Being able to be there in person and watch the London Marathon along the route is an incredible experience and definitely worth it.
Supporting from the sidelines of the London Marathon isn’t the only way to watch as there are many different options available to catch the action. Being there side by side with other supporters, beers in hand (Yes, it’s a thing, even at 10 am) cheering on runners who are undertaking this mammoth challenge really makes you feel a part of something bigger.
In this article, we will go through all the best ways to watch the TCS London Marathon live as a spectator…
A good time is guaranteed anywhere along the 26.2-mile route but there are some popular spots where the supportive energy is on another level.
The London Marathon route takes in some of the most famous landmarks in the city. It starts in Blackheath in south-east London and finishes right by the famous Buckingham Palace.
The popular and vibey spectator spots that are full of energy are:
1. The Cutty Sark (Mile 6/9.5km)
2. Tower Bridge (Mile 12/19km)
3. St James Park (Mile 26/41.5km)
4. The Mall (Opposite Buckingham Palace Mile 26/41.5km)
The nearest train stations to each of the popular spectator spots are:
1. The Cutty Sark (Mile 6/9.5km) – Greenwich Station
2. Tower Bridge (Mile 12/19km) – London Bridge and Fenchurch Street National Rail stations, or Tower Gateway DLR Station
3. St James Park (Mile 26/41.5km) – Newcastle Central Station and Monument Metro Station
4. The Mall (Opposite Buckingham Palace Mile 26/41.5km) – London Victoria Station
Pro Tip: Head to the Cutty Sark first (around 7 miles) and then quickly head over to the mall for the final stretch of the race.
Keep in mind that sticking to the highway will enable you to see everyone pass twice!
These spots do get extremely crowded and if you’re not there before the crack of dawn then you will struggle to see any of the race action.
Let’s have a more detailed look…
Woolwich (Mile 4-6)
Miles four to six see runners jogging through Woolwich, past Woolwich Dockyard, and down Woolwich road into Westcombe Park.
Cutty Sark (Mile 6-7)
This part of the course winds through Greenwich, hitting the popular Cutty Sark.
Cutty Sark represents the pinnacle of clipper ship design and was one of the fastest ships of its day. It is also the world’s only surviving extreme clipper.
Tower Bridge (12 Miles) & Lime House (21 Miles)
This stretch (about 1.5 miles) between Tower Bridge and Limehouse provides another great opportunity for you to see the runner that’s because runners go both ways down this section.
Lime House has become famous by Run Dem Crew. Head over there for extreme volume and energy. This is known as one of the best cheer spots.
Canary Wharf (Mile 13)
Next, the runners will head towards Canary Wharf after crossing Tower Bridge at mile 13, then west for the finish after a loop around the Isle of Dogs.
If you can grab a space on the Tower Bridge be sure to take full advantage of the photo and video opportunities as runners cross the famous landmark. (This spot is bound to give you goosebumps!)
Madchute (Mile 17)
This spectator area is one of the quieter ones, it’s a good place to avoid the massive crowds but don’t forget to bring your energy because your cheers will make a bigger impact for the runners here.
Upper Thames Street (Mile 24)
The finish line is in sight for the runners now as they go through an underpass along Lower Thames Street and onto the Victoria Embankment.
The final stretch (Mile 25 to 26.2)
The runners make their way through Westminster and into St James’s Park to the finish line. As we mentioned, The Mall opposite St Jame’s Park is also one of the popular spectator spots too, with good reason as this area provides a fantastic view of the finish line.
The London Marathon route has remained largely unchanged since 1981 and encompasses many of the capital’s most memorable landmarks along the way so be sure to check those out too.
Famous landmarks to keep an eye out for are:
- Tower Bridge (Mile 12/19km)
- Canary Wharf (Mile 18/29km)
- The Tower of London (Mile 22/35km)
- The London Eye & Big Ben (Mile 25/40km)
- Buckingham Palace (Mile 26/41)
The Quietest Place To Watch The London Marathon
Although the excitement and vibe are a lot of fun, some of us do prefer to go and support in the quieter spots…
The Isle of Dogs and around Madchute is a section of the race that is known for being one of the quieter areas along the route.
We aren’t sure how long that quietness is going to last though because this reputation might just lead to more spectators heading there.
South of the river is known to be the quieter spots (except Cutty Stark and Greenwich park).
Woolwich is so quiet that you could even have the opportunity to stand alongside the road at miles 2, 3, and 4. Starting to cheer right at the beginning of the race is a good idea because it gives you plenty of time to go find another spot on the route afterward to cheer a second time.
Tips For Spectators Of The London Marathon
- Get there as early as possible if you want a good view of the runners.
- Remember that transport will be packed to the max so prepare for longer journeys than usual.
- Do your best to plan ahead and pick a quieter section if you are delayed.
- Take all your rubbish/litter with you.
- Dress accordingly and wear comfortable shoes, it’s going to be a jam-packed day.
- Plan beforehand where you are going to find your runner at the finish, and agree on a meeting point ahead of time.
If you’re feeling the London Marathon Spirit and are keen to get involved but unable to make it as a spectator on the day, here are some ways you can still be a part of it and follow the runners…
You’ll also be able to see content shared by other participants and supporters who include the hashtag #LondonMarathon in their posts.
The Official TCS London Marathon App
The Official TCS London Marathon App is completely free to download and allows you to track friends or family members who are taking part in the event – and much more!
Download the Official TCS London Marathon App onto your iOS or Android device here.
If after checking the social media pages and following runners on the app you still don’t feel part of the London Marathon party…
You can send a belief booster!
On the app, you can send motivational belief boosters to any runners to boost their support.
All you need to do is type out your message, wait till it’s approved, and then it will appear on the world-famous gantry on The Mall as your chosen participant approaches the finish line.
So remember, there are many ways to be a part of this incredible day as a runner or non-runner.
If watching the runners smash their goals has inspired you, why not go for it?
What you do in the 12 weeks leading up to the London Marathon will either set you up for success or failure… Guarantee your success with this training plan.