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How do I get to the London Marathon 2024?

Looking for how to get to the London Marathon? Look no further. Our handy guide has you covered.
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Taking place on April 21st, the London Marathon is one of the most important sporting fixtures in the capital. Whether you’re taking part or just want to see runners in action, it’s a real spectacle. Getting to the London Marathon might seem like a bit of a challenge, but we’ve put all of the essential information in this guide.

How do I get to the London Marathon start line?

If you’re taking part in the race or know somebody who is, you’ll probably want to get to the London Marathon start line. Depending on which route you’re taking at the beginning of the race, your best bet will either be Greenwich, Maze Hill or Blackheath stations.

  • Use Greenwich if you want the Red start line
  • Travel to Maze Hill for the Green start line
  • Blackheath is the best option for the Blue and Yellow start lines.

Red & Green start lines

Southeastern will be running extra trains to Greenwich and Maze Hill so that there’ll be a train at least every 10 minutes from London Cannon Street and London Bridge from around 7am til 10:30am. If you want the best chance of a seat, then head for Cannon Street.

The additional trains will run to Slade Green, Dartford or Barnehurst and will call only at Greenwich and Maze Hill after London Bridge.

If you’re coming from Dartford, two trains per hour will go to Maze Hill and Greenwich. Trains will also run from Slade Green at least every 10 minutes.

Blue & Yellow start lines

Roughly six trains per hour will run from London Bridge to Blackheath. Most of them will start at Charing Cross, so that’ll be your best bet for a seat. Additionally, trains will leave London Bridge at 0805 and 0835 for Barnehurst, stopping only at Lewisham and Blackheath on the way.

Trains will also leave Charing Cross at 0750 and 0820, which will be non-stop between Waterloo East and Lewisham or Blackheath.

Only a limited service will run from New Cross and St Johns during the morning (every 30 minutes). You will also need to change at Lewisham.

You can find more information about how to get to the London Marathon start lines on their official website.

What will the trains to the start line be like?

Southeastern will be running the majority of trains to the start line. All trains should be at least eight carriages long (some will be 10 carriages) and most will be operated by ‘Networker‘ trains that look like this:

southeastern networker train

They have 3+2 seating inside and are the sort of commuter train that you’d expect in London. Just know that they don’t have power sockets, so you’ll need to have any devices already charged before you start the race! The inside will look very similar to this:

interior of southeastern networker train

When it comes to getting into London itself, lots of different kinds of trains run on the railways that serve the capital. Take a look at our guide to what your train might look like for some further insights! We’ve even got some tips for first-time train travel.

How do I get to the London Marathon if I’m spectating?

If you’re spectating, then the capital is your oyster. There are quite a few places to choose from if you want to get in on the action. Here’s how to get to some of the key locations on the route:

  • If you want to see the race around the Cutty Sark, head for Greenwich. You can take a Southeastern/Thameslink train from London Bridge or the DLR
  • Want to get in on the action twice around The Highway? London Overground will take you to Shadwell or Wapping. You could also take c2c trains or the DLR to Limehouse
  • The Elizabeth Line to Canary Wharf will be your best bet if you want to see the racers among the skyscrapers. The Jubilee Line and DLR also serve the area
  • Heading for the finish line? Southeastern trains will be running into Charing Cross and Victoria, and Southern trains will be serving Victoria. You can also take the District and Circle lines to St James’ Park. Just be aware that this part of the route will be very busy!

Travelling from further afield

If you’re planning to get to the London Marathon from further away, then we’d recommend planning your journey in advance. Depending on how far you’re coming from, it might be best to travel on Saturday (20th April) and stay somewhere nearby. Not all stations will have trains to London that arrive in time for the start of the race.

London Overground will also be running extra trains between West Croydon/Crystal Palace and Highbury & Islington. Each line will have trains every 15 minutes from around 6:45am.

Other rail operators may choose to run extra services on the morning of the race. More information will be available on the dedicated National Rail page if they do.

Will the London Marathon be affected by train strikes?

Be aware that LNER is affected by strike action on Saturday 20th April. They will be running a train service, but there will be fewer services than normal. If you’re travelling from further afield to reach London, then bear this in mind. 

It is now too late for unions to announce any further strike action. No other services will be affected. 

How do I buy rail tickets to the Marathon?

If you’re running in the event and you’re looking to get to the London Marathon, then you’re usually entitled to free travel on Underground, London Overground, Elizabeth Line and Southeastern trains that will take you to the start line. You can also travel for free on the DLR and on London Buses.

If you just want to make a single journey to a point on the London Marathon route, you can buy a ticket to “London Underground Zones 1-2“, “London Underground Zones 1-3” or “London Underground Zones 1-4“. For example, if you want to travel from Cambridge to London Victoria for the finish line, get a single or return to London Underground Zones 1-2.

Just travelling within London all day? You can use your contactless card or device. Just tap it on the gate (or reader if there aren’t any gates) and do the same when you leave.

If you’re making multiple journeys within London and travelling from outside of London, you might prefer to buy a Travelcard. This will give you a day return journey from your origin into London, then unlimited travel on all public transport in London Zones 1-6. Just search for a return to your destination within London. If it’s available, we’ll show it on the Railsmartr website like this:

ticket options for getting to the london marathon on the railsmartr site

To show all the fares available, just click on the price offered in the journey selection.

The best part about booking with Railsmartr is that we don’t charge any booking fees, or any fees at all for that matter! If you need to postpone or change your plans, we offer refunds or amendments free of charge.

Wondering if it’s worth going First Class on your trip? We’ve got a guide for that, too.