This post is part of our Best Parks for Running in London series – put together by our dedicated running clinic team.
Regent’s Park has it all when it comes to a good decent central London park.
There is always an opportunity to find new and interesting areas of the park every time you explore it. At the top end of the park you can spot some of the exotic animals at London Zoo. There is a large open field in the middle which is used for sport over the weekends. The southern end has a lake where you can hire a row boat for your post run paddle, a rose garden collection and a Japanese garden to get lost in.
Running around the outside gives views of some of the more expensive London properties, especially along the eastern perimeter. It is an ever changing landscape as you run your way through the park.
Regent’s Park provides you with ample trail running, road running, casual running or power walking, you can really do it all in this park.
Depending on where you enter the park there are a number of cafes and restaurants spread throughout. The boathouse cafe is near the Baker St entrance, while you have the Broadwalk cafe in the centre of the park. The espresso bar close to the Regent St end is also your best bet for toilet facilities which are found conveniently next door. However, you will find toilet facilities spread throughout.
If a more substantial meal is needed then check out Regent’s Bar and Kitchen which has a nice outdoor area to sit and relax in while enjoying your post-run meal.
Getting to Regent’s Park
Regent’s Park is very well connected, due to its location and size of the park. See below for a list of the train and tube stations connecting the park.
- London Euston train station – A 15min walk from the south eastern entrance to the park (0.8miles), this train station services national rail services as well as Northern and Victoria underground lines.
- Regent’s Park Station (Bakerloo line) – 30s walk from the South eastern entrance
- Great Portland St (Circle, Hammersmith and City and Metropolitan lines) – 2min walk to the South Eastern entrance
- Baker street station – (Bakerloo, Circle, Hammersmith and City, Jubilee and Metropolitan lines) – 3min walk to the south western corner – closest to the rose and japanese gardens
- St Johns Wood (Jubilee line) – 15min walk from the North western end close to the Zoo. A good starting point for a coffee or refreshments.
- Mornington Crescent (Northern line) – 13min walk gets you to the north eastern end of the Park (Gloucester gate).
In terms of bus routes the park is surrounded by the major roads into London and depending on what side of the park you are entering from or indeed which location in London you are travelling from you are almost guaranteed to have a stop that services your needs. See below for the buses that service the same stations as the train stations described above.
- London Euston bus stop routes (18, 30, 73, 91, 205, 390, N5, N20, N73, N91, N205 -N provide night service providing 24 hours access via these routes)
- Regent’s park and great portland st bus routes (18, 27, 20, 205, 453, N18, N27, N205 -N provides night service providing 24 hours access via these routes)
- Baker st bus routes (13, 74, 189, 274, 758, 768, N74 – N provides night service providing 24 hours access via these routes)
- St Johns Wood bus routes (13, 46, 113, 187, N113 -N provides night service providing 24 hours access via these routes)
- Mornington crescent bus routes (24, 27, 29, 134, N5, N20, N27, N29, N279 – N provides night service providing 24 hours access via these routes)
Regent’s Park is also well connected to Santander bicycle docking stations and these can be found around the park and by the majority of the underground stations listed above as well. They provide an easy way to get close to the park with docking stations on the perimeter. Download the Santander bicycle app to show you where the free docking stations are.
Runs in Regent’s Park
Regent’s Park offers a wide range of running opportunities from quiet off road and trail paths to completely pathed footpaths to make your run enjoyable no matter what you are into. There is also a chance to get a bit of bird watching in with plenty of information on which birds/waterfowl are found at Regent’s park and the lake within its boundaries. If you are a fan of cricket then there is the possibility of adding a Lords cricket ground loop to your visit.
In terms of running routes the park is completely surrounded by a circular road and the footpath around the outside provides a safe and excellent 4.5km loop. If you want to take advantage of the park itself, two loops of the lake and finishing in Queen Mary’s gardens will give you another 5km option.
In the north western corner of the park there is a 400m running track and this would make an excellent warm up location as well as some faster sprints if that is what you are into. You can also incorporate Primrose Hill and Regent’s canal if you want to add in longer 10km runs. All discussed in more detail below.
Regent’s Park 5k route
As Regent Park is a fairly large completely flat park in central London it is easy to find many different 5km routes especially if you are looking for a loop option. Below are two of our favourite routes:
- The easiest route to follow is to keep to the footpath that circles the outside of the park. It doesn’t matter where you start, you will always end up back at your starting point. This footpath is pretty quiet and there are only a couple of roads that you have to cross so you spend more time concentrating on running than watching out for people and cars. The main part to watch out for is around the Zoo, as you will encounter excited children and families. You can avoid this by taking the path that enters the park and follows behind the Zoo instead. This will avoid the busy street and you will be able to spot Giraffes, zebras and camels. Hug the path next to the Zoo all the way and you will pop back onto the road to finish the loop
- If you are coming from the Baker St or Regent’s park tube or bus stations then another favourite route is to do two laps of the lake to make up 5km. This is a really nice run and involves mostly flat pathed footpaths through large mature trees and follows the lake with a couple of lovely bridges you can cross. It isn’t too busy here and you can turn off the path halfway around to explore a Japanese garden with a waterfall or if you need the toilet facilities these can be found by the boat shed where you hire the row boats at the western end of the lake.
Regent’s Park 10k route
If you are looking for a longer run then there are also lots of options for 10km runs. Many of these do involve multiple loops, but if you incorporate close parks and an out-and-back canalside run then your options are endless. Below are a couple of our favorite 10km routes
- This first route takes in the best parts of Regent’s Park and if you want to challenge yourself with some incline then you can add in a loop of Primrose Hill with magnificent views over the London skyline. Starting point for this is to do one loop of the lake (see under 5km loop above for a more detailed description). Once you have completed this loop you will make your way around the outside of the park. Either follow the footpath outside of the park, or if you are feeling more adventurous there is an off road trail that loosely follows the same path around the inside of the perimeter fence. After a couple of kms you will reach the London Zoo. Cross the road and make your way North into Primrose Hill (well signposted). Complete a loop of Primrose Hill (2.6km extra), finding your way back to your exit point of Regent’s Park and continue around the perimeter of Regent’s Park to finish the loop and your run. If you want to skip primrose hill, continue around the outside of Regent’s Park and complete a second lap of the lake to finish.
- Another option is to use the path that runs next to the Canal on the Northern side of the park for a very beautiful addition to your run. You can start this run anywhere around Regent’s Park. Run around the outside of the park and once you get to the Zoo, cross the road and you will find the Canal to the north. You can take this West or East. Following it East and turning around when you get to Kings cross basin will add a nice 5km section to your 10km run. Once you reach Regent’s park again, continue around to finish your loop and end back where you started. Half way along the canal you will also pass through Camden Lock and its famous food market stalls with the smell of frying food hitting your nostrils.
Other running options
There are many other running options for you at Regent’s Park. Taking the Canal either side of the park will give you miles of running opportunities and you will be surprised how far you can get with uninterrupted running.
The path can be pretty busy on the weekends however.
If you want to try your hand at some interval/speed work then there is also a 400m running track up by Macclesfield Bridge in the north western end. The track is mostly grit and sand but makes for a smooth and flat running surface in any conditions.
Running in Regent’s Park at night/opening times
Regent’s Park is open from 5am every day of the year but the closing times do vary depending on the season. Summer closing times are between 8pm and 930pm. Winter closing times can be as early as 430pm in January and February.
Toilet facilities close 30 mins before the above times so make sure you take advantage of them early.
As the park’s closing times tend to coincide with sunset, you won’t generally be running in the evening dark. However, it doesn’t seem that the park has very well lit paths within its boundaries. You may want to be aware of this if you are an early runner in the winter months. Taking advantage of the road loop on the outside of the park which is well lit by street lights and is easier to navigate when it is dark.
Does Regent’s Park have an organised Parkrun?
There is no organised Parkrun at Regent’s Park. However, they do hold regular summer 10km series so you can test yourself in a fun, safe and controlled environment. You also get an official time so you can challenge yourself to get fitter and quicker everytime. They also hold a half marathon (21.1km) if you want to have a go at the longer distances.