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Published: 28th NOVEMBER 2023

Best routes in London

The National Cycle Network is a great way to explore and discover London. It takes you along the Thames, past tourist attractions, through parks and to less well-known local gems. Slow the pace and get to know this city by walking, wheeling or cycling these routes.

Viewing platform with people on it suspended above river with trees and greenery

A viewing platform along the Wandle Trail

Explore south London: Wandle Trail

Enjoy 8 miles (13km) between Wandsworth and Carshalton on traffic-free paths and quiet streets.

More than 10 parks and green spaces lie on the route.

It’s a great opportunity to see wildlife, discover the industrial past of the river Wandle, and escape the bustle of south-west London.

With many cafes, pubs, restaurants and local attractions such as Merton Abbey Mills, Deen City Farm and Morden Hall Park, there's something for everyone here.

Spot wildlife: Rainham Marshes

Explore 5 miles (8km) on traffic-free paths between Rainham and Purfleet.

This is a great route for bird lovers looking to explore a wild corner of London.

The Rainham Marshes RSPB reserve has two bird hides, several open viewing areas and a great cafe.

People on bikes cycling over bridge in London

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See the sights: Tower Bridge to Greenwich

5 miles (8km) on traffic-free paths and quiet streets.

This section of National Route 4 starts from the iconic Tower Bridge.

It weaves along the Thames past docks, historic pubs and alleys and onto the fantastic Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site.

Go back in time: Hampton Court to Putney

12.5 miles (20km) on traffic-free paths and quiet streets.

You can ride or walk this route in either direction, so why not start in Putney on the Thames path, explore the hunting grounds of Charles I in Richmond Park, and end up at the glorious Hampton Court Palace?

Get lost in the maze, tour the beautiful gardens and relive Tudor England at its best.

ϱ and walking path through a park

Follow south London’s rivers... Waterlink Way

Enjoy 6 miles (10km) between Greenwich and Kent House on traffic-free paths and quiet streets.

This route follows the Pool and Ravensbourne rivers. Beginning in Greenwich, it passes through Lewisham and Catford before arriving at Kent House.

Let these Thames tributaries guide you to some lovely local parks. Keep your eyes open for artworkalong the way.

Take the family out: Ingrebourne Valley

Explore 3 miles (5km) on traffic-free paths between Rainham and Upminster.

This is a short, family-friendly walk or ride in Ingreborne Hill and Hornchurch Country Park.

On this former Spitfire airbase, there are play areas, mountain bike trails, a nature reserve and visitors centre and café.

And if you’re feeling energetic, there are three kilometres of mountain biking trails.

Woman in coat and scarf with earphones on walking across bridge

Meath Bridge across Regent's Canal on the Lea Valley route

Explore the Lea Valley: London Docklands and Lea Valley

21 miles (34km) on traffic-free paths and quiet streets.

From busy Greenwich to the town of Cheshunt in Hertfordshire, this 20-mile route threads through the Lee Valley Regional Park.

Along the way you’ll pass Hackney, Walthamstow and Tottenham Marshes (now drained), and Walthamstow Wetlands Nature Reserve.

Look out for grazing cattle, kestrel and even kingfishers.

Flow with the Thames: Thames Path between Greenwich and Erith

12.5 miles (20km) on traffic-free paths between Greenwich and Erith.

From the Cutty Sark to Erith pier, flow with the tidal Thames towards its estuary. Look out for historic buildings, striking artworks and fascinating engineering.

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Find out more about the National Cycle Network in London