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Undergoing an incredible transformation over the years, from an industrial wasteland to world class stadium, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford is a lasting legacy to the success of the 2012 London Olympic games.
Now one of London’s best parks to explore, there are many events and things to do at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. It is a perfect example of how regeneration and transformation can work across a huge 560 acre site to create a fun and family friendly neighbourhood.
With a marvellous mix of arts, attractions and residential / retail space surrounded by acres of nature and wildlife, discover why there are so many things to do at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and one of East London’s best places to explore:
Table of Contents
How to get to the Olympic Park in London
Getting to the Olympic Park is super easy by public transport and there are train, tube and bus stops at Stratford, Stratford International, Hackney Wick, Pudding Mill and Leyton stations.
Stratford is also a direct train away from North Greenwich station.
Use the Citymapper website or download the app to your phone to plan the best route to reach here.
Olympic Stadium in London / West Ham Ground
The former Olympic Stadium in London has now been repurposed (and renamed to the London Stadium) to become one of the city’s largest concert and sporting venues (80,000 capacity), as well as West Ham United’s football ground.
The best way to enjoy London Stadium (the former Olympic Stadium) is to either visit on a West Ham match day (the UK Premier League season usually runs August to the following May each year) or join one of the stadium tours.
If you’re after a suitable soccer souvenir or football gift, there is also a West Ham club shop selling all manner of merchandise open all year round.
A tour of West Ham Stadium / London Stadium in Stratford East London starts from £20 per adult and £12 per child – prices correct as at April 2023.
Address: London Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford, London E20 2ST
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ArcelorMittal Orbit / The Slide
Acting as an Olympic Park signpost for all to see from miles around, the iconic ArcelorMittal Orbit – the UK’s tallest sculpture (bright red so you can’t miss it) was designed for the London Olympics by Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond.
Sitting 115 metres tall and offering incredible panoramic views of the city of London and Olympic Park, you can also walk down the 455 steps immersed in a collection of ‘London sounds’ (we’re wondering if this is just episodes of Eastenders on loop?).
Alternatively at the ArcelorMittal Orbit, you can take a more adventurous descent, either abseiling off the side or taking The ‘Slide’ down, the world’s tallest and longest tunnel slide with 12 loops.
Address: ArcelorMittal Orbit / The Slide, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, 5 Thornton Street, London E20 2AD
Book an ArcelorMittal Orbit slide online in advance:
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London Aquatics Centre
‘Dive’ right into exploring Stratford’s London Aquatic Centre – how about taking the plunge in an Olympic Swimming pool?
Since the London Olympics, The London Aquatics Centre has been opened up to members of the public (after some modifications), with two 50 metre indoor swimming pools and a 25 metre diving pool available to use.
During the London Olympic games, the swimming pool had a capacity of 17,500 but now, you’ll likely see less than 100 people if you take a swim on a quiet day.
The cost to swim at the London Aquatics Centre is £5.30 per adult and £4 per child as of April 2023.
Address: London Aquatics Centre, Queen Elizabeth Park, Stratford, London E20 2AQ
Lee Valley Velopark / London Olympic Velodrome
Affectionately known as the ‘Pringle’ (given its shape looks like a potato chip), the indoor velodrome site and outdoor cycling track used for all the Olympic cycling can still be accessed at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
There is a fee if you want to bike along the outdoor track at the Lee Valley Velopark, but if you are just curious and want to have a look inside, you can pop your head in and look at the curved cycle track as well as enjoy their cafe.
Address: Lee Valley Velo Park, Abercrombie Road, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford, London E20 3AB
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Parklands and Wildlife Walks
Despite being surrounded by huge concrete structures, skyscrapers and shopping centres, there is a lot of nature to enjoy in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. This is likely why it has proved to be so popular with families, joggers, cyclists and day trippers.
With almost 7km of river walks and 23 hectares of wildflower meadows, you’ll likely see lots of wonderful wildlife and plants here.
London Olympic Park Boat Tours, Guided Tours and Swan Pedalos
If you’d rather explore Olympic Park on water as opposed to by foot, there are daily boat tours lasting 45 minutes that take you up and down the River Lea and Stort (departing just adjacent to the London Aquatics Centre).
Or if you fancy something a little more surreal but serene, you can also hire swan pedalos (we’re presuming they are owned by the Queen, like the real swans).
The swan pedalos hold around 4 adults and you can glide around the waters in the Olympic Park for a 30 minute ride.
Swan pedalos are available to hire on weekends and school holidays in the warmer months between April and October and cost £9 Adult and £5 per Child of 2023 (children under the age of 3 are not allowed on the swans).
In addition, public walks are also offered by volunteers during the summer, lasting 90 minutes and detailing the construction of the site through to the continual transformation today.
Art in the Park
Olympic Park proudly presents ‘Art in the Park’, a series of 26 installations, artworks and exhibits dotted around the entire site – whilst some are large and looming, others are a little more subtle and easy to miss (especially the Olympic tree rings high up, produced by Ackroyd and Harvey).
One of our favourite pieces of Art in the Park (other than the Arcelormittal Orbit, obviously) is the Spiegelei Junior silver ball by Jem Finer, as it sits atop a hill overlooking the Pringle / velodrome creating some rather distorted reflections. If you dare, put your head inside to see the Olympic Park upside down.
Westfield Stratford City
We’ll keep this brief as we know retail therapy and a day of shopping isn’t for everyone.
One of Europe’s largest shopping centres (250 stores and counting), Westfield Stratford also boasts a lot of outdoor bars and restaurants as well as a cinema and several food courts so this might be a suitable place for respite after a day of walking around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Address: Westfield Stratford City, Montfichet Road, London E20 1EJ
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Just on the environs of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, towards Hackney Wick, Here East is was originally a cultural campus constructed in time for the Olympic Games.
It is now home to lots of tech companies, broadcasters (BT Sport) and several restaurants and bars / boozers, overlooking the canal and offering alfresco drinking and dining.
Our favourites include Breakfast Club (particularly their Mexican Benedict breakfast dish), Randy’s Wings (American style chicken wings – dirty as, in a good way) and craft beers from the retro arcade bar that is Four Quarters.
Address: Here East, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, 14 East Bay Lane, London E15 2GW
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A 4 mile cycling and walking path running from Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to Beckton, this is a flat, shared pathway that lets you escape the modernity of the Olympic site.
With historic buildings along the way such as the Abbey Mills Pump House (a Victorian gem), Gandhi was also said to have walked this route daily when he stayed in London in the 1930s.
The views on The Greenway towards this city are really stunning, including vistas of Canary Wharf, Docklands and the Shard – just remember to watch out for cyclists if you are walking and decide to stop to take pictures.
Read about the Greenway in our Cycling routes in London – the best scenic rides blog here >
The Line Sculpture Trail
London’s foremost alfresco art trail also starts in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, at the base of the Anish Kapoor’s ArcelorMittal Orbit and Carsten Höller – The Slide, 2016.
The Line Sculpture Trail covers 5 miles / 8km and takes in between 15 to 20 exhibits ; some permanent with others changing every year. The route finishes at the Greenwich Peninsula via a ride on the cable car.
Read our full guide to completing the London Line Sculpture trail >
East Village E20
The East Village is a new housing estate complex in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park that continues to transform the Olympic site, with many residential skyscrapers and apartments still being built especially around the Victory Parade area.
We are sure East Village in Stratford will look very different again in several years’ time. For the time-being, it is a nice place to walk around tree-lined avenues, enjoy the various sculptures and artworks, plus indulge in dining and drinks at the various bars and restaurants in the East Village including Mother Kelly’s (a craft beer joint), Fish House and Santi.
The whole E20 area in Stratford has a nice vibe and feels quite vibrant and verdant, like you could be in Europe somewhere and far, far away from East London.
You literally can’t miss View Tube – its bright yellow outdoor walls can be seen from miles around – a mixed use space comprising a cafe, bike hire and temporary exhibitions.
The View Tube cafe is also one of the best places to get panoramic views of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park with coffee and cake.
Address: View Tube, The Greenway, Marshgate Lane, E15 2PJ
Roof East, Stratford
East London’s newest rooftop bar sitting atop Stratford Shopping Centre and multi-story carpark (not to be confused with Westfield Stratford City), this wining and dining experience is reminiscent of Franks Cafe, also atop a carpark in Peckham.
With views of east London and the city, this is a sublime space to soak up the sunshine (and sauvignon blanc) and one of the summer things to do in Stratford, London.
During the summer months, Roof East also have a rooftop cinema and eclectic events schedule.
Address: Roof East, 7 & 8 Stratford Multi Storey Car Park, Great Eastern Road, London E15 1XE
ABBA Voyage at the ABBA Arena
Gimme, gimme, gimme another ticket to see ABBA Voyage! Opening to rave reviews and daily sell-out performances (twice a day at the weekends), ABBA Voyage in Stratford is quite like nothing else we’ve ever done in London before – and only a very short stroll from Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
If you told us a ‘virtual’ performance by ABBA could have been so uplifting, emotive and such a fun night out, we wouldn’t have believed you – but this truly delivers and we urge you to go and see it with your own eyes.
The ABBA Voyage execution is excellent; from the 360 degree lighting displays and live band that merge seamlessly with the holographic ABBA to the huge dance floor at the front (you can buy seated tickets or standing / dancing tickets).
ABBA Voyage belts out all the well known ABBA songs such as Dancing Queen and Winner Takes it All with some songs introduced by the virtual ABBA members.
If you missed out seeing ABBA live when they were in their heyday, then this is your opportunity to see ABBA in 2023 – tickets are selling fast. Ticket prices range from £21 upwards but most of the ‘cheaper’ tickets are sold out months in advance – ‘Money, money, money’ indeed.
ABBA Voyage tickets are now on sale with ABBA Voyage performances currently scheduled until January 29th 2024.
Address: ABBA Arena, Pudding Mill Lane, London E15 2PJ
Our last thing to do at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford…
For the best views of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, head to Haugen, a Swiss style restaurant in Stratford right next to the London Aquatics Centre. As we’re fond of fondue and rave about raclette, this Swiss usually doesn’t miss.
An alpine inspired restaurant with ample outdoor seating areas as well as strikingly styled interiors, the first thing you notice about Haugen as you approach is the rather cool looking building exterior.
Main a la carte dishes at Haugen start from around £15 and on the weekends they serve a weekend brunch menu.
Haugen’s rooftop bar also hosts live music and DJs Thursdays to Sundays in the summer months, so perfect for a Swiss, summer sundown session!
Address: Haugen, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, 9 Endeavour Square, Stratford, London E20 1JN
Nearby to the London Olympic Park / Other Things to Do
There are lots of other enjoyable walks in this area along the River Lea and in nearby Hackney Marshes. A little further along the canal (or a short bus ride away), you’ll come across Victoria Park, one of London’s largest and most beautiful parks, complete with a boating lake and Chinese pagoda.
We’d also suggest the Sunday food and farmer’s market in Victoria Park if your trip to Olympic Park coincides with this.
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