Visit London Blog » aquatics centre Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:00:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park: A Sneak Preview of the Aquatics Centre Wed, 26 Feb 2014 11:00:01 +0000 Swim at the Aquatics Centre Learn to dive from the platforms See views of the Olympic Stadium The Aquatics Centre Tom Daley training at the Aquatics Centre ArcelorMittal Orbit and the Olympic Stadium

Eighteen months after the end of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Zaha Hadid-designed Aquatics Centre has grown up and lost its water wings (the temporary seating added for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games), and it’s all set to open on Saturday. We were given a sneak preview inside; and here’s what to expect.

World-class Pools

The revamped Aquatics Centre offers three pools: the Competition pool for competent swimmers, the Training pool for fun and family, and the Diving pool for all you budding Tom Daleys.

The Competition pool is the standout feature. It’s 50m long with 10 lanes, and has a moveable floor (it’s set at 3m in depth during competitions for maximum speed) and booms, enabling it to be split up and used for the likes of water polo matches.

Set at a toasty 28.5 degrees Celsius, the Training pool is a great place for kids to have fun while learning the ropes. At weekends and during school holidays it’s equipped with a floating inflatable assault course of jumps and climbs. The 50m pool also features moveable flooring so it’s a safe and comfortable place to learn.

The Diving pool is unsurprisingly the facility of choice for Tom Daley, who you may be lucky enough to see training here. Boasting platforms 1m to 10m high and pairs of springboards measuring from 1m to 3m, this is the perfect place for mastering the acrobatic sport – this pool will be used solely for diving lessons and courses.

This pool will have the world’s eyes on it once more during the third leg of the FINA Diving World Series, which sees the best divers battle it out for the prestigious title of World Series champion in April.

Stunning Visuals

The glass sides allow privileged views of the ArcelorMittal Orbit and the Olympic Stadium from the pools and stands – there are 2,500 seats here, with an extra 1,000 available during major competitions.

The venue itself, with its wave-like roof, is already iconic; and having lost its temporary seating its beautiful flowing curves are now uninhibited. Visitors just wishing to see inside can explore the various facilities on tours available from this weekend onwards.

Have Fun, Learn and Keep Fit

As well as instructed diving lessons, you can take part in courses for water polo, synchronised swimming, triathlon and sub aqua diving as well as book personal swimming tuition. Fitness fanatics who prefer to stay dry can make use of the fully equipped gym.

Although booking is recommended – and essential for most lessons and courses – you can just turn up on the day for a swim. Pre-booking is, however, required for a swim during the opening weekend.

Why Should I Visit?

It’s not often you get the chance to swim in the wake of the world’s best at the most iconic of aquatics centres. Relive moments from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, all at a price competitive to other London leisure centres – an adult ticket costs from £4.50, children’s tickets are a snip at £2 upwards, while members can make use of discounted rates.

The Aquatics Centre is also just a few steps from other Olympic Venues: The Olympic Stadium, the Lee Valley VeloPark, the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre and the Copper Box Arena – the latter is already open to the public, while the others are opening soon. The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as a whole is being revitalised with open spaces, waterways and gardens to discover.

Another of East London’s major attractions, Westfield Stratford City, is also nearby. Here you can spend a few pounds in the shops after working off a few pounds in the pool.

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Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park: What’s Opening When? Tue, 25 Feb 2014 09:00:33 +0000 Aerial shoot over Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

For the first time since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, people will be able to explore more of what is now known as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as most of the venues are poised to officially re-open on 5 April. Find out what is opening when and what is already open:

Aquatics Centre

Swim in the wake of champions

Where? Aquatics Centre
When is it opening? 1 March 2014.
Famous for its wave-like roof, the spectacular Aquatics Centre will soon be open to the public, offering a huge range of activities for all ages and abilities, from water polo to synchronised swimming, diving to triathlon. Designed by architect Zaha Hadid, the venue will have a 50m x 10-lane Olympic competition pool and a 50m x 8-lane training pool.

ArcelorMittal Orbit

Go up the UK’s Tallest Sculpture

Where? Arcelormittal Orbit
When is it opening? 5 April 2014.
Enjoy eye-popping views of London’s skyline, the Stadium and the Olympic Park from the UK’s tallest sculpture. Created by artist Sir Anish Kapoor, engineer Cecil Balmond and steel company ArcelorMittal, visitors will be able to climb up the 114.5m-tall tower to two viewing platforms, at 76m and 80m.


Cycle in a world-class venue

Where? Lee Valley Velopark
When is it opening? 1 March 2014.
The award-winning Velodrome has been transformed into the Lee Valley Velopark, a hub for cyclists of all disciplines with a one-mile, floodlit road cycle circuit, a remodelled and floodlit Olympic BMX track and 8km of mountain bike trails.

Monica Bonvicini's free-standing mirror sculpture, RUN, one of the park's 25 public artworks

Relax in beautiful parklands

Where? In the south of the park
When is it opening? 5 April.
The new parklands in the south of the park are home to woods, hedgerows and wildlife habitats.

Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre

Watch or play hockey and tennis

Where? Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre
When is it opening? May.
As well as boasting two hockey pitches, four indoor tennis court and six outdoor courts – which can be hired by the public all year round – the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre also has a £30 million clubhouse which will offer changing rooms and a bar. Since it hosted the Wheelchair Tennis at London 2012, the venue will continue to serve the sport by providing coaching and facilities for local and national players. It will also host the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters from 2014-2016 and the 2015 EuroHockey Championships.

The Timber Lodge Cafe

What is already open?

  • The Copper Box Arena, where you can use the gym or see live sport
  • The northern parklands with their riverside wetlands and lawns
  • The Timber Lodge Café, which has been cleverly designed to blend into the natural landscape and produce its own green energy from solar panels
  • The Tumbling Bay playground, which has a sandpit and walkways among the treetops. It can be found next to the Timber Lodge Café.

 The Copper Box Arena

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Behind The Scenes Of An Olympic Tour Wed, 25 Jul 2012 15:00:35 +0000

How close can you get to the Olympic Park without a ticket? A guaranteed way to see the Orbit, Olympic Stadium and Athletes Village is to take the daily Olympic walking tour around the edge of the park. In spite of tightened security and crowds, the tours are continuing twice a day throughout the Games.

The altered tour route for the Olympics visits the film studio where Danny Boyle is preparing the Opening Ceremony. It takes in the Stadium and the distinctive Aquatics Centre from a pedestrian gate and finishes up at Westfield Stratford City shopping centre, overlooking the Athletes Village.

The real highlights of taking a tour in Games-time are the unplanned encounters with Olympic stars, explains guide Victoria Herriott, who has bumped into the likes of Steve Redgrave, American sprinter Michael Johnson and legendary British Athlete Mary Peters on her tours.

“The atmosphere is great because there are athletes wandering around everywhere,” she says. “The athletes have all been moving in recently and they’ve hung their flags on their balconies so you know where different teams are staying. Last week, we met the American equestrian team with their trainer Mark Phillips, who is Zara Phillip’s father. My group were mainly American so they got the meet their own equestrian team and the father of the Queen’s granddaughter.”

The tours are led by professional Blue Badge tourist guides who tell the story of east London’s industrial past and regeneration, winning the bid and the build up to the Games.

Many guides have led tours of the park for years, from site visits for architects to trips for local schools. They launched the tours in 2010 when they realised the limited bus tours of the Olympic Park weren’t satisfying curiosity about the Olympic site. “We could see there wasn’t going to be much chance for people to be let into the park,” says Herriott. “There used to be bus tours but they were always sold out. It didn’t even begin to scrape the surface of the demand to learn about the Olympics.”

Guided walks take place every day at 11am and 2pm, starting at Bromley-by-Bow Underground station. Booking in advance is necessary in Games time. Have you been on a walking tour of the Olympic Park? Let us know your experience in the comments below.

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London 2012 Olympic Medals Unveiled (and Tom Daley Tests that Diving Board!) Thu, 28 Jul 2011 10:00:36 +0000 Did you get wrapped up in the 1-year-to-go excitement last night? We did!

If you were elsewhere, here’s a little round-up of yesterday’s London 2012 Olympics news.

The designs for the London 2012 medals were revealed. Designed by British artists David Watkins, the medals show Nike, the Greek Goddess of Victory stepping out of the Parthenon, the same as all summer games medals. On the back, there’s that 2012 logo, with the outline of the River Thames running through it, and a grid radiating out from the centre “representing the athletes’ achievements and effort,” according to the designer. The ribbons are royal purple: a nod to the Queen’s diamond jubilee.

They’re the biggest-ever summer Olympic medals (85mm in diameter), and rather heavy too, weighing 375-400 grams.

The medals are each made of:

  • Gold medal: 92.5% silver, 1.34% gold and the rest copper (a minimum of 6g of gold)
  • Silver medal: 92.5% silver and the rest copper
  • Bronze medal: 97.0% copper, 2.5% zinc and 0.5% tin

The other big news from last night was the newly completed Aquatics Centre. To mark the completion of the final permanent venue for the London 2012 Olympics, Tom Daley, team GB’s big diving medal hope, tested the waters. Here’s a video of that jump, below:

Did you enjoy the One-Year-To-Go celebrations? Let us know in the comments below.

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London 2012 Olympics Site Takes Shape Fri, 04 Jun 2010 13:30:39 +0000 Olympic Velodrome. Picture Taken By: Anthony Charlton on 13 May 2010  © ODA Aquatics Centre. Picture Taken By: Anthony Charlton on 13 May 2010  © ODA IBC/MPC. Picture Taken By: Anthony Charlton on 13 May 2010  © ODA Olympic Stadium. Picture Taken By: Anthony Charlton on 13 May 2010  © ODA Olympic Stadium and Aquatics Centre. Picture Taken By: Anthony Charlton on 13 May 2010  © ODA Olympic Stadium Roof. Picture Taken By: Anthony Charlton on 13 May 2010  © ODA

The London 2012 Olympic Park is really starting to take shape, and with just over two years to go until the Games we’re getting really excited! These photos taken in May show the latest progress at the Olympic Park.

The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games are set to transform this part of East London with sporting venues, new transport networks and the construction of the UK’s largest urban park for more than a century.

As you can see the Olympic Stadium is progressing well. It has now reached its full height of 60m, with the roof and 14 lighting towers resting on 2,500 tonnes of steel tubing recycled from old gas pipelines.

The distinctive wave-shaped roof of the Aquatics centre weighs 2,800 tonnes, spans 160m and has a length of 120m. The roof structure is now in place and the centre is due to be completed midway through next year.

The Pringle-shaped VeloPark needed 2,500 sections of steelwork for its structure with a difference of 12m in height between the lowest and highest points. It looks so good that once you see it you’ll want to go back for more!

The structure of the IBC (International Broadcast Centre) /MPC (Main Press Centre) was completed in September after just ten weeks of construction. The 4,500 tonne structure features a 12,000 sq m catering village that will dish up 50,000 meals during the Games.

What do you think of these latest photos?

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1m Registered for 2012 Olympics Tickets Sun, 02 May 2010 09:00:15 +0000 Organisers of the London 2012  Olympic and Paralympic Games announced this week that the number of peoople who have pre-registered their interest in buying Olympics tickets has passed the one million mark.

Although it was only publicised within Britain, in less than two months since London 2012 Olympics tickets registration opened, there has been an overwhelming response. London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe commented: “We are thrilled by the level of interest in our ‘Sign Up’ programme.”

The London 2012 organisers said that the majority of interest has come, as was expected,  from within the UK, with registrations from London and the South East making up 32 and 27 per cent respectively of the figure so far. And around 400,000 of the applicants have expressed interest in watching the Paralympics.

“What has been really interesting is that there has been significant interest across all Olympic and Paralympic sports,” said Coe.

“It should come as no surprise that the British public is so enthused by the prospect of world class sport coming to these shores, but it is pleasing to see that some of the lesser-known Olympic and Paralympic sports are also set to be well supported.”

Olympic tickets go on sale in spring 2011, with average price forecast to be between £40-£50 (US$60-$76).

Sign yourself up today at and you’ll be first to find out when the sales process starts.

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1,000 Days to Go to London 2012 Olympic Games Fri, 30 Oct 2009 15:00:28 +0000 Instructors and young sailors from the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy - the sailing venue for the London 2012 Olympic Games - mark 1,000 days to go until the start of the Olympic Games at Durdle Door in Dorset

On Saturday, there are just 1,000 days to go until the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has released details suggesting more than 5 million people are now “involved” in the Games in one way or other.

So, if you’re reading this, chances are you’re either one of them, or you know someone who is!

Whether it’s the Inspire Programme looking at community projects, the Get Set programme in schools, the Cultural Olympiad, School Sports Week, or your company is working on the Games, it’s becoming clear than 2012 is having quite an impact.

So, tomorrow is time for London to celebrate this involvement in different ways:

With just 1,000 days to go, all eyes are on the next step: the aquatic centre’s roof is due to be finished before the end of the year…

But, alongside London 2012, we want to know what you’re going to achieve in the next 1000 days? Let us know in the comments below, tell twitter @london2012team, or visit

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