People running on a canal
People running on a canal

Loop running routes near London


When you live in the capital, having your own car isn’t always convenient or eco-friendly. Often, you’ll be running, walking, cycling or taking public transport in the hope of avoiding traffic, staying active or even reducing your carbon footprint. But when you’re looking to escape the city and discover new routes, you need a way to get there.

We're working with Runners Need to help people discover running routes outside the city and encourage car sharing to reduce vehicles on our roads and emissions in our atmosphere. Plus, Zipcar members get 12.5% discount with Runners Need which is just another reason to lace up, step out and run somewhere new.

Car sharing is a more sustainable way to travel and explore new places, and Zipcar is the perfect way to get the gang together for a run. Whether it’s your local club, friends, family or colleagues, Runners Need are all about running together and sharing the experience, so why not discover a new route together?

The experts at Runners Need have shared some of their favourite routes around London, to help inspire your next run outside the city.


Within the M25

woman running

Richmond Park – A particularly popular route at weekends, head around the edge of the park on the hard-packed perimeter, Tamsin Trail. The whole loop is 11km or 7.35 miles, but you can cut through the middle of the park to save a mile. The trail can get busy with walkers and cyclists, but you can run almost anywhere in the park, with plenty of paths to choose from and a range of quiet roads for speed work.


Wimbledon and Putney Commons – Often heralded as the best place to run in southwest London, the Commons comprise 1140 acres of open space and offer a combination of open fields, woods, hills and pastures, playing host to running clubs and popular with amateurs and athletes alike. Much of the Commons are a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation but the whole area is open to the public 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

man running

Bushy Park - At over 1000 acres, Bushy Park is the second largest of London’s Royal Parks. Lying just north of Hampton Court Palace, Bushy is famed for its mix of waterways, gardens, and deer herds. Home to one of many parkrun routes around the UK, with a fast, flat course across a variety of surfaces including grass and paths, look out for the spectacular Diana Fountain, the Upper Lodge Water Gardens and bird life including kingfishers and kestrels. The Woodland Gardens also offer 60 acres of pathways taking in vibrant plants, towering trees, and shimmering waterways. 


Denham Park – Easily-accessed from the Colne Valley Visitor Centre, Denham Park offers a fairly short and easy-access route towards the Grand Union Canal. Water is a key feature of this park with the rivers Colne and Misbourne flowing through, but if you’re looking for more countryside, Colne Valley Country Park is a mosaic of farmland, woodland and water covering 43 square miles, with plenty of trails and surfaced paths to choose from.

women running

Trent Park – Home to Trent Park Running Club, Trent Country Park lies in 413 acres of rolling meadows, enchanting brooks, exquisite lakes, ancient woodland, and imposing historical sites. It forms part of London's Green Belt and provides a rural and tranquil atmosphere on the outskirts of the city. There are several running routes including the London Loop which passes through the park, as well as others taking in the Water Garden, nature trail and Camelot Moat.


Walthamstow Wetlands – Just 15 minutes from Central London in the Lee Valley, Walthamstow Wetlands is a 211-hectare nature reserve comprising ten reservoirs, providing home to a wide range of wildlife as well as London’s drinking water. It has a range of accessible concrete pathways, and muddier paths and dirt tracks suitable for running, with wide windswept views towards the city.

Outside the M25

man running in the woods

Wendover Woods – There are plenty of trails at this Forestry England woodland from 5km routes including parkrun to a forest fitness trail featuring outdoor fitness equipment. Wendover has a range of surfaced and unsurfaced trails and forest roads with plenty of viewpoints and a few hills to test your stamina.


Dunstable Downs – Offering spectacular views of rolling chalk grasslands, National Trust-managed Dunstable Downs is home to the Leighton Fun Runners who make use of this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for their weekly club runs. This slice of Bedfordshire countryside offers a range of easy-to-follow routes and more wild trails, with marked routes between 2 and 6 miles, plus space to extend these if you fancy a longer route. 

man running in the forrest

Epping Forest - Epping Forest has over 284km of paths and untold other trails across its 8000 acres including nine waymarked trails which are signposted and circular, and start/end conveniently close to parking too. Managed by the City of London, there are so many different landscapes to explore with something for every runner.


Leith Hill - Don’t be put off by the highest point in southeast England: the estate is crossed by footpaths and bridleways which offer excellent routes to explore the surrounding landscape. Expect woodlands, farm and parklands, open, sandy heaths and historic arboretum. With plenty of parking across the estate, this is perfect for a day trip to run out of the city.

Further afield

South downs way

South Downs Way Eastbourne Loop – Why not run a section of the 100km South Downs Way? The Eastbourne Loop is a five-mile circular loop taking in the famous Beachy Head, Britain’s highest chalk cliff. If you want to explore more of the South Downs Way, there are plenty more circular routes to choose from, ranging from 5km to upwards of 20km.


North Downs Way - Running from Farnham to Canterbury and the White Cliffs of Dover, this 153-mile (246km) trail passes through two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and along the famous Pilgrim’s Way. Much of the trail follows flat ground but there are some steep sections offering fantastic views across the High Weald. Expect varied terrain including chalk grassland, woodlands, as well as coastal and countryside footpaths.

Book a Zipcar today to escape the city and find your new favourite running route

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