Running in St James's Park, London

16 March 2022
By Brett Durney

This post is part of our Best Parks for Running in London series - put together by our dedicated running clinic team.

St James’s Park is considered to be one of London’s most beautiful Royal Parks and furthermore is a fantastic place to run and take in the views of some of London’s most iconic landmarks and buildings.

Pelicans, swans, Ducks, squirrels, cockatiels and herons are amongst some of the wildlife you can spot whilst taking a run within this beautiful park making it quite a unique and special experience for those lucky enough to experience. Located right in the heart of London between Horse Guards Parade, The Mall, St James’s, Victoria & Buckingham Palace it provides for easy access and varied running amenities.

Fantastic for a long slow duration run by completing loops without getting bored due to the amazing views OR high intensity interval runs making use of the long stretches and trails located within the park itself. St James’s Park provides even the most advanced of runners with all they need to have a fantastic run!

Our running clinic team have shared some great options if you plan a running visit to St James's Park.

St James's Park Running Routes

St James’s Park is one of London’s smaller royal parks and its perimeter is approximately 1.7km. This provides an excellent solution for those runners looking to complete interval training running OR laps for those completing longer slower duration runs. 

St James's Park 5km Route

3 laps of St James’s Park equates to approximately 5.1km which is perfect for those looking to complete 5km run distances.

The trails & paths around the park are immaculate and will enable you to run freely avoiding tourists and visitors ensuring you can really go for your 5km PB if that's the goal.

Alternatively if you are travelling in London for leisure or business and want a fabulous 20-30 min 5km run and at the same time the opportunity to take in beautiful scenery and sights - St James’s Park has it all!

St James's Park 10km Route

For those who are looking for a 10k run our recommendation would be to combine both St James’s Park and Green Park to create an approximate distance of 3.9km providing a fantastic 2.5 lap 10km and again with some amazing views to take in along the way. 

Trail Runs in St James's Park

St James’s Park provides a good set of trails to follow also. Not quite as good as some other parks but you are able to run concrete free and on grass/trails for the majority of the perimeter.

On The Mall side of the park there is a gravel track which hugs the perimeter of the park and provides the opportunity for a long, straight and slightly lower impact run compared to running on concrete. 

Additional Routes and Tips for St James's Park

On Sundays The Mall is closed and pedestrians are allowed to walk freely on The Mall and the surrounding roads, this makes for a fantastic opportunity to complete faster runs with no interruptions and you can increase the perimeter distance slight by sticking to the roads.

It's also quite good fun running on the roads that you see so frequently on TV when the London Marathon occurs and you can also run down the same stretch as athletes did in the Olympics!

If you are keen to run a further distance and want to combine 3 of London’s Royal Parks our recommendation would be to start in St James’s Park, complete a lap, cross The Mall into Green Park, complete a lap, cross Hyde Park Corner into Hyde Park and complete a lap.

This would equate to just over 10km and if you return back to St James’s Park would equate to around 12km making for a good 1 hour to 1 hour 30 min run depending on fitness levels and experience levels.

Another great benefit of running in the Royal Parks in Central London is that there are refreshment huts located within each providing you with the opportunity to purchase water OR get a post workout meal should you need. There are also public toilets available in most of London’s Royal Parks which are usually kept to a clean hygienic standard and are appropriate for all genders.

Getting to St James's Park

Travel to and from St James’s Park is easy and there are multiple ways to get there. Please find below details on all the transport methods we could think of to help get you there.

Tube Stations

  • St James’s Park - 2 mins walk to the park and is serviced by the district and circle line
  • Westminster - 5 min walk to the park and is serviced by the district, circle and jubilee line (this also provides an opportunity to see the London Eye and Big Ben as well as Parliament Square)
  • Green Park - 5 mins walk from the station and is serviced by Victoria, Jubilee & Piccadilly lines
  • Piccadilly - 6 mins walk to the park and is serviced by Piccadilly and Bakerloo lines
  • Charing Cross - 4 mins walk to the park and is serviced by the Northern and Bakerloo lines

Bus Routes

Being so centrally located means St James’s Park is incredible well connected by literally hundreds of bus routes. We’ve listed a few key landmarks below all of which are within 5 mins walking distance to the park.

  • Trafalgar Square: 12, 88, 139, 159, 453, N3, N15, N109, N113, N136 (N provides night service providing 24 hours access via these routes)
  • Piccadilly Circus: 12, 88, 94, 139, 159, 453, N3, N15, N109, N113, N136 (N provides night service providing 24 hours access via these routes)
  • Hyde Park Corner: 2, 13, 16, 36, 38, 52, 148, 390, N2, N38 (N provides night service providing 24 hours access via these routes)

Santander Bicycle Stations

Again due to its super central location St James’s Park is well serviced with Santander bicycle stations and there is one within a 10 min walk in any direction of the park at minimum. The Santander bicycle app can be downloaded which displays a map of all of the station locations which is really useful. Cycling in London is an incredible efficient way of getting around and the Santader bicycles make it hassle free and very economic.

St James’s Park is located 2 mins walk from Parliament Square, 6 mins walk from Victoria Station, 5 mins walk from Green Park Station & 6 mins walk from Piccadilly Circus. Its located right in the heart of London’s most affluent neighbourhoods and is surrounded by iconic landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, Horse Guards Parade, The Mall, St James’s Palace & Trafalgar Square.

Running in St James's Park at Night

One of the great advantages of running in St James’s Park is that it is incredibly well lit year round providing an excellent option for night runs especially when the daylight hours in the UK reduce and it can sometimes start to get dark in the late afternoons. Furthermore it's also great for those who like early runs when it is also still dark in the mornings for portions of the year.

From a security perspective we would say that St James’s Park is number 1 in this regard. Being located adjacent to Downing Street, Parliament, Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace & other places of great importance the parks are almost always incredibly well policed. Because of this, we rank the safety of running in St James’s Park both during day and night as very high.

St James's Park Opening Times

Good news if you keep an awkward schedule! St James’s Park is open 24/7 - 365 days per year.

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