Make a splash at the London Aquatics Centre from 1 March

For the first time since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games the public will be able to make a splash in the same swimming pools as some of Great Britain’s greatest athletes. The iconic London Aquatics Centre at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park opens its doors on Saturday 1 March 2014.

  • Zaha Hadid's iconic London Aquatics Centre opens on Saturday 1 March 2014
  • Two 50 metre swimming pools and 25 metre diving pool open to the public for the first time
  • Swim sessions start from £3.50
  • For more information visit www.better.org.uk/londonaquaticscentre

Designed by internationally renowned architect, Zaha Hadid, the London Aquatics Centre is one of the most recognisable venues from the Games with its unique wave like roof. The venue houses two 50 metre swimming pools. The Games time competition pool will be available for lane and fitness swimming. A 50 metre training pool will be available for family sessions, fun sessions with inflatables and swimming lessons. There is also a 25 metre diving pool with boards and platforms up to 10 metres, a dry diving zone, a state-of-the-art 50 station gym and café.

From 1 March the venue, which is operated by Charitable Social Enterprise, GLL, will play host to a variety of activities. Swimming sessions will cost as little as £3.50, the same as a swim in any other local pool, there will be swimming and diving lessons, and inclusive community sessions. The venue also has an innovative lift mechanism called a ‘Poolpod’ for people who require mobility assistance.

In addition to community swimming, the Aquatics Centre will host a range of national and international events including the FINA/NVC 2014 World Diving Series in April, the 2016 European Swimming Championships and is the new home of British Diving.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “After a post-Olympic makeover, London's majestic aquatics centre is now flinging open its doors for everyone to enjoy, whether an elite athlete or enthusiastic amateur. All of the world class sporting venues on the magnificent Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park have secured bright, futures, dispelling fears of white elephants and helping to drive our ambitious regeneration plans for east London.”

Dennis Hone, Chief Executive London Legacy Development Corporation said: “This is an exciting moment in the legacy of the Games. The iconic London Aquatics Centre with its unique design will now be open for the public to enjoy. We promised the former Olympic and

Paralympic venues would have long-term legacy use and we have delivered. Now local communities and visitors alike can come and swim in this amazing new venue.

 “This is another part of our plan to create a new heart of the city with world class sporting venues open to the community as well as new homes and jobs.”

Peter Bundey, Deputy Managing Director GLL, said: “As a charitable social enterprise, GLL are proud to be operating the London Aquatics Centre. The venue is now ready to become one of the best aquatics facilities in the world. It will be a place of fun, fitness as well as competitive swimming. Activities on offer will range from learning to swim or dive, family fun sessions to a world class competitive venue.”

Sport England Property Director, Charles Johnston, said: "The action in the Aquatics Centre during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games gave us some great memories and now it’s the public's turn. Our investment has ensured a truly iconic facility is open to the community, transforming it into a place where elite and every day swimmers can train side by side."

Since the end of the Games, transformation work has been ongoing at the London Aquatics Centre. The temporary seating stands, which held 17,500 seats, were removed and 2,800m² of glass and eight doors were installed allowing natural light to filter into the pool.

The London Aquatics Centre is at the entrance to the south of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park where, from 5 April 2014, visitors will be able to enjoy beautiful parklands and waterways, arts and events and spectacular views from the ArcelorMittal Orbit. More than a million visitors have already enjoyed the north of the Park and Copper Box Arena since they opened in July 2013. Visitors can experience four types of Olympic cycling in one place for the first time in the world at Lee Valley VeloPark from 31 March and in May 2014 Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre will open for both community and elite use.

Work is underway to transform the Stadium in to a multi-use venue. It will be the permanent home of West Ham United Football Club from 2016 and the new national competition stadium for athletics in the UK. The venue will host five matches as part of the Rugby World Cup 2015 and the 2017 IAAF World Championships and 2017 IPC World Athletics Championships. 

Aquatics Centre facts:

  • The three pools contain 10 million litres of water and are lined with 180,000 tiles.
  • There are almost 600,000 tiles in the whole building. Paralympic swimmer Liz Johnson laid the last tile in April 2011.
  • The Aquatics Centre’s spectacular wave-like roof is 160m long and up to 80m wide – giving it a longer single span than Heathrow Terminal 5. It rests on just three concrete supports.
  • The building is 45m high.
  • The aluminium roof has 50 per cent recycled content.
  • The Aquatics Centre uses 32 per cent less potable (drinking) water compared to other pools. This is achieved by using low flow fittings and recycling water.
  • There are 628 panes of glass in the new windows.