Welcome to the second part of our documentation on London’s best parkour spots!!! If you have not yet read part 1, or have just rocked up at this page by accident and are wondering what all the hype is about, we suggest checking out first PARKOUR CITY GUIDE PART 1/3. A shout out to our fans who have followed us loyally this far on the one and only virtual London parkour tour, your long wait is about to be rewarded!
In this second episode prepare yourselves for a brutal awakening to a world of London spots you never knew existed. And if you did know, well, prepare to behold your favourite London hangouts in beautiful prose and .jpg format.
London Facebook Contact group: Sunday Trainings SUPA XXL.
Disclaimer: A parkour spot list is never complete! This is just a small selection of London’s finest spots. Part 1 is here and Part 3 to come!
SPOTS PART 2/3:
Red Walls near the Church
Red Walls near the Shop
Over the Black Fence
Canada Water gets its name from the reservoir offshoot which the council have coloured with a fluorescent turquoise dye, so as to make it appear as if the water we drink flows fresh from the Canadian outback rather than from the brown sludge of the Thames. It is so convincing you can almost expect to see moose galloping alongside as you running-pre down the waterside walkway.
The silver bar is the first stop on the Canada Water Trail, a parkour route that flows alongside the Canadian waters from the underground station to the red bridge at the Thames outlet. It is a great spot for all levels; beginners can drill their rail precisions between the bike racks before attempting the larger rail-pre/plyo to the central rail, whilst pros can kong or side-flip-pre the rail for the applause of the frequent passers-by. See in GoogleMaps.
Skipping past some smaller spots on the Canada Water Trail that will undoubtedly create some minor/moderate distractions, you will eventually arrive at a long stretch of straight wall punctuated with wide staircases. It makes its beauty apparent to the traceur eye as a picturesque line of running pres (with benches available for freestyle twists and kong-pre combos).
The liberating nature of this running-pre line makes the challenge enjoyable for traceurs regardless of skill-level, bringing together both daring beginners and those advanced traceurs who have not developed an aversion to cardio. See in Google Maps.
If your timing is right, a parkour-packed trek down the Canada Water Trail can wash you up at the Red Bridge around sunset. For some end-of-session height training, clamber up the beams to enjoy the view and read some graffitied epic-poetry. If you fancy really testing your vertigo, try balancing across the thinner black bars. See in Google Maps.
The purpose of this bizarre concrete feature is still unclear; I personally choose to believe it to be an ancient burial site. The living inhabitants of the estate don’t seem to have much attachment to the feature however and no one seems to mind us adopting it as our traceur playground. There’s also a great London pub called the Mayflower right around the corner (if you are of drinking age, of course). See in Google Maps.
SILVERLOCK & MOTUS STRIDES
For the Motus cult-following you will definitely want to check out Silverlock and the Luke Stones’ stride spot; also if you have photos then please send them in! (strides @0.17seconds). See in Google Maps.
Formally known as East London Gymnastics Centre, traceurs colloquially refer to this gym as Beckton to avoid saying that poisonous word gymnastics. Petty prejudice aside, if you’re looking to trick in central London then this is the place to go. There’s a great foam pit, trampoline, spring floor and foam blocks which are fantastic for seeing how far you can double-kong without smashing your face into concrete. See their website for more info. including their most recent timetable for open sessions.
The downside of Beckton is that it’s a little pricey and far away. It will take an hour and £3 to get there from central London on the metro and DLR line. After exiting the DLR station at Beckton it’s another 10 minute walk until you reach the gym. A session currently costs £6 for members and £8 for non-members (membership costs £10 for the year). You can become a member right now by filling in this form, also available at reception. There’s a large cheap supermarket en route to the station; I’d advise purchasing your sandwich on the way back to avoid throwing it up mid-flip.
Note that open sessions operate on a first come, first served basis so prepare to be on time as people are often turned away. ID may be required if you have a particularly sprightly or youthful appearance. See in Google Maps.
Not far from the iconic Barbican (spot details to come in part 3/3), Old Street is one of London’s lesser-known parkour gems.
OVER THE BLACK FENCE
This is a great spot to explore near Old Street station whilst you’re waiting for those ‘I’m-too-chill-to-be-on-time’-traceurs. There’s plenty of moves for beginners to practice, including routes to traverse and bars to pre, balance and kong. See in Google Maps.
If you’re heading for the big red wall spot but take the wrong exit at the roundabout (which happens almost every time) then you have a high chance of stumbling across this colourful tree tic-tac. The challenge: step-off the block, tac the tree then cat to the letters. There are some other low-level tree tic-tacs to be found on the marble circle seats to jazz up this detour. See in Google Maps.
RED WALLS NEAR THE CHURCH
If you do find the right roundabout exit then a 5-minute walk will lead you to the red wall spot. The walls are very cat-able for beginners and cat-180 pre-able for intermediates. The place is packed with precision jumps with just the right amount of height to get the adrenaline going without the crippling certainty of a death-drop. See in Google Maps.
RED WALLS NEAR THE SHOP
The second section of red walls (near an off-licence in case you’re salivating for some refreshments) is great for getting used to vaulting walls with speed and flow. There’s plenty to do here, though the lack of variation in wall height and texture can make it slightly boring. There is space for large groups if you’re bringing a lot of mates/organising a class/a party. See in Google Maps.
Another one of London’s hidden estate spots, Caledonian Road is a great destination for a North-London traceur to enjoy his/her day off. The walls are much more varied than Old Street and more numerous than Canada Water, allowing you to unleash the full potential of your creativity!
A nice and simple flow spot with plenty of stuff to do for beginners; though the bar is slightly shaky. See in Google Maps.
Carry on past the bar spot and you will find the grassy knoll with a whole host of small challenges for intermediates; cat-jumps, running-pres and down-pres are this spot’s speciality. See in Google Maps.
A fairly large spot with plenty of opportunities for combos; though the arrangement of the walls means flow will be limited by direction changes. See in Google Maps.
The red maze is a greatly underrated spot, the potential of which is perhaps least appreciated by whoever slapped up the signs ‘Parkour and free-running not permitted’. We suspect the old lady who often comes out angrily waving a walking stick was involved in this, so if you do choose to visit this spot be warned she will likely ensure that your visit is a short one; though it will be worth it if you manage to stick that decent-sized kong-pre. See in Google Maps.
Thanks for reading, feel free to check out our other pages and look out for the upcoming Parkour City Guide London part 3! If you have any comments or suggestions please let us know!
London backdrop (image): Circling Europe, Circling Weekend in London. 2018. https://circlingeurope.com/product/circling-weekend-in-london/
Beckton gym (image): Easton Gymnastic Centre. https://www.eastlondongym.co.uk/adult-gymnastics
Luke Stones video: Luke stones showreel 2018 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IYwDbaOHG0)
©World of Parkour 2018