Cycling With Kids – Victoria & Markfield Parks
Cycling route mostly on the London Canals towpaths, and it is packed with activities and things to see.
Poplar to Victoria Park
From Limehouse Basin, we go up North by the Regent’s Canal and its locks. Sometimes we stop at various places at the Mile End Park which is packed with exciting things to see and do. Just at the North end of the park is Wennington Road Playground after which we get to the Victoria Park.
First things we usually stop by is the Victoria Park Pond where Timmy feed the ducks or we occasionally get on a boat. Next to the lake is a big V&A Playground with its beautiful wooden playground features.
After all the attractions are checked, our cycling route takes us East past the Burdett-Coutts Drinking Fountain to the Pools Playground where the main attraction is the massive slide. Sometimes we pop-up to The Hub Cafe next to the playground for some refreshments or have a look at the skill of the skateboarders and BMX riders at the skatepark.
When the weather is hot, the main reason for our visit to Victoria Park is undeniably the Splash Pool. There we can spend hours as it is one of the few places where you can take your child to play in the water.
When my little fish has enough water, we go on our way again. Just next to the splash pool is Model Boating Lake and on some Sundays, there is an event organised by the oldest model boat club in the world – Victoria Model Steamboat Club.
On the way from the park through the Cadogan Gate, we go past the two of the London Bridge Stone Alcoves.
Before we can head North, we have to go through now booming Hackney Wick with its plethora of restaurants and pubs.
After we cross a little bridge over the River Lee Navigation, there is a small playground with wide slide where we stop occasionally.
For those hungry ones, there are even more restaurants in Here East, but our cycling route goes past them and continue up North again on the Capital Ring. This is a few kilometres long ride on the towpath by the River Lee Navigation and River Lea where we enjoy the view at the narrow boats and river life.
The path takes us to Springfield Park and its playground, which used to have a nice wooden ship in the sand pit. Since they removed it, Timmy doesn’t want to stop there very often now. So we continue past the Riverside Cafe and the Lea Rowing Club to Markfield Park, our destination.
Markfield Park has few facilities worth to stop by. Markfield Park Cafe is our favourite stop to get some food and hot beverage as it is a super nice family and pets friendly place.
The cafe is attached to the Markfield Beam Engine and Museum which is open on some Sundays and which even has Steam Days where the engine is running.
When is Timmy done playing in the cars at the cafe and we are refreshed and well rested, we go to the Markfield Park Playground which has almost everything little kid need to be happy.
After he is finished with the playground we head back the way we came. Back on the towpath of River Lea, although not all the way.
By the Riverside Cafe, we cross the footbridge and shoot past the Lee Valley Marina Springfield.
Our aim is to go through Walthamstow Marshes – over the Summer, one of the best places to gather blackberries.
Stop at the Lee Valley Riding Centre to watch the horses is a must.
The road takes us over the River Lea to Hackney Marshes which is covered by dozens of football pitches. We continue on the way with River Lea on the left and strip of woods on the right. The woods have some nature trail paths which are super fun to go through. Although they need to be maintained better.
Out of the woods, our cycling route takes us over the bridge to the Eton Manor Walk with more football pitches and often organised Football tournaments.
Over the Eastway to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park which is packed with activities and attractions. Past the Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre, over the A12 and quick look at the what is happening at the Lee Valley Velopark. With its Velodrome, BMX track, road track and mountain bike trails there is almost always something to watch.
In the neighbourhood of the Velopark is Tumbling Bay Playground with its sections for almost all kids age groups. Timmy’s favourite. Especially in the hot days as the sandpit area also has water he can jump in to. For us parents, there is ever so convenient Unity Kitchen Timber Lodge Cafe with its facilities, so I am set as well.
On the Way Home
At the point Timmy is done with playing at the playground. It is time to head back home. We can take a few ways depends on what we fancy.
One is to go through the park by the London Way. By the London Stadium (West Ham United) turn right on to River Lea towpath. The second one is to go left, past the ArcelorMittal Orbit.
The aim is to get to the Three Mills Wild Kingdom Playground. It is the last playground on our way, but it has a trampoline, therefore, a lot of fun is guaranteed.
From there we sometimes stop at the Tesco Superstore next by. Or cycling route just continues by River Lea and Limehouse Cut back Home.
This route is one of five I am presenting here to offer some guidance on how the route could look like and what kind of stops or activities we do. I am sure you can come up with even better ones; we just work with what is near us.
Please share yours, I am interested to see your route as well!