Rural Running: An escape to the country

Happy place

Happy place

I typically run in the city. I like the busyness of it and the fact that traffic lights offer natural rest breaks. I like that you’re never too far away from a shop that sells coconut water. But sometimes, it is necessary to leave the hustle and bustle of London and escape to the country for some air that doesn’t taste like car exhaust.

This past weekend afforded the perfect opportunity for a little city break. My husband’s company’s Christmas party was being held at Lainston House, a luxe hotel in a beautiful 17th century mansion just outside the lovely city of Winchester. If we’re going there for the festivities on Friday night, we reasoned we might as well extend our stay and enjoy a little rest and relaxation for the weekend.

The grounds of the Lainston House are expansive and beautiful, with 63 acres of parkland and a long avenue of lime trees that could be seen from the window of our elegant room.  Thankfully the weekend weather was perfect for wandering: sunny, but brisk, and there was a definite smell of Christmas in the air. Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling 100%, but certainly well enough to enjoy Winchester’s Christmas markets on Saturday afternoon and indulge in some mulled wine.

Happily roasting by an open fire. Just call me chestnut.

Happily roasting by an open fire. Just call me chestnut.

By Sunday morning, after a quiet night and a long rest, I was feeling well enough for a run. The hotel staff sent us away with a map outlining a 3.2km loop through trails and nearby roads, so we set off, at a slow, leisurely pace.

The trails were covered in a blanket of crunchy leaves and a canopy of trees shaded us from the winter sunshine. The air smelled like wood burning and the fields had a beautiful layer of sparkly frost. It was so lovely that we did the loop twice.

We found the cutest little Post Office on our run. It was closed.

We found the cutest little Post Office on our run!

I forgot how nice it is to run slowly and leisurely. I have spent so much time lately pushing my pace to the absolute max in pursuit of a sub-25 minute 5K, my final fitness goal of 2016. It felt so nice to run at a pace that didn’t hurt!

We returned to London where I spent the remainder of the afternoon making a winter stew and watching Christmas movies, while being a bit smug that I’m done all my Christmas shopping. A perfect end to a great weekend away. Thank you Lainston House. It was positively idyllic.


  1. Kathy December 4, 2016 / 8:08 pm

    Sounds like a wonderful weekend in the country! Have you ever heard of Ashford Castle in Ireland? It is absolutely amazing with miles of running trails to enjoy.

    • thoughtsandpavement December 5, 2016 / 10:46 am

      No! I have never heard of that castle, but it sounds like another place to add to my travel list for a perfect weekend getaway 🙂

      • Kathy December 5, 2016 / 2:35 pm

        Another amazing castle is Lough Eske in Ireland – not as $$ as Ashford, but beautiful rural roads to run on. When you swim in the pool at night you have a beautiful view of the castle lit up. Absolutely stunning!

        • thoughtsandpavement December 5, 2016 / 6:01 pm

          I have only been to Ireland once, for St. Patricks Day. I definitely did not get to see anything beautiful…. just drunk tourists. I think it’s time I made another trip there! Sounds incredible!

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