London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Travel and Camping Guide

We realised that planning your trip to the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics may not be the easiest of tasks and there are a few key things to consider before making the decision to stay at a particular campsite. We have put together a list of things to think about and some handy planning tools to aid you in choosing the best location.

For more information on planning your route from your campsite to the Olympic venue check the Transport for London website, which will also show details on extended opening times during the games.

Things to think about:

1. Where are you travelling from?

Think about where your main route into London is and which area will be the most convenient to get to. As you know London is a sprawling city, but does have well connected public transport in order to get to the venue you need to.

E.g. You and your family are driving from Manchester and have tickets for 1 morning session at the Athletics. You could add 2 hours onto your journey time (at least) in order to try and stay somewhere in East London near the Olympic Stadium, or, find a campsite in North London and spend only 45 minutes travelling to the stadium on the day you need to.

You could save time, energy and petrol costs by staying at a London location which is easy to get to from your home.

2. Which venues do you need to get to?

This is obviously a major consideration in working out which campsite to stay at during the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. Check out our helpful page, “Travelling times to 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Venues” to find out approximately how long it will take to get to each Venue from each of our camping sites – you may be surprised as travel times are not necessarily proportional to the distances involved!

N.B. When planning travel to venues watch out for using high speed rail links to Stratford – these journeys will not be included in your Olympic or Paralympic ticket travel card and can be very expensive (e.g. £30 return for 11 minute journey).

3. What kind of campsite / location do you want to stay in?

This probably depends on what the make up of your groups is. Check out the facilities and location and whether it is recommended for you. Some are great for volunteers (with special volunteer areas so you can meet other volunteers), some better for families or groups; some campsites even have separate family areas. Think about the kind of atmosphere you would like to be part of, and also the size of the campsite you are staying in – would you like a smaller, more familiar feel or a big festival type location? If you are a family, then you probably want somewhere with a family friendly atmosphere where you are going to feel safe and secure; probably not too noisy; where there will be space for children to run around and you won’t be camping all on top of one another. If you are a group of friends you may want somewhere away from families which has a bar on-site so you can be social in the evenings.

4. What impact will your camping choice have on how much you can expect to spend?

For a start camping of course be cheaper than staying in any other paid for accommodation. But think about these other factors as well: you will want to be able to bring and cook your own food rather than eating out; you are less likely to have to pay to do other activities if there is some space to run around and entertain yourselves sometimes; and the food and drink costs at sports clubs are very reasonable compared to some inner city prices; you can chose where you camp and ensure it is more efficient for you to get to from wherever you are travelling from. Also remember to check what any subsequent travelling costs to the Olympic or Paralympic venues may be when budgeting.

5. What else can you do to make the most of your trip to the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics?

So, you’re travelling to the South East to see some of the Olympics or Paralympics and may have only 1 or 2 sets of tickets and they may be a few days apart. Well, think about it; there is so much to do in and around London and loads of free stuff to do too. E.g. whilst in London, why not visit the Natural History Museum or the Science Museum; or attend some of the free Olympic sports events like the cycle road race; or perhaps do a walking tour of some of the most famous part of London; or check out all the myriad of free events whic are part of the Cultural Olympiad. Watch this space for guides of free and brilliant stuff to do from the areas you are camping – the possibilities are endless!


  1. donna hatton says:

    Hi i am a games maker volunteer and will be based at excel during paralympics what is the closest campsite to book
    Thankyou Donna

  2. Hi Donna,

    Check out this link on the website, shows all the details on travel times to venues, thanks!

  3. Stacey Castle says:

    Hi Campingninja, please can you tell me if the pre-erected 4 man tent hire includes a camp bed/mattress or would we need to bring all own bedding requirements?
    many thanks, and this is such a fab idea :)
    thanks Stacey

  4. Hi Stacey,

    Thanks for your query, you will need to bring bedding for the pre-erected tent and any other furnishing you may require, I hope this helps!

  5. Sally says:

    For someone volunteering at Horse Guards parade with shifts that finish at 1am which campsite (if any) will it be possible to get to at this time?

  6. Hi Sally,

    The closest campsites are Blackheath and Surbiton, but I would suggest checking the bus timetables as I don’t think the tube/train lines will be running at this time. If you are able to catch a night bus, Surbiton is a safer area to be travelling in late at night especially if you are on your own. Will Locog provide cabs?

  7. Nancy Gunn says:

    Hi Camping Ninja:

    I will be arriving on the Eurostar from Paris to St. Pancras/Kings Cross with my two kids, age 16 and 12 on Aug. 1. We will take public transport to a camping site (we will be carrying our lightweight tent and sleeping bags with us). We will camp one night, then our flight home is the next day, Aug. 2, from Heathrow. We will take public transport to Heathrow as well. Which campground would make the most sense, given that itinerary? (And by the way, this is such a great idea! Thank you for making this option available! (I was freaking out at hotel prices. We are on a shoestring budget, I am a music teacher in Maine, US.)


  8. Keith Barker says:

    As A gamesmaker, I am biiked at Blackheath rugby club for my shifts at Excell , will there be a quiet area so that gamesmakers can get enough sleep. is there a gamesmaker area?

  9. Hi Keith,

    Yes there will be an area specifically for Games Makers.

  10. Hi Nancy,

    Thanks for your email, I would suggest staying at Blackheath Rugby Club. From here you can catch the tube to Heathrow and it’s also accessible from Kings Cross as it’s fairly central. The tube journey will take a little while but is fairly straight forward and cheap. The Tube’s will be opening from 4am during the Games so you should be able to factor in plenty of contingency time.

    Also we are providing pre-erected 4 man tents for an extra £25 per night.I hope this helps, thanks for your email.

  11. Emma says:

    We only are 2 travelers with our own tent and want to come on the 1st of August from London Stansted, we may go to Wembley Stadium to watch a football game.
    What is the best for us? Is the camping far away from other free games?
    Thank you a lot in advance,

  12. Hi Emma,

    Check out this link it shows all the travel times from our sites to the venues I am not sure where all the free games are so if you can find the venues this link will help. Thanks

  13. Anna says:

    Hi! How are you?
    I have a simple but very important question: We intent to travel with a car and then camp in a tent at Eton Manor Rugby Club. We have to be sure that our car is really safe, with all our things. Would it be safe? Is there a guarded parking place affiliated to Eton Manor Rugby Club? How much is it? Alternatively, do you know another campsite with a solution for this problem?
    Thank you so much.

  14. Hi Anna,

    There is a secure car park attached to the club and you are entitled to one space per pitch free of charge. There will be 24 hour security onsite, but we would just advise not to leave valuable unattended in your vehicle.

    Thanks for your enquiry, many thanks.

  15. Stacie says:

    Hi Campingninja,

    Im based at Weymouth Portland for my games maker role. What transport it available to and from the camp site to the venue.

  16. kate says:

    Hi I’m a games maker working at Heathrow airport can you tell me which campsite (if any) is closest and the best transport to/from please?
    Thank you x

  17. Hi there,

    Reading RFC and Surbiton are the closest sites, Rail Air and trains are very frequent. Follow the links below to your plan your transport.

  18. Hi Stacie,

    The site is in from walking distance to the station and the Town Centre where there will be regular buses running.

  19. Jill says:

    Have just been given a gamesmaker role at wimbledon -where is the best way to camp? Will it be easy to get to from Kings cross? I already have 3 nights booked at Blackheath Rugby club -can i change my booking?

  20. Hi Jill,

    The best site for Wimbledon is Surbiton HC, and yes it is easy to get to via Waterloo.

  21. mette says:


    We are travelling from Denmark to Stansted, were going to stay for 7 days to watch cycling around Hamptons Court Place, where would you suggest we could stay? And do you know if anything is vacant?

  22. mette says:

    Forgot the date. Its from the 27 th of july – 05 th of august;-)

  23. Please refer to for detailed information on the proximity of camps to venues.

  24. Gavin Mann says:

    Hi,want to travel down from north to watch women Triathlon on Saturday 4th then women Marathon on 5th what would be the best/nearest campsite to stay at please!

  25. Please refer to our ‘times from camps to venues’ section of our website for detailed information on which campsite may be the closest for those venues.

  26. mark poulton smyth says:

    hi i am agames maker and i am based in london at park lane for 2 weeks can you tell me which is the nearest and do you have any space left

  27. Marion says:

    I am a Gamesmaker working at the International Broadcast Centre at the Olympic Park during the Paralympics. Which campsite would be best for me?

    Also how long before the Paralympics start can I get onto the site? I will be there fore 26 – 30 days and looking at the calendars on the sites they aren’t open for that long! Please help

  28. I would recommend Eton Manor, however the opening and closing dates are 28/08-09/09. We have no flexibility on these as it is the legal limit on the number of days we can have the campsite open. Hope this helps!

  29. Hi Mark,
    I would suggest Match Day Centres, Southgate or Blackheath, to be honest all of the sites in inner London are well positioned for access to the centre, Hyde Park area.

  30. Wendy says:

    I use a wheelchair, and have tickets for the marathon on the 12th. I also have a trailer tent so was wondering if this would be a possible option. Where is the best campsite to get an accessible bus from to get to The Mall, and is there parking near to the bus departure point. Self propelling a wheelchair across a field is no fun!!!!

  31. Hi Wendy, I think Southgate Hockey Club would be best for your requirements. Please go ahead and check out the link to that site, below:

  32. Melanie says:

    Hi, I’m based at Wembley Arena and I think Southgate hockey club will be the closest campsite for me. Is this still within our free travel zone and am I right in thinking it will take an hour to get there? Are there any spaces still available and what facilities are there on site? Thank you.

  33. Hi Melanie, the Transport for London website will be able to tell you exactly how long it will take to travel from camp to venue. And yes you are still within the free travel zone at Southgate Hockey Club, hope this helps!

  34. Nina says:


    I wasn’t fortunate enough to get tickets for the games but will be coming to london to make the most of the free events on the weekend of 11th/12th August … am i still able to stay at the campsites even though im not a gamesmaker/volunteer/ticket holder?

    Thanks :-)

  35. Hi, yes of course! The campsites are open to everyone :)

  36. Alastair says:

    We’re booked a pre-erected tent at Blackheath rugby club on Friday 3 August, and are going to the olympic park for an event that evening. What time will we be able to book in to allow us to get unpacked and travel to the park please?

  37. Check in time is 12pm onwards, however you can arrive a bit early if you need!