When you’re travelling for work, your downtime is precious so it’s important to make the most of it – especially when there’s a new neighbourhood on your doorstep waiting to be explored.
So why not pull on your running shoes and head out for an early evening jog? As well as being a great way to see the city come alive as night falls, it will help you to shake off the day’s stresses and prepare your mind and body for a decent night’s sleep.
From rivers, canals and urban parks to imposing architecture and world-famous landmarks, these breathtaking city running-routes take on a magical quality at twilight.
Head to Liverpool’s world-famous waterfront to take in spectacular views across the River Mersey and enjoy a vibrant mix of maritime history, modern art, architecture and culture – but don’t forget to download your Beatles playlist first!
Start at the Pier Head, which affords an impressive view of the majestic Three Graces buildings then head south along the towpath, past the Museum of Liverpool, Merseyside Maritime Museum and Tate Liverpool at the gloriously restored Albert Dock. Continue south past the Echo Arena – whose sleek glass curves offer a stunning contrast against the industrial backdrop – until you reach the end of Brunswick Dock.
Here you can turn around and head back along the water for a neat 5km round trip, extend it a little by snaking through the wharf’s meandering back streets, or extend the route to 8km by continuing as far as the city’s Festival Gardens.
From catching the sun dip behind the Houses of Parliament to that first glimpse of Tower Bridge twinkling in the twilight, you’d be hard pressed to find a more spectacular backdrop for a city run at dusk than along the most famous stretch of the Thames between Westminster and Tower Bridges.
The entire round trip, following the river along the north bank one way and south bank the other, is around 9km. It doesn’t really matter where on the route you begin so choose your start point according to where you’re staying – or where you want to be to catch that sunset. For a shorter circuit, cut across any of the bridges en route.
While Manchester is famed for its vibrant music scene, it may not be the most obvious location for a sunset run. But what it lacks in green spaces it makes up for with imposing cityscapes.
To immerse yourself in the city vibe without getting caught up in traffic congestion and commuter hell, head to the off-road cycle and pedestrian route that runs along the Bridgewater Canal towpath and the banks of the River Irwell, connecting the City Centre with the dazzling MediaCity UK at Salford Quays.
To access the route from Deansgate in the heart of the city, head right down Quay Street and left onto Water Lane before crossing the bridge onto the far bank of the River Irwell. This circular route from mapmyrun.com falls just short of 7km.
With its thriving nightlife, emerging arts scene and dazzling modern architecture, ‘Britain’s second city’ Birmingham has become one of the country’s most vibrant destinations over recent years. But a beautiful reminder of its industrial roots is its vast and intricate canal system. The meandering waterways offer a more peaceful way to see the shimmering city as the sun goes down.
One option is to start at the canal basin between the Mailbox and the iconic Cube building and follow the towpath northeast past the bustling nightlife of the Gas Street Basin. Veer left after the Sealife Centre and continue around the loop until you meet back up with the main canal. Turn around at the St Vincent Street Bridge and follow the towpath north as far as the second street bridge. Cross over and come back, crossing the iron bridge towards the Malt House then run eastwards along the northern towpath back towards the Mailbox.
What better way to take in the ‘City of Light’ than with a beautiful sunset run? For a heady mix of world-famous landmarks and sublime scenery, head down to the 1st arrondissement.
Start at the Louvre where, on a clear evening, you may be lucky enough to see the sun drop down behind its glass pyramid in a blaze of glory. From there head west through the picturesque Jardin des Tuileries with its elegant fountains, ponds and sculptures. Exit at the Place de la Concorde and make your way up the Champs-Elysées to the Franklin D. Roosevelt roundabout. Here you could turn around and head back for a neat (approximately) 5km circuit or add an extra 2km by continuing to the Arc de Triomphe.
With its colourful political history and thriving underground nightlife scene, Berlin has become a magnet for historians and hipsters alike. But did you know that the city is also a haven for outdoor fitness fanatics?
In fact, it is arguably one of the most runner-friendly cities in Europe thanks to its vast verdant spaces and abundance of pedestrian tracks. The most popular hotspot, and also the biggest, is the inner city Tiergarten, boasting over 22km of smooth gravel paths.
For the best landmark spotting opportunities, start at the Brandenburg Gate at the far-east entrance of the park, head north past the Soviet War Memorial and the Reichstag building then follow the River Spree west to the Bellevue Palace before looping back through the southern edge of the park along one of the waterways flowing from the Tiergartengewasser lake.
Embrace the beating heart of Amsterdam – and get your heart racing – by making the most of its semi-circular canal system. A great way to explore the city without getting too lost, it offers plenty of route options for runners of all distances, the outer semi-circle covering just over 10km in total.
Or, if you’d prefer to get away from the crowds and enjoy some post-work peace and quiet, head to the banks of the River Amstel where you can enjoy beautiful scenery as well as a tantalising peek into the city. Starting at Amstel Park, head north along the riverbank for 5km until you reach the Magere Brug (‘skinny bridge’). The historic bridge dates back to the 1670s, and comes to life after dark thanks to 1,200 tiny shimmering lights.