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.





Following in the footsteps of the Olympians at The BMX VeloPark, Stratford

The Olympics may seem like a distance memory to most of us but last Sunday, the boys were lucky enough to be invited along to test out the BMX course at the one and only VeloPark in Stratford, which was used in London 2012 Olympics for the BMXing. As it was Fathers day, dad came along but he didn’t take part with the boys as he was too busy having a nose around the velodrome with the youngest.

Jak, Faye (Jak’s friend) and Joseph were kitted out with cycling gloves, helmets, elbow pads and was led out to choose a BMX bike. Joseph is quite small for his age, measuring at 110cm, could just about touch the floor with his toes when sitting on the bike but that didn’t dampen his excitement on getting onto the course with the other BMXers.

The children were booked on to an hours long taster session where they were to be introduced the sport, learning all the skills they needed to be able to ride the BMX bike around the course. The coach was friendly and made the children feel at ease, calling them by their names and being very helpful. He had placed the group into two, they all got to go around the cones, was shown how to go up and down when on a hill and they even got to sprint up and over the smallest of the ramps.

At the start
Looking like a pro
Joseph didn’t find it easy to use his breaks

Some of the group who took to the smaller course with ease were graduated onto the bigger of the courses.

Joseph was doing really well but found it a bit hard getting up the ramp, I told him to cycle really fast on the run up to the ramp and then he should be able to make it to the top. I love to watch him try new sports, he is a little adrenaline junkie and likes to test mummy’s nerves by trying out new activities that other children his age and height might not have the confidence to do. Joseph loved going round the track, up and over the ramps but found it quite hard to use the break so he chose to roll to a stop further than where he should have stopped.


Jak is quite experienced on a bike, having tried out the ramps at a local park, graduated onto the larger course. I was a little worried just in case he fell off but he had his elbow pads and helmet on so was protected from a little fall. As i watched him race around the track going down the steep hill and off to go up and down the huge ramps, I couldn’t help but look over to both my boys and beam with pride, both were loving the activity and the thrill it was giving them.



The boys and their friend had a lovely time and can not wait to be able to hit the track again! The fact that the VeloPark is close to us is amazing, the Olympics inspired my boys and now they have had a taster of living the dream.



We was invited along to the VeloPark by Indespension, a company who specialise in towbars, trailers and carriers. Indespension want us to take advantage of what is on our doorstep, set off to the coast, into the hills or out to the forest so that we can being in the great outdoors. So why don’t you #getoutthere

We was invited along to the VeloPark for the purpose of this post



My Sunday Photo

We visited the Olympic Park yesterday, there is so much to do and see, one of the things that we done was try and see if we could jump further than Greg Rutherford did in London 2012.

This is painted on the floor just in front of the stadium.



Exploring The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Two years ago the Olympics hit London and what a Summer it was! Living so close to the Olympic park meant that we felt that we were among all of the action and even got to watch a couple of the events. As I walked through the Olympic park back then I felt the electric vibe, the atmosphere was amazing and everyone was smiling and in such a happy mood So when i heard that The Olympic was opening up a play area I couldn’t wait to go back to Stratford an explore it with the boys.

Living just over 9 miles away from it means that it is easily accessible for us, just only 34 minutes away in the car or a 25 minutes train journey it’s not long before we reach the park.

Although the Olympic park has been open to the public to walk through and enjoy the surroundings for the past year, last month they opened up a play area in the North Park near the Copper Box called Tumbling bay. The playground features rock pools, sand pits, wobbly bridges, slides, swings, tall tree houses all made from twisting logs and timber. The boys and I decided to pay it a visit yesterday and i must say that we will definitely be back again especially with our bikes and a picnic.

When we first arrived at the Olympic park we walked in through the entrance that was just in front of the stadium and we came across a small play area with sand, a slide, a swing and a rope bridge, the children quickly ran off to explore. Oliver loved balancing across the rope bridge and the children had lots of fun running up and down some moulds on the ground.


Just near to the play area we saw some ladders that went down to the river, we went over to explore and found out that there was a climbing wall down there.



Although it is advised that no one under the age of 10 should be using the climbing wall, I think if your supervising your children and know there limits then it should be fine. Oliver really enjoyed climbing but i made sure that he didn’t go far up.

We decided to make a move on and explore more of the park, as we walked away from the stadium towards the copper box there was an outdoor gym to try and lots of little walkways to go off and explore, the pavements are very big and wide so perfect for a family bike ride.

We found the tumbling bay playground in the North park and at first we thought it was quite small, the boys played in the sand and walked over the wobbly bridge

20140531-100146.jpg 20140531-100127.jpg 20140531-100114.jpg

As we was walking around behind the wobbly bridge we saw the water pumps and thought that it would be best to keep the children away from them as i didn’t have any spare clothes incase they got soaked, I saw some wobbly logs to balance on and we followed around the back and found the real Tumbling bay playground, the boys couldn’t believe their eyes!

It was timber galore! Swings, slides, rope bridges, treehouses and rope ladders, the boys ran off to explore and have fun.

Coming down the pole
Climbing on the tumbling, twisting treetrunks

I didn’t see Joseph, my middle boy at all once we got in there, but I did catch a glimpse of him high up in the tree house walking along the rope bridge


Jak is within there, I promise!

There is one thing that Oliver loves and that is a swing and there are plenty of them hanging from the bottom of the rope ladders


There is only one way to come down a slide and that’s backwards



There is lots to do at the Olympic park, all set within pretty landscaped gardens amongst the winding riverways of the river lea. We can’t wait to get back with our bikes and to spend the day cycling around the park enjoying the surroundings and resting up within in the pretty gardens.


Goodbye Olympic Park until next time :-)
Goodbye Olympic Park until next time 🙂

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


Our London Link Party



A Visit to Westfields Santa Grotto

Last week the boys and I boarded the train to go and visit someone special.
They were really excited, we didn’t know what to expect when we got there but even so it didn’t dampen their spirits.
We arrived at Stratford Westfield Shopping Centre 15 minutes late and made our way through the hoards of Christmas shoppers to outside where we was going to see the big man himself, Santa Claus!

As we walked up to the grotto which is situated next to the outdoor ice rink we noticed some very special animals outside, lying down and resting. There were three reindeers in a pen, such magnificent creatures.


I had already pre-booked our tickets on line on their website, costing me £3 per person, which I thought was a good price.

The boys were greeted by some elves at the front door to Santas workshop, we was all taken through the shop to a holding bay which was filled up with soft play items like a big foam Santa and reindeer and lots of square presents. There was a big sleigh to sit on and explore and a small theatre.
We sat in here for 15 minutes whilst the children played an made friends. Santas elves were walking around taking everyone’s photograph, so the boys showed off their cheesiest biggest grins.
We were then all taken through a tunnel of sweets to the theatre ready to watch a 5D Christmas movie.


We collected out glasses and found some seats, the boys sat down the front on some big soft cushions that I must say looked more appealing then the seats 🙂

The movie started, it was about a bad elf stealing presents and throughout the movie it showed everyone who had their photo done faces on the presents. The children loved seeing their faces smiling back at them and shouted out when they recognised themselves. Everyone was laughing and having fun.
The movie ended with the bad elf becoming good and giving all the presents back an glitter falling on the children at the front.

The lights came on and We made our way through to the next room where we met Santa himself sitting in his living room in a big comfy chair with the fire alight next to him and presents in sacks all around.


All the children sat on the floor whilst Santa spoke to them about being good and asked them if they had done my thing nice to anyone this year, to which my Joseph put his hand up and said that he helped a child in school because they hurt themself (aaw bless).
Santa then saw each child or family separately and asked them what they are looking forward to on Christmas Day .


They had their photo taken by an elf and was given a present each.
The boys thanked Santa and waved goodbye to him.

We left the room and walked into a shop where you could buy the photograph that was just taken with Santa. We bought a snow globe as we thought that it make a good Christmas ornament to get out every year. It cost us £10, not bad really just a photograph cost £6.


We had fabulous time at Westfield’s Santa’s grotto, the boys had a wonderful experience and received some lovely gifts from Santa.
I would definitely recommend it to anyone that is local also you have the added bonus of shopping in some brilliant shops.

The overall experience was about 40 minutes long and we had no queueing!
Everyone was in character and friendly and the atmosphere was lovely. I thought £3 each (even parents) was very cheap for what your getting.

Have you visited Santa with the children yet?

Thank you for reading