The Walk: Blue Badge Guide Mark King was our guide on this walk, which started promptly at 1.45pm from Leyton station on a sunny Saturday in April. Our first stop was outside the main entrance to the Leyton Mills Superstore. We enjoyed great views of the spectacular structures and impressive landscaping on and around the north, west and south of the Olympic Park, including: the Olympic Stadium; Basketball Arena; Olympic Village; Velodrome; Aquatics Centre; Handball Arena "The Copper Box"; International Broadcast Centre and Main Press Centre; Arcelor Mittal Orbit viewing platform; Westfield Stratford City; waterways and residential areas. Once known for its bleak, post-industrial landscape, today the area in and around London's Olympic Park has started to blossom. We were told that the poor quality and contaminated soil has been removed and one of the most deprived area in the UK is to be a urban model of regeneration, with a very diverse population mostly from African and Asian backgrounds. Over 105 languages are spoken in the schools in this area. Once a hub of rail transportation, Stratford Station and one of the biggest dock in the world now venues, accommodation and infrastructure are in place for this summer's Olympic and Paralympic Games. As Spring arrives, the brown, newly-cleaned soil will start turning a lush green, before becoming the setting for golds, silvers and bronzes, along with all the colours of the rainbow in the 205 flags of athletes from around the world. We discovered how this part of East London is being transformed and we experienced up close what "legacy" will mean for Londoners and for the UK. For security reasons this tour was not permitted inside the Olympic Park itself. As roads and towpaths in this area may still be affected by construction work, part of the route from 30th April may vary in the event of unavoidable closures due security reasons.
The walk lasted just over 2 hours and be in the open air on pavement or paths.
|Map of the perimeter of the Olympic Park|
Above : River Lea
|far east of the borough of Hackney, Hackney Wick on the edge of the 2012 Olympic Park and near the boundary with the London Boroughs of Newham, Waltham Forest and Tower Hamlets.|
|Carlton Cafe and Bar 5 mins from the Olympic Park|
Carlton Cafe, Bar and Exhibition space for photo and film shoot, press launches, events and a vintage market. Cocktails and sparkling from £5/each. Bargain!
Stour Space is a art gallery
The Green Way
Above Victorian mains on show - not so nice and the smell ....
Above: athletes tunnel view from the GreenWay
Quilts for London is a self-funded community project through donations and goodwill supporters. The aim id to produce a gift for all the athletes taking part in the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012. The idea of pennants (traditionally exchanged at friendly sporting events), braid or Rod seemed perfect and the concept was born. to take part and more info: here
Afterwards we enjoyed teas and coffees the garden area of The Container Cafe. This cafe is on the ground floor of The View Tube, and closes at 5pm. Where Mark talked through the Olympic structures, arenas and architecture. The nearest station is Pudding Mill Lane DLR station (Zones 2/3). From here, it is 2 minutes to Stratford and 17 minutes to Bank. Very closed to the financial heart of London. Mark King was a very nice, pleasant and extremely knowledge guide for other walks by Mark: Secret London. Looking forward to the Olympics now. For more pictures: Flickr