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London 2012 - Free Olympic Events

Updated on April 19, 2012

No Olympics Tickets?

As one of the 20 million people who applied for tickets for the London 2012 Olympics, I was also one of the huge number who didn't get any of the tickets that they asked for. In fact most of my friends did not get any tickets either although we all applied for quite a few Olympics tickets.

There was a lot of controversy over how the tickets were sold and there are a lot of disappointed people. So if, like myself, you want to be part of the Olympics but do not have tickets to any of the events, then maybe the best thing to do is to go and check out one or more of the events that do not require you to have tickets. Most of these events are the ones that go on for long distances where it would be impossible to create watching areas for the whole route.

Huge numbers of people were disappointed not to get tickets to London 2012
Huge numbers of people were disappointed not to get tickets to London 2012

Free Olympic Events

So, if you did not get Olympic tickets, or you don't want to pay to go to an Olympic event then you do have the option to go and watch some of the free Olympic events that are happening. These are mostly roadside events where it would be impossible to ticket the whole route.

The free Olympic events are as follows:

The Marathon

The London Olympics 2012 Marathon route is run almost entirely through the city of London area. The main difference with this Olmpic marathon route is that it does not finish in the Olympic Stadium like many other Olympic Marathons do. So pretty much the whole route makes this a free Olympic event.

The route starts and finishes in the Mall and a large part of the event goes along Victoria Embankment as well as passing St Paul's Cathedral and Buckingham Palace. At the Eastern end of the route it goes as far as Tower Hill. If you are looking to find a place to watch the event then some tube stations that are within easy walking distance of the route are:

  • Green Park
  • St James's park
  • Westminster
  • Embankment
  • Charing Cross
  • Temple
  • Blackfriars
  • Mansion House
  • Cannon Street
  • Monument
  • Tower Hill

The Men's marathon is on 5th August 2012 starting at 11am and the Women's Marathon is on 12th August 2012 and starts at 11am.

The Olympic Race Walk

Another free Olympic event is the race walk - there are 3 events, 2 for men and 1 for women. The 20k men's walk is on 4th August 2012 at 5pm, the 50km Men's walk is on 11th August 2012 at 11am and the women's race walk is on 11 August 2012 at 11am.

The Olympic Race Walk is held on a 2km circuit which runs along the Mall and Constitution Hill (outside Buckingham Palace) so is a much shorter circuit than the marathon and in a quieter spot of London. This is a great place to go if you want to combine a trip to Buckingham Palace and a walk through St James's Park.

Road Cycling Events

- You can also get free access to these events at most locations (there is currently some debate about a few key points). The cycling road races also start and finish in the Mall but as they are long distance events they go out as far as the Surrey borders, through Putney, Richmond and Twickenham - The men's road race is on 28th July 2012 at 11am, the women's road race is on 28th July 2012 at Midday and the individual time trials are both on 1 August 2012 - men at 14:50 and women at 11am.


Although there are a number of ticketed areas for this Olympic event (which are sold out) you can get free access to the cycling part of the Olympic Triathlon event. The women's event starts at 9am on 4th August 2012 and the men's event starts at 11.30am on the 7th August 2012. So to catch the free parts of this event you can also go to Constitution Hill and also the area in Hyde park where they will emerge from along South Carriage Drive and Serpentine Road.

So, if you want to see some free Olympic events, these are the ones to go for. It is probably advisable to get there quite early as there are likely to be big crowds for all of these Olympic events. The best location seems to be along Pall Mall and Constitution Hill but these will definitely be crowded so maybe go for somewhere on the outskirts of the routes.

Sightseeing in London

If you are travelling to London to try and catch some of the Olympic events then you may also want to do some sightseeing of other major London tourist spots. In particular, if you are a sports enthusiast then you could take a stadium tour or see the Wimbledon tennis exhibition.

If you buy a London tourist pass then you can see a lot of these attractions which are all included in one price. You can buy a London pass for 1 day or to cover 6 days, it is entirely up to you. Check out the details at London Pass.


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    Post Comment

    • Azure11 profile imageAUTHOR

      Marian L 

      7 years ago from UK

      Yes, I am heading back over to Dubai in September too but will come back next summer for sure - maybe I ought to book my flight tickets now!

    • Alladream74 profile image

      Victor Mavedzenge 

      7 years ago from Oakland, California

      Darn! Leaving London in September.Would have loved to be around for the olympics


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