Navigating your way to the London Olympic Games

2012 is the year for Londoners – it’s the first time the Olympics is being hosted in London since 1948. The only other time it was hosted in London was 1908. With the 2012 Olympic games this year, it makes London the only city to have hosted the modern Olympics three times.

For those of you who might need reminding, the 2012 Summer Olympics will take place between 27 July 2012 and 12 August 2012. The 2012 fourteenth Summer Paralympics Games s will occur between 29 August 2012 and 9 September 2012. The Olympics in London will consist of 26 sports, 10,500 athletes and millions upon millions of spectators. For those of you lucky enough to have tickets, you will be heading off, to the different venues in London or across the UK. However even if you haven’t been able to secure a ticket, you will still be able to become a spectator at the outdoor events such as sailing and road cycling.

You might need some help to get your bearings on where each sport is located. For the aquatics centre, the basketball arena and bmx track to name a few you’ll be heading to the Olympic park which is located across East London in Stratford, Bow, Leyton and Homerton. For boxing, fencing, judo, table tennis, taekwondo, weightlifting and wrestling head over to you Excel in the Docklands. If you have seats to watch volleyball, head north west along the District Line to Earls Court. Alternatively to watch the archery you’ll need to get onto the Jubilee line and hop off at St John’s Wood for Lord’s Cricket Ground. Other areas hosting the Olympics are:

  • Greenwich Park for equestrian and modern pentathlon
  • North Greenwich Arena for gymnastics, artistic trampoline, basketball
  • Hampton Court Palace cyling on the road
  • Horse Guards Parade for beach volleyball
  • Hyde Park for triathlon and swimming
  • The Royal Artillery Barracks for shooting
  • The Mall for athletics, cycling on the road
  • Wembley Arena for badminton and gymnastics rhythmic
  • Wembley Stadium for football
  • Wimbledon for tennis

There are a few events that will be hosted outside of London. These include Box Hill in Dorking for the cycling, City of Coventry Stadium in Coventry about 100 miles north of London for the football and Eton Dorney, 25 miles west of London for canoeing and rowing. Other areas include:

  • Hadleigh Farm to the east of London in Essex for mountain biking
  • Lee Valley White Water Centre just north of the M25 near Waltham Abbey for canoe slalom
  • Weymouth and Portland both in Dorset on the south coast for sailing
  • Millennium Stadium in Cardiff Wales, Hampden Park in Glasgow Scotland, Old Trafford in Manchester and St James’ Park in north-east England for the football

If you’re only in London for a short time, you’ll also want to make sure you don’t spend all your time travelling. In such a large city, there is plenty of choice for accommodation from apartments, hotels and youth hostels.

For those on budget try staying at a selection of the city’s youth hostels. Many are based in central London such as Piccadilly’s Backpackers on Lower James’ Street behind Piccadilly Circus or the YHA on Bolsover Street, just north of Oxford Circus tube. If sharing a room or a kitchen with strangers isn’t your thing, you could try staying in one of the many London apartments located throughout the city. If you want luxury and no fuss, then hotels will the be way to go but you’ll need at least £200 per night for many of them.

Renting apartments in London can sometimes work out cheaper than staying in a hotel especially if there is a large group of you.

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