London by Bike

London by Bike

Monday, 13 May 2024
See the City on Two Wheels! Enjoy these easy and scenic cycle routes around Bloomsbury and London.

Welcome to London, a bike-friendly city all year round for locals and tourists. Cycling is a great way to see landmarks and whether you’re testing your endurance, or taking a more leisurely afternoon cycle, then this helpful guide is the place to start.
Read on to see a cycle route around Bloomsbury and explore our local neighbourhood. Or choose a longer sightseeing cycle route, beginning in Hyde Park and finishing in Westminster - ideal for adventurous groups and families. Don’t forget to visit our recommended foodie pitstops along the way! 

a bicycle on a street in summer
Lambs Conduit Street in Bloomsbury, the London Borough of Camden
The best cycle route in Bloomsbury

Our neighbourhood of Bloomsbury, in the city centre, close to Euston, King’s Cross and Holborn, has many parks and gardens as well as designated cycle lanes that make pedalling around easy. Enjoy the leisurely pace of this ride and see how many of Bloomsbury’s blue plaques you can count whist riding around!

Distance: approximately 5 kilometres – suitable for all ages and most fitness levels. 

A good set off time: in the early morning or mid-afternoon to avoid rush hour traffic.

This route combines C52 and C41 of the Central London Cycleways:   

Start at Tavistock Square: Begin your ride at Tavistock Square, a peaceful public garden near Tavistock Hotel and UCL. 

Ride along Tavistock Place: Head eastward along Tavistock Place, passing houses which inspired much of Charles Dickens’s novels. 

Turn onto Marchmont Street: Turn left onto Marchmont Street filled with independent cafes, bookshops, and boutiques. Then cycle northward, towards Brunswick Square.

Explore Brunswick Square: Turn right onto Brunswick Square, a beautiful garden in the centre of the city. 

Continue onto Guilford Street: Leave Brunswick Square onto Guilford Street and continue northward. 

Visit Coram's Fields: Turn left onto Great Ormond Street and then right onto Coram Street to reach Coram's Fields. These fields are a children’s play area, the perfect pitstop for families.

Lamb’s Conduit Street: Head up to Lamb’s Conduit Street which is picturesque any time of year; dotted with authentic London boutiques and cafes. 

Foodie Pitstop! Honey & Co on Lamb’s Conduit Street is a real local gem. Try their ‘Bloomsbury Bun’ filled with orange blossom and almond in a brioche, this sweet treat is just the energy boost you need! 

Ride through Bloomsbury Square: Reach the end of Lamb’s Conduit Street, head southward on Guilford Street and turn left onto Bloomsbury Street to reach Bloomsbury Square. Cycle around the square and admire the historic buildings.

Pedal past the British Museum: Exit Bloomsbury Square onto Great Russell Street and whizz past the gates of the British Museum, one of London's most famous and visited attractions.

Ride through Bedford Square: After seeing the museum, head southward on Bloomsbury Street and turn left onto Bedford Square. Cycle around this picturesque square, known for its elegant Georgian townhouses. 

Finish at Russell Square: For the last leg, cycle up Southampton Row, a busier part of the route, so look out for pedestrians. You’re nearly at the finish line though! Complete your ride in Russell Square and relax on a bench or grass.

Foodie Pitstop! Head to the nearby London Pub for a well-deserved drink and hearty plate of fish and chips!  Their outdoor courtyard is the perfect place for cooling off on summer days.

a park with people walking, trees overhanging a lake and the London Eye in the distance
St James’s Park in London, a flat and scenic space to cycle.

The best sightseeing cycle route in London 

If you are ready to take on more of a challenge, this route includes the main points of interest and landmarks in London. Don’t forget to bring your camera because there are plenty of photo-taking opportunities!

Distance: approximately 10-15 kilometres (6-9 miles). 

A good set off time: early in the morning to avoid the crowds.

Start at Hyde Park: Begin your cycling journey at Hyde Park, one of London's largest and most famous parks. You can rent bikes from one of the Santander Cycles docking stations nearby. 

Cycle to Buckingham Palace: Head southeast through Hyde Park and emerge near Buckingham Palace, the official residence of the British monarch. Stop to watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony which happens on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays typically at 11am. 

Ride through St. James's Park: Cycle through St. James's Park, a beautiful royal park next to Buckingham Palace. Soak up the serene views of the lake and gardens. Did you know St James’s Park has 70,000 daffodils? If you are cycling through London in spring, it’s a cheerful sight! 

Pass by Downing Street: Exit St. James's Park and cycle past Downing Street, the official residence of the Prime Minister. Whilst we don’t recommend knocking on the door of Number 10 Downing Street, it’s worth a pitstop to take photos of this iconic building. 

Pedal past the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben: Cycle along Whitehall and Parliament Street to reach the Houses of Parliament and the iconic clock tower, Big Ben. Did you know it was built in 1859? To this day, it still chimes to tell Londoners the correct time for over 164 years. Then dismount to admire the stunning Gothic architecture of the Houses of Parliament overlooking the river Thames. 

Cross Westminster Bridge: Ride across Westminster Bridge, which offers panoramic views of the river, the London Eye, and the South Bank skyline. We consider this one of the best moments of the ride! 

Explore the South Bank: Cycle along the South Bank of the Thames, passing by iconic attractions such as the London Eye, the Tate Modern, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, and the Millennium Bridge. 

Foodie Pitstop! At this point you may wish to stop by the river, rehydrate and grab a snack from any of the South Bank food market stalls.  Locals also like to grab a bite to eat here and hang out!

Continue to Tower Bridge: Pedal eastward along the South Bank until you reach Tower Bridge, one of London's most famous landmarks. Stop to take photos of this iconic bridge on the river Thames. 

Visit the Tower of London: Cycle to the Tower of London, a historic castle and former royal palace situated on the north bank of the Thames. Explore the fortress and learn about its fascinating history, including its use as a royal residence, prison, and treasury. Or, if you are short on time, simply take a photo of the outside and carry on pedalling! 

Return via the Embankment: Head westward along the Embankment, enjoying views of the river and the city skyline. Look for landmarks such as the Shard, which is western Europe’s tallest building. 

Finish at Westminster: Ride back to Westminster, where you can return your rental bike and take in the sights of Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral, the statues and ancient monuments surrounding Parliament Square. 

Are you looking to connect with fellow cyclists? Events such as Ride London are a great way to discover new cycle routes with others. Considering a bigger challenge? Try the London to Brighton bike ride, a 54-mile route – which usually takes place in the summer to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation. 

Why London by Bike?  

Exploring London by bike is a fun way to see the sights, enjoy cardio exercise and help the environment. Did you know that in 2023, daily cycle journeys in London were estimated at 1.26 million per day? Which shows how bike friendly truly London is!

santander_bikes
 
Santander bikes are available to hire.
Planning your cycling adventure  

We recommend renting a bike during your stay in London. If you are staying with the Imperial London Family of Hotels, then bike rental is easily accessible on our doorstep: with Coram Street and Bedford Way docking stations close by. At these docking stations you can hire a bike using your smartphone or a contactless card.  

Santander has over 700 docking stations across London, and their bright red colours make it easy to spot wherever you are. There are also Lime bikes and HumanForest bike rental brands that offer a similar hire service, but Santander bikes are better value for money.

Or perhaps you are bringing your personal bike to London? Easily store it in our underground carparks in Bloomsbury during your hotel stay.

For those with a competitive streak, smartphone apps such as Strava are a great tool to track your distance and pace. It also allows cyclists to connect with friends. Other apps, including Map My Ride or Citymapper have the option to share your route with others so they can enjoy the same journey.

What to pack when on a London Bike Ride

A small backpack when cycling in the city is essential. Fill it with a water bottle, snacks such as fruit and energy bars, plus any guidebooks or maps. If you have a phone battery pack, best to have it in your bag, plus some money for foodie pit stops and sunglasses if the weather is warm. For cooler days, be sure to pack extra layers and throw on a scarf to keep the wind off your face.

What to remember whilst cycling around London

Cycle on the left side of the road, the same as vehicles – which is different to other European cities! Remember to stop at red lights and avoid cycling on the pavements. For further information about cycling around London please visit the TFL website
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