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Getting to the Olympics (or avoiding them altogether)

Did you realise that there will be no spectator parking at any of the London venues, and little elsewhere? There is strictly limited blue badge disabled parking at some venues, including the Olympic Stadium, however this must be booked in advance.

Getting to the Olympics at venues around London and across the UK is not going to be easy, and will require some lateral thinking.

The option of park and ride

There are limited park and ride facilities for the main Olympic Stadium and ExCel Centre, but these are likely to be in very high demand. Park and ride at Thurrock involves a 90 minute transfer, and at Herts County Showground it involves an even longer hour and fifty minute transfer, plus you are advised to add an hour for getting to the Olympics events themselves once you are dropped off. Hardly worth the trouble of driving, especially when you add in the £18 daily parking fee. Again, park and ride services must be booked in advance for getting to the Olympics.

Don’t use the car at all

The Olympics website at has extensive details of the alternative ways of getting to the Olympics, including rail services, underground trains, Docklands Light Railway and even Thames river buses. There is also a series of coach services, which are an easier way of getting to the Olympics, and run from a variety of locations right up to the venue doors.

Want to avoid the Olympics congestion?

If you are not a sports fan or you just have work commitments, it may be better to actually avoid London altogether on certain days. Traffic and transport will be under considerable stress throughout the games, especially during city-wide events such as the marathons on Sunday 5th and Sunday 12th August, and the beach volleyball on Horseguards Parade between 28th July and 9th August.

Want to avoid the Olympics altogether?

Although the Olympics are taking place at venues as diverse as Hampden Park in Scotland and the Millennium Stadium in Wales, there will be plenty of places to drive away and forget the whole thing.

Take off to the Lake District or the mountains of North Wales and you’ll enjoy a relatively traffic-free time. Or better still literally take off to another country and get away from the chaos completely. Read Octagon’s guide to Driving in Europe here.

If you need to travel through London to get home, just make sure that you don’t plan your return journey to coincide with a major Olympic event.

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