Let's be honest, running 26 miles dressed as a chicken is hardly the simplest of tasks, is it? So if you're not taking part in the London Marathon on Sunday April 26 2015, 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.
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.
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.
Venue says: For 16 years Il Bordello has been delighting Londoners with its hearty Italian cooking and warm, cheerful atmosphere. Large Lempicka prints adorn the walls and a gleaming copper bar acts as the restaurant’s centrepiece. Our extensive menu is simply overflowing with beautifully fresh fish and seafood, succulent meat, hand-thrown pizzas and traditional pasta dishes. Sample delicacies like the Insalata di piovra, a tasty octopus salad or the Bresaola della casa with olive oil, parmesan and a dash of lemon. Mains courses include to name a few, Cotoletta Milanese, tender veal coated in golden breadcrumbs or our spectacular pizza Il Bordello with plenty of homemade passata, lashings of creamy mozzarella, artichoke, red peppers and Parma ham. By way of an accompaniment, enjoy a bottle of Italian wine of which we mainly import direct from small Italian vineyards. Our house wine is just £14.50 and other wines include Barolo at £38.95 . Recently we were awarded a certificate of Excellence by Trip Advisor for which we are eternally grateful to our customers. Unlike so many London Italian restaurants, Il Bordello sidesteps pretentiousness and instead focuses on delivering deliciously authentic Italian cuisine. An evening at Il Bordello will remain in your memory long after dining with us.
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.
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.Read more
Venue says: Located in the heart of the City, Barbecoa sits overlooking St Paul's Cathedral. The breath-taking views, vibrant atmosphere and incredible food will make any dining experience special - whether it's a business lunch, a catch up with friends, or a romantic evening meal for two. Opened four years ago by Jamie Oliver, Barbecoa is a celebration of incredible produce and fire-based cooking. Our chefs create beautiful, seasonal dishes using traditional techniques such as the Texas pit smoker, Argentine grill, Japanese robata grill, tandoor and wood-fired oven. The love and passion for food can be felt throughout the restaurant. What sets Barbecoa apart from the rest, is not just the traditional techniques - but also the in-house butchery. Located just below the restaurant, their team of butchers source the finest meat from around the UK and dry-age it in-house, creating meat that is second-to-none.
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.Read more
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.Read more
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 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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more