The London Marathon is one of the most famous events in the capital’s social calendar, seeing tens of thousands of people each year run the 26.2 mile course around the city. This year, the London Marathon 2020 will take place on Sunday 26 April, and you can expect to see everyone from seasoned athletes to runners dressed up as telephone boxes all taking part, to help raise a heap of money for charities. In fact, 2019’s effort raised an astonishing £66.4 million for good causes, setting a new world-record for an annual single-day charity fundraising event for the thirteenth year in a row.
If you know a friend, partner, relative or colleague that is running the London Marathon 2020, the likelihood is that you have promised them you will go out and support them. While that is definitely a lovely thing to do, the truth of the matter is that once you’ve spent 10 seconds cheering them on as they whizz past, you will have about four or five hours of time to kill before seeing them again at the finish line.
We all know that spectating can be hungry work, and luckily for you, London is packed full of places to eat and drink along the route, meaning there’s somewhere to set your taste buds racing wherever you end up. To help you mark out a restaurant marathon of your own, we have rounded up some of the best restaurants and bars that are found right on, or just a short walk away from the famous marathon route.
Whether you are spectating from the starting line, the halfway point, or looking for somewhere to celebrate afterwards, our pick of restaurants and bars along the London marathon route should have you sorted. Check out our pick of London Marathon route restaurants below, and whether you’re running or spectating on the big day, best of luck from all of us at SquareMeal.
The best restaurants and bars along the London Marathon 2020 route
The big race kicks off around 10am in Blackheath, which is just about the time we like to eat breakfast on a Sunday. Why not head to nearby The Ivy Cafe Blackheath for a posh full English? That’s the first leg sorted.
The runners loop round to Greenwich via Woolwich but you don’t need to do that, so take a stroll through Greenwich Park to Rivington for fuss-free food and an extensive drinks list, featuring plenty of gin cocktails to pick up the day’s pace. Rotherhithe and Bermondsey are the next restaurant hotspots on the route and we make that time to stop by Blueprint Café, which boasts incredible views of Tower Bridge and the City's skyscrapers. There's also a great Sunday brunch menu, offering the likes of steamed sea bream with crushed potatoes, followed by carrot cake for pudding.
The Ivy Cafe's gorgeous dining room will get you ready for marathon spectating
Before you cross Tower Bridge at mile 12 and-a-bit, pop in to Cantina del Ponte and experience its take on Tuscany by the Thames, with a bargain set menu and an all-Italian wine list.
You’ll be feeling a bit tired now, so a pick-me-up is essential. We recommend ducking up Bermondsey Street to The Garrison for a freshly pressed juice or energy-boosting coffee. Now you can cross Tower Bridge and head to St Katharine Docks for a spot of tapas at Bravas Tapas. Spiced lamb chops with rosemary aioli, anyone?
You’re more than halfway, well done. Head to Gordon Ramsay’s gastropub The Narrow for pints and posh snacks to celebrate, before heading to Canary Wharf for all manner of eats, including British sausages with bone marrow mash at Boisdale of Canary Wharf. Or if dim sum’s more your thing, head to Royal China as the runners pass Westferry Circus.
Joe Allen's off-menu burger will fuel you up for watching the runners
Back in the Square Mile, saunter up to the One New Change mall at St Paul’s and pay your respects to one of the restaurant world’s most committed marathon runners, by pulling up a table at Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen. If you want to Instagram your spectating efforts though, it doesn’t get much more glamorous than The Ivy Asia.
Then jog along the Strand to legendary Theatreland hangout Joe Allen. The menu of American-accented, international comfort food ranges from eggs Benedict to calf's liver with red wine gravy and crispy bacon – plus an off-menu burger that's even more famous than the restaurant's clientele of West End stage stars.
You’ll need a digestif at the legendary Gordon’s Wine Bar – a cheeky Madeira should do it – then it’s back to the track for a plate with a view at the Portrait Restaurant at the National Portrait Gallery.
You might spot a few runners in the distance at Portrait
You’re doing so well – nearly at mile 26! The finish line is on the Mall so you’ll need to collect your runner, force-feed them a tactical Mars Bar and march them a little way from the crowds to St James's landmark Le Caprice. You might want to get them to ditch that foil cape though, as it’s not exactly proper restaurant attire…tut tut.
Fancy your chances in next year’s marathon? Start off on the right foot with 25 healthy London restaurants.