From Land’s End to John O’Groats – the 2012 ‘London’ Olympics

The main focus of the 2012 Olympics is going to be the new Olympic Park in Stratford, London and the majority of venues are also going to be based in the city. There are three zones: the Olympic Zone, the River Zone and the Central Zone. This all sounds as if the Games are going to be London-centric. What about the rest of the country? Surely it’s not going to come to a standstill while London has its moment in the sun. Well it’s not! There are lots of things going on all around the country. From the Cultural Olympiad - a programme of cultural events across the UK - to ‘actual’ Olympic events outside of London.


Here is a guide to the best ways to see the Olympics if you live outside London:

The Olympic Torch Relay

The Olympic Torch arrived in the UK on 18th May 2012 from Greece and is going on an extensive tour of the country before the start of the Games. The relay will last 70 days in total, with around 8000 people carrying the torch at different stages along the journey. It’s going to be carried the length of the UK, covering a distance of about 8000 miles and along the way there will be 66 evening celebrations, stops at National Heritage sites, at locations and venues with sporting significance, schools registered with the Get Set School Network, Live Sites with large screens and a whole host of other venues. In addition there are going to be loads of festivals and other celebratory events. The torch starts its journey at Land’s End and travels the whole country, so there’s no excuse not to be involved in some way. Find out more about the Olympic torch relay.

The Olympic road race

The Olympic cycle road race may start in London but it quickly heads into Surrey and through the districts of Elmbridge, Reigate and Banstead, Guildford, Woking and Mole Valley before returning to central London for the finish. The course will take the cyclists on a large loop through Surrey, taking in Walton-on-Thames, Weybridge, West Byfleet, West Horsley and Dorking. The circuit will take them to Box Hill, including the National Trust's Zig Zag Hill. Box Hill is the most challenging part of the course as the cyclists will have to climb it nine times. This is a real chance to see the world’s best cyclists, like Team GB’s very own Mark Cavendish, as the competitors whiz through town centers. Find out more about the Olympic road race.

The Olympic sailing

The Olympic sailing is taking place on the south coast of England between Weymouth and Portland. It’s a fantastic setting to watch the world’s best sailors battling it out on the coastal waters. The 18-mile stretch of water is known as being the finest small boat sailing waters in northern Europe, so the competition should be great. There is an 18-mile-long shingle beach from which to watch the sailing, which runs from July 28 to August 11. The beach runs from Portland to West Bay, some of which is separated from the mainland by the Fleet Lagoon. Find out more about Olympic sailing.

The Cultural Olympiad

The Cultural Olympiad is a whole range of events and activities taking place across the UK to help celebrate the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. There are lots of things going on in towns and cities across the country. There are 500 events spread over four years, over the whole of the UK, culminating in the London 2012 festival (there are also other festivals going on all around the UK). To be a part of the Cultural Olympiad or to enjoy any of the above events you don’t have to have tickets. You just need to get in touch with the appropriate organisation or roll up on the day of the event and you will be able to be part of the 2012 ‘London’ Olympics. To find out what’s going on in your region go to the official Cultural Olympiad website - there’s so much happening, so get involved!

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