Olympics Days Out
With the Torch Relay well under way and only 2 months until the Games begin we’ve all been bitten by the Olympics bug! Mum of 3 Victoria Wallop has written a post about how to make the most of the fact that we are hosting the Games in our capital city, whether you are a lucky ticket holder or not!
It’s less than 70 days until the greatest sporting event on earth rolls into London, and excitement is building, at least it is in this house. As a lifelong Londoner, I can’t wait to show off my city to the world. But you don’t have to wait for the opening ceremony to be a part of the Olympics. Why not visit some of the sporting venues now, they’re all fab places for a family day out.
Hampton Court, Henry VIII’s magnificent palace on the banks of the Thames, is hosting the start and finish of the cycling road races. Hampton Court is one of my favourite places to visit with children. The Palace always has engaging family activities, and you usually spot a suitably rotund Henry VIII strolling around the grounds. We particularly love going when the kitchens are working; the enthusiastic historians who dress up and cook Tudor recipes are always happy to let children help them, whether it’s gilding an intricate marzipan crown or turning the spit in front of the impressive fire.
If you want to get closer to the Olympic park itself, you could head over to the Hertford Union Canal, which runs alongside the park. The Olympic park is huge, so a bike is the best way to explore its surroundings; there are hire companies locally. From the canal towpaths, you get amazing views of the Stadium and Zaha Hadid’s Aquatics Centre. If that sounds a little too energetic and you’d rather sit and drink coffee whilst looking at the view, you could do a lot worse than the Counter Café, near Pudding Mill DLR.
One of our favourite things to do with visiting out-of-towners is to get a double decker bus through Westminster. We often hop off at Whitehall to wave at the Prime Minister in 10 Downing Street and say hello to the soldiers on horses. The soldiers are Life Guards, who have impressively shiny boots and silver helmets with long ponytails. They guard the entrance to Horse Guards Parade, home of this summer’s Beach Volleyball. It’s quite a backdrop, the Queen will be able to watch out of her bedroom window and a misfired spike could end up in the Prime Minister’s garden. The Household Cavalry Museum gives you an insight into the history of the Life Guards and a chance to look around the working stables.
Greenwich is a key player in London’s royal and maritime history, so it’s fitting that Greenwich Park is hosting the Equestrian events. Greenwich is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a raft of interesting museums from the newly reopened Cutty Sark to the National Maritime Museum and the Planetarium. The Cutty Sark is a fascinating chance to see what life on a clipper was really like, and you can’t visit Greenwich without standing on the Meridian.
Hyde Park, London’s most famous green space, will be home to the Triathlon and the Marathon Swimming events. It’s a great place for a family day out with delicious cafes, the best playground in the city, Serpentine Gallery and acres of space to play. You can cycle, ride horses, roller blade, row boats and even swim in the Serpentine, an experience which shouldn’t be missed. It’s hard to overstate how much fun it is to swim with the ducks and a view of the London Eye.
Whether you have Olympics tickets or not, you can still be part of the excitement. I’ll be happy to show you round.