BACK in 2005 it seemed like a very long way away, but now 2012 is nearly upon us and the preparations for London’s Olympic Games have gathered apace.

From July 23-25 it’s Open Weekend London 2012 across the city. Several London boroughs and beyond are planning to engage with the Games through a host of sporting, heritage, arts and community events to pave the way for the world's greatest sporting festival.

Top of the list for gearing up for 2012, is a guided walk around the Olympic Park area. From a viewpoint on the edge of the construction site visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the Olympic Stadium, Athletes Village and Aquatics Centre.

London's renowned Blue Badge Tourist Guides will fill you in on details such as why east London was chosen to host the Games, plus give you up-to-date information on the athletes and the venues that will make London 2012 such an exciting place to be.

The walk will also address issues of sustainability and environment as you stroll past the iconic structures of London's industrial past. Then you’ll land slap bang in the present with a tour the largest urban park to be created in Europe in 150 years. The walk starts at Bromley-by-Bow tube station at 11am daily. Book at:, Details:

London's Olympic Heritage Walk - Walk for Gold! includes a visit to all three London Olympics sites in the same day - the 1908 Games in White City Stadium, the 1948 Austerity Olympics at Wembley after the Second World War and the 2012 Sustainability Olympics and Paralympics in Stratford. Walk for Gold will once again be part of Open Weekend, July 23-25. Starts at 10am outside White City tube.

More events and details below and at:

Central London

London’s museums and galleries including the Barbican, Geffreye Museum and the Museum of London, to name a few, are also hosting events and there will also be a Pan-London ping pong challenge.

East London

On July 24, 11am-6pm, there’s also the Riches Uncovered festival featuring an outdoor roaming exhibition by artist Clare Newton, exploring East London’s extraordinary past, as researched by local people and schools. This mini festival day includes music showcases from young choirs, drama, a Victorian picnic and family fun creating buoys and lighthouses - with possibly a real live rescue at the wheelchair accessible Newton's Heritage Art Project, Royal Victoria parkland, on the west side of the Excel Centre.

60x60 Dance at Stratford Circus, Theatre Square on July 24, features a hour-long fast-pace performance in which every minute of the hour will see a new dance and a new music piece. Performances start at 3pm and 8pm.

Leyton and Leytonstone

Throughout the weekend Leyton Leisure Lagoon, High Road, Leyton is holding free rowing and swimming sessions and Cathall, Cathall Road, Leytonstone offers a range of free sport challenges for all ages.

Leytonstone Library is hosting Pick Winning Words, an interactive session with Young & Talented performing arts group in conjunction with Magnetic Me! to help people select the right words to create a more positive environment on July 24 from 12noon-4pm.

There’s also a photographic course for beginners at WaterWorks Nature Reserve and Golf Centre, Lammas Road, Leyton on July 24-25 July from 10am-4pm and volunteers can help create a cleaner, greener neighbourhood around the Olympic Park on July 24 from 10am-3pm at Walthamstow Marshes, Behind Lee Valley Ice Centre, Lea Bridge Road, Leyton.

Waltham Forest has gym challenges over the weekend at Waltham Forest Pool & Track and the Astral - Pastures Youth Centre is offering circus workshops for people with disabilities on July 24 from 11am-4pm at Cirque Nova, Pastures Youth Centre, Davis Lane, Leytonstone.

Enfield and Haringey

Be part of the growing arts scene in North London on Friday, July 23 from 3pm-5.30pm with the free North London Arty Party at Millfield Arts Centre where visitors can discuss arts provision in the area or discover the heritage of Forty Hall through photography and arts from Friday-Sunday, 11am-4pm. Edmonton Green Shopping Centre is also hosting a festival to celebrate the build up to the 2012 Olympic Games on Saturday, July 24 from 11am-5pm. Activities will including live music performances, art and circus workshops and street theatre acts For further details on these events go to:

For those who like to stretch their legs, there will also be a guided walk through Myddelton House Gardens, Bulls Cross Enfield on Saturday, July 24 from 1pm to 3pm. Details: and Walking Islington has planned walking routes to explore during Open Weekend on Friday, July 23 starting from Islington Museum, St John Street, Islington at 11am. Details:

Hampstead events

Hampstead is hosting the Write Here Write Now & Script Laboratory where participants can get involved with new playwriting, as a writer and/or as a dramaturg. Write a play in an hour and help improve a writer's latest play in this short, fun, practical introduction to playwriting. The event takes place on Saturday, July 24 from 10.30am-11.45pm and 4pm-6pm at Script Laboratory, Eton Avenue, Swiss Cottage. Tickets are free and will be allocated on the day from 9.30am. Call 020 7722 9301.

Over at Central School of Speech and Drama it’s strictly old school as the venue hosts some fun sporting activities such as tug of war and playground games. Non-sporty types can get in touch with their creative side by helping to create a 2012 collage using arts and craft materials. Events run on friday and Saturday from 11am-4pm at Central School of Speech and Drama, Eton Avenue, Swiss Cottage.


In North Wembley there’s an Inspiring Brent Fitness Open Day @ Vale Farm Sports Centre on Watford Road with free fitness activities, such as gym sessions, parent and toddler swimming, junior mini polo and circuit and weight training, to challenge you to increase your physical activity levels. Friday, July 23, 6.30am-10pm, July 24-25, 8am-8pm. Vale Farm is also getting involved with Brent Dance Month with street dance class for under-16s which mixes up street moves with classical dance moves to create a one-of-a-kind hybrid dance workout. Saturday, July 24, 12.30pm-2.30pm.

The Atlip Centre also has a Brent Dance Month event, Classic Creations where visitors can try out Bollywood, Bharatanaytam, Kathak and Garba keep fit on Sunday, July 25, 11am-12noon at Fitness First, Ealing Road, Wembley.

Usurp Art! in West Harrow is holding an open studios event and exhibition with storytelling, writing and photography workshops from 2pm to 8pm on Saturday and Sunday. Visitors can also view Metroland Media - an exhibition of films and large photomontage artworks created by young refugees who live alone reflecting on their life and future aspirations. Some have already made inroads as junior players in football teams and creating their own films. Usurp Art Gallery & Studios,


Celebrate the Natural Environment on Sunday, July 25 at the O-Fest from 12noon-4pm at Paradise Wildlife Park (park open from 9.30am until 6pm) with events and shows including a beat the pro competition, live music, the Paradise Roadshow and the Shaolin Team UK from Britain’s Got Talent. Details:

Celtic Harmony Camp at Brickendon near Welwyn is hosting its annual Celtic Games from Sunday July 25 to Saturday, August 28, which also coincides with both the London Olympics 2012 Open Weekend and the Festival of British Archaeology. Visitors spend the day living as the Celts did, among archers, warriors, storytellers and woodsmen and enjoy lunch under the feasting shelter. Activities include woodland treasure hunts and longbow archery, games of balance and strength from jump the shield to dragon egg-and-spoon, with gold medals for everyone. Details: 01438 718543,