The long wait for the start of the London Olympics is almost over.

This is a timetable of what will happen today, up until the opening ceremony this evening.

7am: The Olympic flame will be carried through Hampton Court Palace.

7.30am: The flame will board the royal rowbarge Gloriana, on which a ceremonial cauldron will be lit as the vessel sails along the River Thames.

12.45pm: Gloriana will arrive at Tower Bridge, where the flame will remain at City Hall before the last leg of its 70-day, 8,000- mile journey towards the opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, east London.

4pm: The doors open at the BT London Live Opening Ceremony Celebration Concert in Hyde Park.

Snow Patrol, Stereophonics, Duran Duran and Paolo Nutini will perform for tens of thousands of revellers. There is also a music and sports event at Victoria Park in Tower Hamlets.

4.15pm: The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will host a reception for around 100 Heads of State and Heads of Government. US First Lady Michelle Obama will be among the guests at the Buckingham Palace event.

5pm: The first spectators will file into the Olympic Stadium ahead of film director Danny Boyle's £27 million opening ceremony.

9pm: The show gets under way in front of an audience of about 62,000 in the stadium and one billion people watching worldwide.

The flame will be used to light the cauldron in the Olympic Park to mark the official opening of the Games.

Many of the event's contents have been kept a closely guarded secret, although it has been revealed the venue will be transformed into a meadow with real animals.

Meanwhile, the countdown clock in Trafalgar Square will reach zero at 9pm.

12am: The opening ceremony will conclude between midnight and 12.30am with a performance by Sir Paul McCartney.

  • For more on the Olympics, including venue guides, pen-pics of Hampshire Olympians and much, much more, see our special Olympics section .