Living in London, I’m often overwhelmed with gratitude for how many lovely green spaces, tourist attractions and secret hideouts there are to run in. We’re really very lucky, aren’t we? It seems like every time I head out for some miles, I discover something new, or just find a new appreciation for the city I live in. So here are some of my favourite running spots in the capital.
I recently took to Burgess Park for what was actually a very painful run; however the scenery more than compensated for my injury. It’s about 5k round the park, although I like to do laps of the lake, especially when it’s sunny.
This park is about a mile from my office, so I spend many a lunchtime sweating my way around it, and I’m not the only one! There are so many different sections to the park that I’m always stumbling upon something new, but my favourite part is the zoo- it’s so odd to be running along mindlessly and suddenly spot a camel!
Okay, this is kind of similar to the park. I love to go through the park and onto the canal, seeing canal boats, ducks and the occasional hyena (again, from the zoo). It’s flat and relatively quiet, making it the perfect place for building up some speed. I’ve run two parts of the canal, and whilst I haven’t quite figured out how they join up (I can’t geography), they’re both gorgeous places to run.
Greenwich and the Thames Barrier
Ok ok, hear me out on this one. The Thames Barrier has to be one of the bleakest places known to mankind; however, I think there’s a certain beauty to that. Following the river eastwards from Greenwich, you go through the docklands and marshes, and eventually end up at The Thames Barrier, at which point you really have to turn back, or come away from the river. It’s a bit bleak, but I quite like the idea that this is what the East End of London used to look like, back in the day. And it’s interesting, if nothing else- where else would you see an abandoned fairground, a moored shipping container and the Emirates Cable Car all in one outing?
I adore running in Greenwich, and I’m even prepared to huff my way up the steep hill from my front door to get there. It’s absolutely gorgeous first thing in the morning before the tourists descend; seeing the Cutty Sark, a ship whose history I learned about at length when I was a child, is often enough to lift my spirits on even the worst of runs.
The Thames is the heart of our city, and therefore it’s no surprise that it takes a central role in my running, as well as that of many other runners. The Embankment is the North side of the Thames, and it’s generally slightly less congested than the other bank. You can run along from Tower Bridge, through The City, past St. Paul’s Cathedral and even up to the Houses of Parliament. Granted, you still have to dodge a few tourists, but it’s worth it for the views.
Primrose Hill gives you a stunning panoramic view of London if you’re prepared to make the climb. The hill itself is deceivingly tough, with a long incline that gets steeper at the top. It’s one of my goals for my speed season to chase down my PR on that Strava segment and make it my bitch!
This small park has a place in my heart due to it being my local Parkrun; I’ve met a lovely community of runners through the weekly Saturday morning events. The Saturday morning Parkrun punctuates my week nicely, and it’s during those mornings that I notice the seasons changing so beautifully. Funny how that happens.
St. James’s Park
There are three Royal Parks that surround Buckingham Palace; St. James’s Park, Green Park and Hyde Park. It’s surprisingly easy to do all three in one route, and I always get goosebumps when running past the palace itself. If you’re lucky, you get to see the changing of the guards, and as a bonus, it’s lit up beautifully at night.
By the time I get to Blackheath Common on my Sunday long runs, I’ve only done 1 mile, but all of that has been uphill. And so I always stop to stretch out my calves. It can be very bleak in terms of the scenery, but recently I was lucky enough to catch the sunrise!
Is there anywhere I’ve missed in London that you’d recommend running?
Lots of love,