Cultural Olympiad logo

About us

What is Discovering Places?

Discovering Places is London 2012’s Cultural Olympiad campaign to inspire communities across the UK to discover their local environment – with all its hidden places, extraordinary spaces and the stories they have to tell.

Discovering Places aims to intrigue and surprise people, giving everyone the opportunity to discover, explore and be inspired by the UK’s hidden gems; from historic or contemporary buildings to public or natural spaces in and around the cities, towns and villages where we live and work.

Our projects are Discover Explore, Meet the Species and Walk the World.

Who runs Discovering Places?

Discovering Places is one of the major projects of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, managed by The Heritage Alliance and delivered in partnership with the London 2012 Organising Committee of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games (LOCOG).

The Heritage Alliance, established in 2002 as Heritage Link, is the biggest alliance of heritage interests in the UK and was set up to promote the central role of the non-Government movement in the heritage sector.

What is the Cultural Olympiad?

The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements. Spread over four years (having launched in September 2008), it is designed to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012 and inspire creativity across all forms of culture, especially among young people.

Part of the Cultural Olympiad was Open Weekend. This was the countdown celebrations to the Games and took place in 2009, 2010 and 2011, with thousands of people holding or attending events across the UK.  The Inspire Mark programme was the first of its kind for the Olympics Games, and allowed non-commercial organizations and events to have an association with the Olympic and Paralympic Games through being awarded an Inspire Mark.  Inspire Mark applications closed in December 2011.

The major projects of the Cultural Olympiad, of which Discovering Places is one, continue until the end of the Paralympic Games on 9th September.

What has the environment got to do with the Cultural Olympiad?

The Olympic Park has sustainability at its heart, showcasing to the world a design story, not only of great architecture, but also of biodiversity and a legacy of community regeneration.

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games has used locations of great natural beauty and historical importance as backdrops to many of the sporting venues.  This will showcase to the world the unique landscapes that the UK has to offer.

The Cultural Olympiad, through the Discovering Places campaign, is a means of reaching new audiences and showcasing the wealth of heritage, natural beauty and innovate design to local UK communities.

Who is Discovering Places working with?

Discovering Places is working with:

  • Royal Geographical Society – to deliver Walk the World – interactive website themed around discovering the physical links to other Olympic and Paralympic Countries.
  • Bristol Natural History Consortium – to deliver Meet the Species – a race to find and identify 2,012 species.
  • The Workshop – to develop and deliver Discover Explore.
  • Field Studies Council –to develop and deliver a teaching resource based around the design story of the Olympic Park.
  • Pestival –a site-specific performance at ZSL London Zoo as part of Festival 2012.
  • All the Bells – supporting engagement in this Festival 2012 project.
  • London 2012 Get Set – working with the London 2012 Education team.
  • London 2012 Sustainability – working in partnership on a Mad about Meadows project.
  • London 2012 Local Leaders – linking in with their engagement imitatives.
  • London 2012 Torch Relay
  • London 2012 Creative Programmers – Discovering Places works closely with the network of London 2012 Creative Programmers to develop and promote projects and events across the UK that are building new audiences, creating new experiences and celebrating a sense of place within the historic, natural and built environments. For more information see Uncover Discover.

Discover Explore is working with:

The National Trust For Scotland’s Culloden Battlefield, British Waterways Scotland, The Waterways Trust, Abriachan Forest Trust, John Muir Trust, Highland Council (Glen Nevis & Highland Countryside Rangers), Inverness Museum & Art Gallery, Historic Scotland at Urquhart Castle, Merkinch Local Nature Reserve.

What is the London 2012 Festival?

The culmination of the Cultural Olympiad, the Festival will open on 21 June 2012 – Midsummer’s Day. It will run until 9 September 2012 – the last day of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Find out more on the Festival website.

Who funds Discovering Places?

Discovering Places is funded by a grant from Olympic Lottery Distributor (OLD) through the London Organising Committee of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG)

Discovering Places Events
  • 21/07/2012 - 29/09/2012
    Meet the Species: Junior Rangers »
  • 28/07/2012 - 25/11/2012
    Games in the Park Exhibition (imove) »
  • 01/08/2012 - 31/03/2013
    Walk the World: Albertopolis »
Keep up to date with latest news

Enter your email address below to join our mailing list: