Cycling destinations outside of London

If you want to break out of London for the weekend then where can you cycle to?

That was the question posed to me by London Cyclist reader David. Below I post some of the classic destinations along with route suggestions where possible. Feel free to add your comment if there’s a cycling destination you often head towards from London.

London to Brighton

Waiting for customers by zilverbat., on Flickr

This well trodden route is a classic. Made incredibly popular by all the charity rides, it’s a great ride to do on a weekend when the sun is shining. The official Brighton route is easy to find. Here’s one on Everytrail. At around 50 miles in length, it can be done in 3 to 4 hours. The train back in the evening takes less than an hour.

London to Cambridge

cambridge

Another hugely popular destination is Cambridge. Cycle routes are once again easy to find. It’s a fairly decent journey at nearly 70 miles in length.

London to Waltham Abbey

Waltham Abbey

This is a route from the London Cycle Routes eBook. It can be followed along the canal and therefore is largely traffic free. It’s also a nice short ride from London so you can ride there and back in a day.

London to West Wittering

Differently His and Hers

Once again a route from the London Cycle Routes eBook. West Wittering is one of the UK’s finest beach destinations. With gorgeous wide expanses and intricate spots dotting the coast line, there’s a really beautiful variety here to be discovered. The ride is long at over 75 miles in length, so you’ll probably want to spend an evening there before getting the train back the next day.

London to Oxford

Oxford

Oxford has a popular cycling culture, spurred on in part by the many students that inhabit the area. It’s a great place to discover on two wheels. The route is around 70 miles in length and is fairly quiet passing through small towns and villages. The train back takes around 1 hour.

For more coastal destination inspiration I really recommend the Wild Swimming book by Daniel Start.

Any further suggestions? Please leave them in the comments below.

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10 Responses to Cycling destinations outside of London

  1. Dave 02/08/2012 at 12:38 pm #

    Martin, there’s no need to be rude, it’s a legitimate debate.

    I’ve recently ridden to Whitstable, a beautiful seaside town on the Kent coast, along this route: http://www.lfgss.com/thread58461.html – a great ride and a destination that I’d really recommend.

    Cambridge and Brighton too are really great rides – thanks for the route to West Wittering Andreas, I’ll have to try that next. There’s something beautiful about ending a long ride with a dip in the sea, and fish and chips makes the perfect recovery food. I wouldn’t have thought you’d need to stay the night though – this time of year the days are long enough that as long as you leave early in the morning, anybody should be able to manage 75 miles with enough time left to enjoy plenty of the afternoon at your destination.

    The Oxford route looks great as well so I’ll have to give that a try. Anybody else got any routes?

  2. Jano Mendoza 02/08/2012 at 7:57 pm #

    Why not a trip to Latin America too: http://www.mexplora.com/arte-viajar-bicicleta/

  3. Henry Cohen 03/08/2012 at 11:49 am #

    London or Kingston to Windsor is a short (40-45 miles) and pleasant ride with the delights of Windsor at the end of it. The route can be found on cycleroutes.com

  4. Henry Cohen 03/08/2012 at 11:51 am #

    Sorry that’s http://www.cycle-route.com – the curse of the iPhone autocorrect struck again hahaha!!

  5. RobbieC 03/08/2012 at 1:02 pm #

    I would recommend a route from margate to rye along the Kent coast but unless you have a folding bike, you aint going to get the train connection on Southeastern from/to London at each end. This is a shame because it is a great route and has long off road sections and fine views. It is signposted as sustains routes 1/2 and 15.

  6. Tim Beadle 03/08/2012 at 1:05 pm #

    I just recently cycled some of NCN4 in the Vale of Pewsey, despite having lived in the Wiltshire area most of my life. Lovely quiet lanes, beautiful villages and scenery, and you can get to Newbury, Hungerford or Pewsey easily by train.

  7. Matt 03/08/2012 at 8:24 pm #

    One for the more adventurous.. London to Portsmouth (75miles) is a good route for someone taking on a bit more of a challenge. If you’re still feeling energetic once you’re there, jump on a ferry and keep on going to Paris!

    • Dave 04/08/2012 at 1:51 am #

      Do you have a link to a nice route for this? Ferries go from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight too, could make for a great trip!

  8. Wahwahman 04/08/2012 at 6:02 am #

    Or go on the ferry from Portsmouth to St. Malo in Brittany, it’s lovely and so’s most of Brittany by bike.

  9. Quindici 11/08/2012 at 1:12 pm #

    Just like Dave I have recently completed a classic pilgrimage route from London to Canterbury but I did it thru National Route 1. It took us two days to really enjoy the scenery and it was really amazing.

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