It seems when men plan, God laughs – and London 2012 Olympic Games event organisers are left red-faced.
I’m not about to join the chorus bemoaning the empty seats fiasco that’s quickly becoming a national embarrassment; instead, I’m going to warn you about BT London Live in Hyde Park.
A partnership between the Mayor of London, The Royal Parks and The London Borough of Tower Hamlets, the BT London Live programme has been billed as a family-friendly opportunity to catch Olympic sporting action live on big screens – for free!
It sounds like an easy sell – and it certainly worked on me, because my plan was to hang out in Hyde Park for the length of the London 2012 Olympic Games or as much as the weather permitted.
However, BT London Live was not at all what I expected and to say that I was disappointed when I went there today – picnic packed and ready – would be an understatement. I was forced to gobble down my food outside the gates and even when I made it in, I left less than half an hour later.
But rather than bitch and moan about it (Man vs World is a beacon of positivity, don’t you know!) I’m going to manage your expectations and tell you what you should and should not pack for BT London Live in Hyde Park…
Dos and don’ts at London Live
Don’t bring a picnic because the fun police will check your bags on the way in and organisers want you to spend a fortune inside the grounds and not out of it.
Don’t bring food or liquids unless you want to feed it to the rubbish bins on the way in. (You can bring food and drink to Wimbledon – so why not here?)
Don’t bring deodorant – I don’t know why you would want to but it’s against the rules for some reason.
Do bring a lot of money because food and drink inside the ground is expensive.
Do bring a blanket, towel or something to sit on because there’s no grass inside the grounds – it’s covered in tree bark – and there aren’t a great number of seats.
Do plan your journey there and back because the London Underground stations at Hyde Park Corner and Marble Arch will be exit only until 12 August.
Do be patient because it may take a while to get through security – a long while if you’re visiting on the weekend. The queues here are worse than at Heathrow (in truth, I’d never been through Heathrow faster than I did just before the Olympics).
Do bring an umbrella and sunblock. This is London, remember? And the powers that be do at least permit you to bring in sunscreen.
BT London Live Hyde Park will be free to access between 28 July and 11 August from 11am. Check out the official website for details of free concerts and cultural events taking place each day.