If you are heading to the Olympics in London in 2012 then you are going to witness a sporting extravaganza the like of which London has never seen before. The main questions you’ll be asking are where to stay, how to buy tickets and which events to book in your diary, and this blog looks into these in more detail.
Where is the Olympics Taking Place?
The central focus of the Olympics is the Olympic Park in Newham, East London, which is where most of the events will take place between July 27 and August 12. This once deprived and unattractive area is being transformed into a beautiful green park complete with accommodation, excellent transport links and of course the Olympic Stadium and Athletes’ Village.
The Olympic Park – Surrounding Areas
If you want to stay near to the Olympic Park then you have a few options. There are five so-called ‘Olympic Boroughs’: Newham, Hackney, Waltham Forest, Tower Hamlets and Greenwich. All of these would allow you to stay very near to the main action.
Most of the park and all of the best venues are in Newham, and it also has the new Stratford City development, so this is probably the most convenient place to stay. However, Greenwich is hosting a third of the events, and Hackney will benefit from a number of excellent transport links, so any of these areas are good options.
Having said that, even if you stay in Central London you will still be able to get excellent access to the games because of all the dedicated transport that will be running. You could also opt to stay outside of London in locations in Kent or Sussex because these areas all have excellent train and bus links into the Olympic Park, and the accommodation is likely to be cheaper. Brighton, Ashford and Guildford could all be excellent options.
Getting to the Olympic Park
Wherever you stay in London, you’ll find it easy to get to the Olympic Park. Tickets come with a day’s free travel on the public transport system, and all you have to do is make your way to one of the three main stations that are being used for the Games: Stratford International, Stratford Regional and West Ham.
If you want to travel to any of the events outside of London then there will be shuttle buses and coaches available.
Other Areas where the Games are Taking Place
Not all the events will be taking place in the Olympic Park. The games will be held in numerous locations both inside and outside London.
Locations Inside London:
Hampton Court Palace
Lord’s Cricket Ground
North Greenwich Arena
The Royal Artillery Barracks
Locations Outside London:
City of Coventry Stadium, Coventry
Eton Dorney, Dorney Lake
Hadleigh Farm, Essex
Hampden Park, Glasgow
Lee Valley White Water Centre, Hertfordshire
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Old Trafford, Manchester
St James’ Park, Newcastle
Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour, Dorset
The Main Events
There will be 26 sports in total during the Olympics, and throughout the Games there are a number of stand-out events that will probably prove to be the highlights. These include:
July 27 – The opening ceremony
July 29 – Rebecca Adlington in the 400m freestyle in the Aquatics Centre
July 30 – Tom Daley in the 10m synchronised platform diving and Michael Phelps in the 200m freestyle
Aug 4 – Jessica Ennis going for gold in the heptathlon
Aug 5 – Usain Bolt attempting to win his second 100m sprint gold
Aug 6 – Sir Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny taking part in the sprint in the velodrome
Aug 9 – Usain Bolt going for the 200m gold
Aug 12 – Paula Radcliffe getting her chance to win the marathon on home soil
The official Olympics website application period ended on April 26, those who managed to register interest in tickets will now find out if they have been able to get a ticket to one of your chosen events.
There are a total of 8.8 million, but it is not carried out on a first-come-first-served basis so even if you signed up towards the end of the period you will stand as good a chance as anyone else. If there is too much demand for any particular event, then it will go to a ballot.
If you applied for a ticket and it is available then you have to buy it, and you will be debited by Visa, which is the only card accepted because it is the official sponsor.
Prices vary from £20 right up to the most expensive ticket of £2,012 for the opening ceremony. Other expensive days are the men’s 100m final day and the last two days of track-and-field events, where tickets will cost £725 each. There is also a maximum of four tickets per person for popular events.
Places to Buy Tickets Online
If you would rather go to the Paralympics then these will be held from August 29 to September 9. There are 2 million tickets available and they will go on sale from September 9, 2011.