Length 7.3 km (4.5 miles), terrain: flat, 50-meter gain
London Running Routes:
Best London Running Routes: Overview
Docklands-LimehouseRegent's Canal and Camden Town
3-Parks Route: Hyde Park, Green Park, St. James' Park
Heathrow Harmondsworth Moor
Wimbledon Common Trail Run
Royal Docks/ExCeL Route
Kew / Brentford Thames Run
For more running routes, see Route List.
I've been to London more often than I can remember. And every trip there I've sought out quiet backstreets and the wonderful parks available. But this last trip I suddenly realized that I've never run the City of London, the old heart of this great city. So, I made up for that and ran it one nice evening just as all the office workers were getting off work and either rushing off towards one of the many commuter train stations, or heading off in groups to their favorite City pubs.
And I found I enjoyed the run a lot. I had to dodge cars and pedestrians, but I visited many of London's most historic spots. And it's even fun to pass by one pub after another filled with groups of colleagues capping off the day with a cool pint.
For this run, I've tried to zig-zag past the main sights and the interesting hidden lanes, and then head back along the Thames embankment. It includes such sights as St. Paul's Cathedral, the Guildhall, Mansion House, the Royal Exchange, Leadenhall Market, modern architectural jewels like Lloyd's and the Gherkin, some Roman city walls, St. Katherine's docks, the Tower Bridge, the Tower, and perhaps the biggest star, the Thames itself.
London City Running Route
So, if you're ready to discover the heart of one of the world's most fascinating cities, get yourself to the St. Paul's tube station, where Cheapside and St. Martin's-le-Grand come together.
NOTE: This reminds me that London City contains a lot of strange church names: St. Botolph-without-Aldersgate, St. Mary Axe, St. Botolph-without-Bishopsgate, St. Andrew Undershaft,
St. Peter-Upon-Cornhill, St. Botolph-without-Aldgate (aren't they overdoing it with all these St. Botolph-withouts?), St. Katherine Cree, St. Martin-within-Ludgate (finally a "within"), St. Ethelburga's, St. Stephen Walbrook, St. Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe (is there maybe another one by the chest of drawers?). These old churches add a note of medieval London to neighborhoods which are often full of modern office towers.
|St. Paul and his cathedral, as seen from the gardens|
|Wedding photos on the St. Paul's steps|
Run east on Watling, and one block past Bread Street, turn left onto narrow Bow lane.
Now you just run to the next corner, then turn right again, onto Old Jewry.
Old Jewry ends at The Poultry (did I mention that the street-names are equally entertaining?)where you turn left and run towards one of the greatest intersections in the City. On the right is porticoed Mansion House, the home and office of the Lord Mayor. And across the street is the massive, fortress-like Bank of England. A statue of Wellington on his mount dominates a triangular plaza between them, in front of the Royal Exchange. Traditionally, all royal proclamations are read by a crier from its steps.
|Out front of the Bank of England|
Keep that plaza to your right and run northeast up Threadneedle, with the Bank of England to your left.
When you pass the Royal Exchange building on the right, you'll see a little shady plaza, where you turn right and run southwards through it to Cornhill. The Royal Exchange is still owned by the Worshipful Company of Mercers, who used it for trading goods. Originally, stockbrokers weren't allowed inside because of their rude manners, so they had to meet in a nearby coffee house. The present building now houses a restaurant and boutiques in its giant atrium.
|Inside the Royal Exchange|
|At the Jamaica Wine House|
|Lloyd's from behind|
Run through the square, keeping to the left, and you'll come to another beautiful old church, St. Helen's Bishopgate. From there you have a good view of the Gherkin.
|The Gherkin behind St. Helen's Church|
Now run to the Gherkin, circle it clockwise and then exit eastwards along Bury street and then continue further eastwards along Leadenhall and Fenchurch.
Just before reaching St. Botolph-without-Aldgate, turn right onto Old Jewry and run south towards the River Thames.
At Fenchurch Street Station, follow Cooper's Row as it heads south under the train tracks. In a couple of blocks, you'll find yourself at Trinity Square Gardens and Tower Hill tube station. Turn left at Tower Hill and go down the steps towards the hulking Tower behind its walls.
|The city wall with tourists and caesar.|
Turn left now to run past the north side of the Tower, going under Tower Bridge Road and into the wonderful confines of St. Katherine's Docks.
The three basins and their surrounding warehouses were once part of the sprawling system of docks and wharves lining this part of the Thames, when London was the biggest port in the world. A boat lock keeps the water inside the basins when the tide goes out in the river.
|In St. Katherine's Docks|
|Dickens Inn, always photogenic|
|Runners along the Thames|
|The Tower Bridge|
|People relaxing outside the Tower|
|One of the riverside pubs after work|
|Millennium Bridge and the Tate Gallery|