10 to help you jumpstart your fitness
January is just around the corner, which means for many of us it’s time to try and do away with all those roasted potatoes, chopped pies, and bottles of wine we’ve been consuming over the holiday season.
If you’d rather not fight with strangers rather than ellipticals and free weights in the gym (which is always hell in January), why not see if you can get into jogging? Lucky for you, our beloved capital is full of great places to run and improve your fitness. From park tours to riverside hikes, here’s our pick of the ten best running routes in London:
1. The Hyde Park Hustle – two, three or four miles
We couldn’t start this list of the best London running routes without mentioning this gem. A Grade I listed place that is visited by millions of people every year, Hyde Park is one of the largest city parks in the world. Okay, we might be slightly biased, but it’s hard to argue with that claim. It is the largest of the four royal parks in central London and was established in 1536 by King Henry VIII as a hunting ground, before becoming famous for its demonstrations and demonstrations in the mid-19th century. The current mayor, Sadiq Khan, even intends to potentially introduce beavers there in the near future! If you’re just running around Hyde Park you’ll cover around three miles – add Kensington Gardens and you’ll extend the route by around a mile. For something slightly shorter, loop around the Serpentine.
2. A riverside walk – three miles
Of all the places to run in London, along the Thames has to be up there with the best of them. Departing from Embankment station, this three-mile route takes you over the Golden Jubilee Bridge – from where you can admire views of the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament – before heading to Southbank. As you head east, you’ll pass many iconic landmarks, including the Tate Modern, the National Theater, and the Royal Festival Hall, before crossing the Millennium Bridge from Harry potter notoriety. Heading back west you’ll hit the Embankment again, passing Somerset House and Victoria Embankment Gardens along the way.
3. A Battersea Park Belter – two and a half miles
If you’re in Chelsea or South West London, this is a great option to start your January fitness regimen. Once a popular spot for historic duels – yes, really – it’s now considered one of the most charming parks south of the river. Starting at the Albert Gate entrance, head south and do a full loop of the park, which takes you past the pretty boating lake, tennis courts, and the petting zoo, home to otters, squirrel monkeys and even armadillos! End the race with a section directly on the Thames, which will give you a view of London’s Peace Pagoda and Albert Bridge along the way. For something a little different, take this route at sunset and see the bridge’s over 4,000 LED lights twinkle in the dark.
4. The figure of eight of St James’ Park – two or three miles
Another of the city’s royal parks, St James’ is arguably one of the most picturesque places in London and offers views of famous landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall and The Mall from its outer fringes . It’s also famous for its resident population of pelicans – yes, you read that right – which were given to King Charles II by a Russian ambassador in 1664, and a population has remained here ever since. You can either choose to take a short three mile route around the park and walk down the mall, or you can add Green Park and a loop around Buckingham Palace to extend the route. Come here in the right season and you might be able to see the beautiful cherry blossoms in bloom.
5. A royal ring in Regents Park – just under three miles
Yes, another grade I listed royal park here. This one is named after the Prince Regent (AKA King George IV) whose nickname was * ahem * the playboy prince. Speaking of ‘play’, it’s also home to central London’s largest outdoor sports area and has a boating lake, an outdoor theater and gardens with over 12,000 roses to boot. It’s also home to London’s ZSL Zoo – the world’s oldest scientific zoo – so you can see if you can spot the resident lions, giraffes, camels and penguins as you sweat with a loop around the park. To extend the route and add a more difficult climb, cross the Regent’s Canal and run to the top of the famous Primrose Hill, which still holds the title of London’s most scenic view. You can also tackle this route and head further to Hampstead Heath on a set of two wheels if you prefer.
6. Greenwich Park and the Cutty Sark – two and a half miles
UNESCO-listed Greenwich is a lovely place to spend a few hours, giving you the chance to explore sites such as the Royal Observatory, the National Maritime Museum and some of London’s most charming pubs at River bank. Not to mention the Cutty Sark – a 19th century ship that claims to be one of the world’s most famous ships with towering masts, an iconic copper hull, and over eleven miles of rigging! Add a loop around Greenwich Park with its deer park, landscaped gardens and breathtaking views of the cityscape and you’ve got a worthy addition to this list of London running routes. When you’re done, why not restock yourself with a bite to eat at one of SE10’s top restaurants?
7. Pound Path, Regent’s Row and Victoria Park – four and a half miles
A slightly longer route is a great way to ‘hammer the pavement’ so to speak and see some of the best places in East London. Starting and ending with The Glory, one of London’s best LGBTQ + bars, you’ll head to the Regent’s Canal and follow Regent’s Row and Pound Path to Victoria Park. As one of London’s most popular parks, this large open space in Tower Hamlets is famous for its summer festivals, water fountain, and two cafes, both of which serve up a bad cup of coffee. A loop around here will take you past two of East London’s favorite pubs – the People’s Park Tavern and the Royal Inn on the Park – Oval Space and the beloved Broadway Market.
8. A Whiz Around Walthamstow Wetlands – over four miles
Another for East Londoners and a solid addition to this list of London running routes, this one will give you the chance to get out of the city and surround yourself with nature in Walthamstow Nature Reserve Wetlands – the largest in London. Established through a partnership between the London Wildlife Trust, Thames Water and the London Borough of Waltham Forest, it is a serene place that is home to a wide range of wildlife, including rare waterfowl, perched bats and several species. birds of prey. See if you can spot any of them as you make your way along a circular route, which should be around four to five miles in length. You can extend that by adding the Hackney Marshes or a stretch along the River Lea – Adele’s former playground, as she made clear in her album. 25. Best Advice: After the race, head to the Grade II listed Coppermill Tower for some pretty epic views of London.
9. Tamsin’s Trail to Richmond Park – seven miles
You could argue that Richmond Park is the best of London’s running routes. But hey, we’re not here to judge – we’re up to you. Following the perimeter of the park itself, the Tamsin Trail will take you along lush green tree-lined avenues, past ponds and over gentle rolling hills from where you can see London in the distance. Of course, it wouldn’t be Richmond Park without stopping to admire the resident deer herds here – note to yourself, if you bring a dog, keep it on a leash. You don’t want them to be the next Fenton! After the race, have a cup of tea and a slice of cake in the adorable Hollyhock CafÃ©.
10. The railway – four miles
The final part of this list of the best London running routes is the Parkland Walk, which takes you from Finsbury Park to Highgate along an abandoned railway line. As London’s longest-running nature reserve, you might be lucky enough to spot some of the resident wildlife along the way, and pass abandoned railway platforms, graffiti walls and even a sculpture of ‘a Cornish pixie, known as the Spriggan, towards the Crouch End part of the trail. To extend the route, add a loop of Finsbury Park or head to Ally Pally for epic views of the city.
Also posted on Average.