Princess Diana Trail
The Princess Diana Trail in London winds 7.2 miles through St. James Park, Green Park, Hyde Park, and Kensington Gardens. Lady Di is said to have jogged frequently through these parks. The Princess Diana Trail is a wonderful tribute to her. If you enjoy running, long walks, and/or gardens, then you need to check it out.
I discovered the Princess Diana Trail from the London Telegraph article 6 in the City. We were staying in The Amba Charing Cross Hotel about a block from Trafalgar Square and maybe 1/4 mile from the Admiralty Arch, which opens to the Mall leading to Buckingham Palace. The “trail” is easy to follow. Small, slightly raised, brass markers in the pavement guide the way. An arrow on the each plate indicates your direction. There are other markers in the pavement, but none other are raised. It is actually quite easy to follow; I only got off coarse once.
The trail is beautiful, scenic and gives a great view of all 4 parks. I did not take a camera and I regret it. I missed out on plenty of wonderful photo memories . You actually run along the sidewalk of Buckingham Palace, right in front of the gates. Running in the early morning, I was there practically alone and could have touched the gates had I wanted.
St. James Park and Green Park were fun, but Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens were the highlights to me. Running along the Serpentine, through rose gardens, past lily ponds, and other English gardens thrilled this nature lover. To me, taking in the scenery is half of the joy of running, and the Princess Diana Trail did not disappoint.
As mentioned earlier, I lost the trail once, on the northeast portion of Kensington Gardens; probably from enjoying the sites and not looking for the markers. I encountered a delightful lady from Gothenburg, Sweden who had missed the same marker. She was a pleasant companion for about a mile while we found our way back to the trail. Running off track did allow me to run along Bayswater Road; the house where J.M. Barrie penned “Peter Pan.” If I had known at the time that I was so close, I would have taken a 2 or 3 block detour to view where Monty Python filmed the “Mr. Creosote” sketch.
There is so much to do and so much to see in London! If you run, like long walks, and/or love gardening, then the Princess Diana Run should be on your to do list. With views of the castle and gardens, you will not be disappointed. Bring your camera, though! Look for the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens. If you are a Python fan, burn the extra calories from a wafer thin mint and pay homage to Mr. Creosote.