Did you know you can cycle the sights of London from as little as £2? 🚴
To get you started, we’ve put together three sightseeing routes you can easily explore with Santander Cycles. 🎡💂🏰
Feel free to stop anywhere along each route – there’s plenty of docking stations where you can drop off your cycle so there’s more time for you to enjoy the attractions at your leisure, and then simply pick up another cycle! 🚲
Hyde Park Loop
- The Hyde Park route starts near The Serpentine Gallery
- You can hire a Santander Cycle here or at one of the docking stations near the Underground stations at Hyde Park, including Lancaster Gate, South Kensington, Marble Arch or Hyde Park Corner
- From outside the Serpentine Gallery, cycle over the Serpentine Lido and turn right on to Serpentine Road, follow along The Serpentine past the café down to Aspley Gate
- Join the Royal Loop here or turn left and cycle past the Statue of Achilles and the Joy of Life Fountain on your right
- Follow the road around Speakers Corner and onto North Carriage Drive
- Keep going onto West Carriage Drive, back to The Serpentine Gallery
Hyde Park 💚 With 4,000 trees, gardens, a playground, space for team games, a boating lake and more, there’s no shortage of things to do. Or forget everything and just relax on the grass for an hour or two!
Serpentine Galleries 🖼️ Contemporary art lovers should stop here. A leading arts institution in the heart of Kensington Gardens, it comprises of two galleries and the architect-commissioned Summer Pavilion.
Joy of Life Fountain ⛲ The fountain is a brilliantly bonkers bit of swinging 60s exuberance. Designed by T. B. Huxley-Jones, it stands on the site of a reservoir once supplying the royal palaces with drinking water.
Wellington Arch 🏛️ One of London’s best-known landmarks, Wellington Arch was originally intended as an outer entrance to Buckingham Palace. The sculpture that crowns the arch today was placed there in 1912.
Leinster Gardens False Facades 🏠 Did you know that 23 and 24 Leinster Gardens are actually fake house fronts? They were originally built in 1868 to hide the tunnel and underground tracks of the world’s first underground railway – the Metropolitan Line.
Kensington Palace 🏰 Spend a few hours visiting the fashionable residence of royals from William III to William and Kate. Highlights include Jacobean architecture, impeccable grounds and a fascinating exhibition about Queen Victoria, who was born at the palace over 200 years ago.
Kensington Gardens 🌳 Take a break in the tranquil Italian Gardens or go statue hunting and find the Peter Pan statue and The Arch by acclaimed British artist, Henry Moore. Look out for the stunning Albert Memorial at the southwest edge of the gardens.
Royal Albert Hall 🎼 Built as a memorial to Queen Victoria’s husband in 1871, the Royal Albert Hall’s impressive exterior is matched by the regal red and gold interior. The world-famous home of the Proms series, pop and rock concerts and circus extravaganzas.
Science Museum 🔬 If you’ve always wanted to pilot a flight simulator then head to the Science Museum. With seven floors of educational and entertaining exhibits, including the Apollo 10 command module and an in-house IMAX cinema.
Natural History Museum 🦖 Both a beautiful building and modern research institution, there’s 80 million specimens to see here on top of fresh new exhibitions. Don’t miss the fantastic diving blue whale skeleton in Hintze Hall!
Victoria and Albert Museum 🏺 One of the world’s most magnificent museums for applied arts. Some 150 galleries house an array of wonderfully curated pieces spanning many centuries, from the Raphael Cartoons to the Ardabil Carpet and a Hello Kitty rice cooker.
- At the end of Serpentine Road turn right on to South Carriage Drive and towards the crossing
- Cross here and follow under the arch towards Wellington Arch across the main roundabout
- From here follow along Constitution Hill towards Buckingham Palace
- Staying in the cycle lane, take Spur Road over the roundabout, following signs onto CS3
- Continue to follow towards Westminster and Westminster Bridge
- Join the Thames Loop here or turn left onto Horse Guards Road, past Churchill War Rooms and Horse Guards Parade
- Turn left at the South African Royal Artillery Memorial onto The Mall towards Buckingham Palace
- Spot the Victoria Memorial at the roundabout and head right back down Constitution Hill towards Hyde Park Corner
Queens Gallery: Buckingham Palace 👑 Visit the changing exhibitions of the Royal Collection. Stroll along the Royal Mews and visit Buckingham Palace’s imposing State Rooms.
Churchill War Rooms ⏳ Beneath Westminster, the Cabinet War Rooms were at the heart of Churchill’s wartime strategies. There is a lot to take in and together with the Churchill Museum makes a fascinating and unique place to visit.
Horse Guards Palace 💂 This parade ground is used for royal parades and ceremonies. Every morning the ceremony of Changing of the Guard takes place (11am Monday – Saturday, 10am on Sunday). The annual Trooping of The Colour also takes place here.
Household Cavalry Museum 🐴 Explore a living museum and enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at these 18th century stables. Watch troopers prepare their horses for the traditional Changing of the Guard.
Trafalgar Square 🙌 Admire the latest artwork at The Fourth Plinth, snap a selfie with the lions, gaze up at Nelson’s column and find London’s smallest police station!
National Gallery 🎨 See masterpieces by celebrated artists like Van Gogh, Titian, Rembrandt and Turner for free.
St James’s Park 🍃 Go bird spotting beside the lake and visit the pelicans. Pause on the Blue Bridge for that iconic photo of Buckingham Palace and the London Eye.
- Start near Westminster and after passing Big Ben on your right, turn left before the bridge and continue along CS3
- Pass Somerset House before you turn right on to Blackfriars Bridge, following signs for C6
- After crossing Blackfriars Bridge, take the first right onto Upper Ground
- Continue along the road and at the junction of Concert Hall Approach and Belvedere Road, continue straight onto Belvedere Road, using the cycling entrance on the left of the barrier
- Continue straight and at the end of the road, use the cycle ramp on the right hand side and use the crossing to join the cycle lane, turning right towards Westminster Bridge to complete the loop
Westminster Abbey ⛪ The only place in London where 16 royal weddings, funerals and every coronation since 1066 have taken place. Walk past the tombs of 17 kings and queens, as well as famous figures including Darwin and Dickens.
Houses of Parliament 💼 Tours offer a unique combination of a thousand years of history, modern day politics and stunning art and architecture. An audio tour lasting about an hour features both Houses, Mr Speaker and Black Rod.
Cleopatra’s Needle 📜 Presented to the British Government in 1819 in commemoration of the victories of Nelson and Abercrombie over the French in Egypt, the needle was made for Pharaoh Thotmes III in 1460 BC. The only connection to Cleopatra is that it came from her royal city, Alexandria.
Somerset House 🏛️ Rebuilt in 1775, Somerset House features the Courtauld art gallery and a beautiful fountain court that hosts outdoor cinema and live music events in Summer and an ice skating rink in winter.
St Paul’s Cathedral 🤩 A true icon of London, a cathedral has stood on this site for over 1,400 years. Today, St Paul’s stunning interior and history continues to delight visitors.
Tower of London 🏰 Experience London’s history, from the flamboyant to the frightful, at this eleventh-century fortress. Wonder at the Crown Jewels, torture tools, Royal Armouries, or take a tour with a ‘Beefeater’ (Yeoman Warder).
Tower Bridge ⛴️ One of the most famous river crossings in the world! You might be lucky enough to see the bridge lift-up in the middle if a large vessel is passing underneath. Test your nerve and twin a bridge lift with a walk on its glass walkway!
Tate Modern 🎨 See modern masterpieces from artists like Picasso, Dali and Matisse for free and check out the latest big installation in the Turbine Hall.
Sea Life London Aquarium 🐟 Walk through, over and under colourful aquatic worlds from the tropical to the Arctic at Sea Life Aquarium. Visit Shark Walk, Atlantic Depths and Ray Lagoon – all beside the River Thames.
London Eye 🎡 One of the most iconic structures on the London skyline, the London Eye observation wheel will take you to heights up to 135 metres. On a clear day you can see Windsor Castle in the distance.
About Santander Cycles
Santander Cycles is an affordable and convenient way to explore London. 🚴
You can hire a cycle from as little as £2 – download our Santander Cycles app and you will also be entered into our weekly London Riders prize draw. 📲 Or go to any docking station terminal with your bank card and touch the screen to get started.
There’s no need to book! Simply hire a cycle, ride it, then return it to any docking station.