London Gears up for 2012 Olympics with 10 Months of Special Events and a Jubilee Contest

by  Liz Webber | Sep 27, 2011
Big Ben in London, England
Big Ben in London, England / sborisov/iStock

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Though there are still 304 days to go before the 2012 Olympics, there are plenty of events to keep tourists busy as the city waits for the Games to begin. The London tourist board has launched a site called Limited Edition London to keep track of all the special happenings over the next several months, from standout art exhibitions to annual festivals to a royal milestone.

Aside from the Olympics, the big buzz in London in 2012 is the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, marking Elizabeth II’s 60th year on the throne. The official celebrations take place June 2-5, 2012 – including the Thames River Pageant on June 3 – but other commemorative events will take place throughout the year. Watch out for Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration, an exhibit of royal jewels from the past 200 years, at Buckingham Palace in August and September, as well as after-hours private tours of the palace available on select dates in January, April-May, and August-September.

Also on tap: A pair of exhibitions highlighting the twin roles of artist and scientist of the original Renaissance man; Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan runs from November 9-February 5,2012 at the National Gallery, while the Queen’s Gallery will feature Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomy from May 4-October 7, 2012.

Superlative annual events also take center stage in 2012, including the annual Chinatown celebrations of the Chinese New Year (January 23) and the World Shakespeare Festival (April 23-July 27, 2012), with performances across the country.

Itching to jet to London to partake in these events for yourself? Enter the Limited Edition London contest to win a vacation to the UK capital for the Jubilee weekend. Along with round-trip economy airfare for two, the prize package includes five night’s accommodations – one night of luxury camping at the ZSL London Zoo and four nights at the Hyatt Regency London; tickets for Phantom of the Opera, a London Eye Champagne toast, and Picasso and Modern British Art at the Tate Britain; a fully-stocked picnic lunch for the Jubilee celebration and a £100 restaurant voucher; and a £100 shopping voucher.

For general trip-planning information, see our London Travel Guide.

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