What to do in London if you're not going to the Olympics
The clamour and excitement surrounding the London 2012 Olympics is just about reaching fever pitch in the UK and every advertising slogan, supermarket product range and promotion seems to be geared towards making the most of the sport-fever that's about to grip the capital city. However, if you're either not lucky enough to have gotten your hands on a ticket to any of the events, or you just don't have any interest in watching the billion pound sporting fiesta then don't worry as the rest of the city won't be shutting down. Whether you're looking for entertainment, culture, art or alternative sporting events, there's still plenty to get involved in in London if you're not going to the Olympics.
Here are a few ideas:
Catch some culture by the river at the Meltdown Festival on the Southbank. The festival runs from 1st to 12th August at a number of venues around the Southbank area, including the Royal Festival Hall and the Queen Elizabeth Hall, with a whole range of entertainment on offer. This year the festival features a wide spectrum of names, both well known and leftfield, including Marc Almond, Coco Rosie and Tenderloin.
From 28th July to 5th August the Exhibition Road Show in Kensington and Chelsea is a great alternative to watching athletes sweat their way through around a track. The festival features lots of interesting and unusual events and exciting entertainment, including a bicycle orchestra and a pop up ballroom.
Pop in for a bite at Noma at Claridges, the hottest pop up restaurant in the capital this summer. For those who don't know, Noma is the two Michelin starred Copenhagen restaurant that has caused quite a stir on the restaurant scene by using local ingredients and doing their own smoking, pickling and salting and is acknowledged as the world's number one restaurant. The pop up will be based in Claridges ballroom and the five course tasting menu will cost around £195.
Chill out to some free jazz at the Canary Wharf Jazz Festival, which takes place in Canada Square Park from 13th – 15th August. The festival will cover the full range of jazz styles, from Latin rhythms through to traditional and modern jazz, with names on the bill including the Pee Wee Ellis Ensemble, Natalie Williams and Alex Wilson's 'Salsatak'. The event takes place outside so is the perfect place to enjoy a sultry summer evening with a cold drink and some soothing sounds.
Head to the Proms at the Albert Hall any time between 13th July and 8th September to hear both modern and traditional classics played by excellent musicians like the BBC Symphony Orchestra. There are pieces from renowned composers, such as Prokofiev, Handel and Rachmaninov to enjoy, and ticket prices range from £7.50 up to £50 or £60. There are also a number of events and lectures to get involved in, which cost absolutely nothing to attend.
If you don't fancy getting into the Olympics this summer then, as you can see, there are plenty of other ways to stay amused in London. Even if you don't have the cash to bag that golden ticket to watch Usain Bolt in the 100 metres, you can still have plenty of fantastic experiences and you won't have to blow your entire summer budget to enjoy them.
If you're travelling to London this year, ensure you are well covered with the right single trip travel insurance.