The logo of the World Airline Road Race featuring a globe of the world surrounded by a laurel wreath.

World Airline Road Race Festival London 2010

The event logo of the World Airline Road Race 2010 London featuring a running shoe whose lace forms the course of the river Thames over well known London landmarks

London Tips and Trivia

Where can I train?

We are expecting the majority of the race course to be open for training runs and warm-ups in the week prior to race day.  We'll also provide details here of other training opportunities.


The Novotel Hotel lies 1.5 km east.  East of where?  East of the Prime Meridian, the imaginary north-south line drawn through Greenwich that is used on all maps to determine how far west or how far east you are.  Do you want to find out more? From the Novotel you can have a good half-day or full day out in Greenwich visiting the Royal Observatory and understanding all about navigation, time keeping, astronomy and all things maritime.  You can take the DLR Docklands Light Railway to Cutty Sark (the name of a famous sailing ship permanently moored there - though currently being renovated), pass through the Maritime Museum there and then walk up the hill to the Observatory and Planetarium.  To go back a different way there are frequent boats that leave from Greenwich Pier heading along the Thames into London - ten minutes to Canary Wharf, twenty to the Tower and forty to Westminster and the London Eye.

Airports for London

London has four airports and there is a fifth nearby.  All these airports have rail links with the Centre of London.

The largest and most well known is Heathrow lying 15 miles (24km) to the west of the centre of London.  Heathrow Airport is currently the world’s second busiest airport (after Atlanta) but is so with only 2 runways (Atlanta has 5).

Gatwick Airport is 28 miles (46km) to the South.  Gatwick’s claim to fame is that it is the world’s busiest single runway airport with 263,653 aircraft movements in 2008.  

Stansted lies 30 miles (48 km) to the north east. 

The airport closest to the centre of London is London City Airport just 8 miles (12 km) to the east.  London City Airport is built on former dockland just to the east of the festival venue, the Royal Victoria Dock.

Luton airport is also nearby – 35 miles (56 km) to the North.

How far from London?

Where are distances to or from London measured from?  They are measured from the original site of a cross erected back in 1290 following the death of Queen Eleanor – the wife of King Edward I (1272 to 1307).  This was the last of twelve crosses erected along the route taken by the funeral procession from Lincoln, where she died, to Westminster Abbey.  The location of the twelfth cross became known as Charing Cross and was at the southern end of what is now Trafalgar Square (the square being named after Nelson’s navel battle victory in 1805).  The cross is no longer there, having fallen in 1647, and on its site is a statue of King Charles I (1625 to 1649) but there is a plaque stating that that is the point from which distances from London are measured.  A replica of the cross, with Victorian embellishments, can be seen outside Charing Cross Station a few hundred meters away.  Three of the original 12 crosses can still be found between Lincoln and London at Geddington, Hardingstone and Waltham.   That all goes to prove that in London you are never far away from history!

"Tube" equals "Underground"

Historically an "Underground" railway line is one where a trench was dug and the railway line was laid before being covered over and built upon whereas a "Tube" railway is one built in a tunnel bored by a tunnelling machine.  In practice though the terms "London Underground" and "London Tube" are used interchangeably.  In truth 55% of the Underground runs above the ground!

Don't (totally) trust the London Tube map!

The London Tube map is a design classic.  The idea of laying out the lines and stations more like a circuit diagram than a geographically accurate map dates back to 1933 and an electrical draughtsman named Harry Beck. 


But whilst easy to read the layout can also be misleading.  As you would expect stations tend to be closer together in the centre of London than in the outskirts.  But some are very close.  For instance the popular tourist destinations of Covent Garden and Leicester Square are just 340 meters apart yet many tourists take the tube between them.  Even more extreme are Regent's Park on the Bakerloo Line and Great Portland Street on the Metropolitan and Circle Lines.  You can spend 10 minutes taking two trains between them - or you can walk just 200 meters from one to the other.  Even in the suburbs some stations are surprisingly close.  The journey from Hanger Lane on the Central Line to Park Royal on the Piccadilly could take 40 minutes and 4 trains - but you might prefer the 800 meter walk instead.


Fortunately the Transport for London includes a Journey Planner which will work about the best route for you taking into account trains, buses and walking distances.  You can even tell it that you don't like escalators. (opens in new window)