Looking for something fun and exciting to do this winter? Stratford, brought to the world’s attention during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, offers plenty of fantastic events and activities throughout the chilly months, from riding the slide at ArcelorMittal Orbit to a trip to Santa’s grotto at Westfield Stratford City
Lead image: ArcelorMittal Orbit (photo courtesy Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park)
1 Visit Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is one of the main attractions in Stratford, and it’s free to visit. The park is home to the London Stadium, the London Aquatics Centre, the Copper Box Arena, Lee Valley VeloPark and the ArcelorMittal Orbit (see below) and more. It’s also home to some great cafes and restaurants, children’s play areas, scenic walking trails and public artworks that make an excellent backdrop for a few family selfies. But if you really want to see everything it all, the Lee & Stort boat tour takes you on a quiet but beautiful scenic route tour through the park’s winding waterways. Families will adore a visit to the park and can enjoy a fun-filled day together surrounded by immaculate parkland.
2 888poker LIVE London Festival
If you’re in London between 22 November and 3 December, stop off at the Aspers Casino for one of the year’s most exciting and highly anticipated events – the LIVE London Festival, hosted by 888poker. One of the world’s largest poker festivals, the event is famed for its immersive tournaments and gaming enthusiasm and offers tonnes of exciting entertainment and culture for all participants. Attending the event brings you closer to some of the biggest names in the poker industry such as WSOP champions, Scott Blumstein, Martin Jacobson and Joe Cada. But what’s got everyone talking is the Main Event Guarantee of $500,000! You can also be in with the chance to win a luxury package to London worth a massive $2,200. The buy-in is $109, which puts you in the heat of the action at one of the biggest highlights in the poker calendar.
3 Ride the slide at ArcelorMittal Orbit
The ArcelorMittal Orbit was built as a tribute or visual legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It has a unique looping structure to it that’s both innovative and inventive. It offers visitors 20-mile views over the striking Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the vast London skyline. If you’re a bit of an adrenaline junkie, you’ll love reaching the top of the ArcelorMittal Orbit and taking the world’s longest tunnel slide – measuring 178m in length – right back down to the bottom. The tunnel slide includes 12 loops and twists, making it an exceptionally fun and exciting experience for any participant. If you’re brave enough to have a go on the slide, you just might reach speeds of up to 15mph as you swoop and twist your way back to earth.
4 Santa’s Snowflake Grotto at at Westfield Stratford City
Out for a family day with the kids? Why not bring to meet the big man himself at Santa’s Snowflake Grotto at Westfield Stratford City? It’s open from 22 November to 24 December, giving you plenty of time to hand Santa your Christmas letter before the big day. The grotto is covered in a thick white blanket of snow and kids are invited to explore their creativity and create their own snowflake with a fun craft activity inside the factory. But kids will be most excited to meet Santa in his icy snow chamber, where they can have a chat with him and have their photo taken. Each child also gets a special gift from Santa, which they can open right there in the grotto or put under the Christmas tree until the big day!
5 Go-karting at Capital Karts
Capital Karts is home to the longest indoor track in the UK and their go-karts can reach speeds of up to 45mph. The huge 1,050m circuit gives you plenty of room to practice your manoeuvres around tight hairpins and flowing corners. Capital Karts was even named the UK Indoor Track of the Year in 2015 and 2016, but it offers more than just karting – the venue also has an indoor trampoline park featuring 12 exciting jump zones over 30,000 sq ft. The trampoline park caters for all ages, so whether you want to enjoy a day out with the kids or you’re looking for an alternative activity for a stag or hen do, Capital Karts has got it all.