This is a sponsored article on behalf of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Free Summer Fun In London: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
It has been four months since Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park reopened for the public to enjoy. We know and love it from playing host to the 2012 Olympic Games but now, alongside many of the sporting staples still in-situ, there's also an array of new features including landscaped gardens, rivers, walking trails, art installations, cafes, bars, promenades and outdoor play areas for kids.
We visited the park just before its opening on 5 April 2014 and were impressed with what we saw then. Four months down the line, the park continues to go from strength to strength. Here are some highlights:
Let’s get that out the way first. It is totally, utterly, absolutely free. Enter for free, walk around for free, play on the playgrounds or in the water fountains for free, embark a trail for free, clamber on the climbing walls for free. Many one-off events in the park are also put on free of charge, so you only have to pay if you want to get stuck into one of the sports centres or ascend the Orbit. More on both of those below.
Venues and Attractions
As well as the 560 acres of permanent parkland, there are also various attractions visitors can enjoy when they visit such as:
- The ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture is the UK’s tallest sculpture at 114.5 metres. Climb up to enjoy views of the park that extend 20 miles across London from the viewing platform. Art installations, soundscapes and interactive technology make your ascent (and descent) as interesting as the views that stretch from Crystal Palace to Ally Pally.
- We’ve already had a dip in the London Aquatics Centre (we loved it) and you can too. Many people don’t realise they can swim where Olympic medals were won from as little as £3.50.
- If swimming isn’t your thing, then other sporting tastes are catered for at the VeloPark and the newly re-opened Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.
- The View Tube, located in the south of the park, is bright green and made from old shipping containers (so it should be easy to spot). It serves as an education and arts centre that focuses on sustainability. It's also a space for showcasing local community art projects.
- If you want to know more about the park, its background and future then you can take a guided tour, taking in many highlights along the way. Walking tours are led by expert Blue Badge guides and boat tours will be available soon too.
Free fitness is also available this August with the park’s Active People, Active Park programme. It's a fantastic initiative and the schedule runs from 4-24 August — the full timetable can be viewed here. Pick from rowing, hula hoop fitness, Nordic walking, running, tennis, volleyball and more. Activities take place seven days a week and, again, the activities don't cost a thing. All ages and abilities welcomed.
We already know that Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is, shall we say, well-versed in hosting large scale events. So it should be no surprise that many one-off events come to the park to entertain the crowds there. This summer we’ve already had the Great British Carnival, and upcoming events include Picnic in the Park on 16 August, National Paralympic Day on 30 August (more on that soon), Art on the Move and Vintage Festival’s Classic Car Boot Sale, both 20-21 September. There's lots going on — take a look here for more information.
We’ve included a gallery of images above so you can see how glorious the park looks right now. Summer is a beautiful time to visit with flowers in bloom, summer festivals and picnicking options galore. So grab your friends, family, neighbours and head down for the day. Oh, and did we mention that it's all free?
For more information about the park and what it has to offer, visit the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park website.
Last Updated 31 July 2014