- Sports and Recreation
Reasons to stay in Essex during the 2012 London Olympics
A Win-Win Solution
For those of you visiting the London Olympics and Paralympics, in 2012, and looking for somewhere convenient to stay, the county of Essex certainly ticks all the right boxes.
The Savvy Alternative
Let’s face it, all types of London Olympics accommodation are likely to be in very short supply (and expensive!) in the whole of the London area during the Olympics and Paralympics.
So, the county of Essex is the obvious alternative area to stay. For a start, being so close to East London, Essex makes an ideal base for visiting the Games. What’s more, it offers a wide variety of value-for-money, quality accommodation in locations that are surprisingly convenient for visiting all the various Olympic and Paralympic events.
Benefits of Being Essex Based
Visitors to the London Olympics would do well to consider the many benefits of basing themselves in Essex for the duration of the Games. Plus points include: reasonable proximity to event venues (the mounting biking events are actually being held in Essex – so how much more convenient does it get!); excellent transport links (see information below); not to mention the wide selection of different types of accommodation, with something to suit all tastes and budgets; great places to eat and drink, etc., etc.
Olympic Accommodation Options in Essex
Welcome to Essex – the county with a fine reputation for its hospitality and for welcoming visitors from far and wide!
Bed & Breakfast
B&B accommodation is widely available in a variety of locations throughout the county of Essex. Everything can be found from traditional seaside B&B's in Southend and Clacton to farmhouse B&B's in the Essex countryside, not forgetting B&B's conveniently located for access to the M25 and the Essex stations of the London Underground network.
Essex Guest Houses
Modern guest houses offer excellent facilities at moderate prices and the county of Essex boasts some of the best. A good example is The Terrace Guest House in Southend on Sea which is convenient for the Olympic mountain biking events at Hadleigh Farm as well as offering access to a fast rail connection to all the Olympic venues in London.
Situated in the gardens of a working farm in Ashdon, near Saffron Walden, is Hill Farm Holiday Cottages. This is a great example of the many self catering types of accommodation to be found throughout Essex.
Hotels and Inns
Essex has a wide choice of hotels and inns which are ideal for visitors to the Olympics and Paralympics. Everything from exclusive country house hotels and traditional inns which combine character with comfort to modern hotels with all the necessary facilities can be found in the county of Essex.
Among many, examples include the Atlantic Hotel in Chelmsford, the Orsett Hall Hotel in Orsett, Grays, Prested Hall in Feering, The Rose and Crown Hotel in Colchester and The Cross Keys Hotel in Saffron Walden.
Properties to Rent
An option that is often overlooked is renting. There are many types of properties available to rent across the county, and with companies such as Property Book UK, a young, growing letting agent providing a fresh outlook into residential lettings in and around the Colchester area, you are sure to find accommodation to satisfy your needs.
Why not combine your trip to the London Olympics with a seaside holiday? Holiday caravan parks like Cosway Holiday Home Park in East Mersea near Colchester, Osea Leisure Park in Heybridge, Maldon and Homestead Lake Park near Clacton offer the best of both worlds, combining value for money accommodation with easy access to transport links to the Olympic venues in London.
Campsites are located throughout Essex. Places to camp that are convenient for Olympic and Paralympic spectators include Billericay, Braintree, Loughton, Maldon and Romford. Even more camping options are available for people willing to look slightly further afield.
Olympic and Paralympic Venues
The Olympic Stadium and several other venues including the Aquatics Centre (for swimming, diving and water polo) and the Velopark (indoor velodrome and outdoor BMX track) are located in East London at the new 500 acre (2 sq km) Olympic Park in Stratford and the lower Lea Valley. More Olympic and Paralympic venues are to be found in other parts of the capital and beyond. In fact, Essex will be hosting the Olympic mountain biking at Hadleigh Farm, between Basildon and Southend on Sea.
Rail Links to Olympic Park
During the Games, more than 80 percent of visitors to the Olympic Park are expected to travel by train, either to Stratford Regional station or to Stratford International station, both of which are located within the Olympic Park.
Train services from all parts of Essex to Stratford Regional station are available for travellers to the Olympic Park. Trains from Stansted Airport, Braintree, Clacton, Southend, Ilford, Romford, Brentwood, Shenfield, Chelmsford and Colchester will transport passengers to the heart of the Olympic action. In addition, London Underground services from the Essex towns of Epping, Hainault and Woodford also go to Stratford Regional station.
Air Links to Olympic Park
Essex offers a choice of two airports for visitors to the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Stansted Airport is Britain’s third busiest airport, with flights to and from more than 160 destinations worldwide. Southend Airport offers a range of charter air services and air taxis. It also offers helicopter services to and from London Heliport and Canary Wharf and is likely to be running services directly to the Olympic Park during the Olympics and Paralympics in 2012.
Road Links to Olympic Park
Essex has excellent road links to the Olympic Park. The A12, A13, A118 and A124 trunk roads all connect Essex to Stratford. Stansted Airport also has good road communication with the Olympic Park via the M11 motorway and the A12.
Transport Links to Hadleigh Farm
The Olympic mountain biking events have been allocated to Hadleigh Farm in Essex, after the mountain biking venue in Kent that had been chosen originally was deemed to be ‘insufficiently challenging’ for Olympic competition. The Hadleigh Farm mountain biking site offers steep grassy slopes close to the ruins of Hadleigh Castle, which should provide an excellent spectacle for both cyclists and spectators alike.
Hadleigh Farm is easily accessible as the rail line between London Fenchurch Street and Southend passes close to this venue; Leigh on Sea and Benfleet stations are the nearest stations to Hadleigh Farm.
Alternatively, road access to the site is via the M25 and A13. Ample car parking is available at the Hadleigh Farm venue. In addition, a number of bus companies including Arriva Southend and First Essex run buses to the site.