Brixton’s best for running, swimming and cycling

Brixton is home to some top exercise opportunities. This is our pick of the bunch

people in swimming pool
Hardy Brixtonites take the splash at the Brockwell Lido winter swim. Picture by Matthew Bluett

Forget the Côte d’Azur. Whether you are a dedicated multi-sporter or a gentle Sunday stroller, Brixton has everything the athletic heart could desire.

Where else could you take a dip in one of the city’s best lidos, launch a mammoth ride into the Surrey Hills, or knock out a few laps around South London’s prettiest park, all in the course of a weekend?

The options are indeed endless. My list can only scratch the surface so do add your favorites below.

Brockwell parkrun. Parkrun believes that everyone should be able to run a free, timed 5K every week, anywhere in the world. Like all parkruns, the Brockwell Park edition is entirely volunteer-led and open to all. Saturdays, 9am.

Swimming at the Brixton Rec. There’s something special about a pool on the second floor of a building. Combine that with the gigantic windows and you’ve got an experience that feels as if it owes as much to flying as it does to swimming. And when you’ve finished, why not nip into one of Brixton Station Road’s cafes for the de rigueur flat white? The exoergic properties of caffeine are – after all – well-documented.

Laps of Dulwich Park. The perimeter path of Dulwich Park measures exactly one mile so if you want to tune your pace or easily keep track of distance, this is the place to do it. Coots and moorhens add an ornithological dimension to any run here, and it is one of the only places where you can still see tributaries of the River Effra above ground (editor: the Brockwell Park ponds are also tributaries of the Effra). The 2-mile jog from Brixton makes a great warm-up.

Brockwell Lido. A classic haunt for triathletes, the pool is open from April to October, climate-permitting. The Windrush Triathlon Club provide coached sessions throughout the season.

Cycling in Surrey and Kent. If you want to get your teeth into some big bike miles, Brixton is the perfect place from which to roll out. Plot a course via Crystal Palace and you’ll soon be out of the city. Box Hill and the surrounding area offer unlimited permutations route-wise; a loop via Westerham is another great alternative. Crystal Palace Triathletes organise Sunday club runs for a variety of paces and distances.


  1. Cycling can be done safely at the Herne Hill Velodrome! (Although it is being resurfaced at the moment). Have a go at their track bikes on one of the inductions, or take your road bike along on a Tuesday evening!

  2. The cycling part is a bit tenuous…

    I mean, riding north through the town centre isn’t much fun. Riding south up Brixton Hill is pretty ropey. Riding around the Morval Road one-way system can be nasty when there’s a Jeremy Clarkson behind you.

    And this is from someone who bikes every day, and has ridden out to Boxhill countless times.

    Considering how many cyclists there are in the mornings, the conditions in Brixton are dreadful: the mayor and the council need to pull their fingers out

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