You can probably tell from many of the other blogs on TheCounterintuitive.com, that I’m a big fan of health, fitness and running in particular. One of the things I missed the most when I was travelling, was my regular evening run through London. Simply put, London is most beautiful at night and the best way to see all the famous landmarks at the perfect time is with a run.
It’s an alternative way to see London in all its beauty, it’s free, it doesn’t matter the weather and it’s a bound to be a memorable experience.
Armed with my iPhone, Vivo Barefoot running shoes and RunKeeper app, the run starts and finishes at St Pauls, alongside the wide pavements of the River Thames. It’s 7km long and would take most runners around 30-60 minutes. There are alternatives to the route, by crossing different bridges to reduce or lengthen the distance, but the one described is by far the best.
If any travellers are in town and want to run this route with me, please get in touch.
Here’s a RunKeeper Activity Map of the route
London’s most popular city cathedral and home to the famous whispering gallery.
View of Oxo Tower
A view across the water of one of the few buildings in London with advertising, made with glass windows to advertise the OXO cube food product by the original building owners. These days, it’s a creative centre for arts, apartment block and rooftop restaurant.
The boundary markers for the City of London, the original settlement by the Romans in 1st Century AD.
As seen from the Victoria Embankment, originally a Tudor Palace and now a centre for arts, tours, exhibitions and a winter time ice skating rink.
The stone sculpture and bronze sphinxes were a gift from the Egyptians to England. The sphinxes beside it survived World War 1 air bombings – you’ll see as you look closely at the right hand sphinx, the holes in the thick brass.
View of The South Bank
The southern bank of the River Thames, home to a plethora of theatres, museums and since 2000 – the London Eye. At night, the LondonAquarium is lit by cyclical colours.
Sculpture which commemorates the British military personnel who took part in the Battle of Britain during the Second World War. It’s believed to be one of the most important battles of the war and near 500 airmen who lost their lives in the skies.
London’s most famous tower, clock and the bell that sounds within it. It’s part of the building of the Houses of Parliament on the corner of Westminster Bridge and chimes every quarter hour.
The home of british politics, where bills are debated, scrutinised inside the building by politicians.
On the south side of The River Thames, crossing at Lambeth Bridge are the steps down to the Thames Riverside Walk. The walkway gives the best views of the Houses of Parliament across the river.
Continuing the path underneath the steps of Westminster Bridge leads to the South Bank and alongside the famous London Eye ferris wheel. Day time and evening “flights” on the wheel mean it will likely still be in motion at any time you pass.
The famous urban site for skateboarding and graffiti, currently under threat from being converted to retail space (see Save The South Bankproject).
South Bank Trees
Just east of the main South Bank area, are a number of benches underneath a row of trees. During the day, they’re nothing special, but at night, they’re lit with beautiful blue and white lights.
View of Victoria Embankment, Blackfriars Bridge and the Thames Beach
Normally laughed out by Londoners, there’s a small stretch of beach visible at the corner of the Jubliee Walk.
Millennium Bridge and St Pauls
Like the London Eye, the Millennium Bridge was another year 2000 project for London. Although originally seen as a failure having to be closed days after opening to the public due to resonance from pedestrians on the bridge, £5m and a year later, the bridge is the version that currently stands. It’s forte is by far the view onto St Pauls. From the bridge, looking east you see The Shard, and Tower Bridge.