On last Saturday, after a week which involved exams and a far too many pen stains on my fingers, I managed to persuade my family to come with me and venture around the recently-opened Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, East London. My Mum, brother and I had all been before, during the Olympics two years ago, whereas it was my Dad's first time seeing the place. Needless to say, we all thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and found ourselves actually taking pleasure in walking (for miles) in the sunshine. The impact 23 degree weather makes on London is incredible. We saw thousands of families, with people of all ages soaking up the sunshine and quite frankly, I don't blame them. So here is how the day went for us...
I love living in SW London. Far enough out from Central London that getting away from its sometimes overwhelming hustle and bustle is simple, yet close enough that spending under half an hour on the train will plop us right to Waterloo.
I made a big deal about having to use the Jubilee line. Not only is it the quickest and easiest way to get to Stratford from South London, it's also my favourite tube line by a mile. Bond St and Stratford on the same line equals plentiful shopping opportunities.
My brother Keir isn't the best in the sunshine.
I took the opportunity of being surrounded by beautiful flowers to use the close-up setting on my camera and for a minute, feeling like a full-on nature photographer.
Photos in front of the Olympic rings really are a must. Mum and Dad reminded us of their cute one foot height difference and I took a last attempt at proving that as the taller (and stronger) sibling, I could still carry Keir, who at 13 is seriously close to overtaking me on the height ranking of my family.
Dad challenged the idea that Mum and I aren't that similar appearance-wise by snapping this photo. I'm with him on this, and so is my Mum, yet pretty much ever friend I've ever made who has met my Mum is 100% determined to prove that we look exactly the same.
Family selfie. Not the first attempt at it, I should add.
Getting lost on the way out, thinking we would get the Central line from Leyton only to end up at Stratford International.
The DLR seemed like the logical option of getting from Stratford towards South London, so we hopped on and remained on it until Canning Town, switching there back to my all time fave, the Jubilee Line. I just couldn't stay away! I would definitely recommend going on the DLR from Stratford International to Stratford - the journey itself can be done via walking through Westfields but a) that involves many shopping distractions and b) that option doesn't give a killer view of the Olympic Park in the way the DLR does.
So that was our day! If you're wanting a chilled day out in East London, the QEOP is definitely the place to go. Best on warm days, with sunglasses and friends/family. They definitely want you to bring your own food, as there aren't many facilities for snacks and those sold are quite expensive. Extensive green grass and killer views of Central London from a distance from the taller peaks sounds like the perfect picnic setting, right?
I'm going to leave you with these two street signs that caught my eye. The Olympics was definitely a time for celebration and cheering and I am so glad London has worked to keep the London 2012 legacy moving forwards. Seeing the Olympics in my home city was an experience I will never, ever forget. The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park ensures nobody else does either.
P.S - the corresponding outfit post will go up very soon!