Follow the River Thames most of the way towards Windsor for a fantastic cycle route out of London, making the most of parks and towpaths. Treat yourself like a king or Queen and enjoy a pub lunch on the way… Train or bike back!
Leg I: Putney Bridge to Hammersmith
Beautiful West London towpath
Start this ride south of the river at Putney Bridge and warm up with a relaxing few miles down the towpath through Barnes. Keep an eye out for rowers putting themselves through tough training (Olympians are known to frequent these waters!), Fulham's Craven Cottage and a couple of great pubs with outdoors seating and eating if you need a bit of pre-ride fuel.
Leg II: Hammersmith to Richmond Park
Into the Wild
On this leg you have two choices: head left down Castleneau from Hammersmith Bridge and towards Richmond Park's Roehampton Gate, or stay on the towpath as it winds through Chiswick down to Richmond. If you choose the park your efforts up the hills will be rewarded with some beautiful views back into central London and you will almost certainly see groups of the deer that make the park famous.
If you choose to stay on the towpath you might encounter a few more people but on the whole enjoy a wonderfully calm route alongside the river all the way. Once you arrive in Richmond you'll also be perfectly placed to take advantage of riverside attractions like the boat rental shop and the ice cream van! We can vouch for the outsized nutritional value of a Mr. Whippy on a long bike ride like this...
Leg III: Richmond to Kingston
Pubs, cows, and Petersham
You may be able to catch sight of the Belted Galloway cattle who spend the summer months grazing on Petersham Meadows. A rare but beautiful vision within the M25! If you have time and want to stop here for lunch there is a beautiful 'teahouse' at Petersham Nurseries which is just a short detour from the route. It's a little pricier than your bog standard lunch but it is delicious and the garden is beautiful.
This leg is generally quite busy with walkers and dogs and other cyclists so be prepared to do a bit of weaving. As you approach Kingston you'll pass a lovely pub with a garden. It's called The Boater's Inn and serves delicious food on a nice little terrace that overlooks the river for an ideal pitstop.
Leg IV: Kingston to Hampton Court Palace
A chance to pick up the pace
For the most direct ride on this leg, head north over Kingston bridge and get on to Barge Walk - it will take you all the way down to Hampton Court Palace.
If you stay south of the river once you arrive in Kingston you'll need to leave the river for a few miles as the riverside has been liberated to restaurants and pedestrians. Perhaps the least exciting part of this cycle but a good chance to pick up the pace if you have been slowed down by busy towpaths.
Leg V: Hampton Court to Staines
Free snacks along the cycle path
If you have the time, stop at Hampton Court Palace for a lesson on Henry VIII. Otherwise, admire what you can of the gardens and park from the cycle path and continue south over Hampton Court Bridge. Turn right off of the bridge and along the river past the houseboats and locks of East Molesey and beyond.
This stretch also has lots of nice benches if you have taken a picnic, or just need a bit of a break. Take an empty plastic pot to fill up with blackberries too. Blackberry bushes line much of this leg and the blackberries are ripe and delicious in late summer!
You should also start to see signs for cycle route 4 which will get you most of the way to Windsor. Make sure that you head back north of the river at Chertsey if you want to stay on cycle route 4.
Leg VI: Staines to Windsor Castle
Press onwards through Laleham to Staines where you cross back over the river to join the path as it continues through Runnymede. There isn't much to see at Runnymede (it really is just a field) but it has significance for history buffs as it’s where King John sealed the Magna Carta a few (hundred) years ago.
From there, jump on the A308 for one last push up the slight incline to Windsor Castle. You may experience a wave of relief as you emerge from Old Windsor and catch sight of the Castle. Another few minutes in the saddle and you’ve made it!
If you arrive in time, you can have a look around the oldest (and largest) occupied castle in the world. Not too shabby! Plenty of places to reward yourself in Windsor or head over the river (once more) to Eton for a pie or a pint and a peek at the town's famous school.
Are you planning on cycling to Windsor Castle? We'd love to hear about it - please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org @ridebeeline #ridebeeline to let us know how you got on.
Thanks to Malgorzata Bujalska on Unsplashfor the beautiful Windsor photo!
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