11 Running Routes for Londoners

Training for a half marathon? Stretching lockdown legs? Try one of these SUITCASE-approved running routes. Spanning from 2km to 20km, they take in some of London’s best green spaces and historic sights (and make social distancing a breeze).

Whether you're gearing up for a half marathon or merely stretching lockdown legs, these SUITCASE-approved routes are ideal for criss-crossing the city without bumping into a fleet of running aficionados. We've pooled intel from our friends all over the city to find the paths that are cosseted from urban sprawl and can be adapted as per your ability. Strap yourself up, plug yourself in and just do it.

Capital running routes

Parkland Walk

5km

This disused railway is a surprisingly peaceful tree-lined tunnel which starts at Finsbury Park and ends in Highgate, slicing through Crouch End along the way. It's roughly a-two-and-a-half kilometre stretch each way, but can be extended by looping around Finsbury Park or the pleasantly shaded Highbury Wood at either end.

Clapton to Victoria Park

12km

From Clapton Overground Station, run east along Southwold Road until you hit the River Lea. Southwold Road is steep but fairly quiet and makes for great hill sprints (time and inclination permitting). Turn right and run along the riverbank, crossing bridges as necessary. A clearing will emerge in the thicket to your left - take it if you want to run onwards to the Olympic Park, or continue along the river bank through Hackney Wick until you reach Victoria Park. Lap it (or jog as far as your legs will take you) then head to the river and back the way you came.

Regent’s Canal

12km

Start somewhere near Coal Drops Yard at King's Cross. Head down to the canal and make tracks past the hulking great gas station, through the St Pancras Basin. Following the canal will lead you up, through Camden, to the grassy fringes of Regent's Park and onwards to the charming Maida Vale - aka Little Venice. Catch your breath amid the elegant townhouses and dusky-coloured houseboats, then retrace your steps in the opposite direction.

Acton to Putney

16km

From wherever you're placed in Acton, make a beeline for Chiswick House & Gardens - there are 65 acres of well-clipped English gardens to run through if you're feeling zesty - then down to the Thames. Turn left when you hit the riverbank and follow the water to Hammersmith. Eventually, you'll hit Hammersmith Bridge: cross it and continue along the river's grassy verge. In a post-coronavirus world, we'd recommend taking a turn about the WWT Wetland Centre, but it's currently closed. Boo. Instead, keep on running until you reach Putney Bridge. Cross the bridge and turn left so that you're heading back the way you came, taking in Fulham Palace as you go.

Bow via the Limehouse Basin

8km

Start anywhere along Bow Road and start running in the direction of Mile End tube station. Go slightly past the station and segue onto the greenery of Mile End Park. Once in the park, you'll spot the canal in no time. Stick tight to it all the way to Limehouse Basin - a marina which, on a sunny day, gives St Katharine Docks a run for its money. Once you've skirted its perimeter, run along the banks of the Limehouse Cut, up through Poplar, onto the Bow Locks and along the River Lea. You'll eventually hit the incredibly unappetising Bow roundabout. Don't hang about. Bear left and you'll find yourself back on Bow Road.

Lea Valley Walk

Anywhere between 5km and 24km

The Lea Valley Walk runs from the East India DLR Station up to Waltham Cross on the Hertfordshire border, taking in some of London's most exquisite natural enclaves and heritage sites en route. It's 24km in total - just slightly longer than a half marathon - but it's helpfully divided into six more manageable sections. Refer to TFL's website for a full breakdown.

Battersea to St James’s Park

10km

We've chosen Battersea as a starting point, but this route might also appeal to those in North Clapham. Take any entrance to Battersea Park and start running. A loop of the park will tack on an extra two kilometres - worth remembering on your way back. Take the exit near the power station and you'll find yourself by Chelsea Bridge. Once you've crossed it, carry on straight towards the Royal Hospital Chelsea, at which point turn left onto Ebury Bridge Road. Carry on straight, onto Buckingham Palace Road and past Victoria station. Eventually, you'll hit Buckingham Palace. Sweep through St James's Park before heading back from whence you came.

Thames Path from Putney Bridge to Kew Gardens

9KM

This historic route follows part of the Thames Path trail, which follows the eponymous river for 296km from its source in the Cotswold hills right through to the heart of London. Start the route on the south side of Putney Bridge and run west. Wind through Barnes, dodging the rowing boats slung outside Barn Elms Boathouse on your way, past Barnes Bridge until you reach Kew. From here, either follow the river until you reach the Cambridge Cottage entrance to Kew Gardens or shortcut through village-like Kew to the gardens' Victoria Gate entrance.

South-east London’s parks

8km

Kick things off at Herne Hill railway station and head west into leafy Brockwell Park. Then loop the park anti-clockwise, taking in Brockwell Lido and Brixton's high-octane BMX track on your way. Once you've completed the circuit, pick up Turney Road as it heads east towards Dulwich Park, where you'll trace Carriage Drive until you reach the pond (bring bread for the ducks). From here, either continue to loop around the park or carry on south through the Sydenham to Crystal Palace Park.

Diana Memorial Walk

11km

The Diana Memorial Walk is a figure-of-eight course that takes in some of London's biggest-hitting green spaces - Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, Green Park and St James's Park. Run like royalty as you flit between Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace. You can't really go wrong; there are 90 plaques set in the ground en route - look for their shiny aluminium roses and follow the arrows.

Hampstead Heath

Anywhere from 2km to 20km

An oldie, but a goodie. The Heath offers a limitless array of routes - through woods, around ornamental gardens, along vast open plains - as well as plenty of pretty stop-offs to alleviate mid-run delirium.

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