There’s really no better way of keeping fit and healthy this summer than cycling through some of the best nature spots South West London and Surrey has to offer…
So, get up and get in gear and breathe in the sensational green park air with a friend, family or just go solo through some of South West London and Surrey’s bike friendly parks.
1. Richmond Park
Richmond Park is now open again for cyclists on both weekends as well as weekdays. Explore the elegance of Richmond Park as you cycle around its wide-open spaces and grasslands. The park is full of wildlife including deers, birds and bats. There is now access from multiple gates such as Richmond Gate, Sheen Gate and Roehampton Gate. Many cafés around the site are open again including Roehampton Café, open from 9.00am with outdoor seating and toilets. Other refreshments points are dotted around such as Pen Ponds and Isabella Plantation Café, open from 9.00am-6.00pm. If you are looking for a particular circuit, the Tasmin Trail provides a fantastic 7.53-mile circular route, which is almost totally car-free – perfect for families! ParkCycle Bike hire can be found on site.
2. Bushy Park
If you fancy a slightly shorter route, just continue a little further up the Thames from Richmond Park and you arrive at the beauty of Bushy Park, home to Hampton Court Palace. Cafés open include The Pheasantry Café open from 9.30am with outdoor seating and toilets as well as an additional refreshment point located at the Diana car park. Here you can enjoy a 6-mile perimeter route that takes you right through the lovely scenery of The Royal Paddocks. Bushy Park makes a scenic day out with features such as the Diana Fountain and Chestnut Avenue as well as a Baroque water garden.
3. Stoke Park
In the heart of Guildford lies the treasure of Stoke Park with its family-friendly traffic free cycle paths. Inside the park you can find the ornamental gardens and explore the lovely Jubilee woods, and for the history lovers there is also Purdown Percy, a WWII anti-aircraft battery. The Orangery is open to all for Afternoon Tea bookings from 12.00pm-8.00pm but must be booked in advance, card is the only payment accepted. Public toilets can be found at the playground. This park is ideal for those using bike seats and trailers as there are plenty of opportunities for a peaceful rest and to have a quick explore on foot.
4. Battersea Park
The 200-acre Battersea Park is a wonderful riverside park with a gentle 5-mile traffic free cycle route along the Carriage Drive encircling the park. Bikes are available to rent from London Recumbents, which is located on-site. This is the perfect active spot for little ones as there are numerous gardens and attractions dotted around the park including Battersea Park Zoo recently re-opened with tickets available for purchase online and at the zoo gates. Toilets can be found next to the zoo but also across the park by the fountains. The Pear Tree Café is now back and open to the public from 8.00am- 10.00pm. Other key spots to make sure you check out include the Old English Garden, The Peace Pergola and the boating lake.
5. Box Hill
For the more ambitious cyclists, a Prudential London classic is the Box Hill viewpoint in Mole Valley. Managed by The National Trust, the 1.5-mile zigzag of road has an average gradient of 4.9%, famous for being a key spot where athletes battled it out in the 2012 Olympics. The view at the top is sure to impress with stunning landscapes of Dorking and the surrounding area. Stop at the top and grab a bite to eat as Box Hill café is now open from 9.00am on weekdays and 8.00am on weekends and located at the viewpoint, those with a sweet tooth should also look out for the ice-cream van there! Advanced riders can make Box Hill a full day out with a plethora of routes tending to vary from anything around 33 to 99 miles across the Surrey Hills.
Be sure to check out the Government’s recently introduced ‘Fix Your Bike’ voucher scheme involving half a million £50 vouchers being offered to help with a bicycle repair discount. Many bike repair businesses have registered to take part including Halfords and Evans Cycles. You can apply to register for a voucher online at fixyourbikevoucherscheme.est.org.uk/.
Please also check travel routes and parking if you need to make a journey to get to the different parks. Please remember to always keep yourself and others safe by following government guidance on exercise and social distancing.
These cycle parks should give you plenty of options to get active whilst enjoying the sun. Ensure your children’s summer is full of the sweet memories that are so often created by the beauty of the great outdoors.
Written By: Hannah Ablett | Content Editor