Spectators have said they felt as though they were part of history after witnessing the Olympics closing ceremony.

Fans said they were emotional watching the final hurrah for the London 2012 Games, describing the spectacular event as a fitting tribute to two remarkable weeks of athleticism.

Patricia Rowe, 60, from Bolton, said: "I am speechless. It was very sad, the extinguishing of the flame - it put a tear in my eye. I just don't think it could be topped. Everything from start to finish was wonderful. We feel like we are part of history now."

Her daughter Rebecca Rowe, 31, said: "We didn't know where to look. I think we've set such a good example for the next Games. Take That were great, and the fireworks. Gary Barlow was so brave coming out. It made us cry because we're properly soft."

Will Lashley, originally from West Virginia in the United States but now living in West Hampstead, north London, said: "My two favourite moments were seeing Eric Idle surrounded by a crowd of Bollywood dancers and looking completely flummoxed and then the Brazilians coming on and psyching everyone up for the next Olympics."

The closing ceremony was one of the top trending topics on Twitter but the response to the Olympics finale was mixed, with many saying it did not live up to the standard set by Danny Boyle's opener. Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow tweeted: "Great spectacle... But Danny Boyle takes Gold!"

Piers Morgan said: "This show's been like a @Mo_Farah race - very slow start, now exploding nicely..."

Some of those who starred in it took to Twitter to express their delight at being a part of the spectacle. Model Jourdan Dunn tweeted: "Highlight of my career so far, feel so honoured." Victoria Beckham wrote: "We did it!! I love you girls so much!!!!!", and fellow Spice Girl Mel B said: "Soooo much fun!"

Many bemoaned the extinguishing of the flame as the symbol of the Games coming to an end. Sir Chris Hoy said: "If they don't put the flame out, the Games won't be over. Someone stop them!!"

Stephen Fry tweeted: "I don't want it to end *sob* *stamps foot*."