Saturday, 5 March 2011

London Regent's Park Running Route

Click here for route map 
Length: 6.2 km (3.8 miles), terrain contains one hill

London Running Routes:
Regent's Canal and Camden Town  
Hampstead Heath  
3-Parks Route: Hyde Park, Green Park, St. James' Park  
Regent's Park  
Hyde Park   
Heathrow Harmondsworth Moor  
Greenwich 

Richmond Park
Notting Hill
For more running routes, see Route List. 

Pictures taken in winter: I'll try to replace them after a repeat summer run!

Regent's Park is one of the many great runs you can do in London. I just ran it again last week while working in the area. If you are staying in Paddington, Marylebone or Bloomsbury, this is the biggest and nicest green area to run around in. And combined with the neighboring Primrose Hill park, with its great view over central London, it offers variety and interest: beautiful gardens, athletic fields, lakes, a zoo, canal boats, bordered by elegant homes all around. Even in the winter (my last run here was at the end of February) the park is beautiful, and I was surprised at how many different flowers were blooming.
The Regent's Park neighbors
Like the other royal parks, Regent's Park is not open at night. It opens every day at 5 a.m. Closing time varies from 4:30 pm in Nov.-Dec. to 9:30 pm in May through July. For more details, check the park website at: http://www.royalparks.gov.uk/The-Regents-Park.aspx?Opening-times

The Regent's Park/Primrose Hill Park Route
We'll start the run at the southwest corner of the park, near the Baker Street tube station. Baker Street runs into the park's bordering Outer Circle road at Clarence Gate. The long, thin Boating Lake stretches along the park edge here, with footpaths on either shore. So let's head towards the water and turn right before the footbridge, to run eastwards along the edge of the park, with the water to your left.

The Boating Lake, looking towards the Inner Circle
Across the water to the left you can see the buildings of Regent's College, sitting right in the park. The park land once belonged to a monastery, but was confiscated by Henry VIII and then used as a royal hunting grounds, but has been a public park for last 175 years.

Even in late February, you can find daffodils and crocuses in bloom
You will soon cross York Bridge road and keep running straight ahead, eastwards with the Outer Circle to your right. Before you come to the east edge of the park, turn left on the path leading through the formal Avenue Gardens, with its fountains and beautifully tended plantings. Run straight north on this path through the whole park.
Avenue Gardens
It later goes slightly uphill towards a gothic white-stone monument, passing the "Honest Sausage" café. You'll see the athletic fields stretching to each side. In warmer months, they're filled with people playing mainly cricket and (surprisingly) softball, but also rugby and football (soccer).

You'll soon see the London Zoo coming up on the left side. The zoo occupies the north end of the park. You will then run over a footbridge over the Regent's Canal, with a few narrow-boats moored along its banks. You can have some beautiful runs along Regent's Canal: to the east, the towpath goes to the Camden Locks in Camden Town, and to the west it goes to Little Venice, but that's another great run (see the Regent's Canal Route)!

Regent's Canal with narrow-boats
The park ends here at Prince Albert Road. Turn left and run the one block to where Primrose Hill Park begins on the right. Cross the street to the right to the park and take the path that heads diagonally through the park. Head up to the hilltop through the sycamores. This is the hardest work of the whole run. The hill is 256 feet (78 m) high. At the top, take a look around, you've earned the great view. You can see all of central London, with the financial towers of the City to the left, the BT Tower in the middle and the London Eye ferris wheel and the top of Big Ben towards the right.
View from Primrose Hill
Continue running down the west side of the hill, taking the path back towards Prince Albert Road along the west edge of Primrose Hill Park. Cross the street and follow the path straight ahead, with the zoo to your left. The path soon splits, and you can take either way. They both lead through the athletic fields towards the boating lake.
Longbridge
If you take the right-hand path, follow it along the lake as it curves to the left, and comes back together with the left-hand path at Longbridge, a footbridge over the lake. Cross the bridge and you'll come to the Inner Circle. This road is lined with villas from earlier days, and Queen Mary's Gardens in the center. This is the most beautiful, cultivated part of the park.

Daffodils in February
Turn right on the Inner Circle and run past the Open Air Theatre (Shakespeare in the park!) until you pass the Garden Café, where you turn left to take the path into Queen Mary's Garden. Follow the path along the right edge of the circle, past the beautiful wrought-iron gates, then run along the pond, then through the circular rose-garden. 
Queen Mary's Gardens Gate
After the rose garden, turn left to take the path back to the center of the gardens and then turn left again to head out southwards through the gates. You will come to the long arm of the boating lake again, but this time turn right to run along its north bank. When you get to the footbridge at Clarence Gate again, turn left and cross the bridge to leave the park.

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