Headed to London 2012? V Krishnaswamy has some tips for you.
- If you have been fortunate enough to get tickets to any events, remember to use your free Games Travelcard, part of the ticket package, which is valid on public transport on the day of your event across a selection of services.
- Most sports have separate morning and evening sessions with finals usually in the evening, and more expensive. Check your ticket to make sure you're going for the right one.
- Most events are sold out, or will be soon! If you are lucky, you could find someone selling tickets at face value, which is allowed in case the original buyer is unable to go for some reason. Buying from the black market is illegal and a punishable offence.
- While on re-selling, if you have tickets and are unable to go, there is an official reselling programme where you can put your tickets up for sale.
- There are a huge number of scam sites claiming to sell Olympic tickets. The Games site has an official sites list at tickets.london2012.com and a checker (london2012.com/spectators/tickets/ticket-checker/ ).
- As the Olympic Torch goes through its 70-day run before reaching the Olympic Stadium in East London, there will be many opportunities to cheer the Olympic Torch bearers. See london2012.com/torch-relay/route/
- No tickets? Can't squeeze into any of the free-to-see events? Extract some feeling of participation at the giant screens in several London locations (including Trafalgar Square, Hyde Park and Victoria Park), which will show medal events, plus have live music and other entertainment. Outside London, there are big screens at:
Belfast: City Hall
Birmingham: Victoria Square
Bradford: Centenary Square
Bristol: Millennium Square
Cardiff: The Hayes
Coventry: Millennium Place
Derby: Market Place
Derry: Waterloo Place
Dover: Market Square
Edinburgh: Festival Square
Leeds: Millennium Square
Leicester: Humberstone Gate
Liverpool: Clayton Square
Manchester: Exchange Square
Middlesborough: Centre Square
Norwich: Chapelfield Shopping Centre
Plymouth: Armada Way
Portsmouth: Guildhall Square
Swansea: Castle Square
Swindon: Wharf Green
Waltham Forest: Town Square, Walthamstow.
Finding a place to stay
Haven't got a hotel room booked? Good luck with that! Unless you have a friend who can put you up, you may want to check these out.
Camping and Caravan sites: campingandcaravanclub.co.uk has camping sites as low as £7.50/night. Lee Valley is one such site, ten minutes from Olympic Park campinlondon.com offers camping at a tent city, with options from £15/night, all the way up to luxury tents, with rugs, chandeliers and breakfast at £85-90/night.
Home stays: Check out couchsurfing.com for a chance to be hosted by locals for a few days (for free).
There many things you can't take into Games venues. And there are no storage facilities for spectators, so when you surrender them, they're gone. Some of the less obvious ones:
- Anything too large to be electronically screened.
- All types of knives and bladed items, including knives carried as part of cultural dress (except kirpans).
- Personal protection sprays.
- Liquids, aerosols and gels in quantities greater than 100ml. This includes water (but you can carry an empty bottle and fill up on free water inside).
- TIP: keeping all your liquids, aerosols and gels in a separate toiletry or plastic bag will get you through security faster.
- Alcohol. (But you can buy booze once you're in!)
- Essential medications exceeding a combined total of 1 litre (and even within that limit, carry a prescription or a letter from your doctor).
- Personal wireless access points and 3G hubs. (Smart devices such as phones and tablets are okay, but must not be used as wireless access points to connect multiple devices.
- More than one soft-sided bag of 25-litre capacity (you must be able to fit your bag under your seat).
- Laser pointers.
- Excessive amounts of food. (!)
- Baby food, milk and sterilised water are allowed, but in containers with a maximum capacity of 1 litre per baby restricted (things that you can't use inside venues):
- Large photographic and broadcast equipment over 30cm in length, including tripods and monopods.
- Noisemakers including drums, horns, whistles and (whew) vuvuzelas.
- Objects or clothing bearing political statements or overt commercial identification intended for 'ambush marketing.'
- Large flags and banners.
- Oversize hats. (?!)
- The Paralympic Games, which run from 29 Aug to 9 Sept, will use most of the same venues and offer you a very special experience. See london2012.com/Paralympics
(Additional research: Peter Griffin)
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