Pitchup at the London 2012 Olympic Games
6 July 2012: For 30 glorious days, the whole of London and beyond will be in party mode as the city hosts 17,000 members of the international sporting elite for the 2012 Olympics.
With hotel prices soaring and room availability dwindling, avoid extortionate rates by camping or caravanning near Olympic venues up and down the country.
Pitchup.com has picked out the top venues, and sites to stay, to get in on the action:
OLYMPIC PARK, LONDON
This one needs no introduction – the new 500-acre park will play host to some of the most popular events over the Olympic fortnight, including the athletics, swimming, diving and cycling, but that’s not to say it’s the only place to be in the capital this summer. Horse Guards Parade, Lord’s cricket ground, Earls Court and the Greenwich Arena will all see their fair share of sporting legacy.
Stay: Camp In London is the place to stay during London this summer. Luxury pre-erected and pitch-your-own tent options are available at this 19-acre Walthamstow site, when it opens from 23 July – 14 August. With the feel of a festival, the Entertainment Zone has some fab food and drink options available so campers can come and crash out after the sporting excitement. Shuttle buses will run at regular intervals from the Camp In London site to the Olympic village and take just 5-10 minutes. Pitches are priced from £20 per adult.
EQUESTRIAN, GREENWICH PARK
Ride your way to Greenwich Park for the Olympics equestrian events. There’ll be 200 athletes and their horses fighting it out for one of the six gold medals on offer in the individual and team eventing, dressage and jumping competitions, including Zara Phillips who’s made the GB equestrian team for the first time.
Stay: 2012 Camping is at Theydon Bois campsite, situated in a lovely village near Epping Forest yet ideally placed for those visiting London and attending the 2012 Olympic Games. From the London underground station just a five-minute walk from the campsite, guests can be in central London within 25 minutes and at Stratford station for the Olympics within 20 minutes. The site offers campers luxury hot showers, a barbeque area as well as other food and bar outlets, free wifi and a TV room to view the sporting action. Pitches are priced at £15 per adult per night.
White water rapids will be swirling in Lee Valley, as it plays host to the London 2012 Canoe Slalom event from 29 July to 2 August – 13,000 litres of it to be precise. 13,000 litres power down the canoe slalom course every second, enough to fill a 25-metre swimming pool every 30 seconds.
Stay: Get on board and stay at Springfield Park, situated on the borders of London within the M25 and with direct rail links to London, as well as Lee Valley. There is camp security throughout the daytime to ensure guests’ belongings are safe whilst they are away at the events and the site is putting on breakfast barbecues every morning followed by evening barbecues so no need to worry about camp fire cooking during your stay. Pitches are priced from £20 per night.
ROAD CYCLING, SURREY
Road cycling’s been featured in the Games since 1896 when it was introduced in an 87-km race starting and finishing in Athens. For 2012, there’ll be 212 athletes taking part in two road races, one at The Mall and one at Box Hill, on a 250-km course for men and 140km for women. There are also the time trial events, where riders start at 90-second intervals and where the winner is the rider with the fastest time over the course.
Stay: Catch the roadside action and stay at Etherley Farm in Dorking, just a few miles from the start of the course in the Surrey Hills. The site allows open fires so guests can enjoy a restful evening by the campfire and even pick up some chicken, burgers and sausages for the barbie from the poultry farm. Pitches are priced at £7 per adult per night.
SAILING AND PARALYMPIC SAILING, WEYMOUTH BAY AND PORTLAND HARBOUR
The 2012 sailing events are also at Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour, which we think makes a perfect excuse to spend a few days on the coast. This is one of the big events at the Games, with 380 athletes competing in ten events including dinghies, keelboats and windsurfing boards. Britain took the lead in Beijing 2008, with four gold medals, a silver and a bronze so we’re on track for success.
Stay: Redlands Farm is a relaxed and uncrowded site, with verdant views, yet really close to Weymouth and with a reasonable price tag. There are limited frills at this friendly, farm-based site – it’s basically a large field with water supply and eco-composting loos – but guests can use the showers, bar and sports facilities in the sports centre over the road for free. The farm shop and tea room sells home made treats, including delicious farmhouse breakfasts. Pitches are priced at £12.50 per night.
FOOTBALL, six event venues for 2012 – at Manchester, Glasgow, Cardiff, Newcastle, Wembley and Coventry
Football first started as a medal sport at the Paris Games in 1900, with the women’s game introduced in Atlanta in 1996, and there’s a men and women’s competition in 2012 with 504 footballers in total. And a quick fact for fans – around 2400 footballs will be used during the games for London 2012…
Stay: Pitchup.com has sites close to all six locations, but Cefn Mably Lakes just a few miles outside of Cardiff is the ideal base for watching the games taking place in this side of the country. No need for weather worries as guests can stay in the timber logpods, kitted out with futon beds for comfy camping. A cosy lodge overlooking the water serves up drinks and hot and cold food all day, so guests can grab a bite to eat after the game. Pods sleep up to four people and are priced from £35 per night
Pitchup.com’s campsites and caravan parks near main Olympic and events can be searched at http://www.pitchup.com/olympic-camping-2012/
Winner of the Travel Journalists’ Award for Best UK Travel Website of the Year at the British Travel Press Awards 2011 and Best Travel Information Site at the 2010 Travolution awards, Pitchup.com is the most comprehensive website in the camping and caravanning sector. Launched in July 2009, the site features 5,000 campsites and holiday parks in the UK and Ireland, including many in hard-to-find locations. The website enables users to search and book using more than 80 search criteria to fine-tune their holiday requirements, and features mapping technology to make getting there simple too. The site also lists accommodation near nine National Parks, hundreds of beaches, 17 World Heritage Sites and the main UK festivals and can view nearby Good Pub Guide pubs, National Trust properties and National Cycle Network routes. Website owners can also add custom Pitchup.com listings to their site.
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