It has been around 19 months since the curtain came down on the 2012 Olympic Games in London, but the legacy of the event is set to continue in the coming years, with the full extent of the Queen Elizabeth Park set to open to the public this weekend. The revamped area, which was the focus of the sporting world for around a month in 2012, has been described as the “biggest new park in Europe for 150 years”.
The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) has confirmed that the park covers an impressive 230 hectares, which is roughly the size of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens combined. It has been revealed that the complex will feature a wide range of attractions, including forests and wetlands, in addition to a velodrome and an aquatics centre.
Since the Games ended two years ago, a whopping £300 million has been spent on adapting venues, planting trees and other renovation work. It is expected that between now and the end of the year, the park will welcome around three million people, which goes to underline the legacy of the Games. “We imagined it as a place for performance and play, markets and festivals, circuses and events,” said designer James Corner. “We’ve brought a similar idea of linear choreography and movement, designing the park as a sequential experience of outdoor rooms, connected by an arced promenade of trees. “Explaining the ambition of the park, LLDC chief executive Dennis Hone said: “It is not supposed to be ‘of’ the area. It is ‘for’ the area. It’s a place for people to come and enjoy activities free of charge, and we want the life of the park to bleed into the surrounding neighbourhoods.”
The park is accessible from Stratford station using the Jubilee Line, which is within reachable distance of the Montcalm Hotel.