Tourists and families visiting London’s best loved cityscapes and landmarks will now have a team of bespoke tour guides to help them discover the city – in the form of unique, life-sized London 2012 Olympic mascot Wenlock and London 2012 Paralympic mascot Mandeville.
As part of the Mayor of London Presents programme of free cultural events and attractions being staged across the capital to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, 83 official Wenlock and Mandeville sculptures will from today be popping up at some of London's most visited and instantly recognisable locations.
Each sculpture has been colourfully designed to reflect its immediate surroundings and capture an iconic element of London life –including a Beefeater, a giant red phone box and a replica of Big Ben. The two-metre tall figures are part of Stroll, six individual discovery trails around the city, with the aim of encouraging Londoners and tourists alike to explore the capital on foot.
The Stroll discovery trails will take people past highlights and hidden gems around the capital, including in central London, the City, east London and south of the river. Smartphone users will be able to scan a QR code on the base of the mascots to discover much more about the discovery trails via the Mayor of London presents website and download the London Official City Guide app. The app has a dedicated Trails section featuring interactive maps that will help people follow all of the trails and find every mascot.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'Wenlock and Mandeville are instantly recognisable characters, and life-sized embodiments of the excitement of London 2012. I can't think of a more suitable pair of tour guides to help Londoners, families and tourists alike get to know the capital a bit better and add to the magic of the Games during this summer like no other.'
The discovery trails are just one part of Mayor of London Presents, Boris Johnson's city-wide 'Look and Celebration' programme, which will touch every one of the capital's boroughs. The programme is packed with spectacular free events, shows and cultural treats, designed to show the world the very best the city has to offer. This unprecedented mix of cultural events and entertainment, many co-commissioned with London 2012 Festival, includes Showtime, the biggest outdoor arts festival ever staged in the city, which kicks off this Saturday 21 July and runs until 9 September; Secrets, bringing new artistic collaborations to unusual locations; and artist Jeremy Deller's inflatable Stonehenge which Londoners will experience for the first time on Saturday in Greenwich.
This Saturday will also see the giant Olympic Rings on the River return to the Thames, where they will be moored at Battersea – they are due to appear at key moments and different locations throughout the Games. On Saturday evening, some of London's famous bridges will be lit up with dazzling colour. The bridges, from the Golden Jubilee Walkways at Embankment to London Bridge are set to add to the night time atmosphere until 10 September.
SELECTED UPCOMING EVENTS INCLUDE:
20-31 July Secrets: The Owl and the Pussycat Various canal locations – part of the London 2012 Festival
21 July Showtime begins Wimbledon, Kingston, Woolwich – part of the London 2012 Festival
21 July Gigs: Big Busk kicks off Various locations
21, 22 July 'Sacrilege' by Jeremy Deller Greenwich – part of the London 2012 Festival
21 July The Rio London Collaboration Hackney – part of the London 2012 Festival
21, 22 July BT River of Music Various locations – part of the London 2012 Festival
27, 28 July BT London Live free days begin Victoria Park, Hyde Park
28 July Picture: Potters Field Park opens Tooley Street, Southwark
Until 9 Sep Secrets: Nothing is Set in Stone Fairlop Waters, Redbridge – part of the London 2012 Festival
For more details about events in the Mayor of London Presents programme download the free 'Summer's Looking Good' from the website at www.molpresents.com. To download the free London Official City Guide app, which gives the lowdown on the best of what's happening this summer and beyond, go to http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/london-official-city-guide/id536603270?ls=1&mt=8.
- For maps of each of the six trails, visit www.molpresents.com
2. The Stroll mascots are set to be auctioned after the Games to raise money for charity.
3. Wenlock and Mandeville appear on learning resources available to teachers through the London 2012 Education programme ‘Get Set’ and the costume characters have together made hundreds of appearances across the UK. People have ‘customised’ their own version of the mascots as just one of the interactive mascot games on the mascot website and can follow Wenlock and Mandeville on their Twitter and Facebook pages. They also feature on over 25% of official London 2012 products. Visit www.london2012.com/mascots for more details.
4. The mascots were created from the last drops of steel left over from the construction of the final support girder for the Olympic Stadium. Their names reflect the UK’s rich Olympic and Paralympic histories. Wenlock’s name is inspired by the Shropshire village of Much Wenlock where the ‘Wenlock Games’ was one of the inspirations that led the founder of the modern Olympic movement Baron Pierre de Coubertin to create the Olympic Games. Mandeville’s name is inspired by Stoke Mandeville in Buckinghamshire. In the 1940s, Dr.Ludwig Guttmann came to Stoke Mandeville Hospital to set up a new spinal unit to help former soldiers suffering from spinal cord injuries. Looking for ways to inspire those in his care, he encouraged them to take up sport, leading to the formation of the Stoke Mandeville Games, widely recognised as a forerunner of the modern Paralympic movement.
5. The Mayor of London is supporting a huge programme of free events and cultural activities to add to the excitement of 2012. Working with outstanding international artists and world-class cultural organisations this unprecedented Mayor of London Presents programme is taking place in every corner of the capital to add to and complement the London 2012 Festival. It includes Secrets: Hidden London, with artists and performers transforming hidden and lesser known locations; Showtime, the largest outdoor arts festival ever seen in the capital, with dozens of electrifying artists from the UK and abroad coming to every borough, in high streets, parks and town centres; BT London Live, bringing live action from the Games, as well as sporting activities and entertainment to Hyde Park, Victoria Park and Trafalgar Square; and Surprises bringing pop-up performances and once in a lifetime experiences to locations familiar and unusual, above your heads and atop landmark buildings. To be the first to know about what's happening in this Summer Like No Other, sign up or follow us at www.molpresents.com / www.facebook.com/mayoroflondonpresents / www.twitter.com/molpresents.
6. About the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival
The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements. Spread over four years, 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. The culmination of the Cultural Olympiad will be the London 2012 Festival, the spectacular 12-week nationwide celebration bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK, from Midsummer's Day on 21 June and running until the final day of the Paralympic Games on 9 September 2012.The London 2012 Festival will celebrate the huge range, quality and accessibility of the UK’s world-class culture including dance, music, theatre, the visual arts, fashion, film and digital innovation, giving the opportunity for people across the UK to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Principal funders of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival are Arts Council England, Legacy Trust UK and the Olympic Lottery Distributor. BP and BT are Premier Partners of the Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Festival. For more details on the programme, to download the London 2012 Festival official guide and to sign up for information visit www.london2012.com/festival.