Grab your gear, jump on your wheels and discover the city’s hidden gems on one of the many fantastic bike rides in London
London’s Secret Gardens
Start by hiring a bike from the Ladbroke Grove central docking station. Nearby is a very famous little park in London. In the film Notting Hill, Rosmead Gardens is where Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant hop over the fence to walk around. Unfortunately, the garden is very private so you can only catch glimpses from the gate.
From there, the next stop is Holland Park and more specifically a tiny little park in the centre of it called Kyoto Garden. This was created as part of the 1991 London Festival of Japan and provides Japanese-style gardens.
Afterwards, pedal onwards to Hyde Park. From the Serpentine bridge you’ll have incredible views of London. Once you reach Lancaster Gate, take some time to try to spot the Hyde Park Pet Cemetery. Looking through the railings you should be able to spot the tiny Victorian era tomb stones with messages dedicated to beloved pets.
Finally, the route continues down towards Chelsea Physic Gardens. You’ll need to dock your bike on the King’s Road in front of the Royal Avenue House. From there it is a short walk down to the gardens through a very nice part of London.
The Chelsea Physic Gardens are the oldest botanical gardens in the UK. Note that there is an entry fee for the garden and it isn’t always open to the public so it’s worth checking their website before your visit.
As an alternative, very near here is also the Royal Hospital Grounds and the National Army Museum. Both are worth of a visit if you are in the area with some time to spare.
London’s Quirky Sights
Of all the bike rides in London this one is relatively short. Start by hiring a bike from Hop Exchange docking station near London Bridge. Travel a short distance down Southwark Street and turn left on Redcross Way. Here you’ll find the Cross Bones Graveyard. This was a graveyard for prostitutes and paupers refused burial in church grounds on account of being judged as sinners.
The otherwise unnoticeable graveyard is today marked by ribbons and other notes of sympathy that have been placed by locals. The site is said to contain the bodies of over 15,000 people.
Head across the Thames and follow the cycle route straight ahead. The next sight is London’s oldest church. It is the church of St Bartholomew the Great which was originally founded in 1123. It is one of the oldest surviving examples of a timber-frame house front. Near here is also the statue of the Golden Boy.
The statue marks the spot where the Great Fire of London ended back in 1666. It was long beleive that the fire was God’s way of punishing the citizens of London for their gluttony. The golden fat boy is a reminder not to commit this sin again.
The next interesting stop is the Hunterian Museum. This contains curious displays of anatomical specimens.
The tour ends at Neal’s Yard. The nearest docking station is on Drury Lane. Neal’s Yard is a colourful little nest in the heart of London. It is home to a number of quirky shops. Near here there’s also Freud’s bar, serving cocktails to a small crowd underground. There’s also the Monmouth coffee shop which coffee lovers will adore.
Independent Shops & Markets
Start the day by browsing the world-famous Camden Market. The market is open daily but the weekends tend to be the most popular, when more of the stalls are open. There are also plenty of food stalls here.
You can pick up a Cycle Hire bike from Castlehaven Road which is opposite the Hawley Arms pub. Wheel it down to the canal path and once you are clear of the crowds cycle along the canal towards Angel.
This peaceful section of the canal will take you all the way to Angel. It’ll be easy to spot when it’s time to get back on the road as the canal will come to an end at a huge tunnel which passes under Angel.
After a short ride through Angel you’ll reach Camden Passage. This tiny street is filled with small shops and hosts an antique market on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Near here is Bobbins Bicycles which is a shop selling fashionable cycling accessories. It is open from Tuesday to Saturday.
Exmouth Market is the next stop. The area is home to charming little cafes, restaurants and clothes shops. The market is open from Thursday to Saturday.
Finally, hire another bike and head towards Spitalfields Market. There’s plenty to see around this part of London. From quirky gifts to delicious food – it’s a great area to explore on foot. Dock your hire bike at the Norton Folgate docking station or nearby on Appold Street.
Depending on the day you choose to visit there will be different markets open. If you are here on a Sunday then there also the fresh flower market on Columbia Road. There is also Brick Lane market and the Sunday Upmarket which sells clothes and jewellery.
Start the day at Borough Market near London Bridge. You are in London’s oldest fruit and vegetable market and this place is truly a foodie’s dream. Fresh produce flows out of every corner and crevice. Energise yourself for a day of cycling by grabbing a smoothie or one of the famous sandwiches from Hobbs Pie and Mash.
Once you are ready to move on, the ride continues along National Cycle Route 4 towards Waterloo Bridge. As you cross Waterloo Bridge, take in the stunning views over London. On the other end, Covent Garden awaits.
There are plenty of small boutiques to browse here and you can also take a short detour to visit the London Transport Museum which houses the Capital’s rich transport heritage.
After Covent Garden there are some short busy sections as you go past Trafalgar Square but things soon become relaxed and scenic as you turn into St James Park. After pedalling past Buckingham Palace you travel under Wellington Arch and into Hyde Park. The pace here feels nice and sedate and it makes for a fantastic picnic spot if the weather permits.
Finally, after a short ride down Bayswater Road, you’ll reach Portobello Market. This is a large market but you have plenty of time to explore as it stays open as late as 18:30.
The market has a great variety from antiques to foods and crafts. There are also often live acts playing along the street so there’s plenty here to see and experience in this lively part of London.