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The best places to watch the London Marathon 2018

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If you know a London Marathon runner, you will know that the nerves have begun to kick in with only a few days until race day.

A record number of people applied to run the London Marathon this year – the highest number of applicants for any marathon in the world. It looks set to be the bigger than ever, with record amounts of money being raised for charity.

Watching the marathon on television just isn’t the same – if you want to absorb the electric atmosphere, and cheer on the runners you need to find a good vantage point. Drinks stations and live music will be lined up along the marathon route to provide the crowds with refreshments and add to the community spirit.

What time does the London Marathon start?

  • 8.55am – the elite wheelchair athletes race
  • 9am – the World Para Athletics Marathon World Cup ambulant races
  • 9.15am – the elite women’s race
  • 10am – the elite men’s race

The main body of the race ‘the mass race’ follows behind these times and the Queen will push the button at 10am from Windsor Castle to start the mass race this year.

What is the London Marathon 2018 route?

The start line is in Blackheath, then the runners go through Charlton and Woolwich and then through the Cutty Sark in Greenwich. The runners then pace over the River Thames at Tower Bridge.

The race then passes through the east end of London, past Canary Wharf before approaching the Embankment and finishing on The Mall alongside St James’ Park.

If you want to see the whole of the historic route, a helicopter is by far the greatest place to view it from. There are so many famous London landmarks on the marathon route that you can see from the air, including Buckingham Palace at the marathon finish line.

Where are the best viewing spots along the London Marathon 2018 route?

Choosing on where to view the runners is a tough decision, simply because there is so much choice!

If you want to get a taste of the London Marathon atmosphere but you are not watching out for anyone in particular, then the areas with live music and entertainment will provide a great vibe. However, these areas become very crowded which would be frustrating if you were looking out for friend or family member.

If you want to soak up the carnival atmosphere try:

  1. The 6 mile mark – in 2018 for the first time, the Cutty Sark will be open to members of the public to enjoy one of the most amazing views of the runners from the main deck
  2. The 11 mile mark – with large crowds around Rotherhithe Station area
  3. The 12/13 mile mark – Tower Bridge is the most famous area for spectators and television crews, so also by far the busiest. There will be an electric atmosphere for those seeking a party vibe!

The usually popular 15 mile mark viewing spot at Heron Quay roundabout and the 18 mile mark on Marsh Wall and the  will not be available due to building works this year.

  1. The 17 mile mark – this is the perfect spot if you have children with you as Mudchute Farm is nearby and there are smaller crowds than other popular areas
  2. The 18 mile mark – Canary Wharf – less crowds but you can still soak up the atmosphere and with the choice of many bars, restaurants and cafes
  3. The 23 mile mark – Tower Hill – be prepared for noise, as this is the London Marathons official cheering zone!
  4. Mile 25 – the live music zone will be around near The Strand area and Waterloo Bridge

It is worth noting that the race doubles back on itself between Mile 13 and Mile 14 and again between Miles 21 and 22, so at these points you will be able to see the runners twice.

Where is the best place to watch a friend or family member run the London marathon?

If you are watching the race to support someone that you know, it is best to head to a quieter area so that they can see you and you can give them that extra support and motivation when they need it:

  • The 8 mile point – Evelyn Street/ Deptford.
  • The 16 mile point – Westferry Road – the runners will be likely feeling the pain at this point so will need to hear your encouragement
  • The 20 mile point – Poplar High Street – this is a much quieter area so a great place if you want your particular runner to see a friendly face and hear your distinct voice to spur them on!

Best places to eat and drink along the London Marathon route 2018

If you don’t fancy running, the pubs and bars in London will be heaving with customers, but this creates a memorable celebratory atmosphere. After all, cheering is thirsty work, too!

You can choose from relaxed pubs for an informal beer where you may spot an exhausted runner after the race having that first pint or sophisticated and luxurious venues for those who want to commemorate the day and treat themselves:

This pub full of period features is right opposite the Cutty Sark – a landmark on the route –  and the runners will run right past you

Enjoy a special marathon brunch at Boisdale of Canary Wharf and enjoy brunch with champagne or a bloody mary as you watch the runners go by. This place provides a little bit of luxury – there is even an oyster bar and a cigar terrace

If you choose an outside table you will be able to raise a glass to the runners as they pass over Tower Bridge

Gordon Ramsay’s gastropub has a special marathon menu for the day and drinking stations for you to enjoy as you cheer the runners on

Where can I get free food if I’m running the London Marathon 2018?

If you are running in the marathon this year, there are many London bars, pubs and eateries that want to congratulate you. Just show your medal and you will be given a variety of freebies. Here are just a few:

  • Free burger

Not only will Mac & Wild give runners a free burger for their post race protein and carb fix, but the burger is award-winning itself! In 2017 the Veni-Moo burger was voted London’s best burger

  • Free kebab

If you show your medal at Bababoom you will receive a free Middle Eastern kebab on Marathon day and also the day after the race. The food here is healthy with an innovative and fresh take on traditional kebabs. They are also running Medal Mondays, which includes a free side with every kebab when you bring your medal in to the restaurant

  • Free pizza

Franco Manca is gifting London Marathon medal holders with a free pizza on Sunday 22nd and Monday 23rd April at all of its pizzerias around London

  • Free drink

Skylon restaurant is offering all medal holders a free drink with a spectacular view of London. After running the marathon and then looking over the City sipping a celebratory tipple you really will feel on top of the world.

We have all gasped at those heroes running for charity in chainmail and armour, antique diving suits or walking telephone boxes – there was once even a man with a fridge on his back! So head over to one of the locations on the London Marathon route this Sunday – the runners deserve and need the support of the crowd to push them past the proverbial wall and on to the finish line and you can enjoy yourself at the same time!

For those of you who are running the London Marathon, good luck from The London Helicopter!

Weekend theatre breaks in London

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To really experience all the West End has to offer, you should book a weekend theatre break in London. There is nothing worse than running into the theatre late because you were stuck in traffic or checking your watch during a performance to see if you’ll make the last train home.

If you plan a weekend break around a theatre production, you can get ready for your night out in a local hotel and enjoy a relaxed pre-theatre dinner. You can then relax with drinks after the show, all within walking distance of your hotel.
Let’s raise the curtain on these world-class theatre productions, and plan a weekend theatre break in London to remember.

Theatre Breaks in London

Matilda

What’s it about? Roald Dahl’s enchanting story Matilda is brought to life in this witty musical production at the Cambridge Theatre. This much loved tale is fun for families, couples and friends and tells the story of a gifted little girl with a brilliant imagination and a love of books. Matilda soon discovers she has magical powers, which is where the gripping story begins to unfurl.
Where can we stay? The Piccadilly is in the heart of theatreland, a stone’s throw away from the Cambridge Theatre with excellent reviews on Tripadvisor.

Where can we eat dinner? If you are on a family break with the children, staying at The Piccadilly will automatically entitle you to 15% off The Rainforest Cafe. If it’s an adult break, find first-class Indian food a stroll away at Dishoom.

The Book of Mormon

What’s it about? The Book of Mormon at the Prince of Wales Theatre is an award winning musical comedy telling the story of two Mormon missionaries who are sent from America to preach to a village in Uganda.

Where can we stay? The Haymarket Hotel is just a four minute walk from the Prince of Wales Theatre and offers theatre packages for various West End shows including The Book of Mormon.

Where can we eat dinner? If you book a theatre deal through The Haymarket Hotel, they will include a three-course meal pre-theatre meal with a glass of wine in their Brumus Restaurant.

The Lion King

What’s it about? The puppetry in Disney’s The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre is a must-see.  This musical tells the story of Simba the lion and the journey to reclaim his kingdom. This is a production you will never forget.

Where can we stay?  1 Aldwych is just across the road from The Lyceum. You can also indulge in afternoon tea or a spa treatment there during your stay.

Where can we eat dinner? The 1 Aldwych hotel offers theatre packages with dinner at the hotel’s Eneko Basque Kitchen & Bar which serves the very best Spanish cuisine. Alternatively, experience some of London’s rich history and book a table at Rules Restaurant which was established by Thomas Rule in 1798 – making it the oldest restaurant in London.

Kinky Boots

What’s it about?  For a huge amount of fun, choose Kinky Boots at the Adelphi Theatre. This musical – written by Cyndi Lauper – won’t fail to get your toes tapping.

Where can we stay? To really push the boat out on your weekend theatre break in London, stay at The Savoy. This iconic hotel is perfect for a special occasion. The hotel’s famous American Bar is London’s longest serving cocktail bar – treat yourself to a signature cocktail like Harry Craddock’s White Lady while you sample the complimentary nibbles and listen to live jazz music.

Where can we eat dinner? Stroll over to romantic Clos Maggiore, or opt for Polpo Covent Garden which offers informal  dining with bubbly in glass tumblers, italian sharing dishes and Nutella pizzetta.

The Play That Goes Wrong

What’s it about?  The Play That Goes Wrong at the Duchess Theatre is perfect for lovers of slapstick and farce.

Where can we stay? Just a minute’s walk away is the ultra-modern ME Hotel, a luxurious 5* hotel with floor to ceiling windows in the rooms for lots of natural light. The hotel has a stunning rooftop bar complete with three luxuriously furnished cable cars for the winter season for an apres-ski feel. After the theatre show you can enjoy cocktails under fur throws on the rooftop.

Where can we eat dinner? A favourite with food critics, Parisian brasserie Balthazar is within walking distance. The shabby chic decor and French food and wine is world-class.

The best dinner shows in the capital

If there is one thing that Londoners love as much as a show, it’s food, so how about combining the two? Immersive theatre is the biggest trend in London at the moment – where you eat your dinner in the midst of the theatre and you become part of it.

The Fawlty Towers Dining Experience

This will be a night out to remember! This dinner and show takes place in the Torquay Suite Theatre at the Radisson Blu Edwardian. If you love watching the reruns of Fawlty Towers you will love this theatre and dinner experience where you become part of the madcap production.

‘Network’ at the National Theatre

This is your chance to be onstage at the National Theatre as part of the stage version of the 1976 film Network. You will be sitting dining in the middle of the action and the show’s star Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad fame will be performing amongst the tables.

The food is on an updated 1970s theme with a crab cocktail instead of prawn cocktail (the height of sophistication at any dinner party in the 1970s) – and a modernised take on the 1970s favourite Black Forest gateau for dessert.

Circus

Circus offers an opportunity to dine while aerial performers do amazing stunts in, around and on your table. The setting is extravagant and glamorous whilst the Pan-Asian food and stylish cocktails add to the feeling of decadence.

The best show in London

One of the most magical sightseeing experiences in London has to be a private helicopter ride over the bright lights of the capital. This is London’s very best show and if you’re lucky enough you could be rewarded with some amazing photographs.

You’ll be able to see unrivalled views of London’s most famous landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, the London Eye and the distinctive skyscrapers in the City. After all, the bright lights of the West End only offer a small slice of what London is all about – an exhilarating helicopter ride allows you to take in the entire perspective. If you are interested in seeing London from above, check out our London Buzz, London Sights and London Max routes to find your perfect sightseeing experience.

10 ways to celebrate English Tourism Week

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‘Once a year, go somewhere you have never been before’ said the Dalai Lama. With flights available at discounted prices, we might fly abroad several times a year, but we then forget about the incredible tourist attractions that we have on our doorstep, with many places in England that we have never visited before.

English Tourism Week runs from 17th – 25th March this year and celebrates England’s world-renowned tourist attractions, giving us the inspiration to make an effort to see what England has to offer.

England is rich in history and has some stunning natural beauty to explore, resulting in an abundance of tourist attractions for everyone to enjoy. From those visiting from afar to locals who want to enjoy the attractions in their community, there is something for everyone and many special offers to take advantage of during English Tourism Week.

Check out a list of ideas below to inspire you this English Tourism Week:

Luxury in London

This is an ideal week to take a break in London, with many hotels offering special offers and discounts for some affordable luxury.

Take a break with 30% off The Arch hotel, a luxury boutique hotel right in the centre of London. The rate includes a Nespresso coffee machine in your room, complimentary soft drinks from the minibar plus a full Sky HD package.

Why not coincide your stay with a special distillery tour, spirit tasting and Italian food platters at the East London Liquor Company, running at 4pm from 20th – 23rd March?

For the perfect finale, take a private helicopter tour of London where you can truly celebrate the pinnacle of a city tour, seen at its from this angle. Soaring above all of London’s famous landmarks, you will feel on top of the world – surely the ultimate celebration of English Tourism Week.

Excitement in Brighton

On 17th March 2018, English Tourism Week will be launched in style in Brighton with people launching themselves off of British Airways i360 – the world’s tallest moving observation tower – then abseiling down in aid of  the iDrop Charity Abseil for children’s charity Rockinghorse. This is set to be a breathtaking event to watch as it is the first time people have been allowed to abseil from the tower. The brave participants will be abseiling down a drop of 450ft of open space rather than a wall – an awe-inspiring challenge!

If you need a drink to calm your nerves, you can sip a G&T at the top of the British Airways i360 tower as to celebrate English Tourism Week they are offering two glasses of Brighton Gin and Folkington’s Tonic in the Sky Bar for just £12. The views are stunning , looking across the Sussex coastline and South Downs National Park. Another thrilling way to experience the views across the beautifully scenic South Coast, is on a helicopter tour. Why not take a tour over Brighton and Shoreham, and the Brighton seafront.

Culture in Oxford

You can discover the culture and history of the City of Dreaming Spires with an Oxford Official Walking Tour. You will learn all about the Oxford University traditions and hear the stories behind the majestic stone walls. Just call 01865 686442 to book your tickets and quote ETW20 when making the booking over the phone to get 20% off your tickets.

You can also enjoy an Oxford river cruise. You can choose from a range of luxury boat trip – with many including a picnic – or you can relax in No.1 Folly Bridge, a riverside restaurant right next to where your boat will depart from.

Gin tasting in Manchester

The UK’s first gin festival is coming to Manchester during English Tourism Week from 23rd March – 25th March 2018.

As well as gin tasting, there will be live music, delicious food and a cocktail bar- with gin cocktails of course! There will also be masterclasses and a chance to learn about how gin is made.

Marketing Manchester is also previewing its new bookable walking tour at the British Travel and Tourism show during English Tourism Week.  Visit their stand at the show and learn how you can see the city by land or water.

Celebrate the history of England’s strong women in Cumbria

Discover more about England’s national treasure Beatrix Potter at the Beatrix Potter Gallery in the ‘The Right Sort of Woman’ exhibition. It features Beatrix Potter’s original artwork, personal items and handwritten letters and you can find out more about how she was also a businesswoman and landlady as well as author and illustrator. Enjoy the rare opportunity and privilege of seeing them up close.

In addition, there is an exhibition called the ‘Women of Wray Castle’ at Wray Castle in Cumbra. This exhibition also features Beatrix Potter along with other strong Cumbrian women. A series of artistic installations will unravel their stories.

Spring clean in Devon

English Tourism Week is about celebrating our heritage and what better way to do that than by contributing to its protection? You can help clean up England’s coast at the Warren National Nature Reserve beach on 18th March 2018. It’s free, but you must call in advance to book.

Discover hidden gems in the Cotswolds

Not many people know that Cogges Manor Farm was featured in Downton Abbey (known as Yew Tree Farm in the TV series). Discover the history of this special farm over 1,000 years,going back as far back as the Domesday Book.

Twist and shout in Liverpool

What better way to celebrate this week with the most famous English band  – The Beatles. Come together and see the new exhibition at The Beatles Story in Liverpool which is celebrating 50 years since The Beatles travelled to India with ‘Beatles in India’. You will have the privilege of seeing never seen before memorabilia – a must for any Beatles fan.

Discover more about the Gurkhas in Hampshire

The Gurkha Connection Project in Hampshire celebrates over 200 years of the relationship between the Gurkhas and the British Army. Many people in the local community have helped research and contribute towards this project, including local young people.

Enjoy traditional English afternoon tea in Buckinghamshire

The Bell in Winslow are offering an afternoon tea for just £12.99 per person. Enjoy cakes, scones and homemade sandwiches along with a pot of tea of your choice. You must pre-book and this offer runs from Tuesday to Saturday.

Discover the grandeur of the favorite royal residence of Henry VIII

You can enjoy a two night stay at the historical hotel The Mitre in Surrey which was built in 1665. Their package includes Hampton Court Palace tickets and a fresh continental breakfast. Make sure that you take a look at the dazzling re-creation of Henry VIII’s crown on display in the Royal Pew.

Support London’s Air Ambulance

We are delighted to support London’s Air Ambulance, helping to extend the reach of their lifesaving missions across London. The London Helicopter will match your donation to double its impact.

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