Where to watch the Tour de France in England

Tour de France

This year's Tour de France kicks off in Leeds on Saturday 5 July, racing through Yorkshire over the weekend and then travelling down to London via Cambridge and Essex on Monday.

We asked our Local editors for their top picks of places to watch the race – plus where to go with the family in between stages. bike  Leeds - Sheffield - Essex - London

Tour de France logoStage 1: Leeds/Harrogate (5 July)

Before the event

An Opening Ceremony will be held at Leeds Arena, on Thursday 3 July. There will be interviews with some of the riders and an evening of entertainment.

Where to watch - Leeds

The startline is on the Headrow to Eastgate - if you're able to find a space. From there, it heads north towards Harewood.

Along the route, there's an official spectator hub at Scott Hall Playing Fields, a family-friendly spot which will include a big screen with live coverage of the race at other stages, as well as entertainment and activities for kids. There will be disabled access, on-site parking and food stalls.

British souvenirsIn Leeds city centre, get into the spirit of the Grand Depart away from the crowds by making your own souvenir at the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery. Take home a postcard, flag, plate or badge to remember the day.

As part of the Yorkshire Festival of Cycling, there's a charged-for spectator zone at the Harewood Estate, where the race officially gets underway, heading down the A659.

From then, watch the riders at Pool in Wharfedale – with camping facilities and entertainment on site, including children's races and activities. Bring a picnic!

Yorkshire festivalYou can also join fans in Otley town centre, at the Ilkley campsite, or in Harrogate for the big finale. Near to the finish line, West Park Stray will be hosting a fanpark. Expect a festival atmosphere with live coverage of the race plus food stalls, live music and more.

The Yorkshire Festival 100 days of art and culture draws to a close on 6 July, so enjoy the final events taking place across the county during the Grand Depart weekend.

Eureka! sport science

Other events nearby

Eureka! The National Children's Museum in Halifax is hosting a Grand Day Out, with a Science of Sport workshop across the weekend. Plus, you can design your own bicycle-themed bunting and taste test the Yorkshire meets France menu in the museum cafe.

French Cycling FestivalAt Stockeld Park in Wetherby there will be a Cycle and French Festival from Saturday 5 – Sunday 6 July. There'll be sports, food stalls plus a BBQ and picnic fields as well as giant screens to watch the race with all the family.


Stage 2: York/Sheffield (6 July)

Stage 2 gets rolling from York Racecourse, crossing north, west and south Yorkshire to conclude in Sheffield.


Where to watch - Sheffield

tour de france spectator hubsThere are a number of spectator hubs around the city, the first of which is in High Bradfield. Here there will be a beer festival and lots of cycling related activities. It's a beautiful and fun place to watch the tour, and local camping is available.

From there, the riders continue through to the Oughtibridge spectator hub in Coronation Park. Featuring a large screen, disabled viewing, concessions, toilets and children's play area, there will be arts activities ansd lots going on. 

The tour then continues past Hillsborough and up Herries Road to the roundabout before travelling through Shirecliffe and down towards Pitsmoor where there is the Abbeyfield Park spectator hub. This is your last chance to see the riders on the big screen before they tackle the 'Cote de Jenkin Road'. The festival here is an annual event with entertainment, stalls, rides and much more - you can even learn how to ride a unicycle with Greentop Circus.

Meadowhall fan festPassing through Brightside it goes to another hub at Meadowhall - which will be hosting fun cycling and non-cycling related activities and entertainment throughout the day and the chance to see the riders race past just feet away from you. Advice is to get there early; it opens at 10am.

The closest hub to the finish line is at Don Valley Bowl. There will be a big screen, pop up stalls and restaurants and loads of entertainment.

Sheffield festivalSheffield City Centre is also holding a weekend-long festival to celebrate the Tour de France. A large screen will show the Tour and other sporting events such as Wimbledon. There will be a French-themed market on Fargate and pop up shops in the Winter and Peace Gardens. Plus live music, cycle themed activity on the Moor and much, much more.


Stage 3: Cambridge/London (7 July)

Mebourne ParkBefore the event

There is a special Tour de France family fun day being held on Saturday 5 July in Melbourne Park, Chelmsford, with free activities, learn to ride sessions and bike maintenance, plus other sports, food and refreshments.


Where to watch - Essex

Watch the third stage in Saffron Walden, or catch a glimpse of the riders from the banks alongside roads in Finchingfield, Wethersfield, Church End and Shalford Green.

Great Notley discovery centreWhile you're in the area, take the kids to Rayne Children's Park for a run around, visit Epping Forest or take a trip to the Great Notley Discovery Centre. Here you'll find a sensory trail, endless play equipment suitable for multiple age groups, a visitor centre and bistro. Plus, the cycle centre offers hire of bikes, tandems, trailers, child seats and tagalongs.

If you're inspired by the Tour to do some cycling yourself, Flitch Way is a great route to explore.

In Chelmsford, there will be parking and facilities available in Melbourne Park with the race passing a few roads away from the park on Chignall Road.

There will be a viewing area for people with disabilities on the junction of Melbourne Avenue and Chignal Road in Chelmsford. To reserve a space email: tourdefrance2014@chelmsford.gov.uk. Disabled parking is available at Melbourne Park while there will be disabled toilets adjacent to the spectator area at St Andrews Church, Melbourne Avenue.

The Rose and Crown in Great Waltham is opening early for breakfast and will have a BBQ and open garden all day. The tour will be passing just at the end of the road from the pub. 

tour de franceAdmirals Park in central Chelmsford will be hosting an event with a large screen following the action all day and there will be live music, food stalls, sporting activities and more. The road along which the tour will pass is just the other side of the park within easy walking (or cycling!) distance. Parking will be available in High Chelmer Car Park at a reduced rate all day.


Where to watch - Redbridge and Waltham Forest 

Watch the race on Epping New Road or Woodford New Road – the Woodford Wells Club on nearby Monkham Lane is welcoming the community to bring picnics, make full use of the club's facilities and its newly refurbished club bar.

The LarderIf the family need a pit stop, The Larder at Butler's Retreat, Chingford will be serving cooked breakfasts until 11.30am, lunch service through the afternoon, and afternoon tea from 3-5pm.

All Saints Church in Woodford Wells will be opening doors to the community for the duration of the event, with a café, toilet and TV screens as well as family activities on the green.

At the Whipps Cross Roundabout there will be a large screen to watch the race, plus fun activities to keep everyone entertained. From here, walk down to the Sir Alfred Hitchcock Pub and Restaurant on Whipps Cross Rd, where the manager is preparing a warm welcome for racegoers! Cream teas and manager's Tour specials are on offer including a full kids menu, outdoor catering depending on weather.

Hollow Ponds boating lakeIf you need to take a break from the crowds, visit nearby Hollow Ponds Boating Lake, where you can row a boat or sit in a shady spot. Snacks and drinks are available at the outposts, plus minimal facilities.

The Duke in Wanstead is a super family-friendly pub and is the perfect spot to head to for an early supper after a full day. Plenty for the kids to do there.

Other good viewing points nearby: Leyton Green and the Baker's Arms junction.

See a map of road closures and areas that will be affected by the race here.


Where to watch - Hackney

It won't be so easy to just pitch up along the road on this part of the route, so choose your spot carefully.

MillfieldsComing from Clapton or Stoke Newington, your closest point to see the race is Lea Bridge Road. However, the buses that usually run here will terminate at the Lea Bridge roundabout, so you'll need to walk down to see the point where the bikes turn off down Orient Way. It's a lovely walk through Millfield's Park and the Lee Valley Nature Reserve so if it's a nice day then take your time to enjoy the surrounding area. There's also a lovely cafe inside the Lee Valley Waterworks Centre if you need a pit stop.

Orient Way is a long stretch of road to find a space along, however there's very little close by for keeping little ones entertained.

VeloParkThe best vantage point in this area can be found on Waterden Road. Standing on the edge of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park opposite the Copperbox Stadium with the Lee Valley VeloPark behind you means you'll get to see the bikes racing past and then you can turn around and watch the rest of the race on the big screens in the park. The best way to travel here is overland train to Hackney Wick, which has step free access and then it's a just 10 minute walk to the park.

Take a look at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park website for other cycling-related events taking place around the Tour.

Tumbling Bay playgroundIf you then walk over the bridge (towards Westfield rather than back to the station) this will take you to the Tumbling Bay playground should you need a quick route to some child-friendly, energy-burning entertainment.

If you're searching for refreshments, there's a cafe inside the VeloPark or, if you're at the playground then the Timber Cafe is a good choice. It's particularly handy if the Great British weather proves to be typically unreliable.


Where to watch - Central London

Expect large crowds across London, and in particular on the final stretch of the route. Having said that, if you can find a space anywhere along the wide pavements of the Mall or the Thames from Westminster to Monument you'll be perfectly placed to soak up the atmosphere.

London Eye

There will be good views from bridges: Westminster, Hungerford at Embankment, Blackfriars and Golden Jubilee.

To watch from a little higher up, take to the 5th floor balcony at the Royal Festival Hall, or book yourself onto The London Eye

In London, whether you're heading to watch the race or trying to avoid it, it's worth taking a look at the TFL website to check for travel disruptions during the event and plan your routes accordingly.


Last updated: about 3 years ago