Run London Run

Plan a trip to the capital this weekend or get out of town

The 2008 London Marathon in full swing

Around 50,000 runners will tackle the Flora London Marathon on 26 April to raise stacks of cash for worthy causes.

But if the mere thought of exercise brings you out in a cold sweat, why not show your support by shouting from the sidelines? Hang up your trainers and head into the city to enjoy the atmosphere as thousands pound the streets of the capital.

Amanda Holden, left, Kate Lawler, centre, and Melanie Boorman at the start of the 2008 marathon You could even spot a celebrity in the throng – the marathon always attracts big names keen to do their bit in the public eye. Famous folk in training this year include: actors Amanda Holden, Jason Flemyng, John Pickard, Kellie Bright, Lucy Speed, Matthew MacFadyen, Mikyla Dodd and Vicky Binns; chefs Gordon Ramsay, Gino D'Acampo and Michel Roux; last year's winner of The Apprentice Lee McQueen; football commentator Jonathan Pearce; and Katie Price and Peter Andre.

The fun starts at 9.45am, south of the river, and the route takes in landmarks including the Cutty Sark, Canary Wharf, Tower Bridge, Parliament Square and Buckingham Palace.

Avoid the hotspots

Key vantage points get very busy and there's plenty of advice online about the places to avoid. Getting around the capital is a challenge for spectators as many roads will be closed, so public transport is the best option. Check out the pick of the stations for marathon followers. There's a complete list of road closures to help motorists to avoid getting caught up in the mayhem.

Gordon Ramsay, left, and Ronan Keating, right, completed the 2008 Flora London Marathon

The official marathon spectators' guide outlines ideal routes that take in the action, advice on public transport, and even a guide to pubs along the way.

Find and book a hotel in London.

Get out of town

There's plenty going on outside the capital this weekend if you feel like getting away from it all.

Many towns are holding St George's Day celebrations throughout the weekend. Although the patron saint's date is Thursday 23 April, people will get together for family fun at Silsoe, Bedfordshire, and Salisbury, Wiltshire, on 25 and 26th.

A surfer on Bournemouth beach For something a bit different, hit the south coast and take a trip on the Bournemouth Eye before tackling a surf lesson.

The Eurostar at London's Waterloo station If you fancy going further afield, why not jump on the Eurostar or a ferry and enjoy a few days on the Continent? Fly to Prague, Venice or Rome, or cruise the Dutch and Belgian waterways. Discover Chantilly – just 31 miles from Paris – or go by car on a French gourmet break.

Wherever you're heading

...plan your trip with the AA Route Planner, stock your car with essential accessories from the AA Shop, and check for traffic blackspots before you leave with AA Roadwatch. Find the best places to eat, drink and sleep, and check out our brilliant travel guides.

Subscribe to our e-newsletter

Make the most of with 'Hotspots' – the AA's monthly newsletter delivered direct to your inbox. Packed full of tips, the newsletter features a regular column from the AA President, Edmund King, who'll cover the big stories affecting drivers, from speeding and drug driving to petrol prices. There's also award-winning places to stay and eat out, car reviews, edited extracts from our extensive range of books – exclusive to the newsletter – and more. Click here to sign up.

AA Roadwatch has a new number - call 84322 or enter 'theAA' on your phone keypad

Site tools

AA Route PlannerRoutes for GB, Ireland and EuropeAA RoadwatchCheck the traffic before you goEvents and attractionsWhat else is happening in your area?Walks & bike ridesSearch our database of UK walks and bike rides


23 April 2009

Marathon photos courtesy of onEdition.