The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is open to the public and what a fantastic park it is for kids. It’s structure and the landscaping are a little unwieldy when you first arrive. It is long and winding, it doesn’t flow like most London parks which are wider (or benefit yet from their mature planting) but in many ways that also makes it feel a little different in a good way. We visited the Tumbling Bay playgrounds last Autumn with some mums, before the park was finished and really enjoyed the play area. It was smaller than I anticipated but I guess we are spoiled with the play areas in Victoria Park. Then again this time around it all felt different. We visited the main play zone last after taking in the dancing water fountains, the areas of climbing walls and the outdoors interactive music rooms in the Riverbank area, collectively known as the Outdoor Rooms. Joseph absolutely loved it all, especially bashing away with all the kids on the working instruments fashioned out of recycled drain tubes, chains, rubber and wood. I loved the different textures incorporated into the make up of the grounds. Because the planting has yet to mature (delighted that they have planted London Plains), these little details make a huge difference to how the place feels especially for kids. There are lush grassy verges along the canals, and wood or stone pathways melt into soft squishy red tarmac shaped into play hills near the stadium area. There’s a sandpit, swings, a shiny wide slide and very low rope bridge to clamber over plus some very daring sparkling red climbing walls all along the nearby canal for older kids. This then leads you to a bridge over the canals and into little fields of wildflower planting. And all of this before you reach the Tumbling playground. It’s a nice very manageable “journey” with toddlers and kids, each flowing one into the other with a nice stop at the end of it all for mums and dads with the Lodge cafe. There are plenty of beautifully crafted wooden seating areas and places to stop and sit with nearby coffee kiosks if you don’t fancy the cafe. We found snacks generally overpriced inside the Lodge, our lunch destination next to the Bay play area, but sandwiches are reasonably priced and fair to good taste wise. Nothing of the wow factor foodwise yet but it’s early days and to be fair we haven’t tried the Orbit which does look good. The park is full of lush looking areas to picnic in along the canal which we will definitely do next time around. We were blessed with glorious sunshine, warm enough for a bare foot paddle in the purpose built rock pools. Joseph completely loved the big silver tunnel slide and the swinging bridge.
We took the Tube there to Stratford turned right out of the shopping centre and around to the main (south) entrance by the stadium. On the way home we jumped on a 388 bus outside the Copper Box arena which goes to Bethnal Green. You can also access the Park via the Greenway if you are Bow way or by Victoria Park. My husband wants to try out the Velodrome one day and we definitely want to check out the swimming in the family pool area of the amazing Olympic swimming centre, on a rainy morning. It would be a great park to cycle around too.