Back in 2018 I set my 50 before 50 challenge and it is safe to say that with various lockdowns, it hasn’t gone exactly to plan, with only 14 challenges ticked off so far.
Last weekend, I managed to tick another of those challenges off the list by riding the Arcelormittal Orbit Slide, at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.
If you have not heard of this slide, it is the world’s tallest tunnel slide, with 12 twists & turns and speeds of up to 15 mph which is set in the magnificent, ruby red looping structure of the ArcelorMittal Orbit which is situated between the Olympic Stadium (now called London Stadium) and the Aquatics Centre, and allowed visitors to view the whole Olympic Park from two observation platforms at the 2012 Olympic Games.
When you book, you are allocated a time and I would advise that you aim to arrive at least half an hour before your slot. We made a wrong turn out of Stratford Station and it ended up taking us much more than the 15 minutes walk that the website suggested.
The ArcelorMittal Orbit is the UK’s tallest sculpture at 114.5 metres and it is not until you are stood almost directly underneath, that you can see the slide curling around the red lattice tower.
When you book in, you are offered the option to hire a GoPro, which films you as you ride the slide at a cost of £15 per person (there are discounts for families and groups). The lifts then whisk you 80m up to the viewing platforms and their distinctive panorama of London and the Olympic Park.
The skyline views are stunning, especially as the light begins to fade and you see the sun setting in the distance.
For those not familiar with London landmarks, there are handy information screens which are full of information about the architecture of the sculpture, why and when it was built and pointing out the landmarks you can see from the skyline platform.
We visited during half term, so it was quite busy, but once the queues had died down, we also got to really appreciate their incredible concave mirrors, which really do turn the world upside down.
To ride the slide, you are provided a padded safety hat and arm / elbow pads.
It is then a short, nervous wait for your time to slide.
Once it is your turn, you climb into a giant black bag and point your feet out in a “V” shape inside. It is a bit of an awkward shuffle as you try and pull / wiggle your way to the start.
Parts of the slide have a clear top, so any spectators can see you as you launch.
And then you are off!!!!!!
OMG it’s quick, but a really smooth ride. Just as you get used to looping one way, it switches and you can tell when with the squeals of delight on the video.
It takes just 45 seconds to reach the bottom, where you come to a gentle stop before being helped out of the sleeping bag.
If you visit during the daytime, you are then welcome back up to the viewing platform to take in the views, which you might have missed as you queued for the slide.
- Get their at least half an hour before your booking, especially during peak hours
- If you have long hair, take a hair band as it needs to be tied up
- Triple check the kids want to ride – mine changed their mind at the top. If they like rollercoasters, they’ll be fine
- It can be a long wait to slide and refreshments are not available, so take some water
- Have fun!!
Do you want to ride the slide?