Best Ways to Enjoy the London Olympic Summer Games

See's picks for the best events to help travelers enjoy the London Olympic Summer Games, including the London 2012 Festival.
By: Visit Britain
Tower Bridge With Olympic Rings

Tower Bridge With Olympic Rings

The Olympic Rings were displayed under Tower Bridge during the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Photo by: Christopher J. Morris, Getty Images

Christopher J. Morris, Getty Images

The excitement is building and the athletes are training hard for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. For travelers making their own preparations to visit Britain this summer, but have had no luck obtaining tickets, here are some top tips on how to enjoy the spectacular events and soak up the atmosphere, without actually having tickets to one of the gaming events.

Olympic Live Sites
With large screens carrying live broadcasts of the Olympic events, visitors in at least 20 locations around the UK will have the best seat in the house to watch their favorite event. Olympic live sites will include Trafalgar Square, Hyde Park and Victoria Park. Screens will feature a broad range of UK -- wide and local content in partnership with community, arts and media organizations.  

The Olympic Torch Relay
May – July, 2012
The Olympic Torch will arrive in Britain on May 18, 2012, and make its way across every nation and region on a 70-day, 8,000-mile journey. Event organizers say that the Olympic flame will come within 1 hour of 95% of the people in the UK. Celebrations and events across Britain will mark the flame’s arrival, creating unique local experiences across the UK.

London 2012 Festival
June 21 – Sept. 9, 2012
The London 2012 Festival is the finale of the 4-year Cultural Olympiad, taking place June 21 to Sept. 9, 2012. Complementing the sporting events at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the festival will be the biggest party that the UK has ever seen, with a huge range of events from leading international artists. Events will continue to be announced throughout the year.

Olympic and Paralympic Cycling Road Races
July 28 – Aug. 1, 2012
You can view some of the most iconic events of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games from great vantage points -- at no cost. The men’s and women’s Road Races will begin on The Mall, a popular backdrop for formal ceremonies and major sporting events throughout the year. From The Mall, the riders will head southwest through London, cross the famous River Thames at Putney Bridge and continue out through Richmond Park, past Hampton Court Palace. Before the riders make it back to The Mall for a dramatic finish, they will head to Surrey, travel north through Leatherhead, Esher and Kingston.

Olympic Marathons
July 5 and 12, 2012
The Olympic and Paralympic marathons will start and finish at The Mall, an iconic location in central London most recently made famous as part of the wedding route for the marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Each race will have around 80 athletes taking part, making it a heart-pumping spectacle worth watching.

Olympic Sailing
July 29 – Aug. 11, 2012

The deep sapphire blue waters of Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour will play host to 10 sailing events, over the course of 14 days, during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. These free events will offer fans excitement and drama as they watch teams race in the beautiful, but challenging waters, on the southern coast of England.

Olympic Race Walks
Aug. 4 and 11, 2012

Known for its regal beauty and nature, visitors can watch the Race Walks that begin and finish at The Mall in St. James’s Park. Along the 1.2-mile race loop, visitors can take in the sites of Buckingham Palace, the official residence of the Queen, and the Commonwealth Memorial Gates.

Visit an Olympic Venue
The venues for the 2012 Olympic Games are situated around London and across Britain. Many iconic venues, like Wimbledon, Earls Court, Horse Guards Parade near Buckingham Palace, and Wembley Stadium, will be repurposed for the Olympics Games. Earls Court, the venue for volleyball is located in West London, just a hop and skip away from the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Science and Natural History Museum. Visitors, who won’t be in town to catch the sporting excitement, can drop by the venue to catch the many consumer shows that take place throughout the year. Another option is Greenwich Park, the venue hosting the Olympic and Paralympic equestrian Events. It is London’s oldest Royal Park, and dates back to 1433. The historic park has lots of attractions to offer visitors to London pre- and post-games, including the Royal Observatory, the Pavilion Tea House and the Wilderness Deer Park.

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