Unticketed events at London 2012 - what you can see for free

A marathon swimmer dives into the Serpentine lake in Hyde Park.
The marathon swimming in Hyde Park is just one of the events you can watch without a ticket. Photo: David Poultney, LOCOG

If you've missed out on your tickets of choice - or just don't have the cash to splash out on those still up for grabs - there are a handful of Olympic events which you can still be part of.

The road cycling, marathons and triathlons are all taking place in public places - so you can just pitch up on the day and witness history.

Here's our list of the free Olympic sports events.

What: Marathon

When: Women’s marathon 11am, Sunday 5th August. Men’s marathon 11am, Sunday 12th August.

Where: Central London

Although the men’s and women’s marathons start and finish in a ticketed area on The Mall, much of the route is free for anyone to watch. The looped course (which the athletes will run around three times) wends past some of London’s most famous landmarks, including St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London and the Houses of Parliament.

See the route map here.

What: Cycling Time Trial

When: Women’s Time Trial, 12:30pm, Wednesday 1st August. Men’s Time Trial, 2:15pm, Wednesday 1st August.

Where: South-West London and Surrey

Now he's got yellow, see him go for gold. The cycling time trial is bound to be a highlight of the Games, as Tour de France Champion Bradley Wiggins aims to add another Olympic title to his list. The race starts and finishes in a ticketed area in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace – but with the women racing 29km, and the men a whopping 44km, there are plenty of other vantage points from which to watch the world's finest whiz by.

See the women’s route map here and the men's here.

What: Cycling Road Race

When: Men’s road race, 10am Saturday 28th July. Women’s road race, 12pm, Sunday 29th July.

Where: Central London, South-West London and Surrey.

The road races are even longer than the time trials – 140km for the women and 250km for the men. So although, yes, they start in a ticketed area on The Mall (and the vantage point from Box Hill in Surrey is also ticketed) there are miles and miles of road where you can just pitch up for free. And the "Manx Missile", "the fastest man on two wheels", Mark Cavendish will be hoping to clinch a gold medal.

See the route map here.

What: Race Walk

When: Men’s 20km race walk 5pm, Saturday 4th August. Men’s 50km race walk 9am, Saturday 11th August. Women’s 20km race walk 5pm, Saturday 11th August.

Where: Constitution Hill

Again, the men’s and women’s race walks start and finish in a ticketed area on The Mall, but the 2km route stretches out onto Constitution Hill, where spectators can watch for free. Athletes will complete multiple laps of the course – 10 in the 20km events and 25 in the 50km race – so spectators will see them go past at regular intervals (about every five minutes).

See the route map here.

What: Triathlon

When: Women’s triathlon, 9am, Saturday 4th August. Men’s triathlon,11:30am Tuesday 7th August.

Where: Central London

Around 90% of the Triathlon course is unticketed. The athletes swim a lap of the Serpentine lake in Hyde Park, then take to their bikes, cycling up Constitution Hill and in front of Buckingham Palace, before running a loop course back around the Serpentine. There are some stands of seating (which do require tickets) but if you’re happy to see the athletes fly past mid-race (rather than the start, the finish or the transitions) then you’re sitting pretty.

See the route map here.

What: Marathon swimming

When: Women’s 10km Marathon Swimming, 12pm, Thursday 9th August. Men’s 10km Marathon Swimming, 12pm, Friday 10th August.

Where: Hyde Park

Marathon swimming, the most recent swimming event to have been added to the Olympic programme (it made its debut in Beijing) is also taking place at the Serpentine in Hyde Park. Athletes will swim six laps of the looped course – and there are lots of vantage points for which you won't need a ticket.

See a map of the ticketed areas here.