This summer, London will host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. American visitors will join millions of others from around the world, descending on London in a celebration of sport. The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will bring together athletes from 205 countries competing in 26 different sports.
Summer 2012 will be a very busy time in London with not only the Olympic Games (July 27 – August 12) and Paralympics Games (August 29 – September 9), but also the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (June 2-5), Wimbledon Tennis Championships (June 25 –July 8), and many other special and seasonal events. Flights are filling up quickly and fares are likely to increase as the summer approaches. To avoid disappointment, make your flight arrangements as soon as possible.
Use the information and resources below to have a safe and enjoyable Olympics experience.
Before you go…
- Ensure you have a valid U.S. Passport. If it’s due to expire before or during your trip, get it renewed now. Also, don’t forget to sign your passport and complete the emergency information page.
- Visit the UK Border Agency’s website for full details on entry and customs requirements for the UK. In most cases, U.S. passport holders going to the UK for less than 6 months for tourism do not need a visa.
- Check your overseas medical insurance coverage – ensuring you’re covered abroad could be one of the best investments you’ll ever make. Further information can be found on our website.
- Enroll with the U.S. Embassy’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This will enable the Embassy to keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. It will also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency. You can enroll online easily. Also, iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users can access STEP and much more by downloading the SMART Traveler app.
- Visit the State Department’s Country Specific Information on travel to the United Kingdom.
- Stay up-to-date on the latest Olympic travel information by bookmarking the Olympic information page maintained by the U.S. Embassy in London.
- Notify your credit card company of your overseas travel prior to your departure from the United States. Check out the helpful information on the U.S. Citizen Services page of the U.S. Embassy’s website for more about using your credit card in the United Kingdom.
Hotel accommodations during the Olympics
Due to the number of major events taking place in London and surrounding areas this summer, hotel rooms are in high demand, and some hotels already have either no availability or expensive minimum stay requirements. Visitors should book confirmed reservations as early as possible.
To search for accommodations in London, check out Visit London. For accommodations elsewhere in the UK (for venues outside London), see Visit Britain. Be aware of the potential for scams. It is safer to use a reputable travel agent or accommodations website when making arrangements as opposed to online classified notices.
Note: The Olympic Village and nine of the Olympic venues are located in East London. There are 13 other London venues hosting various sporting events. In addition, there are 10 venues outside of London. Visit the London 2012 website for full venue details.
CoSport is the official ticket reseller for the London 2012 Olympics for U.S. residents. To purchase individual tickets or hospitality packages, visit their website or call 1-877-457-4647. Please note that tickets are very hard to get right now. However, more tickets may become available in the spring, so we suggest checking back as we get closer to the Games.
A few important things to remember when looking for tickets…
- Please be aware of scams, fake Olympic ticket websites, and unlicensed ticket resellers.
- To check the validity of tickets or read the latest information on Olympic scams, visit the official London 2012 website.
If you are not able to secure tickets, you can still watch all the action for free (sporting events and medal ceremonies) from the large screens at one of the several London Live sites. For more details on the London Live sites, visit London Live.
Other helpful websites and resources
Official London 2012 Website: http://www.london2012.com
Information on the Opening & Closing Ceremonies, Cultural Olympiad, London Festival, sporting venues, accommodations, accessibility, etc.
U.S. Embassy London Website: http://london.usembassy.gov
Information regarding U.S. Citizen Services the Embassy offers, security and travel information, fraud warnings, etc.
Department of State Travel Website: http://www.travel.state.gov/
Latest travel warnings, international travel tips, information regarding the STEP registration process, etc.
USA in UK Blog/Twitter: http://www.usembassy.org.uk/london2012
The official Olympics blog of the U.S. Embassy in London, featuring information about preparation for the Olympics & Paralympics, the Games “experience,” and helpful tips to make sure you can enjoy a safe and fun trip to London. The USA in UK blog also has a Twitter feed that you can follow to stay updated.
U.S. Embassy London’s Facebook page & YouTube Channel: http://www.facebook.com/uk.usembassy
“Like” U.S. Embassy London on Facebook to see the latest updates, photos, and comments or search for us on YouTube.
Transport for London: http://www.tfl.gov.uk
London’s official transportation website complete with journey planners for London Underground, railways and bus service. TfL’s website will also show any delays, station closures or service interruptions.
Get Ahead of the Games: http://www.getaheadofthegames.com/
A transportation website sponsored by the Mayor of London with information on special Games-specific transportation options and up-to-date information on closures or interruptions to service.
Visit London’s Website: http://www.visitlondon.com
Official tourism website for London. Here you can find information on dining, shopping, theatre, and sightseeing.
Team USA/U.S. Olympic Committee Website: http://www.teamusa.org
Keep up with Team USA as they prepare for London 2012. Site features athlete bios, merchandise, and more.