Freelance journalist from Derry, Northern Ireland.
Published April 19th 2019
Designed specifically and expertly for the London 2012 Olympic Games, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is not only home to an array of intriguing and distinctive structures and venues, but moreover includes some of the largest green space in London, where families, friends or passers through can simply zone out and forget about the stresses of city life. The park covers a huge area of East London, and boasts iconic and modern venues such as the London Stadium, the London Aquatics Centre, Lee Valley VeloPark and the ArcelorMittal Orbit among many other striking buildings. Moreover, an abundance of parklands, playgrounds and waterways permeate the area, with several idiosyncratic cafes spread all along the way for that much-needed shot of caffeine.
The London Legacy Development Corporation developed the area in the early 21st century in light of the upcoming 2012 London Olympic Games, and since then the Queen Elizabeth Olympic has inspired those living and working in the community. The residents are continually provided with new and exciting ways in which they can play a part in developing and sustaining the area, and with more than 16 million visits to the park since its opening, there is no time to waste in thinking up more creative opportunities for the future.
Covering 560 acres, with 6.5km of waterways thanks to the River Lea that flows silently throughout the surrounding woodland, there is also plenty of wildlife to explore. Themed walking trails, carefully crafted running and cycling routes and even new homes arriving, there is always something happening here. And it's not just the here and now that has been considered, but future generations have been central to the entire planning process, with the expectation of thousands of jobs created on the park by 2025.
The list of independent and quirky cafes splattered around the park is endless, with water fountains also available for those taking their dogs for a stroll in the East London sun. Various cuisines in various bars and other intricate venues have made the cut, with the East Village - the former London 2012 Athlete's Village - community hub more than happy to welcome budding customers to try out their tasty treats, ranging from pizza and wine to fish and chips, the place has it all. And it's certainly not a sleepy area despite the glorious opportunities to read a book or rest your eyes on the banks of the river, as the VeloPark and London Aquatics Centre are constantly filled to the brim with activities. You can, however, find the perfect spot to simply chill out for the day, or indeed make use of the various green areas to play those sports that you never have time for, and you can do it for free!
There is an intricate series of tracks for runners
Thousands of adventurists have also been making their way to the park in recent years, and for them, the main attraction has been the ArcelorMittal Orbit and The Slide, where thrill seekers can cruise their way down the world's tallest and longest tunnel slide. Measuring 178m, those brave enough can orbit down the UK's tallest public artwork, attempting to take in the amazing views on offer, albeit at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour!
The London 2012 vision has lived up to all expectations thus far, with locals jumping at the chance to breathe in the fresh air and soak up the rays of any sun that arrives. The lives of these east Londoners have been quite literally transformed, and they can boast an abundance of green grass, peaceful relaxation and endless fun thanks to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.