Over 50,000 visitors took part in a weekend of festivities as the south of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park opened to the public for the first time since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games.
The Park opened with a bang as drummers excited the crowds and beat a countdown before 250 children from local schools danced their way through the Park. At the ArcelorMittal Orbit, brave acrobats wowed spectators with a breath-taking aerial performance from 80m in the air as they performed a jaw-dropping act from the iconic red steel of the attraction. And throughout the Park there were pockets of activity to excite the whole family, from circus performers and sport sessions to poetry reading and music shows.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Londoners have voted with their feet by turning up in their hoards to declare this opening weekend a great success. With a season of bank holidays nearly upon us, I urge families to head East and visit London’s latest visitor attraction.”
Dennis Hone, Chief Executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, said: “It was great to see so many people at the Park this weekend using it as it’s supposed to be used, as a new destination for London.
“This is just the next step in the Park’s transformation. Our ambitious plans for culture and education will be complimented by some of the best events to come and enjoy like FINA/NVC World Diving this April, Ride London and National Paralympic Day to name just a few.”
In 18 months, the London Legacy Development Corporation has led the transformation of the former Olympic Park into London’s newest Park with beautiful parklands and waterways, world-class sporting venues, arts and events.
The south of the Park, designed by James Corner Field Operations, who created the High Line in New York, features:
• A new tree-lined promenade with 100 trees strung with a unique globe lighting system.
• Interactive water fountains and an action packed adventure playground.
• Four themed walking trails explore the key sights of the London 2012 Games, the Park’s biodiversity, family fun on the Park and arts and culture.
From the 114.5m tall ArcelorMittal Orbit, visitors are able to experience a totally new perspective of London and unrivalled views of the Park. With two spacious viewing platforms at 76 and 80 metres high, visitors can see over 20 miles across London and newly installed interactive technology will enable guests to get close up to the breathtaking views. Tickets are £7 for children, £15 for adults and £40 for a family of four (two adults and two children).
At the base of the ArcelorMittal Orbit, visitors are able to relax in The Podium which boasts a versatile events space, EastTwenty Bar & Kitchen and roof top terrace with fabulous views of the iconic venues.
More than a million visitors have already enjoyed the Park since it began to open in July 2013 with concerts and the Anniversary Games. The Copper Box Arena was the first former Olympic and Paralympic venue to open to the public and has already had more than 100,000 visitors. This success continued with the opening of the iconic London Aquatics Centre on 1 March, which has already had over 65,000 visitors, and Lee Valley VeloPark which opened its doors for public use for the first time this week (31 March).
Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre will open in June 2014 and will boast four indoor and six outdoor tennis courts, as well as two of the best hockey pitches in the country and work is also 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.
A major new arts and cultural centre has been announced, working with University College London and Victoria and Albert Museum. The Mayor of London and the Chancellor, together with the London Legacy Development Corporation, have agreed to work together on ambitious plans that would potentially see two world class institutions build new sites adjacent to the Stratford waterfront, on land between the Stadium and Stratford station. It is projected that the cumulative effect of these plans will generate an extra 10,000 jobs in the Park.
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Facts
• At 560 acres, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is the same size as Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens combined.
• Visitors can enjoy a stroll along a promenade lined with 100 mature trees with 57 giant globes strung between them lighting the way.
• 4,300 new trees across the Park.
• The Park is covered by 6.5km of waterways and 15 acres of woods, hedgerows and wildlife habitat.
• 525 bird boxes and 150 bat boxes have been installed across the Park.
• Eight out of eight permanent venues have a secure legacy at the Park.
• 20,000 jobs will be created in and around the Park
o 5,300 at Here East, over 4,000 from housing, shops and other community facilities, 2,000 in construction and up to 10,000 at the new cultural and educational quarter
o Over 40 per cent of the peak transformation workforce were from the neighbouring boroughs
o Over 60 apprentices helped transform the Park, the highest number on a single site in 2013
• Planning permission granted for up to 10,000 new homes, up to 6,800 in five new neighbourhoods and more than 2,800 in East Village, around a third will be affordable homes.
• There are five iconic sporting venues for both community and elite use – London Aquatics Centre, the Copper Box Arena, Lee Valley VeloPark, the Stadium and Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.
• So far, more than one million visitors have come to the Park since July 2013.
• 700,000 people attended the Summer Series of events during 2013.
• The south of the Park covers 27 acres.
• There are four new outdoor spaces in the south of the Park designed to inspire creativity and shaped by walls of plants. Enjoy an adhoc performance in the theatre space or let the kids play in the sandpits and fountains.
• Explore four new activity trails and discover the hidden secrets of the Park. The trails include:
o the London 2012 trail
o biodiversity trail
o art in the Park trail
o kids activity trail.
• There are mini gardens representing different climatic regions including South Africa, the Americas and the Mediterranean.
• There are over 1,000 trees and over 100,000 perennial plants in the south of the Park.
ArcelorMittal Orbit Facts
• At 114.5m, the ArcelorMittal Orbit is the tallest sculpture in the UK. It is 22 metres taller than the Statue of Liberty and almost six times taller than the Angel of the North.
• The two indoor viewing platforms are each 300 square metres and, on a clear day, visitors can see up to 20 miles in all directions.
• 2,000 tonnes of steel stretching to 560 metres, 35,000 bolts and 19,000 litres of paint were used in its construction. Almost 60 per cent of the steel is recycled.
• It takes approximately 32 seconds to take the lift to the top of the attraction and 10 minutes to walk down the external spiral staircase, which is 1,150 feet long and has 455 steps.
• It was created by Sir Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond as their winning entry to a 2009 competition to design an iconic tower for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
• It cost £22.3 million to build - £19.2 million was provided by Lakshmi Mittal of ArcelorMittal, the world’s biggest steelmaker, the remainder from the Greater London Authority.
List of key events on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
25-27 April 2014 FINA/NVC Diving World Series 2014
22 June 2014 Hackney Half Marathon
28-29 June 2014 Holi Festival of Colours
7 July 2014 Tour de France
20 July 2014 The National Lottery Newham Anniversary Run
10 August 2014 Ride London
September- October 2015 Rugby World Cup matches
01 July 2017 IPC World Championships
01 August 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships
A selection of images is available here http://www.2012imagelibrary.co.uk/index.php?a=SavedSelections&i=758&signature=_dqo65Vb9UDmPhxkZzTJyHOsa6Y3NfhgzCfoE6byVXI
For more information contact Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park media team on 020 3734 9010 or email [email protected]
Notes to Editors:
London’s newest visitor destination, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, will be a place unlike any other. The south of the Park will reopen from 5 April 2014. More than a million visitors have already enjoyed the Park since it started to open in July 2013.
Visitors to the Park will be able to enjoy beautiful parklands and waterways, world-famous sporting venues, arts and events and spectacular views from the ArcelorMittal Orbit. As a new heart for east London, the Park will also provide new homes, jobs and a cultural and education quarter.
The London Legacy Development Corporation promotes and delivers physical, social, economic and environmental regeneration in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the surrounding area, in particular by maximising the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
For more information visit QueenElizabethOlympicPark.co.uk, follow us on Twitter @noordinarypark and like us on Facebook facebook.com/QueenElizabethOlympicPark
The ArcelorMittal Orbit originated in 2009 when London Mayor Boris Johnson launched a competition to design a sculpture for the Olympic Park. Sir Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond’s design of a continually looping red steel tower won the competition. Its construction was made possible by Lakshmi Mittal who provided sponsorship and all of the 2000 tonnes of steel used. Further funding was provided by the Mayor of London’s office and the London Development Agency.
The viewing galleries are accessed by two high speed lifts. After leisurely taking in the views, visitors are encouraged to walk down the 455 steps which spiral around the central column so they fully experience the constantly changing perspectives from every angle. The ArcelorMittal Orbit has full wheelchair access. For more information visit www.arcelormittalorbit.com
Concessions on production of suitable ID: Students – valid UK student card; 60+ – Freedom Pass/driving licence/passport; local residents – photo ID plus utility bill/bank statement confirming residency in Barking and Dagenham, Greenwich, Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets or Waltham Forest.