I’ve now been living in Southampton for 20 years, so although it’ll never feel like my true home (Cornwall), I’ve lived here for long enough to discover some lovely running routes (they’re not quite far enough off the beaten path to count as hidden gems).
Technically, not all of these locations are actually in Southampton, but they’re close enough for me to run to them.
- Southampton Common has to be first on the list as it’s the main location for runners in the city. It’s a 326 acre site that’s less than a mile from the city centre, and is the venue for the incredibly popular parkrun that regularly boasts over 600 runners. There are lots of different paths, so you can choose whether to run on tarmac, compacted gravel or grass. There is also plenty of parking by the Common and a lovely cafe at The Hawthorns that is really welcoming to runners.
- Testwood Lakes. This was the first location that I ran to when I joined Lordshill Road Runners, and I did a lot of my training for my first marathon there, even when it flooded in 2012:
- Riverside Park. I don’t run here as often as I’d like, but it’s a staple of my long training runs, whether they are half marathon or marathon training runs. This park is where Southampton Junior parkrun takes place and it’s also got a large pitch and putt area.
- Lordswood trails. It’s easy to get lost here and apart from the distant sound of the motorway, you really do feel like you’re in the countryside.
- Weston Shore. I love running from my home, over the Itchen Bridge and along Weston Shore to Royal Victoria Country Park. (It’s exactly 10km from Foyes Corner in Shirley to the start of parkrun in RVCP, which is helpful to know if you’re marathon training). There are some early modernist tower blocks on one side and on the other you have the Itchen and can see the cranes and towers of the refinery, so it might not be everyone’s idea of beautiful, but it’s a great run route.
Where are your favourite places to run that are near to Southampton?