London is an amazing city to run in. After living here for two years I’ve had the pleasure of exploring so many different parts of the city on foot. I’ve come to appreciate the numerous parks which you can run through, as well as the Thames Path which always offers a river-side route to follow.
Here are a selection of my favourite places to run in London. Clicking on the title of each one will link you through to the route on Strava so you can follow it yourself. I’ve also made them all loop back around to a station, so that you can easily get there and home again once you’re done.
Hyde Park: 6.4km
Station: Hyde Park Corner
Hyde Park is so iconic in London, and is a brilliant place to run. There are so many paths to follow through the middle that you can easily shorten or extend your run as necessary. The outer loop as shown in the map is just over 6km, but I love taking a detour to run next to the Serpentine. It’s such a pretty lake and often you’ll find people swimming in it – even in the middle of winter!
The western half of this run takes you into Kensington Gardens, home to Kensington Palace where Wills & Kate currently live. I recommend stopping at the Round Pond opposite the Palace to look at the ducks and swans… and occasionally a dog happily paddling away, much to the annoyance of their owner 😂
This park is by far my favourite place in all of London. I love running around it, cycling around it, walking through it, just sitting in it… I’ve spent a lot of time there, hence why there are two options for this run.
The first is your standard loop around Victoria Park, which is 4.4km long. I’ve added in a section along the canal from Mile End station to get you to Victoria Park, and also because it’s just nice to run along or through Mile End Park. Once you get to Victoria Park, turn left to head around the loop. I prefer this direction because it means that you finish your loop at The Pavilion café which does a great cinnamon bun.
If you are looking for more distance, try the alternate second route. This one takes you around most of Victoria Park but then turns onto the River Lea via the Hertford Union Canal (which has some great graffiti). You can follow the River Lea as long as you want – I’ve only ventured ~12km along it before turning back, but I’m fairly sure that you could easily get 50km of out-and-back from it if that’s what you want! This alternate route ends at the Craft Brewery, because after that much distance you definitely deserve a beer!
The Two Bridges of Fulham: 7.2km
Station: Putney Bridge
This route is a favourite of Fulham Running Club, and after doing it with them once it became a staple choice for me. It loops between Hammersmith and Putney bridges, and is otherwise very flat. The best thing about the route is how varied it is: you start by heading through Bishop’s Park and along the north side of the Thames, all of which is very well-paved and runner-friendly except for some minor diversions where people have annoyingly built buildings on the waters edge 😜 Once you cross over the bridge to the south side there are no more diversions, but instead the path turns to trail and on a wet day it becomes very muddy. That’s all part of the fun though…
South-West Parks: 12km
Station: Clapham Common
When I first moved to London, I had no idea how many amazing parks and commons there were all around the city. This loop takes in three of them: Clapham Common, Wandsworth Common and Battersea Park. While the sections between the parks is not the most visually appealing, the greenery definitely makes up for it.
In any of these parks, feel free to divert from the route marked on the Strava map: this simply shows the most direct way of getting from park-to-park. Each park has so many paths to follow that it’s worth getting a little bit lost in the middle. Make sure you venture south of the railway line in Wandsworth Common: I find this half of the park much more interesting to explore.
Battersea Park is one of my favourite places to do speedwork because it has lots of places to accommodate a variety of distances. (If you’re doing this, you can just skip the rest of the loop: or use it as a very extended warm up!). One loop of Battersea Park is 2.8km, or you can do 2-3min reps along the riverfront. Alternately, the park is also home to the Millennium Arena with its standard 400m track – but you will have to pay an entry fee.
The London City Loop: 28.9km
Last but certainly not least: the ultimate London marathon training route. Strava outputs this loop as 28.9km long, but you can add in extra distance in any of the six parks it goes through/along to make it as long as your training plan requires. I’ve mapped out the route as starting from Temple station because this is directly on the course, however naturally you can start and end wherever you choose.
30ish kilometres through a city means you are going to see a lot of things along the way – including passing Buckingham Palace! Much of this route runs along Regent’s Canal and another section along the Embankment, both of which get quite crowded on the weekend, especially during summer. To avoid having to stop all the time to pass people, set off early in the morning and finish in time for a big, well-earned lunch.
Where do you most love to run? What’s your favourite running route in London?