The 2012 Summer Olympics and the 2012 Summer Paralympics may have been four years ago, but the Olympic Park in Stratford is still a major tourist attraction. Located in the east of London, it’s worth coming out here one day to see the redeveloped athletes’ Olympic Village, the Olympic Stadium and the London Aquatics Centre.
See the view from above
Overlooking the whole Olympic Park London is the ArcelorMittal Orbit, an observation tower and Britain’s tallest sculpture at 114.5m. It’s located between the Olympic Stadium and the Aquatics Centre and features two observation platforms for a panoramic view over the whole complex, plus the London skyline and the River Thames. Once you’ve seen all you want at the top of the tower, there’s no need to wait for the lift – there’s a new hair-raising slide that takes you from the top to bottom in just 40 seconds! At 178m, it’s the world’s highest slide and circles around the ArcelorMittal Orbot a total of 12 times as riders are treated to light and dark sections, corkscrew turns and a 50m straight ending. Tickets are just £5 and can be prebooked online.
Relive the games
Whether you managed to get tickets or simply watched from your TV, you can still get a taste of that Olympic spirit. Guides can take you through sports the venues and tell you all about the history and construction of the park, or else try a self-guided tour on the London 2012 Park Trail. Walk in the footsteps of Team GB and follow an interactive map that shows you the Wall of Champions and the Olympic Bell, take a photo on an Olympic podium or below the Olympic rings, and see if you can beat world records on the treadmill or rowing machine.
Dive into the Aquatics Centre
You’re invited to swim in the pool of champions at the London Aquatics Centre, paddling in the same waters as Michael Jamieson, Tom Daley, Rebecca Adlington and Elizabeth Simmonds. Today, there are plenty of aquatic activities you can enjoy, including family sessions, lane swimming, diving and swimming lessons and even aqua aerobic classes.
Watch a game in the Box That Rocks
The world-class Copper Box Arena was the host of the handball and modern pentathlon fencing during the 2012 Games and goalball in the London Paralympics. Today, it’s a multi-sport arena and home to the British Basketball League side London Lions. Visitors can work out in the gym, take a community fitness class, or play a game of badminton, volleyball or netball. The Copper Box also plays host to several international events such as professional kickboxing, the EuroBasket, and the Taekwondon Championships.
See superstars in the Olympic Stadium
Undoubtedly the most iconic Olympic venue, the stadium was the primary arena for football and athletics events. From 2016, it will become the new home fo West Ham United FC and the National Competition Centre for athletics, as well as a venue for other sporting and cultural events. This year, you’ll be able to see AC/DC play live as part of their ‘Rock or Bust’ European tour, or catch the legendary Usain Bolt before he heads over to Rio at the London Anniversary Games.
Discover the new Olympic Village London
The old Athlete’s Village has been redesigned as East Village, and is one of the London’s newest and coolest neighbourhoods with independent shops, a variety of restaurants, and weekly markets and events. East Village is also a modern residential quarter with many homes and apartments, as well as several parks, gardens and communal areas.