If you’ve ever been to London, i’m talking central London, then you’ll probably agree that though there are an abundance of dedicated cycle lanes, the thought of joining the stampede of cars and cycling on the roads is rather an overwhelming and well, a pretty scary thought.
Though London is primarily known for being a very busy city, it does also have some incredibly contrasting landscapes within it, many of which are safe and sheltered from the traffic – perfect for a bike ride.
Thanks to the wonderful English weather – the landscapes are pretty green too!
I’ve just got me a new bike from Liv Cycling and it’s inspired me to get back out and find the adventure on my doorstep in London…
My favourite bikes rides in London start in East London (where I live) and follow Regent’s canal in either a north direction up to Camden Lock or south down through Victoria Park and on to Canary Wharf.
Aside from these, London boasts the likes of Hyde Park, Battersea Park, and Regent’s Park (to name a few) all of which are perfect for an afternoon jaunt on your bike.
I’d highly recommend choosing a park route, simply to take your ride away from the madness and to inject some fresher air into your adventure.
A helmet too where possible.
How about I take you along with me on one of my favourite East London routes?
I love this route because it carves its way through the lesser iconic passages of London yet still displays some of Londons world recognisable buildings from a totally unique perspective.
Here look, I’ve even plotted the route and all the hotspots mentioned in this post on a Google Map for you…
The route starts in Bethnal Green (you can hire a Boris Bike from right outside the underground station) and the first leg is fulled with a coffee from my favourite Australian join as the main road crosses the river – The Hive.
Top London tip: If it’s a Saturday, you must check out Broadway market for a coffee and snack from the market stalls. Sometimes there’s even a canal boat cafe called Boston Belle Cafe that pulls up by the bridge.
The 10 mile route begins…
Just a few minutes into the canal side leg of the journey, you have the option to divert away from the canal and into
It’s a huge park and on a sunny day it’s perfect for bringing a picnic, taking out a pedalo and of course grabbing an ice cream (or cocktail) at The Pavilion.
Once you’ve soaked up this haven (that will have you forget you’re in London), it’s time to get back to the canal and continue south.
As you pass through Mile End you’ll pass a stunning restaurant overlooking the canal that I cannot for the life of me remember the name of, but you won’t miss it. If you skipped your sunny picnic in Victoria park – you must make a stop here for lunch / or a drink!
As you make your way down to Limehouse there’s also an option to venture through Mile End Park.
Limehouse surprises me every time with its similarities to a far away seaside harbour. Here the canal boats dock up and there’s some stunning old apartments overlooking the water with some bridges weaving over the waterways.
Take a loop around the harbour and then continue on to where Regent’s Canal meets the Thames. There’s a stunning pub on the waterfront called The Narrow to grab a drink in (we did) but regardless, lock up your bike and talk a walk along the waterfront.
This is my favourite spot of the bike ride – a totally unique perspective of the city.
It’s here that you are totally consumed by the size of the Thames and you have skyline views of the Shard, the Gherkin and the city.
It’s not often you find yourself in open spaces within London, but here I certainly felt a rush of freedom.
Top London tip: If you fancy extending your adventure you can lock up your bike and hop on a boat ride along the Thames here to Westminster.
Continue to follow the path alongside the Thames to soak up the view for as long as the path takes you before turning off at Millwall outerdock where we discovered Docklands Sailing and Watersports centre.
The last stop of the bike ride before you loop back round for and meet the canal again to head home is Reutas Plaza where you’ll find yourself in the heart of the banking district of London – Canary Wharf.
From the sense of freedom you felt 10 minutes ago looking over the Thames to the towering offices blocks you now have surrounding you – the contrast is real.
As you soak up London’s slice of New York, grab a drink or snack from one of the numerous eateries around and prepare for the canal cruise back. A personal favourite for me are the smoothies at Protein Haus located just outside the underground station.
If you’re looking for something a little more fancy or something unique I can highly recommend dinner at Big Easy or Pizza Pilgrims / Burger and Lobster on West India Quay.
Top London tip:If you hired a Boris Bike and would prefer to get the tube home, you can dock your bike right here and jump on the tube.
Otherwise all you have to do now is enjoy the 5 mile cruise back along the canal to where you started, stopping off at any of the hotspots on the way as and when your tummy rumbles.
Top London tip: Keep your eyes peeled for unique photo spots as the high rise buildings break and allow you to peek a look back over the city. I found this street that perfectly aligned with a view of the Shard!
I hope you enjoy this bike route as much as I do and should you fancy heading north, the route up to Camden Lock is seriously beautiful too…
*This post was written in collaboration with LIV cycling. As always, content shot and opinions are my own.
Have you been on an awesome bike route in London?
Other London post on my blog that may help you plan your next adventure:
As one of the leading backpacker tour operators, taking 18-30somethings to incredible destinations all over the world, I was so happy to finally get my hands on an opportunity to travel with Topdeck and to experience one of their tours first hand.
As I stepped out on the ‘Uluru Discovery’ 5 day, 4 night Topdeck tour – I embarked on my first ever experience of the Australian outback.
I hadn’t prioritised a Red Centre adventure on my previous three trips to Australia because doing so requires an additional 2/3 hour flight from the East Coast and visiting here is also not the cheapest to travel to / through. In fact, the Red Centre is considered one of the most expensive places in Australia because of how remote and popular the location is.
I was also completely clueless prior to this trip as to how stunning the landscapes were out here.
I can confirm the scenes you set your eyes on are unrivaled when you compare them to the rest of Australia, so if you’re looking to add a bit of diversity to your adventures down under – the Red Centre will certainly cater for that.
Only in the Nevada desert (Burning Man) have I ever experienced sunrises and sunsets like quite like these and trust me, I’ve seen a fair few!
Let me tell you a little about the Topdeck ‘Uluru Discovery’ tour…
The Uluru Discovery tour with Topdeck runs for 5 days (4 nights) for which you will fly into, start and finish up in Alice Springs.
Note: I flew to Alice Springs direct from Sydney with Qantas which took 2.5 hours.
Around 10 of the 18 people on our tour had already spent two weeks together exploring the East Coast, so this 5 day trip in the outback concluded their 20 day ‘Beach and Bush’ experience together. If you’re keen to experience the East Coast too, this extended trip may be something to consider.
Note: The Topdeck bus which you can see pictured above seats a maximum of 24 pax. This gives you an idea of the potential group size, though the head count in our group (end of Jan) was 18.
Exploring the outback requires a tolerance to hot desert heat, long monotonous driving and very early starts.
I think the outback is the one location in Australia in which I would personally choose a group tour over a self navigated adventure. The points of interest are pretty specific out here, the inclusion of an air-conditioned bus and a driver means the drives are done for you, snoozes en route to sunrise destinations are totally okay and upon arrival back from the day hikes, the A/C will be running and ready for you.
You simply have to turn up, keep yourself hydrated and enjoy the ride!
What to expect on your Red Centre adventure…
Located in the Outback, the Red Centre is considered the ‘real experience’ of Australia. It’s here that all your wildest spider, insect and desert heat dreams come true.
Lol joking, it’s not THAT bad but you will definitely notice the difference between here in the outback and the likes of Sydney / East Coast.
The biggest difference and most important thing I found to adjust to was the temperature. From the moment I landed in Alice Springs until the moment I left, the daytime temperature averaged a good 42degrees. (I visited 22-27th Jan 2018).
There’s no doubt about it. It’s freaking hot in the Northern Territory and at times there’s no breeze in sight so you seriously need to make sure you drink water continuously, eat well and avoid the midday heat.
Luckily on the Topdeck tour, the bus is stocked with water and all the hikes are planned early in the morning to avoid those unbearable midday conditions.
The sweat is real.
The Uluru Discovery itinerary…
You will meet your Topdeck tour squad and your tour leader for 7am at the Ibis Styles Hotel in Alice Springs. Because of the early start and limited availability of flights into Alice Springs, you will most likely need to book a nights accommodation prior to the trip start date. Doing so also means you can head to Woolworths in the town to get yourself some food / any last minutes supplies the night before.
On Day 1 you’ll drive 5 hours into the desert to place yourselves at a closer proximity to the beautiful rock formations that are about to grace your adventure.
I think we arrived around 1/2pm to the Pioneer Outback Lodge where we had time to check out the pool before meeting the group again at sunset for dips, nibbles and sparking wine over looking our first sighting of Uluru.
Top tip: As the popular tourist destination it is, bus tours will lines up by the bucket load to catch the Uluru sunsets. This can take away from the feeling of ‘discovery’ so I suggest you walk to the right of everyone down this path to get a slice of Uluru at golden hour to yourself.
Adventures in the Red Centre are all about the sunrises, sunsets and making the most of the light and low temperatures before the sun blinds you (and cooks you).
On day 2 we rose at 5am to arrive at Uluru for the 6.20am sunrise before continuing closer to the sacred rock and completing a mini base walk where we we weaved in and out of the rock caves as our tour guide, Ronald, told us of the aboriginal history.
This evening we had dinner included at the Outback Pioneer lodge which was definitely the best (and only) substantial meal included in the trip. Choose your meat or veggie stir fry and DIY BBQ it on their cookers with a buffet of salads, veggies and roasties!
After our group dinner, Ronald our driver then took us out on an optional sunrise mission this evening to one of his favorite spots.
Every new perspective we got of the vast landscapes and Uluru combined, seemed simply more magical than the last.
If you want to make the most of the insane sunrises on your doorstep, you’ll want to agree to the sunrise option this morning where you’ll see the sun peer above the horizon and another new perspective of Uluru. Despite the spotlight Uluru gets worldwide, it’s not the only rock formation out here.
My favourite, I’ve decided, is the Kata Tjuta (The Olga’s) – a collection of 36 ‘sandstone giants’ that remind me of the Chocolate Hills in Bohol, Philippines. When lit by the sunrise / sunset – you’re in for a viewing and a half!
You’ll catch sight of both Uluru and Kata Tjuta on day 3’s sunrise mission and then straight after breakfast (back at the bus) you’ll head over to complete the ‘Valley of the winds’ 7.4km hike which will take you on an adventure through Kata Tjuta.
Two weeks ago I landed in Sydney and begun my fourth big adventure down under. Over the past 3 years I have covered the East Coast of Australia in a variety of ways and have pretty much covered all the typical touristy spots.
So this time round, I decided I would dedicate my adventure time to exploring places I haven’t seen yet in order to deliver you guys some fresh content and more inspiration for your adventures over here in Australia.
Now, one of the ‘big’ bucket list adventures on the East Coast of Australia is Fraser Island. But what I want to share with you today is a pretty great alternative for those that cannot afford one of the Fraser trips or maybe don’t have the time to venture that far up the coast…
Anyway back to todays adventure, you’re going to love this one…
This week, after exploring the Hunter Valley for a day, I decided to extend my adventures up the coast in NSW and explore the Newcastle / Port Stephens area. We got our hands on some incredible beaches, waters, views and a 4WD beach experience.
Here’s how to plan your adventure…
Mount Tomaree mini hike and lookout
Beach lunch and ocean dips
Stockton beach drive and Stockton sand dunes adventure
Make your way up to Newcastle…
If you can grab a car, arriving to Newcastle will require a 176km roadtrip from Sydney. On a clear day, this will take you just 2 hours. Otherwise, you can indeed catch a train from Sydney Central Station up to Newcastle for around $8 or land into Newcastle airport. But to do the adventure in this blog post, you will still need access to a car when you arrive.
Conclusion – get yourself a car! It’s kinda not the same without one.
Start the day at Shoal Beach…
Next up is the Mount Tomaree mini hike and lookout…
En route to the beach (Anna Bay bound) now you will NEED to pick up a permit to grant yourself permission to drive on the beach. It’s only $10 for a 3 day pass and that money goes to the maintenance of the dunes.
You also need to stop off at a petrol station and partially deflate your tyres in preparation for sand driving.
Before you begin the beach drive, head to Crest Birubi Beach where you can grab a coffee or some food over looking the beach you are about to explore. Tip: The chips here are so great.
Address for your sat nav… 73 James Paterson St, Anna Bay NSW 2316, Australia
After refreshments you can even opt for a dip in the ocean or enhance your sand experience with a camel ride in the dunes with Oakfield Ranch Camel Rides.
Stockton beach drive and Stockton sand dunes adventure…
To drive on the Worimi Conservation Land (where Stockton sand dunes are located), as mentioned previously, you will need a permit. Permits are super cheap and essential.
Once you have picked one up from the many locations in which they are available, you can freely roam the beach and drive alongside the ocean with views both out to sea and over the Stockton sand dunes. Take a picnic with you and park up along the way to enjoy it. Make sure you leave time wander into the dunes.
Two days ago I finally got myself out to The Hunter Valley to explore not only a selection of the finest vineyards, but a chocolate factory, brewery, cheese shop and wildlife park too! Here at the wildlife park we got the chance to get up close with Australia’s natives – the koala and kangaroo.
I did all of the latter as part of a 1 day tour with Kangarrific Tours which started and returned to Sydney on a little mini bus (see below).
The drive up to the famous wine region works out around 2 hours on a clear day, so to allow for that, pick ups are nice and early between 7-7.45am (depending on which of the 4 Sydney pick ups you opt for).
We collected the troops and by 8am we were en route north via the Sydney Harbour bridge (a treat in itself). Our group was made up of 10 and was a completely even mix of a family, a couple, a solo traveller and my friend Lydia and I.
The atmosphere throughout the day was super chilled definitely a tour to kick back and relax on. Suitable for backpackers but certainly not a ‘backpacker tour’.
Sam (driver / tour leader) most certainly added to the atmosphere with a few cheesy (but GREAT) tunes to introduce each of the stop offs.
For example… some absolutely random ‘crackers and cheese’ song was our clue for the cheese tasting, UB40 ‘Red red wine‘ for one of the vineyards and when approaching the foot of the hills… of course The Sound of Music.
We opted to stay up the coast and explore more of the northern regions as opposed to retuning to Sydney but should you need it, the return is included in the ticket price.
Ticket price is $155
P.s. You can get $25 off the ticket price with ‘MOLLIE25’ – I don’t earn anything. Just a treat from me to you!
Cool box in mini bus to store any purchased chocolate, wine or cheese
All the tunes
Bottled water in the cool box
2 wine tasting sessions at Blueberry Hills and Mount View Estate
Tea and timtams plus animal encounters at Walkabout Wildlife Park
Cheese tasting at ‘Smelly Cheese’
Beer tasting at Potter’s Brewery
At lunch you stop off at Roche Estate in the middle of a gorgeous vineyard where there are 4/5 restaurants to choose from. You will pre-order your selection en route in the bus from Sydney and upon arrival it will be ready. Lunch cost is not included in the tour. I got a Vegetarian Pad Thai from Oishii which cost $20. See the menu here.
Beers if you want them at Potters Brewery (though you get a Kangarrific 2-for-1 discount.
I regularly get questions from you guys asking if it’s possible to self guide a trip to the Blue Mountains or whether you need to book onto a tour to see them.
Quick question… Are you part of our travel family on Facebook? Where’s Mollie Global Travellers? Join here and get all the travel advice, tips and inspiration you could dream of!
I’ve never actually done a tour of the Blue Mountains, both of my experiences have been self guided (last time I went to the Blue Mountains lookout). I’m sure jumping on a tour would be great but it is absolutely possible to self guide yourself to and around the Blue Mountains. Infact doing so is a pretty cheap adventure option if you’re on a budget.
Let’s face it, tours can be expensive and a lot of the time, unnecessarily so.
The adventure I went on yesterday and am sharing in this blog post had me spend $12 AUD plus the packed lunch I took from home and a coffee en route. BARGAIN, right?
Taking a trip to the Blue Mountains simply requires a little homework (as it’s a HUGE place and you can’t just wing it) plus an attitude ready for adventure.
The adventure mode is yours to turn on, and as for the research – I got you!
Here’s what we got up to yesterday and how you can replicate our Blue Mountains adventure…
A day in the Blue Mountains: Wentworth Falls and Empress Falls
Getting there from central Sydney…
You’ll be pleased to know that it couldn’t be more straight forward. Get yourself to Central Station and hop on the 1hour 50 minute train straight through to Wentworth Falls.
Trains depart around every half an hour and your ticket will have you a space on the double decker, air conditioned train. There’s also toilets. There’s no WIFI but you can enjoy the transition from city to vast amounts of green.
$5.95 each way!
(We caught it from Platform 5)
Top tip: Download citymapper to source the train times and best route for you.
What to pack:
Lots of water!!
Trainers (the hike doesn’t require you to have walking boots but of course, the more support the better should you have them)
Packed lunch to enjoy at the waterfall
Top tip: Open this map on google maps (on your iPhone) download it offline and use it to navigate on your adventure!
We took the train at 8.20AM from Central Station, arrived in The Blue Mountains at 10am and caught the 4pm train back so our day exploring and enjoying the national park was 6 hours long.
How to find the trail when you arrive to Wentworth Falls train station…
When you exit the station turn left towards the traffic lights at which point you need to take a right and continue on following the (obvious) signs to Wentworth Falls. This route, I believe, is called Darwin’s walk.
You’ll walk down a very wide road which looks like you have got yourself lost in a residential housing area but continue on ahead until you are met with signs to the Wentworth Falls car park and picnic area.
From here we chose to take the Wentworth Falls Lookout Track to check out the falls.
You can dip your toes in here and even continue part way down the National Pass for pretty unrivaled views over the falls.
If you don’t fancy too much cardio, don’t head too far down. The hike back up will completely sap you of your energy! (We didn’t do it, just saw lots of red faced puffed out hikers passing us! Haha)
Continuing our day we retraced our steps nearly back up towards Jamison Lookout but when met with the Eagles Nest Fletchers Lookout Walking Trail we took it.
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