A Guide to Travelling to the London 2012 Olympics
- Try and plan and book your travel as early as possible.
- Remember that, on the day of the event you have a ticket for you are able to use the London public transport system for free.
- Allow plenty of time to get to both London and to the event you have ticket for.
- Don’t forget to plan your return journey just as thoroughly as you plan your trip to London!
- If you have a disability, make sure you apply for a Blue Badge; this could allow you to park right at the Olympic venues.
- Think twice before driving to the Olympics. Many of the venues will only have parking spaces for drivers with disabilities.
- Park-and-ride facilities will be in place to connect motorists with the main Olympics venues, but remember, they will close an hour after an event finishes.
Arriving by Air
It is expected that around 65 per cent of all overseas visitors to the London 2012 Olympics will arrive by air.
The majority of these will arrive into London Heathrow Airport, which is the official ‘host’ airport of the 2012 Games.
Arriving into Heathrow
You have the choice of ways of heading into central London:
- Travelling underground on the Piccadilly Line is slower than over ground service by the Heathrow Express
- Heathrow Express over ground train service – which connects the airport with Paddington Station which is nice and central, particularly if your hotel is situated in the West End.
- By road, hiring a car or you also have the option of taking a taxi – these are by far the most-expensive choices. (An option for all airports)
- By Coach, including those operated by National Express, into the city centre.
All options can be arranged when you arrive at Heathrow.
Arriving into London City Airport
London City Airport is the best-located for access to the 2012 Olympics.
It is situated close to the Olympic Park as well to other venues in the east of London, including the ExCel and Greenwich Park, with a newly-completed Docklands Light Railway (DLR) line connecting the terminal building with the rest of the network.
Far fewer visitors are expected to travel to the 2012 Games via Stansted, Luton or Gatwick Airports. Nevertheless, extra coach services will be on hand to transport spectators from here to the city centre..
Travelling to London by Train
If you’re a 2012 Games event ticket holder, you are able to take advantage of special deals on rail travel to London from anywhere within the UK.
Most train operators are allowing ticket-holders for sporting events to book tickets for travel in advance of everyone else, with special fares also on offer.
These special rates apply to travel between 18 July 2012 and 14 September 2012, meaning you are able to stretch your trip to the Olympics into a longer city break in London.
Olympics train tickets will offer connections to the three nearest stations to the Olympic Park, namely Stratford Regional, Stratford International and West Ham.
Additionally, train travel to other London venues is included in the cost of your event ticket and shuttle buses will be provided to whisk spectators from local stations to the venues themselves.
As an official sponsor of the 2012 Games, Eurostar will carry thousands of athletes, officials and media personnel to London from continental Europe over the course of the Olympics, with many benefitting from free travel.
And, while ordinary spectators won’t be getting free travel like the competitors, Eurostar is offering special rates on trains to London from its principal European hubs of Paris, Brussels and Lille. Such packages include a return journey to and from London as well as one night’s accommodation.
As well as possibly allowing you to save money in comparison to flying into London from mainland Europe, taking the train is also the more environmentally-friendly option.
For the latest news on Eurostar train services for London 2012, check out the official website.
Travelling to London by Car
While driving to the 2012 Olympics may be more convenient and even cheaper than using public transport, once you get to London, your car is likely to be of limited use.
Indeed, not only are many of the key roads to the venues set to be closed off to normal traffic, but parking spaces will be severely limited.
Should you still wish to travel to the Olympics by car, then you will be able to make use of special park-and-ride facilities.
These will be provided at convenient locations close to the main venues, including the Olympic Park, ExCel and Eton Dorney. From here you will be able to catch shuttle buses to the venues.
Be aware, however, that parking spaces are limited and need to be booked in advance. Additionally, there will be no overnight parking allowed and the sites will close an hour after the last shuttle bus has arrived from the venue.
- For more information on park-and-ride at the 2012 Games and to book a place, visit the official website.
- Keep up to speed with all the latest news about transport in London through the TfL website.
- Want to know more about your destination? Read our guide to London Olympic Venues.