The East London Destination To Visit This Summer
The East London Destination To Visit This Summer

The East London Destination To Visit This Summer

Thanks to a multibillion-pound development sparked by the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, Stratford and the surrounding area has been transformed into an east London hotspot. Today, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is home to world-class sports centres, iconic architecture, great places to eat and drink and award-winning entertainment and cultural attractions – all surrounded by beautiful parklands. Here are just a few things you can do there over the summer…

Created in partnership with Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Explore The Park

Since the London 2012 Games, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has breathed new life into Stratford and the surrounding area. Set over 560 acres, the area is vast, so it’s worth downloading one of the Park’s free trail guides to explore its wildlife parks, wetlands, meadows and playgrounds. We recommend the Art Trail, which guides visitors through various installations around the grounds – some are large and striking, while others are smaller hidden gems. Expect to see works by the likes of David Shilling, Miya Ando and Clare Woods. The site is also home to the London Blossom Garden – a living memorial to commemorate the city's shared experience of the pandemic. Here, you’ll find 33 blossom trees (each representing a London borough), grassy lawns and vast planting beds teeming with wildlife.

After an adrenaline rush? Book a ride on the slide at the ArcelorMittal Orbit, a unique sculpture by Sir Anish Kapoor, which recently reopened. Visitors can brave the 40-second descent down the world’s tallest and longest tunnel slide. At 114.5m tall, you’ll also have the chance to take in London’s skyline through floor-to-ceiling windows, spotting Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral and the O2 from the very top. Those after a real challenge can book to abseil down the sculpture – the UK’s highest freefall abseil at 80m high.

Get Your Culture Fix

For an afternoon of culture, make a beeline for Here East, an exciting destination hosting regular pop-ups, talks and live music sessions by the canal, a buzzy area known as Canalside. Set in the former Olympic press and broadcasting hub, visitors can drop into a fitness class at F45 Stratford, then refuel at eateries like The Breakfast Club and challenge your friends to an arcade game battle at Four Quarters. In 2025, Here East will open V&A East Storehouse, a huge multimillion-pound project which will house various museum collections, including an extensive exhibition on David Bowie. Sign up here to find out about the latest openings. 

We're also excited about the opening of the East Bank, a cultural hub in the Park which will champion innovation and creativity. In the coming months, there will be recording sessions and live performances from BBC Music Studios, world-class dance at Sadler’s Wells East's new 550-seat theatre, and two new public squares for outdoor events and public art commissions.

See A Show

The London Stadium is an impressive multi-use arena, with regular gigs taking place throughout the year. The Weeknd and Kaytranada took to the stage earlier this month, with previous stars including Burna Boy, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Beyoncé. For an unforgettable night out, book tickets to ABBA Voyage, the concert experience near the Park that brings the iconic group to life. The venue opened last year and quickly received a string of five-star reviews from critics. Using cutting-edge technology and lighting, the group is projected onto a holographic screen. The show has just been extended to 2024, so there’s still time to experience it.

Next year, the Park will open Sadler’s Wells East, as part of the East Bank development, with a range of diverse shows for adults and children alike. It will offer artist development and training, and will have a dedicated dancefloor in the theatre’s large wrap-around foyer for public performances.

Stop For Food & Drink

Visitors are spoilt for choice in terms of eateries and bars. The Stratford hotel is home to Allegra, an award-winning restaurant known for its contemporary European dishes created by head chef Patrick Powell. Diners can sit on the terrace – one of the capital’s best hidden rooftop spots – or in the main restaurant to try the tasting menu. A short walk away, Haugen is another top spot to know. The alpine-inspired restaurant and bar has a terrace, as well as an après ski-style rooftop bar which serves up cocktails, glühwein and schnapps. Dishes include ‘Mountain Fondue’ served with sourdough, new potatoes and pickles; schnitzel with warm potato salad; and its signature chocolate fondue with marshmallows, fresh strawberries and honeycomb for dipping.

Walk the short distance to Hackney Bridge for canal-side options including fish tacos at Simply Hooked, Neapolitan pizzas at Made In Puglia, gyozas and katsu curries at Rainbo and vegan Vietnamese dishes from Hanoi Chay. One of our favourite summer spots is Barge East where guests sit by the canal to enjoy frozen cocktails and beers while DJs set the vibe at weekends. It’s also a great spot for a birthday or special occasion thanks to its private dining room, outdoor deck and garden which has private cabins and a heated terrace. Bar Number 90 across the bridge is another buzzy spot, while The Hangar has a great selection of cocktails.

Use World-Class Sports Facilities

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has athlete-level sports facilities – and you don’t need to be an Olympian or Paralympian to enjoy them. One of the main highlights is the London Aquatics Centre where you can take part in lane swimming, family sessions and proper swimming lessons. It’s also home to a state-of-the-art gym, and the Tom Daley Diving Academy is open to all ages and abilities. If swimming isn’t your thing, book sessions at the Lee Valley VeloPark with its elite racing track. There are four types of cycling: track cycling, road racing, BMX or mountain biking. You don't even need a bike – simply hire everything you need straight from the venue.

If running is more your thing, there’s the London Marathon Community Track with its six-lane 400m athletics track and field event space, and full-sized football pitch (home of West Ham United Football Club). The track runs public sessions throughout the week, with sessions costing just £2.85pp. Our pick of what to do during the summer? Book sessions at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre which has two hockey pitches, four indoor tennis courts and six outdoor courts. We like the sound of a cardio tennis lesson for a challenging workout.

Coming Soon...

In addition to the exciting developments at East Bank and Here East, IQL Stratford (the International Quarter London) next to the Park also has openings to look forward to. The business hub – with its green spaces and cultural institutions – will open a roof terrace and an Everyman Cinema. Here, guests can watch new releases on the big screen, while relaxing in comfy chairs with gourmet food and drink options. 

For more information and to stay up to date with the latest events, visit and follow @QueenElizabethOlympicPark on Instagram.

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