Cycling Box Hill, England
Simon Warren (Britain Cycling Bible, 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs, p. 37) calls Box Hill “The Alpe d’Huez of the south-east [England],” so it’s no wonder that this is the most scenic of the London area climbs. While most of the climbs around here have either no or very minimal distant views throughout the ride, Box Hill allows us about a half kilometer of beautiful open views near the top, where there is a lookout on the switchback overlooking the climb and the farmlands below. This ride is one of the most iconic climbs in Britain, due to its accessibility to London and allowance for every type of cyclist. This climb is challenging, while at the same time being manageable for most casual cyclists.
Box Hill is the crown jewel climb of the London area. The secret is out on the climb too. I saw dozens of fellow cyclists on the sunny afternoon that I rode Box Hill in late July 2022 (my second ride up Box Hill - the first was for our 60-day UK top climb documenting trip in 2018). As you climb you’ll see a number of spray paintings on the road making the climb have an almost alpine feel. Well, an alpine feel except that the climb is just 1.4 miles in length and never reaches double digit gradients. This road will likely be very busy on any given day as it is a popular destination for cyclists, tourists, hikers, motorcyclists, and the like. Incredibly, the record for the hillclimb is 4 minutes 32 seconds with an average speed of just under 20 miles an hour. I didn’t go quite that fast when I rode . . .
Parking at the bottom is difficult, but if you drive to the top you can park there. At the summit there is a well equipped cafe with friendly workers. The road quality is pristine and we met a few other cyclists the morning we rode. Box Hill is a very popular climb, although a fairly short and easy ride.
Thick foliage borders the roadway intermittently for about half the climb.
Two giant hairpins in the middle of the climb average 5.5%.
The signs leave little doubt that this climb has some history.
Bottom Photo: “MOMENTUM Sun God”
Some of the wonderful scenes along the climb.
Photo: The Guardian
Box Hill was included in the 2012 Olympic Road Race -- nine times up Box Hill in a race that left the greatest Olympic Cycling Team ever short of the podium (Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, Mark Cavendish -- charted for the gold medal, David Millar, and Ian Stannard).
Climb Finish at the National Trust Visitor area and cafe
Google Review 4.8 on 5,061 reviews as of November 2022.
Box Hill Overlook.
This climb is in the Surrey Hill Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty:
The highest summit of the Surrey Hills AONB, Leith Hill near Coldharbour, is 294 meters (965 ft) above sea level. It is part of the Greensand Ridge, which traverses the AONB from west to east, and is the highest point in southeast England. These hills are formed mostly by chalk and greensand providing a habitat for rare plants and insects (Surrey Hills AONB).
Part of the National Trust of the UK.
That’s a wrap!
. . . and we mean it! This was the 95th climb of our 2.5 month 2022 UK + Ireland Cycling trip.