8 London Cycling Routes – With Pubs Along The Way
8 London Cycling Routes – With Pubs Along The Way

8 London Cycling Routes – With Pubs Along The Way


Whether you’re after a leisurely weekend outing or a genuine physical challenge, there are plenty of great cycling routes starting in the capital. Here are eight of the best – all with boozers along the way just in case – plus the apps to download…

Battersea Park To Greenwich

Level: Beginner 

Distance: 17km

Time: 1 hour

Route: For a leisurely ride around the capital, cycle past the Thames on the National Cycle Network’s route 4. The route comprises quiet roads and traffic-free paths once you get past Clapham Junction station and Albert Bridge. From there, continue to Chelsea Bridge and Vauxhall Bridge before passing big landmarks like the Globe, Tower Bridge and Tate Modern. 

Pub: Stop halfway through the route at London Bridge to enjoy pub grub and a pint at the Alexander Hay, downstairs at Hay's Galleria. Order cod and chips, sausages and mash, or the pub’s signature chicken schnitzel.

Visit @TheAlexanderHay

Olympic Park To Epping Forest

Level: Beginner 

Distance: 25km

Time: 2 hours

Route: If you’re out east, this is a great traffic-free route for a leisurely weekend cycle. Start on the Thames towpath, heading north to Hackney Wick. Follow the towpath up the river Lea, past canal locks and reservoirs, to Epping Forest. You can either cycle back the same way for a longer ride or jump on a train from Chingford to Liverpool Street.

Pub: You won’t miss The Lord Napier Star along the route. Head into this cool graffitied pub – it’s got a rooftop terrace which regularly hosts DJs. Thai street food masters KraPow currently have a kitchen residency so expect dishes like deep fried pork belly bites, drunken noodles and chicken burgers with Asian slaw. There’s also a cracking Sunday roast menu with year-round pigs in blankets.  

Visit LordNapierStar.co.uk

The Alexander Hay, London Bridge
The Alexander Hay, London Bridge

The Wandle Trail (East Croydon To Wandsworth)

Level: Beginner 

Distance: 20km 

Time: 1.5 hours

Route: Another largely traffic-free route, this trail follows the river Wandle through Croydon, Sutton and Merton, and joins the Thames at Wandsworth. It passes ten parks, wetlands, and a nature reserve – and it’s a largely flat . Make your way from Earlsfield to Hackbridge on quiet roads, then take National Cycle Route 20. From there it’s a short back-street cycle to the start marked on the Wandle Trail map. Then you’ll pass Merton Abbey Mills, Deen City Farm and National Trust estate Morden Hall Park. 

Pub: Stop at The Earlsfield to catch sport on a big screen or kick back with a couple of pints. Set in a former train ticket office, the pub serves classics like roasted cod with hollandaise, charcoal lamb with harissa, and ribeye with triple-cooked chips. If you’re done riding for the day, there’s also a decent whisky menu. 

Visit TheEarlsfield.com

Battersea Park To Windsor Castle

Level: Intermediate 

Distance: 60km

Time: 3.5 hours

Route: This ride runs along National Cycle Route 4 from Battersea Park to Windsor in Berkshire. It passes minor roads and riverside paths, with a decent number of traffic-free sections to enjoy. Cross Chelsea Bridge before following a trail to Battersea Bridge. Continue to Fulham and Putney, following the Thames again to Barnes Common, Roehampton and then Richmond Park. Get on the trail again at Ham, tracking it to Kingston-upon-Thames. The route continues along the river to Sunbury, Walton-on-Thames, Weybridge, Chertsey, Staines and finally Windsor Great Park.

Pub: Sit outside by the river at The Angler’s pub garden. It’s an old boozer that’s particularly popular with cyclists. There are five cask ales at all times as well as crowd-pleasing dishes like steak and ale pie, cod and chips, and fried chicken burgers.  

Follow @TheAnglersOfWalton

Clapham Common To Brighton

Level: Intermediate 

Distance: 90km 

Time: 5.5 hours

Route: This is a well-trodden route with a big pay off in the way of sea views. Start at Clapham Common and take the A217 through Tooting and Mitcham. The B278 drag will take you from Carshalton to Woodmansterne before you reach the North Downs at Chipstead Valley – one of the most scenic spots. Hit the B2028 at Turners Hill which takes you to Haywards Heath, then pick up the B2112, a steep climb before you swing down towards Brighton’s seafront. 

Pub: The Lockhart Tavern is known for its excellent selection of Sussex craft beer. The menu changes with the seasons but you can expect dishes like proper chicken katsu curry, lamb cutlets with jersey royals and epic Sunday roasts – they start making the gravy four days before for extra meatiness. 

Visit TheLockhartTavern.co.uk

Marylebone To Marlow

Level: Intermediate 

Distance: 52km

Time: 3 hours

Route: Head to Buckingham’s culinary capital via this route which starts at Edgware Road North. Go north to Ladbroke Grove then pass the A40 roundabout to continue along to Ruislip and Stoke Common. From Gypsy Lane, pass the A355 to Harehatch Lane in Slough, continuing to the start of Marlow town centre at Sheepridge Lane. From there, you can continue along the Thames Path in Marlow or explore the town at a leisurely pace. 

Pub: Marlow is Tom Kerridge’s stomping ground, home to three of his award-winning pubs. At the end of the route, make a beeline for The Coach. Sit at the bar, the more casual option, to enjoy well-earned small plates of elevated pub grub. 

Visit TheCoachMarlow.co.uk

The Coach, Marlow
The Coach, Marlow

Greenwich To Cambridge

Level: Advanced

Distance: 130km

Time: 6.5 hours

Route: This long-distance cycle takes you through London, Essex and Cambridgeshire. Using a mixture of National Cycle Network routes and Local Cycle routes, there are plenty of traffic-free sections and country lanes to enjoy. Start at the Cutty Sark on the Thames and follow NCN Route 1 north over the river and through the Isle of Dogs. There are great views along Regent's Canal and the Lee Valley before you get to Walthamstow Reservoirs and Waltham Abbey. Around here you turn east through Harlow, before getting to Takeley’s country lanes. Turn north at Stansted Mountfitchet, then follow the roads past Sawston and Stapleford to get to Cambridge city centre. 

Pub: Refuel in Harlow at the Moorhen, conveniently located just off the A414 on the route. Here you’ll find burgers, posh kebabs and roasts served alongside pints of ale and local cider.  

Visit GreeneKing-Pubs.co.uk

Putney To Oxford

Level: Advanced 

Distance: 159km

Time: 7.5 hours

Route: This is a real challenge and not just because of the distance – there are a few uphill sections. You’ll follow the Thames Valley path along minor roads, country lanes and traffic-free paths. Start on Putney Bridge and head towards Barnes. Continue south to Richmond Park Ham Common before picking up the riverside path at Ham. A long traffic-free section along the river takes you past Kingston-upon-Thames, Hampton Court Park, Sunbury and Staines. Leave the river, passing Runneymede and Windsor Great Park, and continue towards Eton with its scenic paths. The route then heads through Maidenhead, Wargrave, Twyford and finally Oxford.

Pub: The Fox & Hounds in Windsor Great Park has a great pub garden where you can lock up your bike for an hour. Book ahead to secure a spot outside and tuck into camembert with homemade bread, rump steaks with fries, and stone-baked pizzas. 

Visit TheFoxAndHoundsRestaurant.com

Inspired? These Are The Cycling Apps You Might Need…

Bike Map

No matter what kind of bike you’re on or how far you plan to travel, this free app helps you navigate local cycling paths with over 4m routes worldwide – voice navigation included. If you discover a faster way, you can upload and store your route so you don’t forget.

Download here


This app has thousands of routes around the UK to choose from. It tracks you in real time, allowing users to follow friends along various routes. Sync it with your Apple Watch to set yourself goals. 

Download here

Walk, Run, Cycle 

Offering specific apps for different parts of London and the UK, founder Ian Bush wants people to get out and explore. All routes have been created by real people, on the ground, who know their local area inside out – and have been thoroughly vetted by Ian and his team. It might make some cycles a little longer, but sometimes it’s good to take the scenic route.

Download here

Santander Cycles

TfL’s Santander bikes are part of the self-service, bike-sharing scheme for short journeys in inner London. Use this app to send bike release codes straight to your smartphone, so you can skip past the docking station terminal and get on your bike quicker. Simply register with your bank card, and use the app to hire a bike from a nearby docking station. Tap the code into the docking point and you’re good to go.

Download here

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