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Where to watch the London Marathon

Planning to offer moral support at 2016's London Marathon? Find the best spectator spots along the route

Let's be honest, running 26 miles dressed as a Womble is hardly the simplest of tasks, is it? So if you're not taking part in the London Marathon on Sunday April 24 2016, be sure to show your support for those who are. Heed the pointers below to find the best spectating spots and track down nearby pubs and bars for when all that cheering and applauding leaves you gasping for refreshment.

RECOMMENDED: Read our winner's guide to the London Marathon 2016

The Start: Greenwich

The start (or starts to be precise, since elite men, elite women and the mass race all begin in slightly different places) in Greenwich will be heaving. Your support, whether general or specific, will probably be more appreciated later on, but if you really don't want to miss kick off, get down early to stake your spot. Transport: Greenwich/Cutty Sark DLR or Blackheath rail. Check out places to eat and drink near the Marathon start below.

Greenwich Union

Food runs from a humble bacon butty to chargrilled steaks; you’ll also find wines, coffees and teas. Throw in a small front terrace, and you have a very tidy operation.

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Greenwich

Old Brewery

The Old Brewery, as you might guess, is all about beer. But this joint offers great pub food in comfortable surroundings, with genial service.

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Greenwich

Richard I

Along with the staunchly British Youngs range and Bombardier, you can find Corona, Tiger and Peroni by the bottle, plus platters and baguettes as well as steak and chips from the newly designed menu.

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Greenwich

1. Mile 13 and Mile 22

The race doubles back on itself here, so take up a position on the central reservation and you'll see the runners twice – and the first of the runners going east may see the elite women heading back in the opposite direction. Transport: Shadwell DLR or rail. Check out places to eat and drink near the Highway below.

Il Bordello

A lovely, unpretentious little Italian, buzzing and near capacity on a weeknight, Il Bordello delivers on quality, and certainly delivers on quantity: the pizzas are larger than the dinner plate they arrive on.

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Wapping

Lahore

There are three great places to eat Indian food in Whitechapel. Along with Tayyabs and Needoo, Lahore dishes out generous portions of brilliantly bold Punjabi grills, snacks and curries, and has been doing so for decades.

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Whitechapel

Prospect of Whitby

Dwarfed by residential new-builds on either side, the Prospect proclaims its history from the off. ‘Built c1520’, offers the sign at the front; inside, signs on the walls suggest that the pub was a regular haunt of everyone from Captain Kidd to Samuel Pepys, Richard Burton to Princess Margaret. 

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Wapping

2. Mile 16

Just over 10 miles to go and the race is starting to hot up. The more serious of the runners are starting to up their pace, leaving the rest to grit their teeth and continue at a steady slog. Transport: Canary Wharf tube or Heron Quays DLR. Check out places to eat and drink near Westferry Road below.

Ibérica Canary Wharf

This glamorous branch of Ibérica has a spacious, airy feel that blends well with the glass towers and moneyed streets of Canary Wharf, yet it conveys a real sense of Spain. The space feels contemporary but rooted – as does the menu from executive chef Nacho Manzano , which blends traditional dishes with ‘nuevo’ flourishes. Also in Cabot Square is Iberica's Terraza, where you can enjoy tapas, wines and sherries in an attractive al fresco setting.

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Canary Wharf

Boisdale Canary Wharf

This highly enjoyable member of the Boisdale triumvirate is almost laughably incongruous. On the second floor is an appropriately smart bar-diner that offers a brasserie menu and mollifying puffs in the Cigar Library or on the terrace, but the third-floor main restaurant has a cod-Scottish gentlemen’s-club theme entirely at odds with the office-casual modernist architecture around it. 

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Canary Wharf

Pizza Express

Pizza Express is a popular and affordable chain of pizza restaurants with more than 100 branches in London.

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Canary Wharf

3. Mile 17

Taking the kids to see a parent run? This is a good spot to choose – very handy for a visit to Mudchute Farm. Encourage the kids to lend support to the rest of the competitors, too; it's not so crowded here and their cheers could make a real difference. Transport: Mudchute DLR. Check out places to eat and drink near Mudchute Park below.

Cutty Sark Tavern

The history may be confusing, but the location can’t be beat. A Georgian freehouse since either 1695 or 1795, depending on whether you believe the sign outside or the writing in the coloured glazed panes in the front door, this hostelry was converted to its present state in the early 19th century. 

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Greenwich

Mudchute Kitchen

Mudchute Farm is a revelation – minutes from the DLR and edged by Canary Wharf’s concrete jungle, you’ll find goats, sheep, horses, even llamas ambling about in sprawling parkland. The café's clutch of wooden picnic tables isn’t altogether promising (it’s within smelling distance of the stables) but it does a decent line of paninis, cakes and indulgent farmers' breakfasts and brunches.  

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Cubitt Town

4. Mile 24

The course takes the runners through the underpass here – catch them as they emerge into daylight having wrestled with their demons in a rare moment of privacy. Transport: London Blackfriars rail. Check out places to eat and drink near Blackfriars Underpass below.

Bread Street Kitchen

To judge by this venue’s size and the elaborate Russell Sage interiors – a mash-up of art deco and industrial – Gordon Ramsay can’t be doing too badly. Bread Street Kitchen is located across the One New Change hallway from Barbecoa, Jamie Oliver’s barbecue joint with Adam Perry Lang. Entering the cavernous upstairs bistro is sheer fun, like stepping out of the bowels of a stadium into the stands.

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Mansion House

Barbecoa

Venue says: Don't forget to visit our butchers at Barbecoa To Go. Spend £35 or more and receive a complimentary bottle of wine.

There’s an industrial feel to this glam shopping-centre restaurant – and we don’t just mean its cavernous proportions and metallic faux-factory decor. You can almost sense the purr of the production line that delivers upmarket grills and US-style barbecue dishes from open kitchens to over 200 diners, via a bevy of perma-perky, black-shirted staff.

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Mansion House

Black Friar

Built in 1875 on the site of a medieval Dominican friary, the Black Friar had its interior completely remodelled in the Arts and Crafts style. Now a Nicholson’s, its bright panes, intricate friezes and carved slogans (‘Industry is Ale’, ‘Haste is Slow’) still make a work of art out of the main saloon, adjoined by a prosaic one linked by a marble-topped bar.

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Blackfriars

5. Mile 25

The runners are more spread out and more visible now, and the goal is within their grasp. Cheer them on towards the finish, then head for the alphabetically signposted meet-up points in Horse Guards Road and Horse Guards Parade. Transport: Embankment tube or Charing Cross rail. Check out places to eat and drink near Embankment below.

Gordon's

Gordon’s was established in its present form in 1890, but the exposed brickwork, flickering candlelight and tobacco-stained fixtures and fittings in the low basement vaults make it feel older still. Like the crowds, which are younger and livelier than you might expect, the wine list is surprisingly modern, hopping readily from the classic regions of France to South America and beyond.

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Charing Cross

Lupita

Venue says: Our delicious carnitas tacos and tortas are back on the menu! Stop by and enjoy a few soon!

The owners of Lupita showed some savvy when choosing Villiers Street – the narrow, crowded hill that runs between Embankment tube and Charing Cross station – as the place to set up shop. By day, this good-looking, capable Mexican restaurant gets passing trade from tourists and office workers; by night, it’s descended on by commuters and revellers, many of whom are tipsy and hungry.

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Charing Cross

Terroirs

Terroirs positions itself as an evangelist for natural wines, but is equally valued for the quality of its informal French cooking and its buzzy atmosphere. Gastronomes, the wine trade and in-the-know pre-theatre diners fill the split-level bistro-style space. That the wine list is 27 pages long and the menu is written on a table mat doesn’t reflect the priorities here.

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Covent Garden

Check out our ten top marathon facts

Whether you're limbering up to take part or just out for the fun of it, discover some amazing marathon facts as Blue Badge Tourist Guide Marc Belben tells tales of marathons past

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Comments

7 comments
Lisa P
Lisa P

Not sure the Cutty Sark is relevant to mile 17, it's on the other side of the river. The best viewing & eating place is The Old Fire Station on the corner of Westferry & Eastferry roads or the Lord Nelson pub on the opposite corner. The George near Crossharbour station also does good pub food & it's well located to watch the runners go by.

Julia  G
Julia G

R. S (Restaurant Ship) Hispaniola is moored on the Embankment just by Hungerford Bridge and is a great restaurant with 2 sundecks from which to watch the last mile of the race.

AriesatLarge
AriesatLarge

DOES ANYBODY KNOW IF I CAN JOIN THE MARATHON AT THE LAST MOMENT?. JUST GO THERE. JOIN THE PEOPLE AND RUN.

Carol M
Carol M

No you can't. I,ve seen them pull people off on the last half mile for not having an official race number. They know all the tricks such as wearing 4 safety pins and claiming to have lost the number !!

Oldbag
Oldbag

What would have been helpful would be to put some times as to when the leading runners and then the bulk of the runners would hit those spots.....

chrisppy
chrisppy

Great article.. Big help as my friend is a runner for scope and I had no idea what to do!well all sorted now may even squeeze a nostalgic visit to mudchute farm, as that looks like a whole lot of fun as well!

This is me
This is me

RE: Blackfriars Underpass: Mile 24 If you fancy one of the suggested restaurants, pubs or bars, remember to check first that it is open on Sunday - many City places are not.