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The Traveller's Magazine
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Sixty-six days. Seems hardly believable that the Olympic torch will reach London in just over two month’s time and the 2012 Olympic Summer Games will begin. If you didn’t win at the ticket lottery and you still want to catch some events, don’t worry! Here’s your guide to experiencing the Olympics for free.

This will be the third time for London to host the Games, a first in Olympic history. There never seems to be enough tickets to go around but the great part is, you can still watch a few events for free. From marathon running to cycle road racing and more, take to the London streets at the right time and you could catch the Olympic athletes as they race for gold.

This summer’s games kick-off on July 27th and will run until August 12th. While you’re on holidays in London, make sure you get out to see these events and cheer the athletes from your country on!

Road Cycling

The road race is one mean course, 250km for the men and 140km for the women. The race will start off along The Mall and head down to Box Hill and back. Because the cyclists whizz by so fast, we recommend you find a spot along the route where cyclists will pass on their way out and on the return trip to the finish line. Key spots along the route map include: Natural History Museum, Putney Bridge, Richmond Park, Bushy Park and Hampton Court Palace.

Events and times:

  • Men’s Individual Time Trial –  Wed August 1st at 14:15
  • Men’s Road Race – Sat July 28th at 10:00
  • Women’s Individual Time Trial – Wed August 1st at 12:30
  • Women’s Road Race – Sun July 29th at 12:00


Hyde Park will be transformed into a calm and idyllic green space into a battleground for the Olympic triathlon race come August as more than 100 athletes compete in three sports: swimming (1,500m), cycling (43km) and running (10km). The competitors will swim around The Serpentine, cycle around Hyde Park via South Carriage Drive, down Constitution Hill to Buckingham Palace and back via Serpentine Road. This is followed by running laps around the park to the finish line.

Events and times:

  • Men’s Triathlon – Tues August 7th at 11:30
  • Women’s Triathlon – Sat August 4th at 9:00


Runners from around the world will compete in the Marathon which will take them all around central London. The race will start and finish in The Mall. The runners will complete first a small loop to the River Thames, past the Houses of Parliament and back to Buckingham Palace. Then it’ll be on to the bigger loop to the City of London, past the Tower of London and back. This 8-mile loop will be done three times before the athletes reach the finish.

Events and times:

  • Men’s Marathon – Sun August 12th at 11:00
  • Women’s Marathon – Sun August 5th at 11:00

Are you coming to London for the Olympic Games? Which events are you most excited to see?

Imgs: Kenski 1970 / Flickr cc.

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5 responses to “Experience the London 2012 Olympics for FREE

    1. Hey! The mountain biking will take place on August 11th (for women) at 12:30 and August 12th (for men) at 13:30. These are medal events and will take place at Hadleigh Farm in Essex.

  1. So excited about seeing the Olympic torch coming through Exeter. I am going to see the marathon & opening ceremony on the big screens in London and found some really good Olympic travel tips on the Get Ahead of the Games’ website.

    1. Cool, thanks for stopping by Chris!
      Yea, I’m also looking forward to catching the marathon through central London and then the cycle race as it goes through Richmond Park. Totally NOT looking forward to the transit disruptions though! 🙂

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