Guest blog by Laura Porter
The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has undergone further transformation since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and is now an amazing location for families to enjoy. Here are a few of our favourite family attractions:
3. Water Fun
The Aquatics Centre is home to the best swimming pool in the world – really! – and is now open to everyone. Try and book an ‘Aqua Splash’ session and you’ll get to play on an assault course of inflatables. Or go early and you may just see British Olympic bronze medal winning diver Tom Daley in the diving pool as he trains here regularly. I loved my first time in the Olympic pool and now the extra seating has been removed, there are glass sides so you can see Britain’s tallest structure The ArcelorMittal Orbit from the middle of the pool.
4. Climb Britain’s Tallest Structure
The 114.5m-tall ArcelorMittal Orbit is worth visiting if you like high views. I’d recommend taking a map of London up with you as it’s not the same view as from the EDF Energy London Eye so you may need some guidance finding the landmarks. Adult tickets are £15.
5. Not So High
My eight-year-old daughter loves the helter skelter that you can see near the Orbit. There is a charge but she was talking about it all day so I’d say it’s good fun.
6. More Water Fun
Before you reach The Orbit there is the snaking line of fountains which causes squeals of delight from both children and adults of all ages. Many come just to play here and it is worth bringing extra dry clothes as it’s easy to get caught out. I’d recommend playing in the fountains and then visiting the Aquatics Centre so you can swim and have fun before changing into dry clothes.
7. Playground Adventures
The Tumbling Bay Playground is a child’s dream with its mix of rock pools, sand pits, tall treehouses and wobbly bridges. Alongside the playground is the attractive Timber Lodge Cafe which serves up fresh, home-cooked food.
8. Grass Space
If you do walk beyond the Orbit there’s a large grass space that’s great for running and playing in. There are also some toilets here too.
9. Cafe Tip
If you’d like a decent cup of tea and a homemade cake, exit the Park at this point and pop over to The View Tube which is the lime-green container building you can see just off the park site.
Walk back past the ArcelorMittal Orbit and the fountains and take the canal path and you’ll find the climbing wall. This is an activity for the bigger kids (and adults) where they can challenge themselves to climb the two stages of the wall. My eight-year-old daughter can do it so it’s not too tough but there are ladders if you get left behind.
Sometimes it’s just good to visit the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and not worry about making plans. It really is incredible to remember the amazing events that happened here in the summer of 2012.
Laura Porter writes the About.com London Travel site and contributes to many other publications while sustaining an afternoon tea addiction to rival that of our Queen. You can find Laura on twitter as @AboutLondon and on Facebook as AboutLondonLaura.