Only about a week to go and things are getting hot up here. Even the forecast for next week is supposed to be sunshine – fingers crossed.
There are more athletes, officials and spectators arriving every day and the Torch draws ever closer to London and the Olympic Stadium. So far the airports, roads and railways seem to be coping with the extra people in town – although some of the buses bringing athletes from Heathrow to the Olympic Village did get lost giving an unexpected tour of the sights of London to the American and Australian teams. Mostly everyone kept their sense of humor though and enjoyed seeing Tower Bridge.
Day 54 of the Torch Relay and it’s getting closer to lighting the flame at the stadium and the beginning of the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Despite the summer so far being one of rain, rain and more rain in England – though it is still warm – the crowds have been turning out across the country to cheer. Crowds have watched the Torch go by and celebrated all the Torch Bearers who have ranged from Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton, to pop icon Cliff Richard to George Weedon who is 92 and was a gymnast in the 1948 London Olympic Games. Yesterday, the torch visited Windsor Castle where the handover was watched by the Queen and Prince Philip.
The London Eye is one of the most popular things to do in London, even for people who live in this great city. The Eye dominates the city landscape opposite the towers of Westminster and Big Ben and the views when riding the Eye are spectacular.
Here are a few tips on how to maximize your experience.
If you’re looking to get away from the mass of people coming to London for the Olympics, here are a few options.
1) Southend-on-Sea, Essex
This is a lovely seven-mile stretch of beaches not far from London, with the pick being Shoeburyness East Beach because of its windsurfing area, grassy headland and long sand beach. Southend has the world’s longest leisure pier, The Southend Pier. The train from Liverpool Street Station to Southend takes about an hour.
Harry Potter’s world was a world where magic and reality met, sometimes not too happily. London was a place where some of this magic happened, where secret train platforms and lane-ways opened up to the lucky ones.
Here are some of the sights that we mere mortals are able to see:
1. London Zoo Reptile House
The zoo in Regents Park is where Harry first realized his powers, by talking to a boa constrictor.
The City of London Festival starts on Monday, June 25th with the bells of St Mary-le-Bow resounding at midday. There follows a month of great events throughout the city including concerts in venues the public can’t normally visit. Look out for the 50 pianos dotted around the streets which you can sit down and play, and many free events.
My tour of the old city will introduce you to this fascinating area with its atmospheric alleys, vibrant markets, hidden gardens, medieval churches and striking modern architecture. There is something for Harry Potter fans too!
All eyes have been glued to the British capital this year, with the epic Queen’s Jubilee celebrations and the upcoming Olympic games thrusting the city firmly into the limelight. Of course, London has long been renowned for its cosmopolitan population, rich history and trailblazing status in art, fashion and music, but this year the city is set to reclaim its ranking as one of Europe’s most popular destinations.
If you’re joining the masses in London this year, you’re sure to be swamped with sightseeing options, but for those looking to get a taste of the real London alongside checking off their to-do list, here’s the insider lowdown on what, where and how to get the most out of the Big Smoke.
After years as a bit of an outsider, Bermondsey is firmly staking its place as a great place to go in London for food and drinks.
On the south side of the river, not far from London Bridge Station, Borough Market, Tower Bridge and of course the new rising star, The Shard, Bermondsey is full of hip bars and excellent restaurants.
Around The Shard, which opens in February 2013, a new zone is developing called London Bridge Quarter. There will be new restaurants and bars to service all the new offices and apartments, and even London Bridge Station – one of the world’s oldest railway stations – will be getting a redevelopment in the next few years. The wharves along the Thames to the east of Tower Bridge have long been a place for good restaurants and shopping.
Everyone in London has watched Western Europe’s tallest building rise into the skyline: The Shard is here and it’s going to change the way we view this city.
Horse-racing at Royal Ascot is one of the most important social, fashion and sporting events of the year in England.
First run in 1711 under the auspice of Queen Anne, tradition continues with a daily horse-drawn procession from Windsor Castle to the racecourse. The Royal carriage goes first and often carries the Queen herself as she’s keen on horse-racing and has owned many champion horses. 2012 is her Diamond Jubilee Year so she is likely to be seen even more than usual.