Best ways to celebrate the Olympics in the UK

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Stylist Team
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For each week of the Games, Stylist has rounded up the best events saluting London 2012 across the country. Enjoy…

  • 20:12 The Painted Games

    London, Until 26 September; 12a Vyner Street, E2; free;

    Victoria Pendleton, Rebecca Adlington and Andy Murray are just three of the 20 Team GB athletes who have provided creative inspiration for online gallery DegreeArts emerging art superstars. The company’s artists developed relationships with the athletes, who acted as muses; either sitting for paintings or photographs from which the artists could work. All of the portraits are on show and available to buy. Prices start from £275.

  • London Mexfest

    London, 17-19 August; Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, E1; day pass £15;

    To coincide with the Games, the ever-trendy Rich Mix cinema in Shoreditch will play host to its inaugural London Mexfest, a three day fiesta of live music, award-winning films, exhibitions, food and even a spot of wrestling. It’s all

    been compiled to welcome our Mexican compadres to London during the Games and highlight their rich artistic culture.

  • The World in London

    London, Until 30 August; Victoria Park, E3 and 453-497 Oxford Street, W1(from 13 August); free;

    If there’s one thing Danny Boyle’s spectacular Olympic opening ceremony highlighted, it was just how multicultural our capital city really is. This ambitious outdoor photography exhibition celebrates the very same thing, with leading photographers, including Mary McCartney, showcasing portraits of 204 Londoners, each originating from one of the countries taking part in the Games.

  • Speed of Light

    Edinburgh, 9 August-1 September; Arthur’s Seat, Holyrood Park, EH8; £24;

    Prepare to do your best Buzz Lightyear impression as part of this mobile, illuminated art installation taking place on Arthur’s Seat, the imposing hill that overlooks Edinburgh. As part of the International Festival, this event invite members of the audience to climb the iconic landmark carrying a light, while on the pathways below are hundreds of runners wearing special light suits. The overall effect is a fantastic light display; a hillside Aurora Borealis, if you will.

  • Ronnie Scott's All Stars at Foreman's Fish Island

    London, Until 12 August; Stour Road, E3; from £30;

    See live jazz every night until the close of the Games at Foreman’s Fish Island, a mere 100 metres from the Olympic Stadium. As the sun sets on each day of sport, Foreman’s will recreate the nightclub atmosphere of the legendary Soho jazz club, Ronnie Scott’s. Meaning you can combine world class sport with world-class jazz, cocktails and late-night dining – all a five-minute stroll from the action on the track.

  • Bristol Urban Sport

    Bristol, Until 9 September; M Shed, Princes Wharf, Wapping Road, BS1; free;

    Housed in a former Fifties transit shed on Bristol’s historic dockside, this thought-provoking exhibition looks at the impact that sport can have on the natural landscape and the built environment, focusing on the famous port and the city created around it. There’s a great exhibition of photography, film and memorabilia across three galleries, tracing the area’s history from prehistoric times to the present day and exploring how sporting events can shape a community.

  • Benares Olympiad Cocktail Menu

    London, Until 31 August; 12a Berkeley Square House, W1J; from £15;

    Head to Michelin-starred Indian restaurant Benares for an evening of Olympics-themed cocktails. The one-off menu is devised by bar manager Giovanni Spezziga (formerly of W Hotels and One Aldwych) and there’s a choice of gold (whisky and cinnamon schnapps), silver (tequila, crème de cacao and kirsch) or bronze (rum and ginger liqueur).

  • Film: Undefeated


    It scooped the Oscar for Best Documentary at this year’s Academy Awards and now’s your chance to see Undefeated at cinemas across the country. The Harvey Weinstein-backed film tells the story of an impoverished community in Memphis rallying around an underdog high school American football team which attempts to reverse its fortunes. Far more than just a film about winning and losing at sport, which we’ve all been party to in the past few weeks, it also tackles the wider struggle against financial and emotional hardship.

  • The London Picnic Club

    London, Until 8 September; Skyroom, 5th floor, Magdalen House, 136-148 Tooley Street, SE1; from £5;

    Don’t miss the final few days of the rooftop oasis that is The London Picnic Club. Situated on a rooftop garden high above packed streets and Olympic frenzy, you’ll get global picnic dishes packed into your own picnic hamper – think Neal’s Yard Dairy cheeses and Spanish and Italian charcuterie. There are also garden games, live music, theatre performances and screenings of classic summertime films on a mini screen. Should be enough to keep you entertained.

  • Games In The Park

    Leeds, 11 and 12 August; Harewood House, LS17; £10;

    The splendid 18th century Harewood House near Leeds will play host to this event, which explores how sport inspires creative expression. There will be adrenaline-fuelled performances from The Freerunners, who will be scaling walls, leaping around obstacles, flipping, spinning and vaulting their way around the gardens. And should you fancy yourself as something of a bard, there’s also the chance to work with a poet to pen your own poem about the Games.

  • Club Noir Burlesque

    Edinburgh, 11 August; HMV Picture House, 31 Lothian Road, EH1; £21;

    Steady yourself for six hours (yep, six) of burlesque acts, cabaret, bands and DJ sets at the world’s biggest burlesque club. There’s an international theme to the evening, combined with Olympic glamour. The line-up includes Russian Queen Tina Tsarina, an Olympic torch bearer and Shane the Tap Dancer from Canada, who’s as quick on his feet as Usain Bolt (well, almost).

  • The Beveridge Hall Debate

    London, 13 August; The Beveridge Hall, Senate House, Malet Street, WC1E; free;

    Why do we hold separate Paralympic and Olympic events? A controversial question and one that will put a panel of speakers through their paces at this University College London debate. Some argue the two disciplines should be combined into a single games open to all while others maintain that the distinctiveness of Paralympians should be celebrated with an independent event. What do you think? The discussion will be followed by a drinks reception.

  • Africa Village London

    London, Until 12 August; Kensington Gardens, W8; free;

    Kensington Gardens is the official reception area for Africa’s athletes this Olympics. It’s also home to Africa Land, the continent’s official ‘House’, where you can discover its cultural and artistic diversity. Highlights include an exhibition of 50 photographs of legendary African sportspeople as well as a restaurant which is open to the public. African athletes will drop by every day to meet fans and show off their medals.

  • Big Dancing Terraces

    Bournemouth, Until 24 August; Pavilion Theatre, Pier Approach, BH2; free;

    Try your hand (and, for that matter, your feet) at some new moves at these free, outdoor classes. A different style of dance is taught every Friday evening, including Bollywood, African, funk, salsa and samba. It’s part of Big Dance 2012, a national celebration of dance under the London 2012 Festival banner, and we can’t think of a lovelier setting – the classes overlook Brighton’s famous Pavilion Gardens and the English Channel beyond.

  • Creating the Spectacle: Sue Austin

    Portland, 29 August-9 September; Osprey Leisure Centre, Castletown, DT5; from £10;

    Multimedia, performance and installation artist Sue Austin has been in a wheelchair ever since she developed ME in 1996. Go and see this fascinating piece of performance art, in which she glides around underwater in a swimming pool in her self-propelled wheelchair. It’s part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad and the work aims to challenge our perceptions of disability.

  • Box Hill Road River

    Surrey Hills, Until 9 September; Tadworth, KT20; free;

    Follow in the tracks of Team GB’s Lizzie Armitstead and cycle round Box Hill – part of the Olympic road race route. Look out for Richard Long’s stunning 100m-long artwork painted on the road’s surface to celebrate the legacy of the Games.

  • Camden Beach

    Until 31 August, The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Rd, NW1; free;

    London will be heaving with people during the Olympics, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get away from it all. Boasting 900 metres of ‘shoreline’ and holding 150 tonnes of sand, the Roundhouse’s artificial ‘Camden Beach’ provides the perfect antidote to crammed Tube trains and overzealous sports enthusiasts. Load up on Caribbean

    cocktails, steaks, burgers and fresh fish before a game of ping pong, boules on the beach or simply relax on a deckchair – all without leaving the capital.

  • Eat the Olympics Supper Club

    Until 11 August; secret location in W10; from £20;

    Olympic eating sounds like our kind of sport. Sarah and Jack have transformed their Queens Park flat into a restaurant serving food from different continents. You can award each dish with a gold, silver or bronze. If you’re in a competitive mood, you can bring your own appetiser to try and earn you your own gold medal. The Olympics will

    be screened throughout.

  • Sheftival

    4-5 August, Don Valley Stadium, Worksop Rd, S9; £12;

    To say that Sheffield is getting behind Olympic heptathlete – and Stylist cover star – Jessica Ennis is a huge understatement. They’re holding an entire festival of music, sports and culture in her honour. Dance to the Noisettes, spar with Team GB boxing coaches and watch the Games on a 48-square metre screen.

  • The Retreat

    Until 12 August; The Brewery, 52 Chiswell St, EC1; £150;

    Join this exclusive members’ club in the heart of the city for the night and avoid the hordes of Games tourists. You’ll get unlimited food and drink, plus access to six distinct areas. Chill out with champagne in The Park area while watching the events unfold on the big screen or, if the weather turns, grab a seat in the plush cinema.

    Then visit the Country Club with its traditional British theme, get a manicure at Backstage, enjoy food in the Great British Diner and celebrate a Team GB victory with cocktails in The Club.

  • Bitch Boxer

    2-26 August; Underbelly, 56 Cowgate, EH1; from £6;

    Men have been fighting it out in the ring since the original Olympics back in the 8th century BC but this year’s games are the first time women are allowed to compete in boxing. This play, written by Charlotte Josephine, winner of the Old Vic New Voices Edinburgh Season 2012, focuses on an athlete training for the fight of her life and the chance to represent her country. In exploring whether two life-changing events will crush her dreams of winning the title, it’s an adrenaline-fuelled, no-holds-barred one-woman show.

  • Huntathlon

    Until 30 September; £45 per person for group of minimum 15, £60 per person for group of 30;

    Split into two teams, you’re armed with the latest Samsung Galaxy Tab and challenged to navigate your way through hotspots in your city. Along the way you’ll complete Olympic-themed challenges, crack sports clues and take assigned photographs to earn as many points as possible. With a live scoreboard, penalties for incorrect answers and prizes up for grabs, this team-building exercise has to be the coolest excuse to celebrate the Games with your workmates.

  • Camp In London

    Until 14 August; Low Hall Sports Ground, Walthamstow, E17; from £20;

    Get into the spirit of the Games, festival-style. This 19-acre camp site features luxury tents complete with Egyptian cotton bedding or the option to pitch your own. A 10-minute journey from the Olympic Park via free shuttle bus, the site has screens to catch all the Games action, healthy food and drink options and, if you’re feeling inspired by Victoria Pendleton, there’s cycle hire too.

  • Jamaica In The Street

    2-6 August; Council House and Victoria Square, B3; free;

    As the official training ground for the Jamaican athletic team, Birmingham is hosting an open-air festival to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jamaican independence on 6 August. Eat traditional jerk chicken, watch

    cookery demonstrations, sip on Caribbean punch and browse crafts created by local Jamaicans, all to the beat of dancehall and reggae music. Who says the Olympics had to be about being British?

  • The Fringe

    Until 9 September; Swan Wharf, E3; £25;

    A stone’s throw from the Olympic park (Usain Bolt could nip in mid-race and still leave his opponents trailing), this exclusive pop-up canal-side bar adds a little luxury to the Games. With cocktails (the ‘Ginford Christie’), a food market and one of the best views of the stadium, sign up to this members-only establishment for the day – it’s the place to cheer on Team GB.

  • Sporting Fields

    Until 12 August; Spinningfields Estate, M3; free;

    So far this year they’ve shown Euro 2012 and Wimbledon on their big screens, but now Manchester’s premier alfresco cinema is gearing up for the Games. From Usain Bolt’s eccentric warm-up routine to the spectacular closing ceremony, all the action will be screened live. So if you want to see records smashed in super size, or get into the spirit with thousands of others, grab a deck chair and a Pimm’s. For the energetic there’s table tennis, volleyball and badminton too.

  • The Olympic Journey: The Story Of The Games

    Until 12 August; Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, WC2; free;

    Starting in Ancient Greece with the creation of the Olympics in 776BC through to this year’s Games, this exhibition features personal stories from 16 iconic Olympic heroes through the ages. Highlights include Kelly Holmes’ inspirational tale – with a display of her famous crop top – alongside all the Summer Olympic medals since 1896 and torches since 1936.

  • 26.2 miles of canapés and Champagne

    5 and 12 August; 8 Northumberland Avenue, WC2N; £26.20 for two people;

    Cheer on our marathon hopefuls from the chic surrounds of the Petit Salon while enjoying canapés and champagne. At Boyds Brasserie next door you can also get half-price cocktails for 10 minutes at 19.08, 19.42 and 20.12 – the years London has hosted the Olympics.

  • Design Stories - The Architecture Behind 2012

    Until 25 September; Royal Institute of British Architects, 66 Portland Place, W1B; free;

    Get a glimpse into how London 2012’s soon-to-be-iconic sporting venues were painstakingly designed and constructed in this intelligent and fascinating exhibition. From the huge Olympic Stadium to the beautiful £269m Aquatics Centre designed by ‘starchitect’ Zaha Hahid, all buildings are explored in depth, giving you more to consider this Olympics than just Jess Ennis’ abs.

  • Yoko Ono - Imagine Peace

    Until 9 September; free;

    The legendary artist is on a mission to bring peace to the world, and her anti-violence film project will be particularly visible during the Games. Set to John Lennon’s Imagine, her short film, Imagine Peace, will be translated into 24 languages and broadcast on live Olympic screens across the country.

  • Holland Heineken House

    Until 12 August, Alexandra Palace, London N22; £12.50;

    Share a patriotic pint with your Dutch neighbours at Holland Heineken House, in North London’s sprawling Alexandra Palace. They’re putting on a huge festival of Netherlands culture and entertainment, with shops, cafes, restaurants and big screens showing all the Olympic action. Soak up the sun on the food terrace – complete with orange sofas – before heading out to the grounds of Ally Pally for a spot of boating around the lake.

  • DockBar

    Manchester, Until 31 Aug; MediaCityUK, Salford Quays, M50; free;

    Created from two 20ft shipping containers, this pop-up bar located on the piazza at the BBC’s new home in Salford will provide the prime spot to watch all the sporting action on the site’s TV screen. Drinks including ‘The Stella’,

    ‘The Torch’ and ‘The Tom Daley’ (that’s a non-alcoholic cocktail), will be served by award-winning bartending staff. And with the BBC studios nearby and a 24-hour licence, there may even be a bit of celeb-spotting to partake in too.

  • In it to win it

    Edinburgh Until 7 Oct; Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Queen Street, EH2; free;

    About as close to Andy Murray as you’re going to get before next year’s Wimbledon, this exhibition showcases portraits of some of Scotland’s most inspiring sporting success stories. From a zany depiction of Murray and his brother, to portraits of Olympic gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy and curling legend Eve Muirhead, this is the place to hang out in the company of Olympic greats without setting foot near a stadium.

  • Cook, Eat and Run Classes

    London 27 July-12 Aug; L’atelier des Chefs; 19 Wigmore St, W1U; £15;

    A unique 30-minute cooking course at one of London’s most famous cookery schools – do one in your lunch break at 12.30pm (and then eat your creation afterwards) or after work at 6pm. You can learn how to cook dishes from Olympic nations, starting with Britain (seared salmon with beetroot, almonds and radishes) and taking in China, the US, Russia and Germany – then still have time to watch the games when you get home.

  • Maddox Beach Club

    London Until 12 Aug; Forman’s Fish Island, Stour Road, Fish Island, E3; £25;

    Luxury Mayfair club Maddox takes up residence at Forman’s Fish Island. Just 100 metres from the Olympic stadium on the waterfront, the indoor bar will screen every minute of the Games. Outside you can sashay along a man-made beach, complete with palm trees, or kick back on a sun lounger, X.B cocktail in hand. If you feel a flash of sporting inspiration, there’s a beach volleyball court too.

  • England Uncensored

    Leeds, Until 17 Sept; White Cloth Gallery, 24-26 Aire St, LS1; £10;

    The Games are going to be a great time for people watching – something acclaimed British photographer Peter Dench has made a career out of. If you love the pomp, ceremony and occasional ridiculousness of the British at play, this Olympics-themed exhibition is for you. A diverse collection of Dench’s photography from the last 14 years, it’s a timely exploration (both for Britons and tourists) of what makes our nation so unique.

  • Watershed Relays: Power, Politics and Play

    Bristol Until 31 July; 1 Canons Rd, BS1; from £5;

    One of the city’s most respected cultural hotspots, independent cinema Watershed is upping its Olympic offering with a series of screenings that celebrate and reflect upon the impact of sport. Make sure you check out Fire In Babylon, a documentary about the rise of the West Indian cricket team in the Seventies, set against the backdrop of South African apartheid and race riots in England and the Caribbean. Or, for real film buffs, see a short film relay introduced by critic Mark Kermode

  • Olympic Yoga

    London 27 July-12 Aug, Blue Cow yoga, basildon House, EC2R, from £13;

    You don’t need a team of Olympics coaches to limber up during the games. The city’s first dedicated yoga centre is offering Londoners a chance to retreat into a Zen-like sanctuary and take inspiration from the Games for a series of tailored classes paired with Olympic sports. Classes influenced by swimming will focus on exercises for the arms, runningthemed classes will tone the legs and there’s even a special Equestrian class complete with props (probably not real horses).

  • Brighton's Big Screen

    Brighton 27 July-12 Aug, Brighton seafront; free;

    Combine a day at the seaside with some serious sports watching as Brighton’s beach is transformed by the addition of an enormous 100-square foot TV screen, complete with grandstand seating for a crowd of 3,500 sports fans. Showing continuous Olympics footage from 10am each day, at night it turns into a cinema showcasing blockbuster films including Avatar, Warhorse and Titanic.

  • The Complete World of Sports (Abridged)

    London Until 25 Aug;the Arts theatre, 6-7 Great Newport St, WC2H; £22-£35;

    Anyone who has seen the Reduced Shakespeare Company do The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (Abridged) will have some idea of just how funny this three-man play is. Covering the history of sport from cavemen to today, while asking questions such as “Is darts really a sport?”, this is a properly funny production.

  • Playing the Games

    London 26 July-12 August; the Criterion theatre, 218-223 Piccadilly, W1v; £10-£35;

    Culture vultures will relish this series, co-curated by Olympic ambassador Stephen Fry. Each lunchtime, a different personality (including Rick Edwards, Stephen Daldry and Clive Owen) will interview an Olympian on stage. Fry is taking on gold medal hurdler Edwin Moses, while Owen interviews Rwanda’s first Olympic cyclist Adrien Niyonshuti. There are also afternoon plays specially commissioned for the Games on daily at 2.30pm and 4.15pm.

  • The House of Nations

    London From 27 July; Kings Cross, WC1 and the tower of London EC3; from £10-£75;

    Alternative way to watch the Games in style, these two limited edition pop-up spaces will provide hundreds of revellers with the chance to indulge in a few cocktails, enjoy music from live DJs and try their hand at ping pong, as well as watching all the sporting action live on giant screens.

  • Victoria Baths Screens Olympic Swimming Finals

    Manchester 6pm-9pm, 28 July; Hathersage Rd, m13; free;

    If you haven’t got tickets to the Olympic Park Aquatics Centre, fear not, you can still watch the races and feel close enough to smell the chlorine. In one of the most interesting ways to experience the games, iconic swimming venue Victoria Baths is screening the swimming in an empty pool, where previous Olympic competitors once trained, plus there will be tours of the Grade II listed building and a bar. Goggles optional.

  • Global Feast 2012

    London Until 13 Aug; Old town Hall, 29 the broadway, E15; £55;

    If you haven’t quite realised your ambition to eat your way around the world just yet, then now’s your chance – and you don’t even need your passport. At this unique dining experience, chefs from around the world will cook a different cuisine every night including Russian, Vietnamese, Scandinavian and East African. You’ll be greeted with a welcome cocktail and canapés followed by dinner, entertainment and a bar open until 2am. Best of all, you’ll sit at a world map-shaped table. How fun is that?

  • Jimmy's Supper Club at Annex East

    London, Until mid Aug; Annex East, 2 Hutchins Close, E15; £32-£47;

    Just 100 metres from the Olympic site, pop-up food maverick Jimmy Garcia is staging a series of feast nights showcasing five courses of British produce, as well as food and film evenings with screenings of Cool Runnings, Chariots Of Fireand Dodgeball. There’s also a Sunday brunch sports club day and Olympic-themed lunch options like ‘Linford’s lunch box’. With DJs, big screens and an art exhibition, it’s set to be one of the coolest spots to be during the Games.

  • Summerhouse Bar

    Manchester, Until Sept; Exchange Square, manchester City Centre; free;

    Created for the summer of sporting action, this colourful pavilion in the heart of Manchester is the place to be seen this week. Cocktails are made using fruit from trees on site and served in watering cans to guests reclining on sun loungers, and mezze platters and deli salads are available if you’re feeling peckish. With the Exchange Square big screen within easy viewing distance and live music most weekends, it’s the best Olympics party in the city.

  • BT Road to 2012: Aiming High

    London, Until 23 Sept; National Portrait Gallery, St martin’s Place, WC2H; free;

    The National Portrait Gallery’s largest ever photographic commission, this exhibition curates fascinating portraits of athletes. See gymnast Beth Tweddle and her teammates, triple jumper Yamilé Aldama and runner Jodie Williams up close and personal. A must for photography enthusiasts – and perfect for escaping the Trafalgar Square crowds.

  • Martin Creed: All the Bells Work no.1197

    Nationwide, 27 July, 8.12am-8.15am;

    Cement your place in history by becoming part of Turner Prizewinning artist Martin Creed’s massive collaborative performance art project. At 8.12am sharp on the first day of the Olympic Games, Creed wants you to ring any bell you can get your hands on – hand, bicycle, door, whatever – for exactly three minutes, to help welcome the Games to the UK. Sign up online (you can even download a special bell-sound app to your phone) and get your wrists ready.

  • The Bookclub Basecamp

    London 27 July-12 Aug; 100-106 Leonard St, EC2A; free;

    The Book Club bar has become synonymous with London’s East End. Now the folk behind it are branching out to transform a disused car-park opposite the main bar into an adult playground – complete with giant screens showing Olympic events, paddling pool, frozen cocktails, basketball hoops and a vintage ice-cream van – for the duration of the Games. Forget the expensive corporate hospitality suites at the Olympic Park; this is surely the place to celebrate Team GB’s medal wins.

  • Old School Sports Day

    Hampshire, 28 July; the Vyne, Basingstoke, RG24; £9.95;

    The National Trust is offering the chance to try your hand at the weird and wonderful world of vintage sports. An all-day event in a beautiful stately home, get involved with cheese rolling, welly wanging and three-legged races as well as the classic egg-and-spoon dash. When the rest of the world is tuned into proper sporting trials, this is the perfect piece of retro escapism.

  • Mr Brainwash Summer Show

    London, Until 10 Aug; 134 New bond St, W1S; free;

    Subject of Banksy’s acclaimed 2010 documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop, graffiti artist Mr Brainwash is in London for the Olympics. Starting with an exhibition at the Opera Gallery, he’s showing some of his most iconic prints – including the original artwork he did for Madonna’s greatest hits album Celebration, as well as brand new sketches and sculptures. The show then moves to The Old Sorting Office on New Oxford Street for a three-floor takeover.

  • The Great Olympic Garden Party

    Lincolnshire, 28 July-12 Aug; Burghley House, Stamford PE9; £11.25,

    One of the grandest period properties in the country is throwing open its doors and putting on a series of Olympic-themed garden parties in their stunning grounds for the duration of the Games. Watch movies including Pride & Prejudice and feast on the best of British produce (like Pimms, strawberries and cream).

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Stylist Team