The Summer Olympic Games for 2012 are being held in the UK and despite all the advertising and promotion, not all of them are being held in London. The reason that the London 2012 Olympic Games can not be fully accommodated in the UK's capital city and so some events are being held hundreds of miles away in other major city locations.
This guide will help you find the locations of the 2012 Olympic Games venues by road and public transport; what it can't do though is help you use the dedicated coach network that will be in place because these are available for pre-booking only and you must book your travel tickets for these in advance.
Olympic Events In London
The following London Olympic Event locations are within the Greater London area and are covered in a dedicated article to London Olympic Venues:
- Earls Court
- Greenwich Park
- Hampton Court Palace
- Horse Guards Parade
- Hyde Park
- Lord's Cricket Ground
- North Greenwich Arena / "The O2 Arena"
- The Royal Artillery Barracks
- Wembley Arena
- Wembley Stadium
These venues do cover a huge number of events during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Greater London is going to be difficult to get around and companies have already been urged to find alternative working arrangements for their staff. For those travelling to events though a dedicated article about the locations and getting to them is available.
Road Based Olympic Events
Cycling Around Surrey
Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Doma-wThe London 2012 Olympic Road Cycling events will start and finish in The Mall in Central London but take the riders through some of the most beautiful parts of Surrey. There are literally hundreds of vantage points to watch the riders as they compete for their Olympic Gold Medals and the Olympic Cycling Route is published by the games organisers.
The disappointment for those thinking of heading to the National Park at Box Hill will be that the London 2012 Olympic Games organisers have slapped an entrance charge to watch at the ZigZag and Donkey Green, but most of the 156 mile cycle is on open roads; but there are still some excellent vantage points to spectate.
It is important to note that the Box Hill Visitor Centre car park will be CLOSED.
Olympic Cycling By Train
The Male Cycling Olympic Route runs quite close to a number of Surrey railway stations so that cheap and easy vantage point in the town centres can be found. Beware thought that these are going to be very busy and an early arrival is advised:
- West Byfleet - Almost passes right outside the train station along Parvis Road and Old Woking Road
- Gomshall - Goes under the railway line at Gomshall Station (Dorking Road)
- Dorking West & Dorking Deepdene - Heads along Dorking High Street, a few minutes walk from either station and along the A24 passing Dorking Deepdene and Dorking (Main)
- Leatherhead - Passes the station along Randells Road
- Oxshott - Passes the rail station on the A244
- Esher - the Olympic cyclists will pass along Portsmouth Road, which is on the opposite side of Sandown Racecourse to the station; 10 minutes walk.
- Hampton Court - Probably expected to be the busiest of the stations that you could pick because of the time trials at Hampton Court Palace and the location itself.
The dedicate Olympic cyclist follower could make a number of those stations and see the cyclists from a number of vantage points. With a number of good pubs around each of those stations though, could you really say it was worth it; and whether having a few cold beers, a light lunch and watching the cyclists go by is more than enough entertainment for the event.
The most dedicated of Olympic Cycling Fans will already have their route planned, getting from The Mall where the Olympic Road Cycling starts, to West Byfleet to see them passing; to Gomshall to see them passing again and back to The Mall for the finish. If I get time, I might find you out the timetables......
Time Trial Cycling By Train
Both the Male and Female Olympic Time Trial cycling routes pass close to Esher station and do so on both sides of the Sandown Racecourse. The event passes to the north of the station on Weston Green Road and then there is time while the race loops around Surrey to walk around Sandown Racecourse to Portsmouth Road. Closer to London the even passes close to Teddington, Surbiton and Thames Ditton stations as well as Hampton Court where the time trials start and finish; and spectators have to pay to get in!
Football Based Olympic Events
Because of the number of matches, football (or soccer) games are being played at a number of popular English and Welsh football stadia. These have mostly been chosen because of their accessibility or capacity so that as many fans can get to and watch the matches as possible. Some games, including the Olympic Football Final, will be played in London at the iconic Wembley Stadium, however the other locations are:
Cardiff - Millenium Stadium
By Train - The Great Western Main Line runs from London Paddington via Reading and Bristol to Cardiff Central; regular services are also available from Birmingham New Street rail hub and the South Coast.
By Car - I recommend that you use the Cardiff Park & Ride Buses if you are only there for the day.
By Air - Cardiff International Airport has a frequent rail service to Cardiff Central Station
Coventry - The City of Coventry Stadium
By Train - The West Coast Main Line runs from London Euston and Milton Keynes, through Coventry to Birmingham New Street.
By Air -
Glasgow - Hampden Park
By Train - The nearest local station for Hampden Park is Mount Florida, however Glasgow Queen Street station is the mainline terminus and there will be a shuttle bus service from the nearby Buchanon Bus Station.
By Air - A frequent bus service operates from the airport to the city centre; or Paisley Gilmour Street rail station is a short taxi ride away for rail connections.
Manchester - Old Trafford
By Train - Regular services head to Manchester from all around the country including the Birmingham New Street rail hub, London Euston and Scotland. From Central Birmingham to Old Trafford is a real distance. A Free Shuttle Bus will run from Manchester's Picadilly and Olympic Football ticket holders will be able to use the Metrolink Trams for a free trip to stops near to Old Trafford from the City Centre.
By Air - Manchester Airport enjoys an almost 24 hour service into the city centre by train and a frequent service by bus.
Newcastle - St James Park
By Train - St James' Park is almost a city centre stadium and is just a 15 minute walk from Newcastle Central which has frequent services on the East Coast Main Line to London Kings Cross as well as to Edinburgh and connections to the rest of Scotland.
By Air - Newcastle Airport is about a 25 minute Metro ride into the city centre from 6am to midnight.
Water Based Olympic Events
Credit: BettoAlthough London annual hosts the University Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge, it will not be hosting any of the water-bourne events at the 2012 Summer Olympics. These are being held in locations as far apart as Berkshire and Dorset, depending on what ships you take to the water.
Dorney Lake is an élite training and competitions lake dedicated to rowing. Unlike the University Boat Race in London's Thames, it is unlikely you will find any speedboats or trespassers causing a problem in between the murky city waters.
The rowing centre had to do little work to bring it to Summer Olympic standard and for those heading to the canoeing and rowing events held at Eton Dorney, the Eton College rowing club 2,200m course will certainly attract and get the best of the Olympic rowers vying for a gold medal.
Travelling to the venue will involve many changes of transport. Rail services run from London Paddington and Reading to Slough; or London Waterloo to Windsor & Eton Riverside. From these stations a shuttle bus service will run to the Royal Windsor Racecourse where a managed walking route will take you around 20 minutes to the Eton Dorney venue. Spectator parking at Eton Dorney itself is for disabled eligible visitors only and must be pre-booked.
Lee Valley White Water Centre
Located in Cheshunt, just north of London is the Summer Olympic canoe slalom venue. It is the only completely new venue built for the 2012 London Summer Olympics that has been opened to the public for use before the games and this makes it a landmark in the Olympic building process.
The nearest train station is Cheshunt which is about a 25 minute walk to the venue, however this will be marshalled to make sure you head in the right direction.
Weymouth & Portland
Credit: Robert CourtmanLocated on the Dorset coast, the purely sandy beach at Weymouth is the perfect venue to watch the Summer Olympic yachting events. The management of the event will be from the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy on the Portland, an island just to the south of Weymouth. A ticket-only spectator area called The Nothe is available in Portland but there are excellent vantage points all along the eastern coast of Portland as well as some parts of the Weymouth shore.
Weymouth is the terminus for the South Western Main Line from London Waterloo, is served by a limited service from Westbury and Bristol; and Crosscountry have announced extending some of their services from Bournemouth to Weymouth.
Weymouth has an amazing seaside feel to it and with the busy Summer Olympic crowds, it will be an atmosphere to savour.
It doesn't matter where you will be watching the 2012 London Summer Olympics on the TV, it will be heading out of London to the many sporting venues and just sampling the atmosphere, whether it is an Olympic pub crawl down Cardiff's St Mary's Street or watching the yachts from the sandy beaches of Weymouth.
The London 2012 Summer Olympics are not just in London.