This post is in partnership with TCS.
I grew up in London but with only a vague idea of marathon weekend, watching it on TV but as background noise more than anything else (back when we only had 4 TV channels).
The first time I actually spectated the marathon was 2011 and I haven’t missed a year since, either running it (in 2012, 2017, 2018 and 2022), or cheering from the sidelines.
Where are the Best Places to Watch the TCS London Marathon?
When thinking about where to watch the TCS London Marathon, you need to consider a few things;
- Are you trying to see one runner as many times as possible?
- Are you wanting to track and see more than one runner (running separately)?
- Do you want to catch the elites?
- Are you just out there cheering for everyone?
- Are you watching with kids?
Depending on the answers to these questions, there are different places on the TCS London Marathon course that I’d recommend. See the course map here.
The most important thing to do…download the TCS London Marathon app to track your runners in real time so that you can get ready to scan the crowd and hold your banners up high!
Best places to spectate to see your runner in a number of spots…
Mile 9 – Surrey Quays/Canada Water
Great spot to go with kids with toilets in the shopping centre, space to spectate and a couple of coffee shop options! Plus good transport links to hot foot it to other spots once you’ve seen your runners. Depending on your runner’s speed (and yours!) you can sprint across to Mile 11 or jump straight back on the train to another location!
I like to get here EARLY, pick up a coffee and breakfast from Canada Water Cafe then head across the Tesco carpark to just after the roundabout. You can re-caffeinate at MakeMakeCoffee as needed!
From there, jump on the overground to Shadwell for another two locations!
Mile 13/22 – Shadwell
Whilst it is iconic to be ON Tower Bridge, walk a little further down and you can position yourself on course to see your runners twice as they cross halfway at 13.1, and at mile 22 on the way to the finish line. I’d recommend standing on the North side of the road for easy access to Shadwell station (get a 5 min train or walk to Whitechapel and hop on the district line to near the finish to greet your runners!)
Mile 14/21 – Limehouse
Just a little further along and another good spot to see your runners twice and give yourself time to get on the train to Tower Hill and change to the District or Circle line to St James Park or Westminster)
Mile 15/20 – West Ferry
Another spot you can see your runner twice although it will require some movement to reposition yourself. Once you’ve seen your runner, head back to Canary Wharf (use the loos/pick up snacks) and jump on the Jubilee line back to Westminster and the finish line!
Best places to spectate if you’re watching with kids…
Mile 6 – Greenwich
A great location if you want to drop off your runner, stretch the legs in Greenwich Park playground, then watch your runner come through 10K. I would avoid nearby Cutty Sark as it gets incredibly busy. Hop on the train at Greenwich to Canary Wharf or Poplar to catch your runner at Mile 19/20.
Mile 17 – Mudchute
There is a farm nearby to entertain children before/after cheering! Then hop on the train up to Mile 20 at Poplar.
Mile 23 – Mansion House
Join the Westin London City cheer squad and spot your runner just before they enter the Blackfriars tunnel (which can be a little bleak!) then jump on the District line at Mansion House to the finish line at St James! If you’re staying at the hotel, you can spend the morning making cheer signs in the lobby with the kids or swimming, before refuelling at Shake Shack (my personal post-marathon fave!) You can watch from the pedestrian bridge for a different view of the runners too.
Best places to watch the race from one great spot….
Mile 12.5 – Tower Bridge
This spot is iconic, the energy is electric and the photo opps are epic. However you’ll need to get there early to nab a prime position and make sure to bring sustenance with you. Nearest loos are probably on St Katharine’s Way or Queens Walk.
Mile 25 – Embankment
The energy on this section is incredible all the way to the finish. It can be really motivating to have friends/family in those last few miles, plus its usually quite easy to get to the finisher meet up area while the runners finish the final 1.2 miles and collect their medals!
Don’t forget to download the TCS London Marathon App to track your runners in real time on race day!
Will you be watching or running on Sunday? Let me know if I’ve missed your fave cheer spot and why you love it so much!
The first marathon I spectated was the second London Marathon in 1982. I went to cheer on my then boyfriend and his friend, Hugh Jones, who actually won the race in 2.09.24! I have a photo somewhere of us at Tower Bridge – no crowds, no barriers, no bright pink anorak and certainly no tracking app! Good times!
MUM are you KIDDING this is the first time you are telling me this story???