Attractions: In and around the Olympic Park Area
The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games left several legacies in London, including world class sport venues and attractions at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The Park hosts events and activities throughout the year. It is also an entertaining destination to spend a day and relive the excitement of London 2012.
The Copper Box Arena hosted several events during the Olympics and Paralympics, including Handball. Clad with sustainably-sources copper, the energy efficient venue is a flexible indoor space with retractable seating for up to 7,500 people. The Arena hosts several sport events and concerts, and it is home to a number of local clubs including the London Lions professional basketball team. Other facilities at the venue include a gym, badminton courts, and a café.
Close to Westfield Stratford City (a landmark attraction in its own right next to the Park) and the new International Quarter is the London Aquatics Centre. One of London 2012's most iconic venues, the Aquatics Centre was designed by architect Zaha Hadid and features a wave-like roof. The2,500-seat venue is available for community swimming as well as world class competitions. It includes an Olympic-size 50-metre pool, a training pool, diving facilities, and a state-of-the-art gym. Nearby is the Olympic Stadium, which will re-open to the public in 2016 when it becomes the home of West Ham United FC. The Stadium will also serve as the National Competition Centre for Athletics. It will also be a host venue for the 2015 Rugby World Cup and the 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships.
The Lee Valley VeloPark includes 6,000-seat indoor velodrome and an outdoor BMC course. The VeloPark also boasts an outdoor one-mile flood-lit road cycle circuit and eight kilometres of mountain bike trails. It is one of the few venues in the world where people can enjoy track and road cycling as well as BMX and mountain biking in one place. In addition to sport facilities, the venue has multi-purpose rooms for conferences and meetings, a café, and dedicated bike workshops and bike hire facilities. In addition to learning about track cycling, the venue offers a four-stage accreditation course in the discipline.
The Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre features hockey pitches as well as indoor and outdoor tennis courts. The venue's centerpiece is a 3,000-seat hockey stadium, which can be configured to accommodate up to 15,000 people. The facilities are open to the public year round. There is also a clubhouse with changing rooms, a bar, and other public spaces to relax. The venue hosted wheel chair tennis and hockey during the Olympics and Paralympics, and continues to attract national And International tournaments. Like the VeloPark, the Hockey and Tennis Centre is owned and managed by the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority.
The 560-acre Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has iconic attractions that attract visitors from around the world. One of the most fascinating attractions is the ArcelorMittal Orbit, which is the tallest sculpture in the United Kingdom. Designed by Sir Anish Kapoor, the 114.5-metre looping red tower offers a bird's eye view of the Park and the surrounding area. Visitors can see The Shard, Canary Warf, the O2 Arena, and more from the top. Starting in 2015, visitors can also enjoy the UK's highest freefall abseil at the ArcelorMittal Orbit. Opened in 2012, the structure serves as a unique centre-piece for the Park as it did for the London 2012 Games.
Throughout the site there are welcoming parklands, including riverside lawns and wetlands. In the Park's south has a pleasure garden with outdoor climbing walls, theatre spaces, play areas, and carousels. There is also a large fountain with 195 computer-controlled jets. The garden was designed by Piet Oudolf, one of the world's most famous garden designers. Nearby is the EastTwenty Bar and Kitchen at The Podium, which is a café and event spaces at the foot of the ArcelorMittal Orbit. Visitors can also enjoy picnics along the Park's idyllic waterways. The north of the Park features large green spaces including a public garden and pedestrian paths to neighbourhoods in Hackney Wick and Leyton. The area also has the Tumbling Bay playground and the Timber Lodge Community Centre and Café.
As the Park continues to evolve, new attractions will open to visitors over the next several years. Opening is spring 2015, Mandeville Place will feature an apple orchid, fruit trees and a pavilion made from the original Athletes Village. Other attractions in the Park will include a new world-class education and cultural district. The former site of the London 2012 Water Polo Arena will be home to a new campus for the University of the Arts London, in addition to new venues for the Victoria and Albert Museum and Sadler's Wells. A new University College London campus will also open south of the ArcelorMittal Orbit.