select - London Olympic Venues

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Olympic host 1908, 1948 & 2012

London hosts the 30th Summer Olympic Games between 27 July and 12 August and the Paralympics between 29 August and 9 September. Quite apart from their sport, the Olympic venues are worth visiting in their own right.

 


Greenwich

Twenty minutes from central London, historic Greenwich is noted for its naval history, beautiful baroque façades, and location of the prime meridian, where hours, days, and years officially begin. Other attractions are park and riverside rambles, boutique shopping, a National Maritime Museum, and a notable weekend market, all of which make Greenwich feel like a village in the middle of London. You can also admire the newly reopened Cutty Sark, a fully restored 1869 merchant clipper ship. During the Olympics, cross-country eventing here features more than 40 jumps and challenges for horses and riders alike.


WHERE
On the south bank of the River Thames, east of the city centre.

WHY
London’s oldest royal park, a World Heritage site and 0° longitude.


HOW TO GET THERE
The Docklands Light Railway to Cutty Sark station, or by river along the Thames.

 


Hampton Court Palace

The road-cycling time trials will be held by the Thames west of central London at Hampton Court Palace, whose sporting legacy has been home to England’s oldest real tennis court. Here will reside the aptly-named hot seat, where lead riders wait nervously to see if they’ll be beaten by competitors. Snatched from a cardinal by King Henry VIII, this splendid 16th century palace maintains its original Tudor core and royal chapel, but has later additions, most notably by famous architect Sir Christopher Wren. Magnificent state apartments overlook its sprawling gardens, which incorporate the well-known maze.


WHERE
On a lazy loop of the Thames in southwest London near Richmond.


WHY
Visit one of England’s most famous royal palaces and gardens while taking in the Olympics.


HOW TO GET THERE
Take the 30-minute train from Waterloo station and alight at Hampton Court.

 


Eton Dorney

Privately owned and operated by the historic Eton College, this vast park in a nature conservation area west of London is where you’ll find one of the best rowing centres in the world, home to the Olympic rowing events. Other reasons to head this way are Dorney Court, one of the finest surviving Tudor (15th century) manor houses and splendid royal residence: Windsor Castle, one of the most visited places in Britain. Until 28 October, Windsor Castle will also be celebrating Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee with the exhibition, The Queen: 60 Photographs for 60 Years.


WHERE
A short walk from the Royal Windsor Racecourse in Windsor.


WHY
Eton Dorney lies near Windsor, a pretty Thames-side town home to Windsor Castle.


HOW TO GET THERE
A one-hour journey from London’s Waterloo Station to Windsor, then the Olympic shuttle bus.

 


Hyde Park

A regular host of the World Triathlon Series, Hyde Park will, during the Olympics, be the venue for the 10-kilometre marathon swim and the swimming section of the triathlon, both at Serpentine Lake, where the public have boated since the 18th century. Nearby is the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. The park began as a royal hunting ground and its barracks still house the Household Cavalry, which guards Buckingham Palace and can often be seen in full regalia trotting through the park. The public can ride horses here, but most prefer a leisurely stroll along its raked paths.


WHERE
In central London, adjacent to Kensington Gardens, between Knightsbridge and Mayfair.


WHY
London’s largest royal park, open to the public since 1637.


HOW TO GET THERE
A 20-minute walk from Paddington or Victoria stations, or close to Hyde Park Corner underground stop.

 


Wimbledon

There is little more English than the rain delays, royal patronage, and strawberries and cream of what many say is the world’s greatest tennis venue, where tennis has been played since 1877. For many, a tennis match at Wimbledon is a top sporting experience at the only remaining major grass-court venue. Where else to host the Olympics tennis competition? Anyone interested in the games’ origins can visit the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, which traces the game from medieval times and features a host of memorabilia as well as the trophies themselves; winners actually keep a scale replica.


WHERE
South of the River Thames in southwest London.


WHY
One of the world’s most notable sporting venues hosting the world’s biggest sporting event.


HOW TO GET THERE
Take the underground District Line to Southfields or the train from Waterloo to Wimbledon.

 


Brands Hatch

If your trip to London doesn’t coincide with the Olympics, you can always catch some of the excitement and drama during the following Paralympic Games. From 5 to 8 September, Brands Hatch outside London serves as the venue for Paralympic road cycling events, including a road race and time trial that use both the famous former F1 Grand Prix circuit and nearby surrounding towns and villages such as Sevenoaks. Originally used as a military training ground, the track holds race meetings nearly every weekend. The circuit's very first race was held in 1928, between a group of cyclists and athletes over 6.4km.


WHERE
About 40 kilometres southeast of London near West Kingsdown in the county of Kent.


WHY
The chance to get into the spirit of the Olympics and cheer on Paralympian athletes.


HOW TO GET THERE
Take the train from London’s Victoria station and alight at Swanley station.

 

London, England
Distance: 5,219 km
Flight Time: 7 hours, 35 minutes
Frequency: 6 flights a day

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