If you enjoy exercising outside in warm weather, but autumn makes you want to hide under the duvet, this may be a good time to consider changing up your running routine and trying a new parkrun route. In the UK alone there are over 150 parkruns scattered across the country. We’ve rounded up a few of the most scenic parkruns that are perfect for an energising run.
Frequently voted the most scenic of all the parkruns, there is certainly plenty to see along the Milton Keynes course. Skirting past the Grand Union Canal and along the shores of Willen Lake, the route crosses several bridges and passes the striking Peace Pagoda built by Buddhist monks. Other attractions along the route include a stand of cherry trees planted in honour of victims of war, and a sacred stone circle of limestone rocks. This is a great course for those who like to pick out landmarks along the way, and the popular route attracts hundreds of runners each week!
Starting and finishing near the estate’s quaint Pudding House, where favoured guests would once have retired to enjoy their dessert, the Yeovil Montacute parkrun traverses the beautiful grounds which surround historic Montacute House, which is owned and maintained by the National Trust. Race through ancient woodlands, past hedges, across lawns and through frosty gardens near the handsome 17th-century manor house. This is an ideal parkrun for anyone who loves a run tinged with the romance of a bygone age.
The Colby parkrun follows a route through the picturesque Colby Woodland Garden, a peaceful property also belonging to the National Trust. Set in a quiet wooded valley, with shady pathways and sun-filled meadows, Colby also has an interesting industrial history, being located in the heart of a rich coal-mining district. Enjoy the sweet scent of forest air as you race along undulating paths through the woods and fields, keeping an eye out for the local wildlife.
For a bracing dose of sea air, the Edinburgh parkrun can’t be beat. Stretching along the Cramond/Silverknowes Promenade to the north of the city centre, this scenic coastal route offers stunning views over the silvery waters of the Firth of Forth and the hills beyond – you’ll also be able to sight Birnie Rocks and Cramond Island along the way. Dress warmly to fend off the chill, and you’ll be able to enjoy all the beauty of racing through the elements.
Set on the western outskirts of London, the Osterley parkrun is perfect for escaping the metropolis and getting some fresh air. Another country estate managed by the National Trust, Osterley Park is a grand Georgian mansion surrounded by a vast parkland, formal gardens and fields. Stretch your legs and enjoy the frosty scene as you run through quiet lanes that pass under ancient trees and around the imposing house itself.
If you feel refreshed by a peaceful forest run, the Conkers parkrun passes through some lovely woodlands and even follows the Ashby Canal for a brief spell. Runners jog along well-maintained trails in the Donisthorpe Woodland Park, a picturesque stretch of oak, pine, alder and ash that now fill the site of a former colliery, which gives the run its historical connection. Starting and finishing at the Conkers Waterside, this run also takes in part of the scenic Ashby Woulds on its out-and-back loop.
Looking for something really different? The Portrush parkrun is run on a sandy golden beach, making it an ideal way to enjoy the coastal views all winter long. This stretch of shoreline is renowned for its striking beauty, with gentle green hills and crashing waves adding to the picturesque scene. Wrap up warm and you’re certain to feel invigorated by that sparkling surf.
Check out individual parkrun event pages for details of start times and directions for travel.