Riding the Slide at the Arcelormittal Orbit Stratford

The Arcelormittal Orbit was designed by sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor and engineer Cecil Balmond and was erected back in 2012 just in time for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Orbit is the UK’s tallest sculpture, 80m high above the Olympic Park and 60% made from recycled steel offers extraordinary 20- mile views of London skyline.

This fantastic piece of art is impressive and moving. It is part of the Olympic legacy that transformed East London. I remember back in 2012 when the Olympics changed the area and the people within it. The Olympic Park is now used every day by visitors from all over; people out cycling or going for walks, families picnicking on the grass, children running around and playing in the many parks and couples out for romantic walks along the canal.

Everytime I see this amazing structure it brings back memories of the unity we shared back in 2012 and how well our olympic teamed performed.

The sculpture is a physical embodiment of the spirit of East London.

A few weeks we visited the Orbit not only for the incredible panoramic views across London but also to ride the world’s tallest and longest slide.

The visit starts at the bottom of the Arcelormittal Orbit where you get to stand directly underneath and look up at the twisting red lattice framed iconic structure. This in itself is a wow moment. 

We took the lift up to the viewing platform where we spent some time looking out across at London’s skyline, pointing out buildings that we recognised. The youngest was pretty impressed with the Olympic Stadium where Westham were playing at home. We knew they had scored when the crowd erupted in a loud cheer.

When you book your tickets you have to hope for a clear day. Unfortunately we had previously visited the orbit on a rainy day and didn’t get to see half of what you can on a clear bright day

There are interactive touch screens on the viewing platform that tell the story of the Orbit and the park and they also give you information on the surrounding area. They tell the story of the Orbit. The polished concave mirrors that are on either side of the platform play with your perspective and turn the horizon on its head.

The level below the viewing platform is where you get to ride the slide.

Kitted out with a helmet and arm protectors you join the queue ready to watch a short video about how to ride the slide. Once inside the mat, you grab the sides of the chute and you push yourself down the slide.

From top to bottom descending 76 meters it takes just 40 seconds.  Reaching up to 15 miles/hr (24 km/hr), the slide loops it’s way around the sculpture 12 times. At times you are in darkness and then you see a flash of daylight where the top of the slide is covered in plastic. Or, in complete darkness if you have your eyes closed for the whole 40 seconds it takes from top to bottom.

The slide ends with a straight drop and before you know it you’re seeing  daylight again

 

You would expect to come out the bottom at speed but you slow right down as you exit.

Once down at the bottom you can go back up to the viewing platform again or if you are us, just to take the steps down.

 

Once finished on the viewing platform, you can take the lift back down the ground level or go down the 455 steps. Yes, we counted them! As you walk down the steel stairs you are treated to the sounds of London echoing around you coming from a specially designed soundscape soundtrack.

My boys give this experience a huge adrenaline pumped thumbs up

There is a height and age limit to the slide, you can find out all of the information on there website.

 

 

 

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Indoor Skydive: A Family Adventure

Ever wondered what it was like to fly?

Flying is a sensation that very few people, especially young children, get to experience. Indoor skydiving gives you a unique feeling of flying. With the use of a vertical wind tunnel you get to make your dream of flying become a reality. It is a safe and fun experience with a highly qualified instructor that teaches you to fly,step by step.

We was very lucky to have been given Family tickets for a flight experience with iFly, which has a centre at Milton Keynes.

Our flight was booked at 12pm but they require you to check in an hour before. We filled out the necessary forms in preparation for the flights, but you if you get to iFly in plenty of time you can fill them out before you fly at the centre.

Everyone in the group was introduced to the flight instructor who gives you 1-1 help in the tunnel. Our instructor was very informative and friendly. We was all briefed about what to expect inside the tunnel, watched an instructional video and then shown the hand signals that would be used for communication inside. We was all then issued our flight jumpsuits, goggles and helmet.

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The younger boys got to choose a helmet that had little teddy bears sticking out of the top. They looked so cute when they were in the tunnel and the little teddy was bobbing about in the wind.

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Once all suited up they were ready to fly

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We made our way to the flight tunnel, which had viewing all around. The vertical wind tunnel can produce 165mph wind speeds. All of the flyers lined up one by one to wait their turn to go into the tunnel and take flight with the instructor.

Before you enter the tunnel, you have to stand at the entrance with your arms stretched above your head and when the instructor gives you a thumbs up you have to lean forward towards him. The instructor then grabs your arms and leads you into the air tunnel safely so that your legs don’t catch on the entrance. Once in the middle, the instructor holds onto you until you get your balance and then he let’s go of you so that you can drift off. Once you have mastered the key flying skills you are able to try more advanced manoeuvres (but this comes with more lessons) You get to experience freefall as you float on a smooth cushion of air.

The aim is to relax and have fun. Stretch out your arms and legs and in Superman Style…Fly!

The whole experience lasts for an hour, with about 5 minutes flying in the tunnel.

We chose to have a High Flight, which was the best part of the experience. With the instructor guidance and support, they boys were flown 3-6 feet up the tunnel. They flew in a rise and fall pattern whilst turning. The High Flight happened for the last 15-20 seconds of their second flight

With no parachute, no jumping and nothing attached to them. I watched my boys fly. They were a little nervous, especially the little one, but that soon disappeared when the adrenaline kicked in.

Their faces say it all. They said that the feeling was unforgettable, they felt light and free.

We give iFly indoor skydiving a big thumbs up
We give iFly indoor skydiving a big thumbs up

The whole experience was definitely one to remember. The instructor was patient, professional and encouraging. My boys didn’t stop smiling for days (and that’s not because the wind in the tunnel had such force that it made it that way). At the end of the experience they were rewarded with a certificate which showed what flying skills they had mastered.

My son won this experience after I entered him into a competition that was run by Coca Cola and blogger Emmys Mummy and Harry Too to uncover an unsung hero. I nominated my son as he was my rock whilst I was having treatment for Cancer and is always putting others first. He is a very determined young boy and deserved a treat. He was my hero and still is.

Thank you for choosing us 🙂

 

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