Venue profile for London 2012: Horse Guards Parade

Beach volleyball is one of the most photogenic sports in the Olympic Games so it is fitting that it has been given such an impressive backdrop in central London.

The iconic Horse Guards Parade, situated just yards from Downing Street and Buckingham Palace, is flanked by St James' Park and the historic architecture of Whitehall.

Facts & figures

  • Sports: Beach volleyball
  • Horse Guards Parade is London's largest single open space.
  • It was constructed in 1745 to house the King's personal guards.
  • The temporary courts require 3000 tonnes of sand to be imported from Godstone in Surrey.

It will be transformed by a temporary 15,000 capacity arena offering spectacular views of Big Ben and the London Eye from its three-sided upper tier.

Similar in scale to Wimbledon's centre court, an arena this size would normally take 14 months to build.

In this instance it will be constructed in 36 days to avoid disrupting the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the annual Trooping the Colour.


The beach volleyball venue has already produced legacy facilities. The sand used for last year's test event was recycled at sports venues around London, helping create seven new beach volleyball courts in Crystal Palace, Leyton and Westminster.