What’s next? (The upcoming adventure hit list)

In Upcoming by Claire

There are a lot of places I want to visit. Below you’ll find a WIP list of places that sound fun to go to. They’re mostly places I’d like to ride too, but some are specifically walks. All just need a spare weekend. Feel free to suggest somewhere new (tweet me), or have a dig and get inspired for your own weekend.

This is a list I’ve been building up for a while, adding in whenever I see an interesting sounding place and hopefully it’ll be useful to you, too. There’s also an extended (less organised) list of places to consider visiting and websites that seemed interesting to read here: the reading list.

Margate
Margate

Why go?
I’ve already been to Margate by train. It was a strange, brilliant little place – stuck in multiple parts of the past. There’s a route down the coast we rode called ‘The Viking Coast Trail’ which was a bit of a holiday jaunt. I’d like to cycle there, to see what it’s like doing a completely self–sufficient trip. The ride down the north side of Kent’s meant to be really nice as you swing past a few little places like Whistable, too.

How to get there:
LFGSS have documented most of the ride route (to Whitstable). “I’ve recently ridden to Whitstable, a beautiful seaside town on the Kent coast, along this route – a great ride and a destination that I’d really recommend. Just over 100kms of easy rolling to Herne Bay on the Kent Coast – Fish and Chips, train back. Have tried to keep the route as short as possible and avoid the majority of hills down there. Crossing the Medway on the M2 footpath and riding close to the water for some good views.” Stop off at Whitstable to spy around and rumours about an oyster place on route, too.

Notes and resources:
“Viking Coastal Trail, Kent Join the mainly traffic-free and flat Viking Way at Herne Bay and you can cycle all the way to Margate, passing through marshland and sweeping sandy beaches. Finish at the amazing Shell Grotto (shellgrotto.co.uk, adults £3, children £1.50) before catching the train back to Herne Bay.” – Guardian

Windsor Lavender Fields

Why go?
They’re bright purple and look awesome. “These lavender fields form the centre of our leisurely 6 mile circular walk that takes in the lovely Oaks Park and surrounding woodlands and wild flower meadows.”

How to get there:
These lavender fields form the centre of our leisurely 6 mile circular walk that takes in the lovely Oaks Park and surrounding woodlands and wild flower meadows.

How to get there:
“After we have wandered around the Lavendar Meadow and have had your fill of lavender, you might partake in some well earned lavender tea and lavender cake at Mayfield’s little cafe. And for lovers of lavender products there is of course the lavender shop for the ultimate lavender retail therapy! I have changed the start point to be accessible by rail because there are cycle races around Surrey during the day that will cause big traffic problems. If travelling by car, allow an extra hour. There is no station car park but there may be parking nearby. If travelling by train you will need to check on the SouthWestTrains or Southern websites to plan your journey. A train from East Croydon arrives at Woodmansterne at 13:41. We will leave at 13:45 or after this train arrives if it is delayed.”

Resources:
Here

Roald Dahl land

Why go?
I’d like to see where Roald Dahl lived and conceived his books.

How to get there:
Missenden, prestwood.
3hr45min on bike. 43 miles. Guardian deets. Then, 9.2 miles down the road: Wendover. Important notes: “Rumseys, the Chocolaterie. The best hot chocolate this side of Geneva, and cheesecake to die for.” See on map. P.S. Can cycle near the Chilters, which are green.

Resources:
The Roald Dahl Museum and Highclere Castle

Coastal Culture Trail

Why go?
An art ride along the south coast.

How to get there:
This is a really nice account of someone actually doing it.

Notes and resources:
Details

Chilterns Cycleway

Why go?
“This 170-mile circular route dips in and out of the Chiltern Hills, through Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, home to chalk downs, red kites and the ancient Ridgeway. You can do a little or the whole lot. It’s hilly, but with wonderful fast downhills, and lovely scenery. Mostly roads, but there are off-road tracks, and many pubs.” (Guardian). “A stone’s throw from the end of the tube line and you’re in the middle of the Chiltern Hills. As the name suggests, expect to encounter some hilly parts but these will only go to help show why the Chilterns are such a popular area. Well marked courses weave their way through the heart of Buckinghamshire, taking in sections of the Ridgeway, as well as other fantastic trails.” A big boozy circular cycle sounds ace. Like the London Loop (details here and here), designed for walking, not cycling, and nowhere near as long (200+ miles) and involving much more booze.

How to get there:
Not hugely out of the way. Questions around access TBC.

Notes and resources:
chilternsaonb.org/cycleway.html

Dungeness tom airey
Dungeness

Why go?
I’ve wanted to go ever since I first saw Tom Airey’s photos of Dungeness. It looks totally odd.

How to get there:
TBC

Resources:
TBC

Foulness island map
Foulness Island (near Southend)

Why go?
It’s a live military testing island. They still explode stuff on it. From what I remember, the houses show it, with some of the glass broken etc. It all seems a bit creepy, brilliant and strange. My Dad’s in the RAF and somehow a strange fascination with military bases has rubbed off. When we visited Southend-on-Sea last time, I wanted to know if we could get into Foulness, the military testing island. I also imagined we wouldn’t roll up as the sun was setting. This is a common thought in bike ride planning but not always a reality. So, we had no time to test the theory. From what I can see (given the lack of info online) it looks like they allow visitors onto the island, but whether you’re allowed on to wander around at will is a bit questionable and hard to guarantee. One day you can be sure of making it into the still shell-shocked island is on a ride in September (which I need to confirm still happens).

How to get there: (TBC)
Not hugely out of the way from Southend. Questions around access TBC.

Notes and resources:
Foulness Island is MoD land, but during the annual cycle event run by the Rotary Club (9 September this year), cyclists with tickets can ride the flat roads and see amazing birdlife and colonies of seals. Military satellite dishes and air raid shelters sit incongruously beside wind-whipped fields and the odd cow. One of the Guardian’s Best British Bike Rides.

Finsbury park railway line
The Crab and Winkle route, Kent

Why go?
It follows an old railway line. Few things better than this. “Leaving Canterbury, the Crab and Winkle cycle route mostly follows a disused railway line for which George Stephenson and his son Robert built the Invicta. The route passes through ancient woodland and the fascinating Winding Pond, dug in 1829 to store the water that the steam winding engines needed to pull the passenger carriages up the hill out of Whitstable. Whitstable, with its working harbour, alleyways and quirky shops has restaurants galore. There’s a hill at each end, but the main part of the route is fairly flat and wonderfully relaxing.” (Guardian)

How to get there:
TBC

Resources:
crabandwinkle.org/past.htm

Crystal Palace dinosaurs and corkscrew lane

Why go?
I’ve wanted to see the Victorian’s idea of dinosaurs in Crystal Palace for ages. But I don’t just want to cycle there and be done with it. This countryside route sounds pretty blissful (if a bit tiring). The sort of ride that involves a lot of cake.

How to get there:
“A secret corridor leads from south London into winding, empty country lanes and villages. Dropping from Crystal Palace to Elmers End and through West Wickham you arrive at Corkscrew Lane, and suddenly it’s all woods, valleys and rolling fields. The lane takes you to the top of the North Downs and on a good day you can see 30 miles. You might touch 40 mph on the exhilarating drop to Westerham. Then it’s the big cogs to climb the elegantly named Hogtrough Hill (15%), heading north through Cudham and the pretty Downe to Keston. Cutting left down the steep hill by the Norman church takes you past fields and stables until suddenly you arrive back at West Wickham. The last push up Anerley Hill is helped by the thought of a double espresso at Café Paradou on Crystal Palace Parade.”

Resources:
Guardian

Rye edith's cafe
Rye

Why go?
Rye’s just fricking adorable. I once went for a weekend. I love the idea of cycling from the big city, through tiny lanes until the final destination is a town (village?) that’s both so tiny and impressive in one go.

How to get there:
Details about trains for the way back (these are notes on the way out, if you wanted to get the train): “You should travel from London Bridge or London Waterloo to Rye. The most frequent trains run from London Bridge and less frequently from Waterloo and you will probably have to change at Hastings or Ashford. You may find that on your return you end up at Charing Cross which is just on the other side of the Thames near Waterloo but that should not be any real inconvenience. Rye station is within easy walking distance of the town centre. You can see Mermaid Street, the Ypres Tower and St. Mary’s Church and more. If you want ‘quaint’ and ‘picturesque’ then Rye has it in abundance.”

Resources:
Been there done that
Google recommendation map

London garden cities
London Garden City

Why go?
Dubbed ‘London Garden City’ by Jack Thurston, this is a cute route around London’s green bits. A bit more than a tour of Hyde Park, it starts at the Garden Museum (have never been, want to – I hear lovely things). My friend’s learning to cycle on London streets and I want to see if this is a ride she could do. As my friend’s not used to cycling on busy roads, I’ve got some TFL Quietways maps that show the quieter streets in the city and need to check that this route matches up to these. I also thing there would be something magical about escaping the traffic for the day, even whilst traveling on the roads between green bits. I’m pretty hesitant to do too many stop-start tourist rides around London but I think this would be a gem, with just enough sweeping travel across the city to feel like you’re travelling.

How to get there?
Start/Finish: Lambeth Bridge. Distance: 14 miles. Difficulty: city streets, plenty of traffic free paths. This tour of parks and gardens begins at the Garden Museum on the south side of Lambeth Bridge. Cross the bridge and turn right into Smith Square and wiggle through the narrow streets towards Westminster Abbey. The historic Abbey Gardens are a hidden treasure well worth a visit (though check in advance for opening times). Cross Victoria Street and ride over the cobbles past Methodist Central Hall into St James’s Park, along Horse Guards Parade and left onto the Mall. On a Sunday these roads are closed to motor traffic and cycling is a delight. Carry on past Buckingham Palace up Constitution Hill to Hyde Park Corner. Follow the cycle path on the south side of the Serpentine making a circuit of Hyde Park on West Carriage Drive and North Carriage Drive. Just before reaching Marble Arch, turn left on the cycle lane over Bayswater Road and following Seymour Street over Edgware Road then up Seymour Place and Lisson Grove. Eventually you’ll leave the road behind, turning right onto the Regent’s Canal. Follow the towpath all the way to Regent’s Park. Ride majestically along the Broadwalk and make a right onto the Inner Circle. Follow the London Cycle Network route 50 through Marylebone (Beaumont Street / Westmoreland Street / Welbeck Street / New Bond Street) and turn right onto Grosvenor Street. Ride through Grosvenor Square and across Park Lane into Hyde Park. Turn left for Hyde Park Corner and retrace your earlier journey back to Westminster. Café stop: Garden Café, Inner Circle, Regent’s Park, NW1 4NU – benugo.com/restaurants/the-garden-café – Lost Lanes by Jack Thurston, reproduced by The Standard.

Resources:
TFL Quietways maps (free to request at certain stations or get them delivered from the TFL website) and The Standard

Jack Thurston’s ‘Eastern Extention’ route sounds good too. There’s a free preview of his entire book, which helps.

East London Towpaths

Why go?
A satisfyingly long route down a London canal. What makes it interesting: the Three Mills Island.

How to get there:
Start/Finish: Limehouse Basin. Distance: seven miles. Difficulty: easy — flat and almost entirely on canal towpaths. “London’s canals are slivers of serenity that reach into the most unforgiving parts of the city. The etiquette here is take it slowly on the towpaths, give way to people on foot and sound your approach with a cheery ting of your bell. Starting at Limehouse Basin head north-east on the Limehouse Cut, a long, straight shot through Poplar. At Three Mills Island (worth a brief exploration) turn left over the bridge and continue on up the Lea Navigation, keeping the water on your right. The Bow roundabout is a notorious black spot for London cyclists. Fortunately, the Lea flows quietly underneath it, and the towpath too. Soon after, cross the river once more and carry on north towards the Olympic Park. For a great view of the stadium, take a detour right up the narrow ramp onto the Greenway and the View Tube cafe. Further upstream on the Lea, cross the White Post Lane Bridge and follow the Hertford Union Canal west, with the water on your left and Victoria Park on your right. Eventually, you’ll meet the Regent’s Canal. Turn left and follow the towpath into Mile End Park. This is one of London’s newest parks, built on land that suffered heavy bombing in World War II. Listen out for reed warblers in the wetland areas in the north of the park before crossing the Mile End Road on the Green Bridge, with the traffic far below. The wildflower meadows in the south of the park are spectacular in late spring and early summer and the nearby Palm Tree pub is a genuine London boozer in a perfect setting beside the canal. Carry on down the Regent’s Canal back to Limehouse Basin.” Suggested café stop: Crate Brewery and Pizzeria, but I love the Counter Cafe much more.

Resources:
Lost Lanes by Jack Thurston, reproduced by The Standard.

Chislehurst Caves

Why go?
Just within London there are a bunch of caves. 22 miles of them. I want to go and cycle to them.

How to get there:
They’re just beyond Greenwich, so not too far.

Resources:
Tom of Tired of London was the original promt for this ideas. Londonist recently wrote about them again, too.

‘Route down an old railway track’

Why go?
See name.

How to get there:
“This is the cycling route I mentioned last night, along railway tracks and through an old station. The entire route is about 55miles.”

Resources:
Cranleigh Railway

Ruislip Lido

Why go?
“There’s no need to head to Brighton when the Ruislip Lido beach is a short trip from Northwood Hills underground station. The lido is set on the edge of Ruislip Woods and features a 60-acre sand beach.”

How to get there:
Closest station: Northwood Hills, Zone 6. Fare from Zone 1: £5.10

Resources:
Buzzfeed and Hillingdon Gov

Dorset
Dorset

Why go?
Take a look at any of Adam Partridge’s photography. Specifically here, here and here.

1939-45 Second world war, Tyneham, Dorset. “Biggest war in world history, 30 nations, 50 million-plus killed, darkest days, finest hours … what else is there to say? It wasn’t just people giving their lives, but places too. None more vividly than the tiny, time-frozen village of Tyneham, once owned by William the Conqueror’s half-brother Robert. Four years into the war it was taken over by the War Office so the surrounding land could be used for firing ranges. Although there was an understanding that it would be given back to its residents after the war, it was the subject of a compulsory purchase by the Army in 1948 and has remained in use ever since. The village is now a compelling, if sad, Hardyesque relic, with storyboards in the ruined cottages telling of their families’ lives, and the old school house reincarnated as a museum. Tranquil and by-passed by postwar England – except when the guns are firing on the nearby ranges.” tynehamopc.org.uk

How to get there:
One for the train, this time.

Resources:
Guardian

Alvin wales
PYB BMC WSC – Alvin’s mountain adventures

Why go?
Wander around mountains. My friend Alvin went and took some ace looking photos.

How to get there?
PYB BMC WSC — at Plas y Brenin. Plas y Brenin located in Conwy County Borough, Wales is the National Mountain Centre for the United Kingdom

Resources:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Plas-y-Brenin/150672614967559

Winchester

Why go?
Classic UK scenery and adorableness.

How to get there:
TBC

Resources:
BTDT

Colchester, Essex

Why go?
This is England’s oldest recorded town. Other reasons too (TBC)

How to get there:
You should travel from London Liverpool Street Station to Harwich Town and NOT the international port at Parkeston Quay. Harwich Town station is at the end of the line, within easy walking distance of the quayside area and the nearest point of interest to the station is The High Lighthouse and the Treadwheel Crane. A little further is The Ha’penny Pier and the Mayflower Exhibition.

Resources:
BTDT

Eltham Palace
Eltham Palace

Why go?
“This design marvel is an underrated must-see in London. The remains of medieval castle have been incorporated into the architecture of a 1930s Art Deco-style manor home with stunning interior design.”

How to get there:

Closest station: Eltham, Zone 4. Fare from Zone 1: £3.90

Resources:
Buzzfeed

Hever Castle

Why go?
Cool little castle not too far away. Lucy wants to go.

How to get there:
TBC

Resources:
hevercastle.co.uk

ClaireWhat’s next? (The upcoming adventure hit list)