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London Olympics: Tips on how to navigate the city during Games

Planning to make your way around the busy city during the Olympic Games? There are plenty of options, including the Tube, bus and rail.

July 08, 2012|By John Lampl, Special to the Los Angeles Times

The ubiquitous double-decker buses will play a big role, with 17 bus routes passing through Stratford Station. From Central London the No. 25 bus, which you can catch at Oxford Circus (at Regent and Oxford streets), is the most convenient. Buses run every three to five minutes during the day. Plan on at least an hour for the ride, which accounts for traffic. Although the Tube is faster, you'll get the lay of the land on the bus.

Rail

Docklands Light Railway, a light rail system that opened about 25 years ago, serves the Olympic Park area. There will be extra trains in the late evening to help with departing crowds.

High-speed train

A high-speed Javelin shuttle service will run between the Olympic Park Stratford Station and King's Cross St. Pancras station. It will run eight to 10 times an hour.

Boat

One of the most relaxing and fun ways to see the sights — the London Eye, the Royal Naval College, St. Paul's Cathedral and more — is from the river on a Thames Clipper. Because the river twists and turns, you'll also understand why London developed as it did. These high-speed catamarans run every day at 20-minute intervals. They connect piers near Westminster Bridge (across the street from the Houses of Parliament) and the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich. The stops at the North Greenwich Pier are near the equestrian and gymnastics sites. Extra boat services have been planned and should coincide with dedicated events at nearby venues. Info: http://www.thamesclippers.com

Car

Here's a piece of advice if you're thinking of renting a car: Don't. London's 9,200 miles of roads are mind-boggling if you're doing it for the first time and don't know where you're going, never mind learning to drive on the left. But if you do it anyway, buy or rent a GPS, which will save you hours of frustration.

Only about 30% of London's roads will be affected during the games, and Transport for London will oversee London's network using a continuously managed street control system that maintains signal timing. More than 2,000 intersections will employ a state-of-the-art technology to control traffic flow.

There will be about 30 miles of designated Games Lanes for the sole use of the Games gamily (athletes, officials, etc.) and emergency vehicles, which will be used only when and where absolutely required. If not required, the Games Lanes will be reopened to general traffic.

Two useful sites for those driving to venues are http://www.london2012.com/accessandparking (parking at sites) and http://www.lat.ms/LTCzEL, on central London's congestion charges.

More info

The best website for further information on the Olympic and Paralympic games is http://www.london2012.com. And the best site for information about traveling and touring through Britain is from Visit Britain, the country's tourist organization: http://www.visitbritain.com.

travel@latimes.com

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