The second biggest highlight of my trip to London would be the visit to ArcelorMittal Orbit in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Lucky enough that my friends sneakily gave me the ticket (As birthday gift) of the opening day. It was the perfect place to catch the phenomenal views out over London. It also just happens to be the UK’s largest piece of public art, and the UK’s tallest sculpture, standing 114.5m tall, with two observation floors, at 76m and 80m. The Orbit is the result of a creative collaboration between artist Sir Anish Kapoor, designer Cecil Balmond and ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel and mining company, and a direct legacy of the 2012 London Olympic Games
The ArcelorMittal Orbit was visited by 130,000 visitors during the Games but then was closed and reopened in 2014, with the launch of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Situated between the Olympic Stadium and the Aquatics Centre, the large red Orbit is one of the iconic structures of the park and the sculpture’s box office, shop and café are situated near its base.
I know many people, including myself, tend to think that Stratford is miles away on the other side of London, but travelling by underground, you can reach Stratford from the City in just 11 minutes, or 19 minutes from the West End and the Orbit is just a five minute walk from the Park’s entrance. (Plus, of course, you can hardly miss it.)
The ArcelorMittal Orbit is approximately ten minutes walk from Stratford Station. To walk to the ArcelorMittal Orbit from Stratford Station, take the exit through the subway signposted Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. When you arrive at Westfield Stratford City, use the lift or the escalator outside to go up one level and head down The Street (the outdoor shopping and restaurant area). Take the second left at the Holiday Inn and walk into the Park. From here you can walk directly through the Park to the ArcelorMittal Orbit.
The price isn’t cheap – although it’s comparable to many London landmarks at £15 per head for an adult, and there are discounted family tickets available too. There is also an excellent cafe, which does brunch at weekends underneath it. (This is the Podium building which houses both the ticket office and the cafe, with its fab roof terrace, seen from above. Some PR really needs to throw a party here.)