As many of you will remember, London hosted the 2012 Olympics. With that, came a brand new Olympic stadium, now the home of West Ham United Football Club, and an unusual corkscrew-like sculpture created by Sir Anish Kapoor. Turns out, you can slide down it! I headed there last weekend to try it out 🙂
ABOUT THE DESIGN
ArcelorMittal Orbit is a 114.5m high sculpture and observation tower, built for the 2012 Olympics in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, London. Made of 35,000 bolts and enough steel to make 265 double-decker buses, the ArcelorMittal Orbit offers extraordinary 20-mile views over Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the London skyline. Steel was partly chosen as a building material for its infinite recyclability as over 60% of the ArcelorMittal Orbit is made from recycled steel, including washing machines and used cars. It is known for its distinctive red colour which is the result of 19,000 litres of paint and is officially Britain’s largest piece of public art.
The slide was created by German artist Carsten Höller at the invitation of Sir Anish Kapoor, designer of the ArcelorMittal Orbit. It is a unique collaboration between two of the world’s leading artists and a major art installation for London. The slide holds the record for the world’s longest and tallest tunnel slide, with 12 twists and turns winding through its 178m structure. It was built five years after The Orbit was commissioned, opening in 2016, and costing around £3 million .
THE OBSERVATORY DECK
Situated on the second floor, lies the Observation Deck, offering spectacular views of the capital. Landmarks such as the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf, and The Shard are visible, as well as an incredible view of the Olympic Stadium that lies directly below. Be sure to go on a clear day to get the most out of the viewing platform.
In addition to the views, the observatory deck holds two concave mirrors, which allows visitors to have an unusual upside-down view of London.
Opening in 2016, The Orbit slide is still as popular as ever, continuing to sell out on weekends and school holidays. It was listed as the #1 activity to do in the capital on its opening year.
The slide is situated on the first floor, below the observation deck. Once you have shown staff your ticket, you enter the ‘queuing area’ where you are provided with a padded hat and depending on your clothes, knee and shoulder pads. The slide is manned at all times (both at the top and the bottom) so you can rest assured there will be no-one jumping in after you, or no-one to crash into! Waiting in line, you can hear the screams as one by one, people drop into the tunnel which is both hilarious and nerve wracking at the same time!
Before I knew it, it was my turn. I was provided with a full body length mat to lie on, and a pocket at the bottom to put my legs and feet inside. I assumed the correct position (arms and elbows tucked in, heels together) and as soon as the monitor turned green – I was off!
The tube is 80cm in diameter, so is a pretty tight space, and the majority of it is in darkness. There is the occasional window which allows you to see outside, but you are going too fast to actually see anything – save your sightseeing for the observation deck! The slide is a lot faster than I anticipated (which is a good thing!) with speeds of up to 15 mph, and lasts approximately 40 seconds.
It’s worth mentioning that you are not allowed to take any loose items on to the slide. There are lockers provided and they are situated at the end of the orbit, making it very easy to access once you have finished your experience. You can of course take your phone etc, up to the Observation Deck, so it may be worth doing the slide first, and then heading back up in the lift for your photo opportunities.
Overall, this is a great thing to do if you are in the area and fancy adding a bit of excitement to your day. We ended up grabbing food and heading to the cinema in Westfields, Stratford after our visit which made for a really nice day.
For more info on how to slide down the World’s largest and longest tunnel slide, check out their website: The Orbit
* I received complimentary tickets to review this experience