London is such a glorious place during the Autumn months and there is so much natural beauty to enjoy. So, between stints in restaurants near Paddington, find some time to enjoy these beautiful bike rides from London. Don’t worry – packing a bike is not a requirement!
Richmond Park, originally a 17th-century hunting ground, is the biggest of all London’s royal parks, rich in national and international importance for wildlife conservation but also just an absolutely remarkable place to experience England’s outdoor scene. During Autumn, the changing leaves are something quite special to behold, not to mention the fact that from the top of the hill, you get a view of London’s city skyline. There are, however, bike-riding restrictions. Luckily, the Tasmin Trail is a tree-lined route that circumnavigates Richmond Park in its entirety. Park Cycle Richmond Park is where you need to head if you want to hire a bike. They are professional, reliable and have a good variety of bikes for different riding experience levels. Make sure you pay attention when you pass by Isabella Plantation, as the trees you see are explosive Autumnal pictures of colour and life.
The Parkland Walk spans from Finsbury Park to Highgate Wood or Highgate Cemetery, a distance of about four kilometres.
The route is along an old railway track that used to run from Finsbury Park to Alexander Palace, but it is now overgrown: a green pathway that feels far removed from city life and only reminiscent of railways occasionally, when you pass through old platforms or the track is visible underfoot. There aren’t a great number of bike hire shops on either end of this walk, so you are better off keeping your eyes peeled for the Santander or Uber bike docking stations that are scattered around the city.
Pick a spot along Regent’s Canal – anywhere will do, whether it is Little Venice, a short walk north from The Chilworth London Paddington, or in Regent’s Park by London Zoo, or at the docks in Camden Market. Once you reach a point on the path along the water, there are endless possibilities for cycling. If you head east along the canal, you will pass quaint houseboats and gardens along the way, seeing beautiful Autumn trees parting with their colourful leaves into the water. You will eventually reach King’s Cross, where you could stop for a quick shop or grab a bite to eat, and if you continue you will eventually reach the Bethnal Green area and the edge of Victoria Park. Victoria Park, in itself, is a tree-dense tribute to the season. There are several pay-as-you-go bike docking stations along these parts, particularly along the Regent’s Park section.
Regent’s Park Outer Circle
If you are less interested in the canal and more the park in this neck of the woods, then worry not – there is an outer circle trail of around 4km that is just as special and more inclusive of the wonderful trees and natural beauty of Regent’s Park itself. It is an easy loop, but that is to your advantage as you will be so distracted by how beautiful everything looks during the Autumn glean that you will likely crash if it wasn’t so blissfully simple. Be warned: you are going to want to stop to take pictures, so make sure you have your phone or camera with you.
National Cycle Route 20
When starting a bike ride in London, we bet you didn’t know you could cycle all the way to south England’s seaside sweetheart, Brighton. Be warned – it is not for the faint-hearted. It is just under 100km long and will take experienced cyclists about 7-8 hours to complete. However, if you consider yourself an experienced cyclist, then it is one of the most beautiful rides you can take to enjoy the Autumn colours, as it takes you from Wandsworth in South West London, through the quaint, picturesque villages of Sussex and weaving through the South Downs, a national park and demarcated area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB). There are several direct trains from Brighton back to London, so if you wanted to make it a one-way trip, that would work just fine.
The Wandle Trail
Starting in London’s Wandsworth, cycle down The Wandle Trail, along the River Wandle, to Croydon. Or, you could do it the other way around – wherever you would prefer to end up and enjoy a celebratory drink. It may be worth ending in Wandsworth just so that there is a quicker route back to your hotel and you can enjoy your afternoon tea in London Paddington sooner. It is the beginning 20km of National Cycle Route 20, so if you don’t fancy trekking quite as far as Brighton beachfront, then this is a great alternative. The trees along the river are sensational, but the real star of the show is the part that weaves through Morden Hall Park, a National Trust park with picturesque bridges surrounded by reds, oranges and yellows in merry abundance.
National Cycle Route 4
Enjoying the Autumn doesn’t restrict you to parks and outdoor paths – if you want to see some iconic London landmarks, too, that is just as easy to achieve. Starting at Battersea Park, cycle along the River Thames to Greenwich. Along the way, you will spot the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Tate Modern – you know the drill. This is all while enjoying the impressive trees that line the bank. It is a great way to realise how tree-dense the river paths are – it is not always something you notice when you are in sightseeing-mode. Seeing the two worlds collide – that of natural and built-up London – is a really special experience.
There you have it – seven of the most beautiful bike rides from London – all easily accessible from The Chilworth London Paddington – to enjoy this Autumn. Varying in difficulty and length, there is something for everyone to enjoy, from those just looking for a casual mosey to those wanting a full day’s activity. The colours make it all worthwhile.