If you are travelling to the London 2012 Games from outside the UK, it’s even more important that you make the relevant arrangements in advance. The following information should help you plan your journey into the country and to your venue.
Additional transport services are being provided across London and the UK to cater for the expected increase in passenger numbers. However, the transport network will still be very busy. To prepare, you should:
- Plan and book your travel early to avoid disappointment
- Use the spectator journey planner to plan your onward travel to London 2012 venues from anywhere in Britain, including from UK borders
- Buy a Visitor Oyster card in advance for travel on London’s public transport network during your stay
- Check this website before you leave home for the latest travel and venue information
- For general information on travelling around London and the UK during the Olympic Games when you are not attending London 2012 events, visit the Get Ahead of the Games website
Do you need a UK visa?
If you are coming to the UK to watch the Games, you may need to get a visa before you travel. To find out whether you need one, and how to apply, visit the website of the UK Border Agency
When to apply for your visa
More than a million visa applications are expected leading up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Anyone wishing to visit London for the Games can apply for their visas from 1 January 2012.
If you apply from 1 January 2012, UKBA can delay the start of your visa for up to three months. This means the visa could start on 1 April 2012 and cover the duration of both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
There are separate visa and arrival arrangements for Games Family (athletes, coaches, officials and accredited journalists). Visit the UK Border Agency website for details.
Getting to the UK
However you are travelling to the UK – whether by air, sea or rail – there is a transport network in place to help you get to your destination quickly and easily. Book now if you haven’t already.
Cross-channel ferry operators are providing a full service throughout the Games. Please check their websites for timetables and booking information. Remember that ferry terminals will be busy during the Games and leave plenty of time for your onward journey.
If you’re travelling from Europe, you can now plan rail travel with Eurostar. Eurostar trains arrive at St Pancras International station in central London, which is just a seven-minute journey from the Olympic Park using the high-speed Javelin® service. The average journey time from Paris to St Pancras International is 2 hours 15 minutes.
Other transport operators provide services to the UK via the Channel Tunnel, including services for cars, coaches, minibuses and motor-homes. Please visit their websites for timetables and booking information. Rail services in particular will be busy during the Games so make sure you book early and leave plenty of time for your onward journey.
British Airways is the official airline of the London 2012 Games. For information on other airlines that serve UK destinations, visit airport websites.
Travel in the UK
Travelling in and around London is often busy, but during the London 2012 Games there will be additional pressure on the transport network. To make sure you can get to your event on time, you should check the recommended arrival time for your venue and plan your travel in advance.
There are many transport options from ports and airports around the country, including rail, coach services and park-and-ride. You can plan travel from your point of arrival to London 2012 venues by using the spectator journey planner
If you plan to drive from UK borders, remember that the roads will be busier than usual so you should plan ahead and allow more time for travel. There is no spectator parking at any London 2012 venue, so please do not drive – use park-and-ride or public transport.
For sports events and ceremonies at venues in or around London, you will receive a Games Travelcard which will give you free travel on public transport in London zones 1–9 on the day of your event.