Originally opened to coincide with the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, and then re-opened on April 5th 2014, the Orbit stands at a massive114.5 metre (376 feet) tall, and is made up of enough steel to make 265 double-decker buses, mind you 60% of said steel was recycled steel, including washing machines and used cars. Anyway, my point is that it’s big, big and mostly recycled!
It cost a pretty penny too, around £19 million, the majority of which was paid for by super rich steel man Lakshmi Mittal, Chairman of the ArcelorMittal. Go figure.
The product of a certain former Mayor of London’s wish for ‘something extra’ when envisioning London’s Olympic park, Boris wanted an Olympic Tower and the Orbit was the end result, a (big) work of art designed by Turner-Prize winning artist Sir Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond of engineering Group Arup.
It’s a hard one to miss!
The slide of your life … sorry, I had to go there, but it could well be true.
First stop when visiting the ArcelorMittal Orbit is its latest and greatest(?) attraction, its slide, the worlds longest and tallest!
The decent from via the super fast slide back down to solid ground was exhilarating, a alternate mix of dark cavernous and bright panoramic sections, the later of which allow you to catch a brief glimpse of the Canary Wharf skyline while at speed. Even as a 32 year old grumpy man-child (the girlfriends words), I found it hard not to smile as I whizzed down the twists and turns for some 45 seconds before finally emerging at the foot of the orbit.
Of course before you slide there is the small matter of getting to the front of the line. As y0u can imagine, such a ride is fairly popular, booked up a week in advance kind of popular! Each ticket dictates a specific time slot for your slide, although you will be one of many riders allotted to this time, so do not expect your time to be accurate to the minute. You’ll have to queue I’m afraid, but not for too long. In my case it took around 30 mins to reach the front of the line, and that included time allowed for donning the required scum cap and elbow pads.
Once all geared up through, you get in your sack and wait for the green light.
… don’t forget to scream.
Now it might seem an odd way to do things, but there is a method to the madness in sliding first and then returning to the top of the ArcelorMittal Orbit again to take in the views.
The reason for slide first and views later is that there are no personal items allowed on the slide with you, namely keys, wallets, phones and cameras, they must all be left in lockers at the base of the Orbit and collected only once your sliding for the day is complete.
So, locker emptied and and camera back in hand, it’s back to the top you go. Views ahoy!
On a clear day (I did not visit on a clear day as you can see), it’s possible to see for up 20 miles in every direction.
Canary Wharf, The Shard, The Walkie Talkie, the Eye, the Dome, they’re all there, visible from behind the giant panes of glass, or out on the viewing balconies, where you can experience the elements too.
While I love the London skyline, off in the distance I personally preferred to look a little to home, home being the tower. Having not visited the Queens Elizabeth Olympic Park since the Anniversary Games in 2013, I was interested to see how the park itself had transformed and become a part of everyday life in east London. Certain arenas had disappeared from sight, others such as the aquatics centre had now been handed over to the public for their use. The Olympics Stadium itself was now clad in claret and blue, the new home of West Ham United.
As a big sports fan, I was always going to take an interest in the Olympic Park, and it is most certainly one of my fave spots in the city, despite its changes and new look.
Back down to earth (again)
Depending upon whether your legs are now jelly, or whether you you wish to prolong your Orbit experience, rather than getting the lift back down to solid ground one final time, there is the option to take the stairs, all 450 of them.
And why not? There are some more incredible views, founds of London are played out from speakers lining the staircase, and in my case it took my 450 steps closer to my 10k daily target.
Oh yeah, you can see through the stairs. Minor thing.
Video time, it’s not one of mine mind, as despite my intension to film the slide, filming is actually banned … unless of course you’re super sneaky like this guy.
OK so that was the The ArcelorMittal Orbit. It was a great way to spend a Friday afternoon in London.
Fancy trying it for yourself? Good, because you should and tickets can be bought over at the official website –
There are a few rules and regulations when riding the slide, but in most cases they’re just minor things, so enjoy :)
<< The ArcelorMittal Orbit tickets >>
My Orbit experience was kindly provided by the good people at Mango PR, however rest assured that all of the opinions included in this article are my own.