Where to watch the London Marathon 2023

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Running 26.2 miles is not light work — and the least us non-runners can do on Sunday 23 April is support those taking part in the London Marathon. The gruelling route, which will take thousands of racers from Greenwich to St James’s, twists and turns past some of the capital’s most famous landmarks, including Cutty Sark, the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace. Of course, we’re well aware that being a supportive spectator can be thirsty work, so we’ve also found the best pubs along the route for a pint or two… 

The start: Blackheath

blackheath london marathon

Image: Shutterstock/Robin Pope

Nearest tube: Greenwich or Cutty Sark DLR 

The start of the race, roughly between Blackheath and Greenwich, will no doubt be busy so if you want to wish your runner on their merry way, we recommend arriving early. There are three different start lines (understandable considering the sheer amount of entrants) spread across Blackheath, including Charlton Way, St John’s Park and Old Dover Road, so make sure you know where you’re meant to be on race day. 

Best pub: Trafalgar Tavern

Need a pint to quench those second-hand marathon nerves? We don’t blame you. Head to the Trafalgar Tavern, a humble riverside pub with views across to Canary Wharf, which will provide the perfect bolthole away from the hustle and bustle of the start line. 

Park Row, Greenwich, SE10 9NW, visit trafalgartavern.co.uk

Mile 6: Cutty Sark

cutty sark greenwich

Image: Shutterstock

Nearest tube: Cutty Sark DLR

Your support, however, may be more appreciated a bit later on than at the start line. Runners will be passing Cutty Sark, the historic sailing ship in the heart of Greenwich, at around mile six. Whether you’re sitting on the surrounding benches or adjacent green fields of Old Royal Naval College, you will likely get a good view of the determined marathon crowd from here. 

Best pub: The Old Brewery, Greenwich

Steeped in historic charm, this Young’s pub is just minutes from Cutty Sark and boasts an expansive sun terrace. Cheer on the runners before tucking into a Cumberland pork and bacon scotch egg, breaded fish finger sandwich or even a mean Sunday roast

Pepys Building, Old Royal Naval College, SE10 9LW, visit oldbrewerygreenwich.com

Mile 12: Tower Bridge

london marathon tower bridge

Image: Shutterstock/Mr Pics

Nearest tube: Tower Hill

Probably one of the most popular spots for spectators, Tower Bridge will be heaving come mile 12 so get here early if you need to support your flagging friend at this point. 

Best pub: Pont De La Tour

If you’re planning to make a day of it, we would choose Pont De La Tour for a decadent lunch. This French fine-dining restaurant offers an array of seafood — think Colchester native oysters, poached lobster and crab diable — as well as lamb rump, steak frites and roast chicken with sausage stuffing. While the marathon won’t be streaming past your table, we still recommend requesting a table outside so you can enjoy the best this restaurant has to offer before finding the next spot to cheer from. 

36D Shad Thames, SE1 2YE, visit lepontdelatour.co.uk

Mile 18: Canary Wharf

london marathon canary wharf

Image: Shutterstock/Andrius Kaziliunas

Nearest tube: Canary Wharf or Heron Quays DLR

Heading back east, the bright lights of London’s banking district will see runners past the halfway point. As the race zig zags through the sky-high buildings, there will be plenty of spectator spots along the perimeter before the race heads back to Tower Hill once again. 

Best pub: Humble Grape

Fancy a vino? We don’t blame you. The Humble Grape offers more than 400 wines for spectators to choose from as they enjoy a glass along the riverside of Canary Wharf. Plus, the wine bar is also home to a shop so you can pick up a special bottle as a celebratory present for your deserving marathoner. 

18-20 Mackenzie Walk, E14 4PH, visit humblegrape.co.uk

Mile 23: The Tower of London

tower of london

Image: Shutterstock

Nearest tube: Tower Hill

With just three miles to go now, runners will be on the home stretch. The wide riverside walks adjacent to the Tower of London provide plenty of room for those wishing to spot someone in the crowd (which, probably, has petered out at this point). 

Best pub: Hung Drawn and Quartered

As one of the most popular pubs in Tower Hill, a good time is guaranteed at Fuller’s Hung Drawn and Quartered. This ale and pie pub is just a stone’s throw from the Tower of London, so it’s the perfect place for a spot to eat before you head to the finish line. 

26-27 Great Tower Street, EC3R 5AQ, visit hung-drawn-and-quartered.co.uk

Mile 25: Embankment

london marathon embankment

Image: Shutterstock/Cooperman

Nearest tube: Embankment or Charing Cross

The finish line is so close you can almost taste it. As runners zoom under the shadow of the London Eye on the opposite side of the Thames, it’s likely this spot won’t be that busy as most of the cheering crowd will be converging on the finishing line at Buckingham Palace. So, if you feel your runner may be in need of a final bolster, perhaps this is the place for you… 

Best pub: Gordon’s Wine Bar

It would be rude to be in Embankment and not acquaint yourself with Gordon’s Wine Bar. From the terrace, you’ll be able to spot runners streaming past your Parisian-style outdoor tablet or head inside to enjoy a romantic hour or two in the wine caves. The wine bar serves a selection of sharing boards — think freshly-baked French bread, salted butter and chutney with all the trimmings — and is home to a number of rare and popular wines from across the world. However, Gordon’s is notoriously busy and it doesn’t take reservations so arrive especially early to grab a seat. 

47 Villiers Street, WC2N 6NE, visit gordonswinebar.com

The end: Buckingham Palace

london marathon

Image: Shutterstock/Keith Larby

Nearest tube: Victoria or Green Park

The finish line is, quite literally, in sight. As runners jog, walk or hobble to the finish, your cheering will no doubt be much appreciated. Plus, the atmosphere is electric as thousands of Londoners and tourists come together to support the marathon medallists. Out of the places you want to be this Sunday, Buckingham Palace should be at the top of your list. 

Best pub: The Red Lion

Whichever pub you dive into around Buckingham Palace on Sunday will be busy, so if you don’t want to face the crowds, perhaps head over to Hyde Park to escape the bustle. However, if you want to experience the post-marathon atmosphere first-hand, head to The Red Lion situated on a tiny alley off Pall Mall — a quintessentially British pub which has been serving the St James’s crowd for centuries (and even King Charles II back in its heyday). Behind the bar, you’ll find an array of modern craft beers and cask classics so you can buy your marathon runner a pint or two. Come on, they deserve it… 

23 Crown Passage, St. James’s, SW1Y 6PP, visit stjameslondon.co.uk

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