Colin Grainger

Get on board to see No Ordinary Park

The Olympic Park in Stratford has entered its latest phase as the new Park In Progress Tours began.

People are being welcomed to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and to the top of ArcelorMittal Orbit, or Buffy Tower as many locals call it,  for the first time since the Games.

Tickets for these exclusive visits went on sale in last month and have proved so popular that the Legacy Corporation today announced more dates, extending the tours until June 23.

The new Park In Progress Tour is a great opportunity to get on to the former Olympic site and see the creation of this whole new part of London before the new Park begins to open to the public from July 2013.

From the moment visitors report to the site office, they will become part of the on-site team with a chance to don hard hats and high-visibility jackets for their visit.

The visit includes a site briefing and a trip to the ArcelorMittal Orbit viewing platforms where there is a new interactive experience telling the story of this extraordinary part of London.

Hundreds of local residents will visit the Park for a free preview of the tours tomorrow before the official opening on Friday. Tickets for the preview have been allocated by the neighbouring boroughs. The Legacy Corporation is also offering a local resident discount for the Tours, subject to availability.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, said: “London’s wonderful Olympic Park is in the midst of a transformation to create a vibrant new area of the capital, providing new homes and jobs as well as a raft of new sporting and entertainment opportunities. We promised to give people opportunities to get back onto the park as soon as possible and it is no surprise that there is a huge appetite from Londoners for these fantastic Park in Progress tours offering a chance to see this exciting metamorphosis first hand.”

At 80 metres up the ArcelorMittal Orbit offer unique 360 degree views of the London skyline including St Paul’s Cathedral and CanaryWharf. On a clear day, you can see as far as Wembley Stadium in the north and CrystalPalace in the south.

The Olympic site is changing so rapidly that no two visits will be the same; already the Riverside Hockey Arena has been dismantled, the largest McDonalds in the world has gone and the temporary seating stands on the Aquatics Centre are being taken down.

In the coming months whole sections of the Park will be transformed with new cafes, community centres and gardens for people to enjoy.

These Tours are the only opportunity to visit the ArcelorMittal Orbit in 2013. Park In Progress begins just in time for the Easter school holidays and continue through to  June 23. Tours started on Good Friday just four months before Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park begins to open and approximately a year before the Park is fully open.

Adult tickets for Park In Progress will be the same price as during Games Time with a new discounted family ticket and concessions for senior citizens and students, children aged four and under go free and special group rates are also available.

Full details of the prices are below; the face value of the ticket is the price you pay as there is no booking fee.

Tickets cost £15 adults, £10 concessions (OAPs and students with NUS card), £7 children (aged up to 17) and children aged four and under go free. Special rates are available for groups of 10 or more.

You can buy tickets online at or by calling 0844 581 4995.

Visits began on  March 29  and will run for a limited time only on weekends and school holidays between 10am and 4pm (last tour departs at 3pm). The last tour will be on June 23 .

Philips is sponsoring the ArcelorMittal Orbit lighting until December 2017.

Philips has provided feature lighting for the ArcelorMittal Orbit including 250 kinetic spot lights that can be individually controlled digitally to produce a stunning combination of static and animated effects to bring the 114.5m Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond designed structure to life.

Designed by Arup Lighting, the low energy-use LEDs are positioned in areas including the external spiral stairway, the looping lattices and hospitality areas to ensure the ArcelorMittal Orbit is one of London’s most sustainable landmarks.

The London Legacy Development Corporation promotes and delivers physical, social, economic and environmental regeneration in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and surrounding area, in particular by maximising the legacy of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will begin to open from July 2013 and will be fully open from spring 2014, it will be a whole new part of the city to enjoy and will provide jobs and homes for east London.

For more information about the Legacy Corporation visit:

For more information about Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park visit:

Picture:ColinGraingerold iphone pics 028

Leave a Reply


This article was written on 30 Mar 2013, and is filed under Communities, East London, Education, Legacy, London, Newham, Olympics & Paralympics, Regeneration.

Current post is tagged

, , , ,