Visit London Blog » London 2012 Olympic Games Enjoy the very best of London Tue, 13 Oct 2015 14:49:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Video of the Week: London One Year On from the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games Thu, 25 Jul 2013 16:52:37 +0000

This weekend, London will celebrate the one-year anniversary of the London 2012 Games. The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is beginning to reopen to the public and will host the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games and Open East Festival over the weekend. This video looks back at the success of the Games and highlights their lasting legacy to the capital.

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The Olympic Games: One Year On Thu, 25 Jul 2013 16:11:24 +0000

Last year the Olympic Games propelled London into the spotlight. It brought Britain and the rest of the world together, uniting us in a summer of hope and glory. The legacy was to “Inspire a Generation” and the spirit that went with the event did not end with the closing ceremony.

This summer has already seen a run of British sporting triumphs: Andy Murray’s historic Wimbledon win, Chris Froome’s Tour de France victory, the Ashes cricket success, the British Lions rugby triumph and golfer Justin Rose’s US Open win, which along with the birth of a royal baby and the longest heatwave in seven years, means spirits remain as high as they were last year.

This weekend is the anniversary of the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony, so find out what is happening in the venues one year on:

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

The Olympic Park, built as a sporting complex for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, was temporarily closed to the public after the Games but has now been transformed into Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, providing London with a new space for major sporting events, music festivals and more.

Last weekend the park was used for the National Lottery Anniversary Run, the first sporting event since the conclusion of London 2012. This weekend it will host the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games, three days of world-class athletics on the anniversary of the Opening Ceremony. The games will see the return of many Olympic champions, with Sunday being dedicated to the Paralympic champions. Alongside this is the Open East Festival, a weekend celebrating the first anniversary of the Olympic Games and the reopening of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Here, along with entertainment, family activities, art and food, you can watch the Anniversary Games live on screen.

The park has already hosted huge music festivals this summer including Hard Rock Calling, Wireless and Electric Daisy Carnival. Other events still to come in the Olympic Park include:

  • Ride London – On the first weekend in August, professional and amateur cyclists will gather in London for a brand new, world-class festival of cycling
  • Lollibop – Three-day children’s festival with sports, activities, performances, workshops and celebrity entertainers from 16 to 18 Aug
  • National Paralympic Day featuring the Mayor of London’s Liberty Festival takes place on 7 Sep. This free event celebrates disability sport and arts a year on from the end of the Paralympic Games
  • The park will be used for a range of huge sporting events – including boxing, hockey and basketball

Other Olympic Venues

Wimbledon Following on from his gold win at the Olympic Games, there was national pride for Andy Murray again this year as he became the first British man to win Wimbledon for 77 years. Visit the site where history was made at the Lawn Tennis Museum and Tour of the grounds.

Horse Guards Parade Usually used for royal parades and ceremonies, during the Olympic Games Horse Guards Parade was transformed into a temporary arena for beach volleyball. At this historic site you can see Changing the Guard most mornings.

Wembley Stadium The stadium was used for football matches during the Olympic Games and continues to be used for high profile matches including, in August: the FA Community Shield, England v Scotland and the Challenge Cup Final. Take a tour of this famous stadium and walk in the footsteps of some of the world’s top footballers; go behind the scenes in the changing rooms, then walk through the players’ tunnel.

Wembley and The O2 Arena One of the sports taking place in the arenas last year was gymnastics and this year you can see breath-taking acrobatics of a different kind at Cirque du Soleil.

See more Olympic Venues

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London Video of the Week: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – 50 Days to Go Fri, 07 Jun 2013 14:23:34 +0000

To mark 50 days until the one-year anniversary of the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony on 27 July, the London Legacy Development Corporation has released this time-lapse video of work going on behind the scenes at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

The north section of the park will reopen to the public this summer, with a variety of music and sports events, including the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games. The park will offer world-class sporting facilities, parklands and more. Find out more at

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2012: In Pictures Mon, 31 Dec 2012 10:00:54 +0000 The Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations by Tower Bridge London 2012 Olympic Games Closing ceremony Greenwich bids farewell to the London 2012 Olympic Games with fireworks display Jessica Ennis wins Olympic heptathlon gold for Great Britain Gold medallist Mo Farah does the "Mobot" on London 2012 victory parade Mayor of London Boris Johnson with his Team London Ambassadors London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic images projected onto Parliament Piccadilly Circus Circus Piccadilly Circus Circus Nelson's Column is spruced up as part of Hatwalk London 2012 Paralympic Games Closing ceremony fireworks The Shard

2012 has been a landmark year for London thanks to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Diamond Jubilee, which celebrated 60 years of the Queen’s reign. And to top it all off, London’s newest skyscraper the Shard was inaugurated, transforming London’s skyline. Here are a few of our favourite images from an amazing and unforgettable year.

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Five Things to Spot on Olympic Park Tours Fri, 23 Nov 2012 11:37:01 +0000

The Games might be over but there’s still plenty going on in the Olympic Park.

Free bus tours began this week, offering a great chance to witness the park’s £292 million transformation into a new cultural hub and green space for London, before it reopens in phases from summer 2013. Here are some top things to spot on the trip:

1. Dismantling the Venues

The park is currently a huge construction site – or, more correctly, a deconstruction site. The world’s largest McDonald’s has been dismantled, as has the Riverbank Arena where Olympic hockey was played. On the bus tours you’ll be able to spot temporary venues being removed as well as athletes’ training centres, security areas and temporary seating stands or “wings” being taken to pieces. 

2. South Park Plaza

The area around the distinctive red ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture is being transformed into an urban park the size of 16 football pitches. When it’s finished, the new South Park Plaza will boast fountains, a climbing wall, a 12-metre wide tree-lined boulevard and “garden rooms” created by planting designer Piet Oudolf. During the Games, this space was the first part of the park most visitors saw after entering through the Stratford entrance.

3. Planting the Park

It was already a park to begin with, but over the next year or so the amount of open space in the Park will be doubled to a whopping 252 acres. The planting project includes 4,300 semi-mature trees, over 100,000 new shrubs and almost one million bulbs, which will all be watered by a park-wide water system. Even today the park has plenty of wildlife – you could see swans, ducks, cormorants and coots.

4. The First Neighbourhood

The Basketball Arena is one of the largest temporary Olympic venues ever built, and will be deconstructed between now and next autumn. The entire building can be recycled – from the seating to the floor – and some parts will head over to Brazil to be used at the Rio 2016 Games. Once the area is cleared it will be the site for the first new housing neighbourhood in the park, Chobham Manor.

5. The Stadium

Of course, no trip to the park would be complete without a glimpse of the iconic Olympic Stadium where athletes like Usain Bolt sped to victory this summer.

Tours run on Wednesdays, Thursdays and some weekends, until the Park begins to open in phases from July 2013. To book, email or call 0800 023 2030.

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Our Greatest Team Parade in London Tue, 11 Sep 2012 11:20:34 +0000 Lions lead the parade. Photo by Zoe Craig Jessica Ennis and teammates. Photo by Zoe Craig Sir Chris Hoy. Photo by Zoe Craig Athletes. Photo by Zoe Craig Red Arrows. Photo Zoe Craig The crowd at Buckingham Palace. Photo by Zoe Craig

London said a big thank you to the athletes of Team GB and ParalympicsGB yesterday during a parade through Central London.

Athletes including Mo Farah, Victoria Pendleton, Sarah Storey, Sir Chris Hoy and Ellie Simmons showed off their medals from floats that travelled from Mansion House, through Trafalgar Square and ended at The Mall, in front of Buckingham Palace.

The floats were led by two giant lion puppets, a steel band and dancers.It was also a chance to pay tribute to the police, armed services and volunteers who contributed to the Games.

British Airways led a flypast with the Red Arrows over The Mall, and the Pet Shop Boys played some of their biggest hits on a stage outside Buckingham Palace.

At the end of the parade, Princess Anne, Prime Minister David Cameron, and Mayor of London Boris Johnson gave speeches praising “the best ever” Games.

Did you go to the parade? Don’t forget to add your photos to our Flickr pool.

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In Pictures: A Walk Around the Olympic Park Mon, 03 Sep 2012 11:55:44 +0000 Olympic Stadium and the Orbit Royal barge Gloriana Run sculpture in the Olympic Park Velodrome Big screen in the Olympic Park Velodrome View of the Olympic Stadium and the Orbit View of the Velodrome Olympic Stadium

As well as the thrilling Paralympic action, there was plenty going on around the Olympic Park when I visited for the first time yesterday. I was impressed by the architecture and landscaping, pop-up performances and art installations.

Do you have any great pictures of the Park? If so, make sure you add them to the Visit London Flickr pool.

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The Lords of Lightning Perform atop a South London Car Park Sun, 02 Sep 2012 12:24:33 +0000

The Lords of Lightning have touched down in London this weekend. The metal suit-clad duo fling four million volts of raw electricity at each other while standing on two metal podiums!

I saw the mesmerising act last night at a hip bar perched atop Peckham multi-storey car park in South London, which affords eye-popping views of the city’s skyline. Before the sizzling performance began, a girl behind me said: “I don’t want to stand too close. I might get electrocuted!” The crackling sound of the electricity coupled with the smell of burning made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. And I found the sight of the lightning bolts coming out of their hands, heads and swords utterly dazzling.

Presented by the Mayor of London and London 2012 Festival as part of Showtime, you can catch the Lords of Lightning again tonight (2 Sept) at 8pm and 9pm at 10th floor, Peckham multi-storey car park, 95A Rye Lane, London SE15 4ST. 

Entry is free but you are advised to book tickets in advance

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Explore the South London Culture Trail This Weekend Fri, 31 Aug 2012 11:30:13 +0000

Make the most of the many exciting cultural events taking place this weekend by exploring one of the Mayor of London’s cultural trails.

This Saturday, it’s all about South London, with activities taking place from 10am to 9pm. And it’s all free!

Start your day at the Southbank Centre where you can watch a documentary about the Diverse City – Breathe project, a unique collaboration between disabled and non-disabled performers from Dorset and Brazil.

Next, pop into the Southbank Centre’s shop on Festival Terrace, which is being curated by not-for-profit organisation Design Nation all month. Here you can see new products and showcases from some of Britain’s best design talent.

Your next cultural stop is Tate Modern. Take a look at Tino Sehgal’s Turbine Hall Commission. This live show involves choreographed movements and sounds from participants in the space – you’ll never have the same experience twice! Then check out the brand new Tanks at Tate Modern, hosting an ongoing programme of live art, performance, film and installations during the London 2012 Festival.

There’s more performance at your final stop in either Burgess Park or Peckham. Mayor of London Presents Showtime (a festival visiting all London boroughs) is collaborating with Southwark’s annual Elephant and the Nun festival. Highlights include the electrifying Lords of Lightning at Peckham Multi Storey Car Park (free but booking advised).

Download the free London Official City Guide app to guide you on the trail, and to give you more ideas along the way, or download a PDF

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Welcome Back World! Highlights of the London 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony Thu, 30 Aug 2012 12:30:45 +0000

Last night performers, athletes and spectators welcomed the world back to London for the 2012 Paralympic Games.

The spectacular Opening Ceremony, created by artistic directors Jenny Sealey and Bradley Hemmings, saw Professor Stephen Hawking and actor Sir Ian McKellen introduce scenes exploring the theme of “Enlightenment” and showcasing the world’s leading deaf and disabled artists.

During the ceremony, more than 3,000 participants brought Sir Isaac Newton’s garden, the Large Hadron Collider and the Big Bang to life in a celebration of science and its capacity to change perceptions.

London-based performers and groups made a special impact throughout the night. “Principia”, an emotional choral composition, was sung by six London based choirs: the Hackney Community Choir, Barts Choir, the London Gay Men’s Chorus, the Hackney Singers, the London Chorus, and the Lewisham Choral Society. You can enjoy these volunteer choirs throughout the year across London, and each have performances coming up in the next few months.

The Graeae Theatre Company, based only a few miles from the Olympic Stadium in Hackney, performed an explosive cover of Ian Dury and The Blockheads’ “Spasticus Artisticus”. The company champions the inclusion of deaf and disabled performers in the arts thorough new plays and training initiatives. Graeae and their incredible sway poles can be seen this September in The Garden, part of Unlimited Festival at Southbank Centre.

Also appearing at Unlimited Festival, leading disabled dancer David Toole performed a solo dance while 16-year-old singer-songwriter Birdy performed “Bird Gerhl”. In perhaps the most stunning moment of the night, David ascended into the air supported by wires and “flew” above a stadium floor packed with the world’s Paralympians. You can see the incredible David Toole in a brand new work, The Impending Storm, on 7 and 8 September at the Southbank Centre.

Did you enjoy the London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony? Let us know what you thought in the comments section below.

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