This summer, the Beeline team has taken on the challenge of completing all of the rides in Phoebe Trimingham's You had me at velo! article for Time Out London (June 20-26 edition). Each Friday we'll be giving you the lowdown on one of the eight great cycle routes she's suggested.
Mark does this week's ride as he takes on this classic London route to the famous Box Hill, passing Richmond Park and Hampton Court Palace along the way. This ride makes a perfect weekend ride and it's definitely worth getting up early to make the most of quieter roads. Mark recommends that you make a day of it, and planning a few stops as there are plenty of places to stop for light bites and fun activities along the way!
Leg I: Wandsworth to Richmond Park
Escape the city
The official Time Out ride starts at Westminster Bridge, but Mark started in Wandsworth. If you are starting the ride at Westminster Bridge, we would recommend hopping on the Cycle Superhighway down Millbank and the Chelsea Embankment, heading south of the river at Albert Bridge, into Wandsworth, and then working your way westwards across Wimbledon Common to Richmond Park. Keep an eye out for The Wombles.
Mark thought that this was the perfect start to the ride. A noticeable change from the hustle and bustle of the city as they approached the suburbs. Arriving early at Richmond Park also gave the opportunity for a quieter moment with the deer.
Leg II: Richmond Park to Hampton Court Palace
Kingston's Ancient Market and beyond
Cycle through the beautiful Richmond Park to Hampton Court Palace. You'll cycle through Kingston, and if you're arriving there after 10am make sure that you pop by the Ancient Market. Open every day, this food market has everything from Nature's Goodness' fresh juice to Swine & Dine's pulled pork baps and Mama Sephlyn's Caribbean cuisine. The perfect place to stop for a bit of mid-ride fuel. Yum!
Mark only stopped at Hampton Court Palace to check out the famous maze, but if you get to Hampton Court Palace in the next couple of weeks make sure that you ask if they have any grapes left from their harvest. Each year they harvest around 272kg of dessert grapes and they sell them for the first three weeks of September. Sounds pretty cool...homemade London wine, anyone?
Also...if you are after a quick activity and don't fancy shelling out to enter the palace and gardens, you too can go into the maze for £4.20. It is believed to have been built by William III back around 1700 and apparently takes the average person 20 minutes to get to the middle. Mark made it in 17 minutes 47 seconds - we're proud of him!
Leg III: Hampton Court to Box Hill
Into the Surrey Hills
Continue onwards through Esher and Oxshott to the Surrey Hills.
If you're riding down the High Street in Esher, make a pit stop at Giro for some food or drinks, or a shop. This super bike friendly cafe and shop can get you sorted with anything from a breakfast burrito to sandwiches and a new pair of very snazzy Handlebar Mustachesocks! Definitely a good excuse for a few minutes' break from the saddle.
Get back on your bike for the last push through the beautiful Surrey Hills and dream of a cup of tea and a slice of cake at the National Trust café top of Box Hill. Take in the view (and have a quick kip) up there and then head back down to the Box Hill and Westhumble station and jump on a train back into town.
Have you decided to take on this ride? Please let us know how you got on by sending your photos and story to firstname.lastname@example.org or @ridebeeline #ridebeeline.
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Follow this classic route to Surrey's Box Hill. Make your way through the parks of South West London, crossing Richmond Park and passing Hampton Court Palace on your way out of the city. Get up early to make the most of quieter roads!