Tower Bridge to Beckton and Rainham

Travel from the heart of London to its eastern edge and explore the past, present and future of the working city. This route forms part of National Route 13 of the National Cycle Network.

Follow this route to see what keeps an international megacity running.  From historical maritime trade and piracy, to modern international finance, see the roads, docks, airports, skyscrapers and sewage works that keep the wheels of London turning.   

For relaxed family cycling and all ability wheeling, we recommend the traffic-free paths around the Royal Victoria and Albert Docks and Beckton Park. 


Caution: Beckton to Rainham section of Route 13 

This 6 mile section is useful for confident cyclists to link routes in central and outer London, however we do not recommend it for relaxed family and all-ability leisure walking, cycling or wheeling.  It uses shared space traffic-free paths alongside very busy roads with uncontrolled crossings of industrial slip roads. 


Information on this page 

Places to see and explore  

Tower Bridge to Beckton section

  • Tower Bridge and the Tower of London 
  • Maritime and trading history in St Katherine Docks, Wapping and Limehouse 
  • City wildlife watching at East India Dock Basin and Bow Creek Ecology Park  
  • A lighthouse and contemporary art at Trinity Buoy Wharf 
  • Royal Victoria Dock and Royal Albert Dock and the ExCeL exhibition centre for water activities and a cable car over the Thames 
  • Beckton Park 
  • The Newham Greenway – a 4-mile traffic free path along Bazalgette’s sewage network, including the beautiful Abbey Mills pumping station 


Beckton to Rainham section 

  • Detour south to the Ripple Greenway and Barking Riverside footpath for a striking view of the Thames and a river pier with services to central London. 
  • Castle Green recreation ground  
  • Goresbrook Park 
  • Beam Parklands Country Park and the river Beam valley 
  • Rainham Hall, a National Trust property with community garden and café. 

Local amenities 

  • Frequent local shops, cafes and pubs between Tower Bridge and Poplar 
  • Royal Victoria Dock and ExCeL local shops and services 
  • Beckton local shops and services 
  • Dagenham local shops and services 
  • Rainham village local shops and services

Public transport    

By train: Fenchurch St, Shadwell, Wapping, Limehouse, Canary Wharf, Custom House for ExCeL, Barking, Dagenham Dock, Rainham. 

By tube: Tower Hill, Canary Wharf, Upney, Becontree, Dagenham Heathway. 

Docklands Light Railway (DLR): Stations between Tower Gateway and Poplar, stations between Canning Town and Beckton. 

By river: Tower Bridge Quay, Canary Wharf, Barking Riverside (detour) 

By cable car: Royal Victoria Dock to North Greenwich 

Find out more about using public transport to get to the National Cycle Network on our Get started on London’s National Cycle Network page.  


a family with young children ride their bicycles through a park on a sunny day

Local loop

Explore this local route for family-friendly, traffic-free and accessible adventures. 

Explore The Royal Docks and Beckton using Route 13 as your guide.  Use our map to find more traffic free paths around the Royal Victoria Dock, the Royal Albert Dock and Beckton Park.   

This local loop is currently affected by the closure of the ExCeL quayside path between Royal Victoria Dock and Royal Albert Dock.  This is due to reopen in 2024.  


Adventure loop 

This longer circular route is a great challenge for people confident riding on roads for short distances.  

The circular 15-mile East End Greenway adventure loop links Route 13, Route 1 and the Newham Greenway.   


Continue on the National Cycle Network 

Want to explore more of the National Cycle Network from this route? 

Follow these directions to find other National Cycle Network routes near here: 

Cross the river at Tower Bridge to join the Thames Path west to Putney or east to Greenwich on Route 4.   

At Narrow street, go north to the Lea Valley and Cheshunt or south to Greenwich on Route 1. 

At Royal Victoria Dock, take the cable car (cycles permitted) to join the Thames Path east to Dartford or west to Greenwich on Route 1 

From Rainham, take the Ingreborne Valley Way north to Upminster and Noak Hill on Route 136. 

From Rainham continue south on Route 13 through the Rainham marshes to Purfleet 

The Newham Greenway (not NCN) is a traffic free path suitable for all ability walking, wheeling and cycling.  Follow it to link Route 13 with Route 1 between Beckton and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. 


Continue walking  

Want to explore more of London’s walking network from this route?    

Find out which other routes you can join from Route 13:  

  • Join the London Loop northbound or southbound at Rainham  
  • From Beckton Park join the Capital Ring and the Jubilee Greenway northbound or southbound 
  • At Narrow Street join the Lea Valley walk northbound along the Regents Canal, and the Greenwich Meridian Trail northeast along the Limehouse Cut. 
  • Join the Thames Path National Trail at Narrow Street or Tower Bridge eastbound or westbound. 
  • Join the Jubilee walk at Tower Bridge. 
  • Join The Line public art walk at Royal Victoria Dock. 
  • At New Road, head northbound to explore the Rivers Beam and Rom. 

Find more useful information about walking in London on our Get started on Londons National Cycle Network page.  

Two mums with pushchairs and a little girl on a scooter walking away from the camera along a traffic-free route surrounded by trees.

Accessibility information 

Tower Bridge to Beckton section 


There is a staggered chicane on the Thames path at the west end of Narrow Street.  

There are two pairs of staggered chicane barriers at the western end of the Beckton corridor. 


At St Katherines Way there is a 250m section of cobbles. 

Along Beckton corridor some of the path surface is uneven 

Steeps and steps 

At the western entrance to the ornamental canal there are narrow switchback ramps with a gentle gradient.

In Wapping at the western entrance to the ornamental canal there are narrow switchback ramps with a gentle gradient.

Take care 

This route has these busier on road sections. 

At Poplar High Street the route uses this busy local road for 1km, including a busy junction with Cotton St (A102). 

At Leamouth Roundabout the Blackwall Way arm crossing is not signal controlled. 

At Dock road the route uses this industrial service road for 300m.  Be careful of HGVs. 


Beckton to Rainham section 

We do not recommend this section of Route 13 for relaxed all-ability leisure walking, cycling or wheeling.   

For two miles the route uses a traffic free path alongside the A13.  It is a noisy environment with fast heavy traffic and poor air quality.  There are uncontrolled crossings of side roads. 

At Goresbrook Road the route uses this busy local road for half a mile. 

At New Road (A1306), the route uses shared space paths alongside this busy road for around two miles. In places these are narrow with many local pedestrians. 


Path closure information 

We are aware of these closures affecting this route. 

The Thames Path between Narrow Street and King Edward memorial park (approx. 350m) in Tower Hamlets is closed between November 2022 and August 2024 due to Thames Tideway sewer works.  Please use the wide footpath on the south side of the A1203 instead.  Please walk cycles.   

The ExCeL quayside path is closed at the southeast corner of the building due to construction until 2024.  The landowners ask users to use an alternative route around the north of the building via Custom House for ExCeL DLR station, Victoria Dock Road and Lynx way. 

Please help us protect this route

The Tower Bridge to Beckton and Rainham route is part of the National Cycle Network, cared for by Sustrans. Your donation today will help keep the Network safe and open for everyone to enjoy.

Please note

We have taken all responsible steps to ensure that these routes are safe and achievable by people with a reasonable level of fitness.

However, all outdoor activities involve a degree of risk. To the extent permitted by law, Sustrans accepts no responsibility for any accidents or injury resulting from following these routes.

Walking and cycling routes change over time. Weather conditions may also affect path surfaces.

Please use your own judgement when using the routes based upon the weather and the ability, experience and confidence levels of those in your group.

To make sure everyone gets the most out of their time by the water, please ensure that you follow the Towpath Code.

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