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5 of the Best Running Routes in London

London Lifestyle
20.04.16

With the London Marathon just around the corner and sunnier weather on the horizon, there’s never been a better time to motivate yourself into a running routine. Even if you’re not training for a race, there are so many running routes in London that can inspire your fitness regime.

Hampstead Heath (6.4 km or 4 miles)

Hampstead Heath, which lies to the north of London and just around the corner from our Vantage Point accommodation in Islington, boasts an idyllic expanse of land that is ideal for running. The grassy bank is dotted with ponds and can be enjoyed at any time of the day, but is best suited to brisk morning jogs or weekend runs, and can double up as a picnic stop.

There’s a high chance of getting a bit muddy though, and with the steep banks the route is not as pleasant on a wet day.

You can enjoy a spectacular view of the city from Parliament Hill, which makes the inclines worth it; and if you’re up early enough, the sunrise is particularly special.

Parliament Hill is a great place to start, then try jogging alongside Highgate Ponds before turning left at Kenwood House and returning to the hill.

Regent’s Canal (15 km or 9.3 miles)

Another scenic route that lets you escape the bustle of the city, taking you from central London to the north, is by following Regent’s Canal. Start at the south side of Limehouse Station, running towards Limehouse Basin and the towpath of Regent’s Canal heading north.

To challenge yourself further, you can extend the route by diverting into Mile End Park and Victoria Park along the way, both of which lie parallel to the canal.

At Islington Tunnel you will need to take a detour onto the city streets again, following the towpath link signs back to the canal. A mile after passing St Pancras Street, the route merges onto Camden Lock Markets (which can get busy, but this offers the opportunity for people spotting), before turning into Regent’s Park.

The route is one of the more peaceful ones without straying too far outside the main area of London. You can expect to pass plenty of cyclists, dog walkers and other runners as you follow the canal, not to mention the many narrowboats. Regent’s Park itself has many good running tracks and is a haven of wildlife and luscious greenery, housing London Zoo at its north point.

Three Parks Run (11.6 km or 7.21 miles)

The Three Parks Run will make you fall back in love with London again and experience a whole other side to the city that is usually forgotten. Taking you around the perimeters of Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park and Green Park & St James’ Park, the route is a grand tour of London’s royal public gardens.

Tick off the many sites along the way, including the palaces, the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain and the Wellington Victory Arch. Rumour has it the green parrots that roam Kensington Gardens were released by Keith Richards in the 1970s, but whatever the true story, the route as a whole makes for a picturesque run throughout the year.

Start off at the Round Pond in Kensington Gardens, run alongside the right hand side of the park, cross through Green Park and St James’ Park, then make your way back again to the pond in Kensington Gardens.

Wimbledon Common (8 km or 5 miles)

It’s worth straying further outside of London to embrace the scenic yet challenging routes through Wimbledon Common in south-west London. In the same way that Hampstead Heath offers a retreat from the busy London streets, Wimbledon Common boasts some spectacular views over the golf courses and lakes, making it one of the best runs for an early morning or weekend.

The distance may not sound too far but the slopes, mud and rocky terrain make the run that bit more challenging, which is perfect if you’re training for an off-road race. As one of the quieter locations, it’s also a good route to take your dog on.

Begin your run at Wimbledon Village, head up to Parkside Road, past Bluegate Pond and continue up to Queensmere Pond. Then head back down to the village to complete your route.

Two Bridges (5.4 km or 3.4 miles)

If you’re new to running or on a tight timescale, a good short route to follow is the Two Bridges. Taking you along the riverside right in the heart of the city and over London’s iconic footbridges, the run can easily be fitted into a busy schedule or working hours.

Start the run by heading north to either of the Golden Jubilee Bridges, before crossing over to the South Bank of the Thames. Head towards the Tate Modern and cross the Millennium Bridge, running until you reach your starting point.

The views across the two bridges are some of the best over the Thames, making the run feel more scenic without having to leave the city. As a key pedestrian area though, the riverside route can get busy, but it’s worth it to pass all the tourist attractions.

If we’ve inspired you to tie up your running shoes and hit the road, let us know your favourite running routes in London by commenting below or tweeting us @EssLiving.

 

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