Our London by Team GB

By | Category: Travel news, Travel tips & opinions

The Olympics are almost upon us! Want to know what Team GB and Parlympics GB athletes get up to during their down time in the capital? British Airways – the official airline of the Team GB and Paralympics GB – asked the athletes (all previous Olympic and World Champions and/or tipped for gold medal success at London 2012) for their top sightseeing tops…

Zac Purchase

Rower Zac Purchase [pictured above] has a passion for a famous British ritual: “One of my favourite things to do is to have afternoon tea. It’s such a fantastic British tradition, and what better place than the nation’s capital city to give it a try. Choose a good hotel or restaurant and dress up. Make an occasion of it and you won’t need any more food for days!”

Gymnast Louis Smith advises visitors to bring their dancing shoes and when not training can often be found at the North Greenwich Arena enjoying a concert. Louis is hoping to enjoy the sound of the British national anthem and sporting success in this familiar arena when it hosts the London 2012 Gymnastics during the Games. Heptathlete, Jessica Ennis, meanwhile opts for more comfortable footwear to have a Sunday stroll and is a fan of hitting the shops on Oxford Street.

Triathlete Helen Jenkins recommends walking everywhere and picks out St Paul’s Cathedral as a must see and of course Hyde Park which will host the London 2012 triathlon course. Rower Mark Hunter, a qualified Thames Waterman, is fond of his East London heritage suggests a trip down the River Thames. Sailor Ben Ainslie somewhat unsurprisingly has a nautical theme to his favourite landmark with Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square as his number one. Wheelchair racer Shelly Woods also has a clear sporting link to her favourite place as she picks out The Mall and Buckingham Palace; it is here that Shelly will be hoping for success when she finishes the marathon later this summer.


The London Eye

The London Eye topped the polls with a quarter of athletes recommending it as their “essential London” tourist visit, closely followed by Buckingham Palace (17 per cent) and the River Thames (five per cent). They have been described as “essential London landmarks” and “some of the best places in England to visit”.

With years of training and preparation for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, it’s no surprise that our athletes’ top advice for visitors is to “plan your visit” and “walk everywhere”. The athletes also recommended visitors “have a go on a Boris Bike” rather than automatically take the tube.

For once, the British weather also proved to be an advantage to athletes, with 45 per cent admitting that they are looking forward to competing in familiar territory, being on British soil and not having to acclimatize to foreign weather or conditions.

London's mayor, Boris Johnson

As the official airline partner of Team GB and ParalympicsGB British Airways is rallying the nation to get behind our athletes and give them the best home advantage.  The airline is even encouraging the public to stay at home for the Games with their latest ‘Don’t Fly. Support Team GB’ advertising campaign. To follow or join the conversation, use #HomeAdvantage on twitter.


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