Five non-Olympic Things to do in London During the Olympic Games

A certain four-yearly sporting event of Greek origin means that, from late July to mid August 2012, the atmosphere in London is going to be even more electric than usual. If you’d like to experience that lively buzz, but the thought of all those sports leaves you in a cold sweat, London still has plenty to offer the non-sports fan this summer.

Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park – 18 May to 8 September

The only fully professional, permanent outdoor theatre in Britain, the Open Air Theatre at Regent’s Park is one of the largest in London, but it offers audiences a uniquely intimate experience. Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the theatre’s annual signature piece, and this year’s other main production is Ragtime: The Musical. Audiences can also enjoy comedy from the likes of Jimmy Carr and outdoor screening of films including Guillermo del Toro’s adult fairytale Pan’s Labyrinth.

Exhibition Road Show – 28 July to 5 August

Home to such prominent museums as the Science Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, and Natural History Museum, Exhibition Road has been refurbished recently, and the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea have decided to show it off with a free festival. Celebrate culture and science with scientific experiments, lectures and debates, music and dance, aerial displays, daily parades, and acrobatic performances.

Great British Beer Festival – 7 August to 12 August

London gets notoriously hot in the summer, so what better way to cool off than with a refreshing beer. Now in its seventh year, the “Biggest Pub in the World” will offer more than 800 different real ales, ciders and foreign beers for the expected 50,000 attendees to sample. It’s not all about drink, either: The beers will be accompanied by different international dishes and music, for a truly global experience.

Southbank Centre’s Festival of the World – 1 June to 9 September

With everything from art, music, and dance to comedy, markets, and an urban beach, the Festival of the World at Southbank Centre celebrates international culture and shows how art can change lives. The event incorporates Britain’s biggest-ever poetry festival, an innovative programme of works by disabled artists, and inspiring learning opportunities at the Hayward Gallery summer school.

Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration – 30 June to 7 October

This year, Queen Elizabeth celebrates 60 years on the throne, the only monarch apart from Queen Victoria to reach such a landmark. As part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, Buckingham Palace is displaying an astonishing collection of diamonds worn by the Queen and other royalty during the past two centuries. Learn about the jewels’ historical, political and diplomatic importance and trace their paths through the generations.

So that’s then, if you want to avoid the Olympics you can do any or all of the above activities. But less face it, it’s pretty impossible to avoid the Olympics. If you are fortunate enough to be traveling to London for the Olympics, check out our amazing car hire rates at Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport. Oh, and watch out for cyclists and marathon runners!