Car free Cycling in London: North Circular

Carfree cycling in London: Finsbury Park

I’ve moved from Düsseldorf in Germany to London in October 2009. One of the things I’m missing most are my after-work rides on the bicycle. In the center Düsseldorf – a city which is normally not known for its cycling credentials – it was fairly easy to do a 15 or 20 miles bike ride without almost any car traffic. All you had to do was getting to the river Rhine.

(The GPS Track is also available here.)


In London, things are much more complicated.  For months, even my best cycling route here had been much worse than the worst one I had in Düsseldorf. Recently, however, I’ve worked out a route which is – judged by London standards – just brilliant. (Even judged by Düsseldorf standards, it’s fairly ok!). It’s a circular route in north London and about 20 miles (30 km) long.

Car free cycling in London: Parkland Walk

The biggest sensation is that at least 50 % of the route (probalby more) are completely car-free and much of the rest is on quiet roads. It follows abandoned railway tracks, goes through magnificent parks and follows beautiful canals. The downside is that it includes some significant climbs (in Highgate and Hampstead Heath). Neither of them is extremely long so you can easily push your bike (and they are doable on a 6-speed-Brompton!).

Car free cycling in London: Grand Union Canal

The tour even includes some interesting sights: You’ll pass the famous art deco Highbury stadium which has been converted into flats, Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium [Tottenham supporters can do a detour…] Hampstead Heath, Camden Lock and the headquarter of  “The Guardian” at King’s Place.

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3 thoughts on “Car free Cycling in London: North Circular

  1. kerry mcnamara

    Thanks you this post.Found the information very useful.I cycle in Sydney ,Australia and car free route choosing is also a challenge.I am thinking of coming to London soon so perhaps will try this route

  2. I will have to try this route. I regularly cycle Regent’s Canal and Hampstead Heath, but have yet to venture over to Finsbury Park.

    I also moved from Düsseldorf to the UK (first to Nottingham and now London) and sorely miss the Rhein path, the Canal does something to make up for it, and requires the same pedestrian-dodging skills on sunny weekends.

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