Don’t get caught out by the London Marathon – where to watch it and what roads are closed

London Marathon on Charlton Road

Sunday 8.45am update: Marathon organisers disregarded their own information by closing the Marlborough Lane access gate half-an-hour early. 

It’s one of the best days of the year to live in this part of the capital – Sunday brings the annual spectacle of the London Marathon to the streets of Charlton.

But don’t get caught out – if you’re unfamiliar with the annual arrangements, road closures can go on for longer than you expected.

The three routes through the area – Shooters Hill Road/Charlton Park Lane (wheelchairs and elite runners), Charlton Road/The Village/Little Heath (mass race) and Woolwich Road (all racers) will be closed to traffic from 07:00, reopening after 12:00 (14:00 Woolwich Road).

There is some limited vehicle access to/from the area shortly before the first participants come through. Here’s what’s happening in Charlton, Woolwich and east Greenwich.

  • Charlton Road / Victoria Way / Marlborough Lane – crossing over Charlton Road (north and south) – until 08:45.
  • Shooters Hill Rd / Kenya Road / Weyman Road – crossing over Shooters Hill Road
    (north and south) – until 08:45.
  • Ha-Ha Road / Stadium Road / Repository Road – crossing over Ha-Ha Road (north and south) – until 08:45.
  • Artillery Place / Repository Road / Frances Street – crossing over Artillery Place
    (north and south) – until 08:45.
  • Woolwich Road / Frances Street / Leda Road – crossing over Woolwich Road
    (north and south) – until 08:45.
  • Woolwich Road / Anchor & Hope Lane / Charlton Church Lane – crossing over
    Woolwich Road (north and south) – until 09:00.
  • Tunnel Avenue / Woolwich Road / A102 Northbound – residents living in the area between Blackwall Lane and Tunnel Avenue on the north side of the event route, will be able to travel south on Tunnel Avenue then eastbound on Woolwich Road to access A102 Blackwall Tunnel northbound. Residents wishing to travel south can leave at the next exit and re-join the southbound A102. This is available all day.
  • Trafalgar Road / Blackwall Lane / Vanbrugh Hill – crossing over Trafalgar Road (north and south) – until 09:05.

For details further afield, see this document. Trains will be running a normal service (the first Sunday this year they’ve done this) on marathon day, with some extra early morning services, if you need a fast exit from the area during the lock-in or want to follow the race through London. Don’t expect buses to return to normal until at least 2pm.

Staying in the area? Good idea. Here are the marathon basics.

When to watch it? There are four start times on Blackheath this year. The mass race runs along Charlton Road to Woolwich, the others go along Shooters Hill Road and Charlton Park Road to Woolwich Common. Both then return along Woolwich Road towards Greenwich and Tower Bridge.

  • 08:55 – IPC Athletics Marathon World Cup in association with the Virgin Money London Marathon elite wheelchair race
  • 09:00 – IPC Athletics Marathon World Cup (ambulant athletes)
  • 09:15 – Virgin Money London Marathon for Elite Women
  • 10:00 – Elite Men and the British Athletics and England Athletics Championships for Men and Women and the Virgin Money London Marathon Mass Start.

The great joy of London Marathon day in Charlton is you can see the runners twice – once in The Village or Charlton Road, then you can leg it down the hill and catch them again on Woolwich Road.

Where to watch it? Well, it is the traditional morning for a breakfast-time pint… the White Swan in Charlton Village is open from 9am with live music, home-cooked breakfasts and live music. At the bottom of the hill, the Rose of Denmark on Woolwich Road is a reliable marathon day bet with more live music and the chance to toast the winner as stragglers struggle past closer to lunchtime.

And it’s as simple as that. If you’re looking for someone to sponsor, one of the area’s local councillors, Peninsula ward’s Chris Lloyd, is running for Greenwich & Bexley Cottage Hospice. If you or a loved one are running for charity, feel free to leave details in the comments below.