Why is there a free-to-use parkour facility next to Stratford International train station? No idea, but it's there: an adult-sized playground full of monkey bars, pull-up stations and boxes, alongside a miniature climbing wall for all your park workout needs, as well as– yes – some of those little brick BBQ stands specifically built so you won’t torch the grass. Sure, someone’s almost certainly going to try speed-vaulting your picnic table, but them’s the risks you take in E20, son. Pick up some artisanal bangers and have at it.
Fairlop Walters Bouldering Park
You’d never find your way out here by accident, but it’s worth braving the Central Line to Zone 4: stride manfully past the golf course and you’ll find the UK’s biggest boulder park. Nine purpose-sprayed chunks of concrete, suggested routes available online, and no ropes necessary. Once your forearms are ruined (30 minutes, tops) and you never want to look at workout equipment again, there’s ample space for falafel and crudités. Thank the lord!
Sure, Scotch eggs are never a chore to eat – but they’re best after you’ve done three laps up London’s most runner-unfriendly hill, with a gentle trot down for recovery. While it might not be the place for a hard edged fitness routine, you can at least enjoy the beautiful skyline as you gasp for breath! Try not to look too winded in front of the families with prams! Feel gently superior to the Gauloises-puffing foreign students taking up all the benches!
The City of London keeps a helpfully updated lido temperature guide online – spoiler alert: it’s always cold – but you know who wouldn’t check the council website before making his weekend plans? Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway would commit to a hundred yards of front crawl whatever the weather. And everyone compares you two, mate. Yeah yeah definitely. So pack some Navarre grapes and fresh anchovies for afterwards on Hampstead Heath, which is next door.
Obviously there are the big boys, in their scaffolding gloves and vest tops, doing poses that seem to defy the laws of physics and biology – and then there’s you, grinding out a handful of chin-ups and half remembered gym workouts to justify your impending tabbouleh-and-cider bender. But listen, here’s a secret: calisthenics dudes are mostly really friendly. Get down to Clapham, learn some new bodyweight exercises on London’s best setup, and feast with pride.