Back in March I joined a fam trip to the south of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park organised by London & Partners. With a group of event planners and media we visited the Aquatics Centre, the Lee Valley VeloPark (what used to be the Velodrome) and concluded with an afternoon tea at Unity Kitchen with a presentation about events at the ArcelorMittal Orbit.
The tour took place one week before the official opening to public on 5th April. Within only 18 months after the Games the London Legacy Development Corporation led a complete transformation into a park with beautiful parklands, waterways and sport facilities to accommodate future events. South of Park was designed by James Corner Field Operations who also created the High Line in New York. Current development includes a new tree-lined promenade with 100 tees strung with unique globe lighting system, interactive water fountains and adventure playground, four themed walking trails featuring key highlights of the London 2012 Games, the Park’s biodiversity, family fun and arts and culture.
London Aquatics Centre
The Aquatics Centre was the second to open on 1st March after the successful opening of The Copper Box back in July 2013. Since its opening is has already had over 55,000 visitors. Designed by the famous architect Zaha Hadid it is not only a sporting venue but also offers a unique events space for private functions overlooking the competition and diving pools.
Lee Valley VeloPark
Previously the Velodrome, the newly rebranded Lee Valley VeloPark opened for public use on 31st March. It’s the first place in the world for track cycling, road racing, BMX or mountain biking in one place. This offers opportunities to host team building or incentives, exhibitions and gala dinner events.
The Orbit is still one of the most controversial buildings. Some people love its design while others don’t understand it. I visited it back in 2012 during the London Olympics and indeed it has beautiful views over the Park and London. As event planners we always look for interesting and unique venues and The Orbit perfectly falls into this category. It was created by Sir Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond as an entry to a 2009 competition to design an iconic tower for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and when accepted it cost £22.3 million to build!
During the day The Orbit will be open to the public and when the last visitor leaves the building it will be transformed into a unique event space.
Visitors can experience breathtaking views of the Park as well as see over 20 miles across London from the two viewing platforms at 76 and 80 metres high, the highest offering 360 degree views across the city.
Photos below are back from 2012 when I visited The Orbit during the Olympic Games. This tour didn’t include a visit of The Orbit.
Unity Kitchen is a social enterprise caterer with one branch in the Olympic Park. It’s a great place for corporate or leisure events. For corporate functions, such as the one we were part of, they provide event space with beamer and seating (we had theatre style) and catering including variety of sandwiches and pastries.
Here’s a list of upcoming events at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
22 June 2014: Hackney Half Marathon
28-29 June 2014: Holi Festival of Colours
7 July 2014: Tour de France
10 August 2014: Ride London
September- October 2015: Rugby World Cup matches
01 July 2017: IPC World Championships
01 August 2017: IAAF World Athletics Championships
All photos ©www.themiceblog.com