Head to the Great South Run with SWR

The best places to watch the Great South Run

14 September 2021

With the Great South Run just around the corner, it’s time to decide where you’re going to be to cheer on your family and friends running this incredible race. As one of the world’s most famous 10-mile running events, it’s a not-to-be-missed experience for runners and watchers alike.

Fortunately, we’ve got you covered. With both Southsea and the Harbour stations on the route through Portsmouth, it’s easy to get to some of the best viewing spots. So what can you find on the Great South Run route?

Landmarks on the Great South Run route

The route starts on Clarence Esplanade – Portsmouth’s vibrant seafront. After passing Clarence Pier, you’ll see Horatio Nelson’s Statue, pass Gunwharf Quays and the Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth Harbour station and through the Historic Dockyard where runners pass HMS Victory. The rest of the route passes Cathedrals, Castles and Eastney Beach, as well as Portsmouth & Southsea station, before reaching the famous seafront finish line.

Clarence Esplanade on the Great South Run route

Music Zones

With ten music zones on the route and two charity cheer squads, there’s set to be an amazing atmosphere wherever you go. In particular, keep an eye out for:

  • Bands on the Run: the very best bands and local musicians will provide the soundtrack for runners. Drummers, DJs and guitarists will have the watchers bopping, clapping and singing along!
  • Beats Boost: a DJ truck provides beats and bubbles to raise the roof (and the running) to the next level!
  • Charity Cheering Zones: join the Great South Run’s charity partners giving runners a motivational boost as they pass
  • Wave 105 Radio Zone: The Wave 105 crew provide an upbeat zone to give runners an extra skip in their step

Best places to watch the Great South Run

Portsmouth Naval Memorial

Commemorating almost 25,000 sailors that served and died in the First and Second World Wars, this impressive column sits on Southsea Common and looks over the start line for the race. Once the runners get underway, you’ll find the nearby event and charity village as well as the finish line for when the runners come back.

Gunwharf Quays

Aside from being just a quick walk from Portsmouth Harbour station, Gunwharf Quays is a great spot to watch the runners while they’re still fresh! It’s also a great spot to grab a bite to eat before and after the race (whether you’re just there to watch or celebrating with a finisher) – and if you want to incorporate a little retail therapy into your day, we’re offering an extra 10% off your shopping there with SWR Rewards.

Victoria Park

Portsmouth’s first public park sits on the 3 mile marker and provides a beautiful open space to watch the run. First opened in 1878, you’ll find an aviary complete with peacocks and parrots, as well as a petting area with rabbits and guinea pigs – so there’s plenty to keep everyone entertained.

South Parade Pier

The final mile takes runners past the spectacular South Parade Pier, which reopened in 2017. Now with events, entertainment, food and drink, it’s a perfect spot to cheer on the runners in the final stretch.

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Team up your day at the run with a visit to the museum of the Royal Navy. Watch the runners pass in the shadow of the HMS Warrior, or even from the deck of the world’s most famous ship the HMS Victory. Once it’s all over, head to the Mary Rose Museum to discover the remains of King Henry VIII’s favourite ship, or explore WWII history on board the M.33.

HMS Victory on the Great South Run route

After the Run

Once the run is completed (and post-shower for the runners!), there’s plenty of spots to go and show off your shiny new medal. Portsmouth has plenty to do for all tastes – from afternoon teas at the top of the Spinnaker Tower to exploring the ship lifted from the bottom of the Solent at the Mary Rose Museum. Make a weekend of it with our 48 hour guide to the UK’s only island city, or check out our destination guide for more things to do.

Want to find out more? To discover everything you need to know about the Great South Run, or to sign up to run, visit greatrun.org/south