Olympic Torch completes epic journey around Britain

The Olympic flame will complete its 70-day, 8,000-mile journey around the United Kingdom when it arrives at tonight's opening ceremony for London 2012.

An estimated 14 million people have seen torchbearers travel through 1,000 towns and villages, while four million people have watched the flame travel through the host city in the past week according to Mayor Boris Johnson.

The flame began its journey across the UK at Lands End with three-time Olympic sailing champion Ben Ainslie on Saturday May 19. David Beckham and the Princess Royal had earlier travelled with the flame as it was flown to Cornwall from Athens. Emma Walden reports on its final journey.

Today the Olympic Torch began its journey at Hampton Court Maze.

The final leg of the 70-day torch relay saw the flame transported along the Thames on the Gloriana before it arrived at Tower Bridge.

Royal rowbarge Gloriana
Olympic Flame on the Royal rowbarge Gloriana as it makes it way down the River Thames towards Tower Bridge Credit: PA
Boats on the River Thames
Boats on the River Thames watching the Flame Credit: PA

People in rowing boats on the River Thames as they watch the Olympic Flame on the Royal row barge Gloriana, as it makes it way along the River Thames towards Tower Bridge.

Matthew Pinsent lighting Olympic Cauldron
Matthew Pinsent lighting the cauldron with the Olympic Flame on the Royal row barge Gloriana Credit: PA

Olympic Gold Medallist rower Matthew Pinsent lighting the cauldron with the Olympic Flame on the Royal row barge Gloriana prior to it making its way along the River Thames towards Tower Bridge.

The £1 million Gloriana, powered by 16 oarsmen, transported the flame downriver in a cauldron to Tower Bridge. Later the torch will be carried into the Olympic Stadium and the flame lit by a mystery VIP.

Royal row barge Gloriana
On it's final leg. The Olympic flame travelled down the River Thames to Tower Bridge. Credit: PA

The last torchbearer of the day was Amber Charles, 22, from Newham, east London, who delivered London's Olympic bid to members of the International Olympic Committee in 2004.

She carried the flame to Tower Bridge before it was taken to City Hall, where it will remain out of public view until the opening ceremony begins