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Held on the grounds of a psychiatric hospital nicknamed “Bedlam,” this facility holds an infamous past.
Now a modern psychiatric facility, the Bethlem Royal Hospital once inspired writers of horror books, films, and a TV series.
The word “bedlam” itself was derived from history’s most notorious asylum, at one period being made available to the public and run like a zoo, where people could roam the hallways for entertainment.
It is the longest-standing psychiatric facility in the world, founded in 1247.
Thankfully, none of the cruelty persists today. Formerly part of the Monk’s Orchard Estate, the hospital relocated to the serene grounds in 1930.
Arriving here gives you the feeling of being transported to the English countryside, although in reality, you haven’t left London.
Encircling meadows filled with wildflowers throughout the spring and summer months, the course is comprised of two anti-clockwise laps on grass and flowy singletrack.
If you’re after a quick time, be sure to start at the front of the pack, as the initial trail is quite narrow.
Take the Nature Trail, also within the grounds, as an add-on for some additional kilometres.
There is free parking at the hospital.
Alternatively, catch the train to Eden Park and warm up with the one-kilometre stretch to the start line.
Enjoy a coffee at the Community Cafe and check out the Art Gallery, which is home to works of many of the patients throughout the years. For more information or to register to parkrun and download a barcode, go to https://www.parkrun.org.uk/bethlemroyalhospital/ Sources: http://www.londongardenstrust.org/features/Bethlem.htm https://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol25/pp76-80