Unique Features of London’s Olympic Venues

Yahoo! Contributor
Visit Britain

Members of the royal regiment say it will be a remarkable time to be in London during the Summer Olympics, July 28 through September 11, 2012. Unique venues from historic palace grounds to public royal gardens are being prepared now for the athletes and spectators.

Hampton Court Palace
In 1514, King Henry VIII could never have imagined his front palace lawn being turned into the start and finish line for the Time Trials of men's and women's Road Cycling for the Summer Olympics. We've come a long way since the Tudors.

Horse Guards Parade
A beach in London? Beach volleyball will be played practically on the doorstep of the British Prime Minister with seating for 15,000 spectators. Trucks transporting 2,274 tons of sand have arrived and dumped on the spot where the Queen's royal guardsmen have held ceremonial sessions since 1660.

The Mall
Will 36 days be enough time to change The Mall from the Queen's ceremonial route during the Diamond Jubilee to an Olympic venue for 11 events? The tree-lined, flag-draped Mall leads straight from Horse Guard Parade to the front of Buckingham Palace, a unique place to hold the Olympic and Paralympic Marathons and the Cycling Road Races.

Greenwich Park
Times have changed. Normally, visitors come to Greenwich Park to see the Royal Observatory or straddle both feet across the Prime Meridien, from where each measured day begins. This oldest of royal parks, dating from 1433, provides an unusual backdrop for 19 Olympic events including equestrian sports like jumping and dressage, as well as running and shooting in the Modern Pentathlon.

Hyde Park
Hyde Park will be nearly unrecognizable! Usually, The Serpentine and Long Water make a splendid home to swans and geese, a spot for visitors to hire a rowboat for a lazy hour. Now Olympic athletes will be jumping into The Serpentine in Hyde Park for the 10k open water events on August 9-10, 2012. Thousands will watch Marathon Triathlon and Swimming from temporary grandstands in the shadow of landmarks such as Albert Memorial and Kensington Palace. Six giant outdoor screens in Hyde Park will broadcast live Olympic coverage throughout the day and Opening and Closing Ceremonies concerts in will be held here on July 27 and August 12.

Laurie Jo Miller Farr