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London 2012 Olympics 101

London 2012 Olympics

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It's here: the greatest sporting event in the world! London is immensely proud to be hosting the London 2012 Olympics this summer but it's not just happening in London - there are venues across the country so I've put together this information to help you plan your visit.

1. When is the London 2012 Olympics?

© LOCOG

The Olympics Games start with the Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium in London on the evening of Friday 27 July. It then runs until Sunday 12 August.

There is a short break, before the Paralympic Games starts on 29 August and runs until 9 September.

You can see the full competition schedule online.

2. How to Travel Around London During Summer 2012

Passengers on board a busy underground train during rush hour.
© Cate Gillon/Getty Images

Even if you are not attending the London 2012 Olympic Games your travel in London is going to be affected as visitor numbers will increase dramatically and certain sections of the transport network will be under more stress than normal.

There is no spectator parking at any of the venues so you are advised to use public transport. All tickets for events in London include a one day London Transport Games Travelcard so your travel across London will be covered for the day.

Find out more about How to Get Around During the London 2012 Olympic Games.

3. How to Get Tickets for the London 2012 Olympics

Kew Gardens Olmypic Rings
© LOCOG
Tickets have been on offer and the UK allocation went to ballots for the popular events over a year before the games. More tickets sales have been announced for May 2012 and you can find all the details here: How to Get Tickets for the London 2012 Olympics.

4. Where are the London 2012 Olympic Venues?

Aerial View of Olympic Park April 2012
© LOCOG
Not all of the Olympic venues are on the Olympic Park in Stratford and not all of the venues are in London (see UK venues map).
    On the Olympic Park we have:
  • Aquatics Centre - Diving, Swimming, Synchronised Swimming, Paralympic Swimming, Modern Pentathlon
  • Basketball Arena - Basketball, Wheelchair Basketball, Wheelchair Rugby, Handball
  • BMX Track - BMX Cycling
  • Copper Box - Handball, Goalball, Modern Pentathlon
  • Eton Manor - Wheelchair Tennis
  • Olympic Stadium - Athletics, Paralympic Athletics
  • Riverbank Arena - Hockey, Paralympic Five-a-side Football, Paralympic Seven-a side Football
  • Velodrome - Track Cycling, Paralympic Track Cycling
  • Water Polo Arena - Water Polo

Be aware, that the Olympic Park is huge (500 acres) so walking time between the venues will likely be longer than you expect.

    Other London Venues (Not at The Olympic Park)
  • Earl's Court - Volleyball
  • Excel - Boxing, Fencing, Judo, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Weightlifting, Wrestling, Boccia, Paralympic Table Tennis, Paralympic Judo, Paralympic Powerlifting, Sitting Volleyball, Wheelchair Fencing
  • Greenwich Park - Equestrian events: Jumping, Dressage and Eventing, Paralympic Equestrian, Modern Pentathlon
  • Hampton Court Palace - Road Cycling (Time Trial)
  • Horse Guards Parade - Beach Volleyball
  • Hyde Park - Triathlon, Marathon Swimming
  • Lord's Cricket Ground - Archery
  • North Greenwich Arena (aka The O2) - Artistic Gymnastics, Trampoline, Basketball, Wheelchair Basketball
  • The Mall - Athletics (Marathon and Race Walk), Paralympic Athletics (Marathon), and Road Cycling (Road Race)
  • The Royal Artillery Barracks - Shooting, Paralympic Shooting, Paralympic Archery
  • Wembley Arena - Badminton; Rhythmic Gymnastics
  • Wembley Stadium - Football
  • Wimbledon - Tennis
    Out of London Venues
  • Brands Hatch - Paralympic Road Cycling (Road Race and Time Trial)
  • City of Coventry Stadium - Football
  • Eton Dorney - Rowing, Paralympic Rowing, Canoe Sprint
  • Hadleigh Farm - Mountain Bike
  • Hampden Park - Football
  • Lee Valley White Water Centre - Canoe Slalom (I've tried it!)
  • Millennium Stadium - Football
  • Old Trafford (Manchester) - Football
  • St James's Park (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) - Football
  • Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour - Sailing, Paralympic Sailing

5. Which Sporting Events Don't Need Tickets?

Road Race on The Mall
© LOCOG

As well as sporting events, don't forget we have the London 2012 Festival as part of the Cultural Olympiad and the Olympic Torch Relay from 19 May to 27 July and Paralympic Torch Relay is from 2 to 29 August.

Marathon (see route)
Women – Sunday 5 August 2012
Men – Sunday 12 August 2012

Race Walk (see route)
Women – Saturday 11 August 2012
Men – Saturday 4 & 11 August 2012

Triathlon (Hyde Park)
Women – Saturday 4 August 2012
Men – Tuesday 7 August 2012

Cycling Road Race & Time Trial (see route)
Men's Road Race – 28 July 2012
Women's Road Race – 29 July 2012
Time Trials – 1st August 2012 (women morning, men afternoon)

Archery (Lord's Cricket Ground)
Friday 27 July 2012

See also: Where to Watch London Olympics 2012 Free.

6. Camp in London for the Olympics

© Camping & Caravanning Club
Accommodation in London has always been a large part of any visitor's budget so how can you still visit this year and enjoy the fun and celebrations? Instead of a hotel, would you consider camping in London?

7. Bike Tour of London 2012 Olympic Park & East London

This all day cycle tours starts in central London and goes out to the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London taking in historic sights along the way.

8. Staybridge Suites London Stratford City

Staybridge Suites London Stratford City
© IHG
The best located hotels for the London 2012 Olympic Games are the Staybridge Suites London Stratford City and the Holiday Inn London Stratford City which are in the same building, opposite the Westfield Stratford City shopping mall and overlooking the London 2012 Olympic Park.
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