We have recently returned from our first ever trip to the UK! (To be completely transparent, it wasn’t my first trip – I’ve been there three times before – but the most recent visit was at about age 8, so I’m considering this an inaugural visit.) In keeping with my usual travels, I took the opportunity to run and explore throughout our visit, and I’m excited to share those experiences. This post is the first of three, sharing my runs and sightseeing in the amazing city of London! Be sure to read my other posts about running in Yorkshire and Edinburgh, Scotland.
We purchased our airline tickets when WestJet had a seat sale last September, promoting their new direct route between Vancouver and London Gatwick. That’s 8 months of anticipation. But it was totally worth the wait! We departed YVR on Sunday evening, arriving in England at around noon the next day.
London – Day One
We checked in, and explored the neighbourhood (Marylebone) before heading down to the Thames River, where we walked along South Bank and took in all of the iconic sights of London, from Big Ben to Tower Bridge.
London – Day Two
Waking bright and early on Tuesday morning, I donned my running gear and set off to explore. I was delighted that our hotel was just a few blocks from Regent’s Park – so, armed with a Strava Routes guide for London, I proceeded to follow the recommended route around the Park, including Primrose Hill. It was breathtaking!
Regent’s Park has been Crown property since Henry VIII. It is named for the Prince Regent (later King George IV), who commissioned the design of the park in the early 1800s. It has several gardens, but is mostly wide open parkland – it also includes a sizeable lake, and London Zoo. Primrose Hill, just north of the park, is only 65m high, but it’s a steep climb…and the view from the top is fantastic – including the distant London Eye and the Shard tower.
More sightseeing ensued that day: Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey…so much to do! We also went to see the Phantom of the Opera! The highlight, however, was tea with a dear friend we hadn’t seen in many years – so wonderful to catch up!
London – Day Three
Another amazing day at the Tower of London, the British Museum, the Wallace Collection…followed by dinner with two other friends we hadn’t seen since their visit to Vancouver about four years ago.
London – Last Day
On the day of our departure, I mimicked my route around Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill, except in a counter-clockwise direction. I also detoured slightly along Regent’s Canal.
And then we headed to King’s Cross Station, to board the train for our next destination. Of course, I had to take a photo of Platform 9 3/4 (for all you Harry Potter fans!)
Have you ever run in London? What was your favourite route?
What’s your number one sightseeing spot?