The Ultimate Guide to the London 2012 Olympics

July 27, 2012 by

Festivals & Events, Things To Do, Travel Tips

With the 2012 Olympics starting in London on Friday, July 27 and ending Sunday, August 12, this exciting event is just around the corner! Whether you’ll be in England before the games, during, or after, here are some resources for transportation, navigating the crowds, and what to see and do during this summer in London.

But first, check out our fancy infographic guide to the London 2012 Olympics! (We’re quite proud of it.)

Olympic Events

How to Experience the Excitement of the London Olympics After the Games Have Ended

The London Olympics and Paralympics have finally come to an end. You may be wondering what is going to happen with all of the facilities that were built for the games. Well, good news is that the legacy will live on and they will be open for public use in years to come!

The Velodrome in London. Photo courtesy of The Department for Culture, Media and Sport via Flickr.

The Velodrome in London. Photo courtesy of The Department for Culture, Media and Sport via Flickr.

Everything You Need to Know About the Paralympics Games

The Olympic torch has been making its way around London for the start of the Paralympic Games. They will be going on from August 29th until September 9th. Tune in and watch because this is the first time the Paralympic tickets have been sold out!

The Olympic Games Begin

You’ve been waiting for it and it’s finally here! The Opening Ceremony begins tonight at 9pm, ending around midnight. We are all wondering what surprises the games may hold. Security will be in full-swing so be prepared, be safe and enjoy yourselves.

Olympic Opening Ceremony 2012. Photo courtesy of Nick J Webb via Flickr.

Olympic Opening Ceremony 2012. Photo courtesy of Nick J Webb via Flickr.

London Olympics Closing Ceremonies and Events

The closing ceremony for the Olympics is August 12th. If you thought that the opening ceremony was exciting to watch, you won’t want to miss this! Many stars are rumored to make appearances, who knows who might show up. The flame will go out and that will signify the end of the London Olympic Games. See you in Rio!

Cycling Road Race on Box Hill

The cycling road race starts today. The route will be spread out throughout all of London, so it’s best to check out the full route map of when and where cyclists will be going by. Men will race on July 28th and the women’s turn is on July 29th. See you on the road!

Olympic Shooting at The Royal Artillery Barracks

The Olympic shooting competitions have already begun and will continue on through August 6th at The Royal Artillery Barracks. The venue is easy to get to by boat or train. Watch out for the top teams, China and the US!

Equestrian and Olympic Modern Pentathlon in Greenwich Park

The Equestrian events will be going on from July 28th-August 8th in Greenwich Park, along with the Modern Pentathlon happening there as well on August 11th and 12th. The venue is easy to get to either by taking the train or just walking there.

Equestrian Event at Greenwich Park. Photo courtesy of ianpatterson99 via Flickr.

Equestrian Event at Greenwich Park. Photo courtesy of ianpatterson99 via Flickr.

Road Cycling at Hampton Court Palace

Olympic Road Cycling is taking place on August 1st. Head over to Hampton Court Palace where you can see the start and finish to the race. The venue will be open to the public during the day as usual, so you can go inside and make time to see the cyclists as well.

Olympic Events in London This Week

The Paralympic games are coming to you sooner than you think! There are also many events going on in London right now. So, just because the Olympics are over, doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of things still happening in this marvelous city.

London Olympic torch

The 2012 Olympic torch – photo credit: DeKay via Flickr

Olympics Football in Hampden Park

The opening ceremony is finally this Friday, July 27th! It turns out that the football games are ready to start even earlier than that however, so head on over to Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland on July 25th and 26th. Let the games begin.

Where to Watch the London Olympics for Free

There are many sites where you can catch the Olympic games if you don’t have tickets to see them. Chances are you might even run into some of the events as they are happening such as running, road cycling, the triathlon, sailing and more.

Olympic Events Outside of London

The Olympic Football events will be held all throughout the United Kingdom, as well as a few others. If you find yourself outside of London to watch a game don’t forget that there’s plenty to see in cities like Manchester, Bath, Cambridge and more.

Free Olympic Viewing and Free Events at Hyde Park

Come watch the Olympics on big screens in Hyde Park! There will also be various free events happening at the park, except for the closing ceremonies party held there. Serpentine Lake runs through Hyde Park and will have some games going on there, so come early.

Sailing Events in Weymouth & Portland

The sailing events will be continuing on until August 11th. Plan a trip to Weymouth and Portland and you can kill two birds with one stone; you’ll get to watch sailing and explore the English seaside at the same time.

Fun Facts About the Olympics

There are many exhibitions all around London that will be able to answer any questions you might be having about the Olympics. Many are only open until the end of August or September, so hurry and see them now!

Usain Bolt Wax Figure with his fans in Madame Tussauds

Usain Bolt Wax Figure with his fans in Madame Tussauds

London Olympics tips

London’s Transport for the Olympics

One of the most challenging parts of the London Olympics for spectators may be getting around the city. London’s transport system is generally very efficient and with the added pressure on the bus and tube system, it will be a good idea to plan ahead so that you are sure to have plenty of time.

A London Tube Map! Photo courtesy of DraXus via Flickr.

A London Tube Map! Photo courtesy of DraXus via Flickr.

How to Find Accommodation for the London Olympics

While London is well provided with hotel rooms ranging from peak luxury to hostels, and many locals will be renting out their private homes during the Olympics, demand is pushing prices up. Some central London hotels are charging twice to four times the usual nightly rate per room and some of the private rental apartments and houses have ridiculously high price tags as people try to cash in on the Games.

Where to See the Olympic Torch Near London, England

The Olympic Torch’s arrival in and journey around the UK leading up to the 2012 Olympics is not only symbolic of peace, unity, and friendship but is a way for millions to be involved in the games, especially those of us not lucky enough to get tickets or talented enough to actually be competing.

The Olympic Rings at St Pancras Station. Photo courtesy of neate photos via Flickr.

The Olympic Rings at St Pancras Station. Photo courtesy of neate photos via Flickr.

Last-Minute Tips for Visiting London During the Olympics

Olympic rings are now visible throughout the UK, venues in London are almost ready and signs are being put up in the London Underground. Be prepared for strict security checks when arriving at Heathrow Airport because even all of the rain won’t keep people from coming to London for this years Olympic games.

Plan Ahead for London and the Olympics

But while it’s a great time to visit, it’s also one of those times you really do need to plan ahead in a little more detail. Even grand attractions like the Tower of London, Stonehenge, Windsor Castle and The London Eye have capacity constraints, and there will be many who’ll go home disappointed over this London season, having missed the one thing they really wanted to see. Don’t be among them!

How to Score Last Minute Tickets for the Olympics

There are only a few days left and lucky for you, tickets are still available for some events. If you haven’t figured out your accommodation yet, it’s important to do it fast. Remember, you can always stay right outside of London because everything is accessible by train.

How to Get to and Around Olympic Stadium

There are several ways of getting to the Olympic Stadium including taking the train, walking or even by water chariot. Many gates surround the stadium and can be used to enter. Whatever you choose, just be sure to bring an umbrella because you never know what the weather in London may be like.

Olympic Sports: Where to Do them in London

Watching all of the Olympic athletes compete might have inspired you to try out some of these sports yourselves. Well, there are different places where you can do just that, including the Hampstead Heath ponds, the Hampton Pool, the Oasis Sports Centre and many others.

Exploring Olympic Park

Olympic Park was designed for use even after the games are over. If you love sports, you can utilize these facilities. There are also many art installations placed around the venues, so be on the lookout.

Things to See and Do

The Olympic Stadium. Photo courtesy of arj03 via Flickr.

The Olympic Stadium. Photo courtesy of arj03 via Flickr.

Bike Tour of Olympic Park and East London

Gear up for the 2012 Olympic Games on this exciting bike tour! Cycle out to the site where the main events of the London Olympics will take place in summer 2012. On the way to Olympic Park, see famous London sights such as the Tate Art Gallery, Shakespeare’s Globe Theater and Tower Bridge.

The Construction of the ArcelorMittal Orbit in London. Photo courtesy of George Rex via Flickr.

The Construction of the ArcelorMittal Orbit in London. Photo courtesy of George Rex via Flickr.

See the ArcelorMittal Orbit in London

Clearly artist Anish Kapoor grew up playing with Meccano, all those strips of metal you could bolt together to make the weirdest inventions, most of which would never fly, roll or even stand up. Here’s hoping that Kapoor’s latest vision, London’s ArcelorMittal Orbit, stands up for many hundreds of years.

A Guide to London’s Olympic Park

Nine of the key sporting venues will be located here including the Olympic Stadium (opening/closing ceremony and athletics), the Aquatics Centre (diving and swimming), the Velodrome (cycling), the BMX Track, the Water Polo Arena, the Basketball Arena, the Riverbank Arena (hockey), Eton Manor (wheelchair tennis) and the Copper Box (handball, goalball and modern pentathlon).

Best Day Trips From London to Escape the Olympic Crowds

The Olympics can be a little too much to handle for some people, so if you are trying to get away from the chaos there are many places to visit. Inside or outside of London, we have you covered with the best beaches, towns, palaces and houses to visit.

The Best of London: An Olympics Medal Ceremony

The athlete have all received their medals in the Olympic games. Now we are awarding our own medals to the best museums, views, free things to do, parks and more in London.

Olympic Medals on Display at the British Museum

The Olympics are over! London and the rest of the world will definitely miss the games. The athletes have gone home with their medals, but there are also some Olympic medals at the British Museum for all of you to see. Make a trip to see them while you can!

Suggested Itineraries

London 2012 Olympics

Olympics rings on the Tower Bridge

Gold Medal London Olympics Itinerary: What to Do With Two Weeks in England

Silver Medal London Olympics Itinerary: What to Do With One Week in England

Bronze Medal London Olympics Itinerary: London and Surrounding Area

Other London 2012 events

Things To Do in London in 2012

6 Incredible Events Not to Miss This Year in London

The City of London Festival

- Viator Travel Team

Planning a trip? Browse Viator’s London tours and things to doLondon attractions, and London travel recommendations, or book a private tour guide in London for a customized tour!

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