Wandering wonders bike trail illustration


By bike or foot: 2 new trails to explore the Royal Docks

To celebrate the Mayor of London’s Car Free Day this September, the Royal Docks Team curated a unique storytelling trail complete with an illustrated map, to encourage local people and visitors to discover the beauty and brilliance of the Royal Docks.

Produced in collaboration with immersive yarn spinners, Patchlarks and local graphic designers Lunes - families, groups and curious ramblers flocked to the Royal Docks to join the walking and biking trails, exploring tales of mythical sleeping giants and the Royal Docks.

Along the route they were welcomed by a series of surprise characters and raconteurs who spoke of local legends, historical facts and tales inspired by the Royal Docks across three locations: Thames Barrier Park, Crystal Gardens at Royal Victoria Dock and by the cranes on the south side of Royal Victoria Dock near Britannia Village.

Commissioned by the Royal Docks Team, the map encourages families and groups to explore the industrial history and contemporary stories of the area. It’s designed to open up a world of opportunity and show people how to rediscover this iconic area by foot or bike.

Much of the Royal Docks’ 12 miles of waterfront is already traffic-free, and the perfect spot for a sunset cycle or a brisque morning walk; it's quiet and wide. The space allows for safe movement at a social distance so you can enjoy a stroll, jog or cycle all year round.

Here are two ways you can explore the Royal Docks:

Choose your own adventure

Why not indulge your inner historian and download our illustrated maps and start your own story trail? ‘Seeking the Sleeping Giant’ is good by foot and ‘Ride to the Heart of the Docks’ by bike.

Explore the Royal Docks on a Brompton

On the flip side of the map you’ll find a guide for your very own bike tour along the Docks. Why not try it out on a Brompton? You can rent one of these nippy folding bikes from £3.50 or treat yourself to a subscription as part of the Brompton Bike Hire scheme. These lightweight bikes are super easy-to-use and there’s a no fuss reservation system that works online or by SMS. While you can rent them from Victoria Dock (adjacent to the Crystal building) you can return them at any available Brompton docking station around the city. The best thing is that they are super compact and travel well on public transport, so if your legs get tired you can jump on public transport - including the DLR which loops around the Docks and offers exciting viewpoints of London’s most dynamic district.

Download our Car Free Day illustrated maps:

Seeking the Sleeping Giant [Download Map PDF 5mb]

Ride to the heart of the docks [Download Map PDF 5mb]

Pick up a map from the following locations:

  • Royal Docks Leaning + Activity Centre
  • Britannia Village Hall
  • West Silvertown Foundation
  • Expressway
  • ASTA community centre
  • Custom House Library
  • Newham Dockside

Illustration of a boy with a compass and map

Be sure to download our illustrated map to help you along the trail!

More about Car Free Day

After the success of last year’s Car Free Day in London, the Mayor of London continues with his long-term plans to make the Captial one of the greenest cities by 2050 by investing £22 million to help improve air quality across the 32 boroughs.

In Newham we’ve already seen investment to help lower emissions and as part of the Air Quality Action Plan, Newham is committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2030 and carbon net zero by 2050. This includes the Royal Docks, where we’re working hard with our partners and local communities to ensure our growth is sustainable. Establishing Thames Barrier Park as a green destination and making sure alternative forms of transport like folding rental Brompton bikes are easy to access, are a few examples of early projects that we are taking forward.