Matthew Pearson

ArcelorMittal Orbit London: FAQs

What is the ArcelorMittal Orbit, London?

The ArcelorMittal Orbit, London is Britain’s largest piece of public art and tallest sculpture. Built to celebrate and commemorate the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games, the structure is now a fixture of the East London skyline. It has reopened as an observation tower, with two viewing platforms. It’s also a popular ride: you can whizz down the structure in the world’s longest tunnel slide.

How long is the tunnel and how long does the ride last?

The tunnel is 178 metres long and it takes you on a 40 second journey of loops and corkscrews, all the way to the bottom.

What can I see from the ArcelorMittal Orbit viewing platforms?

You can enjoy 20-mile views from the viewing platforms, including many highlights of London’s skyline, such as St. Paul’s Cathedral, Alexandra Palace, the O2 and Big Ben. You can also see the stadiums built around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, including Zaha Hadid’s London Aquatics Centre and Hopkins Architects’ Lee Valley VeloPark.

Where is it?

The ArcelorMittal Orbit is in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the site of many stadiums used during the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics. The park has now reopened as an open space, with waterways, cycling routes, wetlands, cafes and meadowland, as well as the stadiums.

How do I get there?

You can get the Central Line, the Overground and National Rail services to Stratford. You can get to Stratford in just 11 minutes from the City of London. It’s a 10 minute walk to the attraction from Stratford Station. Buses stopping nearby include the D8 and the 339.

Are the viewing platforms accessible for people with disabilities?

Yes, there’s a lift to take you up and down.

How much does it cost?

Usually, it’s £12.50, but with the London Pass, access to the viewing platforms is free. You have to pay £5 extra to upgrade your ticket to include the slide down. Upgrades are subject to availability on the day.

What are the opening times?

Monday to Friday, it’s open from 11am until 4pm. On weekends, it’s 10am - 6pm.

Is it open every day of the week?

Yes, 364 days a year.

What day aren’t they open?

Christmas Day.

No sliding on Christmas?

No sliding on Christmas.

Do I have to slide down?

Nope. You can walk down the 455-step spiral staircase or take the lift.

Can I buy a ticket just for the slide?

Nope. You need to go up to come down.

What are the age restrictions on the slide?

You have to be at least 8 years old and over 1.3m tall to ride the slide.

Can I ride the slide more than once?

You can, but you have to buy another ticket for a second go.

And what about, you know...friction?

You head down the slide with your legs and bottom in a sack, much like one used to transport coffee beans.

Where can I leave my stuff? I don’t want my phone/wallet/keys falling out of pockets.

There are some lockers at the bottom.

Can I buy any kind of mementos when I’m there?

Yes, there’s a small shop selling T-shirts, tea towels, mugs and the like.

What about eating and drinking?

There’s a cafe called The Last Drop located right next to the ArcelorMittal Orbit.

What is it made of?

The ArcelorMittal Orbit is made of steel. Enough steel, in fact, to make 265 double-decker buses.

Who designed it?

Turner Prize-winning artist Anish Kapoor and engineer Cecil Balmond. Kapoor’s other famous works have included Chicago’s Cloud Gate and the Sky Mirror in Nottingham. Balmond has worked on the Centre Pompidou-Metz in Paris, and the CCTV Headquarters in Beijing.

What is it supposed to look like?

It was designed to look like an ‘impossible’ structure, something almost ‘mythical’ in its twisted, looping form. It’s inspired by the Tower of Babel and the Eiffel Tower. Maybe it looks a bit like someone's made a helter skelter out of the Eiffel Tower. Or angrily scrunched up a train track. It is thought to contain the five Olympic rings. Some people think it looks like a massive shisha pipe. Who knows. See where else you can get a great view of London here.

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