Like many poor old English people we weren't lucky (or rich) enough to get our hand on any tickets for the Olympics this Summer. Instead we got some tickets for last weekend and the 'London Prepare Series'. It was the official opening of the Olympic stadium and also a practice run for security, transport links, staff for the events etc.
The first thing is that there is no parking anywhere near, around or in the vicinity of Olympic park. I was hoping we could park at Stratford Westfield which certainly didn't appear to be an option on the day. We ended parking at Canary Wharf and the getting the tube in.
Prior to the event, I was sent an e-mail from Ticketmaster asking us to use the tube station at West Ham, which we duly did. It was really well signposted to the park and had ultra friendly staff all along the route. I cannot praise the staff enough....everyone we spoke to all day was friendly, polite and had plenty of time to talk to the kids, pass the time of day and answer questions.....something of a rarity in the UK these days!!
The only downside(?) of using West Ham is that from there to the Hockey Stadium was just over a 2 mile walk! Now that's fine for me but if you've got smaller children you may want to be aware so you can plan a route exactly. You have to go through airport style security but in all honesty it was a breeze. As with an airport, you are unable to take fluids through the check point and they will be taken away from you if you try to take them in.
Which brings me nicely to food and drink! Obviously due to the 'no liquid' rule you have to buy all your drinks once there. It was about £2.50 for a diet coke or a bottle of water which is fairly expensive but I guess no more than usual London prices. There was a huge variety of food including sandwiches, jacket potatoes, fish and chips and loads of other stuff. It was all super expensive so I would take picnics with you if at all possible.
The Park itself is pretty cool although I'm not convinced this is worth the millions it cost:
This is Chick and The Punk outside Olympic Stadium:
We went to watch the hockey and had fabulous seats:
Both matches that we watched were brilliant!!!
I thought that we were well enough dressed to sit outside for 4 hours but it turns out that we definitely weren't. We had sun, plenty of rain, wind and cold. I can't begin to describe how exposed the stadium was and the wind properly howled around us. In fact it was so cold that we had to leave before the end as I just couldn't stand it any longer! Knowing how unpredictable the English weather is, I would say be prepared for all sorts and take gloves, scarfs, sunglasses and sun block :-)
One thing that I thought was really odd was that there didn't appear to be anywhere to buy souvenirs from! I honestly thought that the whole park would be overrun with stalls trying to wrestle your money away! Obviously with having the girls with me this was a blessing in disguise but we wanted to buy extra flags (to supplement our meagre, rain soaked, paper versions!!) and also a programme of some description.
On the whole it was a fab day so my main points would be:
Plan your route in and out of the park before you leave home
Wear flat and/or comfortable shoes
Remember there will be a lot of walking involved
Be prepared for all kinds of weather
Take a picnic if you don't have lots of spending money
Have fun :-)