The park is now called the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, commemorating two significant events in 2012 - the London Olympic Games and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The Park in Progress tours are a behind the scenes visit to the Olympic Park construction site to witness the transformation as it happens.
There is also a certain entertainment element to the tour as you can opt to wear a high visibility vest and site hat on your tour. Unless the tours are very busy you’ll be able to go on a tour within a few minutes of arriving at the ‘site office’. After being driven a few short minutes away by bus you’ll reach the base of the ArcelorMittal Orbit which featured heavily in the Olympics – it’s the large red metal steel tower that was visible in almost every photo of the 2012 Games. It is the UK’s tallest sculpture and was built from 2,000 tonnes of steel. After taking a lift to the top you can explore the two platform areas of the structure with superb views of London all around. Once you’ve finished looking at the magnificent view you can take the lift down to the bottom or descend the spiral of several hundred steps which run around the outside of the Orbital. Watch those legs though; descending several hundred steps will turn them to jelly!
This tour really is capturing a unique moment in time as every day will give a different view of work on the Park as Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park takes shape. As early as July the Park will begin to host concerts and sporting events. Into the future, the Park will host events such as the 2015 European Hockey Championships.
To get to there, simply head east on the Central Line. Stratford is just twenty minutes from Oxford Circus, and from there you can take a two minute DLR (tram) journey to Pudding Mill Lane DLR station where the tour begins nearby. After your tour head back to Stratford and explore Westfield Stratford City; the largest urban shopping centre in Europe and 1.9 million square feet of shops, restaurants and bars.
This legacy for Stratford was always planned. It’s been said that one of the main reasons London won the Olympic bid in July 2005 was due to legacy planned for the deprived area of Stratford, long after the Games were over. So far the London 2012 organisers are staying true to their word, and Stratford is indeed being transformed.
Tickets for Park in Progress are available most weekends until the end of June atwww.noordinarypark.co.uk/events, costing £15.
Explore a 360 degree view of the Olympic Park site @ noordinarypark.co.uk/360-park-tour