7 Of The Best Runs To Do Around London

Freshen up your workout and explore new parts of the city

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If you’ve spent all summer in the beer garden, it’s highly likely you’ll be starting to feel guilty about never having quite achieved that perfect beach body, but cooler autumn days approaching, now is the time to head out into the city and get in shape. 

Whether it’s a quick lunch time jog you’re after, or an epic, cross-capital slog, we’ve spoken to the people in the know and rounded up the best runs in London, so dust off your running shoes and leave your excuses at home.

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1 | The Lunch Break Run

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Where: Regents Park & Primrose Hill
Start: At the York Bridge entrance, heading west around the park, before turning off at Ormonde Terrace for a lap around Primrose Hill and back into the park.
Distance: 2.1 miles (4.5km) around the perimeter.
Best time of day: Escape the office at 2pm when stress levels in the office are reaching peak breakdown, by the time you're thundering back down Primrose Hill all your troubles will have been forgotten (and replaced by a burning in your calves, thighs and feet).
The clincher: “A top tip would have to be to avoid running through the park whenever there is any sort of sun as it soon gets overcrowded,” says Ross Middleton from londontri.com, “Although the view of the city from Primrose Hill is an unrivalled reward after a few lung-bursting sprints.”

 

2 | Best For Getting Out Of The City

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Where: Wimbledon Common
Start: The old windmill
Distance: 3.18 miles (5km)
Best time of day: Evening when all the day-tripping picnicers have gone home. 
The clincher: The Common is one of South West London’s largest green spaces, with 1,100 acres to explore. For a simple 5km route start and finish at the old windmill. If 5km sounds a bit 'beginner to you', there's plenty of scope for balzing your own, longer trail around the common’s leafy forest paths, ponds and nature reserve.

 

3 | The Mid-Length Park Run

Where: Hampstead Heath
Start: At the Merton Lane entrance and work your way westward around the park, finishing at the same location.
Distance: 4.8 miles (7.2km)
Best time of day: Late evening
The clincher: This tour of North London’s ancient 800 acre park has a variety of terrain, from grassland to woods, with plenty of hill sprints for those extreme fat burning sessions. A dash to the top of Parliament Hill, halfway around the circuit is worth it for the sunset alone (and the benches for a swift, 30-minute rest stop).

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4 | The Abandoned Railway Through Parkland Walk

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Where: Finsbury Park to Alexandra Palace Park, via Highgate Woods
Start: Exit Finsbury Park on the westerly path, heading to Florence Road, south of Endymion Road.
Distance: 5 miles (8km)
Best time of day: Early afternoon when the trees provide shade from the overhead sun. Night time runs are best avoided as it can get slightly eeire when the sun goes down.
The clincher: “The Parkland Walk follows a railway line that was abandoned in the 1970s and turned into a woodland. There are sculptures along the route, plus some very rare trees and plants and, at one point, the platforms of a long-abandoned station,” says Simon Freeman of simonfreeman.co.uk.

 

5 | Three-Parks Run

Where: A tour around the perimeters of Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, Green Park and St James’ Park
Start: At the Lancaster Gate, heading west, before circling back east into Hyde Park, Green Park and St James' Park, then heading back to Lancaster Gate.
Distance: 7.22 miles (11.6km)
Best time of day: Any time during the week. Getting round in one piece on the weekend may be tricky and access to Kensington Gardens is restricted after dark.
The clincher: Quite possibly the most scenic route in London and one that might make you think the Big Smoke isn't just a smog-infested money-trap after all. Watch out for the green parrots in Kensington Gardens (rumoured to have been released by Keith Richards in the 1970s), the Canadian War Memorial in Green Park and the Victory Arch on Hyde Park Corner.

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6 | The East London Canal Run

Where: Follow Regents Canal east towards Limehouse Basin. Then take the Limehouse Cut past the Olympic Park and around the Hackney Marshes before circling back to Angel.
Start: Angel tube station
Distance: 13 miles (20.9km)
Best time of day: Head out on a weekend morning in time for sunrise and you’ll share the route with a handful of like-minded early rising runners.
The clincher: Laura Stewart of lifelauralondon.com recommends the route for its versatility, “My favourite route is along the canals of East London. It’s traffic free for 18 miles and you can't beat running by the water. Add another 5 miles by continuing around Canary Wharf & Isle of Dogs.” Maybe.

 

7 | The Cross-Capital Riverside Route

Where: A (very) long run along the Thames from Woolwich to Richmond Park. One for the committed.
Start: Woolwich Foot Tunnel
Distance: up to 37 miles (60km)
Best time of day: Early morning or late at night.
The clincher: Simon Freeman of simonfreeman.co.uk (apparently something of a sadist) recommends taking in as many bridges as possible, “You can do as much or a little as you want: simply pick a spot on the river and run along the riverbank until you reach a bridge. Run up the steps on to the bridge (great plyometric strength training), across the bridge and down the other side, continuing in the direction you were heading on the other side of the water.”

 


Any we've missed?


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