Thousands enjoy opening of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Over 12,500 people have flocked to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in its first week of opening to enjoy the beautiful parklands, Tumbling Bay playground and Timber Lodge community centre as well as take in the stunning views of iconic buildings including the Velodrome, ArcelorMittal Orbit and Stadium.

The Park will open fully from spring 2014. Meanwhile, the North Park is now fully accessible and free to enter and pictures published today show children enjoying the amazing Tumbling Bay playground, cyclists discovering the Park and people relaxing in the peaceful parkland areas. Throughout the week the new Unity Kitchen Cafe in Timber Lodge, operated by the Camden Society, has had a brisk trade. The Copper Box – the first 2012 venue to reopen to the public – has seen more than ten thousand people through it doors since 27 July to get a taster of the wide range of sporting and community activities it is offering. With top level basketball coming up when Great Britain take on Puerto Rico on Sunday afternoon and the London Lions play Iowa University on 14 August the Copper Box looks set to enjoy a fantastic opening month.

Over 650,000 people have attended Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park’s debut summer series of events which has seen global stars like Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z perform in the Park and 2012 heroes like Usain Bolt, Jessica Ennis and David Weir compete in the Stadium. This includes five thousand cycling fans who yesterday cheered on around twenty thousand professional and amateur cyclists taking part in Ride London events that started in the Park.

Dennis Hone, Chief Executive of London Legacy Development Corporation said: “We’re on track to make Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park a must visit destination for everyone, but most importantly we want the community to reap the benefits. From first class sporting facilities, to acres of green space for picnics and games, we want everyone to enjoy our beautiful new park. It’s great that so many local residents and visitors have come out already and I look forward to welcoming thousands more over the coming months ahead of the Park opening in full next spring.”

Gerald Oppenheim, chair of the Camden Society said: “The cafe team has been frantically busy since the opening weekend serving up good quality food for all ages, including healthy breakfasts, chilled sandwiches and salads, hot lunches and sweet treats, as well as snacks and drinks.  People are also dropping by for weekend brunches or weekday lunches, relaxing inside the cafe or just enjoying drinks on the terrace outside.  And people love the family-friendly atmosphere of the purpose-built Timber Lodge right door next to the Tumbling Bay children’s playground.”

Commenting on the Open Weekend, Tony Wallace Head of Olympic Venues at GLL, operators of the Copper Box, said: “We’ve been working hard with the London Legacy Development Corporation over the past 12 months to transform the Copper Box Arena from an Olympic venue into a top class community and events facility.  To have more than 10,000 visitors on our opening weekend and to have such positive feedback from everyone we encountered is fantastic. We know we have a venue that will become both a London landmark but also a much needed community hub that will provide an extensive array of facilities and services to local people.”

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will be a fantastic new destination and a lasting legacy for east London. The Park will open in spring next year when visitors will be able to fully enjoy this amazing Park and its world class facilities. But while building and landscaping work across the Park is completed some access has to be restricted. So anyone planning to visit the Park should check before travelling to find out what is open and the best way to get there.