London shines with pride as it plays host to the 2012 Olympic Games, sporting colourful rings, banners and buntings in every corner of the capital, and welcoming with cheery enthusiasm, the competing athletes who arrive with world record breaking aspirations and gold medal winning ambitions.
While our expectations for the Opening and Closing Ceremony may be high, London has surely gone to town in the run up to the games with Olympic festivals, exhibitions and celebrations galore, drawing in millions of visitors and generating a huge amount of interest for the Games and the home city.
The highlights around London during the Games :
The Torch Relay
Before it reaches the Stratford Olympic Park, its final destination, the Olympic torch winds its way across the country and capital, carried by 8,000 inspiring torchbearers, very nearly passing our office in Hammersmith, giving everyone the chance to share and be a part of the excitement of the Games.
(Photo : Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye)
The Richmond Park Rings
The iconic Olympic Rings have been mowed out in the grass of the beautiful Richmond Park’s open green spaces by the Royal Park’s shire horses and gives all those arriving into the home city by air a spectacular introductory welcome to the Games.
Exclusive Games Lane
The capital’s roads and traffic control has been transformed to accommodate the influx of Olympic athletes, press and participants with exclusive Games lanes. This may cause a bit of build up on the roads so check the routes and restrictions before you think of hiring a car and driving around.
The Tower of London, one of London’s iconic landmarks, adds an air of ancient charm to the Games, having safely guarded precious treasures and possessions for centuries, it will protect the Olympic Games Medals, that every athlete will be hoping to covet, until the awards ceremonies.
The Arcelor Mittal Orbit
Designed by renowned artist Anish Kapoor, this intertwined and futuristic observation tower sits 377 feet above the Olympic Park, and has been created to symbolize for years to come the lasting legacy of the London 2012 Olympics.
The Olympic Pop-Up Shop
Have your photo taken with the Olympic torch or explore over 12000 sq ft of Games merchandise and collectables, including clothing, mascot toys, jewellery, stamps, mini torches, posters, pin badges and more at the Official London Olympics Pop-up shop near the Serpentine Lake Hyde Park. Nearest station is Knightsbridge.
London 2012 Festival
Running from 21 June-9 September, the London 2012 festival is a 12 week nationwide celebration dedicated to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, forming a fitting end to the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, the biggest ever cultural event in our history.
12,000 performances and events will take place around the country inspired by London 2012 from free outdoor events, riverside gigs, unique art installations, car collections, classical music shows, street parties, dance performances, multicultural exhibitions and even Shakespeare plays.
(Photo : festival.london2012.com)
Not to be missed:
The Olympic Journey: The Story of the Games
From 28 July – 12 August at the Royal Opera House – Free
Tells the story of ancient and modern Olympians through artefacts, film, graphics, and audio from the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Road to 2012
Until 23 September at the National Portrait Gallery - Free
Displaying portraits of the renowned and inspiring athletes and behind-the-scenes people who make the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games possible while highlighting their stories and achievements.