Regents Park is one of the busiest parks in the whole of London but it is also one of the most enjoyable parks to run around.
Housing the London Zoo, a fantastic boating lake, some pristine gardens and some of the only green space in the whole of North West London this is a park that is popular with tourists and city workers alike.
Previously an exclusive Crown Estate hunting park for royalty, the park was opened to the public in 1835 and has paid witness to some historic events that have shaken London. In 1867 40 people died then ice covering the lake gave way and sent them to a watery grave and in 1982 an IRA bomb was planted, killing seven soldiers. In more recent happier history the park has played host to royals and was one of the regular haunts of Sir Bradley Wiggins (Tour De France winner 2012!)
With a story for every corner, running around Regents park is a must if you are visiting London as there really is no other park where you can see Lions, American soldiers (American Ambassadors house) and some fantastic buildings in such a small area.
I run this park several times a week as I work in Regents Place which is a stones throw away from Warren Street tube station and conveniently is also one of the easiest entrances into the park. The route I take is the simplest route that you can take and involves circumventing the park anti-clockwise, starting and ending at Warren Street tube station.
The park is a maze of paths, paving and hidden trails but as long as you try to stick to the edges of the park you are always going to be heading in the right sort of direction. A lap of the park is about 4 km but you can easily add laps and bisections to keep the run interesting and to increase the distance.
The beauty of this park from a running perspective is that is has almost everything on offer that a runner could ever need (apart from an athletics track). If you are interested in some sprint training then it is easy to find a quiet football pitch or field, if you are after some circuits training then you can make use of the gym equipment in a number of locations around the park, and if you are out for an easy jog to unwind during a lunch time then you can head to one of the quieter parts of the park.
The best part of the park by far is Primrose Hill. This is famous the world over for giving one of the best views of the London skyline and is one of the most packed parts of the city during the annual New Year fireworks display.
The views are just as breath taking during the summer as you can see everything from the Olympic Park in the east, Heron Tower, The Cheese-grater, St Pauls and the Gherkin in the city, The Shard in the south and Center Point in the West.
Trust me, the short and steep run up to the viewing point is well worth the leg pain!
If you run around the road that circles the park you will see some fantastic buildings including Winfield House (American Ambassadors house), St John’s Lodge (Prince of Bruni’s pad) and houses rumored to be owned by the Qatari royal family.
There is always something going on in Regents park, especially in the summer, so you may have to weave around a few groups of punters in the southern part of the park. If you really don’t like the crowds then avoid running at lunch time and after work as this is when the seasonal summer sport players and lunch time sunbathers invade the park from the local Business District of Warren Street and the Medical District of St Portland Street.
Regents Park is well worth exploring and it will take you a good few runs before you become familiar with the various routes through the various gardens. Every time I run through the park I unearth something new which is why it remains on of my firm favorites out of all the London parks.
Category: London Running Routes