Over the past few years, cycling has become the sport of choice for Londoners. Transport for London (TfL) reported a 150% increase in cycling as a mode of transport between 2000 and 2011, and that figure is set to rise sharply. A great way to unwind, breathe fresh air and exercise, cycling already offers a pleasant alternative to a daily commute across London’s Tube network. And with plans to set up a grid of new cycle routes in Central London already underway, city dwellers can look forward to a joined up cycling network that makes it even easier to start – and keep – pedalling.
Watch the interview on cycling with some of our colleagues and partners
Now, more than ever, there is a sense that London’s cyclists are riding on the crest of a wave, rather than fixed gears. Bradley Wiggins’ gold medal win at the 2012 Olympic Games, and historic Tour de France win, has given the sport a new lustre. UK Sport’s Gold Event Series plans to bring 70 world-class cycling events to the UK by 2019, including the 101st edition of the Tour de France in 2014.
Elephant Park is at the very centre of the cycling revolution: with over 3,000 secure bicycle parking spaces, a series of cycle workstations for residents and up to 90 new docking points in its Barclays Cycle Hire scheme, the development is designed to make cycling as easy as possible.
Signed cycle routes promise to improve connectivity, while a dedicated cycle clinic can be relied on for swift, convenient repairs. Best of all, Elephant Park sits within easy reach of London’s top cultural and gastronomic attractions, from the National Theatre and Shakespeare’s Globe on the riverside to the bustling market stalls of Spitalfields. Here are 20 of the most exciting places to cycle to in less than 20 minutes from Elephant & Castle.
1 - Imperial war museum - 3 minutes, 0.7 km
Delve into the Imperial War Museum’s extensive archives for rare insights into family life in wartime Britain, espionage and more. A major restoration, due to be completed by Lend Lease in July 2014, will pave the way for the largest exhibition of British First World War art for nearly a century. Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park provides a vibrant green backdrop for the museum.
Lambeth Road, London, SE1 6HZ
+44 (0)20 7416 5000 www.iwm.org.uk
2 - Borough Market - 6 minutes, 1.7 km
A haven for chefs and enthusiastic cooks, Borough Market brings together some of the country’s finest food and drink producers under its wrought-iron roof. Find everything from artisan sourdough loaves and shade-dried limes to phials of white truffle oil.
8 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1TL
+44 (0)20 7407 1002
3 - Shakespeare’s Globe - 6 minutes, 1.7 km
This waterside theatre is a careful reconstruction of the 1599 Globe, the Elizabethan playhouse where Shakespeare presented – and acted in – many of his most famous works.
21 New Globe Walk, London, SE1 9DT
+44 (0)20 7902 1400
4 - White Cube Gallery - 6 minutes, 1.8 km
The biggest commercial art gallery in the UK boasts a 60-seat auditorium, bookshop and rigorous education programme, as well as a series of installation spaces dedicated to emerging and established contemporary artists.
144-152 Bermondsey Street,
London, SE1 3TQ
+44 (0)20 7930 5373
5 - Tate Modern - 6 minutes, 1.8 km
The vast turbine hall of the Tate Modern, which occupies the former Bankside Power Station, leads visitors to a cascade of major works by Matisse, Rothko and many more. Small wonder the gallery attracts nearly five million visitors each year.
Bankside, London, SE1 9TG
+44 (0)20 7887 8888
6 - Maltby St Market - 6 minutes, 2.0 km
Greek honeys, hot waffles and olive leaf tea are among the many treats on offer at Ropewalk, a cluster of market stalls concealed in converted railway arches on Maltby Street.
Maltby Street, London, SE1 3PA
+44 (0)20 7394 8061
7 - The Oval - 8 minutes, 1.9 km
The Oval was the first UK cricket ground to host international Test cricket, back in 1880. Since then, it has evolved into a popular sports ground for football, rugby and hockey matches, in addition to the summer’s final Test match.
Surrey County Cricket Club, London, SE11 5SS
+44 (0)844 375 1845
8 - National Theatre - 8 minutes, 2.4 km
The National Theatre has produced more than 700 plays since it opened in 1963, including recent hit comedy One Man, Two Guvnors. Equally impressive are the photographic exhibitions in the foyer.
South Bank, London, SE1 9PX
+44 (0)20 7452 3000
9 - The Scoop - 10 minutes, 2.6 km
Throughout the summer, this sunken amphitheatre plays host to al fresco film screenings, music performances, staged productions and community events. The best bit? Events are open and free to all.
Queen’s Walk, London, SE1 2DB
+44 (0)20 7403 4866
10 - Design Museum - 10 minutes, 3.3 km
Set up by Sir Terence Conran, the Design Museum celebrates creative thinking and contemporary design as paths to innovation. Previous exhibitions have covered subjects as varied as Christian Louboutin’s vertiginous stilettos and the design ethos of Dieter Rams.
Shad Thames, London, SE1 2YD
+44 (0)20 7403 6933
11 - Covent Garden - 10 minutes, 3.3 km
The Royal Opera House and the London Transport Museum are just two of the cultural highlights found alongside Covent Garden’s famous cobbled piazza, which is known for its imaginative street performances.
The Market, London, WC2E 8RF
+44 (0)870 780 5001
12 - Trafalgar Square - 10 minutes, 3.3 km
Home to Nelson’s Column and the frequently changing Fourth Plinth, Trafalgar Square is an essential port of call for its historic statues and intricately carved fountains.
Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN
+44 (0)20 7983 4750
13 - British Museum - 12 minutes, 3.6 km
The world’s first national public museum is filled with historic artefacts from across the globe, including Chinese ceramics, Babylonian tablets and Viking coins. The bronze figures are especially memorable.
Great Russell Street,
London, WC1B 3DG
+44 (0)20 7323 8299
14 - Spitalfields Market - 12 minutes, 3.8 km
London’s oldest market welcomes fashion, art and food traders, alongside a range of independent shops and boutiques. Particularly good is the chocolatier Montezuma’s, which offers bars spiked with lime, salt and dragon ginger, among other ingredients.
Brushfield Street, London, E1 6A
15 - Exmouth Market - 14 minutes, 4.1 km
Criss-crossed with fairy lights, the cobbled street of Exmouth Market makes a romantic backdrop for its quirky stalls, cosy bookshops and Moorish tapas bar, Morito.
Exmouth Market, London, EC1R 4TL
16 - Barbican Centre - 16 minutes, 4.2 km
Europe’s biggest multi-arts and conference venue prides itself on staging dance, theatre and music performances that escape definition. Plus, the London Symphony Orchestra resides here.
Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS
+44 (0)20 7638 8891 www.barbican.org.uk
17 - Hyde Park Corner - 14 minutes, 4.4 km
In addition to being the meeting point for Knightsbridge, Park Lane and Piccadilly, Hyde Park Corner is home to war memorials and Wellington Arch, a majestic gate that was originally designed as an entrance to Buckingham Palace. The vast green space the park has to offer also makes it a meeting point for London’s communities, as well as a natural stage for seasonal festivals and outdoor concerts.
18 - Brixton Market - 15 minutes, 4.8 km
Brixton’s African and Caribbean influences make for a truly vibrant market, split across street stalls and covered arcades. Don’t leave without trying the delicious Neapolitan-style pizza at Franco Manca.
Electric Avenue, London, SW9 8JX
19 - Oxford Circus - 15 minutes, 4.8 km
This popular shopping district is lined with internationally renowned department stores and flagship retailers, including Selfridges, John Lewis and Liberty. A must-see during sale season.
20 - Columbia Road Shops & Flower Market - 15 minutes, 5.0 km
The best place to buy locally sourced blooms, bulbs and hanging baskets is edged by a neat line of independent shops selling perfume, vintage clothing and delicious strawberry bon-bons.
Columbia Road, London, E2 7RG