There’s no excuse for not staying active in London. There’s plenty of space, after all, with eight royal parks covering 5000 acres – and that’s without counting places such as Hampstead Heath and the ancient woodland of Epping Forest, which straddles the north-east London/Essex border. Failing that, jump on a Boris bike and explore.
1. Pick a park
London is awash with parks to walk in. Just pick one and go for it. Victoria Park in East London has a boating lake if you want to exercise those arms. More central, Green Park, St James’s Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens form a great green swathe through west London.
2. Paddle the Thames
Moo Canoes in Limehouse Basin and the Milk Float café in Hackney Wick hire out kayaks and canoes. Either explore on your own or take one of their guided tours of the Thames and the nearby canals and waterways.
3. Take a 'Boris' bike for a spin
Like the Velibs in Paris, this public bike hire scheme has been a huge success. Don’t be put off by the hire terminals – with a credit or bank card it’s really quite easy.
4. London Olympic site
The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London is the biggest urban park in Europe and the largest created in Britain since 1878. Cycle it, swim in the Olympic pool, slide down the ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture or just walk around its 227 hectares.
5. Walk the canals
In the past two decades or so the once-neglected canal system in London has been cleaned up and is increasingly popular with walkers and cyclists. One good walk is to follow the Regents Canal from East London all the way to Regents Park.
6. Mudchute farm
This 13-hectare nature reserve on the Isle of Dogs is a natural wilderness hidden in the middle of London. Bosky glades, bridal paths and an inner-city farm. Go if only to experience the sight of alpacas grazing within cooee of Canary Wharf.
7. Get jogging
If walking’s all a bit too sedate for you then take advantage of one of the many jogging tours of London. Check out City Jogging Tours, Love London Running Tours and Secret London Runs, among others.
Join the baby brother of Paris’s huge Friday night Pari Roller. Departs from Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner every Friday at 8pm. There’s also a more sedate version on Sundays called the Sunday Stroll which leaves from Serpentine Road in Hyde Park at 2pm.
9. Walk the Thames Path
Well, not all of it – it’s 296km long from the source of the river near Kemble in Gloucestershire to the Thames Barrier at Charlton, East London. Maybe do the Richmond-Thames Barrier section, which passes Kew Gardens and Battersea Park. That bit’s just 45km.
10. Shake your booty
Get fit by partying the night away at the Ministry of Sound club in what was a disused bus garage in Gaunt Street, Elephant & Castle. It’s been going since 1991 so it must be doing something right.