London is among the more pleasant places in the world to run because of its typically overcast conditions and mild temperatures. No risk of overheating or sunstroke there. In fact, the average July temperature in London is about 20 degrees Celsius. So, if you’re going for a visit, you’ll definitely want to put on your running shoes to take advantage of some of the most awesome parks and running paths in London.
Here are five of our favorites, plus a bonus way to stretch your legs – just because we like you so much.
Hyde Park – My favorite! The long expanses of green (350 acres) are intersected by spiderweb-like pathways. You might never run the same route twice. But always be sure to take a pass along the Serpentine waterway. Here, you can finish your run, feed the geese and ducks, and pop in for a craft beer and burger on a patio of the cafe. The Hyde Park Stables are a good place to interact with the horses, whether you want to ride a pony or just pet a soft muzzle.
Kensington Gardens – Just across the Serpentine lake from Hyde Park is Kensington Gardens. This space (270 acres) used to be part of the Kensington Palace grounds. The palace sits at the western edge of the park, and you can also run past the shiny gilded Prince Albert Memorial that rises in the skyline, as well as the Serpentine Gallery of art and architecture. The Italian Gardens features fountains and classical sculptures.
Green Park — Some nice hilly paths in here. You can keep to the trails or pass through the grass and under yawning shade trees. The park brings you right to Buckingham Palace. Time your workout to arrive for the changing of the guard. Green Park is home to a number of flower beds that burst forth in blooming beauty each spring. Yellow daffodils carpet portions of the space. The park also feature Canada Gate (a gift from Canada to commemorate its position in the British Empire) and the Canada Memorial (honoring one million Canadians who served with Britain in two world wars).
Regent’s Park — This park features the largest outdoor sports area in Central London, The Hub, with sports pitches hosting soccer, rugby, softball and cricket. You can trace a route over well-designated routes or tick off laps on the Outer Circle. At the northern edge of the park, you can find a running track and scenic Primrose Hill. Queen Mary’s Gardens display 12,000 roses, 9,000 begonias and numerous meticulously trimmed shrubs. After you run, pop over to the zoo, which is adjacent to the park.
Holland Park — Located in West London, Holland Park is the Royal Bureau of Kensington and Chelsea’s largest park, and it features a children’s Adventure Park, sports fields, restaurant, ecology center and lovely gardens. A main point of interest is also the Holland House ruins. The home was a massive estate built in 1605 and devastated during bombings in 1940 during WWII. Runners also will love stopping in for a respite at Kyoto Garden; the serene space was a gift from Japan and offers calming waterfalls and a reflection pond filled with orange koi.
Banks of the Thames — Run the north bank or south bank or both, crossing back and forth over the bridges. This can be a bit more crowded than the parks depending on the hour of the day, but you’ll never enjoy a more up-close look at iconic London than being right here in the heart of it all, with the Tower Bridge, London Eye and Parliament all within view.
The park spaces are all open to the public and safe, uncongested places to run with amazing scenery. To put in serious mileage, you’ll have to run a few laps within the parks or plot your run to combine two or more of these parks. Hyde, Kensington and Green parks connect in London to form a large swath of connected greenspace within the city.