Team GB's flagbearer Chris Hoy described the experience of leading his nation as a massive honour.
The four-time Olympic cycling champion led Great Britain's athletes into the stadium to huge cheers from the crowds.
He said: "I don't think any of us were expecting it (the reception) to be this good."
Commenting on carrying the flag, he said: "It's a massive honour to be the one who leads out the team, even more so at our home Games."
The British athletes walked through a guard of honour of schoolchildren as they made their way through the Olympic Park to the stadium. As host nation, they were the last group to join the parade.
Earlier, the crowd erupted with cheers and applause as the Queen arrived for the opening ceremony in spectacular fashion.
Thousands had already enjoyed the beginning of director Danny Boyle's £27 million show, celebrating all things British and charting the history of the nation. Scenes from the country's past, from the industrial revolution to the cultural influence of the Beatles, were staged for the audience.
But as the Queen took her seat with the Duke of Edinburgh, the extravaganza really began and she was warmly clapped by thousands around her. Her entrance had been heralded in dramatic style, with James Bond and the Queen apparently skydiving into the stadium in film footage shown to the audience.
In the images, 007 was first shown walking into Buckingham Palace surrounded by corgis to pick up the Queen, who was sitting at her writing desk and simply said "good evening, Mr Bond".
The pair boarded a helicopter which flew across London to the stadium and they parachuted down to the ground, but at the last moment the head of state appeared in the arena to take her seat.