Traveling to the Olympics is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. To ensure you have a gold medal time, start planning your trip now.
Dena Braun-Rochwerger, The Fit Globetrotter, rounds up everything you need to know about planning for the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.
From her first tentative steps on the balance beam or his first lap around the track, gifted athletes have sculpted their lives around training for the Olympics.
Thankfully, planning to attend as a spectator is far less grueling and time consuming.
In 2012 the Olympics land in London, and the time to start planning your tickets and hotels is now.
For any sports enthusiast, the Olympics is an incredible experience affording the chance to take in lots of sports at once and get caught up in the Olympic spirit of friendship and global camaraderie. And unlike events such as the Super Bowl and the World Series, ticket prices won’t require you to take out a second mortgage.
The Olympics run from July 27 through August 12, 2012, and 75 percent of tickets will be released starting March 15, 2011.
In the United States, Jetset Sports, in conjunction with CoSport, is the official company for ticket sales. Jetset will sell corporate hospitality packages in the U.S. and Canada, and CoSport will sell directly to consumers. To be kept up to date on ticket information, register atwww.cosport.com. Visitors can also be kept abreast of ticket information by registering with www.tickets.london2012.com.
According to Visit Britain, based on the pricing structure for the events, the most popular tickets will be for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, and “super final” track and field events. A complete list of prices for each event can be viewed here [pdf].
More than 200 Olympic sessions will be available for children under 16 at a pay-your-age rate and for adults over 60 at a flat £16.
The heart of the 2012 games will be Olympic Park in East London. It includes an 80,000- seat stadium, Velodrome and various arenas. More than 180,000 visitors are expected to pass through Olympic Park each day during the games.
Many historical sites throughout the city are being repurposed for the games. Following is a list of venues hosting Olympic competition.
- Earls Court – Volleyball
- Eton Dorney – Rowing
- Horse Guards Parade – Beach Volleyball
- Hyde Park – Triathlon
- Lord’s Cricket Ground – Archery
- Regent’s Park – Road Cycling finish
- North Greenwich Arena – Basketball
- ExCel – Boxing, Fencing, Judo, Table Tennis
- Wimbledon – Tennis
- Greenwich Park – Equestrian
The London Olympic Committee is aiming for 100 percent of spectators to get to the games using public transport, bikes or their own two feet. To entice visitors to get on board with this lofty initiative, each ticket includes free public transportation for the day of the event.
To sweeten the deal even more, billions of pounds were invested in upgrading and expanding London’s transportation network.
Stratford International Station is the closest Docklands Light Railway (DLR) station to Olympic Park. The station has been renovated in anticipation of the influx of travelers during the Games.
In addition to the DLR, a new high-speed rail service called the Javelin® will link Stratford International to St. Pancras International Station in Central London, allowing visitors to travel between the two in 7 minutes. European visitors will be able to transfer to the Javelin from St. Pancras or Ebbsfleet International in Kent.
The DLR received an £80 million investment to add lines and trains and improve connections in East London that had previously lacked good transportation links. The DLR is a good option for anyone with a disability, as the stations are step-free and there is level access between the floor of the train and the station. It is anticipated that 240,000 people per hour will use the rail system during the Olympic games, with 25,000 traveling on the Javelin.
Learn more about the Javelin here: Britain Unveils First High-Speed Train.
London 2012 expects that 10 percent of visitors will use bus and coach services to travel between Olympic Park in East London and venues outside the city. More than 300 buses will provide service between Olympic Park and Weymouth and Portland where the sailing events take place, 500 buses will be used for shuttle services between venues and park and ride sites and 90 coaches will connect park-and-ride sites on the edge of the M25 with Olympic Park and Ebbsfleet. Most coaches are wheelchair accessible.
For venues within London, the Tube is a fast, easy way to navigate the city. A map highlighting each Olympic venue and tube station is available here in pdf format.
By the time the Olympics arrive, London will boast more 120,000 hotel rooms that span the spectrum from budget to ultra-luxurious. To prevent price gouging, Visit Britain is advocating that hotels (and other businesses) sign and commit to the 2012 UK Event Industry Fair Pricing and Practice Charter. Some hotels are taking reservations for the Olympics now and some are waiting until closer to the date.
New hotels and those slated for completion before the games include:
- Park Plaza Westminster Bridge
- Hilton, Wembley
- Renaissance, St. Pancras Chambers
- Hilton, Heathrow T5
- City Inn, City of London
- Jumeirah Beetham Tower, Southwark
- Metropole, Whitehall
- Queen Anne’s Chambers, Westminster
- Gillette Corner, Great West Road
- Trocadero, Westminster
- Shangri’La London Bridge Tower, London Bridge
For more ideas on where to stay, check out London Shopping & London Luxury Hotels: Suzy Gershman’s Latest Postcard.
BEFORE THE GAMES
If your travels take you to London before the Olympics, you can still get a flavor for the upcoming games by taking a walking tour of Olympic Park. Led by a Blue Badge Tourist Guide, the 90-minute tour gives visitors a historical perspective on the Olympics, information about the 2012 games and details about the buildings at Olympic Park. The tour costs 13.50£ and can be booked online at www.visitbritainshop.com.
- Visit Britain: www.visitbritain.com
- London 2012: www.london2012.com
- London 2012 Tickets: www.tickets.london2012.com
By Dena Braun-Rochwerger for PeterGreenberg.com. Dena, aka The Fit Globetrotter, is a freelance writer based in Arizona. Visit her on the Web atwww.fitglobetrotter.com.
Related links on PeterGreenberg.com:
- Off the Brochure Travel Guide: London, England
- London’s Airport Mess: Plans, Problems and Solutions
- Sleep Cheap in London, Despite the Currency
- Britain Unveils First High-Speed Train
- London Shopping & London Luxury Hotels: Postcard from Suzy Gershman
- A Traveling Mom’s Tips For Visiting London With Kids
- Postcard From Paddington: London’s Best-Kept Secret?
- Olympics Travel section
- British Travel section