Olympic Park

Back in the Park?


Well last year was the year that the Olympic Park was seen in all its glory. Since then, the gates have been firmly shut and the electric fencing remains about the perimeter. I’ve touched briefly on the schedule for the walls coming down and the park reopening, but it’s this summer before the first bit opens.

However, you can get in now for a sneak peak. Initially, it looked like the free bus tours, which operated during the main “Big Build” before the Olympics, and which I went on a couple of times in 2010 and 2011, were coming back in their traditional form. They would probably be less exciting than during the construction phase, as deconstruction is inevitably less interesting. However since then there appears to have been a slight change in strategy.

Now, the tours have been rebranded Park in Progress and are £15 – which doesn’t sound good. But when you look closely, the bus tour is essentially to get you to the base of the Orbit tower, from which you can climb up and take in the view. The Orbit cost £15 during the Olympics itself, but you also needed a ticket to get in the Olympic Park in the first place, and that was the difficult bit, if you weren’t an appropriately accredited Gamesmaker. Now, it’s much easier to get there – and for groups the price drops to around £10/head, with it being cheaper still for children. Not too bad. Slightly cheekily, they won’t give you a refund if the Orbit is closed due to high winds – but they’ll try and book you on a later tour.

Here’s what the park looked like just before the Olympic Games last year.

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