• Santander and TfL launch Tour de Force - London's first sightseeing cycle tour dedicated to showcasing the stories of inspirational women through history
  • Free Santander Cycles guided tour launched to celebrate this year's centenary of the first women winning the right to vote in the UK
  • Three-time World and Olympic champion and Santander ambassador Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill leads the first ride

Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill has today helped Santander and Transport for London (TfL) launch the UK's first sightseeing cycle tour of landmarks linked with pioneering and inspirational women from the past and present.

Launched to celebrate this year's centenary of the first women winning the right to vote in the UK, the free Tour de Force experience sees participants take Santander Cycles on a guided ride across London, where they will hear the stories of women from all walks of life whose amazing achievements have helped to shape the city, the nation and the world.

Among the many sights visited on the Tour De Force will be the new statue of suffragist Millicent Fawcett (the first female statue in Parliament Square), the memorial for WW2 undercover operative Violette Szabo, and iconic buildings designed by female architects such as Zaha Hadid's spectacular Serpentine Sackler Gallery.

The carefully crafted route begins at Kensington Gardens and ends at Waterloo Place at the statue of Florence Nightingale, with commentary on the landmarks visited provided by a professional tour guide. Participants will ride Santander Cycles which have been given a special make-over for the tour, using the suffragette movement's iconic colours of purple, white and green and displaying #BehindEveryGreatCity in support of the Mayor of London's year-long women's suffrage centenary campaign.

Susan Allen, Head of Customer Interactions at Santander, said: “At Santander we are committed to championing gender equality and supporting women everywhere to realise their full potential. London is a city rightly famed for its fascinating history and rich culture, but many of the women who played a central role in shaping it are not as well-known as they should be. We wanted to shine a light on some of the women whose amazing achievements have helped to shape our society and blazed a trail for gender equality.”

Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill said: “Santander's Tour de Force is a brilliant way to find out more about some of the incredible women who have made waves across our history. I hope the Tour can help inspire women everywhere to become the leaders and innovators of tomorrow in their chosen field – whether it's finance, science, politics, the arts or sport.”

Deputy Mayor for Transport and Deputy Chair, Transport for London, Heidi Alexander said: “In London there is history around every corner and, with an ever-expanding network of cycle lanes, it's easier than ever to enjoy our capital by bike. From campaigning for their right to vote to winning Olympic medals, generations of women have made immense contributions to our city and their legacies deserve to be celebrated. It's fantastic Santander are offering Londoners of all backgrounds the opportunity to come together to learn about some of the pioneering women who've shaped our city."

The free Tour De Force cycle experience will be running twice per day across four consecutive Sundays in August and September (19 and 26 August and 2 and 9 September), welcoming everyone from cycling beginners to experienced riders (aged 18+). Morning tours begin at 11am and afternoon tours begin at 2.30pm departing from Santander Cycles docking station by the Serpentine Sackler Gallery. To reserve your place on the tour please visit https://billetto.co.uk/en/e/tour-de-force-tickets-301980/.

– Ends –

Notes to Editors 

  • For more information on the Tour de Force route and the detail behind each point of interest, please visit tfl.gov.uk/tour-de-force
  • Santander UK was included in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2018 in recognition of the wide range of ways it is working to enable and support women to achieve their potential at the bank. These include:
    • An ambitious target to increase the proportion of women in senior management roles to 50% [+/- %] by 2021;
    • ‘Accelerating You’,  a  specialist nine-month leadership development programme for talented women;
    • An employee-led Women in Business network, which has over 2,800 colleague members and provides a range of career support and networking opportunities;
    • Using gender balanced recruitment shortlists for senior management positions;
    • Providing unconscious bias training to over 1,000 senior leaders; 
    • A 20-week Returnship Programme, which supports those who have been out of the workplace for over 12 months to return to work through mentoring, skills-building and networking opportunities; or
    • Investing in cutting edge research such as such as the Equal Lives project in partnership with Business in the Community, which is exploring how employers can support men to take a greater share of caring responsibilities at home. 

Media Enquiries 

Cow PR
T: 020 7234 9150       E: santander@cowpr.com

Adam Williams       T: 020 7756 5533       M: 07711 783 118       E: adam.r.williams@santander.co.uk

The information contained in our press releases is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions. 

About us 

Santander Cycles now covers 100 square kilometres of London, making it the second largest cycle hire scheme in Europe. Since launching in July 2010, more than 70 million journeys have been made on London’s cycle hire bikes. More than a million hires have now also been made using the Santander Cycles app, which was launched in May 2015 to make it easier to find and hire bicycles. For more information visit the Santander Cycles website  

Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. It has brought real competition to the UK, through its innovative products for retail customers and relationship banking model for UK SMEs. At 30 June 2018, the bank has c24,200 employees.  It serves around 15 million active customers, via a nationwide branch network, telephone, mobile and online banking; and 64 regional Corporate Business Centres. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.

Banco Santander (SAN SM, STD US, BNC LN) is a leading retail and commercial bank, founded in 1857 and headquartered in Spain. It has a meaningful market share in 10 core markets in Europe and the Americas, and is the largest bank in the euro zone by market capitalization. At the end of June 2018, Banco Santander had EUR 981 billion in customer funds (deposits and mutual funds), 140 million customers, 13,500 branches and 200,000 employees. Banco Santander made attributable profit of EUR 3,752 million in the first half of 2018, an increase of 4% compared to the same period last year.