Regular exercise will help you live longer and be happier, it's that simple!
Since lockdown a lot of us have taken to the great outdoors following virtual, weekly and monthly run challenges on our Strava and Nike Run Club apps. As major running races have been postponed or cancelled, running has been more present than ever through fundraisers such as Run for Heroes and the NHS’s Couch to 5k.
Like walking and cycling, running is a fantastic way to see areas of London from a brand new perspective and we wanted to bring you our favourite routes and trails to motivate you to get up and try on those swanky new running shoes. From picturesque riverside paths and quaint neighbourhoods to the iconic London Royal Parks, we have got you covered! No excuses, lets go champ!
1. Four Royal Parks
Start: Lancaster Gate tube
Finish: Shepherd Market (Green Park)
Distance: 8km / 4.8 miles
Route: Starting at Lancaster Gate tube, go into Hyde Park and run down past Kensington Gardens and the Round Pond. Follow along toward Green Park, Pall Mall and into St James’s Park. Loop back up and finish at Shepherd Market.
About: You’ll be running past 4 Royal Parks taking in some of the capital’s most famous landmarks - Kensington Palace, Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace, Horse Guards Parade, The Mall! End your run at Shepherd Market - a true hidden gem! There are also lots of options for detouring to make the route shorter or longer.
2. Putney Bridge via Barnes
Start/Finish: Putney Bridge
Distance: 10km / 6.3 miles
Route: This is a great, easy to follow along the water route starting at Putney following the Thames Path trail toward Hammersmith Bridge and looping around south toward Barnes Green and across back to Putney.
About: This path will take you through some of London’s nicest neighbourhoods! You’ll find yourself running in almost a rural like path, with stunning river views. Sport the former Harrods Furniture Depository, Hammersmith Bridge and Barnes High Street with it’s beautiful green and quaint shops.
3. The Tamsin Trail
Start/Finish: Pembroke Lodge
Distance: 15km / 9.3 miles
Route: The trail follows the Richmond Park perimeter, starting and ending at Pembroke Lodge which has a café, car park and toilets making it a great starting point for a longer run. Follow along (clockwise) around all the gated entrances!
About: Largest of the eight London Royal Parks and a must do for all runners. The route features a mix of surfaces and some hills for those looking for a more challenging track. We’ll recommend an early morning start to spot the beautiful local wildlife and enjoy a true nature experience!
4.Greenwich Park Meridian
Start/Finish: The Cutty Sark
Distance: 4km / 2.3 miles
Route: Starting at the Cutty Sark, head South toward the Royal Observatory and famous Meridien line located in the park’s central hill. Follow along Blackheath avenue, the Deer Park Trail and loop North toward One Tree Hill Vista Point finishing back at Cutty Sark.
About: This major hotspot for runners is known for its (very) hilly terrain, historic sites, beautiful viewpoints and also very friendly squirrels! The options are endless when it comes to circuits/loops or for a longer runs you can venture into Blackheath and it’s large open spaces.
5. Towpaths along the Regent’s Canal
Start: Limehouse Basin
Finish: St Pancras Basin
Distance: 10km / 6.3 miles
Route: Starting from Limehouse Basin take the canal path parallel to Mile End and Victoria Parks. Once you’ve reached Victoria Park there are many variations you could do along the different East London towpaths; Limehouse Cut, River Lea and Hertford Union. But to follow the Regent’s Canal towpath continue straight on until you reach Islington Tunnel Diversion, a short 1k detour. Fear not, there are ‘Towpath link’ signs on the pavement that will guide you back on. Finish the run at St Pancras Basin, but if you are keen for more the route continues all the way to Little Venice past Camden and Regent’s Park!
About: Flat, mostly traffic free and wonderful tour along the canals exploring East and North London.
6. Bushy Park Time Trial
Start: Diana’s Fountain (Eastern Side)
Finish: By the Heron Pond
Distance: 5km / 3.2 miles
Route: Bushy Park was the first ever “Parkrun” founded in 2004! The run usually takes place on Saturdays at 9:00 am (you can find more information on future dates here) starting on the Eastern side of the Diana Fountain. On a “Park Run” day, there will be marshals indicating the path and guiding your way. But if you are going solo there is a vast network of trails and route options based on your terrain preferences.
About: This is the oldest of the Royal Parks having been used as a medieval farmland, a Tudor deer hunting ground, enjoyed by Henry VIII, and also had use during both World Wars! Today it’s the perfect runner’s playground with it’s flat open fields, ponds and vast network of trails!
7. Albert to Chelsea Bridge via Battersea Park
Start/Finish: Albert Bridge Entrance
Distance: 4km / 2.6 miles
Route: This is a simple but very picturesque route which includes running by the river and also in the park! Start at Albert Bridge road, go in the park and run through toward Chelsea Bridge, go on the bridge and loop round back to the starting point. The route offers lots of variations. You can stay in the park or detour into Chelsea.
About: Extremely popular with South –West Londoners and ideal for shorter runs around the park’s perimeter. There are also plenty of things to do and see whilst you are there – check out the Buddhist Peace Pergola or go have a game of tennis, hire a bike or hire a boat at the Boating Lake – the options are endless.
8. Regent’s Park & Primrose Hill
Start/Finish: Regent’s Park/Primrose Hill
Distance: Ranging from 2 – 7km / 1.2 – 4.3 miles
Route: Light (Avenue Gardens run, 1.97km; The Hub run, 1.35km), Intermediate (Outer Circle run, 4.45km; Lakeside run, 2.81km) and Advanced (Primrose Hill run, 1.9km; The Regent’s Park run, 6.36km).
Each category is designed to improve performance and fitness over time, helping you step up to the next level.
About: The park has a large active running community, offering pocket mapped running routes ranging from light, intermediate and advanced runs to support budding runners showing you a range of paths and distances! You can access the pocket map here. Not only fantastic for running but it also offers stunning views of the city from it’s various hills!
Written by Julia P!