Official Olympic Travel Advice, From Transport from Londonist

By Jonn Last edited 71 months ago
Official Olympic Travel Advice, From Transport from Londonist

With the Olympic Park and 13 other venues soon to open, London's transport system is about to get busy. Really busy. Seriously, we're talking All-Bar-One-at-West-India-Quay-on-Bonus-Day busy here. You know those 'pickled people' executive toys you used to see around the place? Imagine that, but on the Central Line. Honestly, if you can leave we’d recommend you do so. It's certainly what we're planning. No, hang on, forget we said that.

Luckily for those who are stuck here, Transport from Londonist has been planning ahead. Keep our tips in mind, and you too can get ahead of the games. By working together, showing consideration for Olympic sponsors other Londoners and abandoning all pretence of normality, then maybe, just maybe, we’ll survive this thing.

  • The following parts of London are likely to be particularly busy over the next few weeks:

1) Where you work.

2) Where you live.

We realise there is little you can do to avoid these places. We just wanted to show we were on the case.

  • One way you can help reduce stress on our squealing public transport system is by working from home. If your employer is unaccommodating, you might wish to explore other options such as "getting a new job in Cornwall" or "being unemployed".
  • Another option is to find a new route to and from work. Journeys involving Croydon Tramlink, Chiltern Railways and the Romford to Upminster branch line are expected to be relatively hassle free.
  • To help prepare for the Olympics, we have invested substantially in new transport infrastructure. If you're one of the many Londoners who commute from the Royal Docks to North Greenwich, why not give the new cable car a go?
  • To give the crowds time to disperse during evening rush hour, go on a pub crawl after work.
  • Wherever possible, avoid public transport altogether. If you’re one of the many Londoners with private helicopters, jet skis, jet packs, teleportation devices or yogic flying abilities, Transport from Londonist encourages you to use them.
  • To  help speed more important people around the place, Transport from Londonist has established the Olympics Route Network of VIP-only lanes. We confidently predict that other drivers will respect these at all times, and will be quite happy to sit meekly in the gridlock with nothing to do but watch foreign dignitaries speed past.
  • Walking is a great way of getting around London – and quicker than you think. Walking from Trafalgar Square to Croydon, for example, can take as little as three and half hours. Great exercise, too!
  • To minimise your stress levels during the Olympics, avoid having children.
  • While we're here, incidentally, you know that poster showing one happy looking bloke on an empty escalator? Does anyone know where we got that? Certainly doesn't look like one of our stations.
  • Despite all our preparation, certain areas of London are inevitably going to be busier than usual during the games. To help us keep things running smoothly, and to make your own London life more pleasant and enjoyable, we suggest you avoid the following:
  • Stratford
  • Heathrow
  • King's Cross
  • Victoria
  • Hyde Park
  • Whitehall
  • Other areas of zone 1
  • The Royal Docks
  • Greenwich
  • Zone 2
  • Gatwick
  • Waterloo
  • Paddington
  • Stansted
  • Wembley
  • Euston
  • Affected areas of zones 3, 4 and 6
  • The Central, Jubilee, Northern and Victoria lines
  • The DLR
  • The buses
  • The roads
  • Moving about

Good luck, everyone – and may God have mercy on our souls.

Transport from Londonist takes no responsibility for any incidents that may occur when members of the public either do or do not follow our advice. Please note that we are unable to handle any queries, questions or complaints until after the games have concluded. Anyway, we're off to Tuscany for a month. Ciao.

Last Updated 13 July 2012


This is easily the best Olympic travel advice so far. Possibly ever.

Sonia Mazzotta

hahahahahaha! Love it!! Totally! By the way, can I come to Tuscany? Sarei molto felice. :) Ciao!

David Fisher

Love it!

"Walking from Trafalgar Square to Croydon, for example, can take as little as three and half hours."
I can personally vouch for this, albeit in reverse, after I locked myself out of the house with no money, phone or Oyster one morning.


Cyclists, the roads are likely to be busy and full of traffic. So why not hitch a free ride under the wheels of a passing HGV that is now allowed to use the bus lane?


This is probably the most honest guide regarding transport during the Olympics.


I suspect I shall be following this tip in particular: "To give the crowds time to disperse during evening rush hour, go on a pub crawl after work."

Actually... I sort of do this now.

Jonn Elledge

The number of leaflets, emails and public announcements I've encountered telling me to avoid every place I ever spend any time is starting to get ridiculous.


We enquired with the building management about having a staff party in the office on 27th after work to celebrate / watch the opening ceremony, but apparently we can't.  Advice from LOCOG is that London is closing at 3pm on that day to everybody that is not an olympic sponsor or VIP so we will all have to go home early. 


That article has genuinely concerned me - London really IS going to be hell... I commute from Ealing to Liverpool St! WFT am I to do...


I'm outta here....NY, then France.  Good luck all

Dave H

This is truly magnificent.

Of course, the pedant in me is compelled to point out that there is no All Bar One in West India Quay. (Although there is one to the south of Canary Wharf.)


hahaha this nearly killed me :D 

Carolyn Thomas

Brilliant advice - I can tell you from personal experience as a West Coast Canadian that we should have heeded similar warnings prior to our own Vancouver Winter Olympics two years ago.  I had friends, in fact, who wisely took the opportunity to get out of town on holidays during the mad chaos, particularly if they lived near ANY of the Games venues (or, as our national newspaper The Globe and Mail described downtown Vancouver, "a river of vomit").  Nice. 

Take holidays, but don't under any circumstances quit your job. You'll need it to keep paying for your London Olympics for years to come based on all sports economists' reports  - see "After The Party's Over: Five Myths About Hosting The Olympics" at


Very funny.

Charlotte L Robinson

haha what about Zone 5


Great to hear that folks back home are handling things with a sense of humor - in Canada we're curious about this...

Don't listen to the naysayers


I heard all the same dire predictions about the Sydney olympics - turned out to be the emptiest roads and smoothest public transport ever seen. A fab time was had by all.

Ignore the cynics and have a great one London!


Here is some more, similarly derisory commentary:


In the months leading up to the Olympics excluded Londoners, Sebastian Coe's underclass
have been forewarned that they will not be able to use the public
transport routes they may be used to taking, even if they have paid for
an annual travel card. Adverts are scattered around London, promoting
the virtues of walking or cycling to work, as if to help Londoners
develop psychological tricks to deal with the humiliation they will face
when they are strong armed out of their local train station.

Bernard Rangel

I am biking so a step in the right direction!!!!!


Another useful tip is to only travel in the opposite direction to everyone else. Head towards Stratford at 10.08pm, and alight there for a stress-free journey.


I live in Canary Wharf and work at Gatwick Airport. I will survive... with lots of alcohol. 


What exactly was the point of Londoners paying all these bonuses to the tube and bus staff only to tell us to avoid using the network! Muppets!


Time for "Occupy the Olympic Lanes". The Officials keep telling us that these are the Games for the Youth of the World and how this is a great Event for young Amateurs when in fact they take home more Money than 20 Cityboys combined. Yes, we are hosting the Olympics but we did not sell our City to People like this


Your forgot Wimbledon with its backhander, break point, flatliner, jamming and sudden death. 


This campaign was a bit too effective in some areas!