Visit London Blog » Athlete’s village Enjoy the very best of London Tue, 17 Mar 2015 16:11:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 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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Amazing Before and After Photos of Westfield Stratford City and the Olympic Park Thu, 12 May 2011 10:00:56 +0000 Here’s a picture of the East London space back in 2006.

And here’s how it looks today, incorporating Westfield Stratford City, the Athletes’ Village and the Olympic Stadium:

With 300 shops and 50 restaurants, Westfield Stratford City will be the largest urban shopping centre in Europe. It’s due to open on 13 September.

There’ll be a John Lewis, an M&S and a Waitrose, as well as all your other favourite stores: Primark, Next, Mothercare, Swarovski, Paperchase, Uniqlo, Superdry and Reiss to name but a few!

Westfield Stratford City will have an unrivalled transport network; it’ll be one of the best connected shopping destinations in the UK. £17 billion is being invested in public transport in the lead up to the 2012 Olympics.

Read about Westfield’s sister store in Shepherd’s Bush on the Visit London website

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London 2012 Olympic Village on Course for Completion Tue, 08 Jun 2010 10:00:01 +0000

Hot on the heels of exciting updates regarding the rapid development of the Olympic sporting venues, Olympics officials claim London 2012’s Athlete’s Village is also well on its way to completion.

The village is on course to meet its planned finishing date of early 2012 as three quarters of the structure has been completed since work started in 2008.

Speaking to Inside the Games, David Higgins, Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) chief executive says, “Two years on from the start of construction on the Athletes’ Village and the project is firmly on track with the legacy of quality new homes for Londoners taking shape.

“Together with the new homes we are building, the progress being made on Chobham Academy and the Polyclinic site also shows the education and healthcare legacy we are delivering at the heart of the Village plans.”

During the Games, the village will house more than 17,000 athletes and officials. Seb Coe, Chairman of London 2012, claims a comfortable Athlete’s Village is vital to the success of the London 2012 Games.

He says, “Delivering a first-class Athletes’ Village is an essential part of the support we will provide for athletes to ensure they can focus on giving the performance of a lifetime at the London 2012 Games.”

The village will provide 2,800 new homes as well as education and healthcare facilities after the Games, and Lord Coe claims this is a major part of the legacy of the London 2012 Olympics.

“The Village will be one of the key features of the Olympic Park and the new homes and community facilities being built will be another part of the powerful legacy the Games will leave the local area,” he says.

Things are really starting to take shape in East London; it’s going to be an exciting couple of years. What do you think of this recent news?

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