The Olympic gold postbox challenge

It all started back in August 2012 – just a few days into the London 2012 Olympics, with our friend Bryan posting the following Facebook status:

The status that started it all: The Olympic Gold Postbox Challenge - Little Hearts, Big Love

I don’t think it crossed my mind to take part in the challenge when I first read it though. It wasn’t until hubby and I were planning a late summer break a few days later – starting in Sunderland and then heading further north to see the pandas in Edinburgh Zoo and visit a friend of ours in Glasgow – that the idea of looking for the gold postboxes really started to take shape.


“You’ll probably think this sounds crazy,” said the hubby, “but I’ve been looking at the gold postbox map…”

“…and seeing as we’re going that far north anyway, we might as well see if we can find some of them!” I finished, already anticipating what he was about to suggest.


Yes, it sounded crazy, but it also sounded like fun. Little did I know quite what we’d started!

The Olympic Gold Postbox Challenge - Little Hearts, Big Love

By the end of that trip, we’d found 26 of the Olympic postboxes. The Paralympics started a few days into our holiday and we managed to visit a couple of the postboxes for these as they began to appear. Our challenge was to find the Olympic postboxes though – finding the Paralympic ones was a bonus at that point – but we were already determined that we would find as many as we could.


Over the next couple of years, the gold postbox map became our first point of reference when deciding where to go on holiday – if we could visit any postboxes on the way, we would do so. We would spend a day out for a drive, finding the postboxes within a reasonable distance of where we lived. We took a day trip to Sark during our holiday to France in order to visit the gold postbox there and finally managed to visit the Isle of Man last week. We have also managed to visit the two gold lock gate controls on the Thames that were painted in honour of the London 2012 gold medallists and found a gold-painted phone box on our travels too!  We even managed to get on air during Simon Mayo’s drivetime programme on Radio 2 with a request for Spandau Ballet’s “Gold” in celebration of finding our final gold postbox!


After almost three years, and a journey that has taken us the length and breadth of the country, our gold postbox challenge is complete. 110 golden postboxes visited in total – 65 for the Olympics and 46 for the Paralympics (which adds up to 111 but the postbox in Wilmslow is for Victoria Pendleton (Olympic gold medallist) and Craig MacLean (Paralympic gold medallist) and so appears in both lists).


It has been a bit of a crazy challenge, but we have travelled to parts of the country that we probably wouldn’t have visited otherwise and have had some wonderful moments doing so. Looking back over the photos has also been a lovely way of seeing how our family has grown and changed since we started the challenge – Jessica was just eleven months old when we visited our first postbox and Sophie didn’t arrive until well over a year later.  It’s been fun, and we’ve had an amazing time – but how are we going to choose where to go on holiday now that it’s over?


Here is the list of where our Olympic postbox travels have taken us:

The Olympic Gold Postbox Challenge - Little Hearts, Big Love

August 2012

#1 – Nick Skelton (Equestrian Team Jumping) – Bedworth

#2 – Jessica Ennis (Women’s Heptathlon) – Sheffield

#3 – Ed Clancy (Men’s Team Pursuit Cycling) – Huddersfield

#4 – Andrew Triggs (Men’s Four Rowing) – Hebden

#5 – Alastair Brownlee (Men’s Triathlon) – Horsforth

#6 – Nicola Adams (Women’s Boxing Flyweight) – Leeds

The Olympic Gold Postbox Challenge - Little Hearts, Big Love

#7 – Luke Campbell (Men’s Boxing Bantamweight) – Hull

#8 – Katherine Copland (Women’s Lightweight Double Sculls Rowing) – Stockton-on-Tees

#9 – Scott Brash (Equestrian Team Jumping) – Peebles

#10 – Chris Hoy (Men’s Team Sprint Cycling) – Edinburgh

#11 – Chris Hoy (Men’s Keirin) – Edinburgh

#12 – Katherine Grainger (Women’s Double Sculls Rowing) – Aberdeen

The Olympic Gold Postbox Challenge - Little Hearts, Big Love

#13 – Tim Baillie (Men’s Double Canoe Slalom) – Westhill

#14 – Tim Baillie (Men’s Double Canoe Slalom) – Westhill

#15 – Heather Stanning (Women’s Pairs Rowing) – Lossiemouth

#16 – Andy Murray (Men’s Tennis Singles) – Dunblane

#17 – Bradley Wiggins (Men’s Cycling Time Trial) – Chorley

#18 – Bradley Wiggins (Men’s Cycling Time Trial) – Eccleston

The Olympic Gold Postbox Challenge - Little Hearts, Big Love

#19 – Jason Kenny (Men’s Sprint Cycling) – Bolton

#20 – Jason Kenny (Men’s Team Sprint Cycling) – Bolton

#21 – Steven Burke (Men’s Team Pursuit Cycling) – Colne


September 2012

#22 – Philip Hindes (Men’s Team Sprint Cycling) – Manchester

#23 – Jade Jones (Women’s Taekwando) – Flint

#24 – Tom James (Men’s Four Rowing) – Wrexham

The Olympic Gold Postbox Challenge - Little Hearts, Big Love

#25 – Anna Watkins (Women’s Double Sculls Rowing) – Leek

#26 – Greg Rutherford (Men’s Long Jump) – Milton Keynes

#27 – Geraint Thomas (Men’s Team Pursuit Cycling) – Cardiff

#28 – Peter Charles (Equestrian Team Jumping) – Alton


October 2012

#29 – Ben Ainslie (Men’s Finn Sailing) – Lymington

#30 – Henley Rowers (Rowing) – Henley-on-Thames

The Olympic Gold Postbox Challenge - Little Hearts, Big Love

#31 – Nick Skelton (Equestrian Team Jumping) – Alcester

#32 – Alex Gregory (Men’s Four Rowing) – Cheltenham

#33 – Charlotte Dujardin (Equestrian Individual Dressage) – Newent

#34 – Pete Reed (Men’s Four Rowing) – Nailsworth

#35 – Pete Reed (Men’s Four Rowing) – Nailsworth

#36 – Laura Bechtolsheimer (Equestrian Team Dressage) – Ampney St Peter


The Olympic Gold Postbox Challenge - Little Hearts, Big Love

May 2013

#37 – Laura Trott (Women’s Team Pursuit Cycling) – Harlow

#38 – Laura Trott (Women’s Omnium Cycling) – Cheshunt

#39 – Laura Trott (Women’s Team Pursuit Cycling) – Cheshunt

#40 – Charlotte Dujardin (Equestrian Team Dressage) – Enfield

#41 – Anthony Joshua (Boxing Men’s Super-Heavyweight) – Watford


June 2013

#42 – Dani King (Women’s Team Pursuit Cycling) – Hamble

The Olympic Gold Postbox Challenge - Little Hearts, Big Love

#43 – Peter Wilson (Shooting Men’s Double Trap) – Sherborne

#44 – Ed McKeever (Men’s Canoe Sprint Kayak Single 200m) – Bradford-on-Avon

#45 – Helen Glover (Women’s Pairs Rowing) – Penzance

#46 – Ben Ainslie (Men’s Finn Sailing) – Restronguet


July 2013

#47 – Pete Reed (Men’s Four Rowing) – Chiswick

#48 – London 2012 Olympics – Westminster

The Olympic Gold Postbox Challenge - Little Hearts, Big Love

#49 – Joanna Rowsell (Women’s Team Pursuit Cycling) – Carshalton (this one was originally gold but was later painted red as it was in the wrong location)

#50 – Joanna Rowsell (Women’s Team Pursuit Cycling) – Cheam

#51 – Sophie Hosking (Women’s Lightweight Double Sculls Rowing) – Wimbledon

#52 – Andy Murray (Men’s Tennis Singles) – Wimbledon

#53 – Mo Farah (Men’s 5000m) – Teddington

#54 – Mo Farah (Men’s 10,000m) – Isleworth

The Olympic Gold Postbox Challenge - Little Hearts, Big Love

#55 – Heather Stanning (Women’s Pairs Rowing) – Larkhill

#56 – Peter Charles (Equestrian Team Jumping) – Bentworth


August 2013

#57 – London 2012 Olympics – Stratford

#58 – Ben Maher (Equestrian Team Jumping) – Elsenham

#59 – Victoria Pendleton (Women’s Keirin) – Stotfold

#60 – Etienne Stott (Men’s Double Canoe Slalom) – Bedford

The Olympic Gold Postbox Challenge - Little Hearts, Big Love

#61 – British Cyclists (British Cycling HQ) – Manchester

#62 – Victoria Pendleton (Women’s Keirin) – Wilmslow

#63 – Carl Hester (Equestrian Team Dressage) – Sark

#64 – Tom James (Men’s Four Rowing) – Coedpoeth

#65 – Peter Kennaugh (Men’s Team Pursuit Cycling) – Onchan, Isle of Man
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

26 thoughts on “The Olympic gold postbox challenge

    1. Thanks Sarah – we did get to visit a lot of interesting places, some of the smaller villages we went to were very pretty and visiting Norwich and Lincoln on our travels were highlights for me 🙂

  1. Oh my that is such a challenge, it has taken on so much more than just a hunt and really shaped your holidays, a lovely idea and got you out all over the country. I love seeing the photos over the years and how the girls grow in each one and the change in weather. Well done the gold award for you!

    1. Thanks Fiona, it was such a fun challenge and so lovely to look back on it all. Looking forward to finding another challenge to take on now! 🙂

  2. What a great and usual collection. I love seeing the family change throughout the time. I didn’t realise we have a few around us and I’ve never actually noticed. #countrykids

    1. It’s quite easy to miss them if you don’t know about them – we have a few near us too and it is amazing how many people just have never noticed them even when they walk past them quite frequently!

  3. Wow this is astounding, am I deeply impressed – what an accomplishment! Big high five for Milton Keynes, Greg Rutherford is our local hero!

    By the way, we are considering starting a 48 counties of england challenge, not quite as good or amazing as yours but we feel like challenging ourselves to see more of the country before my 3yo starts school. What do you think?

    1. I love the sound of the 48 counties of England challenge – what a great way to try and see as much of the country as possible. Good luck with it 🙂

  4. I think this is amazing! I love how long it took but you kept with it and it’s so sweet watching your children grow in the photo’s. A lovely memory for them x #countrykids

  5. This is so amazing! What a fantastic thing to have managed to do, and it is a wonderful record of your family growing up. I love it when Jessica starts holding the clipboard 🙂 #countrykids

    1. Thanks Sara – it is lovely to look back and I loved it once Jessica could hold the clipboard. She used to like to sit on top of the postbox too but then got more nervous about it so Sophie started sitting on the top instead 🙂

  6. We visited all the postboxes too! It started out as one of those pub conversations that seem like a good idea in Aug 2012… and we finished the challenge in Aug 2013, raising £1,000 for Sportabiity in the process. It was such good fun, I’d actually like to do it all again! I reckon there’s quite an exclusive little club of us ‘gold postboxers’ now – we’ve met a couple of other people who have completed the challenge along the way too 🙂 Congrats on finishing your challenge 🙂

    1. Thank you Philippa – we found a couple we missed thanks to your facebook page! Well done on raising the money for Sportability too – we only thought about fundraising after we’d done 28 already which felt a bit late to start it. It was such a fun challenge – glad you and your family enjoyed it too 🙂

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