2012 isLondon’s BIG year. After winning the Olympic bid in 2005 the capital leapt into a regeneration frenzy erecting a magnificent stadium inStratford, Westfield Shopping and Leisure Park, hotel and accommodation complexes and revamped London hotspots, ready for the influx of tourists. £5billion has been poured into improving transport connections across the city including extending over ground lines, giving Stratford station a whopping £125 million upgrade and investing in new DLR trains, cycle and walking paths.
With a large number of the 2012 sporting venues accessible by river, theThameswill be playing an invaluable part in the city’s transport connections. Greenwich Park, North Greenwich O2 Arena, The Royal Artillery Barracks, Horse Guards Parade and Eton Dorney are all positioned alongside the Thames making riverboats great way to get to your destination. Avoid the hustle and bustle on land and catching some of the best of London’s sights along the way.
Not only a popular method of transport,London’s River has become the venue of choice for major events being held over the year.
On Tuesday the 28th February giant Olympic rings measuring an impressive 11m high by 25m wide and weighing approximately 22.5 Tonnes, travelled on a barge from London Bridge to the Thames Barrier, marking the 150 day countdown until the games commence. Crowds formed on the river banks waving union jack flags whilst the world’s press photographed the magnificent structure gliding past London’s most iconic landmarks. Constructed out of steel and fitted with 44500 LED’s, the structure was magnificently lit as it passed in front of London Bridge at dawn. See photo slideshow here.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson arrived to watch Tower Bridge open for the rings to pass underneath before announcing a mass of cultural events set to take place across the capital. The program includes events on and around the River Thames to appeal to all.
Which will you attend?….
FOR THE THESPIANS AND THEATRIC AMOUNGST YOU
A floating Opera inspired by the Owl and the Pussycat has been devised by Monty Python star Terry Jones and famous composer Anne Butler and will be performed at a number of locations across the city. The project will form part of Secrets: Hidden London whereby organizations including the English National Ballet and Royal Opera House transform riverside.
CREATIVE AND QUIRKY– WHAT EAST LONDON DOES BEST
Across the water from Excel, LondonPleasureGardensat pontoon dock is set to become one of London’s most exciting cultural destinations, regenerating The Royal Docks in East Londonand aiming to support the cultural legacy of London 2012. The creative hub, in association with the Major of London, will feature concerts, a floating bar, restaurant and cinema, gardens and stages shows. Click here for more information.
DIDN’T GET A 2012 TICKET?..
Londonlive is set to be the UK’s largest free celebration of 2012. Twenty-two big screens will be erected across the country featuring live coverage and all the latest action from all the medal events, as well as live music, arts and sports workshops. London’s locations will include Hyde Park; where two celebration concerts will be held coinciding with the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, the current line up including Blur and New Order. Victoria Park will hold screens as well as numerous have-a-go sports sessions and Trafalgar Squarewill be the main site for Paralympic screenings and events. If you didn’t bag yourself a ticket for the games, head on down to your local site to catch all of the action. Click here for more information and further details on locations around the UK.
CATCH A GLIMPSE OF SOMETHING BEAUTIFULLY BRITISH
One of London’s most iconic landmarks, Tower Bridge will be having a 2012 makeover of its own with plans in place to replace the bridge’s 25 year old lights for a brand new energy efficient LED lighting system that will help cut energy consumption by up to 40 percent.
Tower Bridge is not the only attraction having a fancy new facelift in time for the influx of tourists;Londonis being spruced up and will be looking its very best . £4 million of funding will transform the South Bank, a two mile stretch of riverside between Tower and Westminster Bridge and large-scale interactive public artwork by Jeremy Deller will be popping up at selected locations across the City.
Follow news and events on the River on Twitter.
For more information on London 2012, take a look at some of the links below: