Any tips for visiting Olympic Park please(148 Posts)
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
Watching for tips!
you must be mad - a 4 year old?!
Marking my place!
I can help with Excel advice - was there to see first day of the Judo.
Watching as well, taking 2 and 4 yr old to paralympics- our times will be 10-1pm s will be one for around 5 (crosses fingers!)
blue2 - can you tell me about the Excel place please - dh and dd are off there to Judo on Monday
Yes, blue2, waiting eagerly for your tips. Taking my dad and my 9 month old to watch the fencing on Wednesday.
dh took dd, aged 4, to the opening ceremony yesterday. They said it was very well organised. Very quick to get through security, free water system worked well. Everyone oohed and aahed at dd (she was dressed in a union jack dress) including giving her a team GB badge.
Food was a bit of a different story, they queued for 30 mins for not very much food and it cost 30 quid, plus even at 1830 the stall had run out of some items (curry place). So I'd take sandwiches. They were fine w you taking in snacks - dh had apples, oaty bars etc to get dd through the evening.
Buggy was useful and was dealt with v well by the stadium, they took it to a security room right by their seats, folded it up and they stored it there, came straight out when they left at the end.
They also got home v easily, straight onto a tube. Advantage of having the buggy was they went up in the 'restricted access' lift which came out right by tube doors so they got a seat all the way home.
Think you are fine taking your children there.
Sounds wonderful thaliablogs - so lucky to get tickets for the opening ceremony I bet she was shattered though!
Your experience is very heartening, Thaliablogs. I will be going a week on Weds with my mum and a 6 and 4 year old to Olympic Park to see hockey and then onto Excel for table tennis. So I'll be watching this thread too for tips. We will arrive into St Pancras and get the Javelin to the Stratford Intl, so any experience of that journey also would be good to hear.
Re Excel (sorry OP to slightly hijack thread...)
We got there at 0830ish for a 0930 start. The security was very fast and very good - all staff and volunteers were really lovely and friendly. Ditch any water before you go through. I kept empty bottles but never found topping up points inside Excel - we ended up buying at £1.60 a bottle
Took snacky treats to eat, but lots to buy. Don't go to first food outlets as you go in as the queues get less the more you walk through the corridor. Lots of loos - all sparkling clean. Never had to queue for them.
Wandered out onto the DLR. Didn't queue there either.
An ExCellent day all round!
(Oh Why can't London always be like this?!)
A little bit jealous.... up here in Darlington. But pleased it is going well
Went today with 7 and 5 year-olds to watch the swimming. 7 year old was fine, 5 year old got a bit bored. The Javelin train is easy, quick and efficient. If you are going to the Aquatics Centre be warned it is up a LOT of steps, (113 counted by my small people) before you even get to the top seating area, and there are no toilets or water available up there, so do all of that before you go up! I took some sandwiches and snacks to keep the small one form getting too restless - glad I did as the food for sale within the venue didn't look very exciting, although much more choice in the park. I would only take a buggy if the 4 year old really needs it, but only you know your child! It is all pretty straightforward though, so don't worry.
Blue2 - what time did you set off on the tube?
Dh is on about getting on one at 6am to make sure he gets there he's changing at Bank for the DLR.
Laurie - we found the transport pretty painless - BUT it was a Saturday. I suspect a weekday would be different.
The judo began at 9.30. We got a train from our station that got us into Waterloo at 7.30, then took the Jubilee line to Canning Town and changed there to go to Royal Victoria Dock. (The changing onto the DLR was the only crowded occasion) We then walked through security, went to the loo, bought water and were in our seats by about 8.45.
On leaving, we went from (I think) Prince Regent down to Bank, and then changed to the Waterloo and City (Drain) which was working. That all took just over an hour - again, no queuing.
Not sure what DCs you have but there was a lovely street food market on the way to the South Bank just behind Royal Festival Hall. Thats where we had lunch.
Thanks for all the tips so far - we are now in two minds about a buggy - had not considered it before but not looking forward to a 4yr old with aching legs!
Anyone experiences of taking a 7 month and/or 3 year old. Pram storage? ability to move about if they get fidgety? space to breastfeed? Space for a nappy bag under the seat? Am I crazy or should I try and leave the 7 month old behind (she doesn't take a bottle yet!)
Have just got back from watching basketball in the basketball arena in the Olympic Park. It was fantastic! It was all really well organised and felt very starightforward we took our 3 DC (Aged 7, 5 and 3). The javelin train was easy, lots of seats. We took a buggy for our three year old after much debate and were really glad we had, there is quite a bit of walking and the buggy parks were easy to use. Lots of stewards who were helpful. Toilets were clean and there were lots, no queues.
The megastore shop was The only thing we queued for and wish we hadn't! Lots of overpriced memorabilia but that's as to be expected.
The fountains to fill up water bottles were handy. To be honest, the food and drink was no more overpriced than at any big event. We had breakfast in McDonald's and it really wasn't that much more than usual. Cups of tea were 99p.
It really has been fantastic and I'm really glad we took the kids, even the three year old. It's a great experience.
Oh and riablossom there was room for a nappyp bag under the seat. I'd say go for it, I'm sure the stewards will be happy to help you find somewhere to breast feed. It was very family friendly.
Sounds great TwistAndShout I am getting a little less anxious but we are travelling in the middle of the night to get there in the morning to hopefully find parking, have breakfast and go on the tube. I spent a year in London getting on and off the tube but have no experience of going with a buggy. How busy is the tube / London in general / the Olympic Park etc etc
Definitely take a picnic. Since DH and I had to leave at 6.30am to get there, we decided we would just buy lunch when we got there, but I was at the poor quality of what was on offer. Apart from the largest McDonald's I've ever seen, there was very little - very few food outlets, and most of them just a notch above a burger van. It actually spoiled the day because I'd had much higher expectations and it made me insanely disappointed.
I must have been at the same event as TwistandShout (Nigeria v Tunisia?) and - apart from the food thing - I'd agree with everything she said. There were lots of kids there and they seemed to be having a good time.
Where are you planning to park lorisparkle - you DEFINITELY won't be able to park anywhere near the Park.
Take a small buggy and you won't have any problems on the tube. If you're travelling on the Jubilee Line, every station from Westminster to Stratford has lift access.
It WILL be busy though. There will be a LOT of people travelling, but there will also be a lot of people around trying to make it easier for everyone, so there should be someone you can ask for help if you need it. Just make sure you've got the journey well planned out in advance.
Dh , DS and cousins went today as had morning seats for basketball, drove to london, no traffic in London at 8am straight through central London, parked at national theatre, then taxi to olympic park as there were 5 of them, it was £20.
Coming back at 3 tubes fine, some stayed in London so DS & dh got train from Waterloo, again fine.
They had a brilliant day in the park, though queues for souvenir shop were horrendous, so saved some money!
Said all the gamesmakers in the park looked really excited and was a great experience.
Has anybody been to Earls Court? We are going to see the Volleyball with our 2 year old DS and are a bit worried we will have to queue for ever to leave the buggy in the storage area and then queue for another lifetime to get it back.
Re the liquids in the bottles business - I didn't realise our bottles had so much in them but the military peeps at security said as long as we had a sip from each bottle it was fine. They just had to see us drinking from them. Is this because they could be explosives or something?
The movement around the DLR was brilliant. All the staff should be congratulated. And at the venues ditto to the volunteers and military. So friendly and helpful. Keep it up!
We were at park today, there were loads if young kids there and buggies, we also saw children with scooters! The park is big some venues are 30 mins walk from entrance , we ended up carrying DD (5) quite a bit. I would take lots of snacks, I find we slways need loads to help kids get through long and tiring days. Food in park was uninspiring I thought and quite slow service. Toilets great and water fountains near loos. We took overland from west London rather than tube and busy but more pleasant.
Has anyone found the water fountains at ExCel yet?
Also how long does it take to get to the Olympic Stadium from Stratford station, via security etc?
Will keep an eye on this as we're off to Earls Court volleyball and Excel table tennis this week. No buggies though as we have enough adults to deal with the small people.
In the table tennis area at Excel the water fountain (note: only the one) was in a far corner in the milling-around-with-nothing-much-to-do area. We only noticed it because there was a long snaking queue and we thought it was for something interesting! 20 minutes to get to the front! Excel - please note, this was the only negative in an otherwise excellent day.
Does anyone know if scooters are allowed in? I have park tickets for next week for myself and the 3DCs (youngest is 3) - I'm concerned about all the walking and DC3 getting very tired.
I took my ds's (4 and 5) to the basketball today at the OP. It was fantastic.
We came into Stratford on the tube and without exception everyone was v v helpful and friendly. Offered to take photos, gave the ds's high 5's etc.
Personally I wouldn't take a buggy, but as others have said you know your children and how much walking they can manage. I would factor in lots of extra time so you're not rushing around. I did take some snacks but we ate in McDonalds but the snacks were handy for the way home. Def take the empty water bottles, we took normal ones then tipped them out just before security.
Tube in and out was not busy (but obv a Sunday so naturally quieter). Security was a breeze, never stopped moving which was great. We did the megastore but the queue wasn't very long, the shelves were v v empty though. I let the ds's choose one thing each as a memento and that was all ok. (worth knowing that they ONLY accept visa).
All in all a wonderful experience, so glad I took them. I'd originally been dead against and had a last minute change of heart. My other visits are sans children which will be a breeze in comparison
notcitrus For us today from Stratford station to next to the Olympic stadium (not inside) was around 20 minutes.
We are going again to the paraolympics with DS3 as well and are staying in North London on the circle line. Our plan was to park at one of the tube stations near where we are going to stay (Loughton I think) so this is a trial run without a toddler! I had not even considered scooters as I thought they would be a nightmare to look after and DS1 and DS2 could easily disappear off on them.
Really great tips so far - thanks
Loughton is the central line I think.
Parking at tube stations will be difficult during the week as you are competing with commuters. We went from Epping on Saturday and there was only about a dozen spaces free out of over 500. As we passed Theydon Bois station it was advertising Olympic parking so I don't know it they, and other stations, have commandeered nearby fields. Good luck!
Hi there. Has anyone taken a buggy for the swimming. I have a really heavy 8mo so would really prefer to take one. So excited!
Ooh, ooh, I can do Earl's Court! We were 2 adults though, so no buggy experience.
We sailed straight through to the station
which is opposite Greggs, very clearly signposted from there, lots of bunting and nice volunteers.
Security was seamless but thorough, tip any liquid away whilst you're on the road though.
Once you're in, there's plenty of space to stroll around, millions of toilets. All the food places/toilets/shops at the back were practically empty, so keep walking. There was a great atmosphere, it was a real show!
Leaving was very busy, we walked to Knightsbridge rather than jumping on the tube, but it looked well managed.
Also, don't panic if you get there and your seats don't exist. They cocked up the ticketing but have upgraded all those affected (including us!).
Thank you EduStudent and everybody else who posted encouraging news about Earls Court.
I am not sure we will be able to walk to Knightsbridge with a toddler in tow, but I am now hopeful we will benefit from the ticket cock-up!
Thanks Reel. The boys are used to walking a couple miles so we should be OK, though I may stick the sling onto MrNC to carry the baby home.
And thanks for the water info LeeCoakley - I get a dry mouth from meds so get through loads of water. I plan to take a zillion fruit tubes just in case! Is there cold water in the basins of the loos, do you know?
I'm going with Mum, Dad and my sister tomorrow for the hockey evening session. We have been trying to find out if there is something like a land train for people who find walking a problem. I've looked on the 2012 website and there appears to be something like that but I can't find out any details about how it works. Mum is visually impaired and is finding walking long distances quite hard. I've seen on the website that you can borrow wheelchairs so I have subtley said to Mum to take photo id so if all else fails we will borrow one.
Does anyone know?
thank you edustudent! Especially about the tickets.
We're not doing the Olympic Park until the Paralympics and I assume it will be a little quieter by then.
dinasaw I found this on the website - Accessible shuttle services: will be provided at many venues to transport spectators from the nearest recommended accessible station to the venue itself. These services are available for disabled spectators and do not need to be pre-booked.
The station they show as having the shuttle option for the Olympic Stadium is Stratford - is that any use?
There were loads of mini carts (like the ones you get in airports) transporting people around. I am certain you'd be able to use one. Tbh when I was there with the ds's I reckon I could've asked for a ride if they were really struggling. I didn't need to but every single person I encountered was so helpful I think they genuinely want to help.
Thank you! I feel more relieved now knowing there is a shuttle service and mini carts. It's just the size of the place I know Mum will have difficulty with (and Dad too although he won't admit it.) At least from the sound of it my sister and I can shove them on a golf cart at the venue at the end of the night and meet them back at the station.
We are heading off soon, so I will post how it all works and my tips for the place tomorrow.
GlassofPort It was brilliant, we should have been up in the back of beyond and ended up third row back courtside Obviously slightly concerning to start with, especially as the volunteers letting you into the seats hadn't been told, but we definitely weren't the only ones and they had our new tickets waiting for us at the Ticket Resolution Office.
Also, at least in Earl's Court, it isn't a problem to get up and move about during the event. I went out to grab a drink and have a bit of a walk when I was getting a bit sleepy. I would recommend trying to get there the suggested 2 hours beforehand though, but there was lots going on on the screens and a bloke running round basically being a presenter so it didn't seem like a long time waiting.
We are going with our DDs (aged 4 & 18mo) to the Basketball tomorrow morning. It's only about 1.5 miles from our house so we were going to walk it with the Phil & Teds double buggy. Does anyone know what the situation is with buggies? will we be OK with such a large buggy getting in and out of the park and the venue? Alternative is to take a smaller foldable buggy and also a sling for DD2 to go on my back, just not sure... any advice?
There are buggy parks around the OP, including one right at the basketball arena. I can't see that it would cause any problems getting through security etc. And I would take the p+t. I know I'm getting repetitive but everyone is friendly and helpful!!
Your phil and teds will be fine - there is a buggy park in the basketball arena grounds. Just to let you know though that the basketball arena is well over a mile from the entrance at stratford station. it took DD (4) and I almost 40 mins each way to walk it so factor a further walk into your arrival time. My DH who is a journalist and there every day says he does it in 25 mins.
Don't know where you live but the eton manor gate is only a 10 min walk from the basketball arena.
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.
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?
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 I will take the P&T
Thanks all for the advice, so excited!
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?
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!
Great to hear that it all went smoothly OP. Glad you had such a good day.
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 ) so you can imagine the noise we were making!!!
I am one of the very enthusiastic and very helpful volunteers at the Olympic Park . 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 . 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 ).
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?
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.
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!
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.
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?
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
Bradley, great tips, thanks!
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!
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 . 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!
tkb, that sounds great
Lori, thanks for that - sounds like there's plenty to do. Now to find out how early you can go in!
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).
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!
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.
The schools garden in particular is not signposted at all, we found it by accident. Well worth a visit though!
I would have loved to have gone in the Aquatics Centre though Mckenzie - we could hear the crowds roaring from outside the park.
I can't believe we missed the schools garden - DS1 kept asking 'where is the park?!'.
I wonder though how things will be different went it is the paraolympics...
Ok, I'm back from my trip on Tuesday, We had a fantastic day at the Olympic Park, well worth the money and the effort.
Mum is finding walking distances really hard at the moment. We travelled in to Stratford station on the overground train. It was a bit of walk round to security but Mum managed it at a slow pace. Security was very quick to get through and was efficiently manned by a group of soldiers and some games makers. Take everything out of your pockets and put it in your bag as you queue up to save time.
They did offer to fetch Mum a wheel chair at security but she wanted to carry on walking for a bit more. As you come out of security and you reach the main walkway with the stadium in front of you there is a games mobility stop to get on the carts. There was a bit of a queue and no shelter so as it was about to start raining we carried on walking. We then found another mobility cart stop a bit further on and put Mum and Dad on that which took them to the games mobility station by the massive Macd's and the London 2012 Megastore. We walked on and met them there. Mum was able to borrow a mobility scooter for the day. There is no cost, you just fill out a form and show photo id. They showed her how to use it and she was away. Thanks to the scooter Mum was able to cope with the day and we were able to see everything in the park.
Water points are by the toilets, although sometimes they are hidden behind them.
The toilets are in blocks of three or four, go to the furthest block away and there will be less of a queue. The furthest cubicle away has hand rails if someone in your group needs them.
We had some food in the world's largest Macdonalds, although I wasn't impressed they had run out of tea at 2 in the afternoon! I went in and got the food and left the others sat outside. If you plan to eat there I would grab a table outside and send someone in to get food. Don't take the kids in if you can help it. The queue was huge (a good twenty minutes) and all the littlies I could see were getting stressed with the crowds of people.
We were going to see the hockey in the evening. We went in to the venue and they have a games mobility tent. They will store the mobility scooters as well as pushchairs. They give you a ticket, the other half of which is attached to your item. At the end of the event they bring the items out of the tent for you to collect.
BradleyWigeons which is the best entrance to go to for the Riverbank Arena?
dinasaw we're going to see the hockey next week (2 adults) any other hints?
What time did you arrive?
We're going to the first Athletics tomorrow morning.
Encouraging to hear that security/queues aren't too bad , but expecting it to get worse tomorrow as the numbers attending are predicted to almost double.
We also have to cross London during the rush hour.
I'm sure it will be worth it though.
We're also going to the hockey (tomorrow!) with a 4 and 7 year old. Does anyone know if it's possible to exit and re-enter the riverbank arena itself (as opposed to leaving the Park) - I had this cunning plan that I cld pop in about with the youngest to keep her entertained, no a,punt of pom bears is going to get her through 2 matches...
We went at about 9.30-10ish and the Jubilee line was empty. Going home at 8pm was fine til North Greenwich, then super-busy. Waterloo was fine.
Going through security took less than 5mins. We walked everywhere but lots of people with children got the shuttles. I should probably have got them as DC3 was grey with tiredness by the end.
We went to McDonalds and the queues were awful - I would definitely time a visit for when the events are on - the main areas seem to triple in numbers when people come out of the arenas.
Park Live was a great place to hang out and have a picnic and watch the big screen.
buggy no re entry allowed, haven't been to riverbank but the copper box had space you could take your dc out to wander up and down without exiting the arena.
Note to anyone who may buy souvenirs, they are soooo much cheaper in Argos. Was going to buy ds a mascot teddy at the park but was £16 so decided against it. Bought the exact same one in Argos for £3.99! Just bought one for my sisters little girl too, she is going to take it with her and give it to her when they are there.
went to riverbank once you are in there is NO reentry
the qs at the interval were MANIC
we did mac donalds at 12. walked right in.
by exit EVERYONE was there qing around the block.
go just before lunch.
the qs home were big - lots of slow walking like sheep.
but all well managed
oh ant macdonalds DONT be a wanker and grab a table first - i bloody hate that
AuntieMaggie - go to the Stratford Gate entrance for Riverbank arena (accessible from Stratford tube or Stratford International or DLR), rather than West Ham, although it's still a bit of a walk through the Park from there. But at least you are in the Park and can look at all the lovely other venues, the jolly crowds and the pretty trees and flowers etc!
So glad to hear everyone is having a fab time!
Tips for Riverbank for the hockey.
Once you go in you cannot go back out and re-enter.
Going in is simply a matter of getting your ticket scanned.
We went in about forty minutes before our game started. They let you in shortly after the previous session have left.
Try and go to the loo before the previous session come out of the arena, there are less queues. Otherwise go into the Riverbank arena as soon as you can and head for the loo.
You will see signs saying watch out for hockey balls, you only need to watch out if the training pitch is being used.
If you want coffee or food get in the queue as soon as you can as the queues get longer.
As you enter on the right hand side is where there is a small London 2012 stall with hockey souveniers. Next to this is where you can leave mobility scooters or pushchairs.
We were row 29 of 30. It is quite high up and was a bit scary when people started drumming their feet, so brief the kids for this.
If you need the loo or food or drink during the break in matches try and elave a few minutes early to walk round.
Thanks Dinasaw and Rhubarb - do you think it's really necessary to arrive at the riverbank an hour before your session starts? I might send DH and DS in at the beginning and then join them a bit later with DS - being honest it's the GB match I really want her to last thru'!!
Might be worth knowing - today I was at the gymnastics and we managed to sit in (empty ) top seats. I had cat c tickets but sat in cat a seats. We just asked the volunteers it would be ok and they said ok but we'd have to move if someone appears. Nobody did and there were plenty of other empty seats around.
Nobody wants the empty seats to be prominent on the tv. Soooo glad we did it - our view was amazing! I know of others who have done the same in other venues too.
We took my 4 year old to the morning hockey matches on Monday. He did really well (for him) and we left during the middle of the 2nd match, but it wasn't GB so we didn't mind! We took it in turns to take him for walks to the toilet in the middle of the matches, so there were no queues. We arrived just as they were singing the national anthem and didn't have any problems with queuing to get in.
No don't need to arrive an hour before. The time passes fast tho. We were row 26!
Block 216 and tonthenright of that faces sun. Bear that in mind
Take a look at DG's blog, he has written a lot about the Olympics and the Olympic Park.
Wow - that is a super helpful and interesting blog! Thanks for posting!
Do the morning hockey games really start at 8.30. It says that on our tickets but I don't know if that's when gates open or when it starts. Also can you take umbrellas? Presumably that just gets in the way of the people behind you?
Went today. Loos excellent at Olympic Park (but not so good at "North Greenwich Arena" aka 02). Plenty of seating, food outlets (not all McDonalds). All the volunteers and the armed services were really jolly - so were the nice African guys who we met during their break who were working for G4S on Security! A really positive experience.
The morning hockey games do indeed start at 8.30. We got in the venue at 8.30, and pretty much went straight into our seats.
The other London blog that is (generally) helpful and interested
to train spotters like me is www.ianvisits.co.uk/blog/ .
Love Diamond Geezer. Been reading his blog since he started back in the naughties.
If I knew he wasn't reading this, after checking his link stats, I'd say I had a big crush on him.
We went to the first session of the athletics today.
The stadium itself is excellent, the competition was amazing, the atmosphere was fantastic, we will never forget it as long as we live.
The queues for the merchandise superstore were like nothing I have ever seen and the games makers around the queue were flustered and short tempered, they didn't really know what to do with the sheer volume of people.
This was a big shame as all the other games makers were brilliant, helpful and knowledgable.
I think it's crazy, the games has cost a fortune to put on and there was money to be made from merchandise but lots of potential customers were put off by the length of the queue. It's basic business sense to make it easy for people to spend their money!
It was a long walk to get in and out of the park and back to public transport.
The volume of people meant that you couldn't walk quickly,it was more of a steady shuffle.
Wear trainers, the woman in front of me kept falling off of her wedges!
If you have the (more expensive) seats at the bottom then lucky you but if it rains you will get wet, take a waterproof or umbrella, or both.
Needless to say public transport was rammed.
The Olympic transport helpers at stations are excellent, speak to them if you need transport help.
Also I forgot to say they've run out of GB flags at the Olympic park.
Take your own.
Can I ask a quick question about the Games Travel Card? Do they arrive in the post with our tickets? Or do we have to collect them from somewhere?
Betty They should come with your tickets.
Thanks again for tips, today's hockey (go team GB!!) was fantastic. Maybe we were lucky but transport there and back was great and no wait for security. My kids' favourite things were the schools' garden (opposite EDF) which was very pretty, peaceful and did face painting and also the band stand between the velodrome and riverside arena - mascot appearances and grass to picnic/run around. If you're going to the hockey and are in the east stand bring hats and sunblock!
Just back. Had fab time. Volunteers could not have been nicer. Second recommendations for schools garden. Wandering along the riverside and through the various floral areas also just beautiful.
Top tip if you're doing Olympic Park on a budget is that The Entertainer in the bottom floor of Westfield Stratford has heavily discounted Wenlock/Mandeville/Team GB cuddly lions of all sizes and Model Zone next door has other cut price souvenirs, so you could pick a cuddly toy up for DCs right at the beginning of the day and brave the queues and prices of the shops inside the park at all. Waitrose will also sell you a reasonably priced picnic.
And FitFlops FitFlops FitFlops. There is a lot of walking and it is all about the comfy shoes.
Errm that should read "not brave the prices and queues of shops in the Park at all".
We went (with DDs aged 7 and 3) to see GB's women play handball this morning. We left home (SE London) just before 7am and were in the park itself an hour later. The DLR journey up to Stratford was as straightforward as it is ordinarily. The main difference was that there were no through trains from Lewisham to Stratford but we changed at Mudchute so as to get seats before billions of other people got on at Canary Wharf.
Taking the pushchair for DD2 was a godsend - she has hypermobile lower limbs and tires very quickly so we tend to take it as back-up for days out. Having the pushchair meant that we avoided a number of queues and were well looked after by the Police, Armed Forces and Games Makers. Labels were provided at the buggy storage place outside the Copper Box although I'd already labelled mine (having been in the Guides once upon a time ). Our water bottles were refilled at the coffee kiosk inside the Copper Box - completely free and without anyone minding that we didn't buy anything from the kiosk. We took bagels as a second breakfast plus numerous snacks but did buy some lunch from the Thai and noodle places near the basketball arena later on.
We had a wonderful day out. The Coca Cola beatbox was a hit with the girls and the photographs taken with Olympic torches at the top (the only accessible open view from the top of a building apparently) have downloaded brilliantly and the surprise inside the venue is something the girls have talked about all day. We were lucky as we queued for maybe as much as 3 minutes to get in but were told that 45 minutes has been the norm. Toilets everywhere were clean and easy to find, no queues experienced at all. The water in the hand basins was too hot but that was my only complaint about the Olympic Park. Although there were thousands of people there today, it didn't feel crowded or unsafe as a result. Park Live was where we ate our lunch, soaking up the friendly and supportive atmosphere.
My top tip? Put a sticky label on your young DCs' backs with their initial and surname e.g. A.Smith with your mobile number underneath. Knowing that our 3-year-old had a Paddington-style label on offered some peace of mind in case of getting separated (not that it happened).
The journey back was as straightforward as the one 10 hours earlier. Personally, I didn't feel Stratford station felt any busier than it has done on weekends/school holiday occasions that I've taken the girls up to Discover... the number of Police in the station itself seemed about normal but today's officers definitely seemed to be more friendly than usual.
All in all, a great day. I'd love to go up to the Olympic Park again but have had no luck getting Paralympic tickets that aren't during school (DH and I are both teachers).
Great tip about 'labelling' the children we bought some special wristbands from 'easy2name'. You write your childs details on the inside and then put then on their wrist. We explained to the older ones that they had mummy and daddys mobile number on in case they got lost but they are also labelled with 'if lost cut here'. They are very reassuring!
Half price Wenlock and Mandeville at Tesco.
We picked up 2 kids T shirts for £10 each too whereas they are £14 each in the Park.
We went yesterday as managed to get last minute tickets on Friday night to the womens hockey.
What a brilliant and fantastic day. The volunteers are so friendly, a great vibe everywhere you go.
Queues for security not bad at all.
Javelin train from St Pancras to Stratford is quick and easy, again no queues but crowded.
TIP if you have last minute print-at-home tickets they won't scan on the gate - the barcode numbers have to be entered manually.
Write your mobile number directly on the DC's arm with biro.
If you want a FREE photo with the torch, head for the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden and the Olympic Journey exhibition. At the end a photographer takes your pic with the torch, which you can download when you get home
The Great British garden is lovely, this is where there is free face painting for children, activities and sports for them to try.
Nice to have some grass to sit down on too. We had brought a picnic so had it here.
We went to both athletics sessions yesterday.
We arrived at about 8am for the 10am start. It was quiet at Waterloo, and the Jubilee line comfortably busy. We got off at Stratford and it was fine. The moment you get off the train there are enthusiastic games makers anticipating a n exciting day ahead.
You are quickly marshalled into lanes, which makes you think you must be entering the Olympic park straightaway, but it is a good 20 minute walk. Security is so massive that we never stopped to queue at all - we just kept on walking. They said to empty all liquids before the first metal detector. As we didn't have any, that didn't apply to us. Your bags go into a plastic tray, and you are asked to empty pockets. You do not have to open or take anything out of your bag, or remove belts and shoes, as you would at the airport.
We had breakfast in a real restaurant, located across from the Park Live big screen. Surprisingly, none of the kiosks we saw had traditional breakfast foods, but we were able to sit down and have a full English in the restaurant.
There wasn't a queue for the megastore when we went in. The merchandise looked about the same price as the Olympics store in John Lewis.
There were queues for some water points, and others were empty. Don't feel you have to stand in a long queue. In the stadium area, the taps are all walk-up.
We picked up sandwiches in Waterloo, but more because our athletics session went on till almost 2pm. I didn't find the prices outrageous when compared with theme parks, for example. We figured we were there and not going to spoil the day by penny-pinching, so did pay rather a lot for a couple of bottles of wine and some beers (if you want a beer get a draught pint for the same price as a bottle).
Leaving at the end of the day was obviously crowded, but so well marshalled that it could go wrong. Mobility and prams had their own lanes. They were packing the Jubilee trains, but if you need to get on with a buggy, I would suggest just waiting for a few minutes to get on first on a new train, and head along the platform away from the crowds.
If you are travelling from outside London, buy your train ticket online at a special Games fare. You get a very good discount and can combine it with your F&F railcards
and then spend the savings on overpriced wine.
ClaireRacing You must have had a fantastic day!
Agree with Claireracing about the Games Train Fares. DH and the Dc went to Weymouth yesterday for the sailing and special fare was half the normal fare
We're off to the athletics on Wed morning. What time does the Olypmic Park open? TIA.
It was pretty amazing, Tilly
The stadium is open very early. When we arrived before 8am, it looked like it had been open for ages. We arrived in Stratford station at 7.35am, and the games makers were out in force.
8am felt very early to arrive for a 10am athletics session. I wouldn't recommend going through the stadium ticket checkpoint until 30 minutes before the start of action.
I was at the shooting yesterday and couldn't find any water fountains, so filled my water bottle from the tap in the loos (portaloo blocks). I've had a bit of a dodgy tummy ever since, so would advise against this!
Few questions about athletics with v small children (1 month and 3 yrs)
Once i am in the stadium is there anywhere to do a quick nappy change if needed (eg corridor behind seats?)
Anyone know which rows will be dry if it rains (our seats are mid price)
How much hassle is taking a buggy?
Where exactly are the water fountains?
Thanks in advance - will post after Wed with my tips!
There is no "behind the seats" area, and your legroom is fairly tight. The bathrooms are a fine place for changing nappies.
You should be dry if yor seat is in Row 45 or higher, even with a wind in you face.
The water fountains in the stadium area are behind the food outlets, ie on the outer ring of all the buildings.
Thank you. Will change nappy first thing and hope for the best!
the eton manor gate is almost deserted so you can get off at leyton one stop away from stratford and walk through if your event is in the north of the park. It is signposted. not so good for small children unless in buggies as a little further to walk
We're off to the 10am Athletics tomorrow - going to be a horribly early start if we really need to get there at 8am, will we be okay arriving a bit later, do you think? Anyone who's been there?
Also, we are getting into Marylebone, is it going to take ages to get to Stratford?
Thanks to all the people giving advice. I'll be the one in the pink Team GB top and the Pom Bears.
Also, for ID, do I need to take my passport or will my driving license do, and do the kids need their passports for ID too?
Sorry for all the dopey questions - been a very busy few days.
not if you have tickets already,
ID, I happened to have myassport on me anyway, as well as my driving licence, but I didn't have to show either.
Thanks, I have the tickets already and don't fancy taking all our passports with me.
You don't need ID - tickets are fine by themselves.
We just met some people who went last week and they have suggested either taking a small radio or iPad (if you feel like it) for queues as there's only one big screen and when they went it wasn't showing sport, just children playing. They ended up queuing for returns and watching some finals via BBC online.
If you are a BT customer BT Openzone in the park should be free - we are planning to do this with the iPad as we have no DCs so are queuing for returns. Will come back and let you know if it works well!
Can you get return tickets for events in the park? We've got morning athletics tickets but maybe will queue for other events...
Why do some spectators have big swanky lanyards round their necks? Is this what you get with your tickets?
I want one
Definitely no ID needed (was slightly concerned about this myself as we had some tickets from friends in their names, but weren't arriving with them). They haven't got time to check anything other than tickets as people go in.
Never checked ID or even names on tickets, getting in was easy and not busy at all (9.15am)
I can't wait!
SIL is there tonight.
Would a 20 month old need those headphones kids have a festivals for the hockey?
I saw a baby with headphones on at the basketball, but I'd have thought hockey would be quieter.
As an aside there was a baby of maybe 14 months at the shooting (shotgun) with no ear protection. I found it uncomfortable without the ear plugs provided by the stewards, but she didn't seem to flinch at all, and was very good and happy! She was the family member of one of the US shooters, and the family all seemed very NRA, so she's probably used to the noise!
There was a newborn (about 3 weeks old) at the athletics today and the noise was unbelievable - slept through the whole thing.
Definitely no return tickets. Used the iPad a lot as we were there ages (got there early in hope of return/recycled tickets). Big screen doesn't always show preferred sport but it seems to show highlights. There were whiteboards with the latest scores etc. but the iPad was better for keeping informed.
Biggest tip is probably buy a poncho from the pound shop. You can sit on them if nothing else. Also, of the barriers are closed to the big screen, walk down nearly to eton manor and take the bottom entrance along the river walk to come in the back way. There are some great view of the screen to be had by sitting on the edges of the paths.
yellow don't know much about 20 month olds but the music at the hockey is very loud, spectators aren't too noisy. I found the music almost too much but it is only at the beginning and a bit in the interval.
Take your own picnic - the only places where there are real queues are the eateries (my experience on Saturday) Everywhere else was fine, lots of good clean toilets etc.
We took sandwiches and loads of snacks. The worst queues are for filling water bottles. We had dinner in Jamie's at Westfield once we left - it was my birthday today after all!
No q's for javelin, plenty of space on way out at 7.40am, busier on way back at 7pm.
No ID needed. Be warned its hard to see any action after you've left the event - Park Live was rammed and massive q's all afternoon. Its the only thing I think they could have done better - more screens around the park.
I'd like to say a huge thank you to all the volunteers all of whom were welcoming, great with the children and really genuinely helpful.
Top places for children we visited were the Schools Garden by EDF where they had face painting, an obstacle course and they could write inspirational messages for the athletes, and the bandstand where the DC cuddled and had photos with Wenlock, and we saw some great bands and dance acts, the DC had loads of space to run, play and do some dodgy gym moves
We went to the park yesterday - transport was really straightforward, no queues and plenty of really chatty and friendly gamesmakers to point us in the right direction. Tube exits opened (no need to queue and present tickets). security was easy; plenty of military personnel manning the airport scanners and body checks. Plenty of toilets in the park, and even though there were loads of people, it never felt too crowded.
I would echo other posters' views about parklive - the big screen is mounted in the middle of the river Lea, and people were absolutely crammed into the banks on ether side. Some of the wild flower planting has been squashed by people sitting on it, just to get a view of the screen. There could easily have been another couple of screens there. The atmosphere however was fantastic, and I think my highlight of the day was seeing Chris Hoy win his 6th and final olympic gold - it gave me goosebumps to hear the cheers coming out of the velodrome behind me.
plenty of places to eat, although many had run out of food (or at least 30 minute delays for top ups) by 6pm, so take your own, or buy sandwiches from the deli shops on site earlier in the day.
We have tickets for athletics paralympics tomorrow at 7pm. How early in the afternoon will we be allowed in the park, as my kids wanted to spend sometime running around?
dandy05 You can enter the park what ever time you want, there is no time limit to when you can enter the park.
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