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Central London Zone

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Central London Zone

The Central Zone includes Hyde Park

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Central London Zone
Horse Guards Parade
Horse Guards Parade
Hyde Park and the Serpentine
Earls Court Exhibition Centre
Lord's Cricket Ground
The Mall
Wembley Stadium
Wembley Arena
The All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon
 

Credit: London 2012

London could never have hosted the Olympic Games without showcasing the historic sites and landmarks of its spectacular city centre. The London 2012 Central Zone will allow spectators from all around the world to combine their sporting schedule with a spot of sightseeing.

 
 

Horse Guards Parade

Beach volleyball on the Prime Minister's doorstep

Whitehall, Westminster, London, SW1A 2AX

Tube: Charing Cross Station, Embankment Underground Station, Westminster Station

 
 

Without a doubt, one of the most heavily subscribed events for ticket applications was the Beach Volleyball competition, which takes place on the Prime Minister's doorstep at the historic Horse Guards Parade in the heart of London. Since making its Olympic debut at Atlanta 1996, Beach Volleyball has become one of the most popular spectator sports at the Games - and it's not hard to see why. Although there is obviously a lot more to it than meets the eye, Beach Volleyball is essentially teams of two scantily clad men and women diving around a large sandpit. What's not to like? Located between St James's Park and Whitehall, Horse Guards Parade is best known for the daily Changing of the Guard and annual Queen's birthday Trooping the Colour ceremonies. For the Games, around 5,000 tonnes of sand will be brought in to create London's very own 'beach' on which the Volleyball events will be played out in front of eager crowds between Saturday 28 July and Thursday 9 August. There will be one court with a capacity of 15,000 with two tiers and four floodlight towers at each of its corners, two practice courts to the east of the arena, and a further six practice courts at St. James's Park. Surely with all those nubile bodies on display, even the traditionally poker-faced robotic Horse Guards will not be able to resist peering out from beneath their bearskins to have a peek at this very modern of Olympic sports? Horse Guards Parade in pictures.

 
 
 

Hyde Park and the Serpentine

Triathlon and Marathon Swimming

Serpentine Road, Hyde Park, London, W2 2UH

Tube: Knightsbridge Station

 
 

When the sun's out there are fewer places in London as scenic and special as Hyde Park, which hosts the Triathlon and Marathon Swimming events for the London 2012 Games. The Triathlon - which takes place on Saturday 4 August (women) and Tuesday 7 August (men) - will begin with a 1,500 swim in the iconic Serpentine Boating Lake before the athletes continue with a seven-lap, 40km bike ride around a stunning course that takes in Buckingham Palace and the Wellington Arch, as well as various paths around Hyde Park. To finish, there's a four-lap, 10km run around the Serpentine to the finish in front of a 3,000-seat temporary grandstand. With Hyde Park open to the public, many more spectators are expected to line the streets and paths to watch one of the fastest-growing sports in the world. A couple of days later, the Marathon Swimming event comes to Hyde Park with the women's 10km (Thursday 9 August) and the men's 10km (Friday 10 August) taking place in the Serpentine. They will be the only Swimming events to take place outside the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park. During the Games, Hyde Park will also be host to many music, theatre, film and cultural events which will run alongside the Olympics throughout the summer of 2012. Hyde Park in pictures.

 
 
 

Earls Court Exhibition Centre

Olympic Volleyball

Warwick Road, Earls Court, London, SW5 9TA

Tube: West Brompton Station, Earls Court Station

 
 

The London 2012 Volleyball competitions will be held at the historic Earls Court Exhibition Centre in west London. It's not the first time the Olympics have come to this neck of the woods: Earls Court hosted the Boxing, Gymnastics and Wrestling for the 1948 Games. Nowadays it is the home of trade shows, such as MasterChef Live, music concerts (this is where Pink Floyd built The Wall) or showbiz gatherings like the annual Brit Awards. Easily accessible by train (West Brompton) or tube (Piccadilly or District lines), Earls Court first opened its doors in 1937 and is widely considered one of the capital's best major venues for hosting both trade and consumer events. The centre is fully equipped with a range of facilities, plus its location in the heart of London and near many hotels makes it an ideal choice for an Olympic venue. The action will take part between 28 July and 12 August and a total of 288 athletes will take part. For those who also have tickets to the Tennis events, Wimbledon is easily accessible from Earls Court on the tube. Earls Court in pictures.

 
 
 

Lord's Cricket Ground

Olympic Archery

St. John's Wood, St John's Wood, London, NW8 8QN

Tube: St John's Wood Station

 
 

If cricket was an Olympic sport, then Team GB would certainly be favourites for the gold medal. As it is, the spiritual "home of cricket" will be used for the London 2012 Archery competition. Located to the west of Regent's Park at St John's Wood, Lord's Cricket Ground is the perfect choice as venue for a sport even more traditional than cricket. Archery dates back around 10,000 years for hunting and warfare purposes - but seeing that it was in medieval England that archery developed as a competitive activity, we could say that Archery - like "ping pong" - is coming home in the summer of 2012. For the Games, the Archery competition - which will include four medal events played out between Friday 27 July and Friday 3 August - will connect the old with the new at Lord's: during the knockout phase, archers will shoot from in front of the Victorian pavilion across the hallowed cricket square towards the modern white pod of the state-of-the-art Media Centre, which presides over the ground like a UFO. The only flying objects whizzing through the air will be arrows, shot towards the gold centre of the colourful targets from a distance of 70 metres. Lord's Cricket Ground in pictures.

 
 
 

The Mall

Athletics (Marathon and Race Walk), Road Cycling (Road Race), Paralympic Athletics (Marathon)

Westminster, St James's, London, SW1Y 5AH

Tube: Piccadilly Circus Station

 
 

The elegant runway of Buckingham Palace is no stranger to big events, hosting the finale of the annual London Marathon every April, not to mention a steady flow of Royal bonanzas such as the recent wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. In London 2012, just 36 days after the celebrations to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and birthday, The Mall will be equipped with temporary seating, scoreboards, video boards, tents, cabins, generators and whatnot, in time for the first event of its busy Olympic schedule: the men's Cycling Road Race, which will take place on Saturday 28 July one day before the women's race. Both events will begin on The Mall before riders head south-west through the city and across Putney Bridge as they make their way through Richmond Park and past Hampton Court Palace towards Surrey, where they will face a challenging loop around Box Hill (nine for the men and two for the women) before heading back to The Mall for a dramatic finish in the shadow of the Queen's official residence. Later in the Games, the five road events on the Athletics programme - the men's and women's Marathons (12 and 5 August), the men's and women's 20km Race Walks (4 and 11 August), and the men's 50km Race Walk (11 August) will all take place on the streets of Central London before finishing on The Mall. Then a month later, on 9 September, The Mall will host the finale of the men's and women's Paralympic Marathons. All these events are free to watch, except in the finish area where there will be temporary seating. The Mall in pictures.

 
 
 

Wembley Stadium

Football - both finals (men's and women's), two semi finals, one quarter-final, three preliminary games

Wembley, London, HA9 0WS

Tube: Wembley Park Station

 
 

The final of both the men's and women's Football competitions will be held at Wembley Stadium, the home of English football. Completed in 2007, the new stadium's iconic arch soars over 130m into the sky, more than four times the height of the towers of the old Wembley Stadium. The biggest of the six stadiums staging the London 2012 Football competition, Wembley has a capacity of 90,000 and is easily accessible from central London by tube or rail. Due to scheduling, the Football competition actually kicks off two days before the Opening Ceremony, with Cardiff's Millennium Stadium effectively being the first place in Britain to see a bit of Olympic action. Wembley will host three preliminary matches (Sunday 29 and Tuesday 31 July, Wednesday 1 August), one quarter-final (Saturday 4 August) and two semi-finals (Monday 6 and Tuesday 7 August) before the gold medal games on Thursday 9 August (women's) and Saturday 11 August (men's). At London 2012, the men's competition will be an under-23s event, although each country will be allowed to include three older players in their team. There are no age restrictions for the women's competition. Wembley Stadium in pictures.

 
 
 

Wembley Arena

Badminton and Rhythmic Gymnastics

Empire Way, London, HA9 0DH

Tube: Wembley Park Station

 
 

The popular live music and comedy venue in north-west London will host the Badminton and Rhythmic Gymnastic events at London 2012. Although nowadays more synonymous with Take That and Michael McIntyre, Wembley Arena is often used for large sporting events such as boxing. In fact, the venue was originally built in 1934 to host the Empire Games (forerunner of the Commonwealth Games) and it also hosted the Swimming events in the 1948 Games in London. Little will need to be done to the venue for its two sports during the Games - and Wembley Arena is the host of the Badminton World Championships in August 2011, which will act as a test event for London 2012. Around 6,000 spectators will be able to enjoy the action during the Olympic Badminton (Saturday 28 July to Sunday 5 August) and Rhythmic Gymnastics (Thursday 9 to Sunday 12 August) competitions. Wembley Arena in pictures.

 
 
 

The All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon

Olympic Tennis

Church Road, London, SW19 5AE

Tube: Wimbledon Station

 
 

The London 2012 Tennis competition will take place just three weeks after the end of the annual grand slam tournament at Wimbledon - and the ideal scenario for all home fans would be for Andy Murray to bury the Centre Court demons and double up his first Wimbledon title with Olympic gold for Scotland at the spiritual home of grass-court tennis. Standing in Murray's way for both with be the familiar figure of Rafael Nadal, the defending Olympic champion and the man who sent the Scot crashing out of Wimbledon in summer 2011. The Olympic champions will be crowned on Wimbledon's Centre Court with games being played between Saturday 28 July and Sunday 5 August. London 2012 will feature five medal events: along with the men's and women's Singles and Doubles events, Mixed Doubles will be making its first Olympic appearance since 1924. With the annual Wimbledon fortnight not only one of the UK's most popular sporting events - but one of the most watched events all over the world - there's no doubt that the London 2012 Tennis competition will have some extra clout. Wimbledon in pictures.

 
 
Sophie Wallace

EDITOR

Sophie Wallace

25th April 2015

 

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