Away from the Olympic Park in the East, London’s Kensington Gardens in the West will be a highlight of the Olympic Experience. The expansive parkland will be a land of contrasts featuring Russia’s snowbound Sochi Park, a sunny African Village and the dancing robots from South Korea down the road…
From Russia with love
The Russians will make their mark on the 2012 Olympics in unforgettable style with not one, but two venues in the ultimate showcase of Russian culture in London.
Russia Park is a family-friendly open air festival which will include dance and music from all corners of Russia and exhibitions showcasing traditional folk craft. Kids can get a sporting masterclass (with an Olympic gold medallist no less) in the Megafon multi-purpose sports zone featuring a mini ice rink that converts to a football pitch, a snowboarding simulator, ice curling tracks and more. Then take a breather in the picnic zone and watch all the Olympic action on the big screen while tucking into tasty Russian treats such as shashlik, pirozhki and blini.
Meanwhile VIPs from the world of business, politics and sport will gather in the House of Russia Hospitality Centre, for a series of invitation-only conferences and gala events.
Sochi Park will bring a Russian winter wonderland to London in the height of summer. Inside the 6000sqm interactive pavilion visitors can take a virtual trip through Russia to Sochi, the 2014 Winter Olympic Host City. Cutting-edge 4D technologies will make visitors feel they are right there on the slopes of the snowy Sochi mountains.
The spectacular Ice Arena, featuring ice skating shows from Olympic and world champions, is not to be missed.
Venue: Russia Park, Perks Field, W8 (close to the Russian Embassy); Sochi Park, Albert Memorial Lawns (opposite the Royal Albert Hall), Kensington Road, SW7
Dates: 26 July-12 August
Times: Russia Park – 10.00-19.00 (public areas); Sochi Park – Visitor experience 10.00-21.00, Ice Arena (day)
13.00-15.00 (night) 19.00-21.30
Admission (includes fast-track access to Russia Park and one three-hour session in Sochi Park): Adult £18 (online), £20 (box office); concession £12 (online), £14 (box office)
From dancing robots to Korean acupuncture and traditional music from Dulsori, Korea House at the Royal Thames Yacht Club in Knightsbridge will celebrate the country’s ancient culture and technological innovations.
Guests can also learn Korean crafts or dress up in traditional Hanbok dress. With the 2018 Winter Olympics set for PyeongChang, Korea is putting its best robot foot forward.
Venue: Royal Thames Yacht Club
60 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7LF
Dates: 27 July-12 August
Opening hours: 10.00-18.00 daily
Performances: Dulsori (15.30-16.00 daily); Dancing robots (10.00, 12.30 and 17.00 daily)
Rhythm of Africa
Feel the pulse of Africa at the African Village where, for the first time ever at an Olympic Games, African nations will join together to stage a cultural extravaganza of African music, dance, storytelling, art, fabulous fashion and food in the heart of London.
Take a journey through Africa Land by visiting each of the national huts while each day a different country will showcase their culture. For instance, on Egypt Day (4 August) guests can watch enchanting belly dancers, eat Egyptian cuisine and get a henna tattoo from an on-site henna artist.
There will be two concerts daily featuring entertainment that highlights the diversity on the continent – Ethiopian drummers, Nigerian dance, Tunisian singers, bands from Morocco and a famous Senegalese artist.
Having worked up a sweat, visitors can have a bite to eat in the all-Africa restaurant, featuring delicacies from across the continent. Fans will also be able to watch African athletes compete on the big screen and later in the evening meet them in person as podium stars take to the stage to show off their medal haul.
Venue: Kensington Gardens, opposite the Royal Albert Hall
Dates: 27 July-12 August
Opening Hours: 09.00-22.00 (daily concerts from 13.00-15.00; 18.00-21.00)
Info: For an up-to-date list of participating countries and the programme, visit www.africa-village.com