How to have a London Olympic experience for less


For many travelers, attending the Olympics is a dream worth pursuing. However, sometimes the costs end up skyrocketing. For anyone planning a trip to London during the Olympics, here are some tips to saving money and keep from getting gouged. has created a page dedicated to getting the most for less during the 2012 London Olympics taking place this summer. The opening ceremonies on July 27th are looming on the horizon. Already, tickets are almost impossible to come by, but sharing in the Olympic spirit doesn’t have to come only with event tickets and a London bus full of money. Here are some of their suggestions worth considering if travels include London during the Olympics.

Check out free events – Some of which include: The marathon course at this year’s Olympics will start and end at The Mall near Buckingham Palace, passing a number of London landmarks. Pick a spot along the way for either the men’s (Sunday, Aug. 5) or the women’s marathon (Sunday, Aug. 12) and watch as well-paced athletes earn Olympic glory for both themselves and their counties. It’s a great way to have a view of all the competitors in one spot – and for no cash (note: The Mall – start and finish – will be ticketed).

Review the London Visitor Charter — Buy from companies that are listed in the London Visitor Charter. The likes of Eurostar, the Tower of London, Tom Aikens’ restaurants and Indian eatery chain Masala Zone have all pledged “fair pricing and practice during the Games.”

Join the crowds at the London Live Sites – From the big three locations in London – Hyde Park, Trafalgar Square and Victoria Park – to the 20-plus other locations across the United Kingdom, there will be big-screen viewings of medal ceremonies and competitions, free concerts and contests – all designed to include locals and visitors alike in the Olympic experience as it unfolds.

Skip London altogether — For less crowds and costs, try events taking place outside of London. Some venues, such as those for mountain biking, kayaking, rowing and canoeing are a mere 20-50km away. A tad farther away, Wales, Scotland and spots along British coastline and across the countryside will host Olympic events. Soccer tournaments (in Manchester, Coventry, Glasgow, Newcastle and Cardiff) and sailing events (in Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbor) will make for a very different summer getaway destination than London.

Take a pre-Olympics tour of London — London has been prepping like crazy to host the world at the upcoming Games. The city will look its best in the months and weeks leading up to the Olympics and, with last year’s Royal Wedding and this year’s Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (early June) as feathers already in its cap, London has proven it’s ready to take the stage. With billions of pounds invested in updating and readying the city – from public transportation to landmark destinations to the creation of the Olympic Park – this is a chance to see the best of London and get an insider’s view of the final preparations for the main events and venues.

Attend the Paralympics – Every four years, after the national network trucks and camera crews roll out of town, the much more intimate and often more inspiring Paralympians take over the village, competing in virtually all the same sports. As some of the world’s most impressive athletes, these competitors have put aside injury, illness and inequality to rise to the top of their sports. The crowds and prices for the Paralympics, running from August 29 – September 9, are less overwhelming, but the performances and achievements are arguably more so.

The remaining tips from’s guide on How to Have an Olympic Experience for Less feature advice for those wanting to steer clear of London during the Olympic craze yet still participate in the excitement of the Games. Ideas include: Following the torch relay; visiting a past Olympic host city; watching the qualifying rounds; surrounding yourself with adorable Olympic paraphernalia; and finally playing virtual Olympics. To read more about these tips and for’s complete guide on How to Have an Olympic Experience for Less, go to

Photo: Courtesy London 2012

  • Alan Bowen

    The real problem for this year’s Olympics is the cost of getting to and staying in London. BA as official carrier has either zeroed out the seats or increased fares so much that those of us who wish to escape London (and there are a lot of us) cannot afford to use BA. Hotels seem to think that charging only three times the normal rate is reasonable, our prospective guests appear to think differently as incoming operators report a collapse(up to 90%) in expected non Olympic tourists. Once you get here you have the problems of travelling to the venues, the tickets for London events include a day pass for buses, tubes and trains but 6 months before the event we are being warned of 30 minute delays just to get into the stations. Far better ot watch it on TV, and come to London some other time when you wouldn’t go home exhausted and broke!

  • Anonymous

    Take a small part of the money you would have spent on visiting the Olympics and buy a really big screen TV and a DVR.  Wine or beer and enjoy!

  • online tourism survey

    I already make my all arrangements for this Olympic.

  • Frank

    I had the rare opportunity to attend both a summer and winter Olympics in my youth.  I say, go.  It’s one of those rare moments in life, that you will NEVER forget.  I attended the 1976 winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria.  As well as the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. 

    The 90 meter ski jumping event was the sporting event that I attended in Austria, and it was the last event of the day.  The closing ceremony was being held right after that event.  So, as the ski jumping event was ending, the Olympic teams were coming into the stadium.  The American Team was right in front of my family.  I went down and asked them to sign my Olympic ticket, which they did, happily.  Even as a young boy, I knew how special it was to watch the WORLD compete in sports.  I was beaming with patriotism. 

    I say, go.  The mood of the crowd, is festive.  It’s crowded, shouldnt it be? 

    People from all over the world, come.  What a rare opportunity. 

  • Davidg

    Your American readers should be aware that the Unions in the UK are planning to strike during the Olympica in protest against Goverment Spending cuts so prepare for even greater chaos than previuousy expected