Sheep, a huge bell, a miniature Stonehenge, David Beckham and some NHS nurses. This much we know will be in the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony on Friday evening. A global audience of four billion people are expected to tune into the show which is called Isles of Wonder, inspired by a line in Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Artistic director Danny Boyle has kept most details under wraps, but we can say with certainty that it starts at 9pm, and that you’d be mad not to watch it.
Friday is the opening night for the Olympic London Live sites at Hyde Park and Victoria Park. In Hyde Park, the ceremony will be shown on screens alongside a celebration concert with acts representing each part of the UK – Snow Patrol from Northern Ireland, Stereophonics for Wales, Duran Duran representing England and Paolo Nutini waving the flag for Scotland. Tickets are £60 and are still available. If you just want to watch the ceremony in a crowd, you can head to the Victoria Park site which is free entry.
Tower of London
If you’re feeling flush, you could pay for an exciting Opening Ceremony dinner at the Tower of London House of Nations for just £139. Hosted by four-time record breaking swimmer and Strictly Come Dancing star, Mark Foster, you’ll enjoy a champagne and Pimm’s reception in the Tower of London’s moat, an exclusive private tour of the Crown Jewels, a delicious three-course meal with all inclusive drinks, footage of the Opening Ceremony and live entertainment.
You can also catch all the Opening Ceremony action at Greenwich Summer Festival’s Gala Weekend. As well as the big screens, there’ll be live entertainment, starting with music on the bandstand at 6pm. Greenwich’s very own Hangar Arts Trust will then perform a cabaret of aerial circus in a high-impact, thrilling show full of beautiful and apparently impossible human feats, before the Opening Ceremony kicks off at 9pm.
General Gordon Square, Woolwich
General Gordon Square in Woolwich is hosting one of two big screens set up by the BBC in London for outdoor summer screenings. It will show the ceremony outside for free in the newly landscaped square, which offers bench seating and food stalls and street performers to get you in the party mood.
Walthamstow Town Square
Another BBC big screen will be beaming the ceremony to Walthamstow Town Square in North London. Seating will be set up so crowds can watch in comfort.
The Broadgate development in the Square Mile is home to some of the world’s biggest companies, and this summer it is also the base for three big screens which will all show the Opening Ceremony. Take your pick from Exchange Square, Broadgate Circle and Finsbury Avenue.
Novikov’s Beach Party at Waterside House
Top Mayfair restaurant Novikov is heading east this Friday to set up an all-day Opening Ceremony beach party – complete with sand and beach loungers – at Waterside House in Royal Victoria Dock. You can watch the show while sipping cocktails and listening to DJ sets. Tickets are £25.
In The Pub
Hundreds of top London pubs will be showing the all action on big screens, so have a look at the watering holes near you. We suggest The Hanbury Arms in Islington, The Lauriston in Hackney, the Water Poet in Spitalfields and the Clapham Grand in Clapham Junction, all of which will be putting on amazing parties.
Where will you be watching? Let us know below.