This is the story of the most astonishing and destructive thing never to happen to London. It was far-reaching and visionary; planning on a scale rarely seen in this country. It was a transport scheme to end all transport schemes. And it was utterly unacceptable to the general public.

This section of Roads.org.uk explores the London Ringways - a proposal to drive a dense network of motorways through and around the capital. It was a plan created by successive governments in London from the 1940s through to the 1970s that would have affected life in the capital in every conceivable way, changing the way London looked and functioned.

You can explore the pages in whatever order you like, but in sequence they tell the story of the creation and destruction of one of the most audacious schemes of public works ever proposed in the UK. They then go on to explore the road plans and plot them on detailed modern-day maps road by road, section by section. At the end you can access a detailed map of everything we know so far.

New to this subject? There's a quick overview called Ringways for Beginners over at our sister site, Pathetic Motorways.

Some pages are not yet available

Some parts of this mini-site are still in production. Each page is made available here once it's ready to go. The whole set is expected to be online by the end of 2022.

London with the Ringways
Expected mid 2022
Driving the Ringways
Expected mid 2022

Ringway 1

Ringway 2

Ringway 3

Ringway 4

Northern radials

Western radials

Southern radials

Secondary Road Network

Expected late 2022
A40(M) Westway
Expected late 2022
Radial Route 6
Expected late 2022
Eastern Avenue Extension
Expected late 2022
Dagenham Corridor
Expected late 2022
Greenwich Bypass
Expected late 2022
Richmond Hill Tunnel
Expected late 2022

What's new

Imperfectly Odd: Batheaston Bypass

It has viaducts, a tunnel and plenty of controversy, but the amazing Batheaston Bypass doesn’t really work. What went wrong?

South London's lost motorways

Completing the story of London's epic Ringways, we've just published the Southern Radials, five more motorways that never saw the light of day.

To the north east!

Two new additions to our collection of Opening Booklets take us to Darlington and Middlesbrough.

Share this page

Have you seen...

Mickleham Bends

Once it was one of the UK's most dangerous roads — just what is so special about a bit of dual carriageway in Surrey?

About this page

Published24 December 2017

Last updated4 May 2022