When planning a trip to London, you can get around the city via the extensive public transport system, including the Underground, bus, boat, or tram. However, when you choose a central London hotel, you also have the exciting option to explore via bicycle. With several rental schemes available and a bicycle-friendly infrastructure, cycling is a safe and fun way to tour the sights.
How to rent a bike with Santander Cycles
With around 800 docking stations across Central London, Santander Cycles (known locally as “Boris” bikes after the former Mayor of London) is the principal rental service in London and the most easily accessible.
You will need a credit or debit card to release the bike: payment is available at the docking station terminal. The system charges £2 for 24-hour access.
If you only make journeys below 30 minutes, you will pay no more on top of that. Journeys exceeding half an hour are billed to your card at £2 per 30 minutes.
Santander Cycles docking stations are located near the major parks, attractions, and Underground stations. You will find your nearest one a stone’s throw from your chosen Central London Hotel.
Cycle safety in London
If you want to cover larger distances, cycle highways cover much of central London. Always cycle in these when they are available. Note that cyclists are required to stop at red lights while pedestrians cross the road. Also, we cycle on the left-hand side of the road in London.
While helmets are not a legal requirement, we would encourage the use of one while cycling on the main roads. Otherwise, you can stick to cycling purely in the parks if you’d rather not pack one for your trip.
Where to cycle in Central London
Here are four scenic cycling routes near your Central Park accommodation.
- Hyde Park
With a designated cycle path, Hyde Park is a wonderful place to explore by rental bike. You can do a lap around the lake and venture to Kensington Palace before docking your
- Thames Path
You can cycle the Thames Path in London, passing by such icons as the Palace of Westminster, the London Eye, and Tower Bridge. Note that this path is shared with pedestrians and gets busy in the afternoon. Consider leaving your Central Park hotel early to avoid getting caught in the crowds.
- Regent’s Canal – west
Rent a bicycle near King’s Cross and you can follow the Regent’s Canal westward toward Notting Hill. The towpath will take you through Camden, past the Regent’s Park, and through the romantic neighbourhood of Little Venice.
- Regent’s Canal – east
Hop onto a bike at Limehouse Basin and follow the Regent’s Canal through Mile End Park, Victoria Park, and London Fields. This is a quieter part of the city with lots of potential to stop for a coffee or bite to eat.
- Alexandra Palace
Parkland Walk – a tree-lined track atop a disused railway – links Finsbury Park with the park and garden complex. It’s quiet, off the beaten track, and rich in natur