Best places to watch the London Marathon 2017
PUBLISHED: 13:59 31 March 2017 | UPDATED: 10:43 18 April 2017
It’s one of London’s biggest events, and it feels like we all know someone who is taking part this year, so here’s our round-up of the best places to cheer up the runners at the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon.
Firstly, it’s best to avoid the most popular spots. Everyone wants to grab the best photos, so the most beautiful spots along the course, such as the Cutty Sark and Tower Bridge, will also be the most rammed.
Spectators are also strongly advised to avoid Greenwich town centre and anywhere from Mile 24 to the end of the race - public transport will be very busy in those areas and it will be particularly difficult to get around.
So that’s where NOT to watch the London Marathon. But where’s good?
Crowds tend to gather near the start line at Greenwich Park, but if you head a bit further down to the areas around John Wilson Street and Evelyn Street you can get some good views of the runners.
The crowds thin out a bit by Mile 9, where the route gets into Docklands. The area around Canary Wharf is easily accessible by the DLR and the pubs and bars will be open if you need refreshment. Nearby Westferry Road has the same benefits and you can also see the runners twice as they loop back on themselves.
The best place for wheelchair users to watch the race is The Highway. There is free, secure parking in the playground of the Bishop Challoner School and a level walk of about 300m with ramps under The Highway to get to good viewing points on both sides of the Marathon course. You’ll get two chances to spot your runner as the race passes through this point twice - first between Mile 13 and Mile 14 and again between Miles 21 and 22. However, make sure you get there early - the road closes at 8am and will be busy with spectators by 9.30pm.
You could just sack off the heavy crowds for a pint and a good view of the TV screen. Here are some of our top tips:
At the start – Greenwich Union has six German-style brews on tap with a host of lesser known international beers. It also conveniently located at the bottom of the hill before Greenwich Park, if you have gone along to support a friend or relative who is running.
Mile 13 – Prospect of Whitby is a historic pub built in 1520. Punters who fail to catch a glimpse of the runners can console themselves with a beautiful view of the Thames.
Mile 16 – Mudchute Kitchen in the Isle of Dogs has a great atmosphere and fresh food farmed a stone’s throw from the seating area.
Mile 24 – The Black Friar next to Blackfriars tube station serves a large selection of guest ales and has a large terrace.
Mile 25 – Gordon’s Wine Bar will provide no view of the race whatsoever but has an epic wine selection, beautiful garden terrace and is a five minute stroll away from the finish line.
Other top tips
When you’re trying to meet your runner after the race, remember it might be difficult to contact them by mobile as so many people will be trying to make calls near the meet and greet area. It is much better to plan a meeting point in advance.
A good place to meet is Horse Guards Parade, where there will be designated meeting points for each letter of the alphabet so runners can be found by surname. Remember it takes runners around half an hour to reach the meeting point when they’ve crossed the finish line.
Don’t forget you can find out where your runners are by using the live tracking page. It will show up here on race day - just enter their surname or running to see where they are on the course. The location is based on their running pace and when they last crossed the timing points, dotted along the course at 5km intervals.
All the roads near the course will be closed, so public transport such as the Underground, Overground and DLR are the best ways to travel.
Make sure you travel light and wear comfortable clothes and shoes - you will be doing a lot of standing and walking around, and the weather could be very changeable.
Expect it to be as busy as rush hour - you will have to queue and some stations may be forced to close temporarily to control the crowds.