02/07/2012
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Olympic camping advice and our top Olympic campsites!

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Whenever thousands of people gather for a major event, a temporary village of tents is usually never far away.

Think the Glastonbury Festival, which plays host to the largest campsite on the planet for a weekend in July, or the 2006 World Cup Football Finals in Germany, when most of the action off the field took place on the temporary campsites that sprung up around the stadia.

This summer, the Games of the XXXth Olympiad roll into Britain and camping is sure to form a crucial aspect of the accommodation mix in and around the capital as well as some of the other venues. Hotel rooms in London are among the priciest in the world and will increase still further during the Olympic fortnight, so hard-pressed families are going to have little choice but to make lengthy journeys to and from the games in a day – or find alternative accommodation.

Fortunately the two camping and caravanning clubs have risen to the challenge and both have been quick out of the blocks in organising temporary sites on the outskirts of London. Despite an initial setback, when fierce local opposition persuaded the Caravan Club to withdraw plans for a 1,300-pitch super-site on the Essex farm where Olympic Gold medallist Sally Gunnell grew-up, there are now four temporary club sites within reasonable travelling distance of the Olympic Park at Stratford, East London.

The Camping and Caravanning Club also has a permanent site at Chertsey in Surrey and the Caravan Club has permanent sites at Abbey Wood and Crystal Palace at which tent campers are very welcome – but they are sure to fill up fast, so book early. And then there is a whole host of privately-run sites springing up in fields in and outside the M25 belt run by enterprising local farmers. These are relatively easy to find online by Googling ‘olympics’ and ‘camping’, but we suspect the quality of provision will vary almost as wildly as the pitch prices.

Our advice is to do your homWhite Water valleyework and check out internet-only campsites very carefully. If there isn’t a telephone number or postal address easily visible on the site and you can’t talk to anyone direct to make your booking, tread very carefully.

The other option is local sports clubs who are transforming their playing fields into temporary campsites for two weeks in the summer. These are generally well-established organisations with the infrastructure to cope with large numbers of campers.

Some of these sites are offering catering, bars, big screen TVs and a programme of family activities and evening entertainment and we reckon that the atmosphere on these sites will be almost as good as at the Games  themselves. A spokeswoman for Games organisers LOCOG said: “We would advise booking in advance to avoid disappointment. Some campsites may accept bookings on the same day, however the likelihood is that most sites will be booked up in advance.Aside from that, it will be business as usual, so just ensure that the campsite you have chosen is an official campsite. “The sites featured on the website are all endorsed by London & Partners where you can also find further details of any awards or accreditations they may have.” Click on visitlondon.com/category/accommodation/caravan-and-camping to find sites endorsed by the Games Organisers.

TICKETS

If you haven’t already got tickets, there will be further opportunities to purchase limited numbers of returned tickets via the official Games website www.london2012.com, but demand is sure to be high and there are no guarantees that you will secure tickets. Be aware that the only source for these tickets is the offi cial website – it is illegal to sell on Olympics tickets via a third party, so don’t be fooled by online offers of ‘guaranteed’ tickets. Some tour operators will still have limited quantities of tickets for some events, but these will almost certainly be part of a transport and accommodation package which is likely to attract a premium price.

There’s nothing to stop you heading to the capital during the Olympics however, as live TV coverage of the Games being shown on large screens in Potters Fields, Victoria Park and Hyde Park is likely to attract large crowds in the manner of the famous Henman Hill at Wimbledon.

There will also be ample opportunity to soak up the Olympic atmosphere at Weymouth - the largest venue outside London – where the sailing and windsurfing events are taking place. The best vantage points on the Nothe Fort to the south of town will be ticketed, but there are plenty of other spots to watch the action and the local organisers are pulling out all the stops to make it a memorable fortnight in this pretty Dorset seaside town by arranging a full programme of related events and activities for non-ticket holders.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT


Games organisers took the strategic decision to rely on public transport to get visitors to the stadia, so parking at all venues is strictly reserved for people with mobility issues and needsto be pre-booked. London’s already well-developed public transport infrastructure will be stepped up to cope with the extra demand during the Games and ticket-holders will all be given a free Travelcard to get around London on the day their tickets are valid. Elsewhere, parking will also be strictly limited with additional public transport and park and ride services put in place to minimize congestion. Parking spaces and park and ride need to be booked in advance via the official website, so if you are intending to travel by car – make sure you book your slot in plenty of time.

OLYMPIC VENUES
Weymouth
LONDON
Olympic Park, Stratford
¦ Athletics ¦ Swimming ¦ Cycling ¦ Modern Pentathlon
Central London
¦ Earl’s Court: Volley Ball ¦ Lord’s Cricket Ground: Archery ¦ Hyde Park: Triathlon ¦ Horse Guards Parade: Beach Volleyball
River Thames
¦ Greenwich: Gymnastics, Shooting, Equestrian ¦ Excel: Boxing, Fencing, Judo, Weightlifting
North London
¦ Wembley Arena, London: Badminton
South London
¦ Wimbledon, Gtr London: Tennis
NATIONWIDE
¦ Lee Valley White Water Centre, Herts: Canoe Slalom
¦ Eton Dorney Lake, Windsor: Canoe Sprint, Rowing
¦ Hadleigh Farm, Essex: Mountain Bike Cycling
¦ Weymouth and Portland, Dorset: Sailing
FOOTBALL VENUES
¦ Hampden Park, Glasgow
¦ Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
¦ Old Trafford, Manchester
¦ St James’ Park, Newcastle
¦ City of Coventry Stadium, Coventry
¦ Wembley Stadium, London

WHERE TO STAY

LONDON


ABBEY WOOD CARAVAN CLUB SITE Federation Road, London SE2 0LS
Tel: 020 8311 7708 Web: caravanclub.co.uk
Prices: From £30.90 for members (family of four)
Packing up the tent and heading for ‘the smoke’ is a much more cost-effective option than staying in an expensive hotel. Despite its proximity to the capital, this gently sloping, verdant site feels positively rural. Mature tree screening and spacious grounds give the impression of intimacy and good railway connections mean you can get into central London in just 35 minutes. Nearby Greenwich, which hosts a number of Olympic events, is just a few minutes away by train, while just across the Thames via the WoolwichFerry, is the Excel complex which is hosting several more disciplines.

CRYSTAL PALACE CARAVAN CLUB SITE Crystal Palace Parade, London SE19 1UFCrystal Palace
Tel: 020 8778 7155 Web: caravanclub.co.uk
Prices: From £30.90 for members (family of four)
Another of the Club’s popular London sites, Crystal Palace is ideally placed for visitors with tickets for Olympic events in central London. The number 3 bus near the site departs regularly and will take you directly to Oxford Circus, via Westminster and Piccadilly. It’s less well placed for the Olympic Park, which is quite a haul across central London, but visitors should still be able to get there in around an hour. On-site, there’s a separate tent area and toilet block. It’s spread across some six acres, with 126 pitches in total, but be warned – this site can get very busy – so book well in advance.

BARLEYLANDS CARAVAN CLUB TEMPORARY SITE
Barleylands Farm, Barleylands Road Billericay CM11 2UD
Tel: Bookings 01342 336666 Site:01268 532253 Web: barleylands.co.uk
Prices: From £18
The Caravan Club is operating this temporary 400-pitch site at Barleylands Farm Park to offer members easy access to Olympic venues of 2012 in and around the London area. While it’s primarily for caravanners, small tents will be permitted to share pitches next to caravans. There’s a regular overland rail service from Billericay station (only 2.7 miles from site) to Stratford Station - a 25 minute journey - and the Olympic mountain biking takes place at nearby Hadleigh Farm. Facilities will include fresh water and waste disposal services, but all units must have their own sanitation. There’s a café and restaurant on site and a park and ride system will operate between the site and Hadleigh Farm.

DE ORANJE CAMPING TEMPORARY SITE Greenwich Peninsula (Nr the O2 Arena), Greenwich
Tel: 031 076 888 3047 Web: oranjecamping.nl
Prices: Start at £167 for a 10-metre pitch for two nights based on three people per tent
This conveniently located site is run by Netherlands-based specialists in mass camping at events like the World Cup football. They are planning to accommodate around 4,000 people at this officially endorsed site near the Millennium Dome on the Greenwich Peninsula – which is within easy reach of Olympic events at Greenwich, Excel and not too far away from the Olympic Park at Stratford. The organisers are promising to create a festival atmosphere with additional attractions like live entertainment, shopping, bars and an urban beach...whatever that is.

ETON MANOR RUGBY CLUB The New Wilderness, Nutter Lane Wanstead, London E11 2JA
Tel: 020 8392 8145 Web: camp-2012.co.uk
Prices: From £20
Eton Manor is so close to the Olympic Park that you can almost hear the crowd cheering. The Olympic Stadium is only nine minutes along the Central Line to either Stratford International or Leyton Underground Stations. Both Wanstead and Redbridge stations are only a short stroll from Eton Manor and the London Bus network is also right on the doorstep, giving you access to central London and beyond. Facilities include showers toilets, bars, food outlets and large screen televisions. Tents only. No barbecues or drinking outside designated bar areas.

CAMPING 2012 GAMES LTD Brook Farm, Murthering Lane, Navestock, Essex RM4 1H
Tel: 01277 372112 Web: camping2012games.co.uk
Prices: From £20
The owners of this large greenfield site are promising a full programme of entertainment and large screen broadcasts of the Games plus shuttle buses transporting campers to Debden and Theydon Bois tube station for the 15-minute journey into London. A large marquee will be open daily with a bar and live coverage of the Olympic events. Food snacks/stalls will be available for evening refreshments and a large toilet and shower block with hot water will be open all day. Secure storage and phone charging facilities also available.

GRAVESHAM CAMPING AND CARAVANNING CLUB SITES
Gravesend Rugby Football Club, Donald Biggs Drive, Milton Road, Gravesend, Kent DA12 2TL
Tel: 0845 130 7633 Web: 2012camping.co.uk
Prices: from £30 per night, based on a minimum three-night stay.
Ideally located near Ebbsfleet International Station, these three sites are just ten minutes away from the Olympic Park and Stadium by High Speed Train. Offering almost 500 pitches between them, the sites will include shower and toilet facilities, onsite catering and bar services, Big Screens in the clubhouses, family entertainment and activities, shop and even packed lunch provision! Well-run and family-friendly, these sites should have a great atmosphere during the games.

Lee Valley ParkLEE VALLEY CAMPING & CARAVANNING CLUB TEMPORARY SITE Lammas Road, Leyton, London E10 7NU
Tel: 0845 130 7633 Web: 2012camping.co.uk
Prices: From £45 per night, based on a minimum three-night stay.
Located adjacent to a nature reserve in the Lee Valley Regional Park, this site is within a 10-minute walk of the Olympic Park and is believed to be the closest campsite to the venue – with the huge stadia visible from campers’ pitches. The 320-pitch site will offer full camping facilities and provide onsite catering. The site will be open to members and non-members and Club rules will apply whilst staying on site. It’s also very handy for the canoe slalom events taking place at the nearby White Water Centre.

LEE VALLEY CAMPING AND CARAVAN PARK
Meridian Way, Edmonton, London N9 OAR
Tel: 020 8803 6900 Web: leevalleypark.org.uk
Prices: From £19.20 per pitch
This permanent site is operated by the Lee Valley Park Authority and has comprehensive facilities including an on-site shop, adventure playground for the children, heated shower and toilet blocks, laundry and undercover washing up area as well as a barbecue area. Central London is less than an hour away and the Olympic Park even closer. Ponder’s End station is just a short walk away and there are good bus connections via the W8 service. Camping pods also available to hire.

LEE VALLEY CAMPSITE Sewardstone Road, Chingford, London E4 7RA
Tel: 020 8529 5689 Web: leevalleypark.org.uk
Prices: From £19.20 per pitch
With central London less than 40 minutes away by Tube, this is another city site that feels like it’s in the heart of the country. A regular bus service will take campers to Walthamstow Central Underground Station from which a frequent service on the Victoria Line takes you right into the centre of London. Two facilities blocks and shop onsite. If you have tickets, your free Olympic Travelcard will get you into the Olympic Park or Central London for free.

WESTLANDS PLAYING FIELDS CAMPING & CARAVANNINGCLUB TEMPORARY SITE
London Road, Romford RM7 9NU
Tel: 0845 130 7633 Web: 2012camping.co.uk
Prices: from £30 per night, based on a minimum three-night stay.
This is the Club’s largest temporary site on the outskirts of London, promising a lively atmosphere for the entire Olympic period. The campsiteboasts 430 pitches and a popular sports pavilion on site with purpose-built toilet, shower, changing, catering and entertainment facilities. The location is close to Romford Train Station, with a journey time of approximately 15 minutes to Stratford Station for the Olympic Park.

WINDSOR

Getting across London from east to west is never an easy undertaking, so if you are planning to watch the rowing, it makes more sense to stay out to the west of the capital. These sites also offer reasonably rapid access into central London via train.

HURLEY RIVERSIDE PARK
Hurley, Maidenhead SL6 5NE
Tel: 01628 824493 Web hurleyriversidepark.co.uk
Prices: From £29 (two adults and pitch)
A pretty family-run holiday park right alongside the River Thames in the picturesque village of Hurley offering an ideal location to relax and enjoy the Thames Valley, or to visit the wide variety of attractions that the South East has to offer. Just over ten miles from Dorney Lake - location of the Olympic rowing and flat water canoeing. Central London is less than an hour away by train from Marlow or Henley on Thames.

CHERTSEY CAMPING AND CARAVANNING CLUB SITE Bridge Road, Chertsey, Surrey KT16 8JX
Tel: 01932 562405 Web: campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk
Prices: Members’ family deal £32.35
Pleasant site near the M25 in the leafy Surrey commuter belt to the south west of London. Trains will whisk you into central London in around 30 minutes from nearby Weybridge station and Chertsey is also very handy for the Olympic rowing course at Eton Dorney. Less conveniently placed for the Olympic Park and events out to the east, but with an early start, it should be possible to reach these venues by train and tube in around 1hr 20 minutes. Plenty of familyfriendly attractions in the immediate vicinity if you want to make aHorsley site week of it - including Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures and Legoland.

HORSLEY CAMPING AND CARAVANNING CLUB SITE Ockham Road North, East Horsley, Surrey KT24 6PE
Tel: 01483 283273 / 08451307633 Web: campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk
Prices: Members family deal £25.55
A pretty site located at the foot of the North Downs in deepest Surrey, yet less than an hour from central London by train. Campers will have additional opportunities to get involved with the sporting action as the site is also close to the Olympic Cycling Road Race course. The site’s modern toilet block has excellent facilities, including a mother and child room, privacy cubicles, food preparation space and dishwashing and laundry facilities. Also handy for Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures and Legoland.

SWISS FARM INTERNATIONAL TOURING & CAMPING
Marlow Road, Henley-on-Thames, Oxon RG9 2HY
Tel: 01491 573 419 Web swissfarmcamping.co.uk
Prices: From £21.50 for a basic grass pitch and two adults
Gorgeous and wellmanaged site in beautifully landscaped parkland just a few minutes’ walk from the Thames. Ideal for the Olympic rowing at Eton Dorney with central London easily accessible by train from Henley on Thames. The site is very tranquil with extensive planting to enhance privacy. An upmarket, family-friendly site surrounded by attractive countryside which discourages large groups of young adults looking to have a party.

WEYMOUTH
Site of the Olympic Sailing Village and Marina, Weymouth was the fi rst of the Olympic venues to be completed and is the largest Olympic venue outside London. Local organisers in this picturesque old seaport are promising to extend a warm welcome to Olympic spectators by offering a packed programme of events throughout the Games fortnight – and the Paralympic  Games - for both ticket-holders and non ticket-holders. Visit visit-dorset.com, visitweymouth.co.uk or dorsetforyou.com for more details of activities and events during the Olympics.

SEAVIEW HOLIDAY PARK
Preston, Weymouth, Dorset DT3 6DZ
Tel: 0871 2310877 Web: haven.com
Prices: From £14 (two adults and pitch)
Offering a large grassed field for tents, Seaview Holiday Park in Weymouth features a great view out over Weymouth Bay allied to plenty of on-site family fun. As well as all manner of outdoor play areas, the entertainment centre features everything from a show bar to indoor bowling and a swimming pool complex. The site is also on the bus route into town and the centre of Weymouth is within manageable walking distance along the seafront.

East Fleet FarmBAGWELL FARM TOURING PARK Chickerell, Weymouth, Dorset DT3 4EA
Tel: 01305 782575 Web: bagwellfarm.co.uk
Prices: From £22 (two adults and pitch)
This 320-pitch awardwinning site is one of several sites lining the Fleet Lagoon behind Chesil Beach which extends to the west of Weymouth. The bar and takeaway onsite will be open every day over the summer months and there is also a pub within half a mile of the site. Catch the bus for the four-mile trip into Weymouth from the top of the access road into the site.

EAST FLEET FARM TOURING PARK Chickerell, Weymouth, Dorset DT3 4DW
Tel: 01305 785768 Web: eastfleet.co.uk
Prices: From £28.50 (two adults and pitch)
Right next to the tranquil Fleet Lagoon, East Fleet Farm Touring Park is a 20-acre site that has 400 pitches and full facilities including WCs, showers, family rooms, disabled campers’ WC and showers facilities and chemical disposal points. There is also, a ball games and kite fl ying area, plus a children’s play area. A well-stocked accessory shop also sells camping essentials like milk, bread, eggs, cereals, newspapers, sweets, ice cream, beer and wines. Just two miles outside of the town centre and on a regular bus route.

For more campsites, visit our campsite finder by clicking here.

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