London Marathon 2024 travel guide: Start times, route and celebration spots

More than 50,000 people will jog the 26.2 mile journey (Getty Images)
More than 50,000 people will jog the 26.2 mile journey (Getty Images)

The London Marathon 2024 will weave through the streets of the capital from Greenwich to Westminster on Sunday 21 April, and thousands of spectators are going to be lining the route for a glimpse of their running friends.

Over 50,000 people are expected to take on the mammoth two-foot tour of London landmarks, including Buckingham Palace, Cutty Sark and Tower Bridge.

Since the inaugural 26.2 mile event in 1981, the fundraising race has raised millions for charities each year, and, with sunshine on the forecast for now, celebrations of the charitable and physical feat will take place across the city.

Here’s everything you need to know to plan the day if you’re running or supporting this year’s London Marathon.

London Marathon 2024 start time and date

The London Marathon 2024 will take place on Sunday 21 April.

Exact timings for this year’s races are yet to be confirmed but staggered start times from around 8.30am are the norm, with the masses setting off in waves at 10am and all start lines closed from 11.30am.

The finish line on The Mall closes at 7.30pm and is then moved to St James’ Park until midnight.

London Marathon route

Largely unchanged since 1981, the start line for the race is in Blackheath at the top of Greenwich Park.

From here, a leg to Woolwich, jog past the Cutty Sark and stretch around Bermondsey takes runners to cross the river over Tower Bridge.

After a ring around the Isle of Dogs, it’s a relatively straight stretch along the Thames through the City of London to the Westminster finish line on The Mall.

Will there be train and tube strikes?

There is a planned overtime ban for Aslef members working for LNER on Friday 19 and Sunday 21 April (marathon day), as well as strikes on Saturday 20 April, so those travelling into London from the northeast will likely face cancellations.

Substantial road closures across the capital to make way for the race mean spectators should travel on foot or by tube – roads will reopen as and when all runners have cleared the area.

Marathon participants will receive free travel home up to 6.30pm on marathon day on the London Underground and Overground, buses and DLR.

TfL said that a modified DLR service will start at 5.30am from Tower Gateway to Lewisham so runners arrive on time to the start line.

Rail services out of London to the midlands and the northwest are also expected to be extremely busy from 6pm due to an FA Cup semi-final taking place at Wembley Stadium.

The best spots to watch the London Marathon in person

If the live BBC coverage won’t cut it and you’re coming to support from the sidelines, spectators can watch along most parts of the route, including The Highway in Wapping, where runners will pass twice.

To be in the heart of the action, the halfway point of Tower Bridge at mile 13, and the finish line at The Mall are bound to be exciting but busy. For a quieter spot to cheer, stay east and line up in Deptford or the Isle of Dogs.

Track friends and family taking part using their marathon number on the TCS London Marathon app to best position yourself to catch them on the go.

Marathon organisers advise that some areas, including those by the Cutty Sark and St James’ Park, are likely to be very busy on the day.

Five accessible viewing areas also dot the course for those with disabilities: in Cutty Sark, Canary Wharf, Rainbow Row, Tower Hill and Victoria Embankment.

Where to celebrate along the route

London has plenty of pubs and bars to quench the post-marathon thirst, whether you’ve been running or cheering.

In Greenwich, The Gipsy Moth has Cutty Sark views, The Angel in Bermondsey sits on the Thames and halfway pub, the Tower Bridge Arms, raises pints of IPA to passers-by.

Wet your palette in Wapping’s local Turner’s Old Star, ride the high at Pergola on the Wharf for city views, or refuel at Hung, Drawn & Quartered in Tower Hill with pies and ales.

At Victoria Embankment, board pub boat Tattershall Castle to cheer runners on for the final mile and savour a cold one at The Westminster Arms just before the finish line.

Once the race has been run, Inn the Park restaurant in St James’ Park is ideal for a light bite or head into Mercato Mayfair for a street food party in a restored church.

How to sign up for the London Marathon 2025

After a record number of entries signed up for the 26.2-mile race in 2024 – 578,374 applicants according to event organisers – next year’s London Marathon is bound to be another popular event.

To take on the challenge, entry is available through a ballot, international tour operators, charity spaces and athletics clubs.

The public ballot for the 2025 TCS London Marathon will open on Saturday 20 April and close the following Friday (26 April). Winners will be drawn at random and emailed in July ahead of the 27 April 2025 marathon.

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