The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park opened to the general public on Saturday. I was lucky enough to be invited in advance to see it. I wasn’t one of the lucky ones to have get tickets to the Olympics in 2012 so this is my first visit.
It is incredibly easy to get to on public transport. The tube station at Stratford comes out in the Westfield Shopping Centre, and the atmosphere and the shops around there could have kept me occupied for the whole day! Walking through it, past restaurants with seating in the open, gives it a very continental feel. It took me straight to the park.
The main Olympic stadium is currently being reconstructed for the Rugby World Cup. However the aquatic centre, devoid of its wings, is open, and can be used by everyone. You can see Tom Daley, the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist practising there if you’re lucky. It is very impressive and I was sorry not to have my swimsuit with me. It only costs £3.50 to have a swim.
The parkland area surrounding the stadiums has been planted with trees and there are play areas for children. The plan is to make this an area for cultural events too.
Open to visitors too within the park is the ArcelorMittalOrbit which towers over East London,114.5 metres high, designed by Sir Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond. Sure to become an iconic emblem of the area, there are two viewing platforms with views up to 20 miles in all directions. I picked out the Shard, the London Eye, and Alexandra Palace.
The park itself is free to roam in but to go up the Orbit will set you back £15; £12 for concessions, and £7 for children.
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