Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park springs into action

From 5 April 2014, people will be able to explore more of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as the newly landscaped south of the Park opens to the public for the first time since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Visitors will be able to enjoy beautiful parklands, fountains and waterways, world-class sporting venues, arts and events and children’s play areas.  The Park will also feature four walking trails where visitors can:

  • Explore the key sights of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
  • Enjoy the Park’s biodiversity and landscaping created by James Corner Field Operations the designer of the High Line in New York. 
  • Take part in educational walks where families and teachers can use the Park as an outdoor classroom. 
  • Discover the 25 amazing art installations across the Park. 

Visitors to the Park can experience breathtaking views from the ArcelorMittal Orbit – the UK’s tallest sculpture offering a totally new perspective of London. The 114.5m high attraction will give visitors views over Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and 20 miles across London from two spacious viewing galleries.

More than a million visitors have already enjoyed the Park since we began to open in July 2013, including concerts and the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games. The Copper Box Arena was the first Olympic venue to open on the Park and has already had more than 100,000 visitors.

From 1 March the iconic Aquatics Centre will open its doors for the first time since the Games, hosting a series of events, galas and public swimming and diving sessions. The Aquatics Centre has two 50m pools, a diving pool and a newly installed gym.  In April it will host the 2014 FINA/NVC Diving World Series and in 2016 the European Swimming Championships. 

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: 

“Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has delivered an astonishing legacy and reopening the south part of the park will delight thousands of Londoners and visitors to our city. No other Olympic city has come close to London’s success in delivering a lasting legacy of sporting venues, jobs, homes and simply wonderful park lands.”

Dennis Hone, Chief Executive, London Legacy Development Corporation, said: 

“The opening of the south Park is a huge moment in our vision to create a new heart of east London. With beautiful parklands and waterways, and world-class sporting facilities the Park will become a must-visit destination for everyone – local people and visitors alike. We would encourage everyone to come and explore more from 5 April.” 

Peter Bundey, Deputy Managing Director, GLL, said:  

“GLL are proud to be operating the London Aquatics Centre in partnership with London Legacy Development Corporation. The stunning venue hosts arguably the best swimming pools in the world and as a charitable social enterprise GLL are committed to ensuring there is a lasting legacy for London.

“From Monday 20 January further information will be available to customers on how to book activities and join the Centre ready for the venue opening in March 2014. We look forward to welcoming local communities into this iconic venue from March 2014.” 

In the north of the Park visitors will be able to enjoy Lee Valley VeloPark and Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre. Opening in March 2014, Lee Valley VeloPark will be home to road, track, BMX and mountain biking:  the first time these four disciplines of cycling have ever met in one venue anywhere in the world. The Lee Valley VeloPark will feature everything from learn to ride programmes to major championships such as the grande finale of the Revolution Track Cycling Series on 14 and 15 March. 

Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre will open in May 2014 and will boast four indoor and six outdoor tennis courts as well as two of the best hockey pitches in the country that can be used by both the local community and elite players in international tournaments such as the Investec London Cup 2014, the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters 2014-2016 and the European Hockey Championships 2015.

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. 

Wilfrid Petrie, CEO Cofely GDF Suez said: 

“The opening of the southern part of the Park marks a major milestone in the on-going legacy.  As operators of the ArcelorMittal Orbit, we are pleased to be working in close partnership with the London Legacy Development Corporation to create a new visitor experience that is set to become a must-see London attraction for 2014.  The experience will include new digital interpretations and enhanced visitor facilities which are currently under construction.   

"This development further extends our relationship with LLDC, where we are already working together to produce transformational outcomes for stakeholders elsewhere across the Park.  From the quality of its infrastructure and environment, to the provision of low carbon district energy for its homes, businesses and sporting venues - the Park in legacy is an example of a new urban quarter, which delivers for East London the vision of a city for tomorrow.”

Shaun Dawson, Chief Executive, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, said: 

“As the owners and operators of Lee Valley VeloPark and Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, we are very excited to be moving one enormous step towards giving the public a chance to take part in activities in the same venues that witnessed the actions and dramas of the world’s greatest show on earth. We are thrilled to be hosting the finale of the Revolution Series in the velodrome at Lee Valley VeloPark – the first time since London 2012 that the stars of the Games, including the venue’s ambassador Laura Trott, return to race in this inspirational, multi-award winning venue. This will give people the chance to relive the memories of the Games and cheer on the nation’s cycling heroes. 

“We look forward to offering world class hockey and tennis facilities for players of all standards – two sports that are fast growing in popularity.  We have worked very closely with the sports’ national governing bodies – England Hockey and Lawn Tennis Association – to ensure that what we offer will place Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre as one of the country’s top training centres and major events venues.”
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park facts 
• 560 acres of parkland the same size as Hyde Park.
• 15 acres of hedgerows and wildlife habitats. 
• 6.5 kilometres of waterways.
• Promenade lined with 100 mature trees.
• 4,000 new trees across the Park.

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.

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.
• 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. 

Lee Valley VeloPark facts
• The first venue in the world to bring together four Olympic cycling disciplines in one place – track cycling, road cycling, BMX and mountain biking. 
• The venue will feature everything from learn to ride programmes for children who have never been on a bike before, to major championships with the world’s best riders.
• The iconic velodrome now seats almost 6,000 spectators, 1,000 more than during the Games. The track is 250m long, banks 42 degrees and is 7m wide and the infield surface is 3m below ground level. 
• A brand new one mile floodlit road cycle circuit has been created that will feature a series of loops to the west of the velodrome and a large single loop to the east. 
• The remodelled BMX track is 390m of bumps, curves and jumps.
• There will be five miles of brand new mountain biking tracks graded by difficulty so that everyone can take part.

Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre facts
• The venue boasts four indoor and six outdoor tennis courts as well as two state-of-the-art hockey pitches.
• There will be 3,000 permanent seats for hockey matches with the capacity to increase this to 15,000 for major events.
• Programmes will be aimed at a huge range of people, from those new to the sports to schools, clubs, community groups and disabled people.
• The Centre will be a major hub for wheelchair tennis and will host the NEC Wheelchair Master 2014-2016.
• It was the first venue on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to secure an international tournament following the Games when it was announced that it would play host to the 2015 Euro Hockey Championships.