London is one of the most diverse, lively, and creative cities in the world, so it’s no surprise that it regularly make the top five list of cities most visited each year. As well as that, it also ranks in the top five for greatest quantity of green public space, so as well as being a hugely urban city, with all of the fun that comes with that, you’re never far away from the tranquillity of a bit of green space.
If you’re a fan of running, this means that you’ll be right at home in London. Although many love the activity because it can be a great way to get some time away from it all, London is especially great to run around because there are generally lots of runners about, whatever the time of day.
If you’re heading to the capital soon for a visit, or maybe you’re a long-time resident who has recently gotten into running, we’ve put together a guide of the best places, and times, to run in the city.
And if you are a tourist in the capital, book early to take advantage of London Hotels Special Offers near some of the spots mentioned below, too.
In the summer, when it’s hot
You don’t need to hibernate in the summer in London when it comes to running. It just helps to be a bit smarter with where you head out on your runs, so you can last longer without suffering too much in the summer sun. Here are some of our favourite spots.
Victoria Park and Green Park
Escape the dead centre of London, but still enjoy all the benefits of being in the heart of the action with a trip to either Victoria Park, or Green Park – both which have something totally different to offer tourists and runners. You’re likely to benefit from slightly cooler weather out in the suburbs than in the centre, too.
Russia Dock Woodland
Though if you do fancy a central city option, just south of Tower Bridge, run just one mile east – following the handy shade of Bermondsey’s Thames Path – through to Southwark Park, and you’ll hit hidden gems the Greenland Dock and the slightly sheltered Russia Dock Woodland.
The shade you will get from the multitude of trees throughout the area certainly makes this a top running destination for a hot day (though be wary of the amount of inclines en route). Here you’ll be handily located near one of the most popular lidos in the city, near Parliament Hill Track, which is the perfect place to cool off after a long session.
Heading south of the city now, Wimbledon takes centre stage every summer, as tennis fans across the globe flock to the south west suburb for one of the best tournaments in the sporting calendar. But if running is more your thing, the common is a great place to explore, as it’s a little more sheltered than nearby Richmond Park.
Turn your run into a day trip with a visit to this serene, special spot at the end of the Central Line. Enjoy a long stretch under the constant cover of tall, shady trees.
Thames Path: East
Water goes a long way for helping you stay cool, and the larger the body of water you’re near, the more temperate the weather will be. The largest body of water in London is the breadth of the tidal Thames just east of Greenwich.
On your lunch break
If you’re a London native, living and working in the city, or perhaps you’re heading to the capital on business (check out the Kensington Hotel London), you’ll be pleased to know that there are loads of great places you can run around during your lunch break.
Docklands and Canary Wharf
Those travelling to London for business may find themselves here for a meeting or conference. There aren’t a lot of parks or trees in this area, but it has its own kind of charm. It’s a nice mix of architecture and calming water, which make it a great place to exercise on your break. It consists of a fairly seamless five mile loop around the perimeter of the Docklands/Canary Wharf. There are also a couple of connector spots off the path.
The Royal Parks
One of the best places to run in London are around the famous and historical Royal Parks, which are certainly famous for a reason. They include; Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Green Park, St. James Park, and Regents Park. It’s good to note that they are all relatively close together and are interconnected. You could even hop on the tube from one to the other if your legs need a little bit of a break after a long run, too.
On your holiday to London
If you’re an avid runner, and want to keep up your favourite hobby whilst you’re on your travels, London is ideal as some of the city’s top attractions are conveniently located along some of the best routes to run. So if you want to do some sight-seeing as you exercise, you’re basically spoilt for choice.
Running along the River Thames
Super central, soak in the sights of the city by setting off from Big Ben (at Westminster Bridge) and then along the riverside path, and enjoy some of London’s most notable landmarks including the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye and the Tower of London. The route is fairly straightforward and almost entirely flat, which is an added bonus, and you can make it as long or as short as you like. You’ll also spot some of the best 4 Stars Hotels in London, on this route, too.
This figure-eight course takes in many of the city’s most central green spaces, including Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, Green Park and St James Park. You’ll be running between Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace, so it’s perfect if you have an interest in the British monarchy.