Blackheath

Beautiful Blackheath
Festivals, cafes and kites

Blackheath stretches across the very top of south east London from Greenwich Park into the cosmopolitan, pretty village. It’s often a bit breezy across the Heath so it’s a favourite spot for kite flyers, wind-skateboarders and dogs.

It’s always been a great meeting point for crowds – Wat Tyler’s revolting peasants gathered here in 1381, for example. Nowadays it’s home to fun fairs, a music festival, lots of weekend football pitches and the start of the London Marathon.

There’s an exciting urban myth that Blackheath was named that way because it was a plague pit in medieval times! All wrong, sadly –  it was probably called Blackheath after the colour of the soil, which is nowhere near as exciting.

Today it’s a busy hub of café-culture and home to an excellent Sunday Farmer’s Market, where you can find lots of lovely locally grown vegetables to go with your Sunday roast.

The London Marathon
Where do I start?

In April 2015, just like every April for the last 34 years, thousands of runners will crowd onto Blackheath to start the London Marathon.

Blackheath and Greenwich Park are both starting points and runners begin streaming across the heath and up the hill in Greenwich Park as the sun comes up – it’s very exciting. The course spears off to Woolwich before turning around on itself and reaching Greenwich town centre around ten in the morning.

Thousands and thousands of runners curl around the prow of Cutty Sark before heading off towards the Tower of London, Docklands and the Mall.

The London Marathon gets bigger and bigger every year and started way back in 1981 when Chris Brasher ran the New York marathon and wrote in The Observer:

“To believe this story you must believe that the human race can be one joyous family, working together, laughing together, achieving the impossible. Last Sunday, 11,532 men and women from 40 countries in the world, assisted by over a million people, laughed, cheered and suffered during the greatest folk festival the world has seen.”

That’s exactly what it’s like on Blackheath, Greenwich and across London on Marathon morning!

A Happy Heath
Festivals, fitness and fireworks

If you want to see the best free fireworks display in London you’ll need to head for Blackheath in the first week of November.

Over 80,000 people showed up for the fun in 2014, all getting together for a spectacularly explosive display that blows the blue touch paper off anywhere else. You should make sure you join them in 2015!

Blackheath does more than set fire to stuff though. It’s a popular venue for weekend football, plus summer picnics and evening walks. And In between the fitness frenzy of the London Marathon and the fireworks fever of Guy Fawkes night, there’s a new summer music and food festival.

OnBlackheath debuted in 2014 and featured artists including Grace Jones, Massive Attack, Imelda May, Frank Turner and Athlete plus many cooks and cheffy types. Everybody was well fed and had a great time and some of us even danced like our dads. We’re hoping to see them all back next year! (The musicians and cheffy types anyway – not so sure about the dad-dancers) when acts include Elbow, Madness, Manic Street Preachers, Laura Mvula and Kelis.

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