Experience the golden moments of London 2012 in Britain
As the London 2012 Games draw to a close, VisitBritain looks back over some of the summer’s most memorable moments and gives ideas for re-living the magic of the past few weeks.
1. You saw Bond land in the stadium. After his parachute jump with Her Majesty The Queen, it’s fitting that Bond’s 23rd film – which hits screens next month – is called Skyfall. Make like 007 and try a Martini at the famous Duke’s Bar, where Ian Fleming wrote much of Casino Royale, follow in the footsteps of every Bond actor by getting a shirt fitted at Turnbull and Asser (or pyjamas, as favoured by Judi Dench’s ‘M’) or experience the thrill of climbing over the Millennium Dome, as Bond once did, at Up at the 02. Budding Bond girls should get the Goldfinger treatment at the Dolphin Square Spa with a 23 Carat Gold Body Ceremony.
2. The London 2012 Festival amazed millions of people. The finale of the four year Cultural Olympiad saw some of Britain’s most famous places, like Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh and Hadrian’s Wall, transformed into the canvas for amazing artworks, and Britain’s reputation for excellent culture is set to grow. The Liverpool Biennial, blockbuster exhibitions like Hollywood Costume and Marc Chagall, through to the Manchester International Festival and year-long celebration of Derry-Londonderry as UK City of Culture 2013 are just some of the highlights in store.
3. You saw Stonehenge in a new light. The London 2012 Festival saw a spectacular fire show illuminate Stonehenge, as well as a bouncy castle version of it tour the country. Next year, visitors will be able to experience the UNESCO heritage site without the disturbance of cars or noise, as a $42.2 million project will divert the road that runs by the stone circle and open a state-of-the-art new visitor centre.
4. The Olympic Stadium became a familiar sight – as billions of people watched sports events and ceremonies live and on TV. The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will reopen one year after the Olympic Games began, on July 27, 2013. Visitors can watch and play sports in the multi-use arena and explore the beautiful parklands and waterways. Want to experience an Olympic venue now? Head to the Lee Valley White Water Centre, the first London 2012 venue to open after the Games which is ready to thrill visitors with its 300m Olympic Standard Competition Course.
5. The Beatles and the Spice Girls rocked the Stadium. 80,000 spectators sang Hey Jude at the Olympic Opening Ceremony, and as the Fab Four celebrate fifty years since their first single was released, a new musical, Let It Be, opens in September. Girl Power is also back, and the Spice Girls’ part in the Olympic Closing Ceremony came just a month after the fab five launched Viva Forever, the musical inspired by their songs, which opens at London’s Piccadilly Theatre in November.
6. Shakespeare was brought back to life at the World Shakespeare Festival, part of the Cultural Olympiad, which saw 37 of the Bard’s plays performed in 37 languages. Just as the first all Black cast of Julius Caesar breathed new life into the playwright’s works, a new all female cast of the same play opening at the Donmar Warehouse in November continues to break the mould.
7. Disabled performers took part in a breathtaking spectacle at the Paralympic Opening Ceremony. For anyone who was inspired by the aerial ballet or the flypast, Britain offers great adventure activities specifically tailored to people with disabilities, like sailing, gliding and flying aeroplanes.
8. You saw the Royal family among the crowds. Many of the young royals, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, attended Olympic and Paralympic sporting events and ceremonies. Get close to Britain’s royal family by visiting palaces such as Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh and Kensington Palace in London, partying at their favourite haunts like Mahiki in London or else following in the footsteps of Kate and William by holidaying in the countryside: the couple spent their first anniversary at the Crown Inn in Westleton, Suffolk.
9. Britain embraced Bolt’s victory… with a curry. To celebrate the 100m world record, Birmingham – where the Jamaican team trained – honoured Usain Bolt with a new curry, the ‘Bolt-i’. Try the new dish at Imran’s Restaurant in the world-famous Balti Triangle.
10. The Olympic Torch wowed the world. The extraordinary Torch was designed by Heatherwick Studios, whose eccentric and beautiful creations can be admired around the nation. The Rolling Bridge at Paddington Basin, the East Beach Café in Littlehampton, Sussex and London’s famous red buses have all had a makeover thanks to the designer of the moment.
11. Wenlock and Mandeville entertained you. The Olympic and Paralympic mascots became the symbols of the Games. The mascots were named after Much Wenlock and Stoke Mandeville, the spiritual birthplaces of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Games respectively. Each year, Much Wenlock holds its ‘Wenlock Olympian Games’ that anyone can take part in, though the Shropshire town is worth visiting at any time of year for its great pubs, wonderful main street and welcoming residents.
12. You saw great sport. And there’s more to come: Ride London will be the first mass participation event to take place in the Olympic Park and happens next year; the Rugby League World Cup comes to England and Wales, Wembley Stadium hosts the UEFA Champions League Final to commemorate 150 year since the Laws of the Game of football were created and Scotland prepares for the spotlight in 2014, when it hosts the Ryder Cup and Glasgow Commonwealth Games!
For more information contact:
- VisitBritain, the national tourism agency, is responsible for inspiring the world to explore Britain and for developing the UK’s visitor economy.
- Americans made 2.8 million visits to Britain in 2012 and spent $3.7 billion USD (£2.4 billion). The US remains in the top spot in terms of market value for inbound tourism and is one of the top three most important markets in terms of visitor numbers.
- Visitors traveling to Britain can find out more information from visitbritain.us plus purchase money and time saving local transport, sightseeing, attraction, theatre and tour tickets from visitbritainshop.us
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