Length 4.4 km (2.7 miles), terrain: flat
London Running Routes:
Best London Running Routes: Overview
Regent's Canal and Camden Town
3-Parks Route: Hyde Park, Green Park, St. James' Park
Heathrow Harmondsworth Moor
Wimbledon Common Trail Run
For more running routes, see Route List.
Chelsea is my ideal for urban elegance: a beautiful combination of quiet streets lined with nice -- if not always huge -- homes, a few standout parks, a nice stretch of riverfront with Victorian-era bridges, a bustling shopping area full of happy, beautiful, wealthy shoppers. Actually, a few other areas of London fit the description, too, but I somehow always come back to Chelsea when I want to be reminded of where I would live, if I only could...
We'll start the run at Sloane Square, easily reachable with the Circle- and District- tube lines. Sloane Square was known in the 1980s for the Sloane Rangers, a kind of London version of the Valley Girls: yuppie women known for dedicating their lives to the two lofty goals of shopping and partying (while drinking plenty of Pimm's, and hanging out in very traditional settings).
|Pub along Kings Road|
|The Kings Road Pizza Express franchise: everything looks better on Kings Road|
On both sides of the street, you'll see nice side-streets with their little private parks creating green squares down the middle of the street.
|Colorful houses in Bywater Street, one of the little side-streets along the way|
When you reach Jubilee Place, turn right to make a zig-zag through one of my favorite parts of the neighborhood. The houses around here are what I really like about Chelsea: low -- just two floors -- with a bit of garden out front and enough friendly details in the facades to make them homey and appealing.
|House door on Jubilee Place: so inviting I almost wanted to knock|
Run a few more blocks to then turn left again on Astell Street, one of several around here with very colorful houses. Now follow it southwards, back to Kings Road.
At Kings Road again, cross the street and turn right to run to Flood Street in just a hundred meters. Turn left onto Flood to continue running southwards.
You'll pass St. Loo's Church, and then Flood runs into Royal Hospital Road just as it hits the Thames River, lined by the riverside road, the Chelsea Embankment.
|Along Chelsea Embankment|
Now cross Chelsea Embankment and turn right to run westwards along the Thames for a few blocks. Across the river is Battersea Park, itself a great spot to run. You're running towards the beautiful Victorian suspension bridge, Albert Bridge.
|Albert Bridge with Battersea Park on the other shore|
ANOTHER NOTE: If you want a bit more immersion in the Thames atmosphere, you could cross Albert Bridge and continue running west along the other side, past all the modern buildings over there, then cross back at the next opportunity, at Battersea Bridge.
About a block before you reach Battersea Bridge, you'll see a church along the Embankment to the right, Chelsea Old Church. Cross the street there, and now run back eastwards through the narrow strip of park along Cheyne Walk, on the other side of the Embankment. There's a statue to martyred Sir Thomas More at the church.
|Along Cheyne Row|
Now, at Kings Road, just turn right and run straight back to Sloane Square, trying not to plow into too many shoppers or zombies texting into their phones as they hurry along.
|Happy shoppers at Duke of York Square|