Are you stuck for ideas on where to head for your next run? Especially if you need to escape the stress of work, or when you fancy exploring a new area on your weekend long run? You might have signed up for a local 5k or a marathon and need to get some miles under your belt. If so, West London has plenty of running routes that will make getting out for a jog that little bit easier. We have listed 5 of the best places for you to go for traffic-free running, away from the hustle and bustle of Central London. Whether it’s running through one of the Royal Parks, alongside a canal, or on a concrete loop for intervals, there is somewhere for everyone to run in West London.
If you want to be surrounded by wildlife in one of London’s most beautiful green spaces, Richmond Park is the perfect place for you to go for a run. But beware, it isn’t flat! There are plenty of hills for you to tackle, so if you don’t mind the challenge of elevation, this is the place for you. Richmond park is the largest of London’s Royal Parks and was created in the 17th century as a deer park. There is still an abundance of deer there today, alongside plenty of other wildlife that live in the grassland, woodland and the gardens.
Scattered around the park are plenty of refreshment points and at the highest point of the park, if you are brave enough to run up there, is Pembroke Lodge, where you can have a short stop and refuel. Roehampton Café is also among these points which offer you the chance to catch your breath before finishing the rest of your run. This also provides the perfect opportunity for you to arrange a meeting point with friends before you enjoy a run around the park together, followed by a warming cup of tea or a cooling glass of juice.
Bushy Park is another one of London’s Royal Parks and is placed just behind Richmond Park in terms of its size. Once again, you won’t be disappointed if open green landscape is what you are after. Compared to Richmond, Bushy Park offers a much flatter selection of routes for you to follow. If you happen to be heading there on a Saturday morning, why not incorporate Parkrun into your training schedule and be part of the first ever official Parkrun course. You may even find yourself running amongst Olympic and international athletes as they go in search of some speedy times (don’t worry, you don’t need to be able to keep up with them!).
Bushy Park is easily accessible by car and offers plenty of parking. It can also be reached by foot from Hampton Court train station where there are plenty of surrounding cafes for your post-run brunch stop.
Grand Union Canal
Not far away from Ruislip, Ickenham, and Eastcote, is the Grand Union Canal. The Canal runs from London to Birmingham and goes straight through Uxbridge. It also parallels the River Colne for a short distance. The canal is the perfect place for those days when you just want to switch off and run. There is no need to worry about getting lost, you just simply follow the canal path and turn around when you’ve reached your half way point. Alternatively, you could organise for someone to pick you up a little further down the path and not have to run back on yourself. You can easily zone out from the world around you and plug your headphones in without having to worry about cars posing any danger. Apart from the occasional crossing, you can run completely uninterrupted.
The Grand Union Canal offers scenic, flat, and easy to navigate running routes which you can follow for as long as you desire! Birmingham is your limit!
You may be wondering why a Lido is on a list of the best places to run, but Ruislip Lido is the ideal area to head for a longer run. The beautiful reservoir offers a fantastic route for runners in West London looking for a surfaced loop for interval sessions. The reservoir has a 1.5 mile, mostly concrete route around it, perfect for those mile or kilometre repeats. There are also plenty of forest trails which head off into the Ruislip Woods.
If it’s a hot summers day, you can make use of the Lido and go for a swim or dip to cool down after your run. This also makes it the perfect location if you are training for a triathlon or aquathlon.
Ruislip Woods National Nature Reserve
If going on an adventure in the woods and running on softer trails is what you are after, the Ruislip Woods National Nature Reserve is the place for you. The Nature Reserve boasts acres of beautiful woodland which is perfect for exploring and allowing you to get lost in your run. Ruislip woods is the biggest single area of woodland in Greater London, a perfect option for those who enjoy the longer distances and are preparing for an upcoming marathon. There is nothing better than lacing up your trainers and heading out into the picturesque woodland.
There are plenty of Parkrun’s, green areas, and other amazing places in West London to explore when you are running, so put your trainers on and go for a run!