Forget the 2012 Olympics because there’s a much better reason to visit London! The first official Star Wars Celebration to be held in Europe is only weeks away, and if Celebration 4 was anything to go by, then Celebration Europe is going to be off the chart!

Since most European fans have never attended anything of this scale before the team at Rebelscum has pooled its knowledge and come up with a handy guide to help you get the most of your experience.

This guide has been broken up into the following sections:

News Posts – just in case you missed some news
Location – the who, what and where of ExCel
Transport – getting there and getting around
Hotels – place to stay to suit all budgets
Food & Drink – where to eat and drink in Docklands
Event Guide – all the when’s you’ll ever need
Exclusives – what to spend your money on
Convention Guests – who is/isn’t signing
Miscellaneous – anything that doesn’t fit anywhere else

Follows is a list of our previous Celebration Europe news reports:

CE: Battle OF The Bands Finals
CE: News Catch-Up
CE: JAKe Prints And More
CE: Artist Round-Up
CE: More McQuarrie Bookmarks
CE: ToonArt Debutes Character Key
CE: Latest News Announcements
CE: Joe Corroney Reserve List
CE: Further Artists Announced
CE: Archives And Art
CE: Latest Event Announcements
CE: Ticket Deal
CE: Star Wars Arcade
CE: Newsletter Announcements
CE: Collecting Panels
CE: Get In For Free
CE: Intergalactic Passport To Adventure
CE: The "M" Word
CE: First Guest Stars Announced
CE: Collector Panel Medallions
CE: Programme Cover Revealed
CE: Exclusives Update
CE: Guests Announced
CE: News, News, News!
CE: More Exclusives
CE: 2nd Exclusive Action Figure Announced
CE: Limited Edition Prints & Posters
CE: Celebration Europe Fan Club Perks
CE: Second Newsletter Released

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The area of London's Docklands known as Customs House and Canning Town is one divided by the DLR. To the south is the sleek and ultra-modern ExCel complex and the hotels linked to it, while over to the north is a typical urban residential area of mixed ethnicity. While the Docklands have seen a great deal of investment and development, Canning Town and Customs House are reminiscent of a certain nerf herder. Directly opposite the Customs House DLR station is Freemans Road, which has little to offer except for an off-license, convenience shop and a few fast food restaurants serving kebabs, fish & chips, burgers and chicken. While the area did not feel dangerous after hours, the local population is probably one that would not accept hundreds of Star Wars fans wandering around its streets.

The Royal Victoria Docks was a working port from 1855 and handled produce from the North and South America, as well as New Zealand. The increased used of container vessels causeda decline in shipping traffic to the Docklands throughout the late '60s and '70s and the dockyard closed in 1981. In 1988 the dockyard and surrounding derelict land was purchased, and in 2000 the ExCel centre opened its doors. Since then it has hosted an average of 250 conventions a year - including the annual British Toy Fair.

The Celebration Europe space can be divided into three main areas:

South Event Hall - with over thirty-two thousand square metres of blank canvas, the South Event Hall is London's biggest event space and will contain the dealers area, licensee displays, autograph area, fan site tables, presentation stages, Artist Alley and special features.

Auditoria - this two-thousand seat arena will be used for the opening ceremonies, special guest presentations and concerts.

South Gallery Rooms - these 45 meeting rooms are split over two floors. The upper floor will be used as hospitality suites and to house the numerous collecting panels, exhibits and demostrations that Celebration Europe is hosting, while the lower Waterside Rooms will be the venue for the opening night party.

As well as the event space, the Boulevard is a public concourse runs that down the middle of ExCel, dividing the North Event Hall/Gallery Rooms from those on the south side. It contains various food/drink outlets and other concessions including: business services which sells batteries and memory cards as well as providing photocoping and fax machines, pay-as-you-go internet clusters (at 13p a m inute) for fans who want to send an email or check out the Rebelscum coverage, cash machines, baby changing facilities, a first aid station, access to car parks and a florist (so you can earn some Brownie points before your partner discovers how much you've spent at Celebration Europe!).

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London is best traversed by train or the Underground (aka "the Tube"). From your point of arrival you will need to make your way to one of the main London train terminals (Paddington, King's Cross, Victoria or Waterloo) and take the District (green) or Circle (yellow) line to Bank or Tower Hill stations. Transfer from the Underground to the Docklands Light Railway (aka "the DLR"). From Bank take the first train leaving the station and change at Westferry for a train going to Beckton, and then alight at Customs House for ExCel. From Tower Hill station you can catch a direct train to Beckton, and get off at Customs House. From either Underground station the journey to ExCel is roughly 25 minutes.

If you are driving to Celebration Europe take the M25 to either junction 30 and take the A13, or junction 2 and follow the A2. Both routes take approximately 20 minutes. If you are staying at the Novotel, Ibis or Crown Plaza follow signs for ExCel West. For those of you with rooms at the Sunborn Yacht or the Ramada Docklands follow signs for ExCel East. If you are staying at other accomodation please consult a route planner (such as, RAC or Google). ExCel itself offers 4,000 pay and display parking spaces, and most of the nearby hotels have secure parking for a nightly fee.

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While the general standard of accomodation in London is very high, the cost of room and board can range from what you might spend on a good meal to the price of a week's holiday in the sun. It pays to hunt for the best option, but remember that the rates listed below are for comparative purposes only and can increase as rooms become scarce. All hotels are listed in order of price (cheapest to most expensive).

There are six hotels, ranging from budget to 4-Star, that are immediately adjacent to the ExCel centre. The closest is only a one minute walk and the furthest is ten minutes by foot. The majority are within five minutes walking distance.

University of East London (UEL)
Price: £38 per night (room only)
Distance: 5 minutes on DLR
Rooms: dormitory
Facilities: none

Price: from £80 per night (room only)
Distance: 2 minutes on foot
Rooms: twins, doubles
Facilities: restaurant, bar, secure parking, internet
Contact: +44 (0)207 0552300

Ramada Docklands
Price: from £109 per night (B&B)
Distance: 10 minutes by foot
Rooms: twins, doubles, queens, suites
Facilities: conference rooms, fitness studio, restaurant, bar, secure parking, internet
Contact: +44 (0)870 1118779

Price: from £109 per night (B&B)
Distance: 1 minute on foot
Rooms: twins, doubles, queens, suites
Facilities: conference rooms, fitness studio, restaurant, bar, secure parking, internet
Contact: +44 (0)207 5409700

Crown Plaza
Price: from £120 per night (B&B)
Distance: 3 minutes on foot
Rooms: twins, doubles, queens
Facilities: conference rooms, fitness studio & pool, restaurant, bar, secure parking, internet
Contact: +44 (0)870 9909692

Sunborn Yacht Hotel
Price: from £130 per night (B&B)
Distance: two minutes by foot
Rooms: twins, doubles, suites
Facilities: conference rooms, restaurant, bar, parking, internet
Contact: +44 (0)207 0599100

Each of the hotels listed about are Celebration Europe partner hotels and offer discounted rates for ticket holders. To take advantage of these discounted accomodation prices you must contact the hotel reception direct and give them with the password "Celebration Europe Visitor" and the unique booking reference number that was provided when you bought your tickets. For more details please visit the Celebration Europe hotel packages page.

There are also a number of accommodation options in the immediate area that are more suitable to tighter budgets. The nearest hotel is only three minutes away, while the most distant one can be reached in fifteen minutes.

Etap Hotel London City Airport
Price: from £30 per night (room only)
Distance: 3 minutes by DLR
Rooms: twins, doubles, triples
Facilities: restaurant
Contact: +44 (0)207 4749106

Custom House Hotel
Price: from £40 per night (room only)
Distance: 1 minute on foot
Rooms: twins, doubles, triples
Facilities: restaurant, bar, secure parking
Contact: +44 (0)207 4740011

Holiday Inn Express London Royal Docks
Price: from £90 per night (B&B)
Distance: 3 minutes by DLR
Rooms: twins, doubles, suites
Facilities: conference rooms, restaurant, bar, free secure parking, internet
Contact: +44 (0)207 5404040

Four Seasons Canary Wharf
Price: from £175 per night (B&B)
Distance: 15 minutes by DLR
Rooms: twins, doubles, queens, suites
Facilities: conference rooms, spa, pool, tennis, restaurant, bar, secure parking, internet
Contact: +44 (0)207 5101999

Hilton London Canary Wharf
Price: from £190 per night (B&B)
Distance: 15 minutes by DLR
Rooms: twins, doubles, queens, suites
Facilities: conference rooms, fitness studio, restaurant, bar, secure parking, internet
Contact: +44 (0)20 3002 2300

Alternatively there are many hotels in central London which is only 25 minutes by train from ExCel.

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Including the restaurants and bistros at the adjacent hotels there are 30 eateries within a ten minute walk of ExCel. The immediate on-site catering options - ranging from confectionaries, to light meals, to full course restaurants - are:

Whistlestop - V
Sweets, drinks, crisps, packet sandwiches, magazines and newspapers

Amigo - V
Sweets, drinks, crisps, packet sandwiches, magazines and newspapers

Costa Coffee - V
Freshly brewed coffee and tea, cakes and muffins (average serving: £3.50)

The Fox @ Boulevard - V
Coffee and lite bites throughout the day (average serving: £4)

Panini Pronto - V
Hot paninis and other snacks throughout the day (average serving: £4)

Traditional Pasty & Pie Company - V
Serving freshly-baked pies and pasties (average serving: £5)

Baked Potato Co. - V
Freshly baked potatos with a choice of fillings (average serving: £5)

Pizza This, Pizza That - V
Pizza and pasta dishes, as well as freshly prepared salads (average serving: £5)

Oi! Bagel - V
Fresh-baked bagels with deli fillings (average serving: £5)

Birley Sandwiches - V
Fresh deli-style sandwiches made to order (average serving: £5)

Chozen Noodle - V
Servings a variety of Oriental and South-East Asian stir-fry and noodle dishes (average serving: £7)

The Fox @ Bar & Diner - V
Situated on the mezzanine level above the eastern entrance, serving typical breakfast and lunch dishes to 3pm, and pub fare to 11pm (average serving: £15)

Tapa Tapa - V
Traditional Iberian tapas dishes and wine bar, OPen until 10pm (average serving: £15)

For off-campus/non-residential dining the following restaurants can be found within a short walk of ExCel:

The Fox @ ExCeL - V
Situated on the walkway to Custom House DLR station, this pub has two floors plus a separate restaurant area which is ideal for families, and is open from 8am to midnight.

Super Star Chinese Restaurant - V
Offers authentic Chinese cuisine and Dim Sum, and is located opposite the western entrance to ExCel, and next to The Fox @ ExCel pub.

So! Bar & Restaurant - V
Cross the footbridge that spans the Royal Victoria Docks for a varied menu including char-grill steaks, seafood, fresh pizzas, pasta and a great view of the ExCel centre.

The Fox @ Connaught - V
Located next to the Ramada Docklands hotel, this pub serves breakfast, lunch or dinner from nnon to 11pm and has a happy hour every day from 5pm to 7pm.

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The confirmed opening hours for Celebration Europe are:

Friday 13th July 2007 10am - 9pm
Saturday 14th July 2007 10am - 6pm
Sunday 15th July 2007 10am - 6pm

Members of the official Star Wars fanclub will be given Early Bird entry, starting at 9am each morning, as well as access to the Fan Club Lounge and special seating areas.

For a full list of exhibitors and dealers head over to Celebration Europe.

And our Miscellaneous section has a downloadable full event guide for the entire Celebration.

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The autograph hall will be run on a coupon system (worth £5 each). Photo prints are not included in the price of the coupon, but commemorative Celebration Europe prints will be sold at the event. Guests will sign personal items too.

5 Coupons
Anthony Daniels (C-3PO)
Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian)
Dave Prowse (Darth Vader)

4 Coupons
Ray Park (Darth maul)
Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett)

3 Coupons
David Ankrum (Wedge ANtilles voice)
Dave Barcley (Jabba puppeteer)
Sean Crawford (Yakface)
Dermot Crowley (General Madine)
Tim Dry (Whippid)
Mike Edmonds (Jabba puppeteer)
Christine Hewitt (Tonnika Twin)
Barrie Holland (Lt Renz)
Lightning Bear (Scoutrooper)
Ian Liston (Wes Janson)
Daniel Logan (young Boba Fett)
Shannon McRandle (Mara Jade)
John Mollo (OT Costume designer)
Tony Philpot (Jabba puppeteer)
Matt Sloan (Plo Kloon)
Brain Muir (Sculptor)
Joe Viskocil (SFX)
Danny Wagner (SFX)

TBA Coupons
Matt Wood (General Grievious voice)
Jay Lag'aia (Captain Typho)
Jerome Blake (Mas Amedda, Orn Free Taa, Rune Haako)
John Coppinger (Senator Yarua, Jabba puppeteer)
Dave and Lou Elsey (Creature Shop)
Julian Glover (General Veers)
Garrick Hagon (Biggs Darklighter)
Nalini Krishan (Barriss Offee)
Richard LeParmentier (Admiral Motti)
Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca)
Mary Oyaya (Luminara Unduli)
Simon Williamson (Max Rebo puppeteer)

Not all guests are able to attend for the full three days. Please consult to confirm guest details.

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Currency - anyone familiar with a decimalised currency system like the Euro or US dollar will quickly get to grips with the British Pound. To help identify coins and notes you can visit for a pictoral guide.

Resources - here are a number of handy printouts that you might find useful during your visit:

Celebration Europe Schedule ExCel Hotel Map London Underground Map ExCel Floor Plan Printer friendly version of this guide

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