The Olympic flame will arrive in the UK on 18 May when it will start its journey around the country, organisers have announced.

It will be lit by the Hellenic Olympic Committee on 10 May using the sun's rays at Olympia's Temple of Hera in Greece, before going on a relay around the country's mainland and islands.

At the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens on 17 May the handover of the flame will be made to London 2012 organisers.

It will then be flown to a military base at Culdrose in Cornwall on a British Airways plane, flight number BA2012.

"My team is looking forward to working with the Hellenic Olympic Committee, the Ministry of Defence and our commercial partners to create exciting events to mark the flame's Greek provenance and its arrival to our shores," said Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games.

On 19 May the flame, which can burn for up to 30 hours on its own, will be taken to Land's End, where it will start its relay around the UK.

"When BA2012 touches down in Cornwall carrying the Olympic torch, it will be a hugely exciting moment," Olympics minister Jeremy Hunt said.

"This kicks off our incredible torch relay right around the country and I'm sure the torch will spread 'Olympic fever' everywhere it goes."

The flame will travel around 8,000 miles across the UK, as it is taken to towns and cities including Sheffield, Coventry, Weymouth, Lincoln and Inverness, before reaching the Olympic Stadium in Stratford on 27 July.