I love London — it’s so vibrant and diverse, full of goings-on, fun connections, amazing architecture and history. Yet there are times I wish I could get away for a relaxing pedal in the green countryside. Even that isn’t so easy — either you have to ride through endless suburbs or study train timetables to plan an escape. This made me realise, there are so many scenic parks and green spaces in London, not to mention great little local joints that are waiting to be explored. So this post isn’t about training or doing endless loops in a park. Instead, it’s about taking time out to discover London’s green spaces and enjoy the culinary and cultural amenities, as recommended by the locals!
For this ride, we decided to go North London!
Starting at the South end of Highbury crescent, we rode north passing through the picturesque Highbury Fields. There’s a nice quiet path through Drayton Park that takes you round the Emirates stadium all the way to Finsbury Park. There, you’ve got to cross a busy road, but once you’re on the other side — you’re free to roam around the park at your heart’s content!
There’s a little path on the West side of the park that crosses the rail tracks and leads you to the Parkland Walk — an old railway line from Finsbury Park to Muswell Hill that is now a beautiful nature reserve. It’s quite surreal to see the old tunnels and the station platform, almost unrecognisable in the shrubbery!
This stretch of the ride is two miles, where at the end, you can continue on to Highgate Wood. We were feeling peckish, so went on the exhilarating ride down Shepherds hill to Stroud Green Road. There’s lots of places to grab lunch here — like La Fabrica or Season kitchen.
After we continued on, re-entering Finsbury Park briefly down to Clissold Park, one of my favourite parks. There’s a great cafe in Clissold House, as well as an animal enclosure with deer. There’s also a really helpful bike shop just across the road on Stoke Newington Church Street, called Two Wheel Good. I’ve been there a few times when my tires were a bit flat — although I probably should have done this ahead of my trip, it was still ace to get them ready for the next one.
After such a great ride it was only fair to treat ourselves to a drink at the Prince, great pub tucked away behind Church Street in Stoke Newington. We then headed back to Highbury Fields. Beautiful day and although chilly, it definitely felt like Spring is on her way!