Watford Largest Town not on London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay route

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Watching the Olympic Torch relay pass through a series of beautiful little Cornish villages over the weekend and remembering that the 70-day London 2012 torch will not be visiting Watford, I wondered which other large towns or cities are missing out on seeing the torch pass by?

So using the official Olympic Torch Relay Route map on the London 2012 website I checked the route against Wikipedia’s list of the largest UK settlements by population which uses data from the 2001 census.

The results are below. Watford is the largest settlement in the UK which the torch will not be visiting, though it will pass through Hemel Hempstead, St Albans and Harrow within a 7 mile radius of the town.

The route was designed to have the torch pass within an hour of 95% of the UK’s population and includes visits to the Channel Islands, Isle of Wight, Isle of Man, Orkney, Shetland and Dublin. Other locations in the top 100 settlements that won’t see the torch are Sutton Coldfield, Woking, Weston-super-Mare and High Wycombe.

Rank Urban sub-area Population (2001 census) Is the Torch Visiting?
1 London 7,172,091 Yes
2 Birmingham 970,892 Yes
3 Glasgow 629,501 Yes
4 Liverpool 469,017 Yes
5 Leeds 443,247 Yes
6 Sheffield 439,866 Yes
7 Edinburgh 430,082 Yes
8 Bristol 420,556 Yes
9 Manchester 394,269 Yes
10 Leicester 330,574 Yes
11 Coventry 303,475 Yes
12 Kingston upon Hull 301,416 Yes
13 Bradford 293,717 Yes
14 Cardiff 292,150 Yes
15 Belfast 276,459 Yes
16 Stoke-on-Trent 259,252 Yes
17 Wolverhampton 251,462 Yes
18 Nottingham 249,584 Yes
19 Plymouth 243,795 Yes
20 Southampton 234,224 Yes
21 Reading 232,662 Yes
22 Derby 229,407 Yes
23 Dudley 194,619 Yes
24 Newcastle upon Tyne 189,863 Yes
25 Northampton 189,474 Yes
26 Portsmouth 187,056 Yes
27 Luton 185,543 Yes
28 Preston 184,836 Yes
29 Aberdeen 184,788 Yes
30 Milton Keynes 184,506 Yes
31 Sunderland 177,739 Yes
32 Norwich 174,047 Yes
33 Walsall 170,994 Yes
34 Swansea 169,880 Yes
35 Bournemouth 167,527 Yes
36 Southend-on-Sea 160,257 Yes
37 Swindon 155,432 Yes
38 Dundee 154,674 Yes
39 Huddersfield 146,234 Yes
40 Poole 144,800 Yes
41 Oxford 143,016 Yes
42 Middlesbrough 142,691 Yes
43 Blackpool 142,283 Yes
44 Bolton 139,403 Yes
45 Ipswich 138,718 Yes
46 Telford 138,241 Yes
47 York 137,505 Yes
48 West Bromwich 136,940 Yes
49 Peterborough 136,292 Yes
50 Stockport 136,082 Yes
51 Brighton 134,293 Yes
52 Slough 126,276 Yes
53 Gloucester 123,205 Yes
54 Watford 120,960 No
55 Rotherham 117,262 Yes
56 Newport 116,143 Yes
57 Cambridge 113,442 Yes
58 Exeter 106,772 Yes
59 Eastbourne 106,562 Yes
60 Sutton Coldfield 105,452 No
61 Blackburn 105,085 Yes
62 Colchester 104,390 Yes
63 Oldham 103,544 Yes
64 St Helens 102,629 Yes
65 Woking 101,127 No
66 Crawley 100,547 Yes
67 Chelmsford 99,962 Yes
68 Basildon 99,876 Yes
69 Cheltenham 98,875 Yes
70 Gillingham 98,403 Yes
71 Worthing 96,964 Yes
72 Rochdale 95,796 Yes
73 Solihull 94,753 Yes
74 Worcester 94,100 Yes
75 Derry 93,512 Yes
76 Southport 91,404 Yes
77 Basingstoke 90,171 Yes
78 Bath 90,144 Yes
79 Maidstone 89,684 Yes
80 Harlow 88,296 Yes
81 Grimsby 87,574 Yes
82 Darlington 86,082 Yes
83 Hartlepool 86,075 Yes
84 Lincoln 85,963 Yes
85 Hastings 85,828 Yes
86 Birkenhead 83,729 Yes
87 Halifax 83,570 Yes
88 Hemel Hempstead 83,118 Yes
89 South Shields 82,854 Yes
90 Bedford 82,488 Yes
91 St Albans 82,429 Yes
92 Stevenage 81,482 Yes
93 Wigan 81,203 Yes
94 Warrington 80,661 Yes
95 Chester 80,121 Yes
96 Stockton-on-Tees 80,060 Yes
97 Gateshead 78,403 Yes
98 Weston-super-Mare 78,044 No
99 High Wycombe 77,178 No
100 Wakefield 76,886 Yes

Photo by Darren Shilson (CC BY 2.0)

6 Replies to “Watford Largest Town not on London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay route”

  1. As a Watford FC supporter now living in Cumbria your blog caught my eye. I live in Millom (pop c7000) and our nearest large town is Barrow-in-Furness (pop c75,000) The nearest that the torch comes to this area is Whitehaven or Kendal (35 miles). However it will be passing through Morecambe only 10 miles away but across a bloody great estuary!!

  2. According to the 2001 Census and a later “headcount” in 2006 Watford’s population is just under 80,000.
    How come this report shows it as just over 120,000 – a 50% increase?!

  3. Your figure for Watford’s population is wrong.
    It’s a little over 80,000 and not 120,000

  4. Watford is a separate standing town in Hertfordshire but within the M25 – why would it be part of London?

  5. It isn’t. But see the ONS definition above which merges urban areas less than 200 metres apart (hence the larger population figure).

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