A sporting tour of Britain
We’ve put together a record-breaking list of our favourite UK Olympic Venues so you can find your way around and see what’s on offer. After the Games themselves, you can visit the individual venues and discover Britain’s sporting heritage, take a tour or get involved in sport yourself.
The Olympic Park in East London includes the already iconic 80,000 seat Olympic Stadium, the graceful Aquatics Centre and the Velodrome. While they’re not letting people inside yet, you can take a tour of the area with a knowledgeable Blue Badge Guide.
The London 2012 Football competitions will be held at stadiums throughout the country. Catch the games at Hampden Park in Glasgow; Millennium Stadium in Cardiff; Old Trafford in Manchester; St James’ Park in Newcastle; Villa Park in Birmingham and Wembley Stadium in London, where the finals will take place. If you want to experience the thrill of British football right now, take a stadium tour or catch a Premier League game.
Beach Volley Ball comes to 10 Downing Street! That’s right – the high-energy beach sport will take place on Horse Guards Parade, the parade ground for the Queen’s bodyguards that’s next door to the Prime Minister’s house. It’s an unlikely mix, we admit, but one we’re very proud of. Head to Horse Guards Parade in summer for Trooping the Colour, the Queen’s spectacular birthday ceremony, or on any day to see the Changing the Guard ceremony.
Lord's Cricket Ground in North West London will be transformed into an Archery range for 2012. Crowds of 6,500 will enjoy the competition with two fields of play inside the stadium. Visit Lords to see the tiny Ashes urn, hotly contested by England and Australia, the stuffed sparrow ‘bowled out’ by Jahangir Khan and cricketing kit worn by many of the game’s greatest players. You can also tour players’ dressing rooms and see the famous Lord’s Honours Board that records great performances at the ground. And don’t forget Lord’s Cricket Ground is also Britain’s most famous venue for county and international cricket!
You probably know the North Greenwich Arena as the O2 Arena. During the Games, it will seat 20,000 spectators for the Basketball final and 16,500 for the Gymnastics. Outside the Olympics, this huge dome by the Thames hosts pop concerts and is home to the British Music Experience, the interactive, immersive celebration of UK pop.
Hyde Park, one of London’s Royal Parks, will host the Triathlon course in 2012. This is a great one, because you can watch it for free! Triathlon is among the fastest-growing individual sports in the UK, and thousands of people will line the route to watch during the races. The park itself is one of the largest parks in London, a haven of relaxation in the middle of the city. Don’t miss Speakers’ Corner where people come to air their views and exercise their right to free speech, and the Diana Fountain, a memorial to Princess Diana.
The White Water Centre that will host the London 2012 Olympic canoe slalom competition will open to the public in September, after the Games are over. Get in on the action and try canoeing, kayaking or white water rafting in the same venue that the Olympics themselves took place!
Wimbledon in South East London will be used for the Tennis competition at the 2012 Games. Up to 30,000 people will be able to watch the players compete. The hallowed turf of Wimbledon’s Centre Court has seen some of the greatest tennis matches ever played. Highlights at the club’s museum include the Championship Trophies, a 200° cinema screen and a 'walk-through' of the men's dressing room as it was in the 1980s, with a special ‘ghost’ appearance of John McEnroe..
Greenwich Park will host the Olympic and Paralympic Equestrian competitions, plus the combined running and shooting event of the Modern Pentathlon. The park has one of the best-looking riverside locations in London and is home to the Royal Observatory, the home of Greenwich Mean Time and the Prime Meridian, making it the official starting point for each new day and year. Greenwich itself is a World Heritage Site and is also the home to the National Maritime Museum and Christopher Wren’s graceful Old Royal Naval College.
For more information on the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic sports and venues, visit London 2012.