The Finsbury Park Loop (14.8 miles)
Route in figures
Seymour - Camden - Arensal - Finsbury Park - Parkland Walk - Highgate - Hampstead Heath - Primrose Hill - Seymour.
Suitable for summertime (daylight hours) and at nearly 15 miles it is at the limits of what is feasable on a Wednesday evening. Yet despite the 2 mile ascent of Parkland Walk and the steep gradient of Jacksons Lane it runs quite fast.
As the route follows a loop at some distance from central London, there are no easy bail outs or short cuts but there are a few tube stations along the way (Camden, Finsbury Park, Highgate); please carry enough cash to cover contingencies. In case of fatigue there are a couple of easy options towards the end (skipping Parliament hill, and cutting through Regents park - see the route map for details.
Especially from Camden Lock through to Parkland Walk it is advisable to run in groups of three or more.
NB: As the route goes past the Emirates Stadium (Arsenal FC) it is wise to check for home fixtures before setting off as the roads in the vicinity can get quite busy at such a time.
Acknowledgements and History
Originally this route was invented by Nick Slade and later championed by Steve Cook. Malcolm Hinsley turned it back to front a) to have the final few miles as familiar territory for club members and b) to include Parkland Walk as an uphill section.
|"Digital Data © Geoinformation Group (2005)"|
Start and finish
The route starts and finishes at the Seymour Leisure Centre, where Serpentine members can use the shower and changing facilities. The Seymour Leisure Centre is on Seymour Place, W1H 5TH.
"Digital Data © Geoinformation Group (2003)"
|0||Seymour centre to Marylebone Rd (north along Seymour Place).|
|0.2||Cross Marylebone Road and head up Lisson Grove, after a short while cross to the RHS using the zebra crossing.|
|0.8||Continue up Lisson Grove and turn right onto the Regents Canal|
|1.0||After the bridge over the canal double back and head East towards the Zoo|
|2.0||Continue along the towpath and after about one mile you will pass the Chinese boat and the canal takes a 90 degree turn to the left. Follow the towpath for another mile.|
|2.4||Just before Camden Lock market there is a small humpback bridge. Turn left just after this and before bridge over the canal and keep to the right round the dock back onto the towpath. Around here the towpath is quite busy, and especially on a warm summer evening there may be groups of people relaxing by the canal. Sometimes they can get excited by the sight of runners and it is best to run this stretch as a group rather than spread apart.|
|2.9||After bridges under Camden St and Royal College St you come to St Pancras Way - take the steps on the left up to a street with a wide green cycle lane, turn left and cross over to the RHS.|
|3.0||Take the second right into Agar Grove - this is the start of about 2 miles of straight roads that wiggle towards the left when you cross major roads.|
|3.3||At York Way turn left, cross over and take the next right into Market Road.|
|3.9||At the Caledonian Road cross over into Mackenzie Road.|
|4.2||At Liverpool Road continue straight (ie take the right hand fork) into Palmer Place.|
|4.3||Cross the Holloway road into Drayton Park.|
|4.6||Follow round Drayton Park, past the Emirates Stadium on the left.|
|5.0||Drayton Park turns right into Gillespie Road (there is a park on your left). Take the next left into St Thomas Road.|
|5.5||At the end of St Thomas road veer left and you will see FP station, Finsbury Park is over to your right, use the crossings as the 7 Sisters Road is very busy.|
|5.9||In the park keep on the road and to the left up the hill and opposite the cafe on your right (public toilets here) turn left and cross the railway, and turn right immediately into Parkland Walk.|
|6.0||Parkland Walk is a former railway line and slopes gently uphill for about 2 miles, and may be muddy. It is an opportunity to increase your effort slightly for 15 minutes or so - regroup at the top or more frequently if desired.|
|7.8||Exit Parkland Walk to the left, turn right up the hill, turn right onto the Archway Road and cross over when safe.|
|7.9||Turn left into Jacksons Lane, easy to spot as it's the steepest option.|
|8.0||Continue to the end of Jacksons Lane and turn left into Southwood Lane, sustaining the uphill.|
|8.3||At the end of Southwood Lane (in the middle of Highgate Village) turn right and then left into Hampstead Lane (you pass two mini roundabouts here).|
|8.9||Continue on the LHS until you can turn left onto Hampstead Heath - there is a small paved path before Kenwood House. Follow this path through to a grassy clearing take the right fork and continue to the main path and floow that downhill.|
|9.1||Run over a small footbridge between the trees and take the right hand path.|
|9.2||Coming off the grass turn right then left onto a wide path covered by trees (Millfield Lane). Continue along this and turn right then left just before the end. (by the toilets and water fountain)|
|9.5||Take the dirt path in front of you and run by the pond on your right, turn right (round the pond) the left past the next two ponds and follow the path round (right fork) till you find another water fountain and toilets at the base of parliament hill.|
|10.1||Ascend Parliament Hill, regroup, continue down the other side and take the second left (sharp corner at a crossroads)
NB: optionally you can run round the hill and accross the base to reach the railway bridge (see the blue line on the map)
|10.9||Follow this path round, keep right and you reach the bridge over the railway, cross this, turn right and then left into Lisburne Road. (This is the 'normal route' to/from the heath).|
|11.0||L into Agincourt Rd.|
|11.1||R into Fleet Road.|
|11.1||L into Parkhill Road.|
|11.6||R into Haverstock Hill.|
|11.6||L into Englands lane.|
|11.8||L into Primrose Hill Road.|
|12.0||R onto Primrose Hill, over the top and down to the opposite corner on Prince Albert Rd.|
|12.5||R then L into Regents Park, across the Outer Circle into the park and immediately left past the zoo.
NB: There is the option to continue across the park past the hub (public toilets) saving 0.8 miles - see the blue line on the map.
|12.9||continue on this path to the Broadwalk (veer left at the end)|
|13.0||turn right past the big fountain (downhill) and continue the the end, crossing Chester Road|
|13.5||R inside the park till the gate oppsite the pond onto Baker street.|
|14.0||L down Baker Street.|
|14.1||R into Melcombe Place, past Marylebone Station.|
|14.4||L into Harewood Avenue.|
|14.6||R then across to Seymour Place.|