Subject:                          FW: London Olympics - Low cost options...

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 Can I enjoy the London Olympics without breaking the bank? 
03/23/2012
Globe and Mail - Online

Karan Smith

The Olympic Stadium and Orbit tower at the Olympic Park in Stratford, London Reuters

The question: Can you give some tips on enjoying the spirit of the London Olympics without breaking the bank?

It is possible to soak up the London Olympics on a budget – especially if you like sleeping in a tent.

The country's Camping and Caravanning Club has organized numerous sites, some for as low as $12 (£7.50) a night. Its Waterworks site (called Lee Valley at campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk) is located 10 minutes from the Olympic Park, with site fees of about $70 (£45) a night. And Camp in London (campinlondon.com) is transforming a field in East London into a tent city, with options ranging from pitch-your-own sites for $23 to luxury tents with rugs, tea-light chandeliers and continental breakfast for $150 a night.

Other budget options include B&Bs and glam hostels such as Clink78 (clinkhostels.com), a former courthouse with designer dorms, and Palmers Lodge (palmerslodges.com), with its salvaged furniture and curtained-off beds. (For more sleeping options, search Visit London under “London 2012” and “Essential Information.”)

As for ambience, there are plenty of ways to catch the mood on the cheap.

Free Olympic sporting events include road cycling, marathons and sailing, says Ted Flett, a spokesman for VisitBritain. “Olympic live sites across the U.K. will also entertain spectators who couldn't get quite so close to the action.” (These “live sites” will include big screens in the city's famed Hyde Park, Victoria Park and Trafalgar Square; search london2012.com for details.)

And the London 2012 Festival, the finale of the Cultural Olympiad, will see more than 1,000 events held across the country. Free spectacles include floating operas, gladiators wrestling with electrical current and pop-up athletic acts, as well as annual parties such as Radio 1's music fest, Hackney Weekend.

If you do want to cough up some coin to witness the world-class athletes sweat, there are tickets still available to competitions such as diving, canoe sprinting and rowing. Through CoSport (cosport.com), Canadians can buy individual tickets, as well as packages that include a hospitality pass and rooms at the Hilton London Metropole, says Mark Lewis, president of Jet Set Sports, CoSport's sister company.

Whatever you decide, the Mayor of London's (molpresents.com) tagline seems to ring true: It will be a summer like no other.

Send your travel questions to
concierge@globeandmail.com.

Follow Karan Smith on Twitter: @karan_smith. Special to The Globe and Mail