With its new city centre start-line and improved 13.1-mile route, this year's Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run sees a welcome return to one of its most popular locations – Cannon Hill Park.

Not only is Cannon Hill a popular destination for runners, walkers and cyclists, it's the perfect spot for more sedate pastimes such as a family picnic or coffee. 

Half marathon runners will reach the park at the 9-mile mark, where they will be greeted by cheering spectators offering jelly babies and high-fives to motivate for the final few miles.

This is why we can't wait to be back at one of the Midlands' most popular places… 

A river runs through it
The River Rea runs alongside Cannon Hill, separating the park from the Wildlife Conservation Centre and neighbouring apartments. Picking up the Rea Valley Route will take you out along one of the prettiest urban running and cycleways – the perfect training run for Sunday, October 13. From here you can head out through Selly Oak, Kings Norton and Northfield… and back again… with only a few roads to navigate along the way. Running bliss!

Get sporty
Birmingham has a proud history connected to racquet sports and can claim to be the spiritual home of lawn tennis after Major Harry Gem created the earliest version of the sport in nearby Edgbaston in the 1860s. Cannon Hill has various tennis courts available for use, while anglers can get reel during the open season, when fishing is permitted on the lake. There are numerous organised running, cycling and bootcamp-style fitness clubs to take advantage of; perfect if you're getting in shape for next month's Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run.

Ride a white swan
What better way to relax than with a trip on the Boating Lake pedalling a giant swan? The swan pedal boats are available in two or four seaters, so they're perfect for a romantic trip for two or a family adventure. Life jackets are provided!

All the fun of the fair
Cannon Hill Fun Park is packed with games, rides and activities for toddlers to ten-year-olds. Whizz around on the Hill Billy Railway Train Ride, take a spin on the Spinning Coaster or race your friends with the Remote Control Boats; there's something fun for everyone. The Fun Park takes tokens for all the rides and most of the activities, and you can take advantage of a Fun Pass to get even more out of your trip.

The day we caught the train
Cannon Hill Park's land train is named after the remarkable Louisa Ryland, the wealthy heiress who gave the land to Birmingham for it to become a public park. You can catch the train near the mac arts centre and enjoy a leisurely lap of the Boating Lake and other attractions.

Coffee, cake and cool theatre
The mac is home to a theatre, cinema, gallery spaces, café and bar. It's here that you can watch the latest movies, children's pantomimes and savour the work of award-winning artists and photographers. Once you've taken in your arts fix for the day, a café and bar await – with outdoor seating areas – to enjoy the remainder of your visit.

Putt it there
With its 36 holes, Golden Putter Mini Golf is a brilliant way to spend the day with friends and family. Look out for water hazards as you plot your way through the twists and turns of the course. Alongside Swan Lake Boating and Fun Park, Golden Putter is one of the attractions covered by Cannon Hill's Fun Pass.

Water, water everywhere
Did you know Birmingham's crystal-clear tap water comes from a network of Welsh reservoirs called Elan Valley? You do now! To celebrate this remarkable feat of engineering there's a scaled-down version of the Elan Valley, tucked away in the corner of Cannon Hill Park. Hunt it down, explain to the kids a bit of Birmingham history and celebrate the city's remarkable Victorian endeavours. 

It's simply a beautiful place to visit
We've highlighted the attractions to keep you occupied at Cannon Hill Park, but the best of the bunch is its unquestionable beauty. Open green spaces, well maintained flower beds and places to stop and dwell, Cannon Hill has it all. See you there on Sunday, October 13!

To enter the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run click here 

Anyone who entered the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham 10k in May will automatically receive a £10 discount off the half marathon entry fee when using the same log in details.