The Olympics: Where in Croydon to watch and celebrate London 2012
WITH the London 2012 Olympics now just three weeks away, Croydon is on its marks and getting set for an array of events to celebrate the Games.
From mini-Games and cycle rides in Croydon to meeting the mascot and fun days over the border in Sutton, there's plenty to do for all the family.
The most memorable of these takes place on July 23, when the Olympic torch relay will pass through first Croydon and then Sutton, before continuing to Merton and Wandsworth.
The torch will start the day in Lewisham and Bromley, before entering the borough of Croydon through Crystal Palace Park and onto the A212 Church Road in Upper Norwood at about 11.20am.
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From there it will travel down the A215 South Norwood Hill and Whitehorse Lane, turning right into Thornton Heath and down Brigstock Road and and the A235 London Road through Broad Green and West Croydon.
The torch will enter North End at about 12.20pm and arrive at the town hall at about 12.30pm, before stopping off for lunch at St Andrew's School on Warrington Road at 12.40pm.
It will leave again an hour later, entering the borough of Sutton via Fiveways down the A232 Croydon Road.
It will continue on the A232 through Wallington and onto Acre Lane, Pound Street and Carshalton Road, entering Carshalton at about 2pm, then right into Sutton town centre.
The torch will be carried down the High Street at about 2.30pm, and onto St Nicholas Way, before going back onto the High Street, left onto Sutton Common Road and right onto the A217 Reigate Road.
From there it will enter the borough of Merton via Mitcham, and will spend the evening on Tooting Bec Common for the Wandsworth celebration evening.
"It's great that the torch route runs through many of our most densely populated areas," said Sara Bashford, Croydon Council's cabinet member for customer services and communications.
"I hope that means that thousands of people will come out of their homes on the day to cheer on the runners.
"This is a unique spectacle and something that we can all truly be proud of being a part of."
Sports bars are gearing up to show the live action, with many offering special hospitality packages, and there are also Paralympic-themed events.
For more information on these events, and our pick of the other top places to watch and celebrate the Olympics in Croydon and across the borough into Sutton, check out our list below.
- First on the list is watching the Olympic torch relay though Upper Norwood, Thornton Heath and Croydon town centre. The torch enters the borough at about 11.20am, and will be carried through the north, leaving for Sutton at about 1.55pm. You could also watch the torch being carried through the neighbouring borough of Sutton, or through Merton or Wandsworth - or even join the free party on Tooting Bec Common in the evening. To see the Olympic torch relay route through Croydon, click here
- Over in Sutton, you could celebrate the Olympic torch relay in Carshalton or Sutton town centre, both on July 23. In Carshalton, highlights from 1pm include local bands performing on a swan-shaped stage, and a presentation of newly-created cultural medals at Carshalton Ponds. Honeywood Museum will also be open, offering a range of Olympic-themed craft activities including medal and torch-making, and there will also be a range of stalls and entertainment at the Memorial Gardens. Sutton is also planning to celebrate the torch relay, with residents expected to line the street to catch a glimpse of the iconic flame at about 2.30pm. Activities will be on from midday, with street theatre, circus acts and live music on the High Street.
- You could warm up for the Olympics by dusting off your bicycle and taking part in the Sky Ride Croydon this Sunday (July 8). Croydon is one of the 13 of London's biking boroughs, and the free 11.8-mile guided cycle is a great way to see the district from two wheels. The route is suitable for all ages and abilities, and follows the River Wandle trail to the National Trust-owned Morden Hall Park. The trail start at 2pm on Saturday at the grass verge by Waddon Ponds on Mill Lane, and is expected to take about two hours and 20 minutes. For more information, click here
- If the action from London 2012 inspires you to get active then head for the Croydon Arena on August 19. The Mini Games offers you a chance to try your hand at a range of Olympic sports including archery, basketball, football and athletics. All sessions will be led by club coaches and participants of all abilities are welcome. The event will be held at Croydon Arena in South Norwood from 10am until 3pm.
- The SCILL Fun Day in Sutton offers the chance for the community to come together to celebrate the Paralympics and the achievements of local disabled people. The event will feature games and sports tasters for both able and disabled people, complete with medal ceremonies. There will also be live music and a barbecue. The free event will be held at SCILL, on Robin Hood Lane in Sutton, from 10am until 3pm on September 4.
- Youngsters can also get into the Olympic spirit with the chance to meet the London 2012 mascots for free at St Nicholas Shopping Centre in Sutton. Wenlock and Mandeville, created by award-winning children’s author Michael Morpurgo, will be on hand from 11am until 4pm on July 21 on level two by Next.
- If you haven't been able to get your hands on Olympic tickets, Croydon's newest sports bar offers the next best view of the action. Bar Sport is a fan's dream, with more than 50 HD TV screens, a 4metre projector screen and an array of memorabilia on the walls. Bar Sport, at 36 High Street, also offers a wide range of food, drink and live music.
- Whether you are looking to socialise with friends or entertain business clients, Tiger Tiger also offers a great way to celebrate London 2012. The popular bar and club has a range of Olympic-themed VIP and hospitality packages built around TV screens showing the live action. For £10 per person the bronze offer will get you a VIP area, 25 bottles of Becks and nachos, while the gold 'luxury box' includes a champagne reception, cocktails, canapés and a three-course meal for £125 per person. There are also an array of offers in between, ensuring something for every occasion or budget.
- Boasting an array of big screens and professional standard snooker and pool tables, Riley's on Frith Road offers an unbeatable package for sports fans. Whether you want to soak up the atmosphere in the Fanzone with its surround sound, or catch a glimpse of the action between snooker shots, it is a gold medal standard Olympic-watching venue. Rileys is open Sunday to Wednesday 12pm-12am, Thursday 12pm-12.30am, Friday 12pm-1.30am and Saturday 10am-1.30am.