The Olympic Park ~ away from the bonkers boom, banga, bang

We’ve all seen the Opening ceremony haven’t we? Were we thrilled, wowed, amused, touched, proud, puzzled by the show.

We heard and saw the deaf and signing choir sing the national anthem, and I defy anyone not to have had a lump in their throat as they saw the sheer joy in the children’s faces.

We saw Bond arrive, and screamed OMG it is HRH Brenda (I really can’t remember why we call her Brenda but we do), it’s her!

We thought a show with animals and children? What about the adage of never working with both!

We booggied to the music.

We cheered on Beckham, who surely had the biggest grin of the night as he piloted the speed boat down the Thames.

We whooped at the fireworks, the lights, the fizzle and frazzle of technology.

We wondered what Macca was there for – parked at the end of the show.

We heard the stories of the country flag bearers, and paused for thought.

We puzzled as to whether the world would understand the scenes about the NHS and Great Ormond Street.

We applauded the Olympic Flag bearers – all working for peace, to abate hunger, to improve justice.

All the photos were taken on my pre-visit to the Olympic Park and show some of the details of the gardens and the park. Take a moment when you visit the site to sit down, to be quiet in amongst the whoosh and whooz of an Olypmic event to wander down the steps along the river, to walk under and across the bridges, to see the flower meadows and the water planting, to visit the Children’s Garden. To notice some of the details, the beauty, the natural in this 250 acre park.

The bat boxes under bridges, the 2,000 trees planted , the 2 otter halts, the 65,000 perennial plants in the World Gardens, the 4 frog ponds, the 300,000 wetland plants, the 250 different species. The scale of reclaiming land, cleaning and clearing is immense.

And after the games when the work starts all over again to reclaim the site for London, to create the biggest new public park in a century. And marvel.

WALK don’t RUN


    • Thanks Mandy, it was a lot of fun to visit the site befor ethe crowds, then to see it all on the TV and think ooo I know where that is 🙂

  • a wonderful post claire, i can enjoy the olympics perfectly well looking at your pictures and hearing your story … it is an awesome job to create the biggest new public park of the century!!

    • The park looks spectacular, so much thought an deffort, time and ye smoney has been spent on it. I can’t wait to see it when it is just a park – but we’ll have to wait a year or two for that pleasure!

    • Thanks Sharyn, I think any new park is a bonus. The guy who was behind the New York High Line is designing part of the park after the games so I’m looking forward to seeing what he comes up with

  • What a wonderful space to enjoy. The Olympics are a production and one can only wonder at the money spent for the spectacle, but there are always some positives left behind as you clearly show.

    • The money spent is mind boggling! But I’m happy about the park, I think it is a beautiful place, and considering what the land was like beforehand – old wasteland and industrial waste, it’s even more remarkable!

  • So nice! Thank you for that tour. Wish I could see for myself….. Wait! I’ll be there next June, so maybe I will!

    • Exciting!, Maybe you will be able to see something next June, I’m not sure about the dates as I’ve been told some of the work will take a year and other areas will take 2 years. Either way it’s a park for London, so lots to cheer about!

  • Wow, I didn’t know they made such a beautiful Olympic park in London. I knew they were doing great things but I wasn’t aware about the great gardens they created. And I enjoyed your words along with the pictures.

    • I’m pleased I wrote about it as I don’t think many people do realise it’s such a huge and beautiful space. And so much work has gone into it which makes it even more incredible. Thanks for popping in 🙂

  • This is a very welcome sight! How nice to know that something of lasting beauty and grand improvement will be left for everyone to enjoy even when all the excitement of the games is finished. Thank you for sharing these lovely photos!

    • So true! After all the medals have been won and the fireworks spent we will have something that everyone can enjoy – a park! There is a lot of talk here Cindy about “legacy” and how important it is that we have some sort of legacy – be it in sports, environment etc. And thanks for the thanks 🙂

  • Oh, the photos are the finishing touch to the Olympics opening. Delighted for your opportunity and thanks for hosting the games!

    • Hi Alice, it’s a pleasure! I was always for hosting the games (lots of people were anti) but now it’s happening on our doorstep it seems lots of people are behind it

  • Oh Claire what a beautiful post! Thank you for the gentle pace through the park, the lovely and quiet photos, and your perspective too on the magnificent opening ceremonies. Just beautiful… 🙂 (sigh)

    • Ah sigh…. it was great fun to get a sneak preview of the park, and I’m pleased I finally got round to writing about it, I kept putting it off as I didn’t quite know what to say or how to put it together!

  • Adored they’d behind the scenes view! We certainly get an edited version on TV. I enjoyed the opening ceremony and and had quite a laugh with The Queen and James Bond segment. That the games will live on as a park is an incredible legacy to the Olympics.

    • Wasn’t that fun Deb – the Queen and Bond! There’s been a lot of talk about legacy but I think people are forgetting that we will have the largest (new) park for a century, surely that’s a good thing to have as a legacy?! Or am I just too biaised as a gardener 🙂

  • That nicely sums up my reaction to the opening ceremony. Especially Lizzie actually being Lizzie (oops sorry Brenda) Although when I saw the hill with flowers I did think for one moment that the Tellytubbies were going to light the flame:-)
    And thank you for the photos and information – I didn’t realise how much of a park was already there. Hopefully some of what is now there will remain to allow it to develop as a haven for wildlife. It looks a fantastic place for people to enjoy and relax in. Wish I was still living in North London now!

    • Watcha matey – the amount of work they have done to clear and create the park is amazing, with so many different areas for species and special habitats created to encourage certain species – so much detail and thought has gone into it.
      And what on earth will the closing ceremony be like 🙂 …..

  • Such fabulous pictures and how great that you got to see the park pre-hoopla! (although I must admit, I’m completely enjoying watching the coverage AND the glimpse into the UK it brings us all!

    • My pleasure! I admit I was very fortunate to see the park pre hoopla!
      I hope the coverage on the TV is good – they’ve chosen some great sites to host individual sports, let’s hope it showcases them all so well 🙂

  • Beautiful park and the UK has reason to be proud of their opening Olympic ceremony…one of the best I’ve seen, and the games are great, too. We’re watching them right now! Bravo.

    • Thank you! It’s a fun time isn’t it. I have to admit that I just can’t imagine what it is like to be an athlete and to work so hard for years and years and to finally get to the games! Must be incredible….

  • This is so beatiful — thanks for a look at the quieter side of Olympic madness. It’s nice to know that there will be such a lovely park left in its wake.

    • Thank you! I thought it was a beautiful place too. Sadly some of the photos I took I couldn’t really use because of the weather, but hopefully I’ll get to take some more, I think a new park is something to celebrate 🙂

  • Thats a great summary of what it was like to sit through the ceremony. We are going up next week to have a wander around (not too bothered about actually watching any of it – unless we get dragged in to fill some seats left empty by British Gas or Ford or whoever)

    • Hi and thanks, apparently they are releasing tickets the day before online, so you may get tickets. We’re up there next week too – looking forward to seeing it now all the construction is over 🙂

  • We plan to mooch around the park after the Olympics are done and dusted so we can admire the plantings and landscaping without the distracting crowds.

    • Hi Jack, I’m not sure when the park closes after the Olympics as the work starts all over again. I was thinking about going up there again during the Para-Olympics – maybe quieter,I want to go up the crazy tower:) I don’t know though!!

    • The Art Work in the park is so clever and fun – what you don’t see is that on certain parts of the word Run when you stand in front of it and suddenly you look at least a foot smaller and consierably wider. Needless to say we spent ages mucking about in front of it 🙂

    • Thank you! It was a great day in the park, before all the crowdscame and seeing the work that has gone into making the place what it is. Now I’m looking forward to seeing it next week when we go to watch some athletics 🙂

    • Thank you, I’m in London tomorrow (for work) and am looking forward to seeing how London is dealing with the games – we have tickets for next week as well. And yes it is totally exciting to be so near and a teeny part of it !

  • looking forward to strolling through the park on my next visit to London. I don’t know that any other country has created such a wonderful, nature space while organizing an Olympic Games.
    well done.

    • Hi Joss, that’s a lovely thing to look forwad to – a visit to London and some strolling in parks! I think London might be unique on this, but I don’t know for sure.

  • What a beautiful place! I love the photos and they do invite a moment of peace and quiet! And from an American perspective, the “big show” was great fun, and “no” I didn’t understand parts of it! LOL! It didn’t even help when our announcers tried to tell us what it was we were seeing. It reminded me of how I can be completely enjoying a BBC television show and a cultural reference will be inserted and I am knocked off the train! The Opening was visually stimulating and lovely and I just let it wash over me! But really, Claire! Brenda? Hahahaha! Debra

    • hi Debra I know I might be biaised but I think it’s a wonderful space.
      I did wonderf if bits of the show would be lost on people, but as long as you enjoyed it, what the heck does it matter about the detail ! And you do realise that cultural references knock me off kilter too – all the time when I’m reading blogs 🙂 There’s always references to TV programmes, or sweets (sorry I should say candy!) and I’m left wonderfing what all the fuss is about!
      And yes Brenda! Too funny isn’t it. It’s a well know nick name, but I can’t for the life of me think where it comes from, all I know is that it’s stuck in my mind!

  • My youngest had a ballet show during the broadcast of the Opening Ceremony, but it sounded spectacular. We heard there will be a water park created afterwards, which should be a fun ongoing attraction. Of course the abundant natural beauty is getting less press, so thank you for sharing it!

    • I hope your youngest had a great show, I remember doing ballet shows as a child – and the weird and wonderful costumes! I haven’t heard about a water park, but the river does run through the site so it sounds likely. And thank you Inger, it was lovely to take everyone around the park and show them something they might not see and know about 🙂

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