For me, the holidays mean packing up my suitcase and heading to my parents' house in London. After growing up in LA, it's home base now and I've been enjoying getting to know the city I've visited a lot but never lived in. Last spring I picked up a new, healthy habit: running. A year ago, I would have jokingly told you that I only run when I'm being chased, but now I've been lacing up my shoes four or five times a week to hit the park or the treadmill. I decided to bring running shoes with me because I wanted to keep the momentum going through my vacation—plus I thought it would be a fun way to see the neighborhoods around the house in London.
I like running in parks because I don't have to stop for red lights, and I'm lucky enough that the house is close to four major Central London parks: Hyde Park, Kensington Park, Green Park, and St. James's Park. They're all interesting in their own ways, and I wanted to run in all of them to see a bit more than I had while wandering with the dogs who are cute but not great running companions.
Hyde Park, the biggest of the parks, is probably familiar to most historical romance readers because it's the site of Rotten Row where gentlemen of the ton use to go to exercise their horses. It's still used as a bridal path, but I stuck to the outer loop of the park which meant I got an excellent view of the Italian gardens at the top of the Serpentine.
Hyde Park is situated right next to Kensington Park, which is where Kensington Palace sits. During my visit I made sure to run by the statue of Queen Victoria that stands outside its gates because it was carved by the queen's daughter, Princess Louise, who is providing some of the inspiration for the heroine in the first book of my next historical series (it's too early to give all the details away about that one, but you guys can be the first to be in the know when by signing up for my newsletter).
Green Park is a small park that sits right across the street from Buckingham Palace, and below the Mall is St. James's Park.
I ran through Green Park, down Constitution Walk, and into St. James's Park on a bitterly cold morning last week. (It was so cold that when I ran into my sister, her boyfriend, and my Dad walking the dogs, my sister pointed out that my hat had frosted over.) There's a beautiful pond in the middle of the park that you can run around but sadly I don't have photos of because it was so cold my phone died. (See?) The ducks and geese looked at me like I was crazy, but it's so pretty out there that it was worth their judgemental looks.
I also made it down to the Embankment near Westminster Abbey and ran along the Thames River, which is also wonderful. I'd have photos for you, but again, cold.