The 2012 London Olympic Games are just around the corner, running from July 27 to August 12, according to the event’s website. People from all over the world will flock to the city on the Thames to watch top athletes compete for international glory.
For those of you who visit London, you may find yourself competing for tickets, hotel rooms, and seats at restaurants. One thing that will help make your trip a bit more enjoyable will be to know your way around the London transportation network.
If you’re planning a day trip out of London during your Olympics stay or if you’re heading into the city from another destination, here’s a look at some of the most important train stations for you to familiarize yourself with. Don’t forget to check out the Olympic Games spectator planner to help you figure out the details of your trip.
St. Pancras International
Euston Road, London
If, like me, you end up taking the train from Paris to London at some point, you’ll find yourself on the Eurostar bound from Gare du Nord to London’s St. Pancras International. When I took the trip, it was to Waterloo Station, but the Eurostar changed stations in 2007.
After journeying under the Channel Tunnel, or Chunnel, you’ll arrive in England and find yourself in this imposing, Victorian-era station in Camden.
The station is also host to East Midlands trains to Derby, Nottingham, Sheffield, and Leicester, as well as the Southeastern for Kent and East London and First Capital Connect reaching Bedford, Luton, and Brighton — England’s best-loved southern beach town.
King’s Cross Station
Directly across from St. Pancras Station is King’s Cross, the station that looks like a strange castle with two large arches separated by a stout clock tower.
If you’re heading in from York or Cambridge, this will be the station you reach in London. King’s Cross serves the east coast main line and, according to its website, services 40 million people per year. Harry Potter fans should look for the half-disappeared trolley near Platform 9 3/4. To find the popular tourist spot, check out its new permanent home at the New Western Departures Concourse, according to the Huffington Post.
York Road, Lambeth
The 90-year-old building housing Waterloo is London’s largest station and home to service for Surrey, Berkshire, Hampshire, and much of the southwestern portion of the U.K.
If you find yourself hungry, there are 31 restaurants, pubs, and cafes. The facility has a very basic design, making it difficult to get lost from building entry to platform.
Shawn Humphrey lived in and traveled much of Scotland, Wales, and England for a month and maintains a keen interest in both Olympic events and British travel news in preparation for his next inevitable trip.