Samuel Johnson once said that once you tire of London, you tire of life. The same is true of its verdant jogging trails that neatly canvas vast swathes of the capital. Whether you’d prefer a brisk sprint through the historic heart of town filled with historic monuments, or a longer run through the wilder groves of Richmond, jogging in London has never been more pleasurable.
Originally established as a hunting ground by Henry VIII, Hyde Park is London’s most prominent Royal Park. Roughly four miles to jog around, it stretches from the palatial mansions of Kensington to the bohemian markets of Notting Hill in the west, and from the grand terraces of Belgravia to the contemporary flair of Mayfair in the east. Hyde Park itself is straight out of an impressionist painting: fields of long grass, scores of sycamores, oaks, and chestnuts, the cheerful chatter of picnicking groups. Meanwhile, the picturesque Serpentine river courses through its centre, the atmospheric home to several swans, geese, and ducks.
And if the nature wasn’t enough, there are a host of historical sights, from Speaker’s Corner (where notable intellectuals like Marx and Orwell have spoken) to Kensington Palace and the Prince Albert memorial. Jumeirah Carlton Tower is a two-minute jog from the park’s many south-eastern entrances.
The Green Park
Bridging Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park is the charming, elegantly landscaped The Green Park. Famous for daffodils, fireworks displays, and even an assassination attempt on Queen Victoria, The Green Park is now a stately stretch of grand, green boulevards paved with neatly mown grass and framed by avenues of London plane trees. Running across it will take you around the royal heart of London: Buckingham and St. James’s palaces, Piccadilly, and the poignant war memorials of Hyde Park Corner. The Green Park is just over a mile to jog around.
St. James’s Park
Adjacent to The Green Park lies picturesque St. James’s Park. Forming a triangle between Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, and Westminster, St. James’ borders the iconic red tarmac of The Mall, the Horse Guards Parade, and 10 Downing Street. Inside, the serene St. James’s Park Lake offers beautiful vistas that frame London’s centre with lush plane trees and willows. Meanwhile, birds flock to its rich waters, from graceful grey herons to pelicans—which have resided in the park since gifted by Russian ambassadors in 1664. St. James’s is a mile to jog around. Combine with The Green Park, Hyde Park—or even both if you’re feeling energetic—for an exciting, fast-paced tour of London’s famous Royal Park trio.
This lesser known little gem of a park overlooks a stretch of the Thames that has inspired Whistler, T.S. Elliot, Turner, and Henry James. Battersea Park lies between the magisterial pastel-coloured Albert Bridge and the landmark Battersea Power Station. The park is just under three miles in circumference and with a gorgeous mile stretch right along the river it’s one of the highlights of jogging in London.
With a perimeter of almost eight miles, Richmond is the largest of London’s Royal Parks. Originally converted to a deer park by Charles I in 1625, its vision is still alive and well nearly 400 years later. Over 600 red and fallow deer call Richmond their home and can be seen rutting in early spring. In fact, Richmond is a national nature reserve on account of its fauna. Runs through it will take you across natural fallows into the heart of British wildlife. For the most atmospheric routes, arrive in the early morning when the rolling London mists glow with the rose-tinted light of coming dawn.
Stay at any one of Jumeirah’s London properties to enjoy easy access to London’s Royal Parks.