I remember watching the London 2012 Olympics and wondering to myself what all the brand new, state-of-the-art facilities will be used for once the games have finished.
Obviously, I thought that the elite athletes would train there and they’d still hold the odd World Champs or competitions there, but from day-to-day, what would they be used for.
Last weekend, we were invited along to spend the weekend at the park and I must say, I was really surprised by what they had to offer, especially for families.
Our modern family comprises of a 13-year-old, a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old. Whilst there are plenty of benefits to having this wide spread of ages, it also presents several challenges. None less than the fact that a family day out has to tick the boxes for all the ages.
So how do you please a 3 & 5-year-old and a 13-year-old?
Take them to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for the day.
The activities on offer really do cater for the whole family, no matter the age of your kids.
Our experience started by Louis & Jen going to watch the London Lions (pro basketball team) play a home game at the Copper Box stadium. They travelled up by car, parked easily and thoroughly enjoyed the game. The sport is growing in the UK and provides an affordable treat for any sporty child. Louis even got to meet the players after the match which made the experience all the more special.
The following day all 5 of us journeyed up to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for a fun-filled day of family activities.
Starting at the Lee Valley Velo Park, Louis and I had a BMX taster session. We used the official, Olympic course that was used back in 2012 and had an hour riding the jumps, learning the techniques and trying not to take a tumble.
Although Louis and I took on the adult session (appropriate for ages 12+) they offer a whole host of cycling sessions for children aged 5 and up. They use the inside space and create mini humps & jumps for younger children.
If you have a keen cyclist in the family, this is a great way to spend a Saturday morning.
We then headed off for some well-earned lunch at the Timber Lodge, located just inside the park near the VeloDrome. Not only was the food exceptionally good (and I do like my food…) but just outside the cafe is a fantastic play area for younger children.
I’m sure we’ve all been there when we’ve placed our food orders and then spend 20 minutes trying to keep the children occupied whilst their food is prepared. It can feel like 3 hours! I simply took Teddy & Isla out to the play area for them to enjoy and burn off the last little bit of energy before refuelling over lunch.
The play area was fantastic, with rope bridges, sandpits, spades, water features, slides and much more. The 2 of them made friends and played until Jen called us back in to eat.
Following our delicious meal (from a menu that also catered for Jen who is vegan), we headed over to the London Aquatics Centre. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, other than the impressive 50m Olympic pool & diving pit. On arrival, we immediately saw another 50m pool fully equipped with floats and an inflatable obstacle course.
The inflatable was accessible for ages 5+ and all the children are given buoyant life-jackets to wear. Louis & Isla had great fun there, after which, all 4 of us went into the other family section to play with the floats.
I was pleasantly surprised that this incredible facility has been made so readily available for families to come and enjoy. And the cherry on top was the cleanliness. Getting 2 children changed after a swim isn’t easy at the best of times and I’m sure we’ve all experienced the unpleasantness of some family changing rooms. Well not here. The facilities were spotless.
The children were starting to flag by now so we detoured into the Podium, a cafe/bar just next to the Arcelor Mittal Orbit tower and the Olympic Stadium. A quick milkshake later, we all headed over to the Orbit. The younger 2 were excited to head up to the viewing platform to get a good look at London whilst Louis and I popped on a very fashionable helmet ready to shoot down the Orbit slide.
The slide is exhilarating, it’s fast, exciting and would certainly be most teenagers idea of great fun.
We really did squeeze a lot into our day on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park so it was no surprise that the kids conked out on the way home. Obviously, you wouldn’t need to fill your day with so many activities, but it is very easy to spend an entire day at the park having a great time with whichever activities suit your family best. There is so much on offer and the range of activities can please children of all ages and with a variety of interests.
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is full of fantastic facilities offering great activities for all.
We will be returning to the park very soon, especially during the summer months because it really is a wonderful family day out.