It’s the final countdown…
In just a few days I leave London, after 10 months of living here. I’m excited for the next adventure, but I will miss London dearly.
I dealt with an IT-band injury for more than half of my time here, so the fall and winter was spent doing more rehab and cross-training than running. Luckily I got (mostly) better in time to explore London’s many parks and riverside routes during the spring and summer!
These are some of my favorite places to run in London:
Hampstead Heath is like a country oasis in North London. Until the underground transport system connected all of London, Hampstead actually was a country suburb of London – and now it’s just in Zone 2 on the Tube! In Hampstead Heath you really feel like you’ve left the city life for the countryside. There are no street lamps and only a few paved paths. There’s a great view of London from the top of Parliament Hill, and there are bathing ponds that you can jump into after a run on a warm day!
I was first introduced to Hampstead Heath through parkrun, a weekly, free, timed 5K series in many UK parks. Check out the gorgeous Hampstead Heath parkrun on Saturday mornings at 9am if you can!
The riverside path along the Thames is great for runners. In most areas, the pathways are wide and allow room for runners and walkers, although I would recommend not going during rush hour (to avoid hordes of commuters) or midday on a weekend (to avoid hordes of tourists). There are some parts that weave around buildings, but it’s not too hard to follow.
The best part of running along the river is that you can see all of London’s famous sights! Depending on your route, you can run past the London Eye, the Shard, the Tower of London, Big Ben & Parliament, and across Tower Bridge.
Victoria Park & Canals
Victoria Park is a gem of East London. It has both paved paths and dirt trails, and sits right between several of London’s canals. From Victoria Park, you can run along the canals east towards Olympic Park, or west towards Central London. If you’re doing a long run, you can run west all the way to Regents Park along the canals. The canal paths can be narrow and are shared with walkers and bikers, but on a lovely day in London there’s no better place to be!
Regents Park & Primrose Hill
Regents Park is probably my favorite of the Royal Parks. It has lots of pathways, trails, and small bridges over canals or lakes. Queen Mary’s Gardens in the center of the park are lovely, and the rose garden there is London’s largest collection of roses.
There’s also a waterfall tucked away in a hidden spot near Queen Mary’s Gardens that I only recently discovered, after months of walking and running in Regents Park!
From Regents Park you can run north to Primrose Hill and get a great view of London.
Two parks that get an honorable mention, because I only ran once in each (during 10K races in the fall), are Hyde Park and Greenwich Park. I didn’t make it back to run in Hyde Park, but I did bike there a few times in the spring. Greenwich Park is great if you’re staying near Canary Wharf, and has lovely views of London from the south!
I’m going to miss running in London’s parks and cobblestone streets…
What’s your favorite city to run in?
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