Thursday, 5 August 2010

Cycle London - Making the most of Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme

ⓒ Transport for London

This is a really wonderful date and whether you're visiting London for the first time or have lived here all your life, it's sure to inspire. What's more there's something about doing it all on a bicycle that really can't be beaten. You get to choose where and when you stop, cover miles in minutes (well, kilometres anyway) and you're somehow separated from the tourists, feeling a bit more like the locals you are. So, tried and tested by Miss Mary herself, here's our guide to cycling the city.

We suggest Hyde Park as a good place to meet, pick up your bike and get used to riding it in the safety of the tree lined paths before you hit the high road. There are multiple cycle hire docks dotted around the Park so it really couldn't be easier. Make sure you bring a map (although you might look a little sleeker with an i phone) as we're only giving you a rough outline of your route here - half the fun of this trip is finding your own way around so we're purposely leaving the finer details to you!

Once equipped with your two wheeled chariot (and of course a helmet - safety first!) head to the south east corner of the park at Hyde Park corner. Your first destination is Westminster Cathedral, so head down Grosvenor Place bearing east around Victoria and onto Victoria Street where the Cathedral can be found. Further down towards the river you'll pass Westminster Abbey and finally Parliament Square with the glories of Big Ben and The Houses of Parliament. To complete the Government theme, pop up Parliament Street and have a nosey at 10 Downing Street, before heading back to the square and then across Westminster Bridge. Even if you've seen it all a thousand times, actually cycling past Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament and then over the water to the London Eye really will make your heart leap with awe and wonder. It's simply stunning.

South of the river there is plenty more to see. As you follow the bend of the river, you'll find The Festival Hall, Tate Modern, Globe Theatre and of course the wonderful Borough Market, a perfect place for a lunch time pit stop.

After lunch, continue on past London Bridge until the glorious Tower Bridge comes into view. If you've never cycled across this incredible piece of architecture before, savour the moment.

Back North of the river and the delights of The Tower of London, Monument, the Bank of England and of course St Paul's Cathedral await. All of them breathtaking, all of them with fabulous stories to tell. We had a quick coffee in one of the cafes in Paternoster Square, sitting in front of the Cathedral and watching the world go by.

From St Paul's, head along to Fleet Street (pop south to The Temple and admire the architectural delights of the home of English Law) and on to The Strand. This you can follow all the way to Trafalgar Square, passing endless fascinating streets and alleys peppered with anything from the grandest investment bank to an old fashioned cobbler.

Onwards and upwards, follow the beautiful Mall from Trafalgar Square all the way to the majestic Buckingham Palace. As you approach on your wheels of steel with the breeze rustling through your hair, take a moment to marvel at the intricate beauty and incredible scale of this wonderful palace. It really is quite an emotional moment!

Finish the tour by heading back up Constitution Hill to Hyde Park where you can drop off your bikes and wearily make your way to The Hilton Park Lane. Here, on the 28th floor, you will find Galvin at Windows, a restaurant, and more importantly a bar, where you can enjoy a well earned drink whilst surveying the city you've just conquered.


  1. What the hell is a kilometre?


  2. I don't know!!! I still work in miles :) It sounds more old fashioned and I like it!

  3. great post....don't forget Richmond Park. You can take your own bikes or hire them in the park. Take along a picnic and a cool bag and you have the perfect date!

  4. We haven't forgotten Richmond Park! Take a look at our Richmond Park date :) Perfect for a weekend in London...

    Miss Mary x