London is all the richer for its Royal Parks, with all the sports and fitness options they provide. Personal trainers in London beware: you can’t train your clients in any of the Royal Parks without a Royal Parks Licence, for which you must pay an annual fee.
With its new sports pavilion, The Hub, Regents Park has facilities for many sports including football, rugby, cricket, softball, and hockey.
One personal trainer was prosecuted earlier this year for not having a Royal Parks Licence for training his clients on Primrose Hill, despite having trained his clients there for years with no restrictions. Is this an unjust restriction on personal trainers and their clients? You decide!
Formerly a Tudor hunting park dating back to the 16th century, Hyde Park is steeped in history. There are many activities organised in this park, from the Royal Parks half-marathon every October, to the 50k ultra-marathon which includes Hyde Park along its route.
If you want a taste of military-style fitness, try a session with Commando Training, with a former Royal Marines Commando.
Fancy horse-riding through Hyde Park? Hyde Park Stables offers a range of horse-riding lessons for all ages and abilities.
If you’re into tennis, Will to Win run tennis coaching at Hyde Park’s tennis courts.
Green Park is the smallest of the 8 Royal Parks, with its 40 acres of space next to Buckingham Palace. There are no formal sporting facilities in this park, but it’s a great park to jog around.
St James’s Park
No sports or fitness facilities, but popular for joggers.
This has the most sports and fitness facilities of all the Royal Parks.
Want to get fit? Buggyfit offers group training for mums with babies in their buggies. And the hilly and wooded areas offer great routes for cross country running.
If you’re into rugby, there are three rugby pitches north of Roehampton Gate, and at weekends the Rosslyn Park Rugby Football Club uses these pitches.
For golfers there’s Glendale Golf with two 18-hole golf courses and golf lessons with Stuart Hill.
Richmond Park offers the most extensive horse-riding facilities of any Royal Park in London. Stag Lodge Stables, Barnsfield Riding School, and Kingston Riding Centre are three of the most established providers of horse-riding lessons in the park.
North of Hampton Court Palace, this park offers a wide range of activities.
British Military Fitness runs group fitness training in this park, and participation keep growing year on year.
Fancy a dip? Try out Hampton Heated Open Air Pool and Fitness Gym, near the western boundary of the park, near Hampton High Street.
There is also cricket, rugby, and bowls. You can also play tennis on the outdoor courts in Kings Field
This is the oldest of the Royal Parks, covering 183 acres. Licenced personal trainers operating here include BMF, Fitness for Mummies, and Buggy Runners.
Rangers Field offers cricket in the summer, and Greenwich Park Tennis Centre has 6 hard courts.
If you want to join a running club, try The Greenwich Runners on Saturday mornings, a well-established running club supported by Run England.
Make the most of London’s Royal Parks!
Dominic Londesborough is a personal trainer in London.