The London Diaries: North London

A travel expert shares a running route with culture and fuel stops along the way.

In partnership with American Express, Furthermore asked influential Equinox talent and friends in London to curate their favorite fitness spots, healthy restaurants, as well as culture, art, and style destinations. If you’re headed to the U.K. capital for London Fashion Week, consider this your complete travel guide—just one more way American Express has your back no matter where you go.
Tom Marchant

As co-founder of London-born luxury travel agency Black Tomato, Tom Marchant knows the ins and outs of each of the city’s sprawling neighborhoods. Marchant is also a member of the American Express Platinum Collective. “If they created a film about Black Tomato, East London would be where the majority of action would take place,” says Marchant, noting their first office was in buzzy Shoreditch.

“But, if I was ever running low on creative inspiration, it was actually to North London where I’d walk (or run) to get some headspace in the busy capital.” It has a bit of everything—landmark buildings, lush parks, culture hits, and restaurants. Here, the best of Regent’s Park, Marylebone, Swiss Cottage, Primrose Hill, and Hampstead.

THE WALK/RUN
Distance: 5.62 miles
“It doesn’t matter which day of the week you choose to visit it; I promise that you’ll discover something new about the city if you follow this route. Start in Marylebone, near The Wallace Collection. From there, make your way up to Regent’s Park (make sure to stop to see the secret garden and Frieze pop-up). Continue on to Primrose Hill. Take a break on the bench at the top for unparalleled views. Once you catch your breath, head towards Manna to refuel. Then, make your way to Swiss Cottage where you can pick up a Santander bike to complete your journey up Parliament Hill to Hampstead.”
THE FITNESS
“This local running club offers a workout for your body and soul as you enjoy routes that take place in Hampstead Heath, Primrose Hill, and Regent’s Park.”
“Bike from Swiss Cottage up to Hampstead Heath by picking up a Santander bike and cycling via Parliament Hill for a view over London that no camera can capture.”
Hampstead Ponds
“There’s nowhere to swim in London quite like Hampstead Ponds. Everything about the experience is refreshing, from the water temperature to the surroundings. Get there early to avoid the crowds.”
THE FOOD
“The menu is designed entirely around local food, with a philosophy that local is greener than organic, which ensures that the food travels the least amount of miles before it gets to your plate.”
“Every Sunday, Marylebone’s pretty streets spring into gentle action one independent market stall at a time. Grab a spelt croissant from Olivier’s Bakery or go for an apple and beetroot juice from Chegworth Valley.”
“This tiny vegetarian outpost in Primrose Hill is oft-overlooked. Their raw vegan lasagne is one of the most surprising dishes I’ve ever tasted.”
“Some of the most memorable salads can be found at Greenberry Café.”
THE CULTURE
“This secret garden is accessible via the rose garden in the inner circle of Regent’s Park. This is a true hidden gem and you’re almost promised some solitude with a visit.”
“Iconic art purveyors Frieze are hosting an awe-striking sculpture park in Regent’s Park. Running until early October 2018, the pop-up offers a slice of their London art fair.”
Primrose Hill bench
“There’s a bench that looks directly out upon the Palace of Westminster and St. Paul’s Cathedral. By law, these two landmarks aren’t allowed to be obscured from view, so you have some time to enjoy.”
“For art lovers, The Wallace Collection is the perfect cultural hit in Marylebone. The museum is an absolute treasure house that was left to the British Nation in Lady Wallace’s will in 1897. The museum houses countless priceless paintings, but my favourite has to be Fragonard’s The Swing.”
“This venue is as rich in history as it is talent, with a rotation of shows that never fail to provoke thought and inspire. Ending your day with a dose of performance at the Hampstead Theatre will never be a regret.”
“Discover the layers behind iconic Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud at this unique museum that also delves into the life and work of his daughter Anna.”