We decided to take the monkeys on a train yesterday. Initially we thought we'd take them to Colchester, but then I had a brainwave. We'd go to the station on the black bus (park and ride), then head up to Stratford on the train and take them to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. This was made more exciting by the fact we told them only, that we were going on a surprise outing.
Stratford is less than 40 minutes from town by train, but long enough for both monkeys to enjoy the ride. Whilst on the train the monkeys were told where we were off to. Big monkey thought we were going to London. Liverpool Street to be exact. He was chuffed when I told him we were actually going to the Olympic Park.
Having reached our destination we popped into Westfield Statford City for a quick bite to eat in the food court and then made our way to the Olympic Park, which is minutes away from the station and Westfield.
The actual stadium is closed to the public at present except for special events. There is construction work going inside, but the park has been open since April 5th and has a lot to offer families.
As you walk into the Park the stadium sits ahead of you and near that is the Aquatics Center. For £1 per adult you can go inside and take a look around, sit in the stands and see where Tom Daley did his fantastic diving. The pool is actually open to the public to use too, but we didn't take our swimmers. The monkeys seemed more than happy to explore instead.
There are two play areas for children in the park. One in the south near some dancing fountains that people can run through and close to a fab retro Helter Skelter, which of course the monkeys wanted to go on. The play areas are fab and are surrounded by gardens and seating. There are several bridges scattered around the park and of course you can see the Shard and Gherkin in the distance as well as Canary Wharf. There's a fair distance to cover on foot but luckily the monkeys were up for it and we took little monkeys pushchair just in case.
The north end play area is just as good if not better then the one in the south and is next to a large Cafe with indoor and outdoor seating. Again lovely gardens and sculptures too. Little monkey was keen to keep an eye out for trains and buses whenever he heard them close by and the weather stayed dry for us.
There is plenty more there that we didn't go into, including of course, the Velodrome. It looks great from outside though and is described as a pringle because of it shape! I know, if we ever get the chance big monkey would love to go into the velodrome and stadium. He was in awe of Usain Bolt and Mo Farah in the 2012 Olympics.
We had a great time yesterday and everything ran smoothly. A helpful security guy even gave us directions to get back to Westfield the quickest way, so that we could get our train back home.
All in all a great day out with lots to keep the monkeys entertained. I think we'll visit again one day and take a picnic next time. The monkeys loved their surprise day out.