The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park was initially built to host the 2012 Summer Olympics and the 2012 Summer Paralympics.
It was a major base for a lot of the events, as well as providing accommodation for the athletes and a centre for the world’s media.Following the end of the Games, the park has been transformed into a key attraction for the capital.
At the heart of the park is the Orbit Tower which is twice as high as Nelson’s Column at 114.5 metres high and visitors can opt to climb the 455 steps to the top or use one of the two available elevators. At the top of the tower there are two observation decks that will allow people enjoying London getaways to experience a spectacular view across the capital city.
There are lots of great family activities to do in the park, including going for a swim at the Olympic Aquatic centre or watching the action at the velodrome.
You can opt to take a picnic or pop into the park’s Timber Lodge Café. Specifically designed to blend into the natural surroundings, the cafe makes use of solar panels to minimise its impact on the environment.
It also has an outdoor terrace – the perfect place to relax and get a bite to eat on a summer day.
For those with active children, then the cafe is close to the Tumbling Bay adventure playground. Designed to offer a natural play environment, it has rock pools, sand pits, fab treehouses, and wobbly bridges plus slides and swings.
Overall, there is some 590 acres of park to explore and a popular way is to discover more is to follow one of the many walking trails on offer. For example, visitors can relive the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by going on the London 2012 Trail. It has lots of interactive bits so you can compare yourself to some of the best athletes in the world.
For those who prefer art, then the Art in the Park trail could be ideal. It winds through lots of the key parts of the park and highlights the numerous sculptures and structures that celebrate the world’s best designs.
Guided tours on also available for individuals and groups who want to find out more about the history of the park and the local area.
In the long term, the park is also set to become home to the Olympicopolis scheme. This project will involve two sites and will see a number of key educational institutions creating new campuses, as well as new spaces for the Victoria and Albert Museum and Sadler’s Wells.
One of the latest attractions at the Olympic Stadium will be the world’s longest and tallest tunnel slide.
Tickets have already gone on sale that allow visitors to take a 40 second thrilling slide ride. The experience will open on June 24th .
Overall, the slide measures 178 metre (584 feet) in length and 76 metres (249 feet) in height.
The ride has 12 twists and ends with a fast 50 metre straight run to the ground below.
Carsten Höller, who designed the slide said: “Since 1999, I have built a number of slides, both free-standing and attached to buildings, but never onto another artwork as in this case.
“Now that the two artworks will be intertwined with each other, I see it as one of these double situations that I am so interested in.
“I like it when a sense of unity is reached in two separate entities, and you can find this thought to repeatedly occur in my work.”
How to get to the Olympic Park
The park is open 24 hours a day and benefits from great transport links to the rest of the capital. Travelling via public transport is the best opt, with the nearest train, tube and bus stops being Stratford, Stratford International, Hackney Wick, Pudding Mill and Leyton stations.
If arriving by car then it is important to note there is limited parking at the park itself. The closest car park is Westfield Stratford City that has more than 5,000 spaces.
Those who prefer two wheels can benefit from London’s cycling network. The park is located on the Barclays Cycle Superhighway which links central London (Aldgate) to Stratford City.
The park also has more 310 docking points for London’s cycle hire scheme so you don’t need to bring your own bike.