Yesterday, my boyfriend and I decided to head out on our bikes to enjoy some bank holiday sunshine (we timed it pretty well – the rain started on the train home!)
We followed Route 1 (Guildford to London) which we found on the Cycling From Guildford website. The route description and instructions looked great, and definitely served well as a rough guide, but we still had to check Google Maps a couple of times (and ask some locals for help in Weybridge!)
The route starts at Guildford station and follows the Wey Navigations tow path to Weybridge, before joining the Thames Path and ending at London Waterloo. If you live further west, it’s worth noting that the Wey Navigations path starts in Godalming, so you can definitely extend it by a few miles! It’s also very easy to pick up from central London, if you wanted to do it in the opposite direction.
I’ve done quite a bit of running along the stretch from Godalming to Send (not all in one go!) and would definitely recommend it as a flat, scenic running or cycling route. Though I’d stick to a hybrid or mountain bike for the latter – there are lots of tree roots, rocks and other lumps and bumps that might not be too kind to lighter bikes.
The first half takes you across the river a few times, so it’s important to stick to the ‘Wey Navigation’ signs and not the little yellow arrows. You’d think it’d be simple, but we made this mistake at Walsham Weir, and ended up looping around some woodland for a mile or so before we found our way back to the right path!
The tricky bit was switching from the Wey to the Thames in Weybridge. Google Maps was ok to some extent, but luckily a very kind young couple gave us a hand when they saw us checking the instructions for the second or third time! (The instructions at this point were simply ‘Here, follow the Google map carefully via a few paths (dismount) and streets to emerge on the Thames towpath.’)
It might have helped if we’d printed ourselves a zoomed-in copy of this part of the route:
As long as you find Thames Street and The Minnow pub, you’ll find the Thames Path 😉
Once back on the route, it was a nice straight path all the way to Hampton Court (at which point, if continuing on to London, you’ll have to cross the bridge and head past Hampton Court Palace to Kingston). Unfortunately we left a little later than planned that morning, and adding in the time we spent trying to navigate (and getting lost!) we decided to stop here. It’s lucky we did, really, as we stumbled across the best chocolate milkshakes EVER:
Cafe stops are the whole point of cycling, right? 😉
Do you have any local cycle routes you’d recommend? I’d love to hear about them! I think the next one on my list is Guildford to Brighton 😀