Central London, park to park — a cycling route recommended by e-bike specialists Volt.
Road closures can affect cycling routes — for safety when on your e-bike, always check the route in advance, and wear appropriate cycle safety gear.
Central London, park to park. Or exotic bird to exotic bird, if you like: from St James's Park's pelicans, to the Kensington Gardens parakeets, and the peacocks in Holland Park.
It's a short route, so you don't need to be a champion cyclist to handle it. That said, it's central London and the roads are... London roads. If you're a beginner to city cycling, take it gently and carefully, and wear all the standard safety gear.
CycleStreets breaks down the route into turn by turn sections, including warnings for areas where you'll have to dismount or detour around no bike zones. You can choose between the quietest route and a balanced route — look at the different options here.
What to see on the way
- St. James's Park is crammed with places of interest to historyfans, including the grade II listed Duck Island Cottage, and the route that Charles I took through the park when he was marched to his execution in the 1600s. You can read more about the history of St James's Park in our article here.
Maybe the park's most famous sight is its pelicans. The birds were introduced to the park in 1664, and it's become a tradition across the centuries to keep three living there — the current residents are Louis, Vaclav, and Gargi.
You can catch them prowling the park at any time — they're free to roam — but if you'd like to watch them being fed you can sync your bike ride with their regular feeding times. Check out our video guide to finding the pelicans (and keeping a safe distance).
Be warned that the pelicans don't just feed at their regulated hours. They've been known to snack between meals. (The following video is quite vicious — don't watch if you're fond of pigeons.)
- From St. James's it's a short bike on to the edge of Hyde Park — where, if you want to bring an apple with you in preparation, you might be able to adorn yourself in parakeets like our journo in the video below.
If you have time to spend exploring Hyde Park, there's no shortage of statues, hidden nooks, and pet cemeteries to check out. (The pet cemetery is only open to the public at certain times for guided tours.) You can see our list of surprising Hyde Park attractions here.
- Follow the route and roughly 6km later you'll arrive in Holland Park's Kyoto Garden. Its peaceful setting — and photogenic peacocks — mean that it's one of London's least-secret 'secret' gardens, but Holland Park's a lovely place to lock up the bike, relax, admire the peacocks, and unroll a picnic blanket.
Where to stop for food and drinks
All three parks have plenty of picnic spots, but it seems right to save the extravaganza for the last stop on your ride. Holland Park has benches with beautiful views, if you're feeling fancy (studded all over the park, but check out the tulip heavy Dutch Gardens) and grassy areas if you want to lie back and do summer for real. Time it right and you might even get your picnic soundtracked by the open air opera, echoing around the park on the evenings when its on.