To London by bike

Part 1 - From Harwich to Elstree

Our route in
Google Earth

Day 0 Hoek van Holland Harwich 1 km
Day 1 Harwich Bury St. Edmunds 84 km
Day 2 Bury St. Edmunds Melbourn 83 km
Day 3 Melbourn Elstree 77 km

This year we had a really good excuse to go to London: we managed to get tickets for the Iron Maiden concert in Twickenham Rugby Stadium. As we recently had bought new bicycles, we decided to leave the car in Holland and just go by bike. So on a sunny afternoon we unloaded our bikes and took the night boat from Hoek van Holland to Harwich.

 Dumping the car

The ferry

We had planned to take a ferry in Harwich to the other side of the Stout river. On the other side of the river, we had imagined there would be more quiet roads.

Alas, the ferry goes at about 10 o'clock, while we came from the 6:30 boat.

Harwich harbour

Typically British

We soon found out that the southern coast was just as quiet, after the cars from the boat had passed. The water on the right is a ford in the middle of a village, not the leftover of a lot of rain.   

Whippiiiiiiii Scheetje beef


We had out first stop in Lavenham, a nice town with a lot of timber-framed houses. The pride of Lavenham is the guildhouse, where you can learn anything about wool. And at the church there was a school class, dressed in traditional clothing.

Lavenham church

Children in historical costumes

As we still had a lot of energy on our first day of biking, we went on to Bury St. Edmunds. We are always in for places of pilgrimage, and this one is a really ancient. It date back from the time King Edmund was killed by Vikings. And the rules of the Magna Carta were founded here, so that's another reason to come here.


Flowers and old houses

Besides, it as a very relaxing town were you can enjoy a nice evening and have a rest after 84 kilometres cycling.

It's very hard work

Please knock
Trinity College

Isaac Newton

On our second day we first went to Newmarket, were we noticed the anxiety of the horse races. At the racing tracks some riders and horses were practicing an on the road a man with binoculars tried to find out the best bet. Of course we visited the National Horseracing museum, were we noticed the similarity between jockeys and toreadores.
Next we went to Cambridge. If you learn a lot in Cambridge we wouldn't know, but at least you can do it in style at one of the many colleges here. At random we picked Trinity College to visit. Here we met some-one we knew, Sir Isaac Newton. At least he learned a lot!

Mind your head

Puntering on the Cam

Great landscapes

As Mirjam had three (!) flats today, we didn't have time to go boating on the Cam. Instead we went directly to our hotel in Melbourn (not the one in Australia, that one has an extra e).

The last part of the way to London is via St. Albans, named after another martyr. St. Albans is famous for the remains of the Roman times. When you have seen some other amphitheatres, like Aspendos, this one is not very impressive. But after visiting the museum, where they explain how the building materials were re-used for the  cathedral, all becomes clear.

Roman amphitheater