Olympic Park tours to begin during site’s transformation

The Olympic and Paralympic Games may be over, but from next week people will have the chance to tour the Olympic Park.

Free bus tours of the site, which will be known as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in the future, will start up again from next week.

Currently the Park is closed to the public as it undergoes a phase known as transformation, which includes the dismantling of temporary venues, the conversion of permanent venues for legacy usage and connecting the Park to the surrounding areas with a series of walkways and bridges.

Tours of the site will begin on November 21 and run on Wednesdays, Thursdays and some weekends until the first section of the Park opens in July 2013.

Those living closest to the Park will be given priority when booking tours.

Dennis Hone, chief executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), said: “We know there’s lots of interest in what is happening to the Park and we want to make sure people can get on to the Park while it is closed and hear about our great plans.

“This is especially important for those people living closest to the Park who have lived with the ongoing construction on the site.

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“Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will be first and foremost a local park which is why we are prioritising those living in the host boroughs of Newham, Waltham Forest, Tower Hamlets, Barking and Dagenham and Greenwich.”

Tour guides have all been recruited from the host boroughs and are all former Olympic Delivery Authority guides who have been working as tour guides on the Park since September 2009.

Steven Richards, 68, a tour guide from Hackney said: “One of the best things about running the tours has been seeing people get enthused about the Games, and about the Park. There has been such a dramatic change in this area from a site that was virtually derelict to the Olympic Park and now the new Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.”

Des Blake, 55, a tour guide from Stratford, said: “Doing the tours has been a great opportunity to get to know people from around the world. Now seeing the legacy of the Park take shape is brilliant.

“This is one of the reasons why we got the Games – it’s already benefiting the local area and helping local disabled people like myself get back into employment.”

There will be three tours a day during the winter months and in the spring and as the days get longer, a fourth tour will be added, and there are approximately 11,000 places on the tours.

People interested in booking a tour should email parktours@springboard-marketing.co.uk or call 0800 023 2030.