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The London Marathon: What to do in the City

With the Virgin London Marathon fast approaching, thousands of people will descend onto London’s streets to soak up the atmosphere of cheering crowds, or bask in the vicarious glory of running 26.2 miles. And, with the promise of the long cold winter finally ending, now is a great time to plan activities around this celebrated sporting event, under our trusted guidance.

Whether you’re planning to cheer loved ones on from the sidelines, spot the most outrageous costumes or glimpse a celebrity or two, ease of travel will be a top priority on and around 21 April. So, we first recommend visiting the marathon’s official website to get familiar with race-day hotspots and to download your essential route map. Many roads will close at various points throughout the day, so London Underground, Southeastern Railway and Docklands Light Railway are your best choices. 

Our Deal Experts work non-stop to find the best-priced London hotels -- visit UK Hotel Breaks for all the latest wallet-friendly hotel offers.

If you want to avoid station queues of up to an hour, you should explore the idea of staying in the City. We have negotiated deals and weekend breaks for you -- including a better-than-half-price offer at The Tower, a 4-star hotel overlooking iconic Tower Bridge.

Alternatively, if you want to be more central, the chic boutique 5-star St Martins Lane hotel in bustling Covent Garden is a bargain, with stays for £199 including breakfast (and saving over £150 on the regular rate). This hotel provides the "ultimate in elegant luxury", according to The Daily Telegraph.

With accommodation sorted, now for the best things to do in the Big Smoke this month -- the marathon aside. Our Local Deal Experts have negotiated plenty of half-price offers, from award-winning dining and the latest in West End theatre productions, to family-friendly days out and quirky bike tours. Click here to get inspired and even try something new.

And, for those on a budget, we have found the best things to do in London without spending even a penny. Take advantage of free entry to London's many art galleries and museums. The National Portrait Gallery's opening hours extend to 9pm on Thursdays and Fridays; the Victoria and Albert Museum is open until 10pm on Fridays and Tate Modern's hours extend to 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

Just south of London Bridge station you can find foodie heaven. Chomp your way through Borough Market, tucking into free samples from fromageries, patisseries and artisan food stalls. 

For stunning views of London landmarks, walk to the top of Primrose Hill in Camden or Parliament Hill in Hampstead. If the idea of a bracing wind doesn't appeal, book 24 hours in advance for free entry (Monday to Friday) to the viewing floor at the top of Tower 42 (previously the NatWest Tower) in the City. A lot cheaper than a spin on the London Eye!

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Tips by

Deal Expert, London
Monday, 8 April 2013
See more Tips from
Carol Linfield