Visit London Blog » London 2012 Enjoy the very best of London Thu, 17 Apr 2014 09:00:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park: What’s Opening When? Tue, 25 Feb 2014 09:00:33 +0000 Aerial shoot over Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

For the first time since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, people will be able to explore more of what is now known as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as most of the venues are poised to officially re-open on 5 April. Find out what is opening when and what is already open:

Aquatics Centre

Swim in the wake of champions

Where? Aquatics Centre
When is it opening? 1 March 2014.
Famous for its wave-like roof, the spectacular Aquatics Centre will soon be open to the public, offering a huge range of activities for all ages and abilities, from water polo to synchronised swimming, diving to triathlon. Designed by architect Zaha Hadid, the venue will have a 50m x 10-lane Olympic competition pool and a 50m x 8-lane training pool.

ArcelorMittal Orbit

Go up the UK’s Tallest Sculpture

Where? Arcelormittal Orbit
When is it opening? 5 April 2014.
Enjoy eye-popping views of London’s skyline, the Stadium and the Olympic Park from the UK’s tallest sculpture. Created by artist Sir Anish Kapoor, engineer Cecil Balmond and steel company ArcelorMittal, visitors will be able to climb up the 114.5m-tall tower to two viewing platforms, at 76m and 80m.


Cycle in a world-class venue

Where? Lee Valley Velopark
When is it opening? 1 March 2014.
The award-winning Velodrome has been transformed into the Lee Valley Velopark, a hub for cyclists of all disciplines with a one-mile, floodlit road cycle circuit, a remodelled and floodlit Olympic BMX track and 8km of mountain bike trails.

Monica Bonvicini's free-standing mirror sculpture, RUN, one of the park's 25 public artworks

Relax in beautiful parklands

Where? In the south of the park
When is it opening? 5 April.
The new parklands in the south of the park are home to woods, hedgerows and wildlife habitats.

Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre

Watch or play hockey and tennis

Where? Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre
When is it opening? May.
As well as boasting two hockey pitches, four indoor tennis court and six outdoor courts – which can be hired by the public all year round – the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre also has a £30 million clubhouse which will offer changing rooms and a bar. Since it hosted the Wheelchair Tennis at London 2012, the venue will continue to serve the sport by providing coaching and facilities for local and national players. It will also host the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters from 2014-2016 and the 2015 EuroHockey Championships.

The Timber Lodge Cafe

What is already open?

  • The Copper Box Arena, where you can use the gym or see live sport
  • The northern parklands with their riverside wetlands and lawns
  • The Timber Lodge Café, which has been cleverly designed to blend into the natural landscape and produce its own green energy from solar panels
  • The Tumbling Bay playground, which has a sandpit and walkways among the treetops. It can be found next to the Timber Lodge Café.

 The Copper Box Arena

]]> 0
Garden Bridge Plans for River Thames Wed, 18 Dec 2013 14:04:40 +0000

We’re really excited about the prospect of a fantastic new attraction in the heart of London.

The country’s first-ever Garden Bridge will provide a pedestrian crossing that spans the River Thames, providing a link between the South Bank and Temple Station, which is within easy reach of Covent Garden and Soho.

The brainchild of actress Joanna Lumley, the brilliantly green bridge will feature shrubs, trees and wildflowers, benches and intimate walkways. Lumley hopes it will become a peaceful haven where “the only sounds will be birdsong and bees buzzing and the wind in the trees”.

Designed by London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic cauldron designer Thomas Heatherwick, the Garden Bridge is currently in public consultation. It is estimated that construction will begin in 2015 before completion at the end of 2017. Would you visit?



]]> 1
Laura Trott and Boris Johnson Launch RideLondon Fri, 10 Aug 2012 13:30:22 +0000

Team GB Olympian Laura Trott and London Mayor Boris Johnson took to their bikes today to launch the 2013 London cycling festival RideLondon.

RideLondon is London’s new cycling festival which includes traffic-free cycling past major London attractions for families and amateurs, as well as the opportunity to spectate while some of the world’s best athletes race through the capital’s streets.

Cycling in London is one of the best ways to travel, on a hire bike, with a cycle tour, or on your own bike. RideLondon will be an entire weekend devoted to getting out and about on your bike.

Gold medalist Laura said, “It’s great to think we may have inspired people to get on their bikes and RideLondon is a great opportunity for the public to get out and join us on the roads. Cycling has always been a huge part of my family’s life and I hope that having watched the Games lots more people will be encouraged to have a go.”

RideLondon takes place between 3 and 4 August 2013. Visit for more information.

]]> 0
Gifts From The Olympic Gods Appear Across London Mon, 30 Jul 2012 09:30:43 +0000

If you find a giant javelin piercing your local park, or a 3m tall shot-put sinking into the pavement outside your closest Tube station, don’t worry, these aren’t Olympic-related hallucinations.

Part of “Gifts of the Olympic Gods”, these 12 sculptures – including javelins, shot-puts, and bows and arrows – have been installed around the city, evoking the Greek gods in whose honour the original Olympic Games were held.  And up-close, the impressive sculptures really do look like they have been dropped from a great height! Unsuspecting pedestrians beware.

You can see the giant sculptures at the following locations:



Bow and Arrows

The gifts are part of the Mayor of London’s Summer Like No Other programme. Find out about other “Wonders” cropping up over London during the Games at

Have you seen any of the Gifts of the Olympic Gods? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

]]> 4
London Video of the Week: One Week To Go On The Olympic Park – London 2012 Fri, 20 Jul 2012 15:00:26 +0000

It’s just ONE WEEK to go to the London 2012 Olympic Games. Here’s a great video, showing the development of the Olympic site, and some of the stories of the people involved.

For more London videos, check out our YouTube channel:

]]> 0
Five Tips for Travel in London During the Olympic and Paralympic Games Wed, 20 Jun 2012 16:00:29 +0000

London is going to be busy during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. An extra three million journeys are forecast for the busiest days of the Olympics, which take place from 27 July to 12 August, and the Paralympics from 29 August to 9 September.

Follow these tips to keep delays and frustration to a minimum – and we suggest a healthy dose of patience as well.

1) Plan Ahead
Don’t dash out of the door and work out your route on the way. Prepare your travel plans in advance using the resources on offer, and remember that every day of the Games is different due to the multiple events taking place.

2) Use the Tools Available
Transport for London (TfL) have created wealth of travel resources for the Olympics, including interactive hotspot maps for public transport and roads which show day-by-day breakdowns of busy areas. There are charts of predicted wait times for each 30 minute period at every tube station and you can search for any temporary road changes in your area. For those with Olympic tickets, there is an online spectator journey planner. You can also sign up to Transport for London’s social media channels for the latest travel alerts.

3) Adapt to the Olympics
If you know your route will be busy, consider leaving earlier or later or taking a different way to avoid peak periods. For short journeys, cycling or walking could be faster – there are 47 tube journeys that can be walked in under 10 minutes. Consider using river transport like Thames Clippers too, as there’ll be extra boat services laid on.

4) Be Aware that Transport will Change
Bus services could be diverted because of temporary road changesand bus stops may be moved or temporarily suspended. If stations are crowded, TfL may introduce a one-way system or close altogether if they get too full. There will be extra services too – Tube and DLR trains will run about an hour later than usual and there will be extra evening services on the Jubilee, Central and District lines.

TfL has outlined planned changes and signs in stations will display the latest information, but it’s wise to check the TfL journey planner before you travel. You can also follow @GAOTG on Twitter or sign up for Olympic travel email updates to keep up to date.

5) Avoid Driving if at all Possible
TfL’s advice is to avoid driving in Central London and around Games venues from mid-July if you can. It also suggests motorists avoid the Olympic Route Network, 109 miles of road linking Games venues together. Watch out for areas where Olympic road events will take place, such as the Cycling Road Races on 28 and 29 July.

You can put any Olympic travel questions to TfL in a Twitter chat on 21 June at 1-2pm. Follow the hashtag #GAOTG to take part.

For more advice on travelling during the Games visit the Transport for London or Get Ahead of the Games websites.

]]> 1
Interview: Ceinwen Giles, London Olympic Torchbearer Fri, 15 Jun 2012 09:30:45 +0000 Yesterday we told you where to see the Olympic torch in London. Today, we’re finding out about one of the London Torchbearers.

Ceinwen Giles, 37, will be carrying the Olympic torch in her home borough of Lewisham on 23 July, as part of the Olympic torch relay around the UK. She was chosen to be a torchbearer following her recovery from blood cancer.

How did you become a torchbearer?
I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma just after I had my daughter. It was really advanced so I had to stay in the hospital for five months after she was born, but it’s now been two years since I went into remission. I used to be a long-distance runner before I got sick and my husband nominated me as a torchbearer because he thought it would be a nice present for me to carry the torch.

How does it feel to be chosen to carry the torch?
A lot of the people who have been chosen have amazing stories, so to be in their company is a big honour. Being a runner, I’ve always been a big fan of the Olympics. I’m probably never going to make it to the Games, so this is the closest I’ll ever get!

What will happen on the day?
The torch is coming to Lewisham early in the morning, so I’ll get picked up in a bus with the other torchbearers. I’m running in Lewisham where I live – the route is really close to our flat so I have friends in the area which is great. The relay organisers haven’t said the exact distance I’ll be running but the average is something like 300m. They drop people on and off in a van and have a party in the evening. I’m looking forward to that and to meeting new people.

Have you done much preparation?
I’ve been watching the relay online and everyone else has been running their section so I want to run the whole thing. So I’ve been going for some runs and making sure I’m fit – carrying the torch is good motivation to get back into shape.

You’re a trustee of a cancer charity – will the relay help raise awareness?
You’re not allowed to wear a sign or a banner during the relay, but we might do some fundraising like asking people to donate if they get their picture taken with the torch. The charity is Shine Cancer Support – it supports adults in their 20s, 30s and 40s who have had cancer. There are a lot of cancer charities out there but most of them care for people who are much older or much younger, so it fills a big gap.

What will you do with your torch after the relay?
I won’t be selling it on eBay! I think I’m going to keep for my daughter. She’s two and a half now and I’d like her to have it as a souvenir of everything we’ve been through.

]]> 0
Where to See The Olympic Torch in London Thu, 14 Jun 2012 09:00:00 +0000

The Olympic Torch is making its way around the UK on its 70-day relay and is set to arrive in London on 21 July, the weekend before the Games begin. You can line the streets to cheer it on or visit an evening celebration when it stops for the night. Here are some of the top spots to catch a glimpse of the symbolic flame.

21 July: Greenwich to Waltham Forest
The torch will set off from the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich (7:21) and pass through Newham and Tower Hamlets. In the afternoon it will visit The One Hackney Festival (16:48) in Clissold Park, before passing Hackney Town Hall (17:56). The ballot for tickets to the evening celebration at Chestnuts Showground in Waltham Forest closes on 21 June – anyone can apply although priority is given to local residents.

22 July: Redbridge to Bexley
The second London leg of the tour begins at Redbridge Cycling Centre (7:19) before crossing the lake in Fairlop Waters Country Park (7:50). It can be spotted on the light railway at Barking Park (9:50) and will lead the Carnival Parade at the Dagenham Town Show (11:42).

23 July: Deptford to Tooting
The morning route begins near Deptford Creek (7:20) and heads to Bromley and on to Crystal Palace Park (10:35). It will journey to Croydon and Sutton before it can be seen at Wimbledon’s All England Club (5:32) which is hosting the Olympic tennis.

24 July: Chessington to Ealing
The flame starts moving again at Hook Community Centre in Chessington (8:22). It will be carried through the heart of Brunel University campus (14:46) and past Hillingdon Town Hall (15:41).

25 July: Wealdstone to Haringey
Headstone Manor and Museum in Wealdstone (9:17) kicks off the day’s relay, which heads through Harrow, onto Brent and past White Hart Lane.

26 July: Camden to Hyde Park
The torch will begin the penultimate day outside the Roundhouse in Camden and will travel by barge along Regent’s Canal. It will visit landmarks including St Paul’s Cathedral, the Museum of London and Shakespeare’s Globe, finally passing Buckingham Palace before the final evening celebration – a huge finale concert in Hyde Park featuring artists including Dizzee Rascal and Katy B. Tickets are now on sale priced at £15.

27 July: Up the Thames to the Olympic Stadium
The torch will take to the Thames for its final journey on a boat from Hampton Court (11:30) to Tower Bridge (12:30). It will arrive to appear in front of 80,000 people – and a worldwide TV audience of millions – at the Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford.

To make your torch relay plans you can see a list of every borough the torch will pass through or the detailed street-by-street map here.

]]> 0
Snow Patrol, Stereophonics, Duran Duran and Paolo Nutini to Headline Olympic Opening Ceremony Concert Tue, 01 May 2012 09:32:58 +0000

The line-up for London’s Olympic Opening Ceremony Celebration Concert was announced this morning. Snow Patrol, Stereophonics, Duran Duran and Paolo Nutini will headline the concert in Hyde Park on 27 July.

As well as seeing some of the UK’s biggest bands on stage, ticket holders will be able to watch live BBC coverage of the London 2012 Opening Ceremony from the Olympic Park on giant screens.

Tickets go on sale on Friday 4 May at 9am.

]]> 0
London 2012 City Decorations Revealed Thu, 15 Mar 2012 15:00:22 +0000 The street decorations and lighting for the London 2012 Games have been revealed. Here’s a glimpse of how London will look during the Games…

]]> 2