London Views in Marathon Shoes

This is a guide to over 80 photographic sites along the route of the London Marathon from the start line at Greenwich to the finish on The Mall by Buckingham Palace. Due to the logistics involved in the London Marathon, the route does not always follow the most scenic path and misses out on some of the more photographic and interesting spots.


This shoes a set of trainers strung along a line  - shot from below with blue sky above
London Views in Marathon shoes - Soul View

This unofficial photographic guide was created to provide spectators, charity organisers and runners, with a handy guide to some of the bester photographic sites that are 'in the vicinity' of the route so that you can go and explore them.

Since this was produce in 2016, I have created my own personal 'Across London Visual Marathon' that covered the best visual sites between the Thames Barrier in the east to Hyde park Corner in the west end. See Photoruns.com.


I have outline the route into 5 miles stages, provided a route map with the sights, a brief description of the section and a video showing the sites as a video.


A Kindle copy of the original book with all the locations can be found here London's Marathon Views: 80 photographic landmarks along the route of the London Marathon


The London Marathon Route.

The London Marathon Route with mile markers
The London Marathon Route.


Facts about the Marathon

  • The London Marathon runners have raised over £770 million for charity since its launch 36 years ago.

  • Steve Chalke fundraising efforts raised a record £2,330,159.38 in 2011

  • 247,069 people entered the ballot for the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon. Around 36,000 started.

  • Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge holds the London Marathon men’s course record of 2:03:05 set in 2016.

  • Paula Radcliffe holds the women’s record with 2:15:25, set in 2005.

  • The fastest female wheelchair athlete was Tatyana McFadden (USA) with 1:41:14 in 2015.

  • The fastest male wheelchair athlete was Kurt Fearnley (Australia) with 1:28:57 in 2009.

  • The hottest marathon day was in 2007 when temperatures peaked at 21.7°C.

  • The coldest race day was a cold 7.6°C in 1994.

  • 1.25m bottles of water and energy drinks will be available for the runners on 600 trestle tables.

  • The London Marathon is the Guinness World Record’s largest annual fundraising event.


Part 1 - From Greenwich to Greenwich - the First 5 Miles (Red Route)

Part 1 - From Greenwich  to Greenwich  - the First 5 Miles (Red Route) Map
Part 1 - From Greenwich to Greenwich - the First 5 Miles (Red Route)

  • Greenwich, (with its fantastic views over London, the Royal Observatory, and its beautiful historic park), is the iconic start of the Virgin Money London Marathon.

  • There are three starting points for the London Marathon at Greenwich that join up together in Woolwich at ‘mile 3’.

  • The red route leaves Greenwich Park and heads east towards Charlton with Blackheath on the right. The first mile is a great place to see all the runners and to catch a glimpse of anyone you are supporting as they are often running at a slower pace, smiling, and tend to be more willing to pose.

  • The next landmark is the Jacobian styled Charlton House at 1.75 miles. At 3 miles, the Blue and Green Routes meets up with the Red Route, as they drop down into Woolwich by-passing the Woolwich Barrack and Woolwich Arsenal. The runners turn left at the Woolwich Ferry and head back towards Greenwich, hitting the 5-mile mark at the flyover on the Charlton/Greenwich border.

This video shows you the sights along this section of the London Marathon



Part 2 - Greenwich to Rotherhithe - Mile 5-10

Part 2 - Greenwich to Rotherhithe - Mile 5-10 - map
Part 2 - Greenwich to Rotherhithe - Mile 5-10

  • The return to Greenwich at mile 6 is greeted by a swelling crowd of welcoming supporters and a chance to see the runners in full flight as they pass the Maritime Museum and Cutty Sark, before heading off to Rotherhithe via Deptford, which was once famous for its shipbuilding.

  • Although the route is not very scenic for the runners beyond Deptford, the spectators have the option of picking up the Thames Path, which will take them all the way to Tower Bridge - a 9.5 Km walk/training run.

  • The Thames Path has some great views over to Canary Wharf and Docklands as well as having its interesting areas such as Surry Dock Farm, Greenland Dock, Surry Quays and Canada Water.

This video shows you the sights along this section of the London Marathon



Part 3 - Rotherhithe to WestFerry (Docklands) - Mile 10-15

Part 3 - Rotherhithe to WestFerry (Docklands) - Mile 10-15 - Map
Part 3 - Rotherhithe to WestFerry (Docklands) - Mile 10-15

  • Rotherhithe had a long history as a port and a shipyard, and dates back to the 16th century. It remained a working dock until the 1970s.

  • Bermondsey became the place to live after Great Fire of London in 1666, but it fell into decline in the 19th century and became the setting for Charles Dicken’s novel ‘Oliver Twist’.

  • After 2 miles, (mile 12), Tower Bridge and the City of London come into view, which is the halfway point for the marathon. After crossing the bridge and being greeted by cheering crowds, the route turns left towards Canary Wharf some two miles in the distance.

  • This northern area of the Thames was originally part of London Dock which was constructed at Wapping between 1800 and 1815 and specialized in rice, tobacco, wine, wool and brandy. The dock closed in the late 1960s, and many of its basins were filled in.

  • Limehouse once used to contain lime kilns for the large potteries within London Docks, - it was also London’s original Chinatown.

This video shows you the sights along this section of the London Marathon



Part 4 Around the Isle of Dogs and Canary Wharf - Mile 15-20

Part 4 Around the Isle of Dogs and Canary Wharf -  Mile 15-20 - Map
Part 4 Around the Isle of Dogs and Canary Wharf - Mile 15-20

  • This part of the London Marathon route is a five-mile circuit around the Isle of Dogs that starts and end in the hustle and bustle of Canary Wharf - which is London’s second major financial centre. There is some dispute about the origins of the Isle of Dogs, but one theory is that King Henry VIII kept his hunting dogs there, when he was in Greenwich and they howled at the passing ships.

  • Unfortunately, there is not a great deal for the runners to see in the first 3 miles as they run around the Isle of Dogs. However, the spectator has the choice of exploring the Thames Path, Millwall Dock, Mudchutes and Island Gardens – or even going across to Greenwich via the foot tunnel.

  • The last two miles of this section zig zag through the Canary Wharf Docklands development, which has become one of the most popular places for spectators to watch the marathon.

This video shows you the sights along this section of the London Marathon


Part 5 - Westferry to Westminster - Mile 20-25

Part 5 - Westferry to Westminster - Mile 20-25 - map
Part 5 - Westferry to Westminster - Mile 20-25

  • There is not a great deal to look at for the first two miles as you head out of Docklands and towards the City of London. However, once the Tower of London comes into view, you know that the crowds and the whole of London will be cheering you on for those last 4 miles towards the finish line on The Mall.

  • The spectators have plenty of things to see and explore on both sides of the river including The Tower of London, St Pauls Cathedral, the Bank of England, The Tate Modern, the Shard and the rest of the City of London.

  • The City of London is both a city and county within London, and it has been in existence since Roman times. It is often referred to as the Square Mile, as it was a walled city in medieval times, and had a population of 200,000 people and measured 1.12 sq. mi (2.90 sq. km) in area.

This video shows you the sights along this section of the London Marathon


Part 6 The Last Mile - Westminster to The Mall - Mile 25- to the Finish

Part 6 The Last Mile - Westminster to The Mall - Mile 25-Finish - Map
Part 6 The Last Mile - Westminster to The Mall - Mile 25-Finish

  • The ‘Mile 25’ sign comes into view just past Embankment Station, and the London Eye and Big Ben suddenly become more prominent. The crowds, the charity support teams, and the noise will really help motivate the runners during the last mile as they make their way heroically towards the finish line. The turning at Westminster Bridge with Big Ben and the House of Parliament is a sight every runner remembers before they head down past Whitehall and Westminster Abbey towards St James’s Park. At the end of Birdcage Walk, Buckingham Palace comes into views, which means there are only 400 meters to go to the finish line and a lifetime of pride in having complete the London Marathon.

  • The first people to cross the finish line will be the Men’s Wheelchair category at around 10:30, with the Elite Women at 11:35, the Elite Men at 12:00, and everyone else after that - with some taking many hours to complete the 26.2 miles.

  • The entire area, in and around St James’s Park, is incredibly congested with families and friends of runners trying to catch a glimpse of their loved ones. To avoid missing them, it is advisable to pre-plan any meet up - the most popular post-race place being on Horse Guards Parade.

This video shows you the sights along this section of the London Marathon




Post Race

As you cross the finish line swapping the pain of the run for a lifetime of pride, just remember that you have had a fantastic day - and so have all the fundraisers and charities who have benefited from the sponsorship.


Picture of the Finish line - setting it up
The Finish Line

My charity is for the home less and this was my fundraising video I did a few years back





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