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The London to Brighton Veteran Car Run is a popular event which attracts around four hundred pre-1905 vehicles every year. It commemorates the Emancipation Run in 1896, which was held to celebrate the 'Locomotives on the Highway Act', which raised the speed limit from 4 mph to 14 mph (yes, seriously!) and abolished the daft requirement of making every car follow behind a man with a flag.
Strictly speaking it's not a race (100-year-old cars don't race), but seeing as men are usually driving you can bet your life there are plenty of them who want to win! But it is still a fantastic spectacle as they set off on the 60-mile drive from Hyde Park to the Brighton seafront.
You usually have to get up very early to catch them, though -- because they set off for the coast as early as 6.45 AM. You need to be there before 8 AM to see the best of them. They should all arrive in Brighton by 4.30 PM.
Unfortunately they don't allow the public into the actual paddocks where the cars are kept, but you'll still be able to watch them exit from the Serpentine Road (Hyde Park Corner), go past Wellington Arch, and continue down Constitution Hill. They will then pass Buckingham Palace and head up The Mall, and over Westminster Bridge.
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Here are some more free events in London if you want a cheap day out
If you enjoy The Mall then you might like to visit Buckingham Palace (you can walk it in 7 mins), Clarence House (you can walk it in 4 mins), St. James’s Palace (you can walk it in 4 mins) and St. James’s Park (you can walk it in less than 3 mins)
Disclaimer: Event details can change at short notice and you should reconfirm everything before making plans