,000 Londoners saddling up for the commute to work, the capital is most certainly a cycling city.  Santander Cycle docking stations stand like bookends on every street corner, meaning that if you ever find yourself bikeless and desperate for a ride, good old Borris will sort you out with a rental.  Whilst maneuvering past rogue London cabbies and the 205 bus on the Old Street Roundabout sounds like great fun, we’ve compiled a list of some of the less hair raising routes, great for a Sunday afternoon cycle.

The Tourist Trail...

Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens

This is a popular and leisurely route that will be buzzing with activity during the summer.  It’s a great choice if you’re hoping to assimilate some of London’s top attractions into your course.  You’ll meander past Buckingham Palace, The Serpentine Lake, The Round Pond, Princess Diana Memorial Fountain and the Kensington Palace.  Depending on how often you dismount to take photos, the cycle should take you about half an hour.  Be aware that some of the narrower tracks leading up to monuments are bicycle free zones, but the majority of the park is yours to roam through.

Cycle Hire:  You can rent a Santander Cycle from Hyde Park Corner or any of the other entrances and follow the cycle path around the two parks.  

 

The Secluded Cycle…

Epping Forest

Get some distance from busy London by taking the overground from Liverpool Street to Chingford.  The bridleway cycle paths are just half a mile from the station.  Once you reach the forest the route is an easy 8 miles entailing small hills and gentle turns.  With peaceful, leafy trails, chirping birds and rustling foliage, its healing effects will far surpass that of any therapy session.  Finish your journey at the lovely Butlers Retreat Cafe, just a short distance from Chingford Station, where you can replenish on sandwiches, scones and cakes.

Cycle hire: Unfortunately the only place you can rent bikes near the forest is from Go Further Cycling which is a car journey away from any station.  Take the Central line to Epping and catch a taxi.  You can pre-book online or call 01992 815132.

The Rollercoaster Ride...

Hampstead

The hilly Hampstead is a great choice for a cycling yodel, as you switch your gears up and down to meet the challenges of the gradients.  A loop of the Heath will take an average of 2 hours and your breath away, both physically and metaphorically, as you delight in the stunning views whilst aggressively pedaling uphill.  Start at Hampstead Heath Overground and bike uphill until you reach the village, then turn onto the back roads.  Once you’ve reached the peak of the hill, by a small pond, you’ll be able to view the entire city.  After breathing in the panorama you’ll progress to the beautiful Hampstead Pergola, whizzing past stunning flowers and pathways.  Next you’ll yoyo down and back up to join the cycle path and enter Hampstead Heath.  

Cycle Hire: The Giant Store Camden is not too far away.  You can rent a bike and cycle on from there or take the northern line to Hampstead.  
 

The Chameleon…

Richmond Park

The park allows for a variety of routes, to suit everyone from children to avid mountain bikers.  If you take the rim road around the park, your route will be 7 miles and include a mixture of hills, straight flats and corners.  Most cyclists will crank up their mileage by doing between 2 and 4 laps.  The Tamsin Trail is an off-road mountain biking route of 7.35 miles and will take an average cyclist about 50 minutes to complete.  The trail is shared with walkers, but its recent resurfacing has made it easier to cycle on.  Be careful when descending some of the steeper hills as there may be loose stones on the path.  If you’re keen to extend you bike ride, journey on to Wimbledon Common via Robin Hood Gate.  There’ll be a long hill climb up the bridleway to test your pedal power.  If you’re making it a family day out, the 5 mile inner path is the Goldilocks route for children; not too big and not too little.  Starting at Pembroke Lodge (by Richmond Gate) where there are toilets, cafes and a visitors centre, head down the main Tamsin Trail, but when you reach the cross-roads, cycle across the main road.  As you trek on through the park you’ll pass the White Lodge Royal Ballet School and various breeds of deer.  Once you’ve been thoroughly entertained by Bambi’s friends, cross the main road at the next junction and rejoin the Tamsin Trail to find your way back.

Cycle Hire:  Park Cycle is located at the Roehampton Gate car park.

 

Local venues

Jersey Gardens

St Marys Crescent Isleworth Middlesex TW7 4NA

St Mary's Tennis Club

Musgrave Road Isleworth Middlesex TW7 5EB

View more venues