London is a big city, and some neighborhoods look definitely anti-runner: buses and cars pouring through, concrete as far as you can see, and your route blocked by traffic lights at every intersection. But, if you look off into the quieter side-streets, you'll find an astounding variety of big, beautiful parks, and lots of riverside and canal-side trails to provide you with a new inspiring run every day.
There is no city that can beat London's network of parks -- in size or quality. So I've compiled my own list of favorite runs here, that I hope will brighten your day as much as they have many of my own.
|Green Park near Buckingham Palace|
3-Parks Running Route: This central London route takes you through a chain of three wonderful parks: Hyde Park, Green Park and St. James' Park.
Hyde Park Route: This is the classic London route: looping through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.
Notting Hill / Holland Park: This elegant neighborhood near Bayswater, with its Georgian-era homes, is always an inspiration.
Regents Canal / Camden Town: Regents Canal winds through several quiet, nice neighborhoods, from Paddington to funky Camden Town, with a crossing of Regent's Park.
Regent's Park Running Route: This route loops the park and its many sports fields, and heads up Primrose Hill for a great view over the city.
Chelsea Route: This elegant neighborhood combines quiet side streets full of homey rowhouses, lively Kings Road and a nice stretch of the Chelsea Embankment along the Thames.
Richmond Park Route: Richmond Park is a sprawling piece of countryside on the southern edge of London, with lots of ancient trees and thousands of deer. And posh Richmond adds a nice contrast.
Greenwich: This route winds through the storied center of Britain's nautical history, and hilltop Greenwich Park.
Hampstead East-Heath: Hampstead is a Georgian-era village tucked into metro London, and it's bordered by its beautiful and hilly heath, criss-crossed with running trails.
Docklands / Limehouse: Here's a route directly along the Thames and past the various old harbor basins in this rejuvenated area of East London.
Heathrow, Harmondsworth Moor: If you're stuck out at Heathrow Airport, try this run through Harmondsworth Moor and its variety of trails. A surprising oasis right past the runways!
Victoria Park / Regents Canal East: This route ventures into London's East End, with a fun combination of canal-side tow-paths and a loop around Victoria Park, one of the biggest green areas in the East End.
Wimbledon Common Trail Run: This rambling stretch of heath, woods, hills and ponds is a great place to explore a bit of British countryside and enjoy a nice trail run.
Royal Docks/ExCeL: The old Royal Docks on the far-eastern end of the city, have been redeveloped for such things as the ExCeL conference center, plus tourist attractions, flats, parks, industrial lots, the City Airport, and the Thames Barrier. Lots of variety on this run!