It is already that time of year again: the Virgin Money London Marathon is taking place this Sunday (22 April) and the capital is ready to welcome more than 40,000 runners, and thousands more spectators, for the 26.2 mile route.
The London Marathon weather forecast predicts the race will be the hottest ever on record, beating the previous high of 22.2C set in 2007. While this might not be such good news for the runners, for those just watching, they can enjoy the heatwave.
And whether you plan to follow the race or just sit back and soak up the atmosphere of the day in one location, you don’t want to be caught unprepared for one of London’s busiest days of the year.
What To Wear
The weather forecast is for 22 degrees, sunshine and partial cloudiness. So make sure to bring clothes for warm weather, as well as plenty of suncream and water to keep everyone hydrated.
If you plan on covering a lot of the route, then it goes without saying that you should wear comfortable clothes and shoes. And wear layers so you can add on, or strip off if the weather changes at the last minute. You shouldn’t need a waterproof this year.
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What To Bring
Pack light as you’ll have to do a fair bit of walking so you don’t want to break your back carrying heavy items around.
The official London Marathon website advises to “think carefully before bringing young children” as pushchairs can be troublesome in busy crowds.
Where To Take The Best Photographs
Unfortunately the most striking photo opportunities are at the busiest places - so Cutty Sark and Tower Bridge. If you do want to brave the crowds for that epic shot, try and get there a bit earlier to secure your spot.
Where To Avoid
Crowded places that you might want to avoid include Greenwich town centre, the Cutty Sark, Tower Bridge, and anywhere from mile 24 (Blackfriars) to the finish by St James’s Park.
Where To Eat
There will be lots of eateries along the route which you can stop off at - from sandwich chains (think Pret and Eat) to sit-down affairs.
In Greenwich (first seven miles of the race) there’s the weekend market which has a great variety of food stalls. If you want to make the event a bit special, grab a cheeseboard and glass of bubbly in Champagne + Fromage, which is near the station.
Where To Drink
This London Marathon beer map has all of the key pubs that you can stop off at along the route. We’d recommend pubs after mile 11 (Canada Water), when it’s a bit later in the day.
Try The Mayflower (117 Rotherhithe St, London SE16 4NF) which is “the oldest pub on the River Thames”; The George Pub (114 Glengall Grove, London E14 3ND) which has a garden area; and The Banker which has amazing views of the River Thames.
Where To Take Kids
It’s going to be busy, so be mindful when taking young ones. It might be worth trying to track down your runner at Canada Water (you can do that using the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon app) and then heading straight to St James’s Park where you can have a picnic.
If you want to get away from the crowds, try Green Park or Hyde Park which are fairly close by. And make sure you take some games to keep the kids busy!
Where To Meet Your Runner At The End
Spectators are reunited with runners at the runner meet and greet area in Horse Guards Road and Horse Guards Parade. You won’t be allowed into the secure area.
The closest stations to the finish area are St James’s Park station and Victoria station. Charing Cross and Embankment stations will involve a longer walk (approximately 20 minutes). However, these stations will be less crowded.