LOCOG confirm charges for watching the Olympic Road Race on Box Hill

£15 a person if you want to be on the slopes. Or join us just down the road, for free...

by Dave Atkinson   May 8, 2012  

Box Hill Olympic Test Event © National Trust : David Levenson

LOCOG have confirmed that charges will apply to the Olympic Road Race viewing area on Box Hill. If you want to be there in person it'll cost you up to £15, or £5 for juniors and seniors.

"Tickets will be £15 full price and £5 for young people and seniors for the viewing area at Donkey Green and £10 and £5 for the viewing area at Dormouse Drive," the press release states, adding that if you want to watch the Time Trial at Hampton Court Palace then there will be charges for those tickets too, with a similar pricing structure.

The tickets for Box Hill and the TT go on sale on 29 May. There's also 1,000 contingency tickets for the finish on The Mall up for grabs; those will go on sale on 17 May.

While it's long been acknowledged that admission to the Hill would need to be limited as it's a fragile environment, it's a pity that LOCOG have apparently viewed the location as a bit of a cash cow. However, with up to 200,000 spectators expected in Surrey for the road races, there'll no doubt be plenty of demand for the tickets.

Why do that when you can do this?

However, if you'd rather spend your fifteen quid on local food and drink, at a location where you can see the race pass live, watch it on a BBC big screen and also wander round a cycle expo featuring some top cycling brands, then why not join road.cc at the Surrey Hills Road Race Festival just down the way at Denbies Vineyard, just off the A24. It's free to get in, there's secure cycle parking and there'll be cycling-related stuff going on all weekend. We'll be going on about this a lot over the next couple of months, it's going to be great. Stay tuned!

22 user comments

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posted by cool guy 999 [54 posts]
8th May 2012 - 15:58

1 Like

MAMILs, get your wallets out Wink

dodgy's picture

posted by dodgy [157 posts]
8th May 2012 - 16:06

1 Like

Ok- I know that we're all supposed to be up in arms about having to pay, and that we're being exploited and that the Olympics are terrible and corporations evil, etc. etc.

BUT- I would happily pay £15 to watch the road race go past 8 times on Box Hill- irrespective of whether I SHOULD have to pay or not.

posted by joshv123 [5 posts]
8th May 2012 - 16:45

1 Like

oh wow

posted by dans [13 posts]
8th May 2012 - 19:05


Each to their own but would the French, Spanish or Italian cycling fans put up with this? Some days I'm proud to be British but this isn't one of them.

posted by belgravedave [253 posts]
8th May 2012 - 19:17


Not paying myself. It's just not what cyclings about.

Velotastic !

Too many hills, but too little time.

badback's picture

posted by badback [295 posts]
8th May 2012 - 21:35

1 Like

Mmm not to much!! where do you get them from ?? Confused

Davetillyer's picture

posted by Davetillyer [22 posts]
8th May 2012 - 22:17


Will there be international tickets? Because it would somehow seem wrong if a climb like this didn't have a ikurriña or a lion of flanders or two flying

posted by thebongolian [45 posts]
8th May 2012 - 23:40

1 Like

In more positive news they say 15,000 people will be allowed on to Box Hill.

posted by thebongolian [45 posts]
8th May 2012 - 23:44


thebongolian wrote:
Will there be international tickets? Because it would somehow seem wrong if a climb like this didn't have a ikurriña or a lion of flanders or two flying

Call me petty, but I hope that there arent international tickets and I certainly hope there isnt anything, crowd wise, of any interest or note on Box Hill. I hope it ends up being a load of uninterested corporates sitting around looking bored.

posted by farrell [1843 posts]
9th May 2012 - 1:01

1 Like

Agree. I'm hoping that enough people are put off that it'll get me a ticket.

posted by robfarrington [8 posts]
9th May 2012 - 9:38


Can't imagine they'll sell many tickets to the womens race either...

posted by robfarrington [8 posts]
9th May 2012 - 9:46

1 Like

quite disgusting, charging to watch a race on a normal public road. Dear oh dear ..

posted by Karbon Kev [682 posts]
9th May 2012 - 10:24


Just confirms that LOGOC underestimated the cycling interest in this country ... not enough tickets/seats available for the velodrome and now charging for what was originally advertised as free.... Just P*ssed off with the whole corporate exploitation of the whole thing!
I will attempt to watch some of it for free, probably on the "box hill loop" but not on the hill itself!
What I really want to know is what is the ratio of corporate tickets to public (fans) tickets? That would be interesting!
Grumpy Grimpeur!

posted by GrimpeurChris [59 posts]
9th May 2012 - 10:31


rip off britain stikes again! Sad

for me - The ride is about adventure, camaraderie and the sense of accomplishment that comes after a long day in the saddle.

Mountain-Nic's picture

posted by Mountain-Nic [119 posts]
9th May 2012 - 12:27


I initially looked to drive down and stay at a local B&B for two nights, mix in with the local cycling community on the day, maybe a pub afterwards. I was so disappointed with the overall route (not challenging enough) fast, narrow lanes with poor viewing points then riding up Box Hill 8 times (not high enough-my opinion). Ok I don't know the area at all but surly the route could include more climbs over the complete distance with more space to view and spread the spectators around (have we heard this before?). I feel LOGOC have always intended to charge spectators in a small confined area, easy to control from the very start, then announce the fee with only weeks left to the event. Dare I say it's a 'Mikey Mouse' event.

posted by Roberj4 [207 posts]
9th May 2012 - 14:01

1 Like

Sorry about my above rant regarding this corporate 'Micky Mouse' cycling event but I wonder if LOGOC are charging spectators a fee, are they then paying our 'cycling stars' an appearance fee to ride??? (The Allure of Gold)

posted by Roberj4 [207 posts]
9th May 2012 - 14:06

1 Like

Karbon Kev - Box Hill isn't a public road it's owned by the National Trust who could easily have said no to the event. Also anyone who goes on there must keep to where they are told to go because there are many rare species of flora and fauna that can be damaged.

Personally I think the Olympic cycling race should have taken in a lot more different hills. I presume they stuck to this route as it's probably the least congested around the time of the event.

If cycling is indeed a sport of self-abuse why aren't more cyclists sectioned under the mental health act?

posted by hairyairey [295 posts]
9th May 2012 - 22:51


It's still public in the sense, the national trust look after on behalf of the public, even if it was once private, it was most definitely once public and still is to a extent.

I agree, it's a lacklustre hill for this kind of event - just a money decision.

posted by northstar [1113 posts]
9th May 2012 - 23:17

1 Like

Well I'm off to paris this year again to stand on the champs élysées to watch the tour de France for free. Somehow I cant imagine the French would be too happy about having to pay! It's the typical modern British philosophy: try and make money out of everything possible!


posted by a1exhall [3 posts]
10th May 2012 - 9:07


If the road has a statutory right of way for the public then I think they are breaking the law by making you pay to enter.


posted by jazzdude [65 posts]
10th May 2012 - 18:07


It's a private road. There is no public right of way. I believe the road is shut off occasionally (as are eg walking routes through Blenheim Palace Park and other privately-owned properties) to prevent a prescriptive right of way from forming.

Besides that, I imagine the legislation the IOC required the government to put in place to deal with issues such as branding etc and other elements of staging the Games over-rides anything else - they can close what they want, when they want.

I think the whole Box Hill situation results from a ill-thought-out decision to route the race along a private road, through private land, and then you have the issues with it being an SSSI too so the need to protext orchids and butterflies etc.

Playing devil's advocate here, but I think LOCOG got into a bit of a damned if they do, damned if they don't situation here.

First off, they could have shrugged their shoulders at the restricted numbers and said "not our problem" - instead they negotiated with the NT to get 5x the number of supporters onto the hill compared to what was originally envisaged.

Leaving aside the issue of whether cycling should or shouldn't be free, in the context of the Games - in the context of paid-for sport at this level - £15 is stupidly cheap. Watching a Premiership football match at a London club will cost you £40, £50 a ticket minimum.

I'd argue, given the demand for tickets generally, and given the fact this is widely seen as a chance for Britain to get its first gold of the Games (irrespective of how we as cycling fans may view Cav's chances), they could have charged two, three times the £15 and sold out. They didn't.

The accusation that they are profiteering is well wide of the mark, I think, and not just because they could have charged more; do the maths - if they sell 15,000 tickets at the maximum £15 each (which they won't, because some will go for less), that's £225,000.

Then you have to factor in the costs; a contribution to the resurfacing works, a contribution to the scrub clearance and meshing that helped convince the NT to let more people onto its land, money towards security, whether staff and fences, to ensure only those who have tickets are on that part of the course, etc. They'll be lucky if they cover costs, I reckon.

It's an unfortunate state of affairs, and one that as I said goes back to the decision to put the race on a private road; I'm not sure we'll ever know who made that decision, and it may not even be someone at LOCOG - remember, the Olympic bid envisaged a circuit going up Highgate West Hill and back down to Regents Park via the top end of Hampstead Heath and Rosslyn and Haverstock Hills, until long after London was awarded the Games the IOC ad UCI forced LOCOG to change the route.

Many 'free' sports events already have an element of ticketing - just look at the VIP packages on offer for the Tour of Flanders, for example.


Meanwhile, the proposal for the World Series of Cycling being touted around potential backers last year (and which won't have gone away, the fuss has quietened down) was reported among other things to envisage paid-for admission at start areas and perhaps elsewhere.

If those proposals did come to fruition, I'm pretty sure LOCOG would get the blame from a lot of fans - even though the World Series presentation pre-dates any inkling that LOCOG was going to charge to watch the Olympic Road Race.

As I said, I'm playing devil's advocate - but I'm pretty sure this is not about LOCOG looking to make a fast buck at cycling fans' expense.

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [9232 posts]
10th May 2012 - 20:22