South East London has some of the greenest areas in the capital, making it an ideal location for cycling. There are plenty of places to go for a bike ride south of the river, from lush green spaces to waterside spots. But where can you find the best cycle routes in South East London?

If you happen to be a bicycle enthusiast or are new to the world of cycling and live in the south, you’re in luck. We’ve put this handy list together detailing the best places to hop on your bike and enjoy a ride.

So get the cycling gloves out, adjust your seat, and read on to discover the best cycle routes in South East London.

1) Crystal Palace to North Downs

Crystal Palace to North Downs cycle route

Start this epic bike ride in the SE19 postcode of Crystal Palace and travel 19 miles all the way to North Downs in Kent.

It’s a mammoth 27 miles (54-mile round trip), so we only recommend it if you’re comfortable cycling longer routes.

But it’s a great trail with a variety of sights on offer.

Starting in Crystal Palace, you’ll head through neighbouring areas like Streatham and Tooting, navigating the local roads as you go.

Highlights of the route include the transition from busy, built-up neighbourhoods to green sights. Especially as you pass Surrey areas like Esher and Cobham on your way to the North Downs.

2) A Journey Through Time, From Greenwich to Woolwich (and beyond)

Greenwich to Woolwich cycle route

Maritime lovers will be in their element on this popular South East London cycle route, which sees you explore Greenwich and Woolwich.

Starting in Greenwich, your ride includes popular landmarks such as the Royal Maritime Museum, the Cutty Sark and Greenwich Park, which affords sweeping views of the London skyline.

Follow the River Thames, enjoying more pleasant views along the way, and pass the Greenwich Ecology Park.

The cycle ends in Woolwich, where you can enjoy a riverside location and take in even more maritime moments.

This is actually Leg 1 of a mammoth cycle route all the way down the Thames to Graves End. So if you’re looking for an all-day bike ride, just keep going!

3) The Waterlink Way

Waterlink Way cycle route

Do you fancy going through several traffic-free parks on one of the best cycle routes in South East London?

The Sydenham to the Thames route starts at Lower Sydenham station and finishes at the Thames in Greenwich.

In fact, it finishes right outside Union Wharf – ideal for a loop if you live in the building.

There are plenty of green views on offer during this route, as well as sprinkling of riverside locations that make this trip particular eye-catching.

The route is so popular that Lewisham Council called it The Waterlink Way and even made a map, so riders can enjoy easy access.

4) Park Life

Dulwich Park and Brockwell Park cycle route

Brockwell and Dulwich Park are two of South East London’s best open spaces, and you can enjoy a short and scenic bike ride between the two.

Avoid the traffic and soak up the views as you navigate the four-mile route between these two peaceful parks.

Starting off in Brockwell Park in Herne Hill, take some time to circuit the park at a leisurely pace.

Have a go on the BMX track and maybe even stop for a splash in the Brockwell Lido during the summer.

Then exit the park and take the traffic-calmed route onto Dulwich Park. Another round trip will see you enjoy green spaces and scenic ponds.

There’s even boating activities if you’ve still got the energy.

5) Crystal Palace Park

Crystal Palace Park cycle paths

Crystal Palace is one of South East London’s most popular neighbourhoods, and it also features a great park for cycling.

Bike riding has a long, illustrious history in Crystal Palace, going back more than 150 years when it was London’s first home of cycling.

Head to the park today and go on the cycle track, where you can build on your fitness and enjoy a dedicated route as you clock up the miles.

When you’re finished, why not explore the rest of the park, which features a maze, lush open spaces and even dinosaurs.

The best cycle routes in South East London

South East London is full of exciting cycle routes with plenty of parks and open spaces to discover.

Enjoy a ride down the River Thames or spend some time cycling around the many parks found in this part of London.

There are routes for all levels; from beginners right through to those with aspirations of being in the Tour de France.

With all these cycle routes, South East London is definitely one of the best areas to enjoy a cycle in the capital.

Mark Flint


Mark is a regular contributor to the Essential Living blog and shares all the latest news and sourcing the very best content for our customers.