Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Discover London's Newest Attraction, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford

The Orbit, Stratford New Olympic Park ©Solange Hando

 The ArcelorMittal Orbit, the tallest sculpture in the UK, is a work of contemporary art rising to 114.5 metres in the new Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Designed by Sir Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond, the orbit was created for the Olympic Games as a symbol of the continuous journey and efforts undertaken by every athlete. Red was chosen as it is an auspicious colour in many cultures.

Closed after the games while the Olympic site was being redesigned, the tower is now ready to welcome up to 5000 visitors a day. Tickets are on sale at £15 for adults, £12 for concessions and £7 for children.

View from the Top, Stratford ©Solange Hando

Two lifts whiz visitors to the top in 32 seconds or so or you could tackle the 455 spiral steps (best on the way down). This is the only structure in London looking from the outskirts into the heart of the capital, with views stretching some 20 miles around by clear weather.

Beyond the Olympic Park and the booming city of Stratford, you might spot some of London's most famous landmarks, from the Shard to St Paul's Cathedral. There are two viewing platforms, the upper deck with fun mirrors, and the lower deck with interactive displays about the tower, panorama and new Olympic Park.

Stratford's Aquatic Centre, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park ©Solange Hando

The Orbit may hold centre stage in Stratford's new Olympic Park but there are other highlights, top of the list the stunning Aquatic Centre. This luminous structure, all graceful curves and glass panes (680 of them), claims two 50 metre pools (including one for competition) with movable floors so the water depth can be adjusted.

There's also a gym, a 'dry dive' area (with foam blocks) and seating for over 2000 spectators. Please note that booking is recommended for all activities due to popularity and occasional closure for events and competitions.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, East London, Stratford ©Solange Hando

Then, there's the park, with its trees and waterways, its fountains, landscaped lawns and themed activity trails, covering London 2012, biodiversity, kids' fun and art and culture. There's a small outdoor stage and a children's playground.

Other sporting areas include the Lee Valley VeloPark, a Hockey and Tennis Centre (open in May), the Copper Box Arena (professional basketball, netball and handball clubs) and the stadium which on completion, will be home to West Ham United.

No comments:

Post a Comment