All eyes will be on the athletes as they row, jump, throw and cycle their way through two weeks of events in venues around our great capital for this summer's Olympics.
But if you're wondering how to occupy yourself when not admiring the athletic prowess of the world's sporting superstars, there's plenty going on in London.
You could enjoy a drink in a pop-up bar or restaurant near the Olympic Park, for example, or perhaps learn what the 1948 Games were like at a Central London exhibition.
Get to know your opponent
The first rule of any sporting competition is to know what you’re up against. And so before you get carried along in the throng when the doors of the Olympic Park are flung wide open on July 27, why not take a tour to find out the inside track on this billion-pound development?
Tourguides2012.co.uk offers a number of guided excursions of the surrounding area, including daily morning and afternoon walks where you’ll learn the story behind London’s bid to host the event. If you’re looking for a less taxing experience, hire a private car or minibus with British Tours for an escorted three-hour tour of the Olympic Park and East End.
If you’re looking for a bar to toast a day of sporting triumphs, there are plenty of options. The Fringe is a pop-up members club located 100 meters from the Olympic Park. A day’s membership costs £150 per person and includes three drinks, three dishes, plus entry to the club and bars overlooking the stadium. A £40 evening pass includes access to the club, courtyard and bars.
Around the world in one city
If you were tempted to escape to foreign shores during the Olympics, you can still enjoy an international vibe at one of the hospitality houses set up by various competing countries for the athletes and VIPs. Some of these houses – dotted around the capital – will be open to the public, entertaining with events ranging from exhibitions to concerts, from France at Old Billingsgate to Jamaica at The O2.
All the world’s a (sports) stage
If the theatre and drama of the Olympics is not quite enough, take it up a notch or two at the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s show Complete World of Sports. A ‘merciless but affectionate’ satirical take on sporting history, the performance runs from July 17 to August 25 at The Arts Theatre in Central London.
The Olympics will not be the only big event blowing the capital’s trumpet in the coming weeks. The London 2012 Festival will run alongside the sporting entertainment with a programme of 12,000 art, film and food events, free concerts, plays, and dance performances.
Famous names in residence include film director Mike Leigh, singers Leona Lewis and Damon Albarn, artist Tracey Emin and performer Jools Holland. The festival is running from now until September 9, 2012, the last day of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. While some events are free, others require you to buy tickets.
Don't train on an empty stomach
All good athletes need to watch what they eat but that doesn’t mean you have to. In fact it would be rude not to explore some of the local fare on offer. If you’d rather skip the pop-up Mcdonald’s restaurant, a trendier – and somewhat edgier – alternative is Jimmy's Supper Club at Annex East, a converted warehouse 100 meters from the Olympic Park.
Open for a month over the Olympics, diners can expect five-course meals accompanied by cocktails, an art exhibition and sporty entertainment (cue screenings of Chariots Of Fire). Expect cheekily named snacks such as ‘Linford’s Lunch’. Jimmy’s Supper Club is open from July 20 to mid-August.
Make an exhibition of yourself
If you get a spare half day between cheering on Britain, why not visit one of London’s museums? The V&A is running the exhibition British Design 1948–2012: Innovation in the Modern Age, which focuses on the story of British post-war art and design from the 1948 ‘Austerity Games' to the present day, told through 300 objects. Exhibition runs until August 12.
Turn up the music
On July 26, the Olympic Flame will arrive in London after a 70-day relay carried by 8,000 torchbearers on a route that will come within 10 miles of 95 per cent of the population.
But if you didn’t get to catch a glimpse of this fiery symbol of peace, unity and friendship, head for Hyde Park where you can help mark the finale of the relay with a music extravaganza.
Dizzee Rascal, The Wanted, Eliza Doolittle and Mark Ronson are just some of the performers featured in the line-up.
Hyde Park will also play host to BT London Live’s series of free concerts during the Games, along with Victoria Park in the east of the capital. There will also be events in Trafalgar Square. Performers include Tom Jones, The Feeling, Alexandra Burke, McFly and Paul Carrack.
There are also activities for all the family from Cadbury House (chocolate galore) to the chance to stage your own sporting triumph.
Olympic events will also be screened on giant screens and there will be other attractions to get involved with. Entry is free from July 28 – August 11.