Any tips for visiting Olympic Park please

(148 Posts)
lorisparkle Sat 28-Jul-12 19:29:25

We are off to visit the park on Tuesday with a 6 year old and 4 year old. I am feeling rather anxious about the whole thing and hoping that there will be some fab MNetters who have already been and can give us some handy tips! We are travelling by car then by tube. Would a buggy be a help or a hindrance, buy or take food, places to visit, etc etc

TIA

2fedup Tue 31-Jul-12 14:01:23

I don't know if someone has replied to this yet. The water fountain we saw In EXcel was in our spectator area, next to the loos. If you do want to get food in excel the queues again were shorter in the spectator area, than in the main hall. The pleasure gardens had lots of little food stalls too on the way out to pontoon dock DLR. Hope this helps.

culturemulcher Tue 31-Jul-12 15:36:24

So glad you've started this thread OP saved me having to

We're heading to watch athletics at the Olympic Stadium next Monday. Did anyone go yesterday? How were the trains / tubes / security checks yesterday?

elportodelgato Tue 31-Jul-12 16:23:57

thanks hersetta, we are going to be aiming for the Eton Manor gate as we live that side and it's so much closer to the basketball venue than any of the others. Thanks for the tip about the amount of time walking to Stratford. DD1 is 4 and so should be walking most of the time but being realistic wink I will take the P&T

Thanks all for the advice, so excited!

lorisparkle Tue 31-Jul-12 20:33:27

Had a fantastic time today - only problem was the central line was shut aaaarrrrggghh! Ended up on some random bus and overline train.

We decided on a pushchair and so pleased we did - everyone was so helpful and they had express lanes for people with pushchairs - brilliant! We took our own food and there was loads of sitting in different places, they seemed very relaxed about liquids.

There was some big queues for McDonalds but other queues seemed generally small or non existent. Everyone was so friendly making a real effort to welcome you.

We got through security really quickly and the main thing was the walking which was why pushchair was great. There were people with quite large pushchairs (and lots with slings as well).

From our experience very family friendly!

very helpful thread thank you - we are taking 20 mo dd next week to hockey. Is there a buggy park near the hockey arena? Also do you think she will be scared by all the noise?

BabyHaribo Tue 31-Jul-12 21:10:51

Lorisparkle did you use the buggy park? Was it easy and did you have to fold the pushchair - I have an iCandy which only folds in two pieces so won't be that easy if we need to collapse it!

culturemulcher Tue 31-Jul-12 22:36:40

Great to hear that it all went smoothly OP. Glad you had such a good day.

BigYellowDigger Tue 31-Jul-12 23:22:18

Yellowflowers, we went to the Olympic park hockey today.
can't help with your question about buggy park as our DD are 6 and 9 but think your DC will be fine with the noise. The arena is all open air so not ridiculously loud - a little girl in front of us (about 2/3 yr old) slept through nearly an entire match - and that was team gb playing (and scoring 5 goals smile ) so you can imagine the noise we were making!!!

BradleyWigeons Wed 01-Aug-12 10:20:07

I am one of the very enthusiastic and very helpful volunteers at the Olympic Park smile. It's a fantastic atmosphere and you'll all have a great time!

dinasaw - you (or rather your mum) will definitely be able to use the Mobility service - free wheelchairs or electric scooters (bring photo ID to borrow one), or a little golf buggy thing driven by a volunteer. Just ask any volunteer to point you towards where to get these once you get through security.

transport - I've been very pleasantly surprised about how well the transport is working. The Javelin train from St Pancras International to Stratford in 6 mins (and very frequent departures) is particularly good.

security - yesterday the queues for security at the Olympic Park were between 5mins and 20mins, so pretty good. And we were trying to direct people to the shortest queues whereever possible (there are about a billion security lines).

liquids - please don't any (or drink up before you get in). Don't bring your forty quid bottle of expensive aftershave hmm. Bring an empty bottle to fill up at the (free) water fountains inside (or pay for expensive bottled water).

children - everyone I was volunteering with loved welcoming families. Especially ones in GB colours / wigs / flags painted on their faces etc. The Olympic Park is huge and was pretty crowded yesterday, so factor that in if you are walking between venues with small children. Definitely may be fairly long queues for food, so bring a few snacks (or sandwiches).

I am there practically all next week so may see you (bring a packet of PomBears and I'll let you through security double-quick grin).

noneshallsleep2 Wed 01-Aug-12 11:28:20

Has anyone taken a scooter into the Olympic Park? We're going to the Aquatics Centre - is there a buggy park there that we could leave the scooter in?

Hersetta Wed 01-Aug-12 11:38:54

I've heard people have seen them, although I didn't. I would say though that the walkways are very busy and small children are not the best drivers (my 4 yr old continually drives her scooter into my feet) so I would definitely let her loose on 100,000 plus people within the olympic park - it's just too busy.

lorisparkle Wed 01-Aug-12 11:53:00

We did not use the buggy park as we only had park tickets but there seemed lots around and can't imagine there would be a problem

We saw one person with a pushchair and a scooter just inside the park but the child was not on it and when we were inside we did not see any children on scooters

thanks Bradleywigeons. I will come armed with pombears!

BradleyWigeons Wed 01-Aug-12 12:10:01

It is really really busy inside the Park so I wouldnt take a scooter personally. And although they don't appear specifically on the list of prohibited items, yesterday I was being told that children's scooters weren't allowed in (as a security volunteer) - is there a phone number on your ticket so you can check this?

Aquatics centre - others on this thread have said there is a buggy park, and certainly lots of people were going in with buggies yesterday.

bigTillyMint Wed 01-Aug-12 13:53:20

This thread is really useful!

Can anyone tell me, what is there to do inside the Olympic Park other than soak up the atmosphere/have something to eat before your event?

ReelAroundTheOrbit Wed 01-Aug-12 16:22:57

There are massive screens for watching live events.
A 'megastore' of olympic merchandise (good fun to look round - but beware there are significant mark-ups on the products).
A lovely walk along the canal.
A zillion photo opportunities with stadium/orbit backdrops etc.
A 'pose with a torch' thing (we didn't do this so I don't know what its like or if its free).
A giant Mcdonalds which is well, just like a normal McDonalds.
Lots of other food places to eat which seem nicer.
And probably lots of other things but all I wanted to do was survive with ds1 and ds2

Also, depending where your event is it can take a long time to walk to the venue once through security.

Not sure if I've mentioned it but everyone is helpful grin

bigTillyMint Wed 01-Aug-12 16:28:32

Thats great thanks!

BradleyWigeons Wed 01-Aug-12 17:29:59

There are a bunch of interactive pavilions from some of the sponsors, although I don't actually know if there are massive queues, or if they are any good or not. More info here. Anyone else know?

There's also a self-guided walk through the Park here.

bigTillyMint Wed 01-Aug-12 17:31:47

Bradley, great tips, thanks!

lorisparkle Wed 01-Aug-12 18:18:30

We looked at the sponsers events but there were queues and no one had the patience after an early morning and nightmare journey in

The photo in the torch was £15 for the cheapest and then a couple more expensive options

There are also 'sculpture' things - 'art in the park' they call it and the boys liked them

There are adhoc 'entertainment' people around doing dances or interactive things (musical umbrellas was one!)

There are mini stages with bands / buskers on

Look up at the BBC studio to spot anyone famous!

We were all so shattered that I am sure we could have done more!

tkband3 Wed 01-Aug-12 18:49:12

Some great tips on here. I'm so excited as after trying for ages to get some tickets, with no success. But today I've managed to get 4 tickets for the Olympic Park for tomorrow from someone at work who had a change of plans at the last minute grin. Haven't decided yet whether DH or I will take the 3 DDs...

The tickets are from 4pm - I shouldn't really leave work till then, but might be able to go at 3.30...it should only take about half an hour to get there from my work (City-based)...how long is it likely to take us to get in at that time, or is it just a bit of a lottery?

And once we're in, what are the chances of getting hold of some returned tickets for one of the venues? I saw on the BBC the other day that they're selling them for £5 for adults and £1 for children, but I wondered if anyone had managed to buy any of these once they were in the park?

We're very happy to be going just to the Park - fortunately the forecast is pretty good for tomorrow evening - anything else would be a bonus. DDs are really excited!

bigTillyMint Wed 01-Aug-12 19:01:44

tkb, that sounds great smile

Lori, thanks for that - sounds like there's plenty to do. Now to find out how early you can go in!

BradleyWigeons Wed 01-Aug-12 19:34:29

tkband3 - how exciting! I was on the security gates at Stratford Gate (the main entrance) yesterday (as a volunteer) and going through security was taking from 5 mins to 20 mins max. We started letting in people with 4pm day tickets a bit earlier than 4pm - around 3:45pm.

bigTillyMint - in terms of how early you can go in - if you have a ticket for an actual event, you can turn up any time at all before hand.

If you only have a ticket for the Park (a day ticket) then you need to turn up during the times stipulated on your ticket and then you can stay as long as you like (so if your ticket says 10am to 3pm, you can turn up at 2:30pm and leave at 8pm).

staranise Wed 01-Aug-12 21:52:23

I went today with the 3 DC and we had a FAB time. Transport/water fountains/loos were all very easy and accessible. My top tips for going with children:

-the schools park - it's opposite the EDF pavilion (it's not really advertised anywhere) - it's not big but it has free face-painting, obstacle course for children, giant jigsaws, craft activities and lovely enthusiastic volunteers who got the children skipping. We went there twice, my children loved it and it was the only specifically child-oriented place we found.
-walks by the river were gorgeous and much much quieter than the main concourses (and also quicker)
-there's very little shade - when the sun is out, it's hot
-food options are not great but they seemed very relaxed about letting you bring food in though not liquids, we had to empty our bottles, even though they contained less than 100ml). Snacks in particular are hard to find (excpet for ice-cream and sweets) so I would stock up on those, they kept my 3 going on the long walks.
-the BA big screen had a great atmosphere to watch the non-Park events and the BA staff were greta and giving out giant flags to sit on and glitter tattoos

Hope you all have a great time, it exceeded my expectations!

mckenzie Wed 01-Aug-12 22:04:00

how did I miss all that when i was there on sunday staranise?
We had gone to the Aquatics Centre which was fab but we didn't see anything outside other than the few food places, the massive MacDonalds, the Orbit and the 'photo with the flame' thing.

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