“Legacy” was a word we heard a lot following the 2012 London Olympic Games, but 6 years on, yes, that was 6 years ago – in our part of the world, the Games never really reached us, let alone the trailing “legacy”.
Little did I know that just over an hour away from us was the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – the 560-acre urban-park created as a part of the Games’ legacy. Brimming with iconic, familiar and nostalgic landmarks such as the London Stadium, the Copper Box Arena and the London Aquatics Centre – all sights we became familiar with during 2012 – but what’s happened to these architectural masterpieces, the winding pathways made to accommodate thousands of spectators and the state-of-art facilities, since the Olympics packed their bags for Rio? We were invited to spend the day exploring the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to find out.
We started our day at the ‘red, squiggly thing’, often featured behind Clare Balding’s heading during 2012, also known as the ArcelorMittal Orbit. It’s the UK’s largest sculpture, designed by Sir Anish Kapoor and made from 60% recycled steel. The legacy has ensured this artwork isn’t just an interesting feature of the London landscape though, with two viewing platforms boasting views across London and its latest addition, the world’s longest and tallest tunnel slide, this is more than just an eye-catching, Meccano-style scribble.
Hugo and Bruno loved the interactive screens from the second floor viewing platforms, while I took advantage of the seating area overlooking a cloudy London (grey, cloudy skies not guaranteed!), but this was quickly surpassed by the 40-second thrill-ride down the slide. We were kitted out with pads and fetching head-gear (safety first folks!), then took our turns to jump into a padded-bag for an adrenaline-inducing luge. Think big water-slide without getting cold and wet – what’s not to love?!
We headed up again in the lift (the only way up) as the boys then wanted to come down the stairs (another winding steel structure) – oh to be young! One of the perks being, although you get one slide with your entry/slide ticket (from £10.50 for a child and £16.50 for adults), you can go up and down as many times as you like; which might explain my aching calves for the following 24 hours!
As ever, there was no rest for the ‘with kids’– we headed over to the London Stadium, a mere 3 minute-walk, which is now the home to West Ham FC for a stadium tour. Our guide, Terry, imparted his vast footballing, east London and Olympic Stadium knowledge for over 1.5 hours. We had a team-talk in West Ham’s first-team changing room, sans shouting for David Moyes; we were allowed to look but not touch in the 5*, Royal East lounge, where season tickets start at around the £40k mark, and strolled up the players’ tunnel leading to the pitch side. The boys were in their element and were inspired enough to not moan about going to training this week!
Finally, we popped into the Last Drop Café at the base of the ArcelorMittal Orbit for a bite to eat – with salads, burgers, light bites, milkshakes and an array of teas, there’s something on the menu to keep everyone happy and quiet. Plus, if you have a little one in tow, there’s a small soft-play area too!
Considering we only tasted a small amount of the activities on offer at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic park, we had a great day-out. It’s wholesome-thrills without the gimmicks, crazy prices and flashing lights! Plus Seb Coe can sleep-easy knowing The Legacy worked its magic on the boys who exclaimed “Mo and Usain were actually here!” and gawped in amazement when they were told Tom Daley still swims in the pool at the Aquatics Centre, they came away with a renewed spark for all things sporting.
To find out about all the activities and special events on offer at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park head HERE.
This post has been sponsored by The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – but, as always, all comments and opinions are my own. I only ever write about things we’ve enjoyed knowing you probably will too!