Running in London can be a unique treat, especially if you learn to weave through the crowds and the concrete to uncover the city’s green heart. But you don’t have to weave through selfie snapping tourists to enjoy some of the best and most scenic running trails in London.
In fact, despite being a bit of a concrete playground, here in London we are blessed with some excellent routes for jogging and running. So we’ve put together some of the best places to run in London.
Our criteria is that there has to be some element of nature, whether that’s greenery or water. And while some of these are very long, you don’t have to run the whole route. And in fact many of these offer a variety of running trails in London to explore.
Unlocking the City’s Green Passageways
Let’s dive into the heart of the city and uncover the 10 best running routes in London for those keen on injecting some vital nature-connectedness into their running routines.
1. Royal Parks Loop
Starting your journey with the historic Hyde Park, this 11km carpet of greenery beautifully balances nature and iconic landmarks. From Kensington Gardens, past the famous Serpentine lake, looping around Green Park and St. James’s Park, you’re in for one of the best runs in London.
Take in views of Marble Arch, Buckingham Palace and Horseguards Parade as you enjoy this fantastic run.
2. The Regent’s Canal to Victoria Park
A serene 6.4km run takes you from Islington, through Regent’s Canal up to Victoria Park. This route, sheltered by weeping willows, offers serene river views and tranquil park landscapes, perfect for an early morning session of running in London.
This is also a popular commuter running route, for those that live in the East and work in the city. Be aware that it can get a little slippery in places if its raining or wet, and you do not want to end up in the canal!
3. Richmond Park
For endurance trainers, the 12km loop of Richmond Park provides a splendid mix of challenging hills, open grasslands, and dense woods. Here, a meeting with the famous park deer makes the run even more magical.
Not long enough for you? You can also branch out onto Putney Heath and Wimbeldon Common to add a bit of variety to your London running route.
4. Hampstead Heath
Offering an inviting 9.5km of hilly trails and stunning views of London from Parliament Hill, this verdant expanse makes Hampstead Heath an idyllic haven for trail runners.
One of the great things about Hampstead Heath is the variety of running trails you can take. Remember though that it does get very muddy, and there are quite a few steep inclines too. But if you’re after a stunningly scenic and enjoyable, yet challening run, add Hampstead Heath to your list.
5. The Thames Path
One of the most iconic running routes in London, this 296km path stretches along the River Thames, covering Putney, Battersea Park, and Waterloo Bridge. OK, you’re probably not going to run all the way into deepest Berkshire as part of your evening jog, but there are lots of great stretches to enjoy.
Skip the congested South Bank and run from Vauxhall, past Nine Elms and the Battersea Power Station, through Battersea park then cross over the river and loop back into town.
6. Wimbledon to Putney Vale
For those seeking solitude, this 13km path marked by ancient woodland in Wimbledon Common and Richmond Park provides one of the best runs in London, offering tranquility to your exercise routine.
7. The Lee Valley Artway
This incredible flat 26-mile loop offers woodland, river countryside, and traffic-free paths, making it an excellent route for marathon training.
8. Epping Forest Centenary Walk
For adventurous runners, the Centenary Walk provides a 15km route through Epping Forest’s wildlife-rich ancient woodlands and open grasslands.
9. Parkland Walk
Converted from railway lines into a secluded nature reserve, these 4.5km paths pass along the charming remnants of platforms, making your running in London a delightful blend of nature and nostalgia.
10. Lea River Park
From the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to Waltham Abbey, this 28km running and cycling track follows the Lea River, giving you vast green open spaces and waterside running at its best.
Accessing Your Routes
The best part about running in London is that many routes are easily accessible via public transport. Most Royal Parks are just a short walk from the nearest tube station, while others like Lee Valley Artway or Lea River Park connect several train and tube stations.
You could also turn your run into a mini triathlon with a bike ride to the location and enjoy a swim at Hampstead or Hyde Park lidos.
Tips for Running in London
Running in London truly takes on a different depth when you ditch the city streets and embrace the city’s lush, green pathways. While there are lots of places you can enjoy different runs, many of the running routes can get muddy, so make sure to get running shoes with adequate grips.
In terms of safety, make sure to pay attention to your surroundings, and be aware of the dangers of road crossings in many of these London running locations. If you are out running in the dark, let someone know where you’re going and your route.
It can also be a good idea to use a high visibility running jacket if running in the darker months.
Happy jogging and stay safe!
Get outta town! Read our guide to best day trips from London