The best routes to take you on an adventure out of London
In-and-around London might not jump out as being an ideal cycling destination, but with a little bit of curiosity, planning and a sense of adventure, there are some awesome road biking and gravel routes you can ride with the city as your starting point.
With lockdown easing and group-riding permitted once more, Brixton CC is getting back to it and we’re excited to plan some rides!
It’s good to be mindful of some of the latest guidelines around day trips on your cycling adventures beyond the city. The usual cafe stops may not be reopening, so also ensure you pack enough grub and water to stay hydrated and full of pedalling beans for your planned distance. Here are some of our favourite rides to get you out of London this Spring:
Regent’s Park to St Albans
Total distance: 38km (via Highgate)
With some tougher climbs as you head North out of London – namely Highgate Hill for any of you already acquainted – this route is one for those up for a challenge! Once you reach Barnet the countryside suddenly opens out, and the climbing is totally worth it as you meander your way round backlanes roads and past a few country piles well worth an oggle! This route eventually joins up with a National Cycle Route, following an old railway track under a canopy of trees and alongside beautiful wildlife habitat. Finally you reach St Albans Cathedral, and the high street offers plenty of places for a bougie coffee or ice cream. An easy route back if you're feeling heavy in the legs: just hop on a train from St Albans direct into St Pancras!
Wandsworth to Box Hill
Total distance: 42km (via Hampton Court Palace)
Two cycling favourites in one here: head out of London through Richmond Park past Hampton Court Palace and Bushy Park and keep pushing until you reach Surrey. Climbing 120m over 1.6 miles the famous Zig Zag road is actually not as fearsome as its reputation: attack it at your own pace, and the steady ascent on delightfully smooth tarmac will deliver you to the top. The view is pretty incredible so it’s totally worth the slog to get there!
Box Hill Olympic Route
Total distance: 16.8km
Fancy the hitting up Box Hill but don’t think you have 42km in your legs to make it all the way from London? No fear, try out the Olympic route, a shorter circuit which is a great alternative and introduces you to that iconic Zig Zag in a more manageable distance. The Surrey Hills are a must ride location if you are in the UK, with epic views and a real sense of achievement when you reach the top! Trains run directly from Clapham Junction to Dorking, just south of this route.
Brixton to Skid Hill Lane and back
Total distance: 70km
Starting out from our backyard in Brixton, this route takes you along some beautiful country lanes and into wine country – on a sunny day really feel like a ride through Provence or the Rhône! At 70km and with 720m of ascent, this is a longer and more challenging route but well worth the effort!
Olympic Park to Epping Forest
Total distance: 25km
More suited to a gravel bike, this route from the East End into Epping Forest is ideal if you're keen to avoid motor traffic. Starting on the towpath and heading north from Hackney Wick, you can ride all the way up the River Lea past canal locks and reservoirs. Be sure to stop and check out Queen Elizabeth I’s hunting lodge ,which is now a museum on the edge of Epping Forest. Once you have reached the forest and refuelled you can either turn around and come back, or if you'd rather call it a day you can jump on a train from Chingford to Liverpool Street.
Greenwich Park to Gravesend
Total distance: 43km
Fancy a traffic free ride from South London? Head to Gravesend from Greenwich Park starting on the National Cycling Route 1. Taking in the Darent Valley Path, this route is best suited to wider tyres. First up, follow the Thames path to Erith for views of Canary Wharf and the Millennium Dome. Opposite Rainham Marshes nature reserve, follow the Darent Valley which snakes along the river joining more off road tracks. To get home you can either reverse the route, or jump on a train from Gravesend to London Charing Cross or London St Pancras International.
Windsor Castle to Putney Bridge
Total Distance: 49km
This intermediate route is great for anyone starting to build up distance, as overall this one is pretty flat! Start at the beautiful Windsor Castle and follows the National Cycling Route 4 to Putney Bridge all along the River Thames. A ‘two castle route’, this ride takes you past Hampton Court Palace and into Kingston-upon-Thames. You then wind your way into London via the famous Richmond park to finish up in Putney. To get to Windsor, there are direct trains from Waterloo – or go for the double!