Tour de France 2014 hits London: Best places in the capital to watch Le Grand Tour

Fastest cyclists expected to finish at 3.42pm on the Mall

The Tour de France will arrive in London today, with the climax of stage three taking the world’s biggest annual sporting event past Buckingham Palace and up the Mall to the finish line.

It is the same iconic backdrop that was used for the end of the road cycling races at the 2012 Olympics, and space from which to catch a glimpse of the final sprint will be at a premium.

But with the full stage spanning 155km (96 miles) from Cambridge to the capital via parts of Essex, there will be plenty of other spots along the way where the view could actually be even better.

The Tour’s general director Christian Prudhomme said at least 2.5 million people have turned out so far to watch the teams’ spectacular climbs over the Yorkshire moors, through city streets and country lanes in what he called “the grandest Grand Depart ever”.

Read more: Guide to British Tour de France stages

By comparison the London leg will be a flat affair, with the highest point on the route just 108m at Epping Forest.

It should make for a quick race and a good day for the sprinters, though British cycling fans will have to be content to do without Mark Cavendish after he bowed out of the race in a spectacular crash in Harrogate on Saturday.

The final section of the race will see the top cyclists make it in from Canary Wharf to the Mall in around 12 minutes – no mean feat just before rush-hour – passing many famous London landmarks on the way.

Stage 3: 155km from Cambridge to London Gary MacGowan, Transport for London’s planning chief for major road events and the man who designed the course, said that while anyone local to the route would be best to catch it as close to home as possible, there were a few highlights he could recommend.

He told the Evening Standard: “For the best views you can follow the Central line on the Tube that will take you to sites in Redbridge and Waltham Forest within walking distance of the route. All those places on the Lea Bridge road will look fantastic.

“City airport will also be fantastic and the Royal Docks. Excel is also a good bet - you go to Greenwich and come across on the Emirates Airline with a great view.

A marshall looks concerned as an injured Mark Cavendish struggles on after his clash with Simon Gerrans and rides over the line. He later withdrew from the Tour A marshall looks concerned as an injured Mark Cavendish struggles on after his clash with Simon Gerrans and rides over the line. He later withdrew from the Tour “Aspen Way in Canary Wharf I’d also recommend as riders will be on the elevated section. The race will get there about 3.30pm. We expect a finish at the Mall at 3.40pm-4pm depending on how fast the riders are going for the full stage. The forecast is for a fast race as it is flat the whole way. Watch it locally because that involves the shortest journey.”

As well as watching along the route, spectators can see all the action on giant screens at three “fan parks” in Trafalgar Square, Green Park and the Olympic Park. These will include food and drink stalls, interactive cycling activities, an outdoor cinema and live music.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “As the world's largest annual sporting event prepares to make a triumphant return to our city, London is geared up and raring to go.

Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome (front) lead the Grand Depart at the ceremonial start of The Tour De France in Yorkshire Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome (front) lead the Grand Depart at the ceremonial start of The Tour De France in Yorkshire “After months of meticulous planning we are set to deliver a sporting spectacle that will be beamed to an audience of billions across the globe, showcasing some of our finest landmarks and most picturesque views.

“I wish every rider taking part in this gruelling endeavour the best of luck - I'm sure they will no doubt inspire even more Londoners to take to two wheels. Chapeau!”

Estimated arrival times for the Caravan* and the fastest cyclists can be found in the tables below:

Key race locations

Caravan*

Race

Epping Forest (The Sprint)

12:56

14:43

Woodford

13:09

14:55

Walthamstow

13:19

15:04

Leyton

13:25

15:09

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

13:26

15:11

West Ham Lane

13:26

15:11

Tower of London

13:52

15:35

Victoria Embankment

13:52

15:35

Westminster Bridge

13:58

15:40

Houses of Parliament

13:58

15:40

The Mall (The Finish)

14:00

15:42

*Ahead of the actual race, spectators can enjoy the Tour's Publicity Caravan - a convoy of floats, vehicles and entertainers who travel ahead of the race handing out promotional goodies.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Tangerine Dream Edgar Froese
people
News
Rob Lowe
peopleRob Lowe hits out at Obama's snub of Benjamin Netanyahu
News
Davies (let) says: 'Everybody thought we were having an affair. It was never true!'
people'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
News
Staff assemble outside the old City Road offices in London
mediaThe stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century at Britain's youngest paper
Life and Style
The Oliver twins, Philip and Andrew, at work creating the 'Dizzy' arcade-adventure games in 1988
techDocumentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Arts and Entertainment
Krall says: 'My hero player-singer is Elton John I used to listen to him as a child, every single record
music
News
Friends for life … some professionals think loneliness is more worrying than obesity
scienceSocial contact is good for our sense of wellbeing - but it's a myth that loneliness kills, say researchers
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
News
i100
Environment
Number so freshwater mussels in Cumbria have plummeted from up to three million in the 20th century to 500,000
environment
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us