travel Feature

Free and low cost London 2012 events around the UK



olympic festival eventsThe Olympic Games have crowned 2012 as a year to be remembered, but it isn’t all just about the sporting events. To show off Britain’s amazing talent there are hundreds of London 2012 events running up and down the country to celebrate this momentous time.

From dance, music and theatre, to food, art or acrobatics there is there really is something for everyone. Bring the family along to one of these free and low cost spectaculars in aid of the London 2012 festival. Here are our top picks:

Science museum summer of sport

What: Live events in celebration of the Olympics and Paralympics
Where: Antenna Science News gallery, ground floor Welcome Wing, Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2DD
When: Dates throughout August 2012

Find out about the science and technology behind the Games this summer with four free exhibits and free live events at the Science Museum. Whether you want to look at the engineering behind The London Velodrome, discover how top athletes are monitored at breakneck speeds, find out about the ‘mobile wallet’ technology at the Olympic village or look at how new technology improves mobility there’s plenty to explore.

Plus you can be part of a real scientific experiment to see what difference shoes can make to your speed as part of the live Super Speedy Sprint event  (14-17 August, 11am – 4pm). Or catch the sensors that measure the zoom speed of athletes in action at live event:  Sports Sense (21-23 August, 11am -4pm).  You’ll also get a chance to meet the brains behind the high-performance wheel chairs and running blade who run the Games workshop at  live event: Making Strides (date to be confirmed). Or have a go at an interactive dance video with the Salsa Scientists (7-9 Aug, 11am – 4pm).

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The Big Dance 2012

What: Urban moves Manchester as part of The Big Dance 2012
Where: Manchester, Bolton and Bury City Centres, Greater Manchester
When: 27-29 July

Celebrating the architecture and cityscape of Greater Manchester, this three day event will show live outdoor professional dance performances by local and international artists that will blow you away.

Open to anyone and everyone, you can join in one of the many classes or workshops, film screenings, photography courses, competitions and world record attempts, or check out their amazing live performances at various locations.

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Light a lantern festival

What: Celebration of the paralympics
Where: Alton Sports Centre, Alton
When: 22 August, 1pm - 4pm

In celebration of the Paralympic Ganes, East Hampshire and Havant are joinging together to host a sporting event for all families of all ages. Save the date to enjoy the Light a Lantern festival and enjoy a range of events including Boccia, new age kurling, wall climbing, trampoline coaching, wheelchair basketball and gym activities.

There will also be a variety of cultural activities to get involved in as a build up to the opening of the Paralympic Games.

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Outdoor circus and dance

What: Diverse City – Breathe
Where: Weymouth beach, The Esplanade, Weymouth, DT4 8ED
When: 28 July – 9 September 9pm

This free outdoor performance of circus and dance is not to be missed. Created by three British disabled artists, this Unlimited Commission will be performed by 64 disabled and non-disabled artists from Dorset and Brazil. Picking up on the Battle of the Winds story, this theatrical three-day event marks the opening of the Olympic and Paralympic Sailing and Windsurfing events in Weymouth and Portland. No ticket is required.

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The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games medals

What: Olympic and Paralympic medal exhibition
Where: British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG
When: Now – 9 Sep 2012, Mon – Thur, Sat, Sun 10am – 5.30pm; Friday 10am – 8.30pm

Ever wondered how those shiny medals that we will be awarding the winners of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics came to be? Find out at this free exhibition which tells the story of the creation of the medals from the mine right through to the finished product. On display you can see the intricacies behind the design and how the Royal Mint put them into production. Take a look for free and you can also catch a free gallery talk by department expert Philip Attwood on Friday 3 August 13.15, Room 37.

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Theatre workshop

What: The Pop-Up Workshop
Where: National Theatre Inside Out, Waterloo Terrace, South Bank, London, SE1 9PX
When: 1 June – 9 September 2012, Mon –Sat

This fantastic free summer event brings the hidden world of theatre-making out into The Pop-Up Workshop so your family can discover performance, prop-making, puppetry and more.

Whether your kids are budding actors, want to be a theatre director for the day, or take part in a physical comedy workshop, there is something for everyone. There are also some amazing shows to enjoy, including a new play about Shakespeare’s family and the winning school play from NT’s New Views. You could even drop by with a picnic and relax on the South Bank riverside while the kids get creative.

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Summer reading challenge

What: STORYLAB the UK’s biggest reading event for kids
Where: Libraries across the UK
When: 14 July - 10 September, Mon – Sat

Families all over the country will love to get involved in the UK’s biggest reading event for kids – the Summer Reading Challenge. The aim is to encourage children to read six books from the library during the summer holidays.

Sign up for free at your local library and the little ones will receive a membership card or pack, with stickers and incentives to complete their challenge. Plus there are lots of special events hosted at local libraries around the country as part of some of the great London 2012 events. For more information contact your local library.

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The Bandstand Marathon

What: Live music performances at Bandstands across the country
Where: Bandstands, across the UK
When: 9 September 1pm- 5pm

Get involved with another of the fantastic London 2012 festival events. This show brings communities together through live music performances at the same time, on the same day, with over 500 events across the country. Celebrate local musical talent with a host of festivities from rock and blues; to reggae and brass bands, it’s sure to be one to remember. Bring the family down to one of the many historic bandstands that adorn our local parks and towns and lap up the atmosphere for free!

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