Our favourite London running routes
Love running? Love making the most of London? Whether we’re locals looking for inspiration or visitors to the UK’s capital, running is one of the best ways to enjoy the city and get our daily dose of exercise at the same time. From the feted London marathon route through to short and sharp 3 or 5k loops, London has trails and paths for every fitness goal and running style, and offers a plethora of scenes, sights and sounds to take in while we’re on the move.
Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill cater to pretty much all runners and also provide the perfect picture of quintessential London - including the zoo! There’s also the magnamious Hampstead Heath which boasts all sorts of terrain and interesting buildings, despite being a stone’s throw from the very centre of town. Don’t forget to try Little Venice and the recreation grounds dotted around Paddington and Maida Vale too (the Jubilee Greenway is a favourite of North London’s runners), or venture up to the Walthamstow Wetlands for a slightly different day out.
Jogging in Green Park, St James’ Park or Hyde Park is the equivalent of excercising in an airport - the people watching is great. These areas are also steeped in history and with the closure of the Mall on weekends, it’s even possible to see Buckingham Palace up close without the din and pollution of the usual traffic. Alternatively, swan on over to the Serpentine or Kensington Palace for a more regal run, or sidle on down to Holland Park to see the magical Japanese and walled gardens that border both Nottinghill and Shepherd’s Bush.
Battersea Park is a runners' paradise and is best enjoyed early in the morning when all sorts of fitness fanatics descend on the park’s various paths to carry out their training (including the odd celebrity). For those who are happy to venture further afield, head to the egde of London to Morden Hall Park. Nestled unassumingly between residential streets, this National Trust site is a hidden gem. There is an entry fee but Morden Hall is not to be missed. Dulwich Park is a hop, skip and a jump from London Victoria and is very family friendly. Down the road is Beckenham Place Park which has grounds and a gorgeous house which give the impression that we’re running round our very own country estate. Not to be missed is the pizza parlour which operates out of the old coach house (a great post-run reward).
The river and canal-side paths of East London are excellent for exploring a different, super cool side of the city. Try Victoria Park and the Olympic Park, or around Limehouse. There are also many running routes up and down the river starting from the Square Mile which give way to breathtaking views of some of London’s newer landmarks, as well as the likes of Shakespeare’s Globe and St Paul’s.
West London is hard to beat when it comes to running. There’s the Wandle Loop, Richmond Park (a deer encounter is almost 100% guaranteed), Kew Gardens, the riverside paths of Barnes and Putney, the Commons of Clapham, Balham, Wandsworth and Wimbledon, and the well-connected, lucious spaces of Fulham and Parsons Green. Hampton Court Palace also has expansive gardens (the outer grounds and Bushy Park are free to enter) for those who love to run cross country (the only reminder that we’re in London is the odd plane bound for Heathrow).