Free Olympic events in and around London

london olympicsEven without tickets to the London 2012 Olympics you and your family could still enjoy some of the free Olympic events on offer, so don’t miss out on your opportunity to see some of the world’s top athletes for free!

Many of the outdoor Paralympic and Olympic events will cost nothing to watch and include the triathlon, cycling and the marathon. Here’s a list of the free Olympic events you can catch this summer.

Let the games begin!

Race Walk

Men’s 20km Race Walk: 4 August, 5pm

Men’s 50km Race Walk: 11 August, 9am

Women’s 20km Race Walk: 11 August, 5pm

This fast-paced speed-walk, which is part of the athletics programme, is a great watch – and it’s one of the free Olympic events that won’t whizz by you too fast. Competitions include a men’s 50km and 20km race, and a women’s and men’s 20km race.  Starting and ending at The Mall, which is the road leading up to Buckingham Palace.

  • Watch their feet carefully as rules dictate that one foot must remain on the ground at all times!
  • View for free in London’s Green Park – the section of Constitution Hill after the Queen Victoria Memorial is not ticketed
  • The athletes follow the course multiple times in laps, so you should be able to spot the competitors every five minutes or so
  • Download the route here

Road cycling

Men’s Road Race: 28 July, 10am-6pm

Women’s Road Race: 29 July, 12pm-4pm

Some of the world’s best two-wheeled speed demons can be caught cycling the gruelling Road Race, starting at The Mall which leads up to Buckingham Palace, and heads south-west through the city.

  • If you’re looking for free Olympic events that span a few different London boroughs, this road cycling event is a great one for you. Watch the competitors as they go through six London boroughs, four Royal Parks and some Surrey countryside
  • The ticketed areas are The Mall and Box Hill but you can watch the competitors go by in the rest of the 120km stretch of road for free
  • Download the map here

Cycling Time Trials

Women cycling time trial: 1 August, 12.30pm – 2.30pm

Men’s cycling time trial: 1 August, 2.15pm – 4.15pm

Don’t miss the Time Trial where the quickest cyclist is crowned the Olympic champion. The route takes the cyclists over Hampton Court Bridge and into Surrey.

  • The course heads onto Hurst Road and will cover the Bessborough and Knight reservoirs, continue to East Molesey, Weston Green Road and More Lane. Catch them on the hilly section as they cycle towards Cobham, and onto Portsmouth Road. They will then power through Kingston-upon-Thames, Richmond, Teddington and Strawberry Vale before reaching a triumphant finish at Hampton Court Palace.
  • The women’s route is slightly different, missing out the reservoir and joining Hampton Court Way
  • The ticketed start and finish line will be at Hampton Court Palace, but the rest of the route can be viewed for free
  • Each cyclist will depart the palace at 90-second intervals
  • The men will complete the 44km course, while the women’s course is a shorter 29km
  • Download the men’s route map here
  • Download the women’s route map here


Women’s marathon: 5 August, 11am - 2pm

Men’s marathon: 12 August, 11am – 2pm

Around 80 competitors will race for success at the Olympic Marathon that passes London landmarks including Buckingham Palace and St Paul’s Cathedral. Show your support for the runners as they race toward the finish line.

  • This begins and ends at The Mall near Buckingham Palace, which is the ticketed area
  • Catch the competitors as they run the eight mile looped course that starts with a 2.2 mile loop along the river, to Westminster Bridge, down Birdcage Walk, to the Queen Victoria Memorial and then back to The Mall. It then continues in a wider loop towards St Pauls Cathedral, Tower of London and back down Victoria Embankment.
  • Thinking of making a day of it? Take a look at the official London 2012 events listings for further information on what’s going on in the area where you’ll be watching the marathon
  • Download the marathon route map here

10km Marathon Swimming

Women’s 10km marathon swimming: 9 August, 12pm

Men’s 10km marathon swimming: 10 August, 12pm

This summer the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park will host the Olympic 10km marathon swim. Competitors will complete six laps of the lake and as a spectator you’ll get the chance to see two hours of the world’s best race for the finish from the south side of the lake.

  • Grab a great view at many of the non-ticketed areas on the south side of the lake
  • You can spot two hours of the world’s best swimmers race for the finish
  • For more information take a look at the official visitors page for London 2012


Women’s Triathlon: 4 August, 9am

Men’s Triathlon: 7 August, 11.30am

This is one of the free Olympic events where your family will be able to watch from London’s Hyde Park as competitors race in the gruelling triathlon including a 1,500m swim, 40K cycle ride and 10km run in the hope of winning that gold medal.

  • Athletes will start in the water to begin with, completing a 1,500m lap of the Serpentine lake
  • Catch them cycling 40km in a 6.137km loop of the lake and head to Hyde Park Corner, Constitution Hill, Buckingham Palace and back to the park. They’re loop this route seven times!
  • For the final part of the triathlon the athletes will run 10km, covering four laps of a 2.5km course of the lake
  • 90% of this course is free so get there early to find a good spot to cheer them on
  • Get the route map here

We’ll be keeping this page updated so you can enjoy the London 2012 free Olympic events with your family!

Join our Olym-pics competition for the chance to win a gold goody bag filled with sporting magazines, books, toys and a £100 supermarket shopping voucher to help with the family essentials. Plus your photo displayed on our homepage!

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