Pimlico: the running routes

Eight in a series of articles on Pimlico, putting words to page on an area of London that I’ve lived in for a few years.  If these read well, I might cover other parts of London I know or explore in the same manner. You can use the ‘Pimlico’ category tag on this site to see the related posts. This one is about where you can run to.

Confession: I’m kind of cheating on this one, as most of it isn’t actually Pimlico. But it all starts in Pimlico, at least. Images are screen shots of runs, tracked using Strava.

Pimlico does have a gym and a swimming pool for the fitness fan. But if you’re like me, and hate running on a treadmill, then Pimlico itself doesn’t have any particularly great running routes within it. A lap of Pimlico is 2.5 miles, so a couple of those could get some distance up, and maybe threading back and forth across the grid of streets would also be a way to do a route, but otherwise there’s not much to keep a run within Pimlico itself all that interesting.

However, there are several good options nearby that make a run both interesting and utilise the proximity of Pimlico to other great London attractions. I’ve included a few below, with their mileage.

3 miles: Buckingham Palace and St James’ Park.

Heading out of Pimlico and crossing Vauxhall Bridge to then run up Rochester Row, St James’ Park can then be accessed off Victoria Street. I like to run all the way along to Westminster Abbey, then cross up by the Treasury and do a loop of the park from there, then head back. This route picks up the park, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the rear entrance to Downing Street and Horse Guards Parade. That’s a bucket list of attractions all in the space of half an hour.

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3 mile alternate: Westminster.

From Vauxhall Bridge Road and over the bridge, turning left passes the MI6 Building and takes you back up to Lambeth Bridge. Passing this and staying on the south side then routes up to Westminster Bridge. This bridge can be a pain to run over due to the number of inevitable tourists, but that’s understandable – it’s one of the most recognisable views in the world that passing as you cross it – Parliament and Elizabeth Tower / Big Ben.

Once through there, I then run along Victoria Street, and back down Rochester Row. As with the other three-mile route, it’s fun to just go for a casual run and pass some of the most famous landmarks ever.

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4 miles: Battersea Park and back.

Running west along Grosvenor Road, I like to then cross Chelsea Bridge, and then run along the north side of the park to Albert Bridge. Here, I either turn on the spot and retrace my steps, or cross Albert Bridge and then head back up along Chelsea Embankment. This route is particularly nice as it follows the Thames and the park for most of it, and also passes Battersea Power Station, making for pleasant views during the run.

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As many miles as you like: low imagination run.

Vincent Square is just across Vauxhall Bridge Road from Pimlico. And a lap of it is pretty much half a mile. So… laps it is. I’ve done anything from two to seven miles using this option, altering direction every few laps to keep the turns and pressure on legs even. While this can be a bit boring, during the summer it can mean you get to watch a cricket match being played in the green as you run around it. And it’s a good one for timing your laps or adding HIIT sprints.

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5 miles: Battersea Park loop.

The same route as the four-mile Battersea Park run, but adding in a full lap of the park as well. It’s easy to then further increase the distance with a loop around the nearby Albert Bridge to Battersea Bridge, or by crossing back and forth on the paths within the park itself.img_2887

6 miles: Battersea Park lap, and Nine Elms.

A simple addition to the Battersea Park lap, this route turns from north-east corner of the park, and routes back through Nine Elms and past the flower market, back into Vauxhall. There, it crosses back across the bridge and heads back up Vauxhall Bridge Road. It can be interesting to see just how much building work is going on around here, I’m sure new luxury flats seem to spring up between every run.

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9.5 miles: looping the parks.

This run is the same as the St James’ Park run, but adds in a loop around neighbouring Green Park and Hyde Park as well, for good measure. A great and fresh distance run, with lots of greenery to help you lose yourself to the run, and a few inclines to exert yourself on. As with all park runs, the many paths within the parks can add more distance.

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Other routes:

I used to work in the City, so a run back from work would take about as much time as the commute, and get in a nice 3.5 miles. Alternatively, running to the eerily empty city at the weekend, then looping to Tower Bridge and back west on the southern side to Vauxhall was a good long run – though the trade-off of the empty City against the busy weekend Southbank was about fifty-fifty. One or other will always be busy, unless the run is very early or very late.

Adding Battersea Park to the Parks Loop gets the distance up to half-marathon levels, and I’m pretty sure it is close to the route of one of London’s official half marathons, so is good for training.

While Pimlico itself is too small to contain a good run, its central location really does make up for it. Plenty of good options are available with only a little imagination, and all provide interesting sights to keep you occupied on the run.

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They may be getting a bit worn out, but I do still like my Brooks running shoes!

You can use the ‘Pimlico’ category tag on this site to see the related posts.


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