Runners in Battersea Park Runners in Battersea Park © Nike/Facebook

Where to go running in London

You don’t need to be Mo Farah to enjoy a riverside run or picturesque jog in the park in London. Here are our favourite places to dust off those running shoes...

It’s an all-too familiar scenario for the modern jet setter... You’ve checked into your favourite hotel and have your workout gear at the ready, but busting a gut on the same-old treadmill, especially when the sun is shining on London town, is reason enough to ditch the workout. But with so many great running routes in the city, it is time to shake up your workout and take to London’s many parks, riverside paths, bridges and quaint old streets for your springtime running regime...

The Royal parks

The-Italian-Gardens-in-Kensington-GardensThe Italian Gardens in Kensington Gardens © Royal Parks

While Regents Park and Battersea Park both make great lunch-break runs when time is of the essence, if you fancy putting your legs truly through their paces, a route through four of London’s most scenic parks is both fab for the body and for the soul. Start at the Lancaster Gate entrance of Kensington Gardens and head west taking in the spectacular Kensington Palace, before circling eastwards into Hyde Park, over Hyde Park Corner (the only traffic you will have to contend with) and on into Green Park (use Buckingham Palace as your landmark!) and St James’ Park before looping back. There are also paths galore (both paved and dirt surfaces) to veer off onto and explore the ponds, gardens and stunning scenery of these royal parks. A circuit of the four parks is approximately 6.5 miles

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The Thames loop

Jogging-along-the-Thames-by-Alan-Light-FLICKRJogging along the Thames - Alan Light – flickr

It may seem like an obvious choice, but a circular riverside run along the Thames is ideal for city seekers who like to watch the world go by as they clock up the miles. It is super central too, setting off from the iconic Big Ben (at Westminster Bridge) and then meandering your way along the riverside path taking in some of London’s most prominent landmarks including the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye and the Tower of London. The route is pretty straightforward and flat, simply follow the Thames and keep going for as many bridges as you want. Depending on how fit you are feeling, keep chugging on until you reach Tower Bridge before crossing the river and returning along the south bank of the river, or hit your halfway mark at the Millennium Bridge for a shorter route. A circuit from Westminster Bridge – Tower Bridge return, is approximately 5.9 miles

Related: 7 ways to get fit in London

Hampstead Heath circuit

Running-on-the-Heath-by-Vari-D-FLICKRRunning on Hampstead Heath - Vari D – flickr

If you fancy escaping the city, head up north to Hampstead Heath where one of London’s most ancient parks awaits. You won’t be short of places to run, as the park covers a whopping 800 acres of assorted terrain including grassland, paths, woods and plenty of hills for additional calorie burning. If you want to avoid the many dog walkers and picnickers it is best to head out early morning or after sunset. You can start at any of the entrances and work your way around, but for ease, begin and end your journey at the Parliament Hills Athletic Track. A circuit of the Heath is between 3.6 and 4.8 miles depending on exact route.

1 Hampstead Heath circuit
2 Thames River
3 Hyde Park