August 29 2014 Latest news:
Freddy Mayhew, Reporter
Thursday, April 10, 2014
More than 50,000 people visited Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park when it threw open its doors to the public last weekend, new figures show.
The south of the park underwent an intensive 18-month transformation following the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games before opening fully on April 5.
Despite drab weather it was a bumper turnout as performers and entertainers from aerial acrobats to drummers excited the crowds and a parade of children from local schools danced their way through the new 27-acre park.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Londoners have voted with their feet by turning up in their hoards to declare this opening weekend a great success.
“With a season of bank holidays nearly upon us, I urge families to head East and visit London’s latest visitor attraction.”
The mayor paid a special visit to the park the day before its official opening with alongside Prince Harry.
The north of the park has been open for more than a year but this is the first time the south has been open to the public.
It was the centre of the summer Games and boasts iconic Olympic venues including the stadium, London Aquatics Centre and Lee Valley VeloPark.
Renowned landscape architect James Corner – creator of Manhattan’s world famous High Line park – designed the south park which now boasts fountains and waterways, manicured lawns, tree-lined promenades, a play area and more.
It is also home to the UK’s tallest sculpture — the multi-million pound ArcelorMittal Orbit, standing at more than 114m tall.
Dennis Hone, chief Executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), who released the figures, said: “It was great to see so many people at the Park this weekend using it as it’s supposed to be used, as a new destination for London.
“This is just the next step in the Park’s transformation. Our ambitious plans for culture and education will be complimented by some of the best events to come and enjoy.”
More than a million visitors have already enjoyed the park since it began to open in July last year with concerts and the Anniversary Games, the LLDC has estimated.
First of the former Olympic and Paralympic venues to open was the Copper Box Arena, which has had more than 100,000 visitors.
Since opening on March 1, the London Aquatics Centre has seen more than 65,000 visitors.
The centre will host the FINA/NVC Diving World Series, with the likes of Team GB’s Tom Daley competing, from April 25 to 27.