Top Picks: Best Half Marathons in the UK 2024

Top Picks: Best Half Marathons in the UK 2024

If you’re scouting for the best half marathons in UK, look no further. From the spectator-lined course of the Great North Run to the historic ambience of the Windsor Half Marathon, our curated list for 2024 pinpoints the races that stand out for their thrilling courses, stunning scenery, and electric atmosphere—whatever your running style.

Key Takeaways

  • The UK offers a diverse range of half marathons, from the flat and fast Cardiff Half Marathon to the historic and regal Windsor Half Marathon, each with unique features to satisfy runners seeking PBs, beautiful views, or a royal backdrop.
  • Scenic races such as the Bournemouth Half Marathon, Mull of Kintyre Half Marathon, and the Swansea Half Marathon provide not only a physical challenge but also breathtaking views of the UK’s landscapes, combining fitness with a visual feast.
  • Events like the Hackney Half Marathon and the Great North Run are renowned for their fantastic community spirit and festive atmosphere, turning the race day into a celebration that energizes both the runners and spectators.


    Discover the UK's Premier Half Marathons

    Imagine a race where the streets are lined with cheering spectators, the course is as flat as a pancake, and the energy is electric. That’s the Cardiff Half Marathon for you—a race that’s not just an athletic competition but a televised spectacle on BBC. Part of the elite SuperHalfs series, this half marathon offers the perfect stage for a half marathon PB.

    Then there’s the Great North Run, a titan among the world’s biggest half marathon events, including the world’s biggest half marathon itself, with a staggering 60,000 participants. It’s not just about the size; it’s about the prestige and the pomp that comes with being part of such an epic event. For those seeking a picturesque PB, the Cheltenham Half Marathon weaves through the Cotswolds with a mostly flat course that beckons runners to push their limits.


    Drifting over to the historic streets of Bath, the Bath Half Marathon is a fast and flat half marathon course that enjoys high acclaim and is a fixture among the best half marathons in the UK. While for those who prefer a royal backdrop, the Windsor Half Marathon’s course towards Windsor Castle adds a regal touch to the racing experience.

    And let’s not forget the London races—the Royal Parks Half Marathon takes you on a scenic journey through London’s greenest spaces, while the London Landmarks Half Marathon lets you dash by Downing Street and sprint past St. Paul’s Cathedral. Plus, the Oxford Half Marathon offers a blend of history and speed, making it a top choice for many runners.

    Scenic Splendors: Half Marathons With Breathtaking Views

    Now, let’s pivot to the panoramic: half marathons that double as a tour of the UK’s scenic route masterpieces. Here are some examples:

    • The Bournemouth Half Marathon is a coastal delight, where the flat roads are your canvas and the piers of Boscombe and Bournemouth are your vistas.
    • If rugged trails and historic tours are more your style, the Mull of Kintyre Half Marathon offers a picturesque journey that will leave you breathless—in the best way.
    • The Ironbridge Half Marathon also offers a scenic route, with historic landmarks and beautiful views along the way.

      These half marathons, including the Antrim Coast Half Marathon, not only provide a challenging race but also an opportunity to experience the beauty of the UK’s landscapes during a UK half marathon.

      Wales boasts the Gower and Swansea Half Marathons, where the sea views are as expansive as the runner’s spirit. Here, the cheers from the crowd are as invigorating as the views of the Gower Peninsula. For a race steeped in history, the Richmond RunFest Half Marathon starts in the botanical bliss of Kew Gardens, winds through historic landmarks like Ham House and Richmond Palace, and ends with a sense of achievement that goes beyond the physical.

      The Hitchin Half Marathon may challenge your thighs with its hilly terrain, but the reward is the charming Hertfordshire countryside that unfolds along the way. Then there’s The Big Half in London—starting at the majestic Tower Bridge and finishing near the nautical icon of the Cutty Sark, this race is a celebration of the city’s identity.

      Celebrating Community: Half Marathons with the Best Atmosphere

      Community spirit can be the wind beneath a runner’s wings. The Hackney Half Marathon is as much a celebration of East London’s community as it is a race, with a course that cuts through the heart of the city’s original vibe. The Great North Run, meanwhile, is electric—its spectator support is legendary, creating a race day atmosphere that’s more festival than footrace.

      Manchester’s own Great Manchester Run turns the city into a live concert, with music pumping up runners as they blaze through the streets. Both the Cardiff and Oxford Half Marathons are not just about the miles; they’re about the smiles—from the diverse array of participants to the warm community embrace that accompanies every stride.

      Challenging Courses: For Runners Seeking a Test of Endurance

      Some runners relish a challenge that’s a notch above the rest. The Needles Half Marathon is where they meet their match, with uphill trails that demand grit and reward with vistas of the iconic Needles. The undulating course of the Run Falmouth Half Marathon whisks runners through the Cornish coast, with historical castles and sweeping beach views to distract from the burn.

      The Chislehurst Half Marathon mixes it up with both flat urban roads and undulating rural trails, offering a full spectrum of running experiences. If you’re up for a high-altitude challenge, the Keswick Mountain Festival half marathon includes a staggering 866-meters ascent, challenging even the most experienced runners.

      Charitable Running: Races That Give Back

      Running can be more than just a personal endeavor; it’s often a stride for a cause. The Great North Run provides a platform for runners to lace up for charity, making every step count towards a good cause. It’s a race where personal goals and altruism run hand in hand, creating a powerful collective experience.

      In the heart of the Midlands, the Great Birmingham Run Half Marathon invites participants to run with purpose, supporting charities and creating a ripple effect of generosity. Meanwhile, the Edinburgh Half Marathon also offers a chance for runners to make a difference in others’ lives. These races remind us that the true finish line is the difference we make in others’ lives.

      Unique Race Experiences: Half Marathons That Stand Out

      Not all races are created equal—some half marathons break the mold and offer experiences that stick with you long after the post-race endorphins wear off. The Bath Two Tunnels Half Marathon, for instance, is an underground adventure, its course snaking through extensive tunnels that echo with the footsteps of runners past. This unique event could be an unforgettable choice for your first half marathon.

      The Poole Half Marathon throws a curveball with its off-road, two lap course in Upton Country Park, where the terrain is as much a competitor as the clock. For those who fancy a race against a locomotive, the Race The Train Tywyn event is a unique blend of man versus machine, set for August 17, 2024.

      Then there’s the grueling Satara Hill Half Marathon—an equal split of uphill and downhill drama that tests the mettle of even the most seasoned hill runners. These races are not just about the medal; they’re about the memory.


      Runner running in London


      From the flat and fast to the scenic and challenging, the UK’s half marathon landscape is as varied as it is vibrant. Whether you’re aiming for a half marathon PB or simply looking to soak in the experience, there’s a race for every runner. As you lace up for your next adventure, remember that each step is a story, and every race is an opportunity to create a lasting memory.

      Frequently Asked Questions

      What is the UK's biggest half marathon?

      The Great North Run is the UK's biggest half marathon, with over 60,000 runners taking part in the event. It's a massive and popular race!

      Are there any UK half marathons suitable for first-timers?

      Yes, there are several UK half marathons, such as the Cardiff Half Marathon, that are perfect for first-timers looking to achieve a personal best.

      Can I run a half marathon and support a charity at the same time?

      Yes, you can support a charity by signing up for a half marathon like the Great North Run or Great Birmingham Run. It's a great way to combine your passion for running with helping others.

      Which half marathon has the most scenic views?

      The Gower and Swansea Half Marathons as well as the Richmond RunFest Half Marathon offer stunning views, making them great choices for a scenic run.

      Are there any unique half marathon experiences in the UK?

      Yes, you can experience the unique Bath Two Tunnels Half Marathon, running through underground tunnels, or participate in the Race The Train Tywyn event, where you race against a train. These offer a truly one-of-a-kind experience for half marathon runners in the UK.

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