Visit London Blog » queen elizabeth olympic park Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 16 Jan 2015 16:06:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 10 Things For Families To Do In The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Tue, 01 Jul 2014 09:00:12 +0000 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:

1. Cycling
The whole park is fantastic for cycling so bring your bikes or hire from View Tube. You can also book to ride inside the Lee Valley VeloPark or outside on the BMX Track.

2. Wandering
There are lots of free park trails to follow, including a Children’s Trail. You can pick up the leaflets at the Information Point (opposite the Aquatics Centre) or print one out at home.

 Aquatics Centre

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.

ArcelorMittal Orbit

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.

 Helter Skelter

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.

Tumbling Bay Playground

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.

Climbing Wall

10. Climb
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 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.


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Where To Take A Toddler in London Tue, 08 Apr 2014 08:00:33 +0000 In The Night Garden Live

Want to entertain your toddler in London but need something suitable for their age – and your wallet? We’ve got a few suggestions to get you started…

In The Night Garden Live

Just like Peppa Pig and CBeebies, In The Night Garden is making the transition from the small screen to the big stage, with live shows at The O2 and Richmond Park this spring. Taking place inside a special show dome, the performance uses costumes, puppets and all sorts of technical trickery to magically bring Igglepigle, Upsy Daisy and Makka Pakka to life.


Discover Children’s Story Centre

Take a wander along the story trail at Discover in Stratford, where you and your little one can explore a secret cave, have a tea party, dress up in a crazy costume… and let your imaginations run wild! There’s also a garden, café and studio featuring multi-sensory installations and exhibitions. And best of all, it’s free for under 2s!

National Maritime Museum

The fascinating National Maritime Museum in historic Greenwich has something for all ages. The Children’s Gallery and Ship Simulator may be too old for your toddler, but they’ll definitely enjoy scooting around the Great Map on a plastic boat and the many family events, such as Play Tuesdays – where under 5s can explore the museum through crafts, music, dance and stories. The museum is free but the activities do have a small charge.

Diana Princess of Wales Memorial

Tumbling Bay Playground

Within the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park lies a fantastic kids playground, Tumbling Bay. There’s plenty to explore here: rock pools, sandpits, slides, swings… plus an adjoining community centre and café, the Timber Lodge, for when you need to refuel or change nappies. Other great outdoor spots for toddlers in London include the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens (complete with pirate ship); London’s many city farms; and Coram’s Fields, a seven-acre playground close to the British Museum.

Unicorn Theatre

Alongside its programme for older children, the Unicorn Theatre in London Bridge puts on special productions for younger visitors. Upcoming toddler-friendly shows include Not Now, Bernard (for ages 2+), based on the much-loved children’s book, and Sensacional (for ages 18 months to 3 years), a colourful sound-and-light show in which your toddler dresses in a white suit and becomes part of the experience!

London Transport Museum

Many toddlers have a fascination with public transport; indulge their obsession at the London Transport Museum. Particularly good for this age group is the All Aboard! area, with its pint-sized versions of a bus, train, Tube and taxi. There’s also a play table with a miniature model of London and toy trains. Though chances are they’ll want to ‘have a go’ on the full-size buses and Tube trains too.

Toddler Time at Picturehouse Cinemas

Many cinemas now have kids clubs or parent-and-baby screenings, Picturehouse goes one up with Toddler Time: 30-minute shows to introduce children to the big screen. Admission is £3 per child, free for under 1s.

London Aquarium

Plus: toddlers go free at…

Which toddler-friendly attractions have proved a hit with your little one? Share your top tips in the comments section below.

More family-friendly attractions in London

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London Shopping News: Karl Lagerfeld, Pop-up Tube Shops, Carnaby Shopping Party, Soho Flea Market Tue, 01 Apr 2014 13:27:36 +0000 From high-fashion store openings to pop-up shops on the London Underground, the capital is bursting with hot shopping happenings.

Shops on the London Underground

Karl Lagerfeld opens on Regent Street

Big news for fashionistas! Iconic designer Karl Lagerfeld has opened his first-ever heavenly flagship store in the UK on Regent Street. Expect luxury ready to wear collections, as well as a glittering stash of handbags, leather goods, watches, scarves and footwear. When trying on clothes, you can take a photo of yourself in the store’s photobooths then share on Facebook, Twitter and email. Also now open on Regent Street is Italian luxury leather shop Piquadro, the brand’s first UK flagship store.

Carnaby Shopping PartyCarnaby Shopping Party

A key diary date for May! Carnaby‘s unmissable fashion event is back on Thursday 1 May from 5-9pm. There will be live music, DJs, trend talks, a pop-up bar and 20% discount on new collections. Register for a free ticket.

Shop for gold at Westfield Stratford City

To celebrate the re-opening of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Westfield is putting on a slew of sporting activities. From basketball hoops to fitness skills training, kids and families can get active from Dame Judi Dench7-13 April at Chestnut Plaza. Children can show off their dance moves at the shopping mall’s Silent Disco (14-20 April), while petrolheads will love the Top Gear Experience at Chestnut Plaza on the Street (16-27 April).

Celebrities at Fenwick Bond Street

Big name stars like Joanna Lumley, Vanessa Redgrave and Christopher Biggins will be taking their spotlight to the shop floor at Fenwick of Bond Street in support of theatrical charity Acting For Others. From 6-8pm on 10 April, you can see actors manning the tills and acting as personal shoppers. There will also be a Q&A with Dame Judi Dench for £100. Find out more.

Dog Day Afternoon

Calling all dog lovers! Choose accessories for your pooch at Dog Day Afternoon in Marylebone Village on Saturday 26 April. Expect handmade four-poster dog beds, dog portraits and a pop-up photography studio. Competitions take place from 2pm, with categories including A Four poster bed for dogs, available at Dog Day AfternoonBit of Ruff for mixed breeds and New Kid on the Block – Best Puppy. Free admission.

Pop-up Shops on the Tube

Independent shops will be popping up across the London Underground network this month. The pop-up shops will open at key stations including Piccadilly Circus, St James’s Park and Baker Street. Eight pop-up shops will be opening at the end of April at Old Street station where the scheme is launching. Find out more.

Soho Flea Market

This artisan and designer crafts event is returningSoho Flea Market to Soho’s Dean Street on 25 May from 11am-7pm with its usual mix of jewellery designers, furniture makers, glassblowers, ceramicists, musicians and stage entertainers.

More London shopping

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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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Charity Cafes in London Tue, 04 Feb 2014 09:00:18 +0000 Cafe Eterno, near Covent Garden

If you’re looking for an alternative to London’s chain coffee shops, make a beeline for one of these feel-good cafes.

Your delicious coffee or homemade lunch could help a person with disabilities into work, a young person away from a life of crime, or get a homeless person off the streets.

Unity Kitchen at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic ParkUnity Kitchen Cafe at the Olympic Park

Unity Kitchen is a fantastic social enterprise, which trains people with disabilities to become baristas, chefs and catering assistants. The bright and airy Timber Lodge café in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is one of five Unity Kitchen cafes in London. Pop in to enjoy fresh, seasonal food, including sandwiches, hot-pot dishes and sweet treats. And if you’re visiting with children, don’t forget to check out the fun Tumbling Bay children’s playground next door.

Crisis Skylight Cafe LondonSkylight Café

Part café, part social enterprise, part art space, Crisis’s Skylight Café in East London gives homeless people and ex-offenders training in the service industry – and a route into permanent employment. Currently, the housing charity is helping two trainees into work every month – as well as serving up delicious homemade soups, salads and daily specials prepared in an environmentally and socially responsible way.

Living Water Satisfies

As well as being a lively café and social hub, Living Water Satisfies in Crystal Palace is a social enterprise, helping women to overcome domestic violence through counselling and supportive workshops. The café itself is both spacious and cosy, with comfy chairs, large windows and regular activities for children and adults. The menu has something for everyone too, with everything from a classic Full English Breakfast to Caribbean curries.

Inside Cafe Eterno

London City Mission’s Cafe Eterno

Tucked away on Neal Street in Covent Garden, Café Eterno is a friendly café offering an extensive menu and a warm welcome. Run by Christian ministry the London City Mission, the café is run on a non-profit basis, with proceeds going to fund the important work of the mission in local communities, hospitals and on the streets of the capital.

Café of Good Hope

Café of Good Hope is a jolly community café in Hither Green, South East London. It’s run by the Jimmy Mizen Foundation, which was set up in memory of London teenager Jimmy Mizen by his friends and family to promote peace and positivity in young people’s lives. A sister café, Sammy Ts, has also recently opened in nearby Mountsfield Park.

New Horizons CafeNew Horizons Cafe

Chelsea-based New Horizons Café is one of several community hubs managed by The Camden Society. Run in partnership with Open Age, the café is located within the New Horizons Activity Centre for people over 50 and offers training and support for people not in education, employment or training (NEETs) and people with learning disabilities. The menu includes everything from healthy breakfasts to lunches, afternoon tea and Continental, British and Asian specialties.

The Hornbeam Café

Vegetarian food made using local, organic and fair-trade ingredients (where possible) is on the menu at The Hornbeam Café in Walthamstow, East London. The cafe also hosts a Saturday market stall, a veg-box scheme and a knitting, sewing and crafts group. Run on a non-profit basis, the cafe aims to encourage local residents to live more sustainably – such as through its bread-baking collective – and also provides a space for local groups to meet.

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To celebrate the release of our latest London Story video featuring Mayor of London Boris Johnson, we asked Boris to be our guest editor on’s homepage from 23 to 25 January 2014, populating it with some of his favourite London experiences.

While making his London Story video for us – which was filmed in a pod on The EDF Energy London Eye – Boris waxed lyrical about some of his top things to see and do in London.

British Museum

“As I kid, because I was a bit of a nerd, I used to love going to the British museum where I would spend hours loitering in  the Duveen galleries,  looking at the Elgin Marbles – the ‘ta Elgíneia Mármara’, as they are called in Greece.”

The British Museum in Bloomsbury is the UK’s most visited tourist attraction, welcoming millions of people each year. Entry is free and provides access to an enormous wealth of historical artefacts, paintings, sculptures and scriptures from across the world (8 million in total) that make up the museum’s stores. These include the Rosetta Stone, The Elgin Marbles, the Easter Island Statue of Hoa Hakananai’a, and The Vindolanda tablets. As well as permanent exhibits, the museum curates temporary displays, and the Great Court and Reading Room are particularly popular with visitors due to their impressive architecture.

Regent’s Canal

“I cycle a lot but I also particularly like walking down the canal. There’s a fantastic walk just near us along the Regent’s Canal where you see these ancient bits of industrial architecture with new dwellings springing up among them.
“The buildings have got all this glass and steel and it’s the combination that’s so attractive. It’s 18th and 19th century industrial architecture that’s been brilliantly renovated with 21st century technology. It’s a fantastically vibrant area and so unlike any other city.
“We walk down the canal for a purpose – not just because it’s romantic and beautiful but because there is a pub, called The Narrow Boat, that sells fantastic sausage and mash.”

The 8.6-mile (14km) Regent’s Canal links the River Thames in the Limehouse Basin with Little Venice in north-west London. Along its route the canal bisects ZSL London Zoo, curves along the edge of Regent’s Park, passes through the busy shopping district of Camden, and then on to Islington and on to East London’s developing landscape, such as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. When it was built in the early 19th century, the canal’s primary function was for carrying goods; today it mainly provides a conduit for relaxation and leisure time.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

“I love getting on my bicycle and riding all the way through Hackney. It is an area changing very, very fast with all these bars being opened and new startup businesses. I then go through Victoria Park, right the way to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park which is connected up in the most extraordinary way. I recommend that for a day out and particularly when we reopen the whole park this year.”

Once London secured the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, work began on this piece of land in East London to turn what was previously wasteland into a hub for Londoners and visitors alike. The initial phase saw the creation of Europe’s largest shopping mall, Westfield Stratford City, next door, followed soon after by the Olympic Stadium and its sister sporting arenas. When the London 2012 Games finished, the park closed for refurbishment but the north section has since reopened for sporting events and festivals. Incremental new openings will occur throughout 2014 including parklands featuring new plant life, affordable homes, plus a variety of public-use sports and event venues.

Riverbus / Boat to Greenwich

“[My family and I] go to Greenwich and hang out there because it has such a beautiful park. You can have a wonderful afternoon having a picnic, feeding the ducks, hiring a boat – which you can also do at the Serpentine – and all that kind of stuff.”

London’s River Thames has a number of river bus services available. To get to Greenwich you can board one at Embankment, head east past the London Eye, Tower of London, Canary Wharf, and onto Greenwich where you disembark to enjoy The Cutty Sark, the National Maritime Museum, the Royal Observatory Greenwich and Greenwich Park. As well as hosting the Prime Meridian Line, this 183 acre (74 hectare) Royal Park dates back to 1427 and offers a stunning vantage point from which you can look across London at landmarks such as The O2 Arena, Canary Wharf and The Gherkin. There is also an enclosure for wildlife including deer and foxes.

24 Hours in London: Food & World-Class Attractions  

“London has a superb range of places to eat and you are spoilt for choice for Michelin starred restaurants – not that I go to Michelin Star restaurants! I love this café called Frank’s in Southwark Street, where you can get one of the best fry-ups in the world or I can recommend a Turkish joint in Islington, called Pasha.
“It is very, very important to see the British Museum and the Tower of London. The Tower was built in Norman times and is the most interesting example of how London thrives on alien imports because every stone of that initial structure came from Caen in France.  Visitors should also go and see the crown jewels.
“There are so many unbelievable hidden jewels in London, like the Wallace Collection for instance.
“Then you’ve got the Tate Modern – which is not only the biggest but has the most number of visitors of any modern art museum in the world.”

Discover more stories and enter a competition to win a fantastic stay in London at #TheLondonStory

What would you recommend to visitors to London?

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What’s On This Weekend: 16-18 August Mon, 12 Aug 2013 09:30:12 +0000

Get set for another fabulous summer weekend in London: see world class art, marvel at some thrilling sport or take the kids to their first festival.

World Rugby Sevens at Twickenham

The inaugural World Club Rugby Sevens is a major new 7s tournament which brings together some of the globe’s biggest names in club and provincial rugby for two days of thrilling sport. Taking place in Twickenham Stadium, the spiritual home of rugby, the tournament will see 12 teams competing to be crowned champions. As well as home sides such as the Harlequins, teams come from countries such as South Africa, Australia, Argentina, America and Russia, so expect to see lots of national flags on show! Tickets start from £30. 17 – 18 Aug

The Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition

Don’t miss your last chance to see the 245th Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition, which displays more than 1,000 works by artists ranging from Academicians to those starting out in their career. Chosen from thousands of entries by a panel of experts, the works include paintings, sculpture, photography and more. Highlights this year include a series of six tapestries by the renowned Grayson Perry, as well as a large-scale sculpture by Anthoy Caro. Tickets start from £10. Until 18 Aug

Eid Festival in Trafalgar Square

Celebrate the end of the Muslim Ramadan at this free Eid festival in Trafalgar Square, which takes place between 1.30pm and 6pm. Spectators can enjoy a range of entertainment on the festival stage from the likes of Adam Ali, Saif Adam and Fursaan, as well as exhibitions, children’s activities and much more. In addition, to mark the end of the Ramadan fast there will be a food festival offering delicacies from across the Islamic world. 17 Aug

The Lollibop Festival at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

This vibrant event is the UK’s biggest festival for kids, and a perfect chance to introduce your young ones to the thrills of a festival in a suitable environment. Under 10s can see performances from popular figures such as Rastamouse, Shaun the Sheep and the Go!Go!Go! Show, as well as enjoy dance lessons, circus workshops, cooking classes and much more. The festival emphasises interactive play, and your kids will be kept busy all day long with the huge array of activities on offer! Tickets start from £23.50. 16 – 18 Aug

The Great British Beer Festival at Kensington Olympia

The UK is famous for its ales, and you can get a taste of this world-class reputation at the 36th Great British Beer Festival, the biggest event in the beer festival calendar. More than 800 real ales, ciders and perries will be on offer, allowing you to sample a huge range of styles that ranges from pale ales and milds to stouts and barley wines. Food, live music and pub games also feature, or you can simply soak up the fantastic atmosphere created by the tens thousands of real ale enthusiasts who attend over the festival’s five days. Tickets are £8 and available on the door; you will also need to rent a festival glass which you’ll be able to take away as a souvenir. 13-17 Aug

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London Restaurant News: Albion, Fields Bar & Kitchen, Jones & Sons, Unity Kitchen Cafe, Flesh & Buns, Tommi’s Burger Joint Thu, 01 Aug 2013 12:09:15 +0000 There’s no end to the diversity of London’s restaurants and these recent openings are no exception – you can enjoy everything from traditional British fish and chips to Taiwanese steamed buns at these exciting new eateries.

Albion Neo Bankside

Following the success of Albion in Shoreditch, Terence Conran has opened a new British cafe near Tate Modern. Albion Neo Bankside serves British comfort dishes such as sausage and mash, fish and chips, shepherd’s pie and Irish stew. There’s a choice of shared or individual tables overlooking the open-plan kitchen, plus a further 45 seats outside on the heated terrace. There’s also a small shop and food market selling British produce.

Jones & Sons

More British fare is on offer at Jones & Sons, a new cafe and restaurant in an old Victorian textile factory in Dalston, which used to be home to the Arcola Theatre. The new East London venue serves Monmouth coffee, meat from the local Well Street butchers and a selection of London beers. Pop in for breakfast from 9am, grab lunch from the deli counter or visit in the evening for dinner.

Fields Bar & Kitchen

Benugo, which runs the V&A Cafe, has teamed up with Sir John Soane’s Museum to launch a new restaurant, cafe

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and al fresco dining space at Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Fields Bar & Kitchen serves pizzas from a wood-fired oven as well as a range of other main courses, breakfasts, cakes and takeaway sandwiches and salads. Open during the park’s seasonal opening hours, the new restaurant has a 72-seat summer terrace.

Unity Kitchen Cafe

Unity Kitchen Cafe is the first cafe to open at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Based in the new Timber Lodge building, the cafe has one of the UK’s best new playgrounds on its doorstep, along with the beautiful trees, meadows and parklands that proved popular with visitors to the London 2012 Games. Run by the Camden Society charity, Unity Kitchen is a small chain of restaurants that offer training to people with learning disabilities.

Flesh & Buns

New from the team behind Bone Daddies, Flesh & Buns opens on 8 August in Seven Dials, Covent Garden. The restaurant will be the first in London to specialise in Taiwanese hirata buns (do-it-yourself filled, steamed buns). The name translates as “tiger eating pork” due to the appearance of the folded buns with pork inside. Other fillings include Korean lamb, chicken with yuzu koshu and sea bass with coriander miso.

Tommi’s Burger Joint

Icelandic burger joint Tommi’s will open its first permanent restaurant in the UK on 6 August. The chain, which has six American-style diners in Iceland, opened a pop-up restaurant in Marylebone Street in August 2012. The new restaurant, in nearby Thayer Street, will have an informal, vintage feel and serve burgers made from British meat, as well as veggie burgers, fries and milkshakes.

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Electric Daisy Carnival UK Debut in London Fri, 26 Jul 2013 15:16:57 +0000 Lollipop Girls at EDC entrance. Credit: Eric Kabik Festivalgoers dress up for EDC. Credit: Neal Houghton Crowds at the mainstage. Credit: Eric Kabik Festivalgoers at EDC. Credit: Neal Houghton Crowds at the mainstage. Credit: Neal Houghton Dance Tent. Credit: Howard Hill Dance Tent. Credit: Howard Hill Dance Tent Carnival rides at EDC Rides at EDC. Credit: Eric Kabik Art Instillations Circus performers entertain crowds. Streamers explode from mainstage at night. The Electric Daisy lights up next to mainstage Lasers are beamed out of mainstage

Last weekend, as Lovebox returned to Victoria Park for the eleventh year, the world-famous Electric Daisy Carnival made its UK debut in London.

One year on and the Olympic Park was going crazy once again, but this time it was for the world’s top dance and electronic music acts rather than athletes.

The sold-out event saw 50,000 dance fans at Queen Elizabeth’s Olympic Park for EDC’s first international event outside the USA, where it has been a huge success for the past 17 years taking place in the likes of Las Vegas.

The world’s leading dance music stars descended on Stratford including; Steve Angello, NERVO, Flux Pavilion, SHY FX, and Rusko to name a few. More than 30 acts performed throughout the day across five stages; kineticFIELD, cosmicMEADOW, bassPOD, neonGARDEN and discoveryPROJECT.

Festival-goers, who danced their way from stage to stage, had gone all out for the occasion, dressed in wacky, brightly coloured clothing, accessorised with neon paint and flower garlands.

I spent much of the day at bassPOD, which had an all British line-up including: Jaguar Skills, Nero, Sub Focus and Caspa. The arena was hosted by Radio 1’s Mistajam presents Speakerbox, who, during his set, created a mass Harlem Shake; bringing a man in a reindeer onesie up on stage to start it off.

Aside from the music, the experience was enhanced by carnival rides and theatrical and circus performers, who toured

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the site entertaining crowds. Art installations could be found around the park, most notably The Electric Daisy by artist Poetic Kinetics, a 100 foot lit, moving flower which towered above the main stage.

The best act of the day for me was Swedish DJ AVICII, who came before Tiesto headlined the mainstage. During his electrifying set he performed huge hits including Levels and his current number one Wake Me Up.

The main stage saw an explosion of streamers, smoke, confetti and lasers as the sun set over the Olympic Park. As we sang along with Avicii “wake me up when it’s all over” that’s most certainly not what this raving crowd wanted, as they danced atop each other’s shoulders and pumped their fists in the air, but like all good things it had to come to an end.

Electric Daisy Carnival is one of a series of concerts and events taking place throughout the summer at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Ellie was a guest of Big Box Media

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